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Whirlwind weekend in London

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Kitchener, Ontario...
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Whirlwind weekend in London

I am really fortunate to be the mother of a flight attendant and am planning to tag along on a weekend layover to London. We will be landing mid-morning on Saturday at Gatwick & leaving first thing Monday morning. My plan is to take a train to London from the airport while my daughter gets some sleep on Saturday and perhaps go on a bus tour of the city on my own. We will both go into London together for the day on Sunday. I would appreciate any advice - such as what bus tour would be easiest for me to connect with. I am capable of getting lost at the mall, so I'm looking for very straighforward plans for the day on my own.

Upminster, United...
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1. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

Will you be staying in a hotel at Gatwick both nights ?

There are 2 bus companies which do circular hop on- hop off tours of London. You could catch one of these and get off when something takes your fancy. No chance of getting lost as the bus will eventually come back to where you got on.

Watford
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2. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

Hi and welcome to the forum. What a lucky lady you are!

Most people catch the Gatwick Express train from the airport. There are cheaper local services but the GEX is a dedicated service that takes just 30 minutes to reach Victoria. There are 4 trains an hour.

www.gatwickexpress.com

Exit Victoria station and turn left and left again and outside the Thistle Victoria hotel in Buckingham Palace Road you will find the but stops to join the hop on/hop off double decker tours. There are two rival companies (Big Bus & Original London) offering a similar product. Big Bus charges slightly more but include a walking tour. Both include a free river cruise in the price. You will find staff from both companies around to sell you tickets. There are two routes: I would choose the one that has live rather than recorded commentary. The tour takes around 2 - 2 1/2 hours and by the time you have finished the afternoon will be pushing on and jet lag may be kicking in. You could consider getting off the bus at Westminster and maybe wandering around that area (London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey etc) and then heading back the short distance to Victoria to catch the return train or you may just end up with information overload and feel like heading back to your hotel.

www.bigbustours.com

www.theoriginaltour.com

Hope that helps and please don't hesitate to ask again if anything is unclear or should you need more help.

adamhornets@yahoo.com

S.F.
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3. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

Excellenmt, I have taken a quickie to London and it was wonderful. Do what interests you.

Kitchener, Ontario...
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4. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

Thanks, I feel more confident about trying this on my own with such specific directions to the bus tours. I went to the websites for both tours and it looks like there are discounted tickets available for The Original Tour at the Southern rail station.

Yes, I will be staying both nights at the Clarion Hotel in Crawley.

Have any of you been on The Eye? It sounds like an amazing opportunity, but how scary is it?

Ohio
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5. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

I don't think the London Eye is at all scary. I know that the Big Bus tour has a stop next to the County Hall building, so you could just hop off the bus and ride the Eye.

I've used the Crawley train station many times. I'm not sure where the Clarion is in relation to the station, but there are plenty of taxis at the station if you need one. There's a mall just across the street from the station and a lot of restaurants on Main St. At least I think it's called Main St. There a Sainsbury grocery store close to the mall and an Asda store just a few blocks from the Crawley train station.

Watford
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6. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

"Have any of you been on The Eye? It sounds like an amazing opportunity, but how scary is it?"

For me it's a wonderful way to get an alternative perspective of London and for most people it's not scary at all. The capsules are larger than they first appear with seating in the middle and at the speed they go (it takes 30 minutes for a "flight") you are more likely to get upset by the heat than by vertigo.

Kitchener, Ontario...
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7. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

Adamhornets - Thanks for the comments on The Eye. How big a factor is weather? I'm imagining if it's foggy or rainy, the view is not so great.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

The weather is a huge factor for a 'flight' on the Eye - if it's grey and drizzly, then you'll not see a lot, and the impact won't be quite as special.

I am no fan of high places, and went on the Eye only because I'd been given a free trip. There is a lot of glass in the bubbles, but there is also a large bench in the centre of the thing where one can sit down if one needs to. If I remember, there were about 13 or 14 other people in the capsule, so it's not a terribly crowded experience.

Worth doing once, I think, but only on a clear day.

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9. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

I agree that weather is really a factor on the London Eye, but time of day can make it more special, too. My second time on the Eye was around sunset, on a clear day. It was beautiful, and made it worth doing more than once.

Canada
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10. Re: Whirlwind weekend in London

If you are going this weekend (mar 2nd thru the 5th) I might just see you on the trip. I am assuming you are travelling with Zoom? I am planning just such a trip this weekend as well due to the fact I am on the flight companion list of a close friend and see that there is standby availability out of Montreal so I might jump on board for the weekend.