This easter we were on London, it was a great experience and I want to share with you some travel tips:
I arrived to Stansted Airport. Try to get a fligth to Heatrow or Gatwick. Stansted is 1 hour away by bus from London city center.
There are many bus companies from Stansted to London, the cheapest and fastest is Terravision (15£ with return, 14£ if you book online) but National Express (9£ single) has free WiFi.
There are many currency exchange offices, but the best is to get cash on an ATM with you credit card. If your bank charges a small comission (ING Direct charges only 2.5%), is cheaper than the exchange offices.
BUS & UNDERGROUND
The city is divided into zones, all the city center is zone 1-2. You can get a “Day Travelcard” for zones 1-2 by 6.60£ (cheap compared to the 4£ of a single travel). You can buy it on the automatic machines at the entries of the tube (allows payment with credit card).
This travelcard also allows you to use the city bus on this zones (only showing the card to the driver). A great tip is to get the bus line 11, you will get a sightseeing arround the touristic zones by the price of a Day Travelcard.
One funny thing that you can do is to hire a bicycle on one of the many points along the city. You can do it with your credit card. First you must pay 1£ for the access to the cycle hire for 24 hours. Then, you get a cycle by obtaining a printed release code from the machine. This code is composed of “1”, “2” and “3” digits that you must type on the cycle dock to release it.
When you dock the cycle again the system charges you card with an amount depending of the time that you used the cycle. One hour costs 1£ and the prices lower as you use it more hours. By only 2£ you can get a cycle by one hour.
The British Museum and other public museums are free so don’t miss them. Quite curious that you can’t take photos with flash on the underground but the British Museum is full of unconscious tourists taking photos with flash and touching pieces from the ancient Egypt.
It’s quite hard to find free WiFis on London, but there are lot of BT-FON spots, my advice is to became a FON member before traveling to London, buy “La Fonera” by only 39€ at http://www.fon.com and share your home ADSL. As a FON member you can use this WiFis for free.
As I cound’t find free WiFis (and at the moment I’m not a FON member), I dindn’t used a lot my phone. As now Google Maps has local cache, try to view maps of London City Center when online, they willl remain cached when offline. I also used the app London Underground Free but is wasn’t much more useful than a printed map.
We were on a Easyhotel room but I can only say that it was cheap. Easyhotel thinks that a “room with window” is an underground room with a window to a corridor without natural light. It’s also quite surprising to make fit a bed and a bathroom on 6m2.