UK Bees! Planning my first trip to London!

posted 9 months ago in Travel
Post # 31
Member
986 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Esplanade Lakes Ballroom, Downers Grove IL

This thread is amazing! Thank you for starting it, Laur12. I’m planning a visit myself in August (scored Harry Potter & the Cursed Child tickets!!), so I’m definitely mooching off of this 😀

Hope you have a great trip! I hear the Tube (subway system) is super convenient.

Post # 32
Member
2795 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Laur12 :  I just got back from London a week ago. I’ll try to remember to return to this thread and give more info. You mentioned shopping. I travel a lot and generally don’t bother shopping in European countries, because in the past the exchange rate negated any “bargains.” BUT, due to Brexit the £ has dropped to its lowest value in decades. Many U.K. brands have adjusted their pricing accordingly, but several have not. A few of the brands that I found to be a bargain buying in the U.K. vs the US: Ted Baker, Jo Malone, LK Bennett, Mulberry, and Zara. If you do any shopping be sure to request the VAT refund paperwork and get to the airport sufficiently early to get your refund. After the VAT refund or buying duty free at the airport, savings were >60% in some cases vs buying at home. 

Also, re: Oyster card don’t put a ton of $$$ on it to begin with. They are easy to top off. We wound up walking almost everywhere (even in the January weather.) You can easily get a refund on the balance of your Oyster card (and the £5) deposit at ticket machines. BUT, you can only do that if the balance isn’t > £10 Because we walked so much we wound up having £12 leftover on each of our cards, so we had to take a pointless 1 stop ride  to run down the balance and get our refunds. 😣 

Post # 33
Member
2795 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Laur12 :  also, if you are comfortable in large cities in the US, you should feel completely safe walking around London by yourself (even at night.) Obviously, I wouldn’t suggest doing anything overly risky (like walking through a dark/deserted park alone at 3am) but overall London felt much safer to me than American cities –and I believe the crime stats would back up those feelings. There is also a strong police presence in much of the city and on the tube. 

Post # 34
Member
926 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Laur12 :  British Museum! It is a world class museum and it has the Rosetta Stone.

Also +1 Borough Market, and watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. The amount of fanfare is just bananas!

Post # 36
Member
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Glad you’re having a good time!  And that the weather is nice for you today (this is about as nice as it gets here this time of year, lol)

Give yourself plenty of time in Camden, the tube stations there can be a bit crap on the weekend and you may have to arrive using one and leave using another (if you’re using the tube!)  There’s a Brewdog (https://www.brewdog.com/bars/uk/camden) in Camden if you’re a beer nerd that does some nice food 🙂

 

Wear sensible shoes, the cobbles at the tower are a bitch! 😀

 

The HP studios are awesome, takes about an hour to get there form London… I spent as much time in the gift shop as I did in the studios 🙂  If you’re heading to Kings Cross at any point to see platform 9 3/4 then go late in the evening or at night, there won’t be a photographer but there also won’t be a freaking huge queue of kids there either.  

 

Speaking of HP Studios – If you’re planning from going from Euston Station don’t plan to spend long here (my office is here, the place is crap!) The British Library is literally a 3-5 minute walk away (along Euston road heading towards Kings Cross) and it’s a much nicer place to hang out.

 

 

Post # 37
Member
6426 posts
Bee Keeper

Laur12 :  I’m in London too for work for a couple of days. You’re making really good use of your time. And as pp said the weather is fab for the time of year. You’ve done well!  Glad you’re enjoying our quirky crazy capital of England. 

Post # 38
Member
986 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Esplanade Lakes Ballroom, Downers Grove IL

OP – How was your trip? Also, were you able to use Google Maps (for public transit directions) over there?

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