Where To Stay
London Accommodations for Budget Travellers lists establishments with rates of less than $80 a night, double occupancy. Other publications with lodging information include Jewels of Britain, a directory of more than 100 hotels and restaurants, and Stay on a Farm and Stay at an Inn, all available by calling the tourist office.
If you arrive without a reservation, seek out Tourist Information Centers at airports and major railway stations. The TICs can make overnight reservations on the spot. There is a hotel-booking service in London at the British Travel Centre, 1 Regent St., near Piccadilly Circus.
Arriving & Departing: London is Europe's leading trans-Atlantic gateway, with scores of nonstop flights from the U.S. every day. The Underground fare from Heathrow Airport to London is about $6; the airport bus, about $10. British Rail connects Gatwick Airport with Victoria Station in London. There is also trans-Atlantic service to Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.
Travel across the English Channel to the Continent is frequent and fast. High-speed Eurostar trains run from London's Waterloo Station to Paris and Brussels through the Channel Tunnel. Trains from London's Victoria Station connect with ferries at Dover or Folkestone. Steamers call at Scandinavian ports, and ferries, jetfoils and Hovercraft operate to France, Belgium and Ireland.
Getting Around: The British Rail network stretches from Wick and Thurso in northern Scotland to Penzance at the southwestern tip of Cornwall.
For information on rail passes see by rail.
London's Underground is very extensive and easy to use.
The London Visitor Travelcard, good for unlimited rides on the Underground system (including Heathrow Airport transit on the Piccadilly Line) and bus rides, costs $29 for three days, $39 for four days or $59 for seven days. Call Rail Europe at 800-324-RAIL.
The Great British Heritage Pass provides entry to 600 of Britain's finest castles, abbeys, stately homes, palaces, gardens and parks—including Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, and the Roman Baths and Pump Room at Bath. The 1998 pass costs $45 for seven days, $69 for 15 days or $90 for one month and is available before you leave from Rail Europe, 800-324-RAIL.
New Years Day, Good Friday (Mar. 28), Easter Monday (Mar. 31; observed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland only), May Day (May 5), Spring Bank Holiday (May 26), Summer Bank Holiday (Aug. 25; Aug. 4 in Scotland), Christmas, Boxing Day (Dec. 26).
Banks are open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and many are open Saturday morning. The pound sterling is divided into 100 pence. $1 = 0.60 GBP as of Dec. 2, 1996.