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My step son is engaged and planning a destination wedding in Scotland.  We will be there first 2 weeks of December. We will be sightseeing and definitely heading to London and visiting Bethel. 

 

Now, we are a bunch of Yanks taking our first trip across The Pond. We have questions. 

 

What do we need to do to have our cell phones function there, including mobile data? 

 

How does public transit work?  How does it work around London?  What about traveling from Glasgow to London?  What are the fees? 

 

Should we rent a car? 

 

I know the power outlets are different, what do we need to do? 

 

Foods?  How prevalent is blood pudding or sausage?  Anything else to avoid? 

 

Any questions I missed? 

 

 

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The tube in London is fabulous. It will serve you well in London...

These are my observations as a visitor to the UK (from down-under).

Food was expensive, bristsh museum and harrods should be on your to-do list. IMO


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{still waiting for the 'Wiser'}

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Shawn, if you do the British Museum, go on a JW Bible tour.  Just google it and there's a choice of brothers who provide the tour.

 

Get yourself an Oyster Card for travel on the tube (the subway system in London).  https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/oyster

 

Buy an US/UK adapter to use the electricity there.  https://www.amazon.com/Ceptics-Grounded-Universal-Plug-Adapter/dp/B0080R95XI?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAIH6BKLR7M6KSMDGQ&tag=aboutcom02tripsavvy-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B0080R95XI

 

Trains to Glasgow from London can be booked http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ or https://www.buytickets.virgintrains.co.uk/buytickets/advancedsearch.aspx

 

This TripAdvisor article has some info to help you get cheaper train fares to Glasgow https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g186534-i211-k5447860-Glasgow_to_London_by_train-Glasgow_Scotland.html

 

Any other info, I'm sure the Brits will chime in :) 

 

4 hours ago, TonyWenz said:

They drive on the wrong side of the road

But it's the right side for us Aussies, isn't it? :raspberry:

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Traveling from Glasgow to London by train is simple and efficient, and you absolutely do not need a car in London. Last time I went you even had to pay a tax to enter the city with your car, and then you have to pay for parking. In London you can go anywhere by subway or bus. Just buy an Oyster card, top it up, and use it to access any public transportation. Now if you plan on travelling around in Scotland you will definitely need a car.

 

Something you will like about the UK and Europe in general is that prices are final. When I travelled to the US last month something that got on my nerves is the third-world-country-like practice of cheating you with prices. They give you a price for something (a car rental, hotel room, restaurant menu or whatever) but when you actually pay there's one or several taxes that were not included, plus fees, plus extras, so you always end up paying 30 or 40 percent of the given price. In Europe if they give you a price that's what you will pay, it includes all taxes and fees and everything.

 

Hotels are quite expensive in the UK, so the best option for accommodation are B&Bs. They are more reasonably priced, include a wonderful breakfast and the owners are usually very nice and helpful. I have stayed in a lot of B&Bs and never had a negative experience. They are harder to find in cities, though. I will PM you some suggestion for accommodation in London.

 

Please send me your brand and model of phone and I will tell you if it will work in Europe and which is the best option. Most modern phones work everywhere (but mine didn't in the States). Roaming is free within Europe, so if you buy a SIM card in UK, you can use it in France, Spain, Italy, wherever without paying extra. But using your American SIM in Europe, especially for data, can be really expensive unless you have a roaming plan with your provider.

 

You will need plug adapters as Lucy suggested, at least one for each phone you guys have. Anyway, they are easy to find in any supermarket, so it's not a problem if you realize you need one more. Don't worry about voltage, practically all phone chargers nowadays support both 125/220v and 50/60Hz. If you can plug it, it will work. The same is not necessarily true of all devices, so make sure your laptop or your hairdryer or whatever supports 220v before plugging it!

 

I recently made an account with a company named Revolut. They send you a VISA debit card that you can use in any country to withdraw money from ATMs and paying at shops without currency exchange commissions and the best exchange rate. You can load any amount of money onto that card through their app and then use it. If I had had that card when I went to the States I would have saved more than 100 euros in comissions.

 

Scotland is very cold in December, although probably not as cold as Ohio. Bring warm clothing and footwear and expect lots of rain.

 

Food in general is disgusting in the UK :lol2: with the exception of pubs in the countryside that serve delicious homemade food. The trick is noticing which pub has more cars parked outside and entering that one. They use to have a huge fireplace and are warm and snug. One of my best memories from Scotland is, after a whole day travelling the Northern Sea coast under a heavy rain and frozen winds, completely soaked, we entered a quaint pub at Ullapool and sat by the fireplace. Brrrr!

 

If you have a chance, be sure to include a visit to a whiskey distillery. You are really going to love it. Since you mention Glasgow, we really enjoyed the visit to the Glengoyne distillery which is not far from there.

 

Don't worry, you're going to have a wonderful trip.

 

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6 hours ago, TonyWenz said:

The tube in London is fabulous. It will serve you well in London...

 

2 hours ago, hatcheckgirl said:

 

Get yourself an Oyster Card for travel on the tube (the subway system in London).  https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/oyster

 

I'm finding the information about the tube confusing.  It's a lot of information.  I need it broken down.

 

What are these zones it keeps talking about?

 

I'm seeing rates for one way trips.  That's expensive, isn't it?  A couple of pounds for a one time trip?  Does it matter the distance traveled?  This is where I'm most confused.  If I get an Oysters card, are those daily fees good for all day regardless of number of trips or length?

 

Is there public transit from Glasgow to London?  With our luggage?  Cost?

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Food here is great!  Black pudding is not prevalent (it may be on an English Breakfast menu, though, so stipulate that you do not want it!)

 

How many are travelling to London?

The Oyster card is the best way. Top it up at a tube station machine and it will serve you for all zones on the London Underground and buses. (No bus accepts cash.) You tap your card on the reader when you get on the bus, and that's it.  On the tube, tap in AND out to avoid overpayment.  Fares on Oyster are capped at the daily rate for the zones you have used. Once you reach the daily cap, you are not charged for further journeys.  It is the fastest and most convenient way to get around London.

Are you flying home from London? Which airport?  I live near Heathrow so can perhaps help with guidance if it is there.

Bible tours at the British Museum are excellent and most museums are free to enter.  South Kensington Station is the tube stop for the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum - all within a short walk.  Russell Square or Holborn for the British Museum.

 

Ask if any other questions.  We're here to help.

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18 minutes ago, carlos said:

 

 

Scotland is very cold in December, although probably not as cold as Ohio. Bring warm clothing and footwear and expect lots of rain.

 

 

 

If you have a chance, be sure to include a visit to a whiskey distillery. You are really going to love it. Since you mention Glasgow, we really enjoyed the visit to the Glengoyne distillery which is not far from there.

 

 

Part of the difficulty is the plans are in flux.  They were going to get married at a distillery on the island of Islay.  Those plans have changed because ferry service to the island is limited in December.  They are looking for alternatives and, hopefully, will have this nailed down soon.  My step-son and (soon to be) daughter-in-law are going to Ireland on their honeymoon and touring Jameson.  

 

My father-in-law doesn't drink.  He's OK with touring these places, though.  

 

I'll send you my phone info, Carlos.  I need to think about every item we plug in... 

 

There will be a total of 16 people in the wedding party.  My son and his bride of course.  Her family attending totals 7.  Our family totals 6 plus the brother who chaperoned my son the most.  After the wedding the two families are probably going their separate ways and will meet back up for the return flight.  Her family is also going to Ireland.  

 

 


Edited by Shawnster
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19 minutes ago, Shawnster said:

If I get an Oysters card, are those daily fees good for all day regardless of number of trips or length?

 

Is there public transit from Glasgow to London?  With our luggage?  Cost?

 

9 minutes ago, bohemian said:

You tap your card on the reader when you get on the bus, and that's it.  On the tube, tap in AND out to avoid overpayment.  Fares on Oyster are capped at the daily rate for the zones you have used. Once you reach the daily cap, you are not charged for further journeys.  It is the fastest and most convenient way to get around London.

 

Brother Christopher said it spot on.  The Oyster Card is great!  I just start with 10 -20 pounds, then when you need to, just top up again at the machines at the station.  You can check the balance when you tap off, or at the machines.

 

The train from London to Glasgow is in the links I sent you.  You can see the cost when you punch in your stops (London Euston to Glasgow Central).  When you get your itinerary set, it seems that the earlier you book, the cheaper the train fares.  It includes luggage.

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Getting from Glasgow to London by trainis not expensive IF you can book early. Cheaper fares usually become available up to 12 weeks in advance. Look for Advance fares.  Currently a single advance (October 1st) is from £30 for one adult. The normal fare is approx £140 pp.

coach starts at £8 but takes 10 hours! Train is 5 hours.

I just did a hypothetical journey between Glasgow and London (midweek in early October) and the advance return fare was from £81. This is on www.trainline.co.uk

It sounds like you are flying to Glasgow and flying home from there?


Edited by bohemian
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14 minutes ago, bohemian said:

South Kensington Station is the tube stop for the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum - all within a short walk.  Russell Square or Holborn for the British Museum.

Love the V&A, and stay in South Kensington for easy access both to the airports and the museums.  It's a great spot, walking distance to many good museums, Harrods, and on the tube easy access on three tube lines - Circle, District and Piccadilly (for the airport at Heathrow if you arrive there).

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56 minutes ago, bohemian said:

 

I just did a hypothetical journey between Glasgow and London (midweek in early October) and the advance return fare was from £81. This is on www.trainline.co.uk

It sounds like you are flying to Glasgow and flying home from there?

Flying in and out of Glasgow (unless that changes to Edinburgh).  

 

Will be traveling from Scotland to England then back to Scotland.

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Hey, Shawn..when you're having breakfast, if it's shaped like a patty and black..don't eat it!!lol..Yorkshire pudding isn't a pudding, and their bacon looks like a piece of ham...don't miss it..they serve a lot of fish too. and don't be surprised to find a bottle of scotch or whiskey on the breakfast bar.

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Just a quick tip for your phone chargers etc, I use one adaptor and a power board. Here is a pic of my power board. I have all my Aussie chargers on a power board I brought with me to the US. (I am visiting my daughter) I need only 1 adapter.
You could do something similar. There is a pic of my daughters equivalent...
BUT (and it is a BIG but), this will only make a mechanical fit, it will not convert a 110v device to 220v.
So see if you can get an International v
Charger, which usually says something like 100 - 220v. (See pic of my chargers)
As for hair dryers, kettles, toasters, we just bought cheap ones at a local store, and left them behind... But that is only if you need them...
Have a great time! 7b28513327896be7dd6c997df930198b.jpgc211fd4a9eea924929ced59806b32bbe.jpgb91b5ed7158e28be9de1f937d11672b9.jpg

Older
{still waiting for the 'Wiser'}

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2 hours ago, TonyWenz said:


BUT (and it is a BIG but), this will only make a mechanical fit, it will not convert a 110v device to 220v.
So see if you can get an International v
Charger, which usually says something like 100 - 220v. (See pic of my chargers)
 

 

I'm not understanding what you mean only a mechanical fit.  

 

I had already thought to take a surge strip and reduce the need for converters to 1.

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A mechanical fit, as you indicated, would allow you to physically plug. But UK runs 220 volts while USA runs 110 volts.
However, plugging in an adaptor will not change the voltage. All it will allow you to do is plug it in. This is a mechanical fit.
You surge strip is not designed to take 220v in and allow 110v to run normally

If you were to plug in a US hair-dryer (built for use on 110v) into the surge strip in the UK (supplying 220volt) it will most likely melt and catch fire, with the possibility of electric shock.

The strip does not change the voltage.

What is needed is a power 'transformer'.

This 'transformer' will equalise the voltage. If your device chargers are multi voltage, then all you need is a mechanical adaptor, as the charger will provide the electrical equalisation.
Not all devices are multi-voltage compatible. So just check the side of the device.

2 examples below. Both will physically or mechanically plug into your strip. 1 will work, 1 will catch fire.

It must be rated for 220 or 240 volt. The surge protection only offers short term voltage clipping for lightening strikes etc... 553031a0f7805d99289659e31e59bfb8.jpga2697c6e744ff27557cd0b63ac17d802.jpg

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{still waiting for the 'Wiser'}

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The power strip is a great idea I had never thought about!

 

Shawn, most phone (and laptop, tablet, etc) chargers already support both voltages. The different voltage is only a problem when you connect other electrical devices. But in principle you shouldn't need any of those. Hotels always have hair-dryers and kettles and irons.

 

OTOH I was looking at SIM cards. There are some offers for tourists, but I don't think they are worth it. The best option is to go to a phone shop and ask for the prepaid plan that better fits you. Make sure it includes some minutes for international calls if you plan to phone home. For God's sake don't buy the card at the airport! That's the advice I received, but when I arrived in LA I felt so helpless without data that I bought a SIM card at the airport... and I ended up paying 75$ for a card that actually costs 25$.


Edited by carlos
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