I’m headed to England in June. We fly into Heathrow, spend one night in London, then take the train to Stratford-upon-Avon for two days, followed by a week back in London in a flat. I’ve been trying to find a hotel for that first night in London that will allow us to walk around and see sights our first day and evening, but is convenient for reaching Marylebone Station by noon the next day. Any recommendations? As for our train tickets, is it better to buy them in advance or on the day of travel?
Roberta, with so many people flooding London this summer—the city drew a record-breaking 16.8 million visitors last year—I knew you could use not only a smart hotel recommendation but also a few tips for avoiding crowds and lines. So I reached out to England travel specialist Katey Hartwell of Travel Experts, who has helped many of my friends with similar London requests. Here’s Katey’s advice:
“For an easy overnight in London, The Marylebone Hotel is terrific. It’s right where you need to be for departure the following day, plus the location is excellent for dining, delightful shops, as well as the British Museum, Hyde Park, Regents Park, and access to just about every major site in the city center. The hotel is large enough that it may still have rooms available during the busy summer season. It also has a pool, which is a nice amenity after an overnight flight as well as a place to refresh if your rooms are not ready.
You can get tickets at the rail station, and trains are frequent to Stratford-upon-Avon, but it saves time at the station if you’ve already bought them, so purchase them online at www.britrail.com.
For your week in your London flat, you should make advance reservations for the main attractions—such as The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Palace—since these will have long entry lines. You can purchase the tickets online here or consider the London Pass, which will get you into most attractions and allow you to skip the lines at the most popular.”
Does anyone else have London tips for Roberta?