June 18th: Today I watched the video, London The City of Many Faces on Amazon Prime and listened to the podcast, Rick Steves’ Britain Audio Tours, St. Paul’s Cathedral. I also watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, London. I’m weighing our transportation options once we arrive at Heathrow Airport. Here are the options Rick Steves suggests to choose from:
From Heathrow Airport
Option 1: ~ Train to Paddington Station ~ Heathrow’s train station is located just below Terminals 1, 2, and 3. From Terminals 4 or 5, use the free transfer train service to reach the central station. Follow the distinctive yellow and black signs or train icons to help you find your way. There are two different trains that run from Heathrow’s Central Train Station to Paddington Station. The Heathrow Connect, a local train service, runs every half hour, takes 30 minutes to get to London’s Paddington Station, and costs around £10. Buy your ticket in advance at www.heathrowconnect.com or at the station before boarding the train. The Heathrow Express, a non-stop train service, runs every 15 minutes and takes only 15 minutes to get to Paddington Station. Tickets can be bought online at www.heathrowexpress.com or on the platform for £21 one way (£34 round trip), or on the train for £5 more. Some Heathrow Express trains also depart from Terminal 5.
~ From Paddington Station to the Washington Mayfair Hotel ~
~ Taxi ~ A taxi to the hotel costs about £12 and takes around 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic.
~ Tube (Subway) ~ Follow the signs to the Paddington Underground station. Purchase a ticket for about £4.70 and follow the signs to the Circle line or the Bakerloo line. Consult a tube map to find which direction offers the shortest route. At the Baker Street stop, disembark and change to the Jubilee line in the direction of Stratford. Disembark and exit the Underground station at Green Park.
~ Walk from the Green Park Tube Stop to the Washington Mayfair Hotel ~
From here it’s about a 5-7 minute walk to the hotel. Follow the signs to the Piccadilly North side exit. When you reach street level, turn right. Walk two blocks and turn right on Clarges Street. Walk to the end of the block where Clarges Street meets Curzon Street. The hotel is on the opposite side of Curzon Street to your left at #5.
Option 2: Tube (Subway) ~ In the airport, follow the signs to the Underground and purchase a ticket to central London for about £5.50 from the ticket office or one of the ticket kiosks. Take the Piccadilly line (your only option) to to the Green Park stop. Trains run about every 7-10 minutes depending on time of day, and the trip will take around 45-60 minutes. Refer to the map inside each train to note your location as you pass various stops. Disembark at Green Park. From there follow the directions “Walk from the Green Park Tube Stop to the Washington Mayfair Hotel” listed above.
Option 3: Taxi ~ The cost of a taxi from Heathrow to the hotel will depend on whether you use a taxi company (minicabs) or take a Black Cab. Minicabs will cost around £55 for 2 people. Black Cabs are subject to a meter and the price varies depending on the time of day, day of the week, and number of passengers. It takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour for the ride, depending on traffic.
June 19th: Today I watched the video, London on Amazon Prime and listened to the podcast Rick Steves’ Britain Audio Tours, “The City” Walk. I also watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, London. I started packing our suitcases and backpacks today. I’m organizing our toiletries to make sure we have everything we need and to make sure it all fits in our ziplock bags since we are carrying everyone on the plane with us.
June 20th: Today I watched the video, Travelview International London and listened/watched the podcast, Rick Steves’ Lecture Series, Packing Light and Right. Rick Steves says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” We unfortunately learned this the hard way during our trip to France last summer. After spending the entire week soaked to the bone because we didn’t have appropriate rain gear, the first thing we did after returning stateside was buy new, really nice (and very expensive) raincoats. That coat came in really handy today when we were rained out of our performance at the Creekside Jazz & Blues Festival this afternoon. :/