Monday, July 11, 2011

Mind The Gap – Getting around in London

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The past two days have been spent poking about London.
I have already told you that the Heathrow Express is really the best way to get from Heathrow to Central London (Paddington Station).  It is easy and fast (takes about 20 minutes) and you can buy your tickets easily at the station.

We took a cab back to Paddington to catch the Heathrow Express back to the airport.

Getting around London is not difficult by the Tube .
There are so many trains in so many directions with maps of the routes everywhere.  You can also pick up a pocket map to keep handy.
The question that you’re faced with is what kind of ticket or pass do you buy?

London Oyster cards can be used on all buses, trams, Tube and more. 

Oyster is an electronic smartcard ticket. Simply touch your card on the yellow reader to get through the Tube gates or board other London public transport services. Oyster pay-as-you-go cards are charged with an amount of credit of your choice.
If you make lots of journeys, the Oyster card will automatically cap the day's charges at the price of an equivalent 1-Day Travelcard.  The aim is to ensure that Oyster always charges the lowest fare. Where it doesn't, you can get a refund. 
Then there is a London Travelcard – we bought this one.  Each day we bought one and we thought it was very convenient as it allowed us unlimited trips in one day.  We weren’t as familiar with the Oyster Card but it would have worked out to the same amount.  It would have saved us having to purchase a Travelcard each day, but that wasn’t really an issue.

There are also the very popular Barclay Bikes similar to the rental bikes we now have in Toronto and Montreal. We considered these, then thought better of the idea. We were having a difficult enough time knowing which way to look when we crossed the street.

 We discovered London….

Trafalgar Square was covered with Harry Potter fans – celebrating the next and last movie of the Potter series coming out shortly.

Pret a Manger, a chain of “take-away” stores which prides itself on fresh sandwiches with quality ingredients, provided us with a nice lunch for a picnic at Tower Hill and a view of the Tower Bridge.

 Queens Horse Guards...

 A quick call ….

 A stop at the Parliament Buildings at Westminster.....

 And of course Big Ben.

 And a walk over to Westminster Abbey….

Canary Wharf was quiet.  It looks like it has potential with pubs and restaurants around the water (like Harbourfront in Toronto)  but it was quite lifeless…

It seems many of the local pubs have been taken over by the same corporation. We had been in 5 different pubs with the exact same menu…served often by people who weren’t familiar with the local beers at all….a little disappointing. Camera Guy ordered lager and got cider - ugh, he didn’t fancy it.

 Tomorrow we leave for Scotland! The pipes, the pipes are calling.

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