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February 25, 2017 2:34 am  #1


Seeking travel advice

Hello Fellow Sherlockians!  My husband and I are planning to visit London in September (inspired, of course, by watching Sherlock!).  We are looking to be in London proper for 5-7 days leaving 2 or 3 days for possible day trips out of the city. This will be our first trip abroad.
We are planning to be there for the London Open House weekend and, of course, to visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum and the site of BBC's Baker Street and Speedys Café on Gower St. plus lots of other museums and sites.  There is a lot of good information online and I am planning to get some tour books, but, I was wondering if any of you have any suggestions for hotels or bed and breakfasts for our stay or maybe a recommendation for the best neighborhood in which to stay?  We don't need luxury accomodations, just looking for simple, clean and moderately priced.  It seems like there may be a few good places in the Covent Garden area. We are hoping not to have to rent a car--it sounds like it is fairly easy to walk or take the bus, tube or other public transport.
Actually, one other silly question regarding car rental.  If we were to take a day trip out of London by train to Oxford or Cardiff or someplace like that, are attractions at our destination city within walking distance of the train station, or would we need to take a taxi, or bus or rent a car to get around?  I can't seem to find much information on this subject.
Any information would be greatly appreciated as well as any thoughts on must see attractions or things to avoid. 
Thanks!


"Is that why you're calling yourself Greg?" 
"That's his name!"
"Is it?"
 

February 25, 2017 8:51 am  #2


Re: Seeking travel advice

Well depending on what you want to see...many places in London are in walking distance from the central railway stations.
Cardiff, you would be coming into Euston?
Oxford, Kings X? Mind you, they are very close to each other.
I seem to think Cardiff might be a bit of a longer run, but it's an awful long time since I've done it, so I don't know.
Oxford is very doable.
Euston is dead handy for Speedy's and then you are just a couple of tube stops from Baker St.
My colleague stayed in the travelodge at Covent Garden and found it fine.
Equally we once stayed at the Caledonian travelodge near Kings X and that's the most convenient place I have certainly stayed.
Enjoy your visit.


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February 25, 2017 10:20 am  #3


Re: Seeking travel advice

Did you enjoy "The Imitation Game" and the story of Alan Turing and the code breakers? Then I can recommend a train trip to Bletchley Park. The trains go from Euston, take about an hour and the station there is just minutes away from Bletchley Park. 

And there is Bath, one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. A journey through time and a feast for the eyes. I am not sure which station this would be, maybe besley can help. 
 


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"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

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February 25, 2017 11:08 am  #4


Re: Seeking travel advice

Just checked: looks like the Bath trains leave from Paddington.
I too would highly recommend Bath.

Last edited by besleybean (February 25, 2017 11:10 am)


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February 28, 2017 12:30 am  #5


Re: Seeking travel advice

Thank you both!  Bath does look beautiful.  I will definitely keep it n mind, though I keep finding more and more things to see in London.


"Is that why you're calling yourself Greg?" 
"That's his name!"
"Is it?"
     Thread Starter
 

February 28, 2017 6:46 am  #6


Re: Seeking travel advice

I'm so glad you got back to us, because I think I might owe you an apology!
I was unbelievably confusing Oxford with Cambridge!
I know Cambridge trains leave form Kings X....but I'm not sure Oxford ones do.
I've just googled and it said something about Marylebone station...does that still even exist?


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February 28, 2017 8:16 am  #7


Re: Seeking travel advice

It would be my personal preference to use public transport for everything in London.  I believe you have to pay a charge to use a car in central London during the day now too.  It would be easier/cheaper to buy an Oyster card (a pass for the tube, etc.) than to hire a car. 

It's ages since I've stayed in a hotel in London (I usually do it as a day trip), but the chains like Premier Inn and Travelodge are usually fairly reliable.  I've stayed at the Premier Inn County Hall years ago, which was nice for walks along the river, Houses of Parliament, art galleries, restaurants, the London Eye and so on, but the location might not be what you want.  (I chose it because I was getting a train from Waterloo). 

I haven't been to Cardiff, and it's many years since I've been to Oxford, but as the rail network was mostly built in Victorian times, usually the trains go right into the city centres or near to it.  If the train station isn't central, there would usually be a bus to take you into town.  Have a look on the map and see what you think - it depends how much you like walking, but I find it's often easier to get off a train and find my way, rather than navigate one way systems, find a parking space, etc!    However, if you do drive, I believe both Cardiff and Oxford have Park and Ride - you park in a big car park on the edge of the city and get a cheap bus into the centre.  It's a lot easier, as long as you can find the bus stop that takes you back and don't miss the last one! 

I agree with the others that Bath is beautiful and worth visiting.  However, there definitely is plenty to do for a week in London itself.  Maybe get out to a park or two, if you want a change of scene and to get away from the hustle and bustle.

Have a lovely trip!

Last edited by Liberty (February 28, 2017 8:26 am)

 

February 28, 2017 12:05 pm  #8


Re: Seeking travel advice

I've been to London many times and usually stay somewhere near the Strand / Covent Garden or around Euston Station. Most of the interesting places are either within walking distance or you can easily get there by tube which is by far the fastest way to get around. If you plan to stay for a week I'd recommend to buy an OysterCard.
Euston Station is perfect for breakfast at Speedy's, and after a hearty breakfast you could take a train to Bletchley. A visit to Bletchley Park is a great idea for a day out, it's a wonderful place that offers a perfect combination of history and science in a beautiful park, the train journey is less than an hour and Bletchley train station is only a two minutes walk from the entrance to Bletchley Park.

Oxford is a great destination for a day trip too, and yes Marylebone does still exist, I've taken a train from there last year. Besides, Marylebone isn't far from the Landmark Hotel (which is probably too expensive to stay but you might want to take a picture) and Baker Street. ;-)

I've been to Cardiff last year, beautiful but quite a long journey from London, wouldn't recommend for a day trip (I stayed there for one night).


O, learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.
(Shakespeare, Sonnet 23) 
 

February 28, 2017 5:21 pm  #9


Re: Seeking travel advice

Those are my precise memories of beautiful Caerdyf(Cardiff).


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March 1, 2017 2:28 pm  #10


Re: Seeking travel advice

Thanks again for all the great suggestions!  I am planning to purchase an Oyster card for travel.  Both Bath and Bletchley Park sound interesting. Will have to do a bit more research.  I do hope to have time to check out Hyde Park and some of the other parks.  We normally try to visit US National Parks and like hiking, so this trip will be a bit different for us, but I am looking forward to it.
Cheers and thanks again!


"Is that why you're calling yourself Greg?" 
"That's his name!"
"Is it?"
     Thread Starter
 

March 1, 2017 6:18 pm  #11


Re: Seeking travel advice

Oyster card is an absolute essential...but many places are walkable.


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March 2, 2017 7:17 pm  #12


Re: Seeking travel advice

Oh I've only just seen this. I echo what everyone else has said about the Oyster card being must but most places in central are actually quite close so if the weather's good it can be nice to stroll around instead of jumping on the tube.

Cambridge is nice to visit and you can get the train there in about and hour from Liverpool Street Station and if you wanted to do a bit of shopping or grab some nice food Spitalfields Market is just up from the road from Liverpool Street.

Canterbury in Kent is also a nice place to visit and also takes about an hour to get to from London St Pancras station.

There is definitely enough to keep you occupied in central London though and there are always places like Richmond Park, Greenwich Park (Greenwich is a nice area to visit and if you fancied it you can take one of the riverboats there from Westminster, or anywhere along the Thames really haha) and Hampstead Heath which are just little way out of central. Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath also has a nice view over the city, good spot for a picnic.

If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask

Last edited by Lis (March 2, 2017 7:18 pm)


                                                                                                                      

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March 2, 2017 7:19 pm  #13


Re: Seeking travel advice

Yes , Yes and Yes to Canterbury, Greenwich and Richmond.


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March 2, 2017 9:57 pm  #14


Re: Seeking travel advice

Thanks again for all the feedback.  I am thinking about maybe Bletchley Park and/or Greenwich. I did like the Imitation Game and the code breakers from the war are very interesting.  My husband is a big history buff so he would probably enjoy that.   Bath is also still a consideration.  May just have to plan a second trip to see all the places outside London!
We will definitely walk to many of the sites in London but I'm sure we will also need to use the tube or ride the bus, and the riverboat on the Thames seems like a nice idea. 
I am trying hard not to pack too much into any one day so we are not exhausted and to leave time for exploring.  That is one reason I am planning the trip myself instead of going through a travel agency or tour group.  I feel like you get whisked from one site to another but don't really have enough time to properly see things with a tour company like Trafalgar though I suppose it can make things easier in a way.
Is anyone willing to look at my itinerary and let me know if it sounds doable?  It is rather long.  I can post it here or private message.
Thanks again for all the wonderful suggestions!! Much appreciated!


"Is that why you're calling yourself Greg?" 
"That's his name!"
"Is it?"
     Thread Starter
 

March 2, 2017 10:00 pm  #15


Re: Seeking travel advice

I'm sure we'll all pitch in, if you post it!


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March 2, 2017 10:21 pm  #16


Re: Seeking travel advice

Ok. Here goes.
Nothing planned the day we arrive due to probable jet lag, time change etc.
Day 1. Tour Westminster Abbey, walk along the Thames to see Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square.  Visit the National Gallery-this would be a Friday so it should be open late.

Day 2 Saturday. Notting Hill and Portobello Market in the morning.  Imperial War museum later. 

Day 3. Buckingham Palace -- should be open to tour the State Rooms, changing of the Guard or the Horse Guard.  Churchill War Rooms

Day 4. Hyde Park, V&A museum and possibly the Science and Natural History Museums. Would also be interested in Kew Gardens and Brompton Cemetery

Day 5. Sherlock Holmes Museum, Speedy's Cafe, the British Museum and British Library, Regent 's Park

Day 6. Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral.  Would also like to try to get a photo of St. Bart 's Hospital which I think is in this general area and maybe visit St. Bart 's the Great church

Day 7. This is a "free" day where we would probably take a day trip

Day 8 Borough market, HMS Belfast ship (hubby 's request. ),  Globe Theatre, Tate Modern

Day 9-10 would be the days of the London Open House so we would be touring those sites

I am also planning to go to at least one play or concert and to have afternoon tea somewhere.

Suggestions welcome!!


"Is that why you're calling yourself Greg?" 
"That's his name!"
"Is it?"
     Thread Starter
 

March 3, 2017 6:38 am  #17


Re: Seeking travel advice

First 3 days look fine...
Day 4 is looking a bit busy to me: you could easily spend a full day in the museums.  Though you do get very hot and tired. So you may just want to do  a whistle stop tour of them all, or just pick one to do thoroughly. I suppose you could have a walk through Hyde Park before you went to the museums, but I think you might have to choose either Kew or Brompton for after.
Day 5: SH museum and Speedy's are easy and won't take you long at all. Again you could spend a whole day in the Brit Mus(this is my happy place!), so you might want to be selective  Brit Library is definitely worth a visit. Were you intending visiting the mosque or zoo at Regent's Park?  Cos obviously they would take longer, but otherwise you might manage a walk through.
Day 6 looks fine.
Sensible on day 7.
Day 8: should be doable.
Yes, try and get show/theatre tickets, that would be nice.

My only other comments for now:  you have missed my favourite park!  All London parks are lovely, but I would personally ditch one of the others in favour of St James Park- which is right near the Buck palace, after all.

As for afternoon tea etc...well there are well known places, others might suggest.  But for me, certainly when you are at the V&A, go to their cafe, especially if you can get in the Morris Room which is exquisite.

Oh and you've also missed the Sherlock Holmes pub!  You can even get coffee/tea there.  They also have bar meals, but the upstairs restaurant is reasonable, too.
 

Last edited by besleybean (March 3, 2017 6:40 am)


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March 3, 2017 8:10 am  #18


Re: Seeking travel advice

Looks all more or less doable without being in a rush save for day 4. I think visiting more than two of the big museums would be quite stressful (at least for me, there is so much to see that I'd feel overwhelmed). And if you want to add a trip to Kew Gardens you might have to drop at least one of the museums from your list for that day.
Day 6 is a nice combination and the perfect set up for a look at St. Barts which is only a short walk from St. Paul's. If you can spare an hour you could even visit Barts Pathology Museum.

Edit: If you are at the Tower Bridge you could visit the beautiful St. Katharine Docks which is just around the corner. A nice, quiet place with some lovely little shops, restaurants and cafes. A perfect place to relax after the hustle and bustle of the Tower and the Tower Bridge.

Last edited by diva (March 3, 2017 8:16 am)


O, learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.
(Shakespeare, Sonnet 23) 
 

March 3, 2017 2:00 pm  #19


Re: Seeking travel advice

Besleybean, I am sure we will walk through St. James park.  I did not specifically write it as it seemed to be part of the palace grounds on the maps.  Looks lovely!

I had not specifically planned to visit the zoo or mosque.

Agreed that we will most likely not be able to see everything on day 4.  It sounds like the V&A is highly recommend.  Would like to see the others, but they can be scratched if it is a nice day and we feel like doing the park or gardens instead. 
I will check into going to the Morris room for tea.
I had seen the Sherlock Holmes pub listed several times but wasn't sure if it was overly touristy.  Sounds like they have decent food, then?  We may check it out if we have time.

Diva, I hadn't heard of St. Katherine Docks.  Sounds like it might be a nice place to grab lunch!
Thanks!


"Is that why you're calling yourself Greg?" 
"That's his name!"
"Is it?"
     Thread Starter
 

March 3, 2017 5:10 pm  #20


Re: Seeking travel advice

To be honest, it depends what you're interests are: to me the V&A is more arty farty, where as the natural history, science and geological parts are what they say on the tin.  I think Brit Mus is best for history...but that's just me.


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