Jump to content

Going to London

Recommended Posts

My wife will be going to London the first week of September and is really cutting into my gun purchasing here.  Long story short, her sister went to UT and became close friends with a British exchange student with whom she has remained friends.  Said Brit is now getting married.  My brother in law can't go due to prior obligations and so the sister-in-law decided to ask my wife and I said yes for some reason, we aren't big travelers and its a great opportunity for her.  Don't know why anyone would want to leave our farm in Fayette County for any reason, but that's just me.  Probably the wrong day to post this, sorry, but King George still sucks!

Anyone been recently who has some advice?  What things to bring?  Should we purchase the all access travel pass for tube and certain attractions?  What places to see, places to avoid, any general tips besides the obvious, why the heck would you go there.......

  • Like 1
Link to comment

I have no advice to offer as I've never left the conterminous US other than to visit Hawaii and the Bahamas but it sounds like a great opportunity and am a bit envious.

Sounds like you're going to be among some everyday people and not just touristing as you go.  That's very cool.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
16 minutes ago, joe4vol said:

If you don't have a passport get in now. Do not wait it can be a hassle and a trip to Atlanta if you wait too long. 

We do have this taken care of already, fortunately.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Look into upgrading to premium economy or higher if you're a baller ;).  We went to Israel this past December, and that made the flight bearable.  Likely will be overnight I'm guessing, so take what you need to get some sleep.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Went to Europe once.  It was cool, but I like America better.  Tourists are heavily targeted by pickpockets. Make sure she has some sort of secure way hanging on to her valuables.  They can unzip and button like nobodies business so it needs to be more than a purse with a zipper.  Let her go and have a good time.  Plan something cool for yourself while she's gone!   

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Just got back from London a couple weeks ago. It was great! Pack light.  The accommodations are hilariously small across the pond. Yes, the all-inclusive tube/bus passes are great.  You can get just about anywhere relatively quickly and easily.  If you'll be there a few days, I highly recommend taking the open top bus guided tour first. You'll see a lot and get a good idea of the layout of the city proper and visit the highlights.  Then on the later days you can go back and really spend some time at places that interest you. 

Stonehenge was cool, but it's a 2.5 hr bus ride away.  If I wasn't such a huge Spinal Tap fan I wouldn't have bothered.  




Edited by musicman
  • Like 4
Link to comment

It has been years... geez, decades, since I was there. Back in the 80's. There was this hole in the wall fish and chips joint right across the street from the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. If I went back, I would check to see if it was still there. It was fantastic!

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Going to the UK is as close to going anywhere in the US as it comes (outside of driving on the other side of the road).  London is a big city, so standard big city rules and precautions should apply.  If she hasn't traveled a lot, then I would encourage her to study a bit of the layout and landmarks.  It will make it easier to get around.  As they know someone there, it may not be an issue at all.  

As to the flight, it's not really that long if she is flying from the east coast, maybe 6 hours.    I agree to stay up if at all possible once you get there.  Eat before you get on the plane and skip the dinner.  Sleep as much a possible on the flight, it will make it easier the next day.

Outside of that, just have fun.  Lots to see around London. 

Edited by Hozzie
  • Like 1
Link to comment

I went back in the 90's as a student. One advice would be to send extra cash into your credit card if she will be using it. That builds up you usable limit. Currency exchanged done by the credit card are at the $1 million dollar rate. That is much better than the exchange fees around London. Be sure to get some cash though. I ran into several open air stall markets that had great stuff.

Also, prep for rain. It is not as bad as people joke, but it is a rainy place.

And in the event you take a cab, be prepared for it not to be cheap if you go any distance.

While there if she can sneak north to Sccotland, I would suggest it. I regret that most. It is only about a 3 hour train ride through beautiful country. Once you are across the pond, you might as well. 

I would love to go back, but it would be different now with all the security and such. When I went the worst thing they had hasseled me about was if I declared the $10 I had in my bags when I returned.

Oh, last thing, if you go through Charles de Gaulle Airport  in France, be prepared for it to be a pain. I have been there 2 times with round trips and all 4 times were stupidly hard to deal with. They taxi you around for 30 minutes after landing, then you have to go entirely across the airport to your next gate with whatever layover time you have left.

Otherwise tell her to enjoy the crap out of it. Eat different food and visit erverywhere. London has a different vibe than any other big US city I have ever been in.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

There is a lot of good advice already in this thread. I fly regularly to Europe for business. Here are some additional points:

  • Check with your bank ahead of time that your credit cards work. Many banks default to blocking international transactions these days. VISA is more accepted than American Express. Bring multiple credit cards in case one doesn't work.
  • Check with your bank ahead of time if you can open up a second savings account, put $1,000 (or less) in it, and get a VISA debit card for it. This is the easiest way to get cash at a foreign ATM (or at a Travel Exchange) and, if the card is stolen, you can only lose what's in that second savings account.
  • Check with your cell phone provider for an international option. I have Verizon Wireless and with the TravelPass, it's a single $10 per day charge for using voice, text or data (when you actually use it). The usage is counted toward your normal plan allowance. I don't make calls every day and I have data roaming manually switched off on days that I don't make calls. This is a good option for emergencies, as you have your normal US phone number and don't get charged with outrageously high roaming fees.
  • As for flights, don't do any hops in Europe. Fly directly from the US into Heathrow and back. Hops in Europe just complicate things when there are delays.
  • Also, make as few hops as possible in the US. While the ticket may be cheaper, your travel time will be correspondingly longer and your risk of missing a connection will be higher.
  • I usually like to take the last flight out to the UK as I am not landing ridiculously early, but the risk is that I may miss that flight if there is any delay with the connecting flight in the US. I really try to avoid landing at 8AM and not being able to check into the hotel until 2PM. I typically want a shower once I land after a longer flight.
  • On the way back, don't take the last flight out of Heathrow, as any delay with that one will likely make you miss your connection in the US. I typically stay at least one night per year in Atlanta because of that.
  • Plan enough time for changing planes and possible delays. On the way back, understand that at the first US airport you may be waiting in line for immigration/customs for a while, then for your bags, and then for the security check.
  • Arrive at the airport early enough! On the day before and on the day of your flight, track your scheduled flights. There are apps for that.
  • Check on the airline Web site what and how much luggage you can bring. For carry-on luggage, check the regulations for liquids. Pack light! Use roller bags and small backpacks.
  • Think about taking a small backpack as a day pack for sight seeing, preferably one without zippers (such as a drawstring bag with wider/thick strings). This backpack is not for valuables, but for water bottles, tourist guide, rain jacket, or umbrella.
  • Check the weather report before you go! You may need an umbrella or some light rain jacket, or not.
  • Fly with comfortable walking shoes. You will walk a lot in London anyway. I use the Merrell Moab Waterproof shoes, because they are light, comfortable and waterproof.
  • Get a UK travel power adapter. It's 230V/50Hz over there. Understand what you can bring with you that works. Most laptop/phone chargers do work.
  • Don't be that guy: Don't arrive with a gun in your carry-on at the airport security check! Seriously though, check all your clothing and bags for anything gun, such as ammo and brass. You are going to the UK and you do want to come back with no problems.
  • Premium economy is well worth the money.
  • Understand that alcohol can be up to twice as potent at altitude in an airliner!
  • Sleep as much as you can on the plane and then just stay up until it is bed time in the UK.
  • Plan ahead, so that your travel is relaxed. It is amazing how many people do everything last minute and then complain about how stressful everything is.
  • After landing in Heathrow, you can take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and then continue with the subway to where ever you need to go, or take a taxi. Taxi is quite expensive though.
  • Check out the Visitor Oyster card for paying for transportation. Alternatively, some US credit and debit cards support the contactless payment system the London transport is using.
  • maps.me is a free offline map for phones that may come in handy for navigating though the city without using cell phone data. Google maps does support downloading maps for offline use as well these days.
  • For sightseeing in London, again, plan ahead. The London Tower is a must. If you visit the Tower Bridge Museum, you actually take the Tower Bridge foot path above the draw bridge. Windsor Castle is outside London, but easily reachable by train from Paddington Station or by coaches run by tourist companies. Westminster Abbey next to Big Ben in central London and Saint George's Chapel in Windsor Castle outside of London have the burials of the kings and queens. Speakers' Corner in the northeast corner of Hyde Park may be fun too. There is lots of other stuff to see and do.
  • Read up on history before you go to make it more fun. I am talking about Jack the Ripper, the Great Plague of London and the War of Roses. Watching a few Monty Python, Simon Pegg and Guy Ritchie movies may also be a good idea. LOL.
  • Not to scare you, but to prepare you, think about possible emergencies and how to respond. Do you have the phone number of the US Embassy? May be you want to register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) of the State Department?
  • I always carry a trauma kit with me. TK4 tourniquets, some gauze, dressing and bandages. I also have emergency medication and a boo boos and ouchies kit with me. I have prescription medication with me for more than a week after travel ends, just in case the Icelandic volcano is acting up again and I get stuck in Europe for a week, again.
Edited by scooter
  • Like 1
Link to comment

I've been twice and wouldn't hesitate to go back.  

1) when crossing the street do so only at crosswalks and even the be ready as the sign should read "Run like hell" and "Don't even think about stepping off the curb".  The cabbies will try and run you down. 

2) Carry money, credit cards etc in your front pocket only.  Don't carry a bag or purse if at all possible. 

3) My bedroom in my rv is bigger than most hotel rooms there.

4) The prices are relatively the same number as they are here. Ie a bottle of coke is 1.99 here and there but the exchange rate will get you.  

There is more to see than she will have time for.   It is a great place to visit.



  • Like 1
Link to comment

This tidbit is not London specific, but don't wear worn out shoes, and be sure she wears good socks (if she wears socks).  I did a lot of walking in DC last year and had painful blisters.  I figured the worn out shoes were better than buying brand new ones, but I'm not sure that was right.  Gel insoles did help.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


Before engaging in any transaction of goods or services on TGO, all parties involved must know and follow the local, state and Federal laws regarding those transactions.

TGO makes no claims, guarantees or assurances regarding any such transactions.


Tennessee Gun Owners (TNGunOwners.com) is the premier Community and Discussion Forum for gun owners, firearm enthusiasts, sportsmen and Second Amendment proponents in the state of Tennessee and surrounding region.

TNGunOwners.com (TGO) is a presentation of Enthusiast Productions. The TGO state flag logo and the TGO tri-hole "icon" logo are trademarks of Tennessee Gun Owners. The TGO logos and all content presented on this site may not be reproduced in any form without express written permission. The opinions expressed on TGO are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the site's owners or staff.

TNGunOwners.com (TGO) is not a lobbying organization and has no affiliation with any lobbying organizations.  Beware of scammers using the Tennessee Gun Owners name, purporting to be Pro-2A lobbying organizations!

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to the following.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Guidelines
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.