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Old 05-04-2006, 10:08 AM   #1
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Hey everyone and EXCELSIOR !!!!

Am oing to London in June, to see my heroes Foo Fighters and more in Hyde Park, meeting up with pals when there but they leave day after and i have 2 days to see London with an insane budget...so a couple questions for you helpful guys and gals...
Am arriving on June 16th and leaving again on June 21st, staying at two different hostels near Hyde Park area. Budget: nada except for food and transport and beers before gig.
Well, it's my first time ever flying (YES i know it's embarrasing, 4 trips has gone awol in the past), it's my first ever trip to Britain (and I'm a anglophile, so will fall in love with the city for sure) and....it's my first time at hostels and travelling alone abroad basically! I also have no money at all, so need to spend 0 £...Should be brilliant and inspiring but I am in need of some good tips on how to spend the least amount of money, how to act when travelling alone as a single woman and where to go, etc. And thank you Omisan, you great helper you, for those tips you gave me earlier this year, hope your depeche mode gig was/is great and I still look at Pissed In London with awe...!

For example....
* Is it safe for a young, single woman to take a cab alone at night/very early morning or are the public transports safer??? Stupid to ask, but it differs from place to place, eh? Any tips on what's the cheapest way of transport for those 4 days - a tube card or???
* Where's the best place to have a cheap pint or ten near Hyde Park before the great gig ???
* Food....what's the cheapest way - grocery markets or supermarkets??
* If you had to spend Sunday to Tuesday morning in London, where would YOU go if you had no money??? The British Museum, the parks.....where oh where can you recommend going that's an absolute necessity to see when in London??? Any tips welcome
*Are the cheap buses from Gatwick easy to catch or do you have to calculate with extra time for waiting around for it???
* First time at hostels abroad, so any general tips? (Will stay at single room first, then a dorm the last 2 nights.)
* Any places where you can catch free gigs/cheap gigs during day time in London?
* What's the best (read cheapest...) bookshop for 50p books and second hand graphic novels/comics???

Well that's just some of the numerous silly questions in my head right now...Will probably return with MANY more. Looking forward to your views on the lovely London and tips on where to go and where not to stick your finger in
Bombard me with your brilliant tips, eh?

cheers
Heidi

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Old 05-04-2006, 11:53 AM   #2
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Hi Heidi! Ok, here we go...

Use the tube, don't take cabs, seriously, they will eat away at your money like anything! Obviously if you're on the tube alone late at night, just be sensible. Try not to get into a carriage that's full of drunk blokes, if you can, sit somewhere near a woman or two.

Cheap food really depends. If you can get to a good supermarket an hour or so before it shuts, you can usually get some really good bargains! Fruit and veg will be cheap at markets. If you're just planning on having simple meals of pasta etc, go to the supermarket, it's all pretty cheap if you buy own brand food!

An entertaining way to spend your time is people watch. Go to Camden where there is a huge market, and a really diverse mixture of people. It's quite overwhelming the first time you go really, and lots of fun!

You could also go to Covent Garden, there are often street performers there, and you can window shop too!

The Tate Modern asks for donations rather than an entry fee. Obviously it's nice to at least give a small donation, and you can spend ages there. Once you're finished you can take a nice walk along the Thames.

You can go to Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park. It's really fun to watch. Loads of people gather there and basically talk about anything they feel passionate about.

As for bookshops, check out charity shops, they always have books. Oxfam actually has shops just for books, but not sure of their locations in London.

Hope that helps a little!

Have a ball!
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:15 PM   #3
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Welcome! I'm sure you'll have a blast seeing the Foo Fighters in Hyde Park! I think Lauren got most of your questions, so I'll leave it to her knowledge.
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Old 05-04-2006, 01:23 PM   #4
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Hey there - the Depeche Mode/Cure trip rocked! Thanks Hope yours does as well.

Well, Lauren pretty much covered it. Here are my additions.

Transport: Remember that the tube doesn't run all night. You can take night buses, but might want to avoid the hordes of drunks on them late Fri/Sat night. Also, cabs are pricey as it is, and are more expensive at night. If you do hail a cab, make sure it's a "black cab" (the traditional diesel ones) - other ones are "MiniCabs" and technically cannot be hailed on the street. They'll often rip you off. Personally, I like to walk as much as I can in London, and it's generally quite safe late at night, especially in the west around Hyde Park, where it's pretty dead.

Cheap Pints: Pretty much all pints are going to cost £2.40-£3 at London pubs. The cheapest way to go is at your hostel bar or to pick up some cans at the market/off-license. Of course, that's not quite as fun. I've resorted to sneaking a hipper into the pub, order a pint, and sneak shots from the flask while keeping myself entertained.

Cheap Food: Grocery stores/markets are relatively cheap. Find a Tesco express or Sainsbury's local and you can find just about anything. The pre-made sandwiches at Sainsbury's are actually quite good, and pretty cheap at 90p. There are also a lot of little chip shops where you can get fish & chips, curries, etc. at a cheap price if you don't mind the lack of atmosphere. You'll wind up paying a lot if you go to restaurants or even pubs.

Sunday is a great day for Speaker's Corner (as Lauren suggested), or for strolling the whole length of Hyde Park and enjoying the rare sunshine. If it is a sunny day, the lawn in front of Tate Modern can also provide great peoplewatching. If you feel so inclined, you can walk the whole northern bank of the Thames from Tower Bridge to Parliament, which is pretty nice. Or the other way. And yeah, the markets at Camden are pretty cool to check out on the weekend, especially the food court part by the locks - great, diverse food stalls - CHEAP!

Gatwick: Give yourself ample time to get there. Buses are subject to traffic, and you never know when there's a tie-up or construction on the motorway. Grr.

Hostels: Surf these boards to get all the dirt. Keep your stuff safe, talk to everyone, and represent your country well

Free/cheap gigs: Not so much during the daytime, other than buskers in some of the bigger tube stations. Admittedly, a lot of them are VERY good and fun to watch, though usually you're too busy rushing to catch a transfer. During the summer, there are free lunchtime concerts in Trafalgar Square on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, though a lot of that place is being renovated now, so I don't know if it's happening.

There are TONS of used book stores in the triangle between Soho, Leicester Square, and Charing Cross, ranging from cheap places to high-end antiquarian. Soho's a beautiful place for a wander, anyway, so I'd go check that out during the day.
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Old 05-04-2006, 01:59 PM   #5
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I forgot about the food in Camden until Omisan mentioned it, how could I forget?! We always say that we're going to Camden for "dirty noodles" but trust me, they're not dirty, they're actually really yummy! It's so funny, you'll wander through the food court, and every vendor will shout out to you trying to get you to eat their food. For about £2.50-£3, you can get a HUGE plate of chow mein, which would seriously keep you going all day.

Try and eat your main meal during the day at somewhere like this. Then in the evening you can have something lighter, like a sandwich or salad.

The other good thing about Tesco (in particular, but also Sainsbury's) is that they reduce the unsold sandwiches towards the end of the day, so you could take advantage of that. If you see some going cheap, chances are they'll last into the next day as well if you keep them in the fridge, so buy a couple and eat for cheap the next day too!

If you're up for seeing free music in the evenings (you specifically mentioned day time, but you never know!) try going to an open mic night at a pub. As you're walking around, you'll probably notice pubs and bars advertising open mic nights on boards outside. Check it out!

Check this site, it has listings of loads of free or cheap stuff to do in London.
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Old 05-05-2006, 01:02 AM   #6
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I used to live about three minutes walk from hyde park. We'd sit on the balconies and listen to the concerts going on and get smashed. It was lovely.

Covent Gardens is VERY entertaining of a weeked. Also, if you're staying on the side of Hyde Park near Baywater tube station, you can walk down to Portobello Market in Notting Hill. Facing bayswater tube station, walk right down queensway til you get to Moscow rd. its not far. turn left, pass all the greek restaurants and the russian church, etc. Its about ten minutes to Portobello markets and its really something. they literally have everything I think. On moscow rd, there should be a pub called "Bar Oz" that serves really really cheap pub lunches. Under 5 pounds if I remember correctly.

Cabs are kind of expensive, but they are 100% safe. Do NOT get into an unregistered taxi. Only take the black taxis. They have been through 2 years of training and know every inch of London. Its nice to be able to rely on them. They are, however, very expensive.
Cheaper than a cab is the Tube. If you want to get all over London thats the way to do it easiest.
If you are feeling REALLY brave take the bus. I think it took me well over a month to get up the balls for that. If you're on the Bayswater Rd side of Hyde Park, you can take nearly any of those buses down Bayswater Rd to Piccadilly. They go straight there. I've walked it, I wouldnt reccommend it. There's some really awesome shopping down there, at night there's clubs and bars and the theatre, and there's always tons of people coming and going. I like to just go down there and watch people.

As for drinking cheaply- honestly go to the grocery store and buy whatever you fancy. Make a few friends and wander around drinking. there's no open container laws. Some of my favorite drinking spots with my friends was in the Tube train or on the top of a bus. Or just wandering around. So many good times.

I wouldnt rec staying in a single room. No fun. At all. And dorms are so much cheaper. 999 times out of a thousand, no one is going to bother you in a dorm room; youre much much more likely to make some really good friends.

Almost every museum in London is free. I highly reccommend the Halocaust (spelling? no matter what I do it looks jacked up) Exhibit in the Imperial War Museum. Its down near waterloo I believe. The National Galleries are excellent; I went every day for several weeks and never got tired of it. The British Museum is pretty cool if you like that sort of thing (I do) but for some reason its just incredibly exhausting. If I had a few day in london I'd go back to Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street; its not free but its great fun. Also, go to the Westminster tube station and just get off and walk around soaking up the "london-ness" of it. walk along the houses of parliament (usually some sort of interesting protesting going on), cross the bridge and walk along the river under the London Eye, cross the other bridge and walk up towards big ben again. Its a rather nice and picturesque stroll, especially around dusk. Tons of interesting people around, usually some street people playing music.

God Im so jealous. I miss london so much. I'll be back soon!
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Old 05-05-2006, 03:21 AM   #7
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Damn I think everyone has covered all the stuff that I would have said!! Good Work!
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Old 05-05-2006, 07:51 AM   #8
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OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH you lovely helpful people - THANKS and keep bombarding we with all those great tips - I'm soaking it all in and it will be such a great help! now I'm reallyreallyreallyreally looking forward to june

Hmmmm I'll probably never want to go home again...
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Old 05-05-2006, 04:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Hmmmm I'll probably never want to go home again...
Yes, that's what your heart will say. Your bank account will say differently!
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by omisan@May 5 2006, 11:51 PM
Yes, that's what your heart will say. Your bank account will say differently!*
[snapback]118202[/snapback]

I know...sigh....
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by bellelass@May 5 2006, 08:02 AM

Covent Gardens is VERY entertaining of a weeked.* Also, if you're staying on the side of Hyde Park near Baywater tube station, you can walk down to Portobello Market in Notting Hill.* Facing bayswater tube station, walk right down queensway til you get to Moscow rd.* its not far.* turn left, pass all the greek restaurants and the russian church, etc.* Its about ten minutes to Portobello markets and its really something.* they literally have everything I think.* On moscow rd, there should be a pub called "Bar Oz" that serves really really cheap pub lunches.* Under 5 pounds if I remember correctly.


I wouldnt rec staying in a single room.* No fun.* At all.* And dorms are so much cheaper.* 999 times out of a thousand, no one is going to bother you in a dorm room; youre much much more likely to make some really good friends.*


I will be right by Inverness Terrace so these tips are very good - cheers! Cheap food is always a good thing...
Yea I know single rooms kinda goes against the whole hostel experience but after a long concert day i just wanna pass out in a private room singing Foo Fighters, Mot¨rhead and Queens of the Stone Age - songs in my sleep...Somehow, just somehow I feel people would appreciate me not being in their dorm that night?? Anyway, will change hostels on the Sunday, where I go to a dorm room - so looking forward to meeting new people indeed!
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by lauren313@May 4 2006, 08:59 PM
I forgot about the food in Camden until Omisan mentioned it, how could I forget?! We always say that we're going to Camden for "dirty noodles" but trust me, they're not dirty, they're actually really yummy! It's so funny, you'll wander through the food court, and every vendor will shout out to you trying to get you to eat their food. For about £2.50-£3, you can get a HUGE plate of chow mein, which would seriously keep you going all day.

Try and eat your main meal during the day at somewhere like this. Then in the evening you can have something lighter, like a sandwich or salad.

The other good thing about Tesco (in particular, but also Sainsbury's) is that they reduce the unsold sandwiches towards the end of the day, so you could take advantage of that. If you see some going cheap, chances are they'll last into the next day as well if you keep them in the fridge, so buy a couple and eat for cheap the next day too!

If you're up for seeing free music in the evenings (you specifically mentioned day time, but you never know!) try going to an open mic night at a pub. As you're walking around, you'll probably notice pubs and bars advertising open mic nights on boards outside. Check it out!

Check this site, it has listings of loads of free or cheap stuff to do in London.
[snapback]117839[/snapback]
Lovely tips, cheers! I have just located the Oxfam bookshops on the net - brilliant, hadn't thought about Oxfam-thanks! And yes, must get to Camden market and get some proper food, didn't know there's was so much food there. Lovely! And I'm sure tesco and Sainsbury will be visited too Don't know how much I'll be roaming the streets at night when travelling alone but will be sure to check out the free gigs, you never know...
Brilliant tips - cheers!

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Old 05-07-2006, 08:26 AM   #13
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Yeah, I don't think it's a bad idea to stay in a private room for that night, you'll be getting in late, and it would be nice to be able to crash around in your own room for that night. But definitely stay in a dorm for your other nights!
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by jamiepeaski@May 4 2006, 07:15 PM
Welcome! I'm sure you'll have a blast seeing the Foo Fighters in Hyde Park! I think Lauren got most of your questions, so I'll leave it to her knowledge.
[snapback]117808[/snapback]
Cheers! I will indeed along with about 60,000 plus people - I have for a while been making sacrificial donations to the Karma God to NOT let it rain all during the long gig... Hope it works, but hey, British rain has personality as opposed to Danish...
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by omisan@May 4 2006, 08:23 PM
Hey there - the Depeche Mode/Cure trip rocked! Thanks Hope yours does as well.

Hostels:* Surf these boards to get all the dirt. Keep your stuff safe, talk to everyone, and represent your country well

[snapback]117835[/snapback]
Good to hear! Seems like the 80's are truly in tour revival these days...!

As far as representing my country well....hmm.....if I take your brilliant tips about pub habbits I dunno if the brits will look gladly upon us Danes...but it's worth a shot
Thanks for all the brilliant tips - a superb help for planning what is going to be a far too short stay there!

By the way - need to look out for some cheaps countries to stay in at Christmas - any ideas anyone? Somewhere cheap, exciting, in europe and where everything isn't all closed down for the holidays...(I know, dream on!)

Cheers!
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by lauren313@May 7 2006, 03:26 PM
Yeah, I don't think it's a bad idea to stay in a private room for that night, you'll be getting in late, and it would be nice to be able to crash around in your own room for that night. But definitely stay in a dorm for your other nights!
[snapback]118552[/snapback]
Oh I will, the dorm IS booked - exciting!
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:38 AM   #17
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Originally posted by Wibbs@May 5 2006, 10:21 AM
Damn I think everyone has covered all the stuff that I would have said!! Good Work!*
[snapback]118066[/snapback]
Naaaah, you probably have some great tips or ideas stashed in there somewhere??? But agreed, they do seem to have covered the most
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:40 AM   #18
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Originally posted by Rincewind's acquaintance@May 7 2006, 03:36 PM
Oh I will, the dorm IS booked - exciting!
[snapback]118558[/snapback]

Oh and do you have any ideas on a cheap stay somewhere at Christmas, like I asked in my reply to Omisan???
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:42 AM   #19
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Have you been to Berlin? I went there just before Christmas last year and had a blast!

I didn't stay in a hostel when I went, we stayed in a cheap hotel, but I've had a look at some of the hostels online, and they look pretty good, and cost from as little as about £8.

The public transport in Berlin is excellent, and quite inexpensive too. And around Christmas time there are loads of markets, which sell lovely gifts, and also food. You can eat there really cheaply!!

It's not the most attractive city in the world, but around Christmas time it's just so charming!
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by lauren313@May 7 2006, 03:42 PM
Have you been to Berlin? I went there just before Christmas last year and had a blast!

No I haven't as of yet but have heard many positive views from backpackers or weekend travellers... Not too much into the German food or lifestyle but it's worth considering, especially with hostels so cheap.
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