I have just come back few days ago from England with my friend, visiting Bournemouth (28-29 January) and London (29 January-2 February) from 28th January to 2nd February. It was my first time travelling in the middle of winter and to London, so there were many experiences I could gain during my trip, so I would like to share it with you.
England is known for its boring, rainy, windy weather. Though, probably it was my luck, it only rained one day, for few hours and the rest of the days, it was boring and a bit windy but still, you can see a bit of sunshine and the tempreture was about 10 Celsius degree, not so cold. Though I still wore 2 jackets and a coat and 2 trousers, because of the wind.
In Bournemouth when we visited Durdle Door, the speed of wind could go up to 120 km/h, I guess, it nearly blowed us away.
Whenever you get to near to river or sea, the wind always strenghtens up, so be careful at those places.
The public transport fare is quite expensive. I bought an Oyster Card, which is like you have to top up money on the card and everytime you get on the bus or metro, you touch the card to the censor and it will charge you money. On metro it charges £2.40 and on bus it charges £1.50. Without Oyster card you have to buy a single ticket which costs £4.90 on the metro.
Getting Oyster card was more affordable and you can get a refund if you give back the card, but only 4 days after buying it. At refund you will get back the cost of the card (£5) and the rest of the money that is on your card. Remember if you get a refund from the ticket machine, it will only give you back up to £10, no more. In this case, if you have more than £10 on your card, you should find a shop that the shopkeeper can give you a refund.
Since the cost of the transportation was so expensive for us, we decided to go on foot in London. It was the most exhausting road that we have ever walked. London is huge, we ended up walking for more than 6 hours a day, from Victoria street to Tower Bridge on the bord of Thames river. Then the third day we also walked around passing Candem market, Oxford street, Chinatown, Harrods back to the hotel for our stuff and then back to Chinatown to eat and to the King Cross (if you look at the map, it will draw a circle). Sometimes we took the metro or bus, since we can’t walk more.
So if you want to save money on public transport and decide to sightsee on foot, wear a sport shoes that is comfortable for you and wouldn’t hurt your feet even after a whole day walking in it.
London is famous for its high cost. I write down my budget, so to show you how you should calculate when decide to visit London.
Plane from Hungary with Ryanair in January: £30 (return ticket)
Accomodation: £84 (3 nights at 3 different hotel, detailed below)
Transfer bus from the airport to the city centre (detailed below): £12 (return ticket)
Public transportation fare: £4.90 (one way on metro without Oyster card)+ £16.40 (with Oyster card)
Eating: £30 (3 day only for lunch)
Souvenir: £1-1.50 (magnet or keyring)
Clothes (Primark): £2.80 T-shirt, £2 woman underwear
Extra cost: £30 (detailed below)
As you can see above, the accomodation can take a lot from your budget, but of course if you don’t mind sharing a room with other people then you can save up a lot by booking a bed at the hostel. You can also find your free accomodation on Couchsurfing, it’s like you stay at the local’s house for a few night. I have also heard that Airbnb can also provide an affordable price. Since I prefer having my own room during my stay, so I just booked a room in a hotel sharing with my friend.
The reason we booked 3 different hotels (breakfast included) in London is because we arrived to London (from Bournemouth) at 10pm and we didn’t want to go anywhere far, so we found a hotel near to Victoria street. Our second hotel was near (30 minutes walking) to the Tower Bridge so we didn’t have to walk back to Victoria street. And our third hotel was near to Oxford street, so we had more time to do shopping there.
Pay attention to the hotel’s price when you search them, because you might find a really good deal. Our third hotel was a 4 star hotel and its price was £30/night/person, same price as the 1 star hotel.
For a transfer bus, you also should go through carefully the website of each company. I booked a transfer bus from Stansted airport to Victoria street, but when I arrived to the airport, first I hardly found that bus, since the name of it was different (I found it by the number of bays), second it only took us to King Cross, because they have finished their contract with Victoria street. It wouldn’t be a big problem if you don’t have any scheduled plan, but in our case we ended up missing our bus to Bournemouth, so we had to buy another ticket there for £25, it was a big extra cost, that we didn’t count with. We also had to buy a metro ticket (£4.90) from King Cross to Victoria street, and it wasn’t planned.
So when you travel to anywhere always count with the extra costs that can come up whenever.
I hope with this article I can give you some useful information about planning your trip. If you have any further question don’t hesitate to write me.