Author Topic: Travel to London/Edinburgh  (Read 1578 times)

Jules13

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Travel to London/Edinburgh
« on: December 27, 2017, 02:03:18 PM »
So, I'm thinking about going to the UK (a few days in London and the rest in Edinburgh) for Spring Break (first week in April) with my family of four.  Has anyone gone lately who has any tips about where to stay in London and/or Edinburgh?  Good flats/airbnbs to rent or a good/decently priced hotel?  I'm familiar with Edinburgh as I lived there a short while (about 20 years ago), but don't know London very well.  I don't have any hotel points either.  There seem to be good deals at Premier Inn hotels (sort of like Travel lodge), but I don't know anything about them.

Also, I have never booked a flight into one city and out of another.  Does anyone know about how to do that?  Can I do that with miles?  I have a lot of American miles.

Thanks for any advice.
Jules

GnomeErcy

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 02:12:59 PM »
So, I'm thinking about going to the UK (a few days in London and the rest in Edinburgh) for Spring Break (first week in April) with my family of four.  Has anyone gone lately who has any tips about where to stay in London and/or Edinburgh?  Good flats/airbnbs to rent or a good/decently priced hotel?  I'm familiar with Edinburgh as I lived there a short while (about 20 years ago), but don't know London very well.  I don't have any hotel points either.  There seem to be good deals at Premier Inn hotels (sort of like Travel lodge), but I don't know anything about them.

Also, I have never booked a flight into one city and out of another.  Does anyone know about how to do that?  Can I do that with miles?  I have a lot of American miles.

Thanks for any advice.
Jules

Haven't been to Europe in about ten years, so I can't offer help there, but when booking, see if you can do a 'Multi-City' segment. I primarily fly Delta but it's easy to do it. I think on American you just need to click on 'Advanced' search and do it that way.

chouchouu

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 02:53:24 PM »
London is quite expensive, even if you air bnb it, I would look somewhere a bit out but with a decent commute in. Take a look at the underground map and choose some stations (bearing in mind that tube tickets are also expensive so if you can get closer to zone 1 and it's less than the cost of your combined tube tickets then go for that option. When we stayed in London last summer we stayed with friends near Greenwich which was a nice enough area itself and comparatively low cost compared to other areas of London because of the commute.   Southbank is another area to think about and Kew Gardens is gorgeous, not sure how much air bnb is around there. You could also see if your airline miles can be transferred to hotels. Ibis is a brand of basic hotels that I tend to go for in Europe. 

I lived in Dulwich when I lived in London and took the overland in to Victoria which wasn't too bad. I guess it depends on how long is a "few days," I'd go for a more central location if you're just staying for three but go cheaper if it's longer and you're more at leisure.

Jules13

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 03:04:47 PM »
Samusugiru, a 'few days' is only about 3 since we mostly want to head up to Edinburgh (and we might stop in York), but our oldest wants to see some specific things in London.  Yes, totally get that London is insanely expensive, no matter what you do.  I remember that from even the last time we were there and that was about 13 years ago and minus two boys who eat more than we do. 

Would rather spend a bit more on accommodation and less time trying to commute in from a cheaper area, especially since with kids that can be a total pain in the arse. 

FireHiker

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 03:11:44 PM »
We did in November 2016! We did 4 nights London, 2 nights York, 2 nights Edinburgh, 1 night back in London. All but the last night were airbnb. We were a group of 6. We were pretty happy with the places we stayed. London was a bit of a trek into town, but MUCH cheaper and we had a full kitchen and laundry. It was a reasonably enough walk (even with young kids aged 4 and 6).

London: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/9072431?s=51

Edinburgh was an amazing location, but there was a bit of noise in the front bedroom on Friday/Saturday night with a busy bar recycling across the street. No dryer, but the washer was good. Beds weren't as comfortable as the place in London, but it was SUCH a neat place up a spiral staircase, and a good value for the size and location.

Edinburgh: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1506509?s=51

If you do stop in York, we found airbnb lodging more expensive than I expected, but we had a great place only a couple minute walk from everything. Here is where we stayed:

York: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12225232?s=51

Our party consisted of: myself and husband, his mom (who was 77), and our kids 4, 6, and 15. We took the underground from Heathrow (changing lines 2 times) and then about 10 minute walk from the station to the house. We took the train from London to York and it was an easy 10 minute walk from the station to the apartment. Again took the train from York to Edinburgh, and it was a 4 minute walk to the airbnb (if you used the correct exit from Waverly station, which we didn't...oops).

Feel free to send me a message if you are interested in any details from our trip. It was a fantastic trip and my middle child now wants to live in London and keeps asking when we can go back. It was COLD in November, but a lot of fun. You wouldn't quite have the same level of cold in April, although it probably still wouldn't be warm!

FireHiker

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 03:16:34 PM »
Oh, I meant to add about flights. I highly recommend you start using airfarewatchdog to track your route from your home airport to London. British Air (you can book using American miles I believe) runs crazy sales. I have managed three times now to get very inexpensive flights from LAX to London/Europe using British Air sales. If I didn't have any points the most recent flights would have been $470 each (with points we got it down to $281, LAX to Amsterdam on British Air next April). Airfarewatchdog emailed me a notice about the sale and I booked it (we'd been planning it a couple months by then and were watching for flights). Four days later the same flights were back up to $970.

If you can't get a reasonable flight on American/British Air you could always consider Wow. They run really good sale fares occasionally but are very no frills. I know two friends whose families (with 3 kids each) have flown on Wow in the past year, and they were pleased. As long as you are aware of the extra fees and pack accordingly they can be a good option sometimes.

Jules13

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 04:59:27 PM »
Thanks FireHiker!!  Going to check out all of those places!  And thanks for the tip on the flights!

FireHiker

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2017, 10:11:37 AM »
You're welcome! I sent you a ridiculously long PM...what can I say, travel is definitely my passion although we don't get to do a lot (yet). :)

DirtDiva

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2017, 05:04:15 PM »
You might check Virgin Airlines and Norwegian Airlines for fares too- I've seen some ridiculously low fare offers to London.

KirstyB

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2017, 08:48:44 PM »
You can definitely book open jaw return flights using points.

While in London, remember that while the accommodation etc may be expensive all museums are free, so that may help to reduce some costs, and if you have the ability to cook in your accommodation, food in the UK is cheaper than the USA. Also, just being in the city and walking is great, as is taking a regular bus rather than a 'tourist special open top'. My two love to walk from the Tower of London to Waterloo, crossing the river at Tower Bridge, and then seeing the globe, etc. and ride the bus along regent street.


Uksaver

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2017, 11:06:07 AM »
Premier Inn is a decent semi-budget hotel chain which I often use when travelling on business.  Expect a clean and comfortable room but nothing too fancy.  They can fill up quickly though, at which point the rate will increase, so perhaps think about booking early once you have your itinerary sorted.

jim555

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2017, 11:13:20 AM »
You might check Virgin Airlines and Norwegian Airlines for fares too- I've seen some ridiculously low fare offers to London.
+1
Norwegian Airlines very cheap fares.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2017, 03:07:21 PM »
Stay in Kew--not central London. Kew is very picturesque, quiet, uncrowded, and has some good restaurants and very affordable accomodations. It is also very relaxing and lacking in bus fumes, tourists, pickpockets, and all that other stuff plaguing most large cities. It is an easy tube ride into central London. You are close enough to easily see all the great museums, architecture, attractions, but at the end of the day, you can retire to a very relaxing, soothing atmosphere--and save some money in the process. While you are there, have a walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, very beautiful.

Christof

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2017, 04:32:26 PM »
Last time we stayed in Poplar which is just North of Canary Wharf, the new finance district. Bus line 15 is going from Poplar via the Tower of London into the city and our 4-year-old boy enjoyed sitting in the upper level for the one hour ride. Busses in London are fixed price per ride, so it's only 1.50 when using a touchless card, kids under six are free.

Central London is just too busy and crowded for us. Everyone wants to be there, so it is expensive, when public transport is really good and not very expensive, There is a daily cap with touchless that is likely to be lower than the extra you pay to stay in the city.

One day we took the bus down to the other side of Greenwich and walked through the tunnel to catch the ferry to London. More expensive than the bus, but quite adventurous.

If you book a hotel in the city, don't go with a big chain unless you have points to spend. Use a portal such as hotels.com to find independent hotels, airbnb to find non-hotels to stay or look into hostels. I would stay out of the inner city, though. I would stay outside, though.

One more thingn general... As someone who flies internationally mostly on British Airways: There is no British Air. Call it BA, if you need a shorter name, thanks! ;-) Google Flights is another way to keep track of prices and be alerted of changes.

Systems101

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2018, 04:42:06 PM »

I spent time in both London and Edinburgh a few months ago.  It was done on an open jaw reward ticket (on American; I flew to Glasgow and took the train to Edinburgh, leaving the UK from Heathrow).  I used trains to travel in between (I also stopped in York and spent an afternoon in Leeds at the Royal Armoury). 

I used hotels; many were reward nights, so can't help on the AirBnB front.

Edinburgh was not a reward night, but I booked almost a year in advance (and only a few months after the Brexit vote, so got really good rates - about $75 a night for a 4* hotel) on a nice hotel right on Queen Street (The Place).  It basically allowed a walk to many places (I didn't eat there - too expensive).  Eden's Kitchen (a short walk) was good Pizza, albeit small and hard to get a seat :)

I did stay in central York (within the city walls) since it was easy to walk everywhere.

In London, I stayed in Wandsworth, very close to Wandsworth Town station.  It made for a nice commute into London (easy access to Victoria or Waterloo).  It's also one stop from Clapham Junction, where you can connect to just about everything South and West of London (without having to fully go into the city itself).

Wandsworth also provides a "back method" of getting out to Heathrow that didn't require the Piccadilly line [which would have been insane trying to go toward London with luggage during rush hour]... instead, head away from London toward Woking, getting off at Feltham and take the 490 bus to Heathrow.

I had considered staying in Croyden, as there are hotels very near East Croyden station (and it provides easy access to both Victoria and London Bridge), but with train strikes on Southern last fall, I didn't risk it, and converted my hotel to Wandsworth about a month before the trip, even though it was more money.  (rumor has it Wandsworth is also nicer - Croyden has a bit more of a reputation from what I understand)

I spent a bunch of time learning the travel pathways in both places and in London, it heavily depends on where you intend to go in the city... and what you expect to spend in travel time anyway.  For example, the train from Wembley Stadium to Marylebone station is only 13 minutes, but it might take another 40 to take the tube to Buckingham Palace.... so the commute "in" isn't the expensive part of the travel time you will spend... just for context :)

I'm happy to provide more thoughts on location if you have the list of things you are considering doing, or drop a note and I can send more info of what I did :)


Dee18

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Re: Travel to London/Edinburgh
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2018, 06:18:22 PM »
In London last April I I stayed off the Strand in an Airbnb at Bull Inn Court. It was $220/night with a bedroom with a queen bed, and a large living/dining/kitchen area with a sleeper sofa and a regular sofa one could sleep on.  It had just been renovated and was beautiful with a fully equipped kitchen.  I There were grocery stores within 5 minutes so we prepared most of our food. I just tried to find it on Airbnb but the link I had isn't working; perhaps you can find one using Bull Inn Court. Four of us stayed there and had plenty of space.  Unless visiting friends, I usually try to stay where I can walk to most things as that is one of my favorite things to do.