First, I’d like to say thank you for all the wonderful advice and tips; you’ve helped me tremendously in planning for my trip to London and Avalon, which begins on November 15! To say I’m excited is the understatement of the year!
This is the first trip I’ve actually planned on my own (that’s usually my husband’s job), from booking the airline tickets and hotels to planning an itinerary. It’s also the first trip that I’ll be traveling partially on my own. While part of me is really excited about doing some of this trip solo, the other part is just a wee bit nervous. Reading some of the female solo traveler trip reports has been quite helpful in quieting the butterflies. I don’t think I could have pulled it all together without this forum!
Thanks to your great advice, I can definitely say you’ve covered the basics for me. I’ve probably collected half a dozen links for the weather and check them regularly. I’ve pretty much decided to be prepared for everything and anything in the weather department! lol! I’ve been mentally packing my suitcase since the summer, and know to pack clothing that can be worn in layers. I’ll definitely be packing two pairs of comfortable shoes. It’s keeping it to just two pairs that going to be the problem. I’ve even applied for a Capital One credit card to avoid having to pay foreign transaction fees. Right now, I’m just hoping it gets here before I leave on my trip.
You’ve given me many wonderful and different ideas for my itinerary. I have almost five days in London before heading to Avalon. I’m keeping my itinerary very loose and flexible but I know I’ll definitely be including the London Eye, an Original London Walk (The London Walk – Westminster and the West End), and then I thought a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour (it’s between the Original Tour and The Big Bus Company). Thanks to one of the posters here, I even have directions on where to find the Tardis, which I’ll definitely be hunting down! And, as an added bonus, I get to see the city all decorated for the holidays!
One of the hotels I’ll be using during my stay in London is the Parkcity. And, I must say, I’ve been following the discussion about this hotel with some interest. For a while there, after reading some of the more negative reviews, I was beginning to have some doubts about my choice. However, I felt infinitely better after reading that one of the TALFers (I believe it was adamhornets) actually went to see it himself. How great was that! Again, this forum has been invaluable in planning my trip.
Another item on my “want to do” list is Afternoon Tea. I’ve been reading over all the great posts on this subject. As I’ll be in London on Thanksgiving Day, I thought that would be the perfect day to splurge and finally decided on The Ritz for Afternoon Tea. Unfortunately, I waited too long and they are totaled booked for that day. But, as nice as that would have been, the tea reports on the Wolseley and Lanesborough sound great too. I’m going to look into them next.
Okay, so here’s where I need that great TALF help. I’m trying to finish up my transportation arrangements. My first question regards the HEX. I’ve pretty much decided to take the HEX from the airport into London. I’d like to book my tickets ahead of time using the great discount promo code I read about on this forum. I was wondering if anyone could tell me the difference between Express Class and First Class. Is it worth the increase in price for first class? Also, I was wondering about the distance from Paddington Station to The Parkcity? Would I be able to walk or is it definitely a taxi ride distance? I hate to admit it, but I’m seriously challenged when it comes to trying to judge distances! The other HEX question I have concerns the Meeter/Greeter Express Class ticket they offer. I need to head back out to Heathrow to meet my friend who will be joining me for Part 2 of my trip and this ticket sounds like a great idea. Has anyone used this type of ticket before? Any problems? It looks like this ticket can only be bought at Paddington Station isn’t subject to the discount, but it’s still less expensive than a discounted Express Class Return ticket would be.
My next transportation question concerns traveling on the tube. I’ve read tons about the travel cards and the oyster cards and still can’t seem to decide what route to go. For someone who has 5 days in London, but is keeping a very flexible schedule, what would you recommend? I know most of the things I’d be interested in seeing are in Zones 1 and 2, with a possible trip to Wimbledon being the one thing outside those zones. So, a 3 Day Peak Travelcard, or a 3 Day Off Peak Travelcard (Zones 1-6) supplemented by single day tickets, if needed. Or just go with a 7 Day Oyster card? Or, none of the above and just do the single day tickets?
The last transportation question I have, and the one I’m most concerned about, is for booking a railroad ticket. I need to go from London (Paddington Station) to Avalon (Castle Cary Station) on Friday, November 24 returning to London on Sunday, November 26. I’ve been looking at the National Rail website (http://nationalrail.co.uk/index.html). If I’m looking at the fare table correctly, the best deal may be booking single fare tickets each way instead of a return fare ticket. Does that seem correct? Also, I can’t seem to find any information that explains the difference between Standard Class and First Class or what Single A, Single B, Single C signifies. For example, on November 24 I’m seeing a single fare outbound ticket (leaving at 13:15) that I think may be a viable option. However, under Journey Option, I’m seeing two options that are available, both are the same price (£21.00), but one is a Standard Class Leisure Advance Single A ticket and the other is First Class Leisure Advance Single C ticket. Aah, my head is ready to explode! Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
Hmmm, I know I probably have a few more questions for you, but as this post turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, I’ll end it here.
Again, TALFers, thank you for all your help. This forum has not only been highly informative but it’s a just been a delight to read in general.