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    • WLM21
    • By WLM21 1st Sep 17, 9:44 PM
    • 1,097Posts
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    0 WOW
    Mini break to London
    • #1
    • 1st Sep 17, 9:44 PM
    0 WOW
    Mini break to London 1st Sep 17 at 9:44 PM
    I want to book a weekend in London during November, to include train journey there from Newcastle as well as booking two theatre tickets.
    Should I just look online and book directly or visit a local travelagent. They used to have mini break brochures which were pretty cheap... although when i last booklet that way it was in the 1980s.
    Thanks for any advice.
Page 1
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 1st Sep 17, 10:26 PM
    • 7,571 Posts
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    • #2
    • 1st Sep 17, 10:26 PM
    • #2
    • 1st Sep 17, 10:26 PM
    All you can do is compare prices between a company and DIY.

    No need to go to an agent, A company such as Superbreaks will offer the whole package - travel, hotel and theatre tickets and you can book online.

    We have used them as they have been cheaper, or the marginal extra cost was worth it to be able to click and book everything at once.
    • susancs
    • By susancs 2nd Sep 17, 9:58 AM
    • 3,837 Posts
    • 3,703 Thanks
    • #3
    • 2nd Sep 17, 9:58 AM
    • #3
    • 2nd Sep 17, 9:58 AM
    It is often cheaper to book it all yourself. You have just missed the recent half price flash sale for Virgin trains from Newcastle to London but there may be other deals. megabus coaches do fares from 4 from Newcastle to London. is good to look for Theatre offers and seat reviews.

    If you are travelling by train go on the 2for1 website to print out vouchers to use for various attractions here.

    You can use a contactless bank card (need one per person) to tap in and out of buses, tubes, trains for cheaper and capped travel in London.

    Plan your days and journeys using

    If you just want a place to sleep, the Premier Inn Hub at Westminster Abbey has some good rates for November and a good base for travelling around London. The Lord Mayors show is on 11 Nov if you fancy watching the parade and the later fireworks over the Thames.
    Last edited by susancs; 02-09-2017 at 10:25 AM.
    • PhylPho
    • By PhylPho 4th Sep 17, 7:49 PM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 2,797 Thanks
    • #4
    • 4th Sep 17, 7:49 PM
    • #4
    • 4th Sep 17, 7:49 PM
    We're not long back from a weekend in London, traveling on Virgin's West Coast line from the Scottish Borders. Or English Borders, depending on who you think won and who you vote for.

    First thing: Saturday travel (on Virgin) is waaaaaay cheaper than the price component of any 'holiday' devised by a third party. We paid a mere 30 each for 1st Class travel. Including a, uh, picnic breakfast. Virgin don't offer that kind of ticketing every weekend, but they do offer a mere 10 surcharge over Standard Class. (Our distance from London, incidentally, is 315 miles.)

    If you have a railcard, which is always worth having, then bagging what is, in effect, a free one courtesy of Tesco Clubcard, is essential. We've had railcards for years. Mr Tesco has paid for all of 'em. If you shop at Morrison's, then tough. And Sainsbury's Nectar is useless in comparison to Tesco Clubcard.

    Accommodation? We always book into university hall accomm. There's absolutely no point in having a weekend in London and staying further than walking distance from the centre. Kensington hath its charms, but Tube travel and/or expensive cabs ain't amongst them.

    However: when you're going, students are all in residence, so you need to think about London. . . properly. As ex-Londoners by virtue of provenance if not of birth, Northumberland Avenue is always our preferred destination of choice when enjoying a weekend in The Smoke (aaah, yesteryear) and there's at least one hotel there which doesn't charge the earth.

    You're less than a 5-minute stroll from Trafalgar Square, 10 minutes from Piccadilly Circus; 12 minutes from Leicester Square; a quarter hour from Covent Garden's piazza restaurants. It's also less than 5 minutes' walk to ye pedestrian bridge over the Thames to the South Bank.

    London's Tube is brilliant. Make sure you have your contactless debit cards with you. You don't need Oyster cards. Likewise, London's buses are fabulous. Just hit the yellow button when boarding.

    Theatres? Your choice. Prices vary wildly according to popularity. Last-minute bargains are to be had at ticketing agencies (there's one in Leicester Square we've used from time to time) but you're not guaranteed the best seats. Just make sure you look at a seating plan for sight lines. We tend to go to the pictures instead: the British Film Institute's iMAX on the South Bank. Outstanding. (But advance booking is essential.)

    Best value in London? City Cruises lunch. Seriously. There's no pretence (as there is with certain other, unnamed, dining-cruise operators) at cordon bleu, but equally, no pretence at their prices, either. Instead: there's a floating restaurant -- a proper one, not a boat-with-a-caff -- and lunch from a set menu (two choices: eat it; don't eat it) and fabulous staff as the restaurant boat cruises up and down the Thames.

    Next best value in London? Something called 'the classic' bus tour, starting off from, of all places, Northumberland Avenue. It is not a hip on / hop off affair, so no, you don't spend half your time in London, having hopped off the bus, waiting desperately to hop-on again when it next trundles into view. If it ever trundles into view.

    Good luck, and don't believe that DIY London is out of the question. It isn't. But yes, you will need to pre-plan. And remember those train fares: we usually go out Saturday morning 1st Class (most often at a 10 premium on Standard but hey, breakfast is free) come back on Standard. Using railcard each way (one-third off) unless, of course, Virgin is running a 30 1st Class rail offer, in which case it doesn't matter if you have a railcard or not.

    We're both very familiar with London by virtue of careers and residence, though it's been a few decades since last we knew it on a daily basis. Nowadays it's where we head for good times re-visited. And always but always . . . we do it ourselves.
    • Nicers
    • By Nicers 8th Sep 17, 8:54 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    • #5
    • 8th Sep 17, 8:54 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Sep 17, 8:54 AM
    I go to London a few times a year with a friend. We always book the train in advance, at least 3 months in advance for best rates - or when there's a sale on we arrange a trip around that!

    Always stay at the Travelodge Covent Garden - cheap and cheerful. Easy walking distance to West End, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square etc. Never had a bad stay - although ear plugs are recommended (but London is noisy). Also you can leave your luggage till 6pm on your day of departure for free - have to pay around a tenner an item at the train station. OR if your train is late enough find a theatre with that has a cloak room (not all do) - we've been to see the matinee of whatever is on at the Vaudeville for that reason!

    Theatre - I NEVER pay top price. Either buy using or Day Seat - although don't do this if you deffo want to watch something as you might not get tickets (day seat info on TheatreMonkey). Also there's a fairly new app called TodayTix that do a lottery on the day for front row/day seats - if you don't win they often offer discounted tickets too. You can also buy in advance - just a case of looking through, picking the cheapest price and looking where the seats are. (just did a quick look at Dreamgirls - tickets middle of 5th row for 5 days time are 23.00 and on ATG they are 75.00!!!) Also the TKTS booth in Leicester Square is good for a last minute offer - they put the prices up on their website so you could always have a look before going.

    Also - if you want to experience Harrods then I recommend getting there as it opens at 10 am and have tea and crumpets for breakfast, pretty much the cheapest thing on the menu at 9.50 and you get 4 little jars of Harrods Jam with them - make sure you put what you don't use in your bag! - to buy them in the shop is 6.00 so deffo worth the extra 3.50!!

    I think it, I say it... it's my way
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