Last November I had a flash of genius about the Christmas present for my princess: my 11 year old daughter (12 in August). Knowing how passionate she was about Harry Potter ... I thought: but why? not take a harry potter themed trip to London? I was sure sure he would like it very much! Then I start studying. Flight found from Palermo to Stansted with departure 5 and Return on May 8, at 70 ?. Now the rest.
Meanwhile, I am pointed out that the passion for the bespectacled wizard? strongly shared with his cousin of the heart, 2 years more? great. And let them experience this emotion together ... well, it will be? a great thing !!
So I take another ticket, but since my niece is not even 14 years old, she can't? buy a ticket alone. So I contact there? ryanair chat, I explain the problem to them and they suggest me to proceed with the purchase indicating how age? 16 years old, but before check-in contact them again and "hook up" the 2 reservations ... in short, in the end not? was it really so? simple, why? they do, they hook you up and assign a seat, but to sit next to each other you have to buy the next seats immediately. And they ... who understand a lot, don't give you what costs less! No, they force you to spend the most? possible. But I don't like rip-offs ... So I contact them again and explain that they could have assigned the seat in a row where the seats next to each other were cheaper, since I was just seeing that there were plenty of them! Then they change me and I spent less than half to complete the operation? than they tried to make me pay ...
Next step, identify the connections that connect from Stansted to London and then choose the hotel based on the area more? next, since the flight from Palermo leaves "shamefully" late! One of the options? the stansted Express train, which stops at tottenham hale and Liverpool street, only for the first option times are tight ... but I am convinced that I can do it (?) and I find a hotel exactly opposite the train station, the Premier Inn Tottenham Hale (metro station of the same name on the blue Victoria line), very well reviewed on Booking.com, which, if you are not bored of reading before, I will talk about it. pi? forward.
Does the train cost 14? A / R and the half? for the under 15. It starts practically one every 15 minutes and the last race ... here, we need to open a parenthesis, why? the official timetable from the official website (https://www.stanstedexpress.com/docs/default-source/documents/stansted-ex-tt-mon-fri.pdf?sfvrsn=6) where you buy the ticket, it indicated that trains leave until 00.30 ... and having thought that almost an hour of time from when, theoretically, you land, do the checks etc could be enough, yes? turned out to be a rip off !! Why? I at 00.40, after having run like crazy, since the plane, between a few minutes of delay and the long wait before opening the doors, has already eroded? about twenty minutes. Then the customs where, despite the time, there was a great queue, then the race to get off at the train station ... I didn't make it in time! And we were also many! Adjusting the train schedule would be too much to ask, I guess ?!
So let's go back to try the bus. Row of all the disappeared who took the scam with the train to buy tickets, which I for 3 to the metro station and strattford (so you can use the night tube weather service, since this is one of the lines that perform it ) I paid 22 ?. and I confess that I do not know how to give further details about the costs per capita why? I was already cooked to perfection ...
Departure at 01.20. Line out of the terminal and very cold ... The bus arrives 15 minutes late and leaves 10 minutes later ... now we are addicted, we do not even do more? case...
About 45 minutes later we arrive in Strattford, immediately we enter the station to take the metro, cross the first stop coinciding with the victoria line and from there? reach the hotel.
I had read about all the possible options, oyster, travel card etc, but I already had? opted to use my postepay with the contact less function since? has the same daily maximum costs (off peak) as the Oyster: in the case of my reference stop, which is located in zone 3, about 9? per day. In practice, after having used it for 3 times, and therefore having reached the maximum daily threshold relating to the area where you take it, do you not pay for all the further journeys? , be they 1 like 10 or more. This applies to all those who have more? 11 years old. So arrived in Strattford, we said, and having 2 little girls a little more? great we prepare the 3 postepay to access the metro, but a service employee explains that I only have to pay, why? they "are children" and do not pay ... well, if he has decided who can? contradict him !? So for all the other trips of the holiday I continued to pass, often under the eyes of the service staff at the entrances, only one card even though I had 3 access! With the london overground line, therefore, we cross the victoria line after a few stops and from there? we arrive at the stop of our hotel which is just 100 meters from it.
Are they already? 3.40 ... crazy!
The hotel ...
Not as big as I would have expected, the small reception? adjacent to the restaurant / bar room. After checking in, we go up to the room and here, we discover that, although my booking clearly states 1 adult and 2 children, they have prepared only the double bed and, the sofa, what should have been the third bed, not he was prepared. I go back to the reception, with the help of the translator, I explain the problem and they provide me with sheets and blankets ... ok, what can? be making my bed after the day just passed?!
Ready bed. But even in the bathroom, dry me is for 2 ... and we are always 3 !!
I go down again ... I also get the missing bathroom set, cheers!
It seems that now we are sleeping, finally!
Saturday May 5
Despite everything ... we get up early, given that the time at our disposal? little and the things we want to do a lot!
So for 8.30 we are already? to have breakfast. From the reviews, I confess, I expected more, but if I didn't say that the things they offer to customers are all good, I'd be lying ...
after all the bad luck of the previous day, it seems that luck turns the other way this time ... yes, why? while we eat breakfast, I hear a lady speaking in Italian, and then we say goodbye, exchange a few words (several will follow !!) and I discover that, since? in the past he had lived in London, speaks impeccable English ... in the end, since? she also has her daughter with her, almost the same age as my 2 traveling companions, let's form a group and go away together to conquer London !!
It starts with shopping on Oxford Street: the girls, all 3, have very clear ideas and coinciding needs.
Leaving the tube at oxford street stop (what better place than this to start shopping !?) the shopping tour begins!
To name just a few of the shops we visited: Bershka, Tiger, Primeark ... the latter truly remarkable! Really affordable prices for a myriad of items to choose from!
Do some shopping, we all stop to eat at starbucks, right next to the metro station we came from ...
To follow, since? the envelopes are many and bulky, we decide to go back to the hotel to place them and, since? ? the right time ... let's have a bite at the burger king right in front of our hotel.
Now it's serious: let's go and see London beauties! Let's start with westminster, big ben,
Then downing street, up to trafalgare square. Here we immediately notice several groups of people who follow some different performances: a group of elderly people in typical costume who try their hand at an unlikely ballad ...
pi? above, just below the entrance to the national gallery, others who, it seems, collect more? interest: mimes, jugglers, street artists even very gifted in some cases!
Not far away, we find piccadilly circus, the very famous square famous all over the world! Let's take a ride and then get off at the homonymous metro stop to go to other symbolic places of wonderful London: the tower bridge and the tower of London. We also take a nice walk to
Southbank, along the beautiful queen's walk.
We take the subway and go to Covent Garden, where we already had? decided to take a nice ride and look for a place to dine. Beautiful covent garden ... full of people, artists, beautiful shops and places to drink and / or eat!
Find a place to sit at
to eat ? practically win a lottery! At 21.00 in many places they don't even make you more? sit since? already? late, according to their habits. Turning and relying on the faithful TripAdvisor, we agree that our dinner will be consumed at "Rock and sole plaice", at 47 endell street, also in the covent garden area. Choice also dictated by the fact that we want to eat London fish and chip and, the reviewers friends have written well.
We arrive and c '? to wait to sit outside ... why? inside, considering the stench of frying that comes on the outside, isn't it? not even feasible !! The evening ? rather cool, and the wait, which has exceeded the abundant half hour,? even more? suffered. As soon as we sit down we order and luckily it doesn't take long to have the dishes at the table. The first interesting thing that catches the eye? surely the generosity? of the portions they serve: large !! Fish and chips? very good, and also the other dishes ordered have found the favor of my guests. True? that the hunger was great, but the goodness? some food? real! In the end we paid 52? in five ... not bad!
It is after 23 pm, we return to the nearby metro to return to the hotel. Long, intense and very interested day.
Sunday May 7
Wake up early and have breakfast with our new friends. But after we part why? our program today includes the harry potter warner bros studios tour which I had purchased through the tour operator Viator. It costs a bang ... the service includes a transfer from victoria station to the studios and vice versa. In the bus c '? free Wi-Fi for the whole trip Duration: approximately 1 hour. Total duration of the tour about 7 hours. Obviously the studios for wizard lovers are the nonplusultra of happiness! There is a bit of a queue to access, but once inside just follow the path so? as ? indicated and you can relive all the pi? beautiful emotions of the various films of the saga! The hogwarts Express, platform 9 and 3/4, the faithful scale reproduction of the hogwarts castle, the enchanted forest, private drive ... all very beautiful and perfect in detail! Then we discovered the gastronomy area where we ate some sandwiches and drank the "butterbeer". After the tour, before the exit, you pass through the shopping area ... and I challenge anyone to get out unscathed !!!
At the agreed time we meet at the bus parking lot and after a few minutes we leave. To avoid the London traffic on Sunday afternoon, we anticipate the stop and get off at marble arch from where we continue with the metro to the hotel. In the meantime, we made an agreement with our new friends and immediately after having refreshed ourselves, we leave for the center. Named destination: Leicester square! Beautiful surprise! ? a succession of clubs and a swarm of people ... a really nice place. While we admire the beauty we begin to look for the place where we can have dinner, but the undertaking is difficult ... why? there are so many! We peek among those who have tables outside to see the dishes they serve and at a certain point we are intrigued by the Chiquito, a place clearly with a Mexican vocation ... so we try. We ask for a table outside, but c '? to wait a while ... we book anyway. They give us a kind of pager that when you will be? freed the squiller table? while we are quietly around the square! Just a few minutes later, the contraption sounds unexpectedly! And without realizing it we start to run as if we were doing a race, no one knows against whom ...!
In short, we sit down and order some of their specialties? Mexican. All good and plentiful, served with great professionalism? and without long waiting. The prices for a dinner that will surely satisfy you? , are around 25? each. After dinner we continue our visit to the really interesting district of Leicester which will not miss? to surprise us ... the right ending for our last London evening!
Almost as if we didn't want the evening to end, slowly ... we head towards the subway to go back to the hotel. Are our girls a little down for the end of this beautiful, albeit short, raid.
Monday? 8 May 2017
We are all together for breakfast and soon after our lovely travel companions set off for the nearby Tottenham Hale train station, where on board the Stansted Express they will go to the airport. See you later...
We, however, have the most? late, therefore, as tradition dictates, we should buy the latest souvenirs to take home. As usual, for my son I get an official football kit - and in London there? spoiled for choice - of the local team ... in this case I go to the nearby Arsenal stadium in the metro stop of the same name, immediately at the exit stands the beautiful Emirates Stadium with adjoining the official shopping center. For 105? I take the entire uniform is Alexis Sanchez ... in the end it will be? very appreciated!
Another quick stop for the last things: oxford street. Let's take the inevitable Starbucks cup, a couple of trinkets in a d? souvenir where, for the record, a "gentleman" - I believe from Maghreb - gave me a 5 note? out of course that I don't have more? could have spent ... so beware that the smart (euphemism!) are always ready to rip you off.
Satisfied our needs we go back to the hotel, have lunch, collect our luggage and go to take the train to the airport where we arrive after 40 minutes of comfortable travel.
Our plane leaves and arrives on time ... are we going home,? it was very nice to see London and make 2 little girls happy.