I was hoping someone could offer advice as to the best way to get to the Marriott London County Hall from London Heathrow. I will be traveling midweek with 2 children - ages 10 and 12. I see posts about using the tube, but not sure about transporting all our luggage and keeping track of it during transit. Last time I was in London it was years ago and found the tube pretty easy to get around. This time, with kids, I was thinking a taxi or London Heathrow Express? Also, any advice on getting a travel card or Oyster card?? Any advice on tours to take? Should I go with a tour company, do the hop on hop off bus. If anyone has stayed at this hotel before, will they accommodate for upgrades - I am platinum status. Thanks for all your help!!
jerrycoin will be able to put you in touch with the hotel to arrange a car. He is a regular visitor there and knows it quite well. With 2 kids I probably wouldn't use the heathrow express as it is very expensive and only gets you to paddington. You still need to get from paddington to county hall by either tube or taxi.
Get an oyster card and that will make travelling around cheaper.
travelling with children:
There have been many discussions previously on London. Just search for London in the discussions or look beside this under: More like this
I was about to say ask jerrycoin then I saw I had been beaten to it! He is the expert on County Hall!
But a couple of tips.
Yes get an Oyster Card if you are going to use the Underground a lot. Not only do you save money, it is so convenient.
Yes!!!!!!!!!!! Do a tour bus as soon as you can. It is far and away the best way to see London at the start of a visit. The concierge will help you out there.
There are several threads I (and Jerrycoin) have contributed to about London. Here is a selection for you to read if you have time.
There are masses more. If you put London in the search box on Insiders, you will get so many excellent suggestions you will wish you were staying for a month! London is fabulous.
Thank you for your information. I am continuing to look into it more. I had found that up to 2 kids travel free on the Heathrow Express with a paying adult. On their website it shows this. But the transfer at Paddington is where it might get tricky and end up costing more. We travel in about 3-1/2 weeks and it is probably too late to apply for a photo oyster card/pass for the kids to travel free. I was also wondering if anyone has found the London Pass to be worthwhile. Not so much for the cost, but does it really allow you to skip lines to get into see things. How bad are the lines in the summer? I was thinking of the hop on hop off bus as the best way to see the city. Is it then redundant to get the London Pass or would that combination compliment each other?
Information from tripadvisor which might or might not be useful for you:
I’m visiting London and want to use the 2-4-1 offers
Step 1) Go to a National rail station and buy a Travelcard for each person. Be careful here—most National Rail stations have an underground station with the same name and they also sell Travelcards. Those will not be eligible. Also ineligible are seven day Travelcards purchased from an Overground station--these will be issued on Oyster, and will not allow you to take advantage of the 2-4-1 offers.
could be worth investigating as attractions can be quite expensive.
You could buy the tickets from Paddington or Waterloo stations.
Read the London forum on tripadvisor for more information on the London Pass.
Having done all of the ways to travel from LHR to County Hall, (But never with two children), let me suggest:
Arrange for the hotel to have a driver meet you all as you clear customs. No hassle, same price as a taxi, and have the charge billed to your room! It will cost around $100 (They will give you a firm price). Adjust your budget to handle this "Splurge"! Your children and you will be very tired after a long flight, and why not start your trip out in style.
A direct, nice ride to the hotel will be worth it. Caution, make sure you request an "Early" check in if needed. Otherwise, take the "Slow way" and save money.
If you take the tube, I would recommend just taking the tube from LHR to Westminster. It may be a little longer, but you will only have to make one change. Once you come out of the tube station at Westminster, walk across the bridge to the hotel.
Everyone and I agree, that the "Big Red Bus", which stops in front of the hotel, is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the sights of London!
Let us know any detailed questions! Lastly, please review the many "London Posts" on MRI, and they will provide invaluable help! Good Luck!
Jerrycoin, tommo, and sg,
Thank you so much!!! Having seen some of your posts from before, I know you have a wealth of knowledge on this. I actually chose the County Hall because of what I have read. Some of the posts were done some years back and I just wasn't sure what is applicable as things can change. I was hoping to contact the hotel to see if we could try to get a river view room, check in early and make the driver arrangements. I saw in an earlier post that the person to contact is Teddi. I saw the email address you gave as well. If that is still good, I will contact her. I am seeing conflicting reports as to whether or not children are allowed in the concierge lounge. I will have my two with me and I am not worried about their behavior as they are not at that stage. As one who has travelled frequently for business, I respect that at the lounge and at the restaurants people don't enjoy having to deal with that. I am hoping we can easily get breakfast in the hotel before we head out and explore and grab a drink or snacks later in the day.
Yes, contact Teddi, use my name!
Yes children are welcome in their wonderful CL!
The kids will enjoy the many "Walkable" places nearby, and the hotel staff will "Spoil you"!
These are some of the wonderful people who will help you!
Nic, the "Gold Keys" Concierge Captain, a wonderful guy, and he will arrange to have you picked up at LHR!
Teddi and Ana, two of the wonderful front desk folks who always are so professional and helpful!
Good luck, and keep the questions coming!
Hi, I would even recommend the afternoon tea at your hotel. It is wonderful. Besides the lounge, they also have a library there which has some nice views and is a great place to relax with your children at their ages. Take a ride on the space needle that is just outside on the riverfront. It is a great way to see London from the "topside"
Great suggestion rogdude!
Enjoy tea or whatever in this wonderful lounge!
Many MRI's have enjoyed the beauty of this lounge!
Wonderful place, wonderful sights from here!
View from Lounge!
What a view from the Lounge!
An Oyster Card is a must. You can buy one at any tube station. You'll pay 5 pounds for the card (which is refundable when you turn it in) plus whatever value you load on it. You'll have the choice of a travel card or just preloading money (I chose the latter for a 4 day visit). If you go this route, you can add additional funds later, but I suggest paying with the same method (cash is best, but credit works too) as when you first bought the card to make the return easier. When you leave London, take the card to a ticket window at the underground station and get back your 5 pounds plus any value left on the card. For reference, I spent about 30 pounds in fares over my four days (fares are capped at a daily limit, so if you never end up paying more than the cost of a daily travel card). sg1974 has great links to the Transit for London website.
As far as the London Pass, I've heard mixed reviews. I didn't buy one because I couldn't see fitting in enough to cover the cost. I did visit a couple sights, but the individual admissions cost less than the pass and filled up my day. If I could have done one or two more (not sure there were enough hours in the day) it might have made sense. It is supposed to allow you skip lines, but that is probably just at the ticket windows. I have no idea how bad it gets. I visited in November, so lines were not a problem (but days were short ). July will certainly be different. Review the list of attractions. If you think you can visit enough in a day that it would save money, buy it. Just keep in mind that it can take quite a bit of time to really explore some of these locations (like the Tower of London).
The Heathrow Express is a good option, but from Paddington you will need to use the tube. The luggage may be your biggest issue here. Sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. I have no doubt the kids will love the trip. I was about the same age when I first visited London (also a business trip). Enjoy, and let us all know how things turn out when you return.
Bejacob is spot on. I live in the UK, and I would never go to London without my Oyster Card. Not only do you save money with it, it is so convenient. No tickets to buy. And by the way, just in case you are thinking of visiting London again, any money left on the card never expires, so you can use it on a future trip. Or give it to someone else who is visiting London.
Personally, I have never seen any advantage in the London Pass, even when I have been in London for a week.
Another thought for you. If you do use the Heathrow Express, the tickets are issued by National Rail. There are loads of 2 for 1 offers if you can show the rail tickets when you enter an attraction. You need to have a voucher preprinted before you arrive. When I go to London for a break, I look at the 2 for 1 offers and print off any vouchers I may use. If I don't use them - I bin them.
Some of the 2 for 1 offers are The Tower of London, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds etc. Here is the link in case you are interested. Days Out Guide - 2FOR1 London
Thank you to all for your wonderful advice and suggestions. With this information and a little more research I will be able to plan better for our vacation. We are getting very excited for our stopover in London!! If I think of anything else I need to get answers to, I know where to go. You have all been so helpful!
I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who offered advice on how to get around and tips for our London stay at the County Hall. We had a wonderful visit. We did try the hop on hop off bus that picks up right outside the hotel - very convenient; we used the car service that jerrycoin had suggested and it worked out perfectly; we got the tube passes and also did a cruise on the Thames. It was a busy 3 days and we would love to go again to explore even more!!
Absolutely delighted you had a wonderful time in our fabulous capital city. I know I speak for everyone on this thread when I say it was a pleasure to have been of assistance. And thanks a million for reporting back. It is so nice to know that our suggestions were helpful to you.