England: London

This is a Work in Progress

London is a bustling city with some amazing historical sights both within the city and only a train ride outside of it. The Tower or London, Buckingham Palace & Westminster Abbey are only a few of the must-sees you must visit on your trip. London is not only a sight-seer’s dream; home of fish and chips and mugs of the finest Guiness, it is a pub-lover’s delight, as well. It’s a great city to visit for any period of time. You can spend 2-3 days in the city on your way in or out of Europe and take a cheap puddle-jumper to/from the mainland, or you can spend weeks traveling around this small yet surprisingly full country.

Step 1: Getting to London!
There are 2 major airports that you can fly into to get to London: London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW). Heathrow is the closer of the two, but both have easy access to London via public transportation. You can obviously take a taxi from either of the airports (although Gatwick will cost more), but the trains that run from each of the airports may be your best bet depending upon how many people you are traveling with.

Taxi:
From LHR, a taxi ride will take you approximately 30-60 mins depending on traffic. It will cost you around 50-55 Pounds to Central London.

From LGW, a taxi ride will take approximately 60-70 mins. It will cost you around 78-98 Pounds to Central London.

Note: Private cars can sometimes be booked for cheaper if you shop around prior.

Bus:
Heathrow central bus station is located between Terminals 1 and 3 and is open 24 hours a day. National Express and other coach operators run services from Heathrow to more than 500 destinations. For a visual of Heathrow’s coach network, a map can be found here.
There are buses to rail stations, local destinations, and even many of the London hotels.
More information can be found at Heathrow Airport Buses and Coaches.

Bus service connects Gatwick with more than 400 destinations. Direct services run to destinations including Heathrow, central London, Bristol, Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge. Most bus service operates from the South Terminal, but some does depart from the North Terminal, as well. More information on coach service from LGW can be found here.

Train:
The Heathrow Express: From LHR, this probably the best way to travel depending on your specific circumstances. Trains arrive in Paddington Station in the west end of central London. To find the train in the airport after your arrival, simply follow the signs for “Trains” or “Heathrow Express.” The trains from terminals 1, 2, 3 & 5 are direct to London. Terminal 4 has an inter-terminal transfer. The ride is only 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 & 3 and about 21 minutes from terminal 5. From Terminal 4, you must change at Heathrow Central (terminals 1 & 3). Mon-Sat, the first trains from terminals 1, 2 & 3 depart at 5:12am; from terminal 5 5:07am, and from terminal 4 the first inter-terminal transfer departs at 5:23am. On Sundays the schedule is only slightly different–terminals 1, 2 & 3 depart at 5:08am, terminal 5 still departs at 5:07am, and terminal 4 at 5:53am. The train departs from both the airport and Paddington Station approximately every 15 minutes until 11:25pm from Paddington Station and approximately 11:40pm from the Airport (depending on the terminal). The most recent timetables for both directions can be found here. Tickets can be used in either direction, Children under 5 are free and children 5-15 qualify for a child’s fare. There are many discounts including one for families and students. You can look into these on the Heathrow Express’ website here to find more information on this. You can book your tickets ahead of time at http://www.heathrowexpress.com or simply buy them at the kiosk or window at the Heathrow Airport. You can get the most up-to-date pricing for tickets at the website, as well or here. From Paddington Station, you can easily get you where you need to go via the tube, a taxi, or another train. The trains begin running in the reverse direction from Paddington at 5:10am all days of the week (see previously mentioned timetable link for schedule).

The Gatwick Express: LGW Airport has 2 terminals: North Terminal and South Terminal. The railway station is in the South Terminal, a short walk from arrivals. If you fly into the North Terminal, there is a free inter-terminal bus to the South Terminal/train station. The train goes into Victoria Station in London and takes 30 minutes (35 minutes on Sundays). The train schedule is the same all 7 days of the week. The first two trains depart LGW at 4:35am and then at 5:20am thereafter they are every 15 minutes from 5:50am until 12:50am, and the final train is at 1:35am. From Victoria Station to LGW, the first trains depart at 3:30am and 4:30am then every 15 minutes from 5am until 12am, and the final train is at 12:32am. The most recent ticket prices and discounts can be found on their website: http://www.gatwickexpress.com or directly here.

Step 2: Getting Around London!
With a large network of buses, taxis, and a tube station near most points of interest, London is an easy city to navigate. It can, however, be a little overwhelming at times. Throughout the next section I will note the easiest ways to get to each site, but in the meantime, here is some useful information for traveling around the city.
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Step 3: Enjoying the Sights and Sounds of London!
There are so many amazing places you can go in the city of London, but here are some of the highlights.

The Tower of London

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The Tower Bridge

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Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster (British Parliament Building)

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Westminster Abbey

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The London Eye

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Buckingham Palace

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Piccadilly Circus

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Trafalgar Square

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Saint Paul Cathedral

Outside London:

Windsor Castle

Brighton

Bath

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