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Transportation for a first-time visitor

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Dallas, Texas
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Transportation for a first-time visitor

In a little over a month I'll be in London for the first time, just for a few days. I've been reading up on transportation around the city and how it works, and it's a little confusing to say the least. I'll get it soon, though, but do you recommend any websites that would explain transport around London in fairly simple terms? Or should I just keep on reading the maps and start memorizing?

Also, I arrive at Heathrow and my hotel is in Croydon. What is the simplest and cheapest way to get there?

Bingley, United...
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1. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

1st question - why Croydon? Croydon isn't exactly known for being in the tourist heartland of London and unless you have family / friends / work commitments it's not a good place to be as a tourist - have a look at a map as it's seven or eight miles from the centre of London which, by London tourism standards is a long way

2nd question - where in Croydon? There are several stations in Croydon as well as tramstops and innumerable bus stops (note no mention of TUBE stops as there aren't any) so a precise location - hotel name, FULL streetname) is needed

London, United...
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2. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

Are you going to be on your own?

How many days? (This may have a bearing on the ticketing option we recommend).

Which part would you like explaining? How to get from A to B or something else? Does any of this help? www.visitlondon.com/maps/travel_maps/

London is a great city and, although public transport can look daunting, it works very well for most people most of the time.

Dallas, Texas
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3. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

Ah, sorry for being vague. The address given is 1 Priddy's Yard, off Frith Road (Holiday Inn Express). I know it's not the most ideal location, but I'm really on a budget and several sites showed that this hotel had good rates for when I'll be there (11/18 - 21). So I'll only be there for three nights. Long travel times/distances don't both me much, I live in a place where I'm used to driving and sitting in traffic for hours at a time occasionally.

I wil be going alone, which is part of the reason I'm a little nervous, but I'm definitely going to play it safe and be smart about when I'm outside on my own. Thanks for the link jdbri. I guess what I'm most concerned about is if/when I'll have to switch buses and trains....may get confusing.

London, United...
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4. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

Have you booked your hotel? We might be able to find you something better. Croydon wouldn't be my first choice.

London is generally a very safe city so personal security isn't a major issue. Obviously a dose of common sense helps.

Buses tend to have stop announcements and every bus stop has maps and timetables and stuff. Basically, it's a lot easier to use than it sometimes looks.

Bingley, United...
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5. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

<<< Long travel times/distances don't both me much, I live in a place where I'm used to driving and sitting in traffic for hours at a time occasionally. >>>

Just because you are used to it doesn't mean you'll like it. It's a very false economy to stay that far outside the centre of London. Most routes take nearly 2 hours from Heathrow (what time is your flight back BTW) and you are out in zone 5 where you'll be spending nearly a hour just getting from hotel to central London, so no just going back to change, pick up that thing you forgot, have a quick nap. Everywhere you want to go will involve first a train ride then a change to Tube / buses rather than a simple Tube / train ride or even walk.

As to easiest way - with luggage take the Tube to Hammersmith, walk a few feet to the adjacent platform, take the Tube to Victoria, surface, then get a train to West Croydon then walk through or around the Centrale shopping centre to reach your hotel. See the following map for approximate location

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&q=CR0+1TS

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

Nicole,

Croydon is very convenient for getting into and out of London (I use the trains through there when I go to London as my family lives in Surrey). However, as @Alanrow is eluding, it's not necessarily convenient as a tourist base. If you finish a day's sightseeing and want to return to your hotel to relax or freshen up for an evening in Central London, it will be an approx 1.5-2 hours round trip all-inclusive. If you're planning to spend your time in central London I would consider something more central.

Regarding travel from Heathrow. East Croydon station is a major stop on the Brighton line and has fast services from both Victoria and London Bridge. West Croydon is served by many trains, but these are stopping services and take around twice as long.

Victoria is probably the most convenient from LHR. Take the underground (Piccadilly line) to Hammersmith. Walk directly ahead across the platform and take a District line service to Victoria. There are around 20-30 stairs from the platform to the ticket office and then another 30 or so stairs to the street level/main line station. The express services to East Croydon (1 stop) operate from platforms 15-19 at the far southwest (far right) of the station concourse. Services take approx 20 minutes.

You could also go from London Bridge (slightly longer but step-free) by taking the Piccadilly line to Green Park. Travel at the rear of this train, and at GP head towards the station exit ("Way Out") by escalator. Do not leave the station, but follow signs to the Jubilee line (escalator down) and take the JL southbound 4 stops to London Bridge. There are 4 trains an hour from platform 5 non-stop to East Croydon (First Capital Connect) and between 6-8 one-stop services from platforms 7-14. Services also take approx 20 minutes.

Croydon itself is served by a tram (light-rail) that operates from directly outside East Croydon rail station.

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7. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

Nicole,

OK, I see the hotel, and yes it's a good 80 GBP less than central London equivalents.

The hotel is equidistant between East and West Croydon stations. I'd suggest you go to East Croydon, purely because the trains are faster. The hotel is around a 8-10 minute walk from the station. As you leave EC, turn right and head down George Street,. You will cross traffic lights and go over the Croydon underpass, then continue along George Street past Allders department store (on your right), over the now pedestrianized high street, and down a hill. After approx 50 yards Frith Road and the hotel on your right. In fact, the Tram takes exactly this route. and you could go one stop to Allders, or 2 stops further down the hill but then you'd have to walk back (but follow the tram line and you're going in the right direction).

Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

Regarding the transportation system in London. as you're traveling alone, the best thing to do is to purchase an Oyster pay-as-you-go card at Heathrow underground station. This is a smart card that you use to "touch in" and "touch out" at ticket barriers. As you're in zone 5, I would load 40 pounds credit onto the card (you will also pay a 3 pound deposit); all unused credit and the deposit are refunded when you turn in the card at the end of your visit. The daily price cap (the maximum you'll pay for a day's use of all public transportation) is 7.50GBP, provided that you travel after 9.30am (Note: it's safer to check in at EC after 9.45am as trains that arrive at central London before 10am are considered "peak" and will cost more).

for full details on Oyster, check https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do

London, United...
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9. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

Nicole, there is a direct bus service from Heathrow central bus station to Croydon. The X26 will cost £2 cash or £1.20 with an Oystercard. The first bus is at 05.45 and the last at midnight, the journey takes approx 65-75 miutes depending on time of day and traffic. Your best bet this way is to get off the bus at East Croydon station cross over towards the station and either take a tram - routes 1, 2 or 3 going to Wimbledon or West Croydon, getting off 2 stops later at Church Street (again £2 or £1.20 fare). With the tram you need to buy your ticket at the machine or swipe the Oystercard at the ticket validating machine on the platform before you board the tram, ticket inspectors work in this area and you don't want a £25/£50 penalty.

Get off the tram and walk back the way you came, past McDonalds and Argos and turn left at the first road on the left (Frith Road) - think it is now Ponden Mill shop on the corner. You will then find Priddy Yard on your right a little way along the road.

Alternatively if you want to walk, follow the tram track down the hill to the left from East Croydon station (past Caffe Nero) as USB has indicated. Use the TfL website for further information on buses etc.

As others have said Croydon is a bit of a way out from London athough it has a good fast train service into London, it will cost £12.60 peak or £7.50 off peak by travelcard or capped Oystercard. The town centre has quite a bit shopping area and a lot of office blocks. At night there are bars and nightclubs and can be very busy, it's ok if you keep your wits about you.

Dallas, Texas
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10. Re: Transportation for a first-time visitor

Thanks so much the the advice, everyone; you've all been really helpful.

So about the Oyster card - there is an amount that, once you reach it, you won't be paying anymore for that day? That sounds like a good deal if that's the case. I've heard of Oyster cards, but don't completely understand them yet.

How is that area of Croydon at night? Will there still be people out and about walking at 9-10 PM?