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Best of London 2017

I am considering taking this tour next year. I have never been on a Rick Steve's tour so I have some questions for those who might have taken it.
* what hotels were used and how were they?
* do I have to pay for a single room supplement or will they find me a roommate?
* how were the meals on the tour?
* was there ample free time to explore on one's own?

Any advice is appreciated!!!

Posted by
1205 posts

I have taken 14 RS tours. They use different hotels so just because one person stayed at a hotel, does not mean the next tour will stay at the same hotel. That said, they do use the Limetree hotel a lot. It is a very nice hotel. All hotels are in the city and near transportation, either the bus or tube or both. They go to good quality restaurants and I found the food to be very good to excellent, but again that is subjective as to what people like. Breakfast is included so that is a huge plus. You can either have a roommate of the same sex or pay the single supplement. If there are no other single men on the tour, you will have your own room and not pay a single supplement. But the other roommate can be of any age, a young man to an 70 year old man. There is free time to explore each day on your own and you can go to the theatre one night. I went twice when I was on that tour. If you have any more questions, please feel free to private message me (PM). Have a great time.

Posted by
2252 posts

When I was on this tour, we spent the week at MyHotelChelsea. South Kensington (Piccadilly, District and Circle Line) and Sloane Square (District & Circle Line) tube stations are both a five-minute walk away. The hotel was very nice, as was the provided breakfast. Everything Ann says is also what I have experienced in my many RS tours. I thought all the included meals were wonderful and I especially enjoyed the opportunity to sample Indian food as the first of our group meals. We had a grand time on this tour and if you choose to take it, I am sure you will, too!

Posted by
529 posts

I took this tour in 2013, we stayed at The Washington Mayfair Hotel. The meals were all good. We had an afternoon tea, at the hotel for our first group meal. The other group meals were pub meal and an Indian meal. Sorry, I don't recall the name of the Indian restaurant, however it was quite good. Our last group dinner was at The Ebury Restaurant .

Posted by
2712 posts

We are booked for 2017 and the hotel is The Washington Mayfair. Our daughter is with us and we are paying the single supplement but RS will find you a roommate if that is what you want. This will be our 6th RS tour and we are doing two (coming from Portugal) in 2017. We obviously enjoy these tours. You can pm me if you have specific questions.

Posted by
418 posts

We did the Best of England tour which finished in London. Our hotel was The Fielding and we stayed there an extra 3 days at the end of the tour. It was in the Covent garden area and was very convenient to the tube. Most of the hotel rooms in England are smaller than what I'm used to in the states. Showers are very small. I also had my first taste of Indian food on this tour. We ate a lot of food at pubs, which is basically beef and potatoes. Some of our favorite meals were at Italian restaurants. You will also see a lot of fish and chips. What you won't see: ice in your drinks, coffee makers in your room (there will usually be a hot pot for tea or instant coffee), The full English breakfast is huge. It usually includes eggs, bacon and/or sausage, toast or biscuits, pork and beans and more. We visited in May, and the weather was lovely. Two layers in the morning, single layer in the afternoon. Enjoy your visit. London is a fascinating city and the locals are delightful. The exchange rate is much better than when I visited in 2015.

Posted by
15651 posts

Hi Steve. I haven't been on that tour, but in general, it's a good idea to arrive a couple days early to recover from jetlag and catch up on your sleep before a tour begins. I can tell you from several week-long visits to London that no matter how long you're there, you won't run out of things to see and do.

To get a better idea of what the tour is like, day by day, check out the tour alum scrapbooks here.

Posted by
36 posts

Emma: What do you mean, all of our restaurants serve very good ice tea.

Posted by
202 posts

Returned this late September from BOL, a terrific tour (with a wonderful guide, Jeanie) in one of the world's best cities (for everything, including ice in beverages). Our stay at The Washington Mayfair was comfortable and as is typical of RS tour hotel, well located. You choose whether to commit extra $$ for single supplement if you definitely do not want a roommate. If not, you may have room solo anyway, if no other same gender single on your tour. I am no gourmand, enjoy many different foods and like to challenge my taste buds and was thoroughly satisfied with all tour meals. The East End food tour was top-notch and enjoying curry on Brick Lane (many "#1 rated" curry houses packed most conveniently close together) was absolutely delicious. Surprise, included multiple large Evian bottles per table, with ice in all glasses. A must as the lamb curry was perfection in heated spiciness! Sunday roast dinner at a nearby pub at beginning of tour had 3 different meat and 1 vegetarian options to choose from and was solid home cooked comfort food. Afternoon tea at a different hotel later in the week was substantial and tasty in my estimation though I heard some members grumble about counting it as a 'meal' (I think the slight displeasure was that it was 'finger food' vs fork and knife--there definitely was plenty to eat). Final meal of 3-course dinner at Ebury Restaurant & Wine Bar in Victoria was really delicious with creative, artful presentation. Free time occurs though it might not be consistent in the amount of time per or what part of each day you could do something on your own. If you are flexible and have options B and C in mind, too, you will find more success getting to do what you want, outside of tour schedule. I had enough time to visit other museums as well as spend a flat-out spectacular 3 hours in Kew Gardens (not including the 1 hour rt on tube). The Hive installation is something else, or what I think Brits would say is 'brilliant'. Only made 1 theater performance but could have easily done 2 more. Generally, it is advised to add extra nights before and after; good for providing time for body clock adjustment(s), getting 'lay of the land', and doing/seeing/enjoying things not covered on the tour.

Posted by
418 posts

Emma
You are right about not finding a good cup of tea in the US. The tea I had in England spoiled me. We visited Fortnam and Mason and bought a wonderful loose tea that I can't get here. I also came home and immediately purchased a hot pot to heat my water in. They are wonderful! We have since found a few places with some wonderful loose tea. By the way my husband and I have always been tea drinkers. We don't like coffee at all. I also became fond of several dishes that I've never tried... sticky toffee pudding and scones with clotted cream are at the top of the list.

Posted by
6364 posts

Steve, you are in for a treat. We've been on 10 RS tours, including Best of London, and have loved them all - and we were people who thought we'd never do a group tour!

Our BoL tour stayed at myhotelchelsea, which is quite nice, definitely upscale. (My DH and stayed in a less expensive, less luxurious hotel before and after the tour.) The rooms are very small, by American standards, but that is common in Europe. The breakfasts (included) were excellent.

Our guide was Roy, one of the best RS guides we've ever had. Our "local guide" was Gillian, who is also first rate.

The food on the included meals is good. Our first group meal was afternoon tea. I'm one of the ones who was less than satisfied with it, but that's only because I can't eat sweets. A few tiny sandwiches were included, but it was mostly sweets. We had a great pub lunch with the group, and a good Indian meal. The final group dinner was excellent. We never had fish and chips with the group, and I don't even remember the beef and potatoes that someone else mentioned.

Plenty of free time; your guide will offer suggestions for sightseeing on your own if you want them.

It's a super tour, and a good introduction to RS tours.

Posted by
656 posts

Thanks for all the suggestions. Now I am seeing Best of Rome is less expensive. I have never visited Italy and have always wanted to. Lol. Why is it so difficult to choose a destination in Europe?

Posted by
14177 posts

Hahaha...you've caught the disease! Yes, taking Rick's tours are (is?) contagious! Welcome to the club.

The Rome trip would be great as well. If you have a few more days....the Heart of Italy is wonderful! Add a couple days in Rome to the front end, then a day or 2 in Florence on the back end. It's a terrific combo of big city and small town.

I'm a terrible one to advise on budget. I tend to choose based on where I want to go when I pick an RS tour. Your airfare may be more in to Rome over London, or it may not.

Posted by
2252 posts

Because there are so many wonderful places to visit! I am sure you will enjoy either tour but if you've never been to Italy, you might want to take this one as it would certainly be a lovely introduction to that beautiful country, too! Can't speak to the hotels used for this tour but I am sure they will be as all RS tour hotels are as well described in the previous posts to this thread!

Posted by
1205 posts

I have been on the Rome week long tour twice and Rome is an amazing city. Out of both the London and the Rome tours, I would choose Rome. Only because I think you could either a wait to another time to go on the London tour which was great. Or b you could do London on your own. But I think you would find it easier to understand and get around and see tons of things in Rome with the tour. I feel Rome is a much harder city to see for the first time on your own compared to London. So when considering a tour, I would look for places you would not feel so comfortable with on your own or just with a friend. Rome can be an overwhelming city and a tour is a great way to reduce that and really get to see a lot of things that you may miss being on your own. I would again recommend looking at the the Rick Steve scrapbooks along with going on YouTube to see the free Rick Steves videos and get his guide books out of your local library and read up on where you would like to visit. Also if you do take a tour, read up on what you think you would like to go in your free time before the tour. It helps to have a plan as the tour is fast and you don't want to waste time deciding on what you want to see and do. I went on several of the week long tours and enjoyed them very much. Getting to know Paris, London, Rome, and Florence, I feel I could go back and have gone back on my own. But the tours really helped me get to know the cities. I also enjoyed Istanbul and Prague, but they are more overwhelming to me. But the tours were great. Hope this helps.

Posted by
656 posts

Thanks everyone. Now I am leaning towards Rome if I can get a decent airline ticket!!