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She Loves London in the Winter

American Journeywoman Claudia Eastman is a Film and television Location Manager based in Hollywood, California. She's also an older adventuress who loves to travel solo and she does it very well. Claudia loves London at Christmas time so much it's hard to get her to go anyplace else. She writes...

Since I've been to London more often than the average Journeywoman I thought it would be helpful to share the following advice with other members of the JW Network. These are tidbits that I've gleaned just by going out and about -- experiencing and experimenting. It's definitely not hard to have fun in London. Enjoy, everybody!

Experience has taught me that if you chose to arrive on Christmas day know in advance that the London Underground and bus system are shut down. Taxis are few and far between and pricey as well. The Heathrow Express train runs but on a limited schedule and once you get to Paddington Train Station your only options are a rogue cabbie or to walk to your hotel. Of course, if you have friends in London have them pick you up and render this tip a mute point.
Exchange some money at the airport. American Express has a counter in Terminal Three. Saves time and you can buy a cup of coffee, a copy of Time Out (detailing what's on in the city), pay for transportation into London and have money for your first night on the town.
Begin your sightseeing days early. It starts getting dark around 4pm so plan your outings and excursions accordingly.
Do your research about traveling via the Tube. The Tube carries more than a billion passengers each year - four million journeys each day and growing. Do your TUBE research before you leave so that when you locate your nearest station in London you'll know exactly what to do and which tickets to buy. Website:
Getting cash from ATM's is the best and easiest way to get money. I use only bank ATM's such as Barclays. (Note: your pincode can only be 4 digits). I take one credit card, one debit card and some traveler's checks as back up. I use the credit card for lodging and large gift purchases thus assuring a record of my major expenses. I use cash for food and drink, postcards, postage, a phone card, newspapers and knick knacks.
Please remember in London traffic flows the opposite way from what you may be used to. Keep this in mind when waiting to cross a street. Out of habit you'll look the wrong way and might not live to see another day. At intersections look down at your feet and you'll see bold letters which say: LOOK RIGHT or LOOK LEFT. Pay attention and cross the streets safely.

A Listing of Afternoon Teas in London...

Afternoon tea, Dorchester Hotel
(Afternoon Tea at the Dorchester Hotel in London)

No one does afternoon tea like the Brits! And the nice part about that custom is that you can choose to have your treat in very posh surroundings or in a tiny tearoom down a little lane. Each one has its own ambience and charm. The trick is to let your budget dictate. We've done our Journeywoman homework and can offer you suggestions for upscale experiences as well as more affordable discoveries. Click here.

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