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London - 4 days in early April

We are trying to plan out itinerary for our 4 days and have a few questions. There are two of us traveling (age 56).
Our questions:

  1. What transit pass should we get? Travel card or Oyster card (we will also need to travel from LHR into London and from London to Gatwick...separate tickets?)

  2. We do not plan on getting the London Pass, covers too much that we aren’t interested in. That said, are there combo tickets that would be better for any of the following: Tower of London, Westminster Abby, Churchhill war rooms, London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral.

    1. Are there ways to skip lines?

Please be kind if I haven’t included important info, or you think we are missing something,
just ask 😊

Posted by
1127 posts

I’ll disagree with the above. It’s quite easy to take the Tube from Heathrow to your hotel. For 4 days just use pay as you go. You can get an Oyster card at Heathrow or use a contactless card or Apple Pay. I wouldn’t bother with the overpriced Heathrow express.

Combo tickets aren’t really a thing in London. I’ve been on some London Walks where you might get a couple pounds discount to visit something that was on the Walk or nearby the end of the walk.

Skip the line isn’t really an issue. You’re not looking at Disneyland lines and no one gets to skip security. I’d book the Churchill war rooms in advance online, I don’t know how popular they are now that the buzz from the Churchill films has died down, but it can’t hurt. You can also save a couple of pounds booking Westminster Abbey online in advance.

I agree with not getting the London Pass. While you maybe able to break even since many of your attractions are on it, the pass would limit flexibility in case you decide to do something completely different one day. Some of my happiest U.K. days have been spent arguing politics or football in a pub.

Posted by
11929 posts

Tube versus Heathrow Express will always be a controversy! Most favor the Tube but some of us cannot stand it for the long ride from Heathrow, somwe buybour Heathrow Express tickets well in advance to get them for £5.50. Those are 90'days ahead so too late for that.

This page from London Toolkit explains the options:

https://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/heathrow_connect_train.htm

For transport within London, the general recommendation is an Oyster card or contactless payment if you credit card is enabled for that. In my mind, the only reason tomget a Travelcard would be to use it for the 2-4-1 offers, but you need a 7-day paper Travelcard for that. Not cost-effective for a 4-day visit. Besides, you cannot get skip the line tickets with the 2-4-1 offers.

I don't know how bad the Churchill War Rooms are now, but last year it was pretty much mandatory to get advance tickets with a timed entry. I don't know if that is still true but someone else will know. We went before the hoopla (2016) and got a combined ticket with the HMS Belfast which is amazing to tour ( beware, lots of steep slippery ships' ladders).

I would definitely get Advance tickets with timed entry for Westminster Abbey. The lines are long and the interior gets very crowded. Book the earliest entry slot ( 9-11 am) and arrive early to get inside with the lowest crowd factor. We went in right at 9 and by 11 it was jammed.

I highly recommend includingnthe Jubilee Galleries with your Weatminster Abbey visit. The staircase structure is beautiful and offers interesting views out windows as you ascend. And the galleries themselves are a great vantage point from which to view the interior of the Abbey. It is an additional £5 but well worth it.

Posted by
2611 posts

Follow Lolas advise, get on the Heathrow Express website and get your tickets now, it will be £11.00 for two tickets., gets to Paddington Station in 15 minutes. I’ve already have mine for my May travel I paid £5.50.

Posted by
277 posts

A bit more info. We are traveling April 10-15 and staying at St. Paul’s Hotel, 153 Hammersmith, London, for 4 nights, then one night at a hotel right next to Gatwick Airport.

Posted by
2994 posts

Your hotel is .34 miles from both the Hammersmith or Barons Court tube stops (both on the Piccadilly/dark blue line), so if for some reason you miss the Hammersmith station, you can get off at the next station and it’s the same distance to your hotel. We always take the tube from the airport. It’s convenient, easy to use, and inexpensive, especially the non rush hour price.

I can’t speak for April, but there were no lines for anything in late November/early December the past few years. If you don’t know right now which day you’re going to visit which site, get tickets after you get there when you have a better idea of what you want to do and when, and what the weather is like.

Also, with the Oyster card, the most you’ll spend on any day is £7; that’s the cap. Any ride after that won’t be deducted from the card.

Posted by
8889 posts

½doz, you have mangled that hotel address. Hammersmith is a district of London, NOT a road name.

According to the hotel website, here: https://www.stpaulhotel.co.uk/
The correct address is:

St Paul's Hotel
153 Hammersmith Road
London
W14 0QL

It looks like Baron's Court station is the nearest, 690 metres / 8 minutes walk away, also on the Piccadilly line with direct trains from Heathrow, so the tube is the way to go.
URL for map of walking route: https://www.openstreetmap.org/directions?engine=graphhopper_foot&route=51.4936%2C-0.2153%3B51.4902%2C-0.2151#map=17/51.49204/-0.21570

Posted by
3511 posts

Here's a small and perhaps unnecessary clarification. Oyster is not a "pass". It's more like an electronic wallet where you store money for fares . Mass transport in London is zoned; cross from one into another and the price goes up. Oyster calculates the proper charge. It will withdraw that amount when you tap out at the exit. But it does include an upper daily limit as mentioned in a previous post. And it speeds up entrance and exit compared to the old paper tickets.

To check what passes can be loaded on Oyster, and lots more details, look at
https://tfl.gov.uk/

Posted by
277 posts

Thanks again, Chris! I missed adding Rd as the person above mentioned. I have the entire address and info on my reservation 😊

Posted by
897 posts

Those who mentioned the $5.50 (yes, I know that's not a British pound sign, can't find it on my keyboard, haha) fare - how did you get that? I just priced a one-way ticket in July for 2 adults, 2 kids on the Heathrow Express and it quoted me 50 pounds!

Posted by
9213 posts

My "home" station is Earls Court which is one past Barons Court. So please listen to Emma and Chris and anyone else who says to take the Piccadilly line and not the Heathrow Express. If you took the HE you would waste both time and money. The Piccadilly Line will take about 35-40 minutes and there are no changes.

Get an Oyster card. If you arrive in non-rush hour time, the fare from Heathrow to Barons Court will be 1.50 GBP using the card.

Be aware, there are steps at Barrons Court Station so if you want to avoid steps, get off at Hammersmith. If the walk is too long from there, go to the Hammersmith Bus Station (directly above the tube station) and take either the number 23 or 27 bus. It stops right near your hotel (on the other side of the street.) Fare is 1.50 and you can use the Oyster Card.

Posted by
1063 posts

"Those who mentioned the $5.50 (yes, I know that's not a British pound sign, can't find it on my keyboard, haha) fare - how did you get that? I just priced a one-way ticket in July for 2 adults, 2 kids on the Heathrow Express and it quoted me 50 pounds!"

I suspect that you're trying to book too far in advance, it also seems to me that a lot of visitors are taken in by the word "express" but I expect it's a nice little earner for Heathrow Airport and GWR.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathrow_Express

Posted by
11929 posts

That £50 for Heathrow Express tickets for 2 adults and 2 children is the full Anytime fare. The £5.50 "fixed day" tickets you can buy 90+ days in advance are apparently not available for July yet, only through June 30. I suspect you will be able to buy them in February for July.

Posted by
129 posts

Kelly'd Rather Be Travelling: The GBP sign can be done by pressing alt 156, holding down the alt key while sequentially pressing the 1, 5, and 6 keys. Do use the numerical keypad, not the numbers on the top of a regular keyboard. The Euro symbol is alt 0128.

Posted by
897 posts

Thanks, all! I’ll check in February for the cheap tix! Our hotel is right by Paddington so the Express works well for us (esp with kids). Sorry to hijack your thread, @halfdozmom ;)

Posted by
176 posts

Since no one has addressed transit to Gatwick - your best option is to take the Gatwick Express from Victoria. It’s a straight shot to Victoria on the District Line from Baron’s Court. You can use your Oyster card or any contactless payment method for the Gatwick Express.

I think you book advance (aka “skip the line” or at least go in a shorter one) tickets are all those sights other than Tower of London. Personally I’d do it - London sights often manage to be more crowded than you’d expect and it can’t hurt, right? I suspect some people avoid it to have more flexibility about what day/time to go, which I understand. To get around that issue myself, when I’m travelling somewhere I’ll often just book online on my phone the morning of. Might be a good middle ground approach.

Posted by
20 posts

Hi.

What's the cost between Paddington and Heathrow on the Express if the trip is 10 weeks away? All we need is a one way ticket. Looks like I'm 2 weeks late for the cheapest fare.

Thanks.

Posted by
897 posts

Checking back into this thread to say THANKS to the people who advised to wait to buy Heathrow Express tix! I was able to snag the 11£ tix for our family of 4 for July today. One more thing checked off the list! (And crazy to think that the advice for the H.E. is to "buy early" but really the advice should be "buy early, but not too early!")