What to do in London this summer?

Posted 3 months ago2019-06-23 18:29:03 UTC
Striker StrikerI seriously doubt myself
I'll pay a visit to this city this summer and I'm wondering what to do. I'm not heavily invested in the history of London so I only feel obliged to visit landmarks like the Big Ben or Westminster Abbey because they're so iconic. I'd be more interested in understanding how the celtic-saxons-norse mixed together to create the modern British people. Eh, but that's quite a rabbit hole. I'd also like to see Stonehenge some point in my life, but I don't think this summer I can.
What I definitely am interested in is paying a visit to the National museum of computing, which is in Bletchley. So I want to ask you guys who know the city better and how to travel to other cities, if the following method is the most optimal.
Google maps tells me that it's about 80km away and I can get there in an hour by West Midland Trains or Virgin trains. But I looked to see the price of tickets and... well, maybe I'm not used to these travelling prices yet, that's why I thought I'd ask. It's about 15 pounds a ticket, which makes the roundtrip 30 pounds.
In Romania, the most I've paid for a 100km train ride is about 5-6 pounds (making it the most expensive option). Are there any alternatives? If not, oh well, I won't be doing this everyday :D.

17 Comments

Commented 3 months ago2019-06-23 19:42:22 UTC Comment #102117
Bring an umbrella.
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-23 20:28:18 UTC Comment #102119
London is a famously expensive city, on par with Tokyo, Munich, and San Francisco (except for Chinatown).

I'd say bite the bullet and take the train. You never know when you might get another opportunity.
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-25 21:39:25 UTC Comment #102121
Haha, yeah, fuck the British rail network. It costs me £95 to go home to see my parents. I can fly to most places in Europe for cheaper -_-'

My girlfriend and I can drive you if you'd like. Lemme know what your schedule is. I'll be in Scotland visiting fam from the week beginning the 8th of July, back in London on the 15th then New York for work at the end of July - exact dates TBC. August is pretty much clear, but I'll be in Japan for 2 months for work from 14th September, so the window is mainly July/Aug.

Download Citymapper and load it with London's downloadable map before you arrive. It's the only way to efficiently navigate the maze that is the London Underground network.

Expect to pay upwards of £15 for every meal, especially if you like alcohol with your food. Save accordingly.

Buses are unlimited travel for £1.50 in and around London, and are therefore by far the most economical option, followed by the London Overground. An underground journey will cost around £4 per trip. You can pay as you get on to all of these with a contactless bank card/phone, so don't worry about getting an Oyster card or paper tickets.

While you're here, make sure to check out some shows at Underbelly Festival in Southbank. It's a beautiful part of the city, and Underbelly runs all summer long. It's alternative/arts/music/comedy/cabaret/drag and is usually seen as a warmup for the Edinburgh Fringe for comedians.

Leicester Square is the famous central landmark if you wanna get your classic tourism photos. Keep a strong hand on your camera and wallet there, but it's well worth visiting. I'd also recommend seeing a musical around Leicester Square while you're here. Even if it's not something you think you'd enjoy, they're insanely good in London. You can get really good seats for some of the older ones like Bat out of Hell for like £5 these days. The new ones will cost you around £60-120 depending on their fame. Hamilton is obv amazing, as is Waitress. School of Rock was a bit of a letdown.

Any specific questions, let me know. I'll PM you my number for Whatsapp in case of emergencies/beer hangs.
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-26 07:12:32 UTC Comment #102122
I was in London for three or four days a couple of years ago. I spent a day at the British Museum, and when I left I seriously considered going back the day after. So much to look at!

I didn't think anything was expensive other than the hotel, but I'm Swedish so I guess I'm just used to high prices, especially for trains.
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-26 14:11:13 UTC Comment #102123
I spent a day at the British Museum, and when I left I seriously considered going back the day after. So much to look at!
Yeah, we've stolen a lot of shit over the centuries.
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-26 16:28:06 UTC Comment #102124
I'm happier not thinking about that 😌
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-28 10:55:55 UTC Comment #102127
@Stojke: I will risk it and hope to catch some good weather. Lately I've seen on sat24 that there were days with clear skies :D.

@Satchmo: Yup. Totally reconciled to the fact that it's gonna be expensive.

@Archie: Got the Citymapper as per your recommendation. I can see it's a clusterfuck of lines but hopefully I'll be able to navigate it.

Expect to pay upwards of £15 for every meal
Expensive, but not outrageous. For that price you can get tasty food in some fancy restaurants around here too. Although I hope by "meal" you don't mean a McDonald's cheeseburger.

Buses are unlimited travel for £1.50 in and around London, and are therefore by far the most economical option, followed by the London Overground. An underground journey will cost around £4 per trip. You can pay as you get on to all of these with a contactless bank card/phone, so don't worry about getting an Oyster card or paper tickets.
What does unlimited travel mean? I suppose a ticket is available only for a specific route, until you get off the bus. So the underground is per-trip... hmm. When I was in Madrid, I paid only at the entrance to the underground network and then could switch lines as much as I wanted until I got out again. Paying per trip in that maze sounds like a bad deal :(.
Thanks for the other recommendations, I'll try to check them in the weekend (sorry for the late response but I arrived wasted every evening this week).
As for meeting, yeah! Emergency beer hangs? Totally! That would be totally awesome, though our schedule would intersect in just a few days. I'll PM you the details.

@potatis_invalid: It's not that I wouldn't go there... ok if I have nothing to do maybe I will, but I realized I've mostly visited museums theme with history, cultures, skeletons, stuff like that. I really want something technical now.

@UrbaNebula: I hope UK doesn't steal my heart. Also, if I end up meeting with Archie, do you have anything you'd like me to tell him?
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-29 00:20:13 UTC Comment #102128
Meh, just kick him in the dick.
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-30 10:43:57 UTC Comment #102129
What does unlimited travel mean? I suppose a ticket is available only for a specific route, until you get off the bus. So the underground is per-trip... hmm. When I was in Madrid, I paid only at the entrance to the underground network and then could switch lines as much as I wanted until I got out again. Paying per trip in that maze sounds like a bad deal :(.
Unlimited travel means you scan your contactless bank card/phone when you get on any bus. It'll be £1.50 regardless of how many changes you make/how far you go (within Zones 1-6)[almost all of London]. So even if I scan my card/phone on six buses in an hour, it'll still only be £1.50 total at the end of the day.

You don't ever buy a ticket. All trains are, again, just contactless when you enter/exit a station. Doesn't matter how many trains you use whilst you're on the network. For example, I could get on a train at my station Kentish Town. I boop my phone on the way in. I'd take the Northern Line down to King's Cross, get off the train, move through the station and get on another train on the Piccadilly Line and head north to my final destination. I don't boop my phone again until I leave the underground, regardless of how many lines/trains I use. It charges you based on the number of zones you'd have to travel through to reach your destination, with the least being about £1.20 and the most being about £4.

There's also an absolute maximum of £12 that the underground can charge your card, so even if you make 15 completely separate £4 trips over the course of the day, it'll never be more than that.
Commented 3 months ago2019-06-30 10:52:21 UTC Comment #102130
Oh, just a note, if you don't have a contactless card or contactless phone, you should get an Oyster card which can be used in the same way. You top it up with money and you can use it on all transport in London.
There is still some support for paper tickets on trains, but not on buses, and it's about double the price of contactless & Oyster. London is heading quite quickly towards completely cashless, so a contactless payment method is really the only way to get things done. Many bars/shops don't accept cash anymore.
Commented 3 months ago2019-07-02 01:50:00 UTC Comment #102132
I think personally I'd prefer the Oyster card regardless, I'd feel a little uncomfortable swiping my credit card instead of my Go card (as it's called in Brisbane). I tap-to-pay the hell out of everything else though, so maybe I'd get used to it. I draw the line at using the phone though, Samsung and Google have too much of my data even without my complete purchase history.
Commented 3 months ago2019-07-02 10:42:34 UTC Comment #102133
I'll probably end up using a Revolut pre-paid. I think it's good for cost control and the exchange rates are quite reasonable. Nevertheless I'll investigate the Oyster card too, might be useful for when/if I come again. I have to get used to the city first.
I see on the Transport for London page that it's easy with any contactless, using the touch in/touch out method Archie talked about. It's explained in detail here. What I'm confused about is if I have to touch the same yellow card reader or there are special "touch out" ones. I guess I'll learn on the spot that.
Thanks for the explanations, Archie!
Commented 3 months ago2019-07-04 23:03:10 UTC Comment #102135
@UrbaNebula: I found a dick in which I could kick him, but I haven't asked if they allow kicking in there...

User posted image
Commented 3 months ago2019-07-06 15:09:49 UTC Comment #102138
It depends on how you're traveling. A bus, you just tap in once you're on. Nearly all underground stations have barriers, so you'd need to tap the exit barriers in order to get out. A few stations will not have barriers so there'll be some clearly indicated places to tap out. Rule of thumb, you shouldn't be able to leave a building without tapping on a reader somewhere w.r.t rail
Commented 3 months ago2019-07-10 15:12:31 UTC Comment #102154
Jesus christ this boy can drink
Commented 3 months ago2019-07-11 11:53:26 UTC Comment #102156
Haha, Archie is like a machine you pour alcohol in and fun comes out.
I was absolutely destroyed the next day.
Commented 3 months ago2019-07-11 12:32:50 UTC Comment #102158
From the three phone calls I received that night along with video messages I can confirm that:
A) Drinks were drunk.
B) Merriment was had.
C) Dicks were kicked.

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