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4 Days in London (1st 4 days of a 35 day trip)

Fly in from Los Angeles non-stop to Gatwick on Norwegian. Arrived 30 minutes early! Flying Norwegian was just what I expected from a budget airline . . . Worth the savings.

Stayed at the Rushmore Hotel, 2 minutes from Earl's Court Station. Just like the airline, a budget hotel that met our needs, including being quiet (which usually is a luck of the draw of the other customers). Only negative was crappy wifi, which was supposed to be throughout hotel, and often was out even by the office.

On our first London trip in 2009, we did many of the typical must-sees. Here's our highlights from this year:

*Kensington Palace: learned quite a bit about Queen Victoria
*Imperial War Museum. Wonderfully done. Very poignant. WWI was especially powerful. There was a sign cautioning parents regarding taken a child into the Holocaust section. I hope parents disregard this warning. Kids need to see what evil looks like.
*British Museum. 2 nd visit, with focus on Latin America. Well-preserved and fascinating artifacts.
*British Library. Highlights room was quite memorable, from Beatles to Beowulf to Bibles.
*Harrod's is immense, but no interest in going back (the missus has a different take on this)
*Greenwich was a fun and informative day Took the Thames cruise from Westminster (nice change of pace). Could have stayed 4 hours at the observatory, but only had 1.5. Maritime Museum was worth the 1.5 hrs. We regretted spending the 45 minutes at the Cutty Sark, and the 10 minutes at Queen's House wasn't worth our time, as viewing the dozens of paintings did nothing for us. We were clueless about the DLR train regarding zones . . .just lack of info and experience on our part
*Trooping of the Colours was SO worth the time. Arrived on The Mall at 10, saw the bands and royalty, stayed and saw them on the return. Good conversation with a couple of Brits during the wait time. 2.5 hours well spent
Restaurants for dinner: Mimino (Georgian) in Kensington was a return for us. Only time having food from that country . . .yum! LayaLina (Lebanese) across from Harrod's. Delicious, good value.

Thanks to so many who posted questions and answers on this forum . . .you (and Rick's book) made this leg of our trip so smooth. We'll be back for four more days at the end of our trek in a month from now.

Posted by
5258 posts

Thanks for sharing and LOVE hearing you got to experience the Trooping of The Colors. Also enjoy hearing another thumbs up for the renovated Imperial War Museum. Haven't been in a decade but its on this years itinerary. Safe travels!

Posted by
850 posts

How exciting that were there for Trooping the Colour! I'm green with envy.

I'm definitely making a note about LayaLina for the next time I get to London -- I love Lebanese food.

Have a great rest of the trip!

Posted by
1976 posts

With regard to the DLR train and the zones, can you be more specific about that? Did you get around London with Oyster cards? Were you not sure if your Oyster card covered the zone for Greenwich? Did you take the boat back to London from Greenwich? I'm asking because my sister and I will be in London for a week in October and we're going to do PAYG Oyster cards. We're thinking about going to Greenwich and I didn't even consider the zone it's in; I'll have to look on a map and then read about the Oyster card.

Posted by
231 posts

Sarah, The Oyster Card gets one a discount on the river cruise to Greenwich (I forgot about that perk). However, the best I can tell there is nothing from Greenwich that one can use the OC. Check out the Transport for London site. I should have done that for the DLR trains.

Posted by
23577 posts

All of the DLR stations in Greenwich are in both zones 2 and 3 and tickets valid in either are valid there.

I am speaking of Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich, Greenwich, Deptford Bridge, and onwards to Lewisham.

A zone 1-2 Travelcard, either on a paper ticket or on an Oyster Card is valid there.

If you use Pay as You Go (PAYG) credit on an Oyster Card it will figure your correct journey and debit it from the card.

The train from Greenwich to London Bridge or Charing Cross is also covered.

Always remember to tap in and tap out of DLR or you may be overcharged as the system will think that you have taken a maximum journey to zone 6.

I'm sorry it was confusing.

This was a very interesting report - particularly to a local.

Posted by
231 posts

So Nigel, if I'm understanding you correctly, I could have used my 7- day Oyster Card on the DLR for the return trip from Greenwich?

Posted by
1976 posts

Nigel, thank you for the clarifications. We're planning to buy PAYG Oyster cards and top them up if/when needed. I'm coming into London from Gatwick and the next day I will meet my sister at Heathrow, so we'll be all over the zones. It seems that PAYG Oyster will work best for us.

Posted by
23577 posts

Tim - yes, if it was a zone 1-2 Travelcard.

Sarah - note that the Oyster card doesn't go way south to Sussex where Gatwick is located. It is not until Croydon that the Oyster Card starts, and while there are ways to partly pay with one if your train stops at East Croydon (Southern Railways) you are advised to but a proper ticket between Gatwick and London. Note that a Southern Railways ticket is not valid on Gatwick Express and that Thameslink (Gatwick to London Bridge, the City and St Pancras) is a different kettle of fish altogether.

Posted by
1976 posts

Nigel, thanks again for offering more of your unending store of advice. My friend and I (we're arriving from Hamburg together) will buy Gatwick-to-London train tickets.

Posted by
231 posts

Sarah, the train tickets from Gatwick are not timed tickets, so if you buy them in advance, you can use them any time of the day you order them for.

Posted by
231 posts

Good to know for the next time we use the DLR train, Nigel. Thanks again.