The option of taking my parents to a travel to somewhere
appeared and I immediately thought about London as we’d already been
there. Knowing their interest by ancient Egypt I knew they would love
visiting British Museum. Also, the budget would be low enough as per a
very feasible travel.
Apart of London, I had the visit to Stonehenge in
mind. The problem is it is quite far from the city and isolated from
public transports like train or bus. It could be made if a car was
hired, but then we could take advantage of it for visiting something
else around. On the list were spots like Windsor or White Cliffs of
Dover, but I finally chose Oxford due to how attractive it looked to me
when reading about it.
Salisbury appeared as destination for our first
night in the country as it is close to Stonehenge and has an impressive
Cathedral, with the tallest spire of the country.
The plan then is taking the car when arriving to
Gatwick, the best airport for this route, and driving to Salisbury. We
could visit the city before going to sleep for driving to Stonehenge
the next morning, and then to Oxford, where we would spend the rest of
the day until going to our hotel in London after delivering the car.
As it was clear for us to use three days for
visiting London, we need five nights and the route plan (route day number and
where we spend the night) is like this, starting by
November 30th of 2009:
2, 3, 4 y 5: London
The budget for this travel was set to 500€ per couple,
although the rates for London hotels could make us to go beyond it.
Somehow, when finding good accommodation out of the city but with good
connections to it, we even could set the budget even lower: 440€ per
couple, including flights, hotels and car. The currency exchange
advantages us too as, at the moment of the payments, it was at 0.92€
per pound, very close of the parity.
This time the destination was chosen with the idea of using a
low cost airline. Easyjet is the one I prefer and it flies from
Barcelona airport but, for the chosen dates, two months in advance,
Ryanair rates from Girona airport were unbeatable. We’re not talking
about the first rate, which showed an incredible amount of 4€ per
flight, but the total: 52€ per person, return trip and including the
baggage, which is far the most expensive here.
Finally, then, return flights are like this:
11/30/2009 GRO 13:55 LGW 14:55
12/05/2009 LGW 15:30 GRO
Looking for hotels seems a simple task this time: one in
Salisbury and another one in London.
I found the one in Salisbury soon, as it is not a
big place with a lot of hotels, and when searching in booking.com I was
attracted by a guesthouse with good price and even better rating from
customers. I could double check this last point in Tripadvisor: people
end loving this place. So I chose
Rokeby Guest House.
I found it was just one standard room available by 65£, but
we could still get a superior room by 69£ for my parents. That is what
we’ve booked, as it must be paid there when checking out.
London was more complicated. My plan B was the
hotel we staid when we were here some years ago: Sleeping Beauty. It’s
a good value for money but a pretty bad location. It’s an area so
outlying that the Metro even doesn’t get there. You must take a bus for
reaching the end Victoria line’s station: Walthamstow Central. It’s at
the far North of the city and for this travel we’re more linked to the
South, where Gatwick airport and car rental office are.
Somehow, in London city I couldn’t find anything
of that value by less than 100€ per night. Solution, then, was looking
outside of the city. Croydon is the city my attention went to, because
it is in the middle of the way between London and Gatwick, because it
has got good connections to London city center with a train to Victoria
Station every 15 minutes and because I found a Hotel Hilton by 54£.
We’ve booked four nights in two double rooms in
Hilton Croydon by 432£.
Hotel expenses then are like this:
-Rokeby Guesthouse: 65£
-Hilton Croydon (4 nights): 216£
The total per couple, with a good currency
exchange for these dates, is around 305€.
We needed a car with all the insurances for two days to be
picked up and delivered in Gatwick airport. There are a lot on sites in
the web for car rental in UK. I found the best quote out of the most
known franchise, with Green
Motion, which allows me to use a Volkswagen Polo for two days
There is an excess of 500£ here, though, but it can be easily
avoided by paying 9.50£ more, to be paid when booking, which we’ve
done. This insurance is hired to AIG and we’ve received a PDF file with
all the documentation from it.
Therefore, we’ve got the car we wanted by 60€
approximately, 30 by couple.
The only fix expense we’ve been looking at is the London
Pass, which we already used when our first visit to London four years
ago. Somehow, I didn’t remember it was that expensive, so I’ve been
looking for alternatives.
Public transport is expensive in London, so we
need the Travelcard for using it with no limits in three days, but the
entrance in our visits could still be an important expense. Until I
found a touristic agreement in railways and you can get 2x1 deals in a
lot of attractions and monuments just by having a valid Travelcard and
got the coupons previously printed. So we bring all the coupons printed
Days Out Guide website and I’ve
checked we can get our Travelcards in East Croydon train station.
A Travelcard for three days and all the zones – needed
because of our location in Croydon, belonging to zone 5 – Off Peak is
21.20£ per person. The “Off Peak” option makes the price quite cheaper
and makes you to use it since 9:30 AM. As we don’t want to wake up that
early it was the adequate option for us.
Detailed plan, then, is like this:
to London and visiting Salisbury
St James Park
Bridge and Tower