London (and Brighton) - for visiting SF folk
& Britain's 2010 National SF Convention and
Euro-conference as well as the
World Horror Convention 2010
London, principal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, has
much to commend it to visitors.
This is an introduction prior to the
2010 national SF convention and
Euroconference at London Heathrow which itself is one week after the first UK hosted World Horror Convention in Brighton.
Arriving for London (UK - Euro-conference con hotels) -
Arriving for Brighton (World Horror Convention hotel)
Travel within London -
Dos and Don'ts in London -
Quick tours of central London -
SF in London
The UK is a wonderful place to visit with so much to see that any article can barely scratch the surface. This one is written more to meet the needs of SF fans attending the London region cons of 2010. Note: Odyssey 2010 is running a London tourist day for visiting fans the Wednesday after the World Horror Convention and before the Odyssey national convention and Euro-Conference. This will enable foreign visiting fans to meet each other before and have a day or orientation before doing their own tourism on the Thursday. (Thursday evening sees British fans begin to arrive at Heathrow for the Odyssey convention.)
First some basics. Great Britain is a small (about the size of Oregon), highly populated (62 million) grouping of islands (which centuries ago included part of NW France (Little Britain). Today Great Britain principally comprises of England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Isles and Isles of Man (these last two being semi-autonomous states from the UK (as opposed to Scotland, Wales and NI which are semi-autonomous within the UK)). This is reflected in the UK flag, or Union Jack that comprises of a blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland). Consequently England's flag is not the Union Jack but the St George red cross on a white background.
The UK principal religions include Christianity and Jedi: this last arising out of joke at the time of a national census. London itself is very multi-ethnic, more so than most of the rest of the UK and this is reflected in the cultures and cuisine of which you can partake. London itself is 27 miles (44km) east-west and 20 miles (32.5 km) north-south which means it has an area of 540 square miles (1,430 square kilometres). However for purposes of just a few days tourism around a convention it is arguably best to focus on the city centre of 10 miles by 10 miles (which is still 100 square miles).
Arriving for London (and getting to the UK - Euro-conference con hotels)
The 2010 UK national convention and Euroconference (Odyssey 2010) is being held at Heathrow on outer London's western edge, and next door to Heathrow airport.
If arriving by train from mainland Europe, you will come into St Pancras International rail station. Walk away from the platform straight ahead past the shops and towards the underground. If you are going to Heathrow then you need an underground (tube or metro rail) ticket to Heathrow which is in travel zone 6 (St Pancreas is in travel zone 1). You can either buy a zone 1-6 ticket from a machine or queue at the ticket office. You then need to make your way to the Piccadilly line (purple) and head for the western bound platform. This takes you all the way to Heathrow without any changes. You need to get off at the stop for Terminals 1,2 & 3 (and not the stops for either Terminal 4 or Terminal 5). When you get to the terminal look for signs for the 'bus station' (not the 'coach station'). If in doubt ask at the information desk "where are the 'London Transport buses'?". When you get to the bus station you will find several bus routes take you past the Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel. These buses are the numbers: 105, 111, 140 or 285, 555, 556 and 557. These buses are free (there is no cost) between the airport and hotel and they leave roughly once every 10 -15 minutes during the day. The hotel is the second (2nd) or third (3rd) stop and is near a McDonalds fast feed outlet a little way down a small open area on the left hand side of the road. (In other words about a minute or two after the bus has gone through the road tunnel underneath the airport runway. In fact if you see the McDonalds you should have already left the bus.)
If arriving by plane to Heathrow airport you need to go to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and follow the instructions above.
If arriving at Gatwick you need to get a train to Victoria (London) station. They will try and sell you an express train ticket but the slow train is only 15 - 20 minutes longer and cheaper so you might as well as for a slow train ticket to Victoria London. At Victoria you need to head to the underground (tube or metro rail) ticket to Heathrow which is in travel zone 6 (St Pancreas is in travel zone 1). You can either buy a zone 1-6 ticket from a machine or queue at the ticket office. You then need to head for the platforms that jointly service the District (green) and Circle (yellow) lines and the westbound platform. Go just two stops to South Kensington and change to the Piccadilly (purple) line. When you get out of your Circle/District line train you need to go down the stairs to the Piccadilly line. (If you have great mobility difficulties you can change lines at the next stop, Gloucester Road, but it is a little more complicated.) You need a westbound line to Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 & 3 (and not the stops for either Terminal 4 or Terminal 5) and then follow the local bus guidance two paragraphs above.
If arriving at Stansted then the air ticket may be cheaper but you will need to pay for it in a rail ticket to Liverpool Street London where you need to get a Circle line (yellow) underground rail to South Kensington and then change to the Piccadilly (purple) line (as above) for Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 & 3. For proposes of the 2010 conventions it would be easier if you few into either Heathrow or Gatwick and avoided Stansted airport (which is on the completely wrong side of the city for both conventions).
Arriving for Brighton (and the World Horror Convention hotel)
The 2010 World Horror Con is being held in Brighton, a town on England's southern coast about 45 miles (73 km) south of central London and about 45 minutes by a fast train from London's Victoria station (there are slower trains stopping at more stations).
If arriving at Heathrow airport then go to the underground (tube or metro rail) get a Zone 1-6 ticket. Get off at South Kensington. Go up the stairs and then escalator to the surface District and Circle lines (green and yellow colours) and get the westbound train to Victoria. At Victoria get up to the main line rail station and get a ticket to Brighton: it may be cheaper to get a return ticket so tell them you are returning in a few days time (or alternatively get a 'day return' if you are coming back the same day). Depending on the train you get Brighton is about 45 minutes to an hour away. At Brighton either follow the instructions in the World Horror Convention Progress Report to the Royal Albion Hotel or get a taxi (it is only a short 10 minute ride). Alternatively, if you are strong and healthy, the hotel is on the sea front, downhill from the rail station about 20 minutes walk at a slow pace. From Brighton Station walk down hill towards the sea. Pass the Clock Tower in the centre of the road continuing to the bottom of West Street, here turn left onto Kings Road and continue walking towards the hotel. The Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton can be found on the left-hand side opposite Brighton Pier.
If arriving at Gatwick airport then get the rail train to Brighton. (Gatwick is half way between London Victoria and Brighton.) Then from Brighton station follow the instructions at the end of the previous paragraph.
If arriving at St Pancreas International walk away from the platform straight ahead past the shops and towards the underground. Get a zone 1 ticket to Victoria. Go to the southbound Victoria (light blue) line platform. At Victoria go up to the main station to get a surface rail ticket to Brighton as described two paragraphs above.
Travelling from Brighton to Heathrow
Get the train to London Victoria and follow the previous instructions as from Gatwick Airport to Heathrow.
Travel within London
When engaged in tourism in London then you are advised to get a Travel Card that covers all your bus, underground (tube or metro rail) and surface proper rail. If you are based at one of the Heathrow hotels then you need an 'All-Zone' card. You can
either buy a 7-day card (about £55 2010 prices) or (no longer sold without a resident's identity rail card), a one-day card (available for tourists). Importantly buy your one-day cards after 09.30 as the price is about 40% cheaper at £8 (2010 price) [£8.90 (2014 price)]. (Buying before 09.30 and you are paying the expensive commuter rate 2009 prices.) When buying after 09.30 always ask for an 'off-peak' ticket to be sure you get the cheaper rate.
The busses from Heathrow 'Terminals 1, 2 & 3' London bus station (not the coach station) to the hotels immediately around Heathrow airport are free (no cost). This is where the 2010 UK national convention and Euro-conference is being held.
The underground line from Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 & 3 is the Piccadilly Line (colour coded purple). If you only have a couple of days in London and do not want to stray from the Piccadilly line then the main stops you might want to explore are:-
'South Kensington' for the Natural History Museum and Science Museum. (both are free and top London attractions), the Victoria and Albert (V&A) cultural museum, the Albert Hall and Imperial College (the university that was the stamping ground of one H. G. Wells).
'Hyde Park Corner' (a half kilometre north of which is speakers corner).
'Green Park' (a quarter of a kilometre south west of which is Buckingham Palace (from whence the Monarch reigns).
'Piccadilly Circus' and 'Leicester Square' the entertainment quarter with all the cinemas and which (Leicester Square a little closer) is near Trafalgar Square and from Trafalgar Square at one point (near - but looking away from - the National Portrait Gallery) you can see between the buildings the more distant Houses of Parliament. Get your bearings. If you walk towards Parliament (down Whitehall) then you will pass by the Queens Horse Guards, the cenotaph (the mid-street war memorial) and also Downing Street (whence resides the Monarch's Prime Minister)
'Covent Garden' for Forbidden Planet SF shop. (From Covent Garden station, the shop is two blocks due north (go up Neal Street to where it joins Shaftesbury Avenue and on the other side of the street on Shaftesbury Avenue there is the shop. Upstairs there are mainly models and the payment counter and downstairs there are the books, DVDs and comics).)
Londoners tend to use the London A-Z paperback book map to get around. However there is a slightly cheaper (but far more expensive page for page) central London A-Z mini booklet. However it may be easier for you to print off maps from the internet for the specific places you wish to visit.
The underground (tube or metro rail) shuts down after around 23.30 but you are advised to get back to Heathrow arriving before 23.00 to avoid the end of night rush some of which (especially on Fridays and Saturdays) can be slightly drunken.
Dos and Don'ts in London
Be careful crossing streets as cars drive on the left hand side of the road (so as to keep your right-handed sword arm free). So always check both ways just to be safe.
Remember it is English English that is being spoken in England.
Importantly some people colloquially refer to cigarettes as 'fags' (which some from N. America may consider are gay). So do not be offended if you smoke you are offered, or asked for, 'a fag': you are not being propositioned. Other common confusions are listed below...
It is not a 'Check' but a 'Bill' you get at the end of a meal. (A 'Cheque' is a paper order to transfer money from a bank account. Conversely, to 'Check' something is to ascertain whether or not it is correct.)
It is not a 'Faucet' but a 'Tap'.
It is not a car 'Trunk' but a 'car 'Boot'.
It is not a 'Sidewalk' but a 'Pavement'.
It is not 'French fries' but (potatoes) 'Chips'.
It is not 'Chips' but 'Crisps'.
It is not 'Cookies' but 'Biscuits'.
It is not 'Candy' but 'Sweets'.
Beer may mean 'Bitter' so you may want to specify a 'lager' if you want something like a Bud. Beer is served in pints (or half pints for women). A beer (pint) in central London is a little over £3 (US$5) (2010 prices) - London is expensive.
'Scotch' is a drink and 'Scottish' are folk or things pertaining to Scotland.
Always stand on escalators (moving stairways) on the right hand side leaving the left hand side clear for people in a rush. This is especially true in central London in the rush hour. Forget to do this and some people might push roughly by. Such folk do not consider themselves rude but think that you are rude for thoughtlessly blocking the way: there are small signs between escalators advising you to stand on the right in most Central London underground stations. You have been warned.
Quick tours of central London
If you only have a day or two in London then this section contains some suggestions for taking in as much as possible in a short time.
There is an open top bus tour of central London costing about £10 (US$16 2010 prices) from the north western corner of Trafalgar Square along the way from the National Portrait Gallery and next to the block with the Canada House building.
From near the Embankment (Circle (yellow), District (green) or Northern (black) lines) and just around the side of Charing Cross station, there is a pier on the River Thames. It is possible to get a return boat ticket to either the Thames Barrier (in the summer months) or Greenwich. The cost will be between £10 - £15 (US$17 - US$24 2010 prices) depending on the company you use (and some have boats better suited to sight seeing but may be more expensive). Also if you have a capital card for buses and trains it is worth checking to see if this gets you a discount for the boats (some companies do do this).
The river cruise (among many sights) will take you past Cleopatra's Needle on the bank on the left, the Globe (Elizabethan reconstructed) Theatre on your right, St Paul's Cathedral (500 metres inland on your left) between the Tower of London (left) and HMS Belfast warship (right), through Tower Bridge, past the old London docklands (left) and to Greenwich. If you get off at Greenwich you can see the Cutty Sark sailing cargo ship near the pier and have a pub lunch. If you have plenty of time and energy you can walk through Greenwich Park and up the hill to the historic Greenwich Observatory. (The Observatory is part of the National Maritime Museum.) The Observatory defines the official 0° longitude line from whence Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was originally kept. (So you can stand with one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one foot in the western hemisphere.) There is also the Royal Observatory Museum (that explains the relationship between the stars, time and longitude navigation that was so important to Britain as a sea-going nation). There is also a small café serving tea, sandwiches and cakes. The view from the Observatory and museum is excellent with the Maritime Museum below at the edge of the park and then beyond that the sweeping curve of the Thames and with the new dockland financial centre as a backdrop.
Alternatively (outside of winter) you can carry on down river to the Thames Barrier. This takes you past the Millennium Dome (on your right) and City Airport (left). The Thames Barrier is an engineering marvel that protects London from tidal surge flooding. There is a museum that explains it all (the cost is between £10 - £15 2010 prices), a simple café is sometimes open, but otherwise there is not much there. It takes about 40 minutes to do the museum (there are two audio visual presentations) and the gap between boats is an hour. However the trip to the Barrier is good and the museum more than passes the hour once you have taken photographs by the Barrier etc.
West End walk (to do if the weather forecast is fine)
For this you will need an A-Z map. From Heathrow, get off at Leicester Square underground station. Walking through Leicester Square you will see a few of London's main cinemas and the ones in which many big film premieres are held. Walk through to Piccadilly Circus which is the main West End throughway. Walk down Regents Street past the Crimean War memorial (mid-street statue/monument) and across the Pall Mall Road, A little way ahead is Carlton House Terrace with a small display explaining the buildings and statues and on your right (to the west) of Carlton House Terrace is the Royal Society (for science). (Do not go down the steps to the Mall as you will do that later.)
Go back to the Pall Mall road and go right to Trafalgar Square. Walk around Trafalgar Square (on the edge of which is the National Portrait Gallery, St Martins Church, Canada House (embassy) and the Admiralty Arch) in the square's centre is Nelson's Column.
Then go down Whitehall and past the Horse Guards, various Governmental Ministries (Departments) and Downing Street. Continue on to the Houses of Parliament. Along Whitehall you will pass a couple of pubs that do food as well as beer (and which are also sometimes used by politicians and lobbyists). At this point you will need a break.
On the far side of Parliament Square there is Westminster Abbey, which is worth a quick wander around for half an hour. Then continue around Parliament Square until you get to Great George Street. Go down this road (away from Parliament) and then turn right when you see the park at the end of the block. Go down Horse Guards road and enter the park following the pathways in a vaguely westerly direction (away from Parliament and Trafalgar Square). This is St James's Park and is very pleasant to walk around. Walk paralleling The Mall (the long straight road) towards Buckingham Palace. You can have a wander about the front of the Palace and see the Guards. You can wave to the Queen (if you are very lucky she might perhaps wave back.) Then head north to Green Park underground station and the Piccadilly Line (purple) that will take you back to Heathrow.
Total walk distance 4 miles (6.5 km).
South Kensington museums and sites (to do if the weather forecast is not so good)
For this you will need an A-Z map. Try to avoid carrying any bags as otherwise you may need to queue to have these inspected at the museums' entrances. From Heathrow, get off at South Kensington underground station. Here the easy, but boring, way to the three main museums is by a pedestrian subway from the underground railway station but really only use this if it is raining. Leave the station on the surface.
(If you are French then check out Bute Street two blocks due west of South Kensington underground station. Bute St is opposite the French Lycée on the Harrington Road, and is called 'Little France'.)
The Natural History Museum is a couple of blocks due north of South Kensington underground station and well worth a visit especially for the dinosaur exhibits. Next to the Natural History Museum, around the corner on Exhibition Road, is the Science Museum. Both museums are free but some of the major or special exhibits may have a special fee and the Science Museum's IMAX theatre does cost. (If you have never ever seen an IMAX film then you are strongly urged to do so. You can book at the Science Museum at the start of your visit a couple of hours in advance (then spend a couple of hours in the museum) and then go back 15 to 20 minutes early (not less than 15) before the start of the film so that you can get a good positioned seat (right in the middle of the auditorium). Try to get to see a 3-D film.) There is loads to see at both the Natural History and Science Museums. Aside from the dinosaurs (both skeletons and animatronics) at the Natural History museum there is also a side museum that looks at geology and which includes a small earthquake simulator (the CCTV footage of a supermarket in a real earthquake is run in an area that looks like part of a supermarket and which is itself mounted on a moving floor whose movements are synchronised to the CCTV footage). (There is also a basement toddler study area.). Meanwhile, other than the IMAX, attractions at the Science Museum include a real Apollo command capsule and many interactive exhibits.
Opposite the Science Museum is the Victoria and Albert (V&A) cultural museum.
All museums have cafes and shops. It is suggested you do just two out of the three and spend at around two hours in each before continuing on your walk.
Next to the Science Museum further up Exhibition Road is Imperial College. Turn left down Prince Consort Road. In its previous educational incarnation, this area was for several years the stamping ground of H. G. Wells and currently hme to an active student SF group. Half way down Prince Consort Road there is the Royal Albert Hall. Have a walk around the outside of this building. On its far side, across the Kensington Gore Road, is the Albert Memorial.
Make your way back to the Prince Consort Road and continue heading west to its end. Then turn left down Queens Gate road. This takes you past the other side of the Science and Natural History museums. Continue of down Queensgate across the Cromwell Road and Harrington Road to the Brompton Road. Diagonally across the way is a road called Onslow Gardens. This leads into Selwood Terrace. (The area has houses that date from after the Great Fire of London (1666) built in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. They all have windows inset to prevent the spread of fire and have stone outer walls. They all have 'apparent' basements but actually the earth from part of the basement has been used to raise the level of some of the roads.) They all have a maximum width that is dictated by the average length of a grown oak tree's main trunk (as the wooden beams supporting the houses' floors are made from these). This is the most expensive part of London in which to live and you can see the prices in the local property estate agent shops.
In Selwood Terrace there is the Anglsea Arms pub. This does pub meals, real hand-pump ale and there is also a proper sit down restaurant out the back. Out the front there is a sit down drinks area which is very pleasant of the weather is fine. This pub is in the back streets and out of sight of the tourists and so mainly used by the locals or local workers. It gets busy weekday lunchtimes and in the evening 16.45 - 20.00 with people leaving work and on Friday and Saturday nights, but is quieter at other times. But if you want a resting place after day walking around and to avoid the tourist traps, then this is a good watering hole with excellent British beer and reasonably good (but small-ish portioned) food. (Tip: Sometimes they are very busy, or short staffed, so if you want a sit-down meal in the restaurant say that you are deciding this but are in a tight schedule and so are asking whether they are busy and can you be served fairly quickly? If they are short staffed a bar snack meal might be preferable.) To get back to Heathrow, go back up Selwood Terrace/Onslow Gardens to the Brompton Road. Then turn right along the Brompton Road to get to South Kensington underground station. The Anglsea Arms is one of the Concatenation team's occasional central London haunts.
Total walk distance: 1.5 miles (2.5 km)(excluding walking about museums).
Science Fiction in London
London has a lengthy SF history and has seen many authors spend many years living and/or working there. These include: H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and Michael Moorcock to name but three. London's first convention was in 1938, a year after the World's first ever convention that took place (in Leeds). Conventions were also held in London in 1939 and 1941 before World War II caused a temporary cessation of such fanac (fan activity). The next London convention was in 1948 and this is considered the first of the British national conventions that were continually held in London to 1953 before moving to other parts of the country. London was also the venue for the 1957 World SF Convention (Worldcon). But due to the cost of venues has only been the home to the UK national convention in 1960, 1970 and 1995. This is because London is so expensive for large venue hire. (Indeed the 1995 convention was only held in London because it was small as most that year went to the Worldcon in Glasgow.) The one semi-regular convention for three decades now is the student convention run by the Imperial College SF group (see the above suggested South Kensington walk/visit). However conventions have been held just outside London run by fans mainly living in the south east of England and these include: the 1978, 1996, 2008 and 2010 national conventions at Heathrow; a series of BECCONs (Basildon Centre Essex CON) 1981, '83, and '85 in Basildon (the team for which also ran the 1987 national convention in Birmingham at which Concatenation was born); and the Hatfield Shoestringcons from the late 1970s throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s run by PSIFA.
The main science fiction book group is the London SF Circle (sometimes known by a certain generation of fans as the 'One Tun' or 'Tun') that meets on the first Thursday of the month in a basement pub near Chancery Lane. (This meeting was the inspiration of Arthur Clarke's collection of shorts Tales from the White Hart.) There is also a much smaller, and shorter gathering of SF book buffs called the City Illiterates on Fridays (this has BECCON connections). The main (and slightly younger) television sci-fi' group is LOTNA that meets most (but not all) second and third Saturdays in the month in a pub near London Bridge (station). London also sees quarterly pub meetings of the British SF Society and British Fantasy Society. Details of the history of the London SF Circle and some details of the City Illiterate meetings can be found here. However today the biggest regular London event is the three or four-day Sci-Fi London film festival (see a review here) that sees many UK, European and some World premieres of SF films.
Brighton has been a venue for a number of key conventions including: the 1979 Worldcon, the 1984 Eurocon, and the 1987 Worldcon (the year Concatenation's first (print) issue was launched). Sadly the manager of the principal venue hotel whilst welcoming the financial benefit of these events could not hide his contempt for the genre and the events' participants. Things came to a head in 1987 and the SF community has not returned until now, which is a shame for the most part Brighton was very welcoming. However in 2020 we came back with the World Horror Convention and who knows what this may herald.
Brighton itself grew considerably in the 18th and 19th century's with the advent of steam trains which meant that London was only a short journey away. (Brighton itself is 45 miles (73 km) due south of London.) It quickly became established as a popular seaside resort. Indeed the seaside is the thing you will notice. If you hail from inland continental Europe or a land-locked N. American state you may want to walk along the shingle beach. Meanwhile the road along the sea front has many arcades, clubs, restaurants and bars.
Bars ('pubs' or 'public houses' are something of which Brighton has many, over 350. There are also a tremendous number of restaurants especially in the roads off the sea front. These should be listed with your convention material.
Brighton Pier, or as it was originally known, Palace Pier, is 1,722 ft long and dates from 1899 and has a funfair, restaurants and arcade halls. The funfair has been criticised for its prices, with rides costing up to £8 (2010 prices). There is another pier in Brighton, The West Pier which was built in 1866 but has been closed since 1975 and currenty awaits renovation, which are slow in part because the owners of the Palace Pier (the Noble Organisation) have opposed plans. The West Pier is one of only two Grade I listed piers in the United Kingdom, but suffered two fires in 2003.
Aside from briefly seeing the pier (but not spending money there), one essential visit to capture Brighton's heritage, should be to the Royal Pavilion. Architecturally magnificent it was built by George IV in the 18th Century (1783) in part - it is said - as a retreat to escape from gambling debts. Lavish interiors combine Chinese-style decorations with magnificent furniture and furnishings. Adorned with gilded dragons, carved palm trees and imitation bamboo staircases, the Palace's unique style mixes Asian exoticism with English eccentricity. Daring and inventive colours feature throughout, and there are many original items on loan from The Queen. You are advised a early day visit (10.00am) before the crowds. You have to pay to get into the house, but the gardens and museum (which features one of Salvador Dali's Lips sofas among other things) are free.
There is also a little electric railway, Volk's Electric Railway to the east of Brighton Pier that connects with the Marina. it is Britain's oldest electric railway. It has open carriages and parallels the sea.
As with any major city there are problems. The good news is that generally, especially before very late at night (say 22.00), central London is very safe with very little serious injury let alone gun crime.
The bad news is that central London has its share of petty crime especially pickpockets and especially in the summer season, with thieves travelling to central London (sometimes for the tourist season from other countries). The areas in which to be really careful include the underground and railway stations and pubs in the tourist part of central London. Take sensible precautions. For example, do not wear a backpack on your back (where you cannot see it) in the crowded underground but carry it in front of you.
In pubs and restaurants keep bags in a place away from passers-by.
Do not leave valuables in hotels. Keep wallets and valuable documents in inside (not outside) jacket pockets.
Take precautions and then you need not worry. Most people are honest but your precautions will deter the very small minority who are thieves who will go after easier prey.
London is expensive. You already have our tip of buying your daily rail card after 09.30 so that it is an 'off-peak' travel card. Aside from travel, your other major cost will be food. A fairly standard restaurant meal in central London will easily set you back about £25 - £30 (US$40 - US$50 2010 prices) for two courses without wine. A cheaper option will be pub meals. These can be variable in quality but for the most part are satisfactory (some are excellent). If you go for the ones along Whitehall (near the Houses of Parliament) and our South Kensington recommendation (Anglesey Arms), then you will be fine.
Also cheaper will be restaurants away from central London. Near the Heathrow hotel UB3 5AW there is an Indian restaurant UB3 4DF as well as UB3 3EB, and a British restaurant/pub UB3 5LX. To ascertain where these are go to the multimap website, call up Britain and then type in the afore post codes and print out the maps.
Of course you can buy your own food and drink. The cheapest supermarket chains are ASDAs and Morrisons. The middle-priced supermarket chains are Tescos, Sainsbury's and Co-op Summerfield. The most expensive supermarket chains are Waitrose and Marks & Spencers.
The Odyssey 2010 convention will be arranging for some basic meals and snacks at an economic rate. Also during the convention there will be a bar with prices slightly cheaper than the usual, very expensive, hotel rate.
Arriving for London (UK - Euro-conference con hotels) -
Arriving for Brighton (World Horror Convention hotel)
Travel within London -
Dos and Don'ts in London -
Quick tours of central London -
SF in London
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