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Everything posted by Island2Dweller

  1. Any of the train companies can sell tickets for all services. LNER seems to work OK for folk outside the UK.
  2. Nothing new in this, it's been a rule for years. You are unlikely to be stopped at customs - it is a "non event" for 99% of travellers. The customs officers work on intelligence and are generally targetting certain travellers. That said, there are occasional random stops and if you have controlled drugs (especially opiates) without the original containers and prescription then you can be in serious trouble.
  3. Doing Dover to London as a day trip is entirely viable. It's a high frequency commuter service. But rail ticket pricing in the UK is worthy of a doctorate in complication. If you are willing to accept fixed times, then you may get quite cheap tickets called "advance fare" tickets (these go on sale about 10 weeks ahead, thought the release date is not an exact science). If you want flexibility, there is a range of walk-up fares from £31 (only valid on the slower trains, not on the "HS1" service and only valid leaving Dover after 1000) through to £111 (valid on any service at anytime). Those prices are the return. If you want cheap and are prepared to fix your time, book tickets ahead. If you want flexibility, don't buy anything in advance. Instead speak to the staff in the station ticket office when you reach the station and tell them your plan, they will sell you the cheapest option. This is especially relevant because if the "we" is more than three then the staff may have "groupsave" fare options which can knock a third off the walk up fares.
  4. People really do pay with card / phone / watch for anything here, however small the price. Tipping a chambermaid is an unknown concept to most Europeans, myself included. And as for paper bank notes - we don't have any! They are polymer now. Britain has a habit of changing bank notes reasonably frequently, and many travellers have been caught out trying to spend old notes, and discovering that they are no longer valid. So if you want notes as a souvenir that is fine, but be aware they may be superceded.
  5. London is not cashless, but it's getting that way. You can't use cash on buses, and many cafes / restaurants in central London won't take cash either. So long as you have what we call "contactless" and in some places call "wave pay"
  6. The HoHo are fine for getting the "lay of the land", but do not consider them as a transport option in London. I would suggest just do a one day pass, and if there are things you want to return to on the next day, just use normal buses (of which there are thousands and thousands in London) or the underground. Far faster and cheaper.
  7. Beware that getting from Greenwich to Tilbury by road requires use of either the Blackwall Tunnel or the Dartford Tunnel. Both are notorious for dreadful queues. An hour queue for the Dartford in the evening is not unusual. DLR and c2c train will be quicker and more reliable.
  8. Seabourne Venture will be on the Greenwich mooring at that time, which is why Viking won't be able to berth at Greenwich (Info from Port of London cruise ship diary page)
  9. To add to that, it's less than a mile from Waterloo to Trafalgar Square. It is very much central London, albeit on the south side of the Thames
  10. Not especially. About two hours by road - can be more as you have to deal with some of the most congested roads in Europe. You can go by public transport, which will also be about two hours. One change from Piccadilly line to rail at Kings Cross-St Pancras.
  11. If there are still seats available, you can pay the driver and get on. But services can be busy and if the coach is already full with reserved passengers then you will be left behind. If you need to get to the port that day, I would certainly reserve a seat. The trains to Southampton leave from central London (not Heathrow). Not a recommended option if you are starting at Heathrow
  12. I would not change at Clapham Junction. The train will stop there for barely a minute. Assuming you have bags with you, surveying the train for where there are empty seats then getting on will be all very rushed. On top of that, the platforms used by this service are on a sharp curve, which makes getting onto the train even more awkward. I would definitely do to Waterloo, which is where those trains start. Start there and you will have ample time (they'll usually be in the platform waiting at least 15 minutes ahead of departure) to saunter down the platform, figuring our where there is plenty of seats, and getting settled before the off. (Re the comment on the Southern Service to Southampton - that service stops running at the timetable change in June, so it's not an option anyway)
  13. A slightly out-of-centre locations. Bermondsey Street is just round the corner. Lots of restaurants there. Plus the White Cube gallery, if you fancy dipping into contemporary art. Tower Bridge about 10/15 minute walk. Otherwise, walk 500 yards to London bridge and from there you have transport options to anywhere in central London
  14. Greenwich. See this link https://server1.pla.co.uk/Travel/Cruise-Ship-Diary/Cruise-Ship-Diary
  15. Do you not want to visit London at all? If you do, staying by the airport is a poor choice. Getting into London from many of the airport hotels is a faff. If you don't want to visit London, then Windsor is the obvious choice.
  16. If I wanted to do that journey, and wanted to avoid stairs, I would take the Elizabeth Line to Tottenham Court Road, then hop on a bus down to Trafalgar Square. Note that the Elizabeth line trains are faster and more comfortable than the tube, they're "full size" trains with air-con. There are two exits at Tottenham Court road, you want the front exit (front of the train you get off). All Elizabeth line stations have lifts and escalators. Buses are low floor (only a single step to get on), and you can put your bags in the wheelchair area. Should a wheelchair user be occupying that space, you'd just wait for the next bus, they are every couple of minutes.
  17. Train is fastest, to Waterloo station. Coach (National Express) is cheaper and drops you at Victoria Coach station. Depending on where your hotel is located may swing which one is better for you
  18. Yes, the train to Hampton Court is straightforward. But tube passes are, to all intents and purposes, a thing of the past - not good value or useful for visitors. Just tap a contactless card (or smartphone / smartwatch) on the station entrance/exit gates, as you do for all other travel within London.
  19. Dover. To add to what John Bull said. The castle. Yes, if you wanted a bus all the way, it's two buses. But if you are happy to walk a mile (on the level) you can walk from your ship to where the Bus81 starts (Pencester Road) then you can get the "important" bus - the one that spares you the walk up the very steep hill! The footpath to St Margaret starts beside the Eastern Docks. But it starts at sea level and goes up onto the cliff, so it's hard work for the first mile. I would second John Bulls comment about taking the bus up the hill and joining the path there. Additionally, there is nothing to see at the start, unless you are interested in a vast cavalacade of trucks getting onto ferries...
  20. If you choose a car service (such as Blackberry), the driver will meet you at the Arrivals door within the terminal, then accompany you to the car park. The driver will help you with bags. If you use Uber, you'll need to make your own way to the Uber holding area in the car park next to whichever terminal you arrive in. (This is policed by the airport to manage traffic flow - the Uber driver cannot just collect you from the kerbside)
  21. When you say "you don't want to use the tube", do you mean you're OK with other public transport? The Elizabeth line to Canary Wharf then DLR is both fastest and cheapest. The Liz line is new, huge "full size" trains with air con. The DLR is overground (except the short tunnel to Greenwich).
  22. The 36 bus runs between Victoria railway station (500yards from the coach station) to Paddington (which is just round the corner from your hotel). Buses are "low floor" with only a single step required to get on / get off. Providing there is not a wheelchair user onboard, you can put your bags in the wheelchair area. And if a wheelchair user does need the space, just get the next bus, they are very frequent. Cost under £2 but you do need a contactless bank card (or smartphone/smartwatch), you cannot pay cash. Alternatively, there will be zillions of taxis available and you could just jump in a cab. Train instead of coach? Generally, I find train more comfortable. But I am not going to suggest it here. (1) It goes to Waterloo station, even further from your hotel, and no direct tube connection to Paddington (2) You need to carry your luggage onto the train, whereas with the coach it goes in the baggage area beneath the coach (3) coach is cheaper - book well ahead for the cheaper fare
  23. All UK currency is now printed on polymer (plastic). Paper notes are no longer accepted, though they can be exchanged at the Bank of England and certain Post Offices. London is surprisingly cash free now. You'll encounter a number of places (such as bars and coffee shops) that are now card only.
  24. If you just want a view across London, the viewing deck on a new building in the City (financial district) is much higher. And free. Search Horizon22 if that appeals
  25. Yes, step free. But the Thames within London has a range up to 6.7metres (about 22 feet), and the boarding ramp has to rise and sink with the tide. So, if there is a very low tide, you will have a very steep ramp to negotiate. Fine for most people but if you have huge bags or a mobility issue, it's something to be cognisant of.
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