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dclary
11-04-2010, 02:42 AM
Can anyone give me some idea of what flying into London is like... especially pictures if you have them, of the terminal you'd arrive at if you flew there from NYC, the types of shops or kiosks you'd encounter on the way to baggage... how to get to the Underground from baggage... quantity of people, types of people, particular sights...

If anyone has touristy pictures of the airport they could post or send, or a link, that would be awesomely helpful, as I cannot fly to london for my research.

I'll be asking about the town of Oxford next, so just be ready, you English-folk.

Duchessmary
11-04-2010, 07:02 AM
Flying into Heathrow was the most interesting airport I had ever been to. We flew there from Edinburgh. Planes stacked up in the air all around us, including our aircraft. Upon descent, you fly over the glorious Windsor castle, and then land a few minutes later. People were extremely helpful everywhere, from baggage claim to hailing a taxi.

OneWriter
11-04-2010, 07:48 AM
I was stuck in Heathrow for two days in 2006. I hated it. It was packed with people, the line to the re-booking was so long I couldn't find the end. The shopping was insanely expensive.

I flew through Heathrow again last year (to go to Oxford, actually) and things were a bit better, but not much. I forget the terminal's name, but flying from the US you get into this bunker-like terminal with lots of lines and no signs. Now, I'm European, but I've lived long enough in the US that I expect signs everywhere telling me where to go. Well, that's not the case in Europe. So I walked the full length of the bunker-like terminal not being able to find the way to the bus station. I finally followed some equally lost tourist and found the way to this plaza where all buses arrive and depart from and again I couldn't understand how to find my bus and where to buy tickets (the bus station is not that big but there were again lots of lines and figuring out which one was mine wasn't easy). I can't remember how I figured it out, I think I just stood in line waiting for my turn to ask questions. I waited for the bus where the lady who sold me the ticket had pointed to and then each bus that came I asked the driver just to make sure. I figured getting lost in London after I hadn't slept for 22 hours wasn't going to be pretty, so I better make sure.

Getting to Oxford on the other hand was fairly easy. There's a specific bus line that goes to Oxford and you get the bus outside Paddington station. Also, it was the next day, so I was rested and more lucid. Oxford was lovely. The food and restaurants were way better than fifteen years ago. The coffee still sucks though, even the one you get from Starbucks. Oh, and there's a Subway now next to Boots... that was kind of disappointing.

Oh, I forgot: I had the best high tea ever in Oxford!! I finally got to try the cucumber sandwiches (always wanted to, since I'd read The importance of being Earnest), and I gotta say... they're NOT bad!!! (was kinda skeptical....)

Sorry, I went on a ramble. All the above is obviously from a foreigner's POV. :)

Kitty Crocodile
11-04-2010, 11:36 AM
I agree with the bunker-like experience. From what I understand, a lot of people tend to avoid Heathrow if they can, but then again, it's all been fairly efficient when I've flown there. I haven't flown there from NYC, only from Europe, and my experience is of Terminals 1 and 3. And this, too, is a foreigner's POV.

Yellow signs: http://www.airport-int.com/upload/image_files/articles/images/companies/1688/heathrow-t5-02-l.jpg

Long, long walks to reach the baggage. The distances between terminals and such should be kept in mind. If you change planes and have to get from one terminal to another, you might have to run.

I've never got lost there; I've always managed to follow the signs to the Underground or the Heathrow Express, which is a fast and expensive train to Paddington Station. Business travellers and those in a hurry tend to use that the most, I believe.

You would see, well, all kinds of people, really. It's such a large airport. That's really my main impression of Heathrow: it's huge, not very attractive, and who knows if the London Underground staff are on strike again and you won't get there in time! :)

firedrake
11-04-2010, 12:19 PM
It's a huge place.

We flew in at the end of July, overnight flight from Chicago. It was a long haul from the plane to baggage claim. In the terminals there's moving sidewalks, one after the other. Long carpeted corridors, floor to ceiling windows, planes parked at gates, little trucks, golf cart type things rushing back and forth.

First, you go through immigration. If you're a Brit, with a British passport, the lines move fairly quickly. If you're not, be prepared to wait, very long lines. It's a huge, cavernous space with a lot of checkpoints. Tired kids crying, people looking grey and tired after long flights.

You go down some steps to get to baggage claim. Lots of conveyor belts with people clustered around them waiting for their bags to appear. Once you've picked up your bags, you go for another walk through customs. There are two choices, 'Nothing to Declare' and 'Items to declare' (I think). There's long metal benches and customs officers hanging around. Having said that, when we went through, there wasn't an officer to be seen, which made me wish I'd bought a few more cartons of cigarettes in the US.

Once you're through there, you're in arrivals. It's very bright, there's people clustered around a barrier waiting for relatives, friends, etc. Some chauffeur types holding up card with names on them. There's shops, currency exchange booths, police officers, help desk, cafe, pay-phones. Yellow signs with black lettering and symbols indicating where taxis, trains, buses available. It's not crowded but it's busy. Someone C-list famous arrived while we were there, paparazzi snapping pics.

That's about it. I've flown in and out of Heathrow a lot. I was pretty knackered after a long journey but that's what I remember.

Here's a link to a T-Mobile Commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB3NPNM4xgo) which was filmed at Heathrow. Someone I know appears and sings in it (bald guy with pin-stripe suit). It's a fun view of Heathrow Arrivals Hall. I just love it. :D

Emily Winslow
11-04-2010, 12:44 PM
I fly into Heathrow from NYC about once a year. I don't think taking photos is allowed, for security. The thing that stands out to me most is how LONG the walk is from the gate to immigration/baggage. Long long long. I worried about my dad making the walk one time, and tried to get him a wheelchair for it. (He refused, but I tried :-)

As is usual in most international airports (in my experience) you hit Immigration first (looooooooong lines), then baggage, then customs (customs is pretty cursory). I can't say for sure, but the shops/restaurants are mostly when you're catching a plane, not when you're landing. I'm usually so focused on getting home that I don't really notice if there are shops/restaurants or not when I exit customs. There are definitely NO shops or restaurants or anything between the gate and immigration/baggage/customs.

You don't mention needing info about flying OUT of Heathrow, but what stands out to me there is that you don't get the gate assignment until the plane is ready to board. That is, in my experience, very unusual--in all other airports I frequent, I settle in at my gate straight from security. At Heathrow, you have to hang out in a vast common area (LOTS of shops and restaurants--Harrods touristy gifts, WH Smith for magazines, a very nice bookstore, and a really cool toy store among the MANY shops. This is a completely different area from the exit when you've landed.). You have to keep your eye on the departures board and then rush to your gate when it's posted.

I had an interesting experience five years ago that could possibly be of interest to you. Some government person was polling random people passing through customs, demanding financial information from them. He had the support of airport officials to demand this info, which was meant to be both random (like, "every fifth person" or somesuch) and anonymous. He wanted to know how much money I was bringing into the country and stuff like that. It was very awkward and weird and I was EXHAUSTED. If money figures into your plot at all, maybe that would be of interest.

You'll want to decide if your character has flown overnight or during the day. The way someone behaves upon landing is definitely affected by sleep deprivation.

From there, your character will either take the tube into London (and from there a train to wherever he/she is going), or will have a driver picking them up. Train fares are pretty high, so if he/she has a destination beyond London, and is with a group, a driver can be cost-effective rather than a luxury. (For example, when my husband travels alone, he takes the train to and from. When we travel as a family, it is cheaper to hire a driver to take us straight to/from our home than to buy 4 train tickets. But we live outside of London. Obviously, someone in London will just take the tube/"Heathrow Express.") Drivers are clustered with people meeting/picking up friends as you exit customs, with passenger names written on cardboard.

Hope that helps!

WalkingContradiction
11-04-2010, 03:33 PM
There's a Starbucks. And I noticed that a lot of the people working at the airport (in shops, food places and so on) seemed to be from the middle east, speaking with accents. But I've only been there once for a couple of hours..

veinglory
11-04-2010, 05:02 PM
I have been there on Xmas eve when the queueing system broke down and people were using baggage trolleys as weapons, I have been part of a stampede as 20 of us tried to make a connection on the other side of the terminal. But mostly it isn't so exciting, just queues, and more queues, and corridors, and big enormous halls.

tirial
11-04-2010, 05:21 PM
Depending on how your character is arriving there are a few ways they can get out of Heathrow. Buses and coaches leave from the various terminals and stands, but finding the right one can be tricky. Taxis are available.

There are several rail routes out:


the Heathrow Express is a high speed rail service to Paddington, allowing check-in at Paddington (http://www.heathrowexpress.com/)
Heathrow Connect is a cheap(er) stopping service - google for details
and then the tube via Picadilly line (http://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/lhr_underground.htm)

Tickets for these services aren't interchangeable. If you head for the wrong entrance or follow the wrong train signs you can get very lost, and there are multiple entrances to some services. At rush hour, the tube fills up very, very, quickly and the tube carriages aren't really designed for the quantity of baggage so it's probably the least popular.

Photos are difficult to take, due to security restrictions, but Googlemaps gives you an idea of the size of it: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl&q=heathrow%20airport

ETA:If he's going to Oxford your character would probably be better off heading for the overground trains than the tube.

trocadero
11-04-2010, 06:23 PM
We were flying through in 2007, and it was pleasant though very large. My son who was 11 ran ahead of us when we were going to the lift to go to our transfer, and he held the lift open, but it closed just as we got there. We watched him go up, up, (the lifts had a glass front) and the look on his face was never to be forgotten. We had to take a train from one terminal to the other. I do remember that in security, a woman had to taste the water in her baby's bottle before she could take it on the plane, but I think that's pretty standard. We lounged around in these gorgeous red chairs for an hour or so before we transferred. Google images has some pics inside. I bet there are lots on flickr, too.

I suggest you go to tripadvisor.com I use it for all our travel adventures and locals will answer all kinds of questions. I'm sure you'd find tons about Oxford, too. The London FAQ page lists these links for info about Heathrow:

www.londontoolkit.com/mnu/master_airports.htm

http://www.londontransport.info/

http://www.heathrowconnect.com/

I know when we were traveling through, I went to the airport's website and downloaded a map that was useful.

waylander
11-04-2010, 06:43 PM
Depends on which airline you fly with. BA now comes into Terminal 5. There's lots of building work going on at the moment as they've demolished Term 2
US airlines mostly go into Terminal 3. Term 3 is very cosmopolitan, lots of Asian/African travellers.
As other people have said it is a looong walk to baggage reclaim, a long queue to clear immigration and then another long walk to the Piccadilly line. If your character is travelling on to Oxford then the Heathrow Express would be a good idea, though it is expensive, as it goes to Paddington station where the Oxford trains go from.
Your character might stop and buy a newspaper at WH Smith's.
They have armed Police patrolling the public areas which you won't see generally in the UK

dclary
11-04-2010, 07:16 PM
Thanks everybody!!!

dclary
11-04-2010, 10:47 PM
...as it goes to Paddington station where the Oxford trains go from. ....

Is that the same thing as the Oxford Tube, Waylander? That was how I was going to get my character there.

Kenn
11-04-2010, 11:06 PM
The 'Oxford Tube' is a bus and it takes about an hour from Heathrow. That is the best way to get to Oxford from Heathrow (I live not far from Oxford). Not all flights end up at Heathrow and quite a few land at Gatwick, which is about 40 miles away in the Sussex countryside (in the wrong direction). All transatlantic flights are 'red eyes' and land in the mornings.

Even asking for photographs of a major international airport has probably drawn the security services' attention in your direction! Heathrow is pretty much like any other big international airport in my view.

shaldna
11-05-2010, 12:30 AM
we fly in and out all teh time. it's not that special really, like airports everywhere really. the main thing is the frequency of the flights, a plane lands or takes off at heathrow something like every seventeen seconds.

it's better now that terminal 5 is open, much less waiting around, although it was chaos for the first few weeks.

http://www.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=heathrow%20airport&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1024&bih=673

backslashbaby
11-05-2010, 06:30 AM
I went to Oxford from Gatwick a ton. I took the bus often -- I think it was mainly the Tube, but I'll look up their logo to make sure. If you need Gatwick stuff, I can tell you lots.

I took the Heathrow Express a few times. Nice train. Not crowded. I always took a bus (or the river) to Oxford from Gatwick or London, though.

Tell me if you want to arrive in Gloucester Green or an earlier Oxford stop. That's if you arrive by coach. I've done the train station*, too. What do you need :)?

eta - *not to London

backslashbaby
11-05-2010, 06:50 AM
Ah! I've taken The Tube from London Victoria into Oxford. It has wi-fi :D

The other bus I'd take was from a different company, at Gatwick. But it went to Heathrow before going to Oxford. They're very similar, really. But The Tube has a few seats with pull-down tables in between for couples who face each other, and it has wi-fi. The wi-fi doesn't work so well, but it works some :) Blue interior for all of them, and the non-Tube's seats tilt kind of forward in an uncomfortable way, like you might fall out of your seat.

You always see a mix of students (Oxford & Oxford-Brookes), international tourists, and Oxford local kids on those buses. More business people on The Tube. Neither are very crowded. The local kids are usually loud and annoying ;)

Kenn
11-05-2010, 03:43 PM
... I always took a bus (or the river) to Oxford from Gatwick or London, though...
Did you swim?:D Seriously, I don't think you mean the river, do you?

DrZoidberg
11-05-2010, 06:05 PM
Here's two random observations:

They use a special cleaning liquid which gives a sort of musky acidic feel, rather than clean. It's strong in the toilets (what Americans call "bathrooms"). British hospitals have the same smell.

..and the sharp scent of curry as an Indian family walks by with their luggage. There's a lot of them. I always feel sorry for them when they get caught in the Australian customs as if they're smuggling drugs.

Ms Hollands
11-05-2010, 06:44 PM
As others have said, it depends which airline you fly with as each of the terminals have their own feeling. No photography is allowed before you're out of the immigration area, and mobile phones must be switched off too.

Skipping the stuff that's been well described already, once through immigration, and baggage claim (toilets in baggage claim, then through green exit if no customs items to declare or through (hmmmm red? or blue? - sorry I can't remember) exit (right next to green - not really any different) if you have something to declare. Go past the staff and (usually empty) searching tables and then you're in the terminal. I think there is a duty free shop just before you're in with the public as a last-ditch effort to get you to buy stuff - at most if not all terminals.

Each terminal has a range of shops including Boots (pharmacy - you can also buy sandwiches here), WH Smith (books, newsagents), Marks & Spencer ("M&S") food shops, information desk (usually staffed by the most unhelpful people), "British" goods shops that sell British stuff like Paddington Bears and shortbread biscuits, Tube information desk (usually more helpful than info desk staff), various other food outlets and some clothes shops (possibly Monsoon).

It's always crowded, and you are likely to see police walking around amongst the trolleys, suitcases and travellers. Getting to the Tube from some terminals (hmmm, terminal 2? 3?) is like being a mouse in a labyrinth, and even worse if you're trying to get from one terminal to another. Terminal 4 has easy access to the Tube. Not sure I've ever flown from terminals 1 or 5.

The older terminals have a bit of a grotty, 70s feel to them. I think it's terminal 2 that has glass frontage and huge revolving doors - to let in light I guess, but it doesn't seem to work. Signs are everywhere for gate numbers and other terminals, and not to leave your baggage unattended (or they'll be blown up). Lots of advertising in the labyrinth under between the terminals/tube, with those travellator walkways to speed things up for you.

The Tube is the Picadilly line which has one stop for terminals 1,2 and 3 and another for terminal 4. No idea about terminal 5 as it's newish.


This link might also shed some light/anectodes/maps:

http://www.sleepinginairports.net/europe/londonheathrow.htm

dclary
11-05-2010, 07:47 PM
I went to Oxford from Gatwick a ton. I took the bus often -- I think it was mainly the Tube, but I'll look up their logo to make sure. If you need Gatwick stuff, I can tell you lots.

I took the Heathrow Express a few times. Nice train. Not crowded. I always took a bus (or the river) to Oxford from Gatwick or London, though.

Tell me if you want to arrive in Gloucester Green or an earlier Oxford stop. That's if you arrive by coach. I've done the train station*, too. What do you need :)?

eta - *not to London

Want to arrive nearest the college, as my prot wouldn't know what else to do there.

Also, there's a very old, famous ruins of a castle somewhere nearby. I forget its name right now but it might start with a "U" -- do they ever do renaissance faires or other events like that there?

Kenn
11-06-2010, 12:20 AM
dclary, Oxford city centre is full of colleges. The university has a collegiate system (there are forty odd of them). The city is quite small (pop about 150,000) and the centre is dominated by university buildings (there are about 20,000 students, I think).

I don't know of any famous ruined castle nearby (I am pretty sure you are mistaken). In fact, there is a shortage of castles around Oxford.

Just to clarify a point, the London underground is known as 'the tube' and the Piccadilly Line connects Heathrow to central London. The bus service to Oxford is known as the "Oxford Tube" and people refer to it as "the tube" also, just to confuse matters.

Something worth bearing in mind is that the petty crime rate in Oxford is surprisingly high. Not what you would expect.

shaldna
11-06-2010, 03:45 AM
..and the sharp scent of curry as an Indian family walks by with their luggage. .

Oh wow, just a tiny bit inappropriate there.

whacko
11-06-2010, 04:00 AM
All I remember about Heathrow is coming off a long-haul flight, falling asleep on a moving walkway thing - and waking up with a bloody sore toe.

One thing you could mention, apart from the airport itself, is maybe the culture shock... cars driving on the "wrong" side of the road, the weather, flying over the Queen's house etc.

Regards

dclary
11-06-2010, 09:33 AM
dclary, Oxford city centre is full of colleges. The university has a collegiate system (there are forty odd of them). The city is quite small (pop about 150,000) and the centre is dominated by university buildings (there are about 20,000 students, I think). Ah. Good to know. Which one would a Rhodes Scholar go to if he were pursuing a comparative religions degree of some sort.


I don't know of any famous ruined castle nearby (I am pretty sure you are mistaken). In fact, there is a shortage of castles around Oxford. No, this is quite central to my plot. I am referring to Uffington Castle -- more importantly the Uffington White Horse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_Castle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_White_Horse

Do you guys in England even have renaissance faires... or their equivalent? Maybe a travelling carnival, gypsy circus, etc? And if so, would it be possible one could be held in that area?


Just to clarify a point, the London underground is known as 'the tube' and the Piccadilly Line connects Heathrow to central London. The bus service to Oxford is known as the "Oxford Tube" and people refer to it as "the tube" also, just to confuse matters. This would explain my confusion on it, and I appreciate finding out it's a bus.

waylander
11-06-2010, 12:46 PM
Uffington Castle is an Iron Age hillfort so no stone ruins. Think of a green hill with a ring ditch around the summit
http://carnyx.tv/CarnyxFilms/Documentary/SevenManMadeWonders.aspx#White%20Horse

Circuses these days have to be licensed and held in appropriate venues with car-parking, sanitiation etc (health and safety and bureauracy rule) so I doubt they'd have a circus there. A Medieval Fayre is possible, in a nearby village run by the parish council

firedrake
11-06-2010, 12:50 PM
Ah. Good to know. Which one would a Rhodes Scholar go to if he were pursuing a comparative religions degree of some sort.

No, this is quite central to my plot. I am referring to Uffington Castle -- more importantly the Uffington White Horse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_Castle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_White_Horse

Do you guys in England even have renaissance faires... or their equivalent? Maybe a travelling carnival, gypsy circus, etc? And if so, would it be possible one could be held in that area?

This would explain my confusion on it, and I appreciate finding out it's a bus.

With regards to Rhodes Scholarships, best thing to do is Google, there may be a list of Rhodes scholars somewhere and the college they attended. I can't recall whether the Scholarship is connected to a particular college or to the University as a whole.

Uffington Castle hasn't got ruins, as such. It's a bunch of mounds and ditches covered in grass. It's high up on the Downs and is only reachable on foot. The area is very rural, scattered small villages. As far as I know there's no fairs, carnivals, etc. apart from village events, which are small scale. It's not like the US where the carnival comes to town. The only significant gypsy event I can think of is the Appleby Horse Fair, which is way up in Cumbria.

Gypsies don't travel much in painted wagons any more, it's all about shiny trailers/caravans. Also, there is a difference between true Roma and 'Travellers', who are an entirely different group of people altogether.

I can't think of any Renaissance Fairs in the area. We're moving down to that part of the world next week, about 8 miles or so from the White Horse.

ETA: Ha! Waylander...great minds and all that :D

waylander
11-06-2010, 12:55 PM
Rhodes scholarships are for postgraduate study so your character studying comparative religions would study at the Department of Theology of the university while being affiliated with a college.
How about this college? http://www.new.ox.ac.uk/

aruna
11-06-2010, 01:35 PM
First, you go through immigration. If you're a Brit, with a British passport, the lines move fairly quickly.

Small correction: the "Brit" fast-track line is actually the "EU citizen" line, and I get to use it too!

The others have said it all, but one little detail I love are the HSBC ads, which usually line the walls along the moving walkways, with the tagline 'HSBC the world's local bank'. They each feature a situation where what is generally accepted in one country is not in another.
This blog shows a couple of examples. These ads are at all British airports: http://www.vickihollett.com/?p=2359

aruna
11-06-2010, 01:43 PM
Oh, and speaking of ads: I just LOVE this very retro, VERY UN-PC, Virgin Atlantic ad, which shows Heathrow in the 80's; it hasn't changed much since then!
Still Red Hot (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cM4EOeJzHA)

dclary
11-06-2010, 03:30 PM
I know that there are no true ruins, beyond the bare foundations, but that's the castle I mean.

Ok, so you said local town or parish events then. What are those like?

firedrake
11-06-2010, 03:37 PM
I know that there are no true ruins, beyond the bare foundations, but that's the castle I mean.

Ok, so you said local town or parish events then. What are those like?

It depends on the village and, to some extent its history/economy. I used to live in Lambourn, which is a big horse racing village, stables everywhere. The big annual event there is Open Day, when most of the stables open their doors to visitors. The village we're moving to is probably best known for being the place where the 101st Airborne (Band of Brothers) were based before D-Day. From looking at the village website, the big thing is reanactments of those days, lots of people dressed up in WW2 gear, etc.

A good starting point might be to look at a map of the area, make a note of surrounding villages and googling them to see what kind of events they have. Most village websites have an events calendar.

waylander
11-06-2010, 03:56 PM
How near Uffington Castle do you need the event to be?

Kenn
11-06-2010, 04:54 PM
As Waylander said, he could be at any college and it is probably best to decide which one on various factors in the plot. Oriel has a reputation for theology (I think) and Wycliffe Hall is a specifically 'religious' college.

There used to be a White Horse Festival, but that stopped over a hundred years ago. They did things like chasing a cheese dow a hillside. The castle and White Horse area are protected and nothing goes on there now. As the others have said, the castle is really just an earthworks. Uffington village is at the bottom of the hill and is small and inaccessible. It is about 20 miles from Oxford. Incidentally, someone was recently on TV saying he thought the horse is really a dog.

A lot of villages have fetes from time to time and these include stalls selling things that nobody wants and maybe raffles. Some might have Morris dancers, but that is usually as far as it goes.

There are travelling circuses that visit some of the small towns. There is also a travelling 'fair' that visits my village although it is very small. It has dodgems, a roundabout, a burger van and that is probably it. There is a much bigger street fair held in Abingdon (which is a small town close to Oxford). I think there is a circus that visits there also.

There is a lot goes on at Blenheim Palace and maybe you should look into it. There have jousting there (I think) and it is easily accessible from Oxford.

backslashbaby
11-07-2010, 02:53 AM
I was thinking Blenheim, too. And there is a castle that begins with an S, I think that had falconry and Shakespeare performed, and medieval fun, yes. But I'd have to google because I never did get around to it.

There's some kind of castle ruins in Oxford, but they aren't really there or something. I never went, lol. There are signs.

My college did not offer religion, and I'm woefully ignorant about most others :( I've visited them, if that helps any.

I had to go to Gloucester Green and I was going straight to a college. It depends on which on, I'm sure, but the coach (Oxford Tube) doesn't go to the city centre, so you get off at GG unless you want the earlier (non-centre) stops.

I did mean boat, too, btw!! I took a bunch of small boat tours between Oxford and London :D Beautiful! And so nice on my bad back compared to other forms of travel :) Slow and smooth and great scenery.

I'll look up the castle I'm thinking of...

backslashbaby
11-07-2010, 03:29 AM
Shoot, the S castle is farther away than I remembered! Sudeley. I went to Warwick Castle instead, so I should have considered they were both day trips. Sorry :)

shaldna
11-07-2010, 12:22 PM
Small correction: the "Brit" fast-track line is actually the "EU citizen" line, and I get to use it too!



This is true, EU Regulations mean that anyone living in and EU country (but not a commonwealth country) can freely travel around every other EU country without restriction or visa etc.

Incidently, if you are a UK or Irish Citizen, you can also travel to the rest of the UK and Ireland without a passport, you just need to have some form of Photographic ID with you, so a drivers licence would do for domestic flights.

Kenn
11-07-2010, 04:00 PM
I did mean boat, too, btw!! I took a bunch of small boat tours between Oxford and London :D Beautiful! And so nice on my bad back compared to other forms of travel :) Slow and smooth and great scenery.
I'll bet you missed your flight though ;) It's about 80 miles from Oxford to Staines (near Heathrow) along the river and you have to go through about 30 locks. As the speed limit is 5mph, I reckon it would have taken you about 3 days! Seriously, the river is great fun (I've had a couple of boating holidays on it), but it takes ages to get anywhere. You have to be prepared for the odd traumatic event as well, if you are your own skipper. I know, I've had a few!

ETA: I imagine that you are remembering a lot of short trips where the time flies by. Add them all up though and it is a different story!

Kenn
11-07-2010, 04:22 PM
There's some kind of castle ruins in Oxford...
There is a castle in Oxford although it was mostly destroyed and rebuilt as a prison (in use until about 15 years ago). Now there are various things there (restaurants, hotel, etc.), although I am ashamed to say I haven't visited it.