We will be in England from about July 10 till August 6. We're traveling about, spending a week in Southport with great friends for the British Senior PGA at Royal Birkdale, and ending up in London for about a week till we fly home to the US. We already have a hotel booked in London. Our daughter's lifetime friend (best friend forever? is that what they're called these days?) lives in Greenwich with her family. By coincidence, they will be in the US while we're in London. She has offered to let us stay in their home while we're in London. The idea has obvious appeal, and we're thinking seriously about it. My question now is: how practical is it to use Greenwich as our lodging and take public transportation each way every day, to see whatever we plan to see and do while in London? Our hotel is a short walk from tube and rail stations, but I don't know how much time and hassle it'd add to get between the major parts of London and Greenwich each day in both directions. The cost, compared with the savings staying in their home, is not the issue; the added time and hassle are my concerns here. I've read Rick Steves' book and of course he makes it sound like duck soup to get to Greenwich, assuming you're doing it as a single day trip! But every day for 7-8 days might be different. It seems you can do it by boat, DLR, or rail, or even by bus. But his book is silent on how long the DLR or rail trips usually take. I'd like opinions, pros, cons, etc., from one and all. Thx. Tom
If you are getting free lodging I'd go for it. The time to get into the center of London will probably be about 20 or 30 minutes but that is not significant to be staying for free with the ability to use a kitchen for breakfast. You can do the travel with the standard zone 1/2 travel card. I'm not going to dig into the details of getting from Greenwith to London but I've done it and it's not too painful. I suggest you plan for spending the whole day in London. It might be too much trouble to go back in the middle of the day to Greenwich.
We did a day trip to Greenwich from the Victoria Station area. I remember that you get to the Jubilee Line and take it to Canary Wharf. You get off the tube there, walk through a big office building, and take the Docklands Light Railway to Greenwich. It was easy, and it took less than an hour. The site I just looked at gave 48 minutes as the time. I would think that staying in a real English home and making your way back and forth every day could be a great adventure. An offer of the use of a home is a great complement to your family too. I'd jump at the opportunity.
Greenwich is well worth a day in itself. You must stand with one foot in the eastern and one in the Western Hemisphere. We ate at a great pub called The Yacht. We were soaking wet when we went in. It was warm and friendly. I think we stayed 3 hours.
What about the family whose home you would be staying in, what is their opinion of the convenience and practicality of it?
Greenwich describes a big and varying London borough, within which there is a town called Greenwich so it does depend on where exactly your accom is located. Often the most straightforward way to get into central London from the Greenwich area is to use the overground railway services. http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/ The Transport for London site wll help with journey planning. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/
Thanks, folks. Sounds like it's practical! I didn't know exactly how much of a hassle it'd be but it sounds doable. Sorta like staying in one of the closest suburbs when visiting Chicago, vs. staying somewhere farther away like Rockford!
Depending on where you are in Greenwich your nearest station will be in Zone 2 or Zone 3 of the London fare system. You can use PAYG Oyster cards to pay for fares on the trains. Travelling into town by the DLR will usually be circuitous (although worth doing at least once for the scenery of the Docklands redevelopment area). Depending on which train you get you will probably end up on a railway train to Cannon Street, London Bridge or Charing Cross in central London.
We stayed out in Greenwich in 2000 and traveled into London without issue. I believe it was only 3 nights though and the trip to Heathrow was quite a long journey.
My daughter and her husband live in the Docklands. Last June, we split our time between the Docklands and a hotel in the Westminster area. You might consider beginning your stay in Greenwich and then moving to a hotel in London as it is nice to just walk outside your hotel and be in the midst of the city. In February, we spent our entire stay in the Docklands, taking the DLR into the city everyday and we did not mind it at all. However, we have now been to London a number of times. If this is your first visit, you may think differently.
Maybe not the quickest way to commute but most enjoyable are Thames River boat rides. Some give a discount to Oyster Card Holders. There is a connection between Greenwich and a few London locations including the Tower and the Docklands.
Go for it. The ride's not that long. Besides, if you stay in London, wouldn't you need to get out to Greenwich to visit your friends? General advice: The Tube is really busy and really crowded during the morning and evening rush. You'll have more pleasant trips back and forth if you can schedule your days to avoid travel at those times.
We've stayed in Abbey Wood before which is just a stop or two further down the line from central London than Greenwich. It's not too far, 25 - 35 mins or so to Westminster for example, and you'll be going into town with lots of "real" Londoners on their daily commute since this area is part of the "burbs" of London. If you go to the London Underground website you can type in your route and it'll tell you exactly how to get to where you're going and exactly how long it will take. Check it out at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ . If you're going to be there for a week you should a 7 day Oyster card - lots cheaper than buying individual fares if you plan to scoot around the city and see all the sites. Enjoy your visit to London!