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First visit

Niagara Falls...
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First visit

We are celebrating our 40th anniversary with a cruise-tour in Europe early May which will end in London for the final 5 days when we are on our own. We would very much appreciate advice on accommodation for our stay and best touring within London for 3 full days (Thurs.-Sat.). Particulars to consider would be

1. Flying in from Venice: best airport to choose, closest to popular sites,

2. Would prefer central London hotel if we could find a room for under 115GBP per nite, otherwise closest by subway, 3-4 star rating,

3.Best tour company offering guided tours, preferably coach. We still have good legs so don't mind walking and would prefer full days out so as to cover max sites.

This is our first venture into Great Britain and plan on returning, so we would prefer to stay central and leave the out-of-town travel for our next visit. Any help would be appreciated as a google vacation lacks the personal, experienced touch.

Rutland, UK
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1. Re: First visit

Taking your questions in turn

1. No London airport (Luton, Stansted, Gatwick, Heathrow, City etc) is close to any attractions. I'd therefore advise you to fly with whichever airline gives you the best deal.

2. You'll probably have to compromise here. £115 a night is very low for a 3 or 4 star central hotel. Either increase your budget to £150+ or lower your hotel star ratings. Using the search function will generate plenty of discussion about recommended budget hotels but until you've chosen your arrival airport you cannot begin to search properly. In my view it would be a false economy to search for lower priced accommodation in the suburbs, travelling in by rail or tube (we don't say subway) because what you save on hotel bills will be offset by increased travel cost and inefficient use of your time on what will be very crowded commuter transport.

3. Why do you want a tour company? London has a superb transport system and you can easily see all the sites you want by making your own arrangements. As you said, you're not venturing outside London so look at other correspondents' trip reports to get a sense of others' itineraries. That said, I would recommend a hop on, hop off (HOHO) bus tour on your first day if feasible to get an orientation of the city.

Chicago
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2. Re: First visit

Definitely up your budget and stay in central London. Get an oyster card for each of you and use public transport. Although the underground is great we got very familiar with the bus routes and used buses almost exclusively. You obviously are above ground and can sight see as you go. The bus routes are many, but you really can get adequate information about where they go, etc. We even took a bus from central London to Greenwich. Easy, and a full day of touristy things to do. We have been to London numerous times, and are museum geeks. To us must do's are The National Gallery, The Portrait Gallery, The British Museum, Tate and Tate Modern. All are FREE. Also the British Library has a Treasures Room that is a must. Unbelievable treasures, and it is small enough that it is not overwhelming like the larger museums.

We are returning to London for a 3 month stay next summer. This is not a dress rehearsal. Live it up if you can.

S

Loughton, United...
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3. Re: First visit

You don't need a tour company, but for a central hotel below £115 you do need to book in advance. The Premier inn chain has several central hotels. They are not luxurious but do get good reviews.

So much is free in London you really do not need to pay entrance fees to so-called attractions, and you can save a lot by taking a trip on service bus no.11 rather than an expensive hoho bus

london
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for Nile River Valley
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4. Re: First visit

I think direct flights between London and Venice are fairly limited anyway.

For three days seeing London, a coach tour is inappropriate. Within London you can walk, or get a bus or the Tube. Taxis are also readily available if you don't mind paying and your legs are tired. You just hail,them on the street if their light is on and they are metered. The traffic can make them expensive though, like New York.

Coach tours are offered to places outside London though if you only have three days you probably won't want to do one.

County Dublin...
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5. Re: First visit

This one is a straight shot on the tube from Heathrow and should come in on budget.

www.imperialhotels.co.uk/president

London, United...
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for London
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6. Re: First visit

Your airport choices are LGW Gatwick and LHR Heathrow; I would choose the latter. If you do want to try easyJet, a low cost carrier, please ensure you check the *full* fare including checked baggage fee and booking fee before booking. Travel from LGW to central London will cost more than travel from LHR as well.

'... closest by subway ...' In London, a subway (lower case s) is a pedestrian walkway below street level. The city centre is very well served by at least six modes of transport, so there is no need to look only for hotels near a Tube station.

As above as well, coach tours in London aren't necessary. Decide what >you< would like to see and do and we can help sort out how to travel from point to point, from and to the airport and beyond.

Please let us know if you will visit London during the first weekend in May as that will be Bank Holiday weekend and you will need to book a hotel fairly well in advance.

Without knowing your dates, but with your budget, consider a stay at a Premier Inn. The new PI St Pancras is very well situated for transport from Gatwick and Heathrow and for transport in the city. The PI Blackfriars is a fairly new hotel and also very well situated for visitors; try the PI Southwark and PI Monument too.

Premier Inns are good quality mid range hotels; those mentioned above are new properties (one not yet open, the others no more than a year old) that offer quite good accommodation at a reasonable price.

At the right of the forums column you will see Top Questions About London, with two traveller articles there about Travelcards and two for one offers. Please read those articles, as there is a great deal of information there about how to make your pounds go further whilst using the Travelcards you will need for transport in the city. Keep in mind that most of the offers are renewed at the end of April; some may drop out and one or two may be added, but unless there is a substantial change you will be able to use the offers with NR-issued paper Travelcards for your stay in May.

Niagara Falls...
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7. Re: First visit

Thanks for reply.....have already increased budget to £175 and found excellent accommodation (seemingly) in Westminster Borough Victoria. Since it is near a tube, I will access a tube map and purchase a guide book and we can do the rest on our own.....once again, thanks you for your time in getting us started.

Niagara Falls...
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8. Re: First visit

Thank you for taking the time to reply.....have already upped the budget (had little choice) and settled on central with tube nearby.....will be purchasing an oyster and using public transport as well......thanks for getting us started.

Niagara Falls...
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9. Re: First visit

Actually had ti increase budget to £175 daily to get what seems to be good accommodation and near the tube.....will purchase an oyster and underground map and looks like we can do it ourselves.....thanks for the tips.

Niagara Falls...
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10. Re: First visit

Thank you for the reply.......took your advice and will be using the underground and there seems to be plenty to see to keep us central....we'll leave the day trips for another visit...thanks for getting us started.