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Bob++

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    Redditch England

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  1. I would want to cut travelling to a minimum so St Pancras express would be my choice. You could splash out and stay at the iconic hotel attached to the station. https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lonpr-st-pancras-renaissance-hotel-london/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2 No doubt, you could drop your overnight bags before you set off sightseeing. St Pancras Underground station links six London Underground lines – Circle, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Northern, Metropolitan and Victoria. This makes it the biggest interchange on the London Underground, and one of the busiest. Once you decide, you can start planning what you want to see.
  2. You might wonder why they have these rules: A rucksack is the kind of bag that hikers use and is carried on the back. Museums and other places with fragile things on display don't allow them because it's so easy to knock things over as you turn around. An A4 bag is clearly a small(ish) bag no larger than 9" by a foot. Some ladies seem to carry huge handbags and I guess that they don't like them because they are cumbersome and a nuisance. I doubt that your "small backpack" would concern them.
  3. For anything other than a short hop, like between the cruise dock and the station, prearranged is invariably cheaper and better than snagging a taxi off the rank.
  4. DW never tips me for being her 'wheelchair attendant'. 🙂 Joking aside, I never tip them at LHR, or at Southampton, but I do in foreign airports ; my rule of thumb is the equivalent of a couple of GBP. I do tip the guy who helps us get our luggage in or out of the car when we park at Southampton though. I know that they are reasonably well paid, but it's good to give them a reward for going the extra mile; same with taxi drivers.
  5. mea culpa. I was lazy and didn't check the split ticket option. I would say that in spite of your reservations, the train is probably the best option. Yes you will have to get your own luggage into the carriage, but in my experience there is always a good Samaritan if you are struggling (if only to make sure you don't delay the train :)) . I guess that it would be lunchtime when you are at Waterloo, so if you allowed time to stop for a bite; there are plenty of choices in the station precinct.
  6. Just a thought if you felt up to it; hire a car and drive yourself. A modest 2-door would cost less than £100 with pick-up at Dover and drop in Southampton. They say only one large case, but with only the driver and one passenger, you should have plenty of room for luggage. The quick route takes you on the M"% which might be better avoided. The alternative, and much more interesting route follows the South Coast and should be do-able in less than five hours with a stop for lunch along the way. Not a solution for the faint-hearted though as you would have to cope with a stick-change and driving on the laft.
  7. As you have no doubt already discovered, there is no direct service between Dover and Southampton; the train would require a change in London Waterloo at the very least. The easiest (but most expensive) option is to book a private hire car. You should contact at least two companies, one from each end of the journey. Here are a couple to go on with (there are others). Southampton - http://www.smithsairportcars.co.uk Dover - https://www.taxisfolkestone.co.uk/ It's over 150 miles on congested roads so allow 3 hours at least and expect a cost of £400 to £500 for the car. The train is around £75.00 each. The cheapest alternative would be to go by coach. This would only be around £22.00 each, but it is a seven-hour journey with a change at Victoria Coach Station. You would really need that mimosa after that 🙂 https://www.nationalexpress.com/en
  8. 2019 then...:) I would start by looking at the tours offered by the ship. That will give you a good idea of what there is locally and you can use that as a basis for your own plans. All those towns have a tourist office and that is another mine of information - search for "xxx tourist information centre"
  9. If I were you, having read all of the above, I would set off as soon as the New Year celebrations are over. After all, the plane might be hijacked and you spend a month on an airfield in Syria waiting for the Israelis to rescue you. Or you might get abducted by aliens - who knows. If you can fly a day early, and there is no extra cost, go for it; but if it makes the most sense for you to fly in on sailing day, it's highly likely that you will have that welcoming mimosa in your sweaty hand well before sailing time.
  10. A lot might depend on the makeup of your group, how long you are there for, and whether they all need to stay together. Less mobile people might be fine with a simple taxi ride to the castle (making sure of a ride back as there is no rank there) and making use of their excellent facilities for the less able. The more adventurous might well follow JB's advice and take a train to Canterbury or spend the day at the castle anyway.
  11. There are several tourist attractions in and around Dover - Dover Castle and Canterbury Cathedral to name but two. Herding such a large party on and off public transport might be difficult so you could look at a bespoke coach tour. Try these local operators for suggestions and costs: http://www.baylissexecutivetravel.co.uk/services/ https://britannia-coaches.co.uk/
  12. I was trying to think of something to add to this comprehensive review, but apart from saying that I am sure many people should find it useful, I couldn't come up with anything .
  13. The London Eye is an interesting experience, but IMHO not worth £40 each and certainly not worth spending more than half-an-hour standing in line for.
  14. From their website, the last one starts on 2nd November. I don't know anyone else with a similar package.
  15. Perhaps some more explanation about the various taxi options between LHR and London would be useful: The ubiquitous 'black' cab (not always black btw) is the only taxi that you can hail on the street. There is a taxi rank at Heathrow, where they line up up to collect passengers. They have a meter (regulated by law) and you pay both for mileage and time and the current fare between LHR and Central London is £48 - £90. The low end would be a destination in the Western part of town, with virtually no delays. https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/taxis-and-minicabs/taxi-fares Uber, Bolt, Lyft and Hailo are all taxi companies that get around the rule about not picking up any customers that are not pre-booked by using an app for the booking. Again, they are on a meter (although that is their own and not regulated) and the cost would be £30 to £40. https://www.uber.com/global/en/airports/lhr/#price-estimate Blackberry and many others too numerous to list are private hire operators (aka minicabs). They will meet your flight (you give them the details) and help with the luggage. The price is quoted in advance and is fixed, so the variable due to congestion is at their risk. The cost is usually around £40 to £50, but you have the advantage of knowing the charge in advance https://www.blackberrycars.com/minicab-to-heathrow/heathrow-wc-london/ As for tips - these can be anywhere between zero and 10% depending on how helpful the driver is. Taxi drivers here do not depend on tips to make a living so do not feel bad about not tipping if they don't earn it.
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