is is one of the oldest and most popular cities in the world, so no
wonder it can be chaotic at times. Below you'll find information covering anything practical to help your stay in London a happy one, - basically we take it on us to ensure that your memories of London are positive ones [ aren't we nice? ]
|»Tourist Information Service|
|»Getting to London from the Airports|
|»Getting around London|
|»Money and banks in London|
|»Communications in London|
There are several information centres distributed all over London in order to provide all kind of services you may need such as tourist information, money exchange, gift shop, etc.
Tourist Information: Principal Tourist Information Centres in London:
British Tourist Authority: Britain Visitor Centre, 1 Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, SW1Y 4XT [Open Monday-Friday 09.00 - 18.30, Saturday-Sunday 10.00 - 16.00].
London Tourist Board: Tourist Information Centre, Victoria Station Forecourt, SW1 [Open Monday-Saturday 08.00 - 16.00, Sunday 08.00 - 18.00
London Tourist Board information line - 09068 66 33 44 [6p per min at all times but it's not accessible outside of the UK]
General Opening Hours: London never sleeps and the shops, museums, churches and tourist reflect this. Open pretty much 7 days a week the basic working hours are 9.00am-6.00pm, though some shops now open a lot later.
London is blessed with five international Airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, and London City, all of which are easily accessible via public transport.
Heathrow Airport: Heathrow is easily the largest and is easily accessible to London from Heathrow Airport is by the underground or as the Londoners call it, “the tube”. The Picadilly Line runs right into central London and the trip takes an hour. The quickest way is the Heathrow Express that runs every 15 minutes to Paddington Station. It costs more but it’s very quick and easy. There’s also the National Express to Victoria Coach Station.
If you’re feeling flush then taxi costs about £50 but it takes a fairly long time to arrive in London.
Heathrow Express Telephone: 0845/ 600-1515
Airbus Telephone: 08705/ 757-747
Gatwick Airport: From Gatwick, the Gatwick Express goes to Victoria Station every 15-30 minutes. You can also get the normal Southwest train but it takes a while to get there.
Stansted Airport: From Stansted to central London there’s the Stansted Express to Liverpool Street Station every 15-30 minutes. A cheaper way into Central London is the airport express bus offered by Terravision. The bus service takes you directly to Victoria Station and takes roughly 90 minutes.
Luton Airport: There’s a free bus from Luton Airport to Luton Airport Parkway station and from there you need to take a Thameslink train to central London that are meant to run every 15 minutes. The Green Line bus #757 will also take you into central London.
London City Airport: Here you can take both the Jubilee Line and the light Docklands Railway [DLR] straight into Canning Town underground station.
For 24-hour travel information about Tube, bus, train, boat, Docklands Light Railway and National Rail services within Greater London call 020 7222 1234 [textphone 020 7918 3015] or visit Transport for London
The tube: London has the oldest underground system in the world and this can basically mean that delays, non-working signals and trains are an everyday occurrence. As always the English persevere and come to expect a bad service. It's not bad and is a vital part of London life. The trains runs every 3-10 minutes; Mon-Sat about 5:00 am to midnight, Sun. around 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. Tickets are bought in advance from the station. You can buy one-way trip or returns and the cost depends what zone you're traveling to or you can buy a Carnet of ten tickets for £11.50. The better value option is a one day Travelcard, which is valid for London's buses, suburban trains, and the tube.
For routes and destinations, check out the London Underground Map
London City Buses: London's bus system, is easy to use and a cheaper alternative. There are also night buses [prefixed with the letter "N"] which run throughout the night and enable the party goers to get home without having to splash out on an expensive taxi. Remember to wake up at your destination or you'll find yourself on the outskirts of London at 5am with an even larger headache.
London Taxis: Taxis in London aren't cheap but if you're with a few friends, itcan be a good way to travel around and see the sights. There are two types of taxis in London. The black cab metered kind or the mini-cab service which are a cheaper but less convenient.
To find out where you want to go in London: www.streetmap.co.uk
Britain still uses the pound sterling [abbreviated "£"]
London is an expensive city so make sure that you're completely prepared. What you pay in mainland Europe in Euros you generally pay in pounds in London.
Normal banking hours in London are Mon-Fri 08.30 -16.00, although some banks are also open Saturdays. Outside the official hours you can use one of several exchange offices , as well as banks with special opening hours. If you're in difficulties, it's usually possible to change cash at larger hotels [generally bad rates] or with travel agents.
ATMs and Money Machine: ATMs are found almost everywhere and almost all machines accept all major credit cards. Make sure you have a personal identification number [PIN] that's designed to work overseas. Traveller's Checks: Travellers' cheques are no longer the cheapest nor most convenient option and most people use bank cards now. However you can change up travellers checks pretty much everywhere and the usual fee for buying travellers' cheques is one or two percent. Changing Money in London Banks are your best bet for exchanging money, as they offer the smallest margin between their buy and sell prices. Otherwise, "bureau de change" can also help you and there are many in most tourist destinations.
Post Offices: There are many main post offices and sub-post offices in London. Some sub-post offices are located within newsagents and pharmacies. Most Post Offices are open between 09.00-17.30, Monday-Friday, and 09.00-12.30 on Saturday.
Post Office with long opening hours: Trafalgar Square Post Office. 24 William IV Street, WC2N 4DL Tube: Charing Cross and Leicester Square. Open: 08.00 - 18:30, Monday-Saturday. Phone: +44 (0)20 7930 9580
For more information go to the Royal Mail's website www.royalmail.com
Telephone Services: Calls to the UK: the country code for UK is +44. Dial +44, then the area code and the subscriber's number. London public phones work well and have instructions for use; you'll find plenty of phones on the street. Most affect only phonecards, which you can buy in newsagents.
Internet: There are also plenty of Internet cafes in London.
Emergency numbers: London is a huge city and you have to be careful with your belongings etc but with a bit of vigilance you'll have no problems at all. If you are unlucky enough to be the victim of a crime, you should report the incident as soon as possible at the nearest police station. If you report a crime you will be asked to make an official statement, which is essential if you wish to make an insurance claim.
Emergency number: Tel 999
All visitors entering the UK must have a valid passport. From 13 November 2005 all those who are not British or EEA nationals - except for British nationals without right of abode in the UK - will need a visa or entry clearance for all stays in the UK over six months.
To check on any visa request you can also visit UK visa's web site www.ukvisas.gov.uk