The Latest on London

Yes, it is VERY expensive for Americans to visit London these days. But it can still be done. Our adult daughter and son-in-law were meeting us for their first trip to London and I wanted them to have a great experience.

Days of interneting until my fingers were ready to fall off but finally came up with Hotels-London, a website with hotels, information and, best of all, one of the few sites where I didn’t have to completely prepay the entire stay. What I also liked about their site was their responsiveness. They answered quickly and went out of their way to change one room from twin to double. I would definitely use them again.

We selected the London Elizabeth Hotel, located Bayswater Road and Lancaster Gate (also a “tube” stop – or for us Americans – “tube” is a subway), just a few feet away from Hyde Park. The cost was 88.00 Pounds/nite for a twin-bedded room including continental buffet breakfast, 17.5% VAT tax, and service. In $, it converts to $153.00/night. For Britain, that’s not bad…not good…but not bad. You can get B&B’s and other hotels for less, but be warned, most rooms are extremely tiny…think climbing over each other and bags to get to the bathroom. British rooms are usually dowdy and cramped unless you pay a lot! If you have a Ritz or Savoy budget, no worries for you!

Hotel London Elizabeth Facade
Air? If you fly off-season, there is no end to great bargains from the U.S. to London. United, American, Delta, British Air, Virgin, to name a few…all vying for your tourist dollars. And, many times, their packages which include hotel and transfers are even a better deal.

Getting Around? “Tube” (subway) for me. Bought day passes for 4.90 pounds off-peak (use after 9:30 am) which allowed travel throughout London. Otherwise, it was 3.00 every time you got on the tube! The buses are too slow for us…constantly getting caught up in traffic jams. There are also 3-day passes, 7-day passes, etc. Use the following site for general London information. Visit London Tourism. It tells you everything you could possibly want to know.

Money? Our $ against the pound stinks…to put it mildly. The short and dirty version: it costs $1.75 U.S. to get 1.00 English Pound. For every number in Pounds, just add another 75% and that is how much more it will costing you. That said, London is still a wonderful place to visit, you just have to be aware of the cost.

Theater Tickets? You can make yourself crazy on-line, try for 1/2 price day of the performance tickets, or do what I did….called Keith Prowse United States, 1-800-669-8687. It was difficult to get clear information on the internet regarding the seats which is why I finally telephoned them. Theater is wonderful in London. Opera, Concerts, Drama, Symphony, etc., a multitude of choices, but I was determined to see “Billy Elliott” and my daughter wanted to see “Mamma Mia”. Got the tickets (you don’t want to know the cost – go on-line and discover for yourself)….we were on our way.

More tomorrow…..

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