Cheapest Way to get to London/Best time to Go?
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Feb 5, 2010 6:18 PM Last Post By: danalex
Jan 30, 2010 4:48 PM
Cheapest Way to get to London/Best time to Go?Hi everyone,
I'm excited to be making my first trip to the UK this summer, starting with London. I have two questions to start with, the most obvious I suppose - when is the best time to go and what is the cheapest way to get there?
I would like to avoid crowds (relative, of course) if possible. Also, I've noticed flights to Gatwick are much cheaper than Heathrow - is there a disadvantage to flying to Gatwick and then taking a train/bus to central london or the underground?
Thanks so much for the help/advice!
Jan 30, 2010 5:17 PM
Jan 30, 2010 5:36 PM
Sorry, should have been more specific. Here are the details
Flying from Toronto (Pearson) to London, spending a month in the UK split between England, Ireland, and Scotland.
I plan to either leave Toronto early-mid may or early July depending on my schedule and advice recieved.
Jan 30, 2010 6:13 PM
3I've flown Air Transat (for the cheap price) into Gatwick. There's a convenient rail link direct into London, though others will probably suggest cheaper options. I can't think of any disadvantages.
I prefer England in the warmer months -- anytime from May to September. But Scotland -- only been there in July, and the weather was great.
Jan 30, 2010 6:27 PM
Thanks for the reply - that's exactly the flight I was looking at. I can't think of a cheaper option (and convienent) than that - there's a sig price difference between the airports. At least for a student =)
Because of school I have the choice to get May or July. I'd rather go in early July BUT how are the crowds and costs? Is there a sig difference between May and July?
Jan 30, 2010 7:22 PM
5Never been in May, and I usually try to avoid the most touristy places anyway.
If you're using hostels, they might be busy. If I was going to be in a place I thought might be crowded, I'd either book in advance (1 or 2 days was enough), or plan to stay in a smaller town nearby. There seemed to be a Tourist Information Centre in every city/town, and they were excellent in finding accommodation.
Time for somebody else to jump in.....
Jan 30, 2010 9:01 PM
Jan 31, 2010 9:32 AM
7May is late spring rather than summer but the daylight is about the same. If anything the countryside is prettier in May, with blossom etc. Outdoor swimming in May is in colder water than July/August and days in may can be cool, but warming up. Practically there is not a lot of real difference in fact. There are a couple of bank holiday weeks in may which can bring crowds out though. Overall I would go for May. Most attractions are open before or from Easter and it is still in the early part of the season.
Glad you are getting out of London, do see something of the country, but do not try to do too much, spend some time just being there!!
Gatwick to central London is not that big a deal, and a pleasanter trip I would think than from Heathrow on the tube, (I have friends on the South coast I visit by train which goes via Gatwick) but I do not know how the fares compare.
Jan 31, 2010 10:12 AM
Thanks for your replies and advice. Is there a way to reply individually without sending private messages? Right now I'm replying all in a single post.
Thanks Fwoggie, if I end up going later I would be in England from appx July 2-17th or so and then off to Ireland and Scotland.....booking flights/accom way in advance. Sounds like I'll miss the rush.
Thanks Christopher - weather aside, if there's not much difference than I'll decide based on summer school sessions. I was more concerned about costs/crowds in July but it can't be much worse than Paris at the same time.
That's great, Gatwick it is, big price difference in flights, advance train tickets from Gatwick to Victoria station are 5 pounds.
Feb 1, 2010 3:07 AM
9Costs wouldn't be higher in July than May if you're staying in hotels or guesthouses - they only seem to go up in self catering accommodation. Other costs will remain the same.
London will probably be very much like Paris in July (but probably not as warm). Where the crowds are a pain are places like Cornwall and the roads at weekends. If you are driving, then avoid the busier routes from Friday to Sunday night - try and go mid week or very very early in the morning.... This includes the M4, M3, M5, A303 and A30 if you're going south. The M25 is always busy....
Feb 1, 2010 4:41 AM
10Have you checked out 'Canadian Affair?' They are a pretty good agent for flights from/to Canada. They're not always the cheapest, but I've used them in the past and found them the most economical on quite a few occasions. It's always worth getting their price, finding out which airline their putting you on - then contacting the airline direct to see if they'll offer you a better deal. Sometimes it's yes, other times - no.
LGW is normally a cheaper destination to get to than LHR. However, it is about 40 miles from Central London, whereas LHR is only about 20 miles away. Train/bus fares are a little different from the two, but only a matter of the cost of a couple of beers.
The best time to go to London is just before/after the holiday season starts/ends. The main UK summer holiday season is from the last week in July to first week of September. During that time, the streets are choked up with tourists.
Feb 2, 2010 7:25 PM
Thanks Bellart1 and battybilly for your info, much appreciated. Sounds like I'll be just fine in July so long as I'm out of London by the third week of July - perhaps I'll leave my country visits for this time.
I have just checked out Canadian Affair, a friend mentioned the site as well so thanks for that. I will keep an eye out, they seem to have promos now. The fare from Gatwick is nominal if booked in advance, the biggest difference based on the CA site right now is the exact day I fly out.
Thanks again! Will have hostel questions shortly =)
Best to everyone,
Feb 3, 2010 3:01 AM
12What bell is saying is that it's not just London in late July that is busy; our schools break up around the 21st or so (nearest Friday) across the whole of England (except one or two places in the north). And so late July and August are when most people with school age children take their holidays, go on day trips, and so forth. Even people without school age children often choose those months, in the expectation that the weather will be better (you'd think they'd have learned) and so do other visitors from overseas. So any touristy area - Cornwall and Devon, the coastal resorts, the Lake District, most national parks, will be busier too, as will all the routes to them - road and rail particularly.
And, therefore, in lots of those places some kinds of accommodation will be harder to find unless you book in advance.
Feb 3, 2010 3:18 AM
13Let's face it - June, July, August and even September, will be busy - mainly because these are supposed to be the best months for decent weather (!) but the school hoildays will be even busier... In fact, private schools break up earlier, around the 10th July (but they are more likely to be holidaying in exotic places to avoid the riff raff, except those with second homes in Cornwall, and there are lots of them).
However, it is mostly the roads and trains where it will be noticed most. Once in Cornwall/Lake District, you won't notice as much.... I think!
Feb 3, 2010 5:04 AM
Just a word of warning London is not the only place that gets tourists and you cannot assume yo will leave them behind when you get to the country. I also have to disagree with bellart-it is not just the roads and trains. I think you notice it quite asmuch when you get to the Lakes. The number of brightly coloured anoraks and rucsacs goes through the roof (Locals do not wear them most of the time for some reason). Accommodation, pubs, cafes etc all get busier in July, and indeed so do the hills. I could probably be alone on the top of Coniston Old Man today. In late July there have been queues at certain bits of the route up.
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