Tips and advice to prepare for your trip to London - Tips London

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Tips and advice to prepare for your trip to London

Here is a guide to help you prepare for your trip, which will give you tips and advice on booking transport and accommodation at the best time and will allow you to save money by using promo codes.

This "to do list" will help you plan your trip and not forget anything.


Advice and tips for booking transport

Go to London by plane

When to book a flight?

To benefit from the best price, it is preferable to book your plane ticket as early as possible, especially if you are leaving during school holidays. An anticipation of outside appointment or to go out on your own. is a good average.

On which sites to book plane tickets?

Personally living in Paris, I opt more for the train. But when I travel elsewhere (which happens to me !!), I prefer to go through a regular company like Air France which regularly makes promotions and offers certain advantages (snacks on board, suitcases in the hold included in the price, flights in the day…)

Some regular companies doing promotions for London:

-> Air France
Brussels Airlines
-> Swiss Air Lines


Consequently, I am less fond of low-cost flights which can certainly offer great prices but often at staggered times, that is to say very early in the morning or late in the evening; which is not practical when traveling with children. In addition, the prices may seem attractive but when you add options (choice of seat, suitcases, etc.) the prices can quickly climb!

For your information, here are some low-cost companies offering flights to London:
-> Vueling
–> Flybe


In addition, to have an overview of prices, you can use flight comparators such as:
-> Lilligo


Tips for booking your transfer from the airport to central London


With the exception of London City Airport, London airports are relatively out of the way and it is recommended to organize your transfer before arrival to avoid any stress. In general, the bus and the train are the most economical options but a transfer by VTC is more practical and comfortable and can be advantageous if the cost is shared with several people.

Here is all the practical information for each airport to help you find the best solution according to your research:

-> Gatwick airport transfer
-> Heathrow airport transfer
-> London City airport transfer
-> Luton airport transfer
-> Southend airport transfer
-> Stansted airport transfer


Tips for traveling to London by Eurostar


Just like the plane, you have to book as early as possible to get the best prices. Eurostar opens reservations 6 months before the date of travel and regularly offers promotions with tickets at € 39 (one way from Paris), i.e. € 78 round trip.
If you live around Marseille, Avignon, Lyon or Lille, you can also compare the offers with those on the plane.

To benefit from this good plan, book your trip 6 months in advance and create an alert on the site YesSNCF.

You can book and compare offers on the sites of:
-> Yes SNCF
-> trainline


Park your car at the airport or train station before leaving London


Leaving your car in the airport or train station parking can be a cost. To try to keep the costs to a minimum, you can compare the different offers and prices on the Looking4Parking price comparison or to go through the services of Blue Valet.

This Start-up offers a valet service at stations and airports. Practical and simple, reservations are made exclusively online via the Grand Site website. Do not hesitate to do a simulation because in some cases their offers can be more economical than parking. Their services are convenient and save time. Indeed, on your arrival, a valet will be waiting for you at the drop-off and will help you take the luggage out of the trunk and offer you a trolley if you wish.

For more information read the article: Blue Valet: the valet parking service at airports and train stations


Going to London by bus: a good plan to travel at a lower cost

With ultra-competitive prices, the bus is becoming the cheapest means of transport in France, competing with train and carpooling.
The three companies Eurolines, Flixbus and Ouibus offer similar services on board their buses, namely: wifi, electrical outlets, toilets accessible during the trip, reclining seats and air conditioning.

-> Flixbus 

For more information read the article: Going to London by bus with Eurolines, Flixbus or Ouibus?


Take the boat to London

3 shipping companies provide regular connections between France and England. If you want to travel to England by car and visit the areas around the capital, taking the boat is a good alternative.

Here are the companies that provide the connection to England:

-> Brittany Ferries provide the following crossings:
Caen - Portsmouth
Cherbourg - Poole
Cherbourg - Portsmouth
Le Havre - Portsmouth
Roscoff – Plymouth
St Malo - Portsmouth

-> DFDS  provide the following crossings:
Dieppe – Newhaven
Dunkirk - Dover
Calais - Dover

-> P&O Ferries ensure the following crossing:
Calais - Dover


Take the Channel Tunnel

Depart by car to London via the Channel Tunnel which connects Calais to Folkestone by train in 35 minutes with 62 crossings per day.

In France: the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal is located on the A16 motorway near Calais and the arrival is near Folkestone.


Practical information and reservation


Advice and tips for choosing your accommodation

What accommodation to book?

Although London is rightly known for high hotel prices, one can nonetheless find accommodation centrally and reasonably priced. There are budget hotels in central London, a selection of which is offered in the article: cheap hotels in central London

To get the best price, book early and try, if you can, to travel outside of school.


Youth hostels


Among the most economical accommodation are youth hostels which are friendly places and have both dormitories and private rooms with bathroom.

The youth hostels clink 78 et clink 261 are a safe bet in terms of location, setting and cleanliness and for a reasonable price. Both are located next to St Pancras and King's train stations, an ideal location for visiting London.
Clink 78 is housed in a former Victorian courthouse where punk band The Clash was tried in 1978; while Clink 261 occupies the premises of a former university.

Book directly on the website of these youth hostels where there are regular offers and promo codes 😉


Budget hotels

Point A


In central London, Point A offers rooms from £ 60 off peak. The rooms are small but modern and comfortable. Ideal for a weekend or a short stay in London, Point A is a safe bet for small budgets.

Tips ! You can benefit from:
👉 10% reduction by subscribing to the hotel newsletter
👉 10% reduction + free breakfast in sponsoring a friend which will have the same advantages!


For more information read the article: Point A cheap hotel in Kings Cross


Ibis hotels

Ibis hotels are the economic brand of the Accor group. Located in tourist areas such as Kensington, Southwark, Shoreditch, Earls Court, Greenwich… They offer comfortable rooms and a modern or even original decoration. Ibis hotels are a safe bet with no bad surprises.

To check availability and all locations, you can consult the Accor group website.


Intermediate hotel with good value for money

Premier Inn Hotels

Premier Inn is one of the largest hotel chains in the United Kingdom and offers modern and comfortable rooms in the most touristic areas of London. If you are looking for good value for money, I recommend these hotels.

To check availability and all locations, you can consult the hotel website or that of Booking .


Mercure hotels

Another safe bet are the Mercure hotels, the mid-range hotel brand of the Accor group. In addition to good value for money, these hotels are located in central London and close to many points of interest: Borough Market, shard, Tate Modern, Covent Garden, Oxford Street and many more.

To check availability and all locations, you can consult the hotel website or that of Booking .


Luxury hotels to have fun or celebrate an occasion

Royal Lancaster and its breathtaking view of Hyde Park


The Royal Lancaster is a luxury hotel that shines both for its high-end amenities and for its incredible views over one of London's most beautiful parks. The bedrooms are spacious and the white Carrara marble bathrooms also offer spectacular views.
You guessed it, the Royal Lancaster is a hotel to discover as a couple to mark a special occasion!

To check availability, you can visit the website Booking .


For more information read the article: Royal Lancaster: a hotel with breathtaking views of Hyde Park


Hoxton: a trendy hotel in Shoreditch 


Hoxton is a trendy and designer hotel located in the heart of Shoreditch emblematic district of street-art which offers comfortable rooms with original and refined decoration.

In addition, all rooms include a flat-screen TV with on-demand movies, Roberts DAB radio, tea and coffee making facilities, fresh milk, bottled water and a free newspaper.

To check availability and find out about the different Hoxton hotels in London, you can visit the Booking .


For more information read the article: Hoxton: a trendy and designer hotel in Shoreditch


Book an apartment-hotel

The apartment-hotel provides hotel services (cleaning, breakfast, luggage storage, staff for information) and the advantages of an apartment. Indeed, you have more space than a classic room and you have a fully equipped kitchen for cooking.

To check availability, you can visit the website Booking .

For more information read the article: Staybridge Suites: a great value for money apartment hotel


Book an apartment

If you want to live like a Londoner and have more space, renting an apartment is a great alternative. It can be more economical because you can cook on site and therefore not go to a restaurant every day.
It is also the opportunity to be in a more traditional British setting, with an architecture and layout different from what we know!

Some sites where you can book an apartment:

-> Homeaway 
-> Airbnb


Think about luggage storage for the last day and take advantage of good deals


If you choose to book an apartment, you may not be able to leave your bags with your host and will need to find an alternative. To make the most of your last day of sightseeing and not have any suitcases to carry, the best solution is to leave them in lockers. They are plentiful in London and inexpensive.

Serious luggage storage companies and tips to save money:
-> Bagbnb
-> Luggage Hero : With the promo code BPLONDRES benefit from 2 hours of free storage on each piece of luggage.
-> Nannybag
-> Stasher : With the code promo BPL10 get a 10% reduction!

For more information read the article: Where can you leave your suitcase in London?


Don't forget an adapter!

English electrical outlets are different from the outlets used in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Sockets in the UK have three flat, non-round plugs like with us in France.

You can easily find them in train stations or airports but at higher prices than if you buy them in DIY stores (Leroy Merlin, Castorama ..) or on the internet by ordering on Amazon

 or FNAC… Plan ahead and don't wait until the last moment to buy your adapter.


For more information read the article: Running electrical appliances in London


Tips for changing money and choosing a free bank card

Where to change?


Not all exchange offices are created equal, so you have to compare each other's exchange rate and find the one that offers the highest bid. Avoid changing your money at stations or airports where the offers are cheap.

Personally, I have been doing for more than 10 years in the same bureau de change namely Opera Change Counter (CCO) Beyond their sense of hospitality, they offer net rates and free of charge. It is no coincidence that the Comptoir Change Opéra, which has been in existence since 1955, is the oldest Parisian exchange office ...

And for all those who live in the provinces, nothing is lost because the Opera Change Counter (CCO) offers an online sterling delivery and sale service. 

For more information read the article: Where to change your euros, withdraw Pounds Sterling before and during your stay in London


Which free payment card to choose?

After online banking, it is the neobanks that have in recent years completely revolutionized the highly competitive world of banking. Indeed, the major advantage of neobanks lies above all in their bank charges abroad: withdrawals, payments, transfers, they quite simply offer one of the cheapest offers on the market, far ahead of traditional banks. This makes them a real bank for traveling!

Among the most competitive neobanks we can cite:
-> N26
-> Revolut
–> Max

Personally, I chose N26 bank because credit card payments are free and unlimited anywhere in the world. Unlike traditional banks, there are no exchange fees or bank charges.

Good plan ! By opening an account at N26 with the code emiliep5739 receive € 15 welcome. Payment within 60 days of having carried out a transaction of at least € 15 with this card (online payment or at a merchant, withdrawal).

For more information read the following articles:
-> N26: a free bank card for your trips!
-> Revolut: the best free card for travel?


Choose your transport card: Oyster Card or Travelcard?

To move around London, you will have the choice between two cards, namely the Travelcard and the Oyster Card. The first is more advantageous for stays of a week or a month. The second is more economical for a weekend or a stay of less than a week. Note that single tickets are overpriced (£ 2.40) and economically unattractive.

On the other hand, you can also pay for your trips with a contactless bank card, favoring a card from a neobank so as not to have bank charges for each payment.


Oyster card a good deal for a short stay in London


First of all, know that for a short stay, the Oyster Card will be more economical and practical. You can use the bus, metro, train, catamaran and cable car.

London Transport (TFL) offers two Oyster Cards: the Card Pay as you go and the Visitor Oyster Card.

Don't panic, the principle is the same for both, namely:
-> Plastic cards that are acquired in exchange for a deposit
-> Valid in all London traffic zones from zone 1 to 9
-> Each trip is automatically debited according to the trip made (areas crossed) and the time (peak and off peak)
-> Daily limit for each zone (£ 7 for zones 1 & 2; £ 8.20 for zones 1 & 3….). Therefore, no matter how many trips you make during the day, you never spend more than this limit.

However, one of the differences between these two cards is that the Visitor Oyster Card offers good deals such as:

-> 10% reduction in souvenir shops of many museums and attractions ( London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Kew Gardens, Sea Life
-> Up to 20% reduction on the bill in certain restaurants (Bubba Gump, Planet Hollywood, Medieval Banquet, Palm Court ...)
-> Welcome gifts in certain restaurants (cocktails, glass of wine, dessert, etc.)
-> Up to 26% discount on the Emirates Air Line cable car
-> Up to 19% discount on one-way trips on most river shuttle services


If you wish, you can order the Visitor Oyster Card on the Great Britain Tourist Office website.

For more information read the article: What is the Visitor Oyster Card?


Travelcard for a week in London


The Travelcard is a paper-based transport ticket that allows unlimited use of public transport depending on the duration and the zones chosen. It can be used for one day, 7 days or 1 month.

Therefore, if you stay for example in London for 3 days, you will need to buy three Travelcards on different dates, one for each day. Which is not practical and ultimately more expensive than taking an Oyster Card.

On the other hand, the Travelcard is economically more attractive than the Oyster Card if you stay in London for 7 days.

If you wish, you can order the Travelcard on the site of the British tourist office.

For more information read the article: Getting around in London: which card to buy? Oyster Card or Travelcard?


Which transport card for children?

Good news, public transport in London is free for children under 11 accompanied by an adult. They can thus travel without a transport card in the underground, on the lines of the Docklands Light Railway (of the DLR), of the London Overground (within the limits of zones 1 to 9 where it is possible to use theOyster Card ).

For example, if you make your own way to studios Harry Potter, the train to Watford Junction will be free for children under 11 and a half fare for children between 11 and 15 years old.


Good deals benefit from the half-price rate for children aged 11 to 15

You can either buy a Travelcard child or an adult Visitor Oyster card (the child Oyster Card does not exist) and ask at the counter for a discount to benefit from a 50% reduction compared to the adult rate.
To obtain this reduction, go to the counter with your child and ask for the child rate, namely “Young Visitor discount”. This offer is valid for 14 days.

Ticket offices can be found in most underground stations, Victoria National Rail station ticket offices or in Visitor Centers.


Tips for organizing and preparing your visits to London

Which tourist guide to choose?

The tourist guides for London are very numerous and faced with this exhaustiveness it is not always easy to choose or to compare. Personally, on each of my trips I always go with the same guides, namely the Cartoville and the routard guide.

The Cartoville 


The Cartoville presents a fold-out map by district: Westminster, Covent Garden, The cityCamden Town… Offers points of interest and restaurants and shopping addresses for each of them, located on the maps. It takes up little space and is very useful for getting your bearings. If you need to buy only one guide then take this one!

Full description


The backpacker's guide

In addition to the cartoville, the backpacker's guide allows you to prepare your trip well and to have all the practical and useful information.

Full description


For more information read the article: Which tourist guide to visit London?


Which visit should you absolutely book before leaving?

Studios Harry Potter


If you need to book ANY activity before going to London, it's the Harry Potter Studios Tour. On the one hand, because there is no sale of tickets on site and on the other hand, given the success, places are often limited. Therefore, if you really want to visit the studios, you should definitely book online and several months in advance.

For more information read the articles:
-> Harry Potter Studios: Behind-the-Scenes Movie Tour
-> How to get to Harry Potter studios from London?


Which tourist pass to buy to save as much as possible?

A tourist card can be economically interesting on condition that you make as many visits as possible and favor those with the most expensive entry. First, list the monuments and attractions you want to visit and choose the Pass that gives access to your visits.

The different Passes are:
-> London Pass : a smart card that gives access to more than 80 attractions across London and offers a day in the Hop-on Hop-off bus to discover the capital.

-> London Explorer Pass : With a validity of 30 days from the first use, the London Explorer Pass allows you to visit between 3, 5 or 7 attractions among the twenty on offer.

-> iVenture London Attractions Pass : choose between 3, 5, 7 or 10 attractions among the thirty on offer for 1 month from the date of issue of the card.

-> London CityPass :> A card valid for 7 consecutive days from the first day of use and allows you to visit the most popular monuments and attractions in London. Ideal for a first stay in the capital.

-> Merlin Magical Pass : gives access for 90 days to the most popular attractions in London: London Eye,  Aquarium Sea Life, Shrek’s Adventure, Madame Tussauds and London Dungeon. This card will be suitable for families who wish to do fun activities.

-> Royal Pass : offers priority access to the three most famous royal palaces in London, namely the Tower of LondonKensington Palace et Hampton Court Palace. It is valid for two years from the date of first use.


Each of them offer more or less significant reductions and are aimed at a different audience depending on their areas of interest and the length of stay.

For more information read the article: Which tourist pass to visit London?


A program of visits for a weekend in London


Are you organizing your first weekend in London and want to visit the monuments and essential places of the capital? Here is an itinerary to discover the great classics of London during 2 days with also my favorites to eat and go out.

For more information read the article: Weekend in London: what to visit in 2 days? 


Go see a musical


If you want to see a musical in Europe, London is the place to go! Incredible staging, spectacular show and festive atmosphere here is the program that awaits you!

  See the musicals playing

For more information read the following articles:
-> Musicals: your tickets at the best price!
-> The best musicals to see in London
-> Thriller the musical tribute to Michael Jackson


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