Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Visiting Paddington Bear at Paddington Station

Landmarks to see in London Paddington Station

Paddington Bear by givingnot@rocketmail.com on flickr.com.  Used through creative commons.
Paddington Bear Statue
My Paddington Bear!
While in London Paddington Station take time to go find the bear!  Paddington Bear that is.  From a classic British  children's tale by Michael Bond, Paddington is a stowaway immigrant from Darkest Peru that has come to London.  He is identified by an iconic hat and duffle coat.

A small statue of Paddington Bear was made and placed in Paddington station in 2000.  It is a fairly small statue near the escalators on the main concourse.  The section of the station called "the lawn".  He is often used as a meeting place in this very busy rail station.

If one of your young ones finds Paddington cute, there is a kiosk near by that has plenty of bears for sale.  You will find them in all shapes and sizes.  They should all have a tag attached to his coat that reads, "Please look after this bear.  Thank you."


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Where Should I Go Next?

To and From Heathrow

By Mark Fitzgerald

Assuming the apartment that we are going to rent is within walking distance of Paddington Train Station and we are arriving at terminal 4 we have 3 choices.
  • Heathrow Express
    • A 15 minute ride, though you must take the Connect to Terminal 5, so it is pretty close to the same 23 minute ride as connect
    • The family cost would be £90
  • Heathrow Connect
  • Edgeware Road District Line on Platform 1 of Earl's Court Station by Paul Robertson on Flickr.  Used through Creative Commons.
    Platform 1 of Earl's Court Station
    • A 23 minute ride
    • One way trip for 3 kids, 3 adults is going to run £42.60 from the Heathrow connect website (National Rail Enquiries says £90)
    • Leaves every 15 minutes or so
  • Tube
    • Takes about 55 minutes and needs to transfer
    • £16.60 for the family at peak price - under £10 each way at off-peak. For me this time is worth the savings, but will be a hassle for luggage.
    • Leaves every 10 minutes
    • The transfer would be at Earls Court and can be done "Step free."
If you choose the tube you would arrive in Earls Court on platform 5, eastbound. Then you would head up, nearly to ground level, to the district line train labeled Edgware Road, platform 1.  This is the kicker with the tube, you get to do this with all of your bags - are your kids up to this?  For my family, I think so - but I also would be encouraging them to use backpacks and roller-boards.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The London Pass - To buy or not

By Mark Fitzgerald


Of all of the city passes that I have seen - London Pass seems the most complete, useful and worthwhile pass. The question is will I buy one or not. My original analysis was yes - but it depends on a lot of things.

First Benefit - skip the lines. This is an interesting one. In the summer the lines at many of these attractions can be overwhelming. Where we plan to visit in the early spring, it may not be as big of an issue. Also at many of these venues if you buy online you get the same benefit.

Second Benefit - you have prepaid for everything and it will save you money. When we first laid out where we were going to go and what we were going to do, we had about twice as many destinations. It easily paid for itself. But when we started to add in travel time, length of visit, etc., we started pulling out attractions and the prices started to match up.

You add in that we are going as a family and many pricing options open up. For example Windsor Castle for 2 adults is £35.50. For a family it is £46.50. We have also looked at getting year memberships for things like Historic Royal Palaces and Imperial War Museums. These memberships get you admission into all of their properties for a little more than the cost of one visit.

Ahh but the Pass hasn't necessarily lost. They have in the past discounted the purchase during off peak season. A 10% discount can go a long way. It is something that we will just have to watch for.

Third Benefit - discounts at select venues. This would be like 15% off the Medieval Banquet. This sounds great - but there are other ways to get discounts, sometimes more. It just depends on how much preparation you do.

We will have two itineraries - one if we have the pass, one if don't. As we get closer, if we can get a off peak discount, we will likely get the pass.

Day 7 - Travel home

By Mark Fitzgerald
  • The last day ends up being pretty much a travel day.
  • We will need to be checked out and at Paddington for the 8:33 AM train
  • This should put us at terminal 4 Heathrow 3 hours early and ready to fly home
Detailed Itinerary:
ActivityArriveTime at DestinationDepartTravel Time to Next Dest
Get up and get ready6:04:001:30:007:34:000:00:00
Breakfast (pancakes, at apartment)7:34:000:30:008:04:000:09:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Train8:13:000:15:008:28:000:05:00
Check In9:13:000:50:0010:03:000:05:00
Lunch (airplane)12:43:000:30:0013:13:000:00:00
Fly (Sleep)13:13:006:30:0019:43:000:00:00
Dinner (airport)20:38:001:00:0021:38:000:05:00
pick up bags0:58:000:40:001:38:000:05:00
drive home1:43:000:20:002:03:000:00:00

Day 6 - Hampton Court

By Mark Fitzgerald
  • Another early morning. We will be up by 7:30 and out the door to catch the Circle Line tube to Waterloo Station for the 8:54 train to Epsom.
  • We will spend about an hour walking around Epsom, taking pictures and visiting where I was born before getting back on the train to head to Hampton Court.
  • We will start Hampton Court Palace about 11:15 with an early lunch at the Tiltyard Cafe within the palace.
  • We head back to London on the 3:54 pm train to Waterloo.
  • From there we walk to Covent Garden Market for shopping and a foodie dinner.
  • The evening will end at the British Museum
Detailed Itinerary:
ActivityArriveTime at DestinationDepartTravel Time to Next Dest
Get up and get ready7:26:000:30:007:56:000:00:00
Breakfast (granola, bring with you)7:56:000:00:007:56:000:09:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Tube8:05:000:05:008:10:000:04:00
Tube (Circle Line)8:14:000:15:008:29:000:09:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Train8:38:000:11:008:49:000:05:00
Train to Epsom (waterloo)8:54:000:33:009:27:000:05:00
Walk Around Epsom9:32:000:10:009:42:000:17:00
Visit House9:59:000:10:0010:09:000:17:00
Bathroom break10:26:000:05:0010:31:000:00:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Train10:31:000:04:0010:35:000:00:00
Train to Hampton Court10:35:000:37:0011:12:000:07:00
Purchase Tickets for Hampton Court Place11:19:000:05:0011:24:000:05:00
Bathroom break11:29:000:05:0011:34:000:05:00
HCP: Early Lunch (Tiltyard Cafe)11:39:000:40:0012:19:000:06:00
HCP: Costume Guided Tour12:25:000:35:0013:00:000:00:00
HCP: Tutor Kitchens13:00:000:30:0013:30:000:00:00
HCP: King Henry VIII's Apartment13:30:000:35:0014:05:000:05:00
HCP: Royal Chapel14:10:000:25:0014:35:000:07:00
HCP: Maze14:42:000:30:0015:12:000:11:00
Get a snack (Tiltyard Cafe)15:23:000:15:0015:38:000:00:00
Bathroom break15:38:000:05:0015:43:000:07:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Train15:50:000:04:0015:54:000:00:00
Train to London (waterloo)15:54:000:37:0016:31:000:17:00
Dinner (Covent Garden Market)16:48:001:08:0017:56:000:04:00
Bathroom break18:00:000:05:0018:05:000:03:00
British Museum: The Sutton Hoo ship burial (Current)18:08:000:15:0018:23:000:03:00
BM: Easter Island statue (americas)18:26:000:15:0018:41:000:03:00
BM: The Rosetta Stone and Ramesses the Great (Egypt)18:44:000:20:0019:04:000:03:00
BM: Mummy of Katebet (Egypt Second Floor)19:07:000:20:007:27:000:03:00
BM: Midieval Europe (Europe Second Floor)19:30:000:20:0019:50:000:03:00
BM: Samurai armour (5th floor)19:53:000:10:0020:03:000:03:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Tube20:06:000:05:0020:11:000:04:00
Tube (Central)20:15:000:06:0020:21:000:18:00
Get ready for bed21:34:000:30:0022:04:000:00:00

Day 5 - Kensington (Alternative)

By Mark Fitzgerald
  • The alternative on this day is to drop Kensington Gardens and go to see the crown jewels. This is based on the assumption that the line would be too longat the Tower of London in the afternoon. This makes for a slightly more expensive day using the Tubes but less walking.
  • Get up and be ready to get out the door by 8:30 AM
  • This morning starts by heading back to the Tower of London
  • By 9:30 AM we are viewing the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
  • We will then walk across the Tower Bridge to the HMS Belfast for a 90 hour tour.
  • At 12:30 PM we will take the Jubilee and Piccadilly line to Harrods to pick up lunch and then eat in the park
  • From 2:15 till 5:30 we can visit the Hyde Park Chapel LDS Visitors Center, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum which are all nestled in together.
  • Take a picture with Lord Baden-Powell
  • We leave Kensington via the Piccadilly Line Tube (Piccadilly Line) to go to the a traditional British Dinner
  • We will end the evening watching The Lion King
Detailed Itinerary:
ActivityArriveTime at DestinationDepartTravel Time to Next Dest
Get up and get ready7:35:000:30:008:05:000:00:00
Breakfast (eggs at apartment)8:05:000:30:008:35:000:05:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Tube8:40:000:05:008:45:000:04:00
Tube (Circle Line)8:49:000:32:009:21:000:10:00
Crown Jewels9:31:000:45:0010:16:000:00:00
Bathroom break10:16:000:06:0010:22:000:05:00
Walk Across Tower Bridge10:27:000:07:0010:34:000:09:00
Purchase Tickets for HMS Belfast10:43:000:05:0010:48:000:00:00
HMS Belfast10:48:001:30:0012:18:000:00:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Tube12:18:000:06:0012:24:000:05:00
Tube (Jubilee Line)12:29:000:07:0012:36:000:11:00
Tube (Piccadilly Line)12:47:000:04:0012:51:000:08:00
Harrods (Lunch)12:59:000:30:0013:29:000:07:00
Park (eat lunch)13:36:000:30:0014:06:000:09:00
Museum of Natural History14:15:001:15:0015:30:000:05:00
Museum of Science15:35:001:15:0016:50:000:05:00
Hyde Park Chapel Visitors Center16:55:000:20:0017:15:000:00:00
Take a picture with Lord Baden-Powell17:15:000:05:0017:20:000:07:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Tube17:27:000:05:0017:32:000:05:00
Tube (Piccadilly Line)17:37:000:12:0017:49:000:09:00
Dinner (Traditional British)17:58:001:00:0018:58:000:05:00
Bathroom break19:03:000:05:0019:08:000:07:00
Purchase Tickets and Wait for Tube22:26:000:07:0022:33:000:04:00
Tube (Bakerloo)22:37:000:14:0022:51:000:14:00
Get ready for bed23:05:000:16:0023:21:000:00:00