Technology and web resources, London
TimeOut London is the sister magazine/website to TimeOut New York. It is the place you go to find out what's going out in London, from concerts, clubs, social/community events, parades, and whatever else is going on in London! It's a fantastic site/magazine that everyone who visits London must visit/purchase to see what local events they can participate in. I've found out about several street fairs, local parades, even hotel suggestions from TimeOut. It's incredibly helpful and I highly suggest you use it as a resource when visiting London.
Very similar to craigslist in New York or dailyinfo.co.uk in Oxford, thegumtree.com website is a go-to information site for flat rentals (long term or short term), sales, personal ads, services, jobs and other community related information. Their flat and job listings are particularly helpful. You can search flats by location and duration and jobs by field.
thegumtree is not limited to just London, but to all of England, Scotland, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland.
If you need anything in london, ie numbers for taxi places, where to go for dinner, cinema times, then call 118 118, or 118 500, or 118 212, they are all directory enquiry services, and used to just give you numbers and addresses but now because of the competition they offer so much more.
If you call up tell them where you are and ask for a cinema near you, they will ask if you're trying to find out times. They'll then give you times for movies in that cinema, then they'll ask if you want to be put through to book tickets... if not they'll send you a text message with the film times, name, address and telephone number of the cinema as most people don't have a pen and paper with them when calling.
This is particularly useful if you're looking for a place to eat with a specific theme in an area, they can text you lots of contacts with the details.
Always a big question for us when we visit a place.
There are pros and cons to using an audio guide, but in our experience the pros outweigh the cons.
The audio guides we have used in London in the Tower of London, Cabinet War Rooms have been insightful and very useful.
They do have Beef Eaters giving tours in the Tower of London, but the crowds were huge when we went, and we didnt want to be stuck in a slow crowd, half the time, battling to hear what was being said.
We prefer to go at our own pace.
If you want to go away from somewhere knowing more than surface information, some information with some history and depth, then these are best. If there's a section you are not interested in, then you don't have to listen to it, you carry on to the next section.
The downside is that it can be an insular experience, and not enjoyed as a group. We do make sure we dont go walking off on our own too much, so we still experience things together.
The London Open Top Sighseeing Bus has someone chatting to you as you drive around the city, which is personally preffered (if they know their stuff, and don't feel the need to crack a joke every few minutes that is!).
OK.. so if you live in a country as expensive as Lebanon when it comes to mobile phones tariffs and charges (esp. if your phone is 'roaming'), then you'd probably consider buying a separate phone card/line when you're visiting another country.
However, in London I thought it was really worth it..since all it took me was to walk into an O2 store and buy a sim card for 10 GBP. Then I had the option of topping up the card (with credits) for as much as 10, 15 or 20 GBP. I used the phone 10 minutes later as I walked out of the shop...simple, not too expensive, and extremely handy if you get lost and need to call another 'VTer' for directions ;)
Of course do remember to take your phone with you...and make sure that it is a Tri-band phone. You can usually check on the mobile company's website (i.e. nokia, motorola, siemens, etc..). If the salesperson tells you it doesnt work, have them try a sim card in it to check for certain. But a tri-band will surely work.
Favorite thing: My best advice: stay away. It is misleading, understaffed (if staffed at all), and definitely not the cheapest way to go, despite claims of that. The usual rate in London at most places is £1 per hour (This is late April, 2006), and some places will split that to 50p per 30 minutes. Most other places have USB connectivity. EasyInternet only allows on-line surfing—NO USB connectivity at all. In addition, the £2 minimum that they charge is good for a whopping 48 hours only. When there is any staff at all, it is not the most helpful. I've been twice before, and no one at all was available for help, explanations, etc. Be forewarned: if you put in your £2, they sure as heck won't give you a refund, either. It is a poorly run operation with little interest in customer satisfaction. One more point is that the machines are also run by Windows 98, not the most stable, to say the least. So, if you want to spend two hours merely surfing, you can take your chances. If you have other needs, try somewhere else.
I used the EasyInternetCafe services while in London. The prices were some of the most reasonable that I found and there is always a free spot to use.
I would buy a 5 day pass with unlimited internet use for 7 pounds at the Tottingham Court Road site just off Oxford Street.
You are only able to use the pass you buy at the site that you bought it at. If I went to another location in London other than the Tottingham site, I'd have to buy a different pass there.
You can buy 1/2 hour, hourly passes at the going rate at the time you buy them (prices vary somewhat during the day.) Or you can buy 24 hour, 5 day, 7 day passes up to 30 days.
The service is very easy to use and in many of the locations there are food services offered. At the Tottingham location there is a package delivery service and a Subway restaurant.
On Oxford you will find a large Internet cafe (part of a chain) called 'easyInternetcafe'. There are 268 PCs available at this Internet cafe, and I can't remember exactly, but I think that it is approximately GBP 1 for every half hour. I mainly remember that there were a lot of computers available to use and that it had good opening hours.
For other Internet Cafe's around London (or the UK) check out the website below.
Sun-Wed: 8:00am - 10:00pm
Thurs-Sat: 8:00am - 12am (midnight)
358 Oxford St, London, W1N 9AG
It is opposite the Bond St underground.
While spending some time in London you might need some Internet connection (to chack some more tips on VT for example :).
The easiest to access Internet place seems to be EasyNet's huge one on Tottenham Court Road facing the Bedford Avenue.
You can buy an internet ticket for 1 pound and get acces to the net for an hour or even more if you are using it in the off-peak period!
PLEASE PLAN YOUR TRIP Before you come to London, Its compulsory!!, do it, or you will be sorry, its quite a big city.
These sites will help you plan your trip; Take the tips from this site, and then have a look at maps and tickets and other stuff on the below links:
Fondest memory: I know where i was going and i had no difficulty going anywhere
There are few links about London :
I always search the web before going on the trip.You can find many very useful infos and you can prepare better for the trip.
If you are traveling beyond London, you might also check out the Great British Heritage Pass which includes a lot of the castles and houses outside of London (also Wales, Ireland and Scotland)
or the English Heritage Overseas Visitors pass which just includes sites in England
Or the National Trust pass
Someone recommended this pass over the London Pass, need to take a look and see where it is that you are going to see if either one is a good value
May be able to get cheaper if purchased in the US, the pass can be purchased in London/Britain but only by foreign visitors
The "Visit London" London website has recently been having something of a publicity blitz in the press in the U.K.
If you go onto their website they have a range of offers on accommodation, restaurants and tourist attractions.
Many of the offers allow you to print out a voucher directly that can be used at the attraction.
They also do booking for events such as the Ideal home exhibition or Boat show - but you will need to ring up.
Some offers only apply if you buy a train ticket (also discounted) as well.
A number of the main shopping and restaurant streets in London have been photographed by a website called :
The Shop frontages of the street appear across the screen, then you can click on the appropriate shop, cafe, pub or restaurant and link directly to it's website.
It means you can explore streets like Carnaby street, Oxford street, Soho, Chinatown and the like before you set foot in the place.
I was impressed.