Travel

RFD a UK trip for next summer

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 15th, 2017 11:27 pm
[OP]
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Feb 4, 2015
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Canada, Eh!!

RFD a UK trip for next summer

@$@^!*#@)*@#(!

Got invited to a wedding next year in London, England so need to best plan and price. Wife's side of the family so can't get out of it!! Five of us travelling.

Wedding in London mid August 2018, balmy!! Ideally want to fly to Birmingham or Manchester earlier in August or even late July and take up brother in law offer to see UK and Europe. 2-3 weeks.

Thought of UK castles, Scotland, Paris Disney, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, etc.

Any suggestions for flights? So far [calendar does not go all the way to August end yet] seems that $800-900/person is best [non stop]. Willing to fly from Toronto, Montreal, Buffalo.

Any suggestions for sites to visit and things to do in UK for 3 adults, 1 early teen, 1 pre teen? BIL pretty good at planning that stuff however good to have ideas to suggest. Seems UK residents can get better priced packages to Paris Disney... just gotta verify he can buy for us as well.

Train and car best options for travel once there? Especially within UK and France?

Use cash or credit cards while in Europe?

Already hearing ca-ching$$, ca-ching$$ while thinking of trip!!

Would it be too early if start complaining of nagging knee pain due to hockey injury? Perhaps wait until next spring?

Thanks.
37 replies
Deal Guru
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Apr 26, 2004
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Mississauga
Start saving up now as this is going to cost a fortune!

At least most of the museums in London are free, so there's that.
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Sep 30, 2001
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Toronto
I only use a credit card while in Europe, cash if absolutely necessary. To get around I only used public transit and a metro pass.

if you're grousing about money this early in the game I think you should scale back your grand touring visions. why not focus on exploring the UK in those 2-3 weeks? there's no shortage of things to see and it will reduce an extra set of currency you'll need to manage. you could take a train and see the countryside to get from one place to another.

There's an insane amount of things to see in London and the surrounding area alone - all depends on your interests.

Things I enjoyed:
Tours of Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Tower of London/Crown Jewels, Big Ben (silent now), Parliament Buildings, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, British Museum, Shakespeare's Globe, cruise on the Thames, Greenwich Observatory, the Cutty Sark, shopping and eating at Harrods, seeing a concert at the Royal Opera House, seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (book far in advance!), seeing in plays in the West End (Aladdin, Lion King, etc), the James Bond automotive museum, St.Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Emirates Air Line cable car over the Thames.

Outside of London: Warner Brothers Studio Tour (think Harry Potter), Stonehenge, Cliffs of Dover, City of Bath, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Oxford.

This doesn't include all the memorials, statues, gates, bridges and pubs. My only disappointment was Kensington Palace. It's really just a very large mansion so if you're not into the Royals it can easily be skipped.

Things I plan on doing on my next visit: visiting Kew gardens and the treetop walkway, going down the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum (housing the Magna Carta), Highclere Castle, Hampton Court Palace, and Cambridge.
Sr. Member
Apr 12, 2012
756 posts
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Toronto
Just avoid WestJet: old planes/no complimentary meals

The museums in England are nice. You can try Covent Garden as well. I'm sure your friends will know where to show you.
The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
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Nov 13, 2010
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Scarborough
Check the forex rates before deciding countries. Some of them are expensive (e.g. Switzerland)
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Oct 2, 2006
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London, EU
The £ is at its weakest in the past 8 years, so you may get a bargain. If you live in Vancouver, the cost of food in a restaurant is probably the same.
Newbie
Jun 15, 2016
23 posts
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Fly from YYZ to LGW (Gatwick), plane tickets could be slightly cheaper than flying to LHW (Heathrow). It's about 30-40 minute train ride from LGW to central London.

End of August is usually the more expensive season to travel to England, at least from my experience. Be prepared to walk a lot, so where comfortable shoes. Travelling by underground/bus is a lot faster than by car. Get an oyster card.

There's some beautiful beaches if you're willing to get down to South of England, I highly recommend giving Bournemouth a visit. Like everyone has mentioned, there's no shortage of things to do in London,UK for 2-3 weeks.
[OP]
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Feb 4, 2015
2577 posts
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Canada, Eh!!
Based on folks who have posted so far and speaking to BIL there is plenty to do in UK.

So most likely visit UK north and south [beaches and Scotland] and plan a 3-4 day trip to Paris Disney if BIL can get us good package at UK rates [seems to be about 5-600 less then what we could get for 5 people for 3-4 days... need to research more].

BIL and family near Birmingham so would rather not have him drive to London to pick us up. So would appreciate if know of any deals to Birmingham or Manchester airports. Would stay with them and then drive to London for wedding.

Thanks.
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Jul 14, 2006
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lemieux035 wrote:
Aug 28th, 2017 12:08 am
Just avoid WestJet: old planes/no complimentary meals
I just got back from this route. Old planes and not what I would consider great value for the $. I flew Plus so I did get food and a comfortable seat. I'm not sure if AC on the 777 or 787 would have been much better, but it would have cost me another $500 so there's some trade-off perhaps.
Sr. Member
Apr 12, 2012
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Toronto
13inches wrote:
Aug 28th, 2017 2:48 pm
I just got back from this route. Old planes and not what I would consider great value for the $. I flew Plus so I did get food and a comfortable seat. I'm not sure if AC on the 777 or 787 would have been much better, but it would have cost me another $500 so there's some trade-off perhaps.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/westjet ... -1.4131987

"Westjet has decided to reduce the number of flights it offers to London, England, this summer as it tries curb delays and cancellations caused by its aging fleet of Boeing 767s. 
The airline has experienced plenty of problems since it began offering direct flights from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto to Gatwick airport last summer. Its four Boeing 767s are an average of 25 years old and the company says they require more time for repairs."

I just did my research. AC charges just about 120$ more per economy seat and you get a newer, bigger 777 as well as complimentary food.
The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Deal Addict
Jul 14, 2006
1021 posts
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Yes, I'm aware of the troubles Westjet has had on this route. I did my research too.

It's a gamble either way for me, because in the past I have not had the most pleasant experiences with Air Canada and their customer service. Which is why I continue to choose Westjet - they have gone above my expectations to help, correct, and answer questions for me whenever I have needed them. And they have treated my friends equally well too. Heck, they just threw me $50 yesterday for a pretty minor mixup. They've always done right by me, so I will continue to support them.

And when they get their 787s in 2019 (fingers crossed), I'm sure I'll be flying with them a lot more! :)
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2015
2577 posts
457 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
Will be mostly in UK with possible trips to Paris/Switzerland/Germany... just exchange CAD to Pounds before trip and then get Euros in UK as needed?

Or take CAD and exchange in UK to Pounds and/or Euros?


Or take USD [already have] and exchange in UK to Pounds and/or Euros?

Note that will be using credit card [no foreign transaction fees card or perhaps get Rogers card] most of the time so just need some cash if merchant does not take. Also to pay BIL if he gets us Paris Disney package/tickets.
Deal Addict
Jul 14, 2006
1021 posts
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I found that exchange rates in London varied wildly throughout the city. The market rate was $1.60 and the range of offers from Currency Exchange places went from $1.65 to $1.95. Compare that to what you can pay locally and decide if it's worth it.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2015
2577 posts
457 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
13inches wrote:
Aug 30th, 2017 9:12 am
I found that exchange rates in London varied wildly throughout the city. The market rate was $1.60 and the range of offers from Currency Exchange places went from $1.65 to $1.95. Compare that to what you can pay locally and decide if it's worth it.
So probably better to exchange before trip.

Any suggestions where to best exchange locally, if you are in GTA area? Thanks.
Sr. Member
Sep 14, 2010
883 posts
139 upvotes
Toronto
im gonna change mine at wall street finance.
I hope 1k pounds is enough for a week.

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