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  • Getting to Cambridge (our guide to local transportation)

    Posted on May 21, 2015

    Many will travel by air to the UK, and the most likely airports are Heathrow and Gatwick. Here are as few suggestions for getting to Cambridge.
    General Travel in and around London.

    This information is provided by Geoffery Read, INTO Volunteer Director, and frequent traveler.
    2015-05-20_15-57-51

    BUY AN OYSTER CARD.

    This is a main travel card for all forms of London Public Transport ( the Underground or Tube, buses, overground trains and some of the Thames river ferries) . You can buy an Oyster Card at all tube stations including the tube station at Heathrow. Buy also on the internet (www.tfl.gov.uk), and it will be sent to you. We suggest if you are to do any travel in London that you buy on the Internet and put say 20 UK £ credit on. Then you top up as you use it. The card costs 3UK£ which you don’t get back (postage) but what you don’t use you can get back when leaving the UK (or give to a friend to use). Each of you will need one when travelling. DON’T travel on public transport without paying. The Oyster Saves a lot of time too. Busses are good and safe but they no longer accept take cash for fares.
    We hope this map will help you.

    Landing at Heathrow LHR, going to Cambridge

    Two main ways
    a) TAXI all the way to Cambridge. We suggest don’t take a BLACK CAB as VERY costly. Those of us who live on London often use a radio cab. BOOK and they will meet you.
    Geoff Read uses Meadway Company tel +4420 8458 5555. http://www.meadway.com/text/bookings.htm Call them before you fly, book, tell them name , flight no, which terminal and expected time, and your cell number so they can call you and vice versa, Camb you plan to go ( your hotel, or say the West Road Concert Hall), and how many people. ASK the price. They will confirm and STAY with the price.
    The costs ( they quoted us today May 19 to Geoff Read) are approx. as follows
    1. 2 people (max 2 cases each, plus hand luggage) cash UK £125, credit card UK£130 APPROX (may be a bit more or less depending if the plane is late and they need more parking time)
    2. 3 to 5 people (generally say 1.5 cases each plus hand luggage)cash UK£165 credit card UK £175
    b) Tube (Metro), and train
    1. Tube Piccadilly line which is at Heathrow to Kings Cross Main line Rail station(for this you will use your Oyster Card, which you could also buy at the airport tube station). There will be a queue at the Tube ticket Office but you can go thru easily as you will have an Oyster Card!!! Luggage is heavy so be sure the cases have wheels and are marked with a bright coloured ribbon (to avoid another person’s luggage)
    2. Main Line Train from Kings Cross Station to Cambridge: buy a cheap return valid for 1 month cost about UK£ 40 RETURN or about £20 single. You can buy these on internet BEFORE and collect at the station (easy at a machine, with the REFERENCE number which they will e mail to you). BUT you must go on the train and class you booked otherwise they can be difficult (fines). Buy from web site TRAINLINE.COM. Buying rail ticket on the day of departure can be expensive.
    3. Attractive alternative is a BOOKED and waiting at the Heathrow Terminal Meadway Taxi from Heathrow to Kings Cross Train station. Approx cost £UK40( 2 people) and £UK58 FOR up to 5 people (this is of course a bigger car)

    OTHER INFORMATION

    AT HEATHROW AIRPORT THERE WILL BE PRESSURE TO TAKE THE EXPRESS TRAIN (I think it costs about 20£. THIS IS FAST AND GOES TO ANOTHER TRAIN STATION (PADDINGTON). FROM THERE YOU WILL have to go across London to Kings Cross, either by taxi (black taxi which will cost you about £30 or by tube which involves carting luggage and a lot of energy) so the Meadway taxi is in my view the best and cheapest. TUBE via Piccadilly line is cheapest. BUT lots of stairs etc and quite slow and at rushhour CROWDED. But A GOOD WAY.

    Landing at Gatwick

    a) TAXI all the way Gatwick to Cambridge. We suggest don’t take a BLACK CAB as VERY costly. Those of us who live on London often use a radio cab. BOOK and they will meet you.
    Geoff Read uses Meadway Company tel +4420 8458 5555. http://www.meadway.com/text/bookings.htm Call them before you fly, book, tell them name , flight no, which terminal and expected time, and your cell number so they can call you and vice versa, Camb you plan to go ( your hotel, or say the West Road Concert Hall), and how many people. ASK the price. They will confirm and STAY with the price.
    The costs (they quoted us today May 19 to Geoff Read) are approx. as follows
    1. 2 people (max 2 cases each, plus hand luggage) cash UK £160, credit card UK£180 APPROX ( may be a bit more or less depending if the plane is late and they need more parking time
    2. 3 to 5 people ( generally say 1.5 cases each plus hand luggage)cash UK£185, credit card UK £190
    b). alternative is a BOOKED and waiting at Gatwick Terminal a Meadway Taxi from Gatwick to Kings Cross Train station. Approx cost £UK80( 2 people) and £UK90 FOR up to 5 people ( this is of course a bigger car)
    c) Alternative is a train from Gatwick to Victoria Station in London,
    1. then Tube from Victoria Station or a Taxi to Kings Cross Main line station for train to Cambridge. Buy train ticket to London at Gatwick Airport cost approx. £35.. OR take a Black cab taxi from Victoria Station to Kings Cross Station, (it is not easy to get a MEADWAY Cab to meet you at Victoria). Cost approx. £35. A black cab can take max 4 people but if lots of luggage, more likely say 3people.
    2. Main Line Train from Kings Cross Station to Cambridge: buy a cheap return valid for 1 month cost about UK£ 40 RETURN or about £20 single. You can buy these on internet BEFORE and collect at the station (easy at a machine, with the REFERENCE number which they will e mail to you). BUT you must go on the train and class you booked otherwise they can be difficult (fines). Buy from web site TRAINLINE.COM . Buying rail ticket on the day of departure can be expensive.

    Other Considerations

    a. Another Travel Option. You may be planning to also got to France or Europe, Or have a cheap flight to Paris. One good way to then get to and from the UK (you may need a Shengen Visa) is on the EUROSTAR train. This goes from Paris Gare du Nord (very central Paris) to St Pancreas Station London right next door to Kings Cross Station. Eurostar.com So travel in the UK and to Cambridge will be easy
    b. If you are planning to do other travel in the UK and by train, it may be worth buying a Rail card. This will give discounts etc. (if over 60 years, there is a Senior Railcard!!! Good discounts). http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_Look for details of MANY options on the Internet.

    Ideas for hotels in London

    Since we imagine you may want to take the opportunity while in the UK to spend some additional time in the UK or London, there are huge numbers of accommodation options in London. Best ask your travel agent or friends. To see many of the attractions (museums, galleries, music and rock and roll, and shopping) we suggest you aim to stay fairly centrally – the city is quite big. One affordable good quality but simple (it does not deal with stars) accommodation we suggest in the Indian YMCA. Well located, near the Tube and Kings Cross Station and affordable. Great simple food too. But hard to get into. BOOK well in advance.
    Since you will be coming to and from Cambridge, if you need a London hotel, located near Kings Cross station, Russell Square area, Warren Street area is well located for using the tube and bus system, as there is lots to see and do in that general area.

    IT – Connections and WFI

    It will be easy and important for you to download to your iphone or equivalent, good Apps of the London Tube map, the London Bus Map, and London Bus Times.

    Theatre and concerts in London

    If you are planning to take in any of these before or after the conference, we suggest you book well in advance, as seats are often sold out (lots of tourists)

    Other things in London

    Specific things to visit and do in London in addition to the Museums and Galleries, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and the Parks, and Soho include:
    The Borough Market (tube to London Bridge);
    Camden Market & Canal (tube to Camden Town);
    Tate Modern ( tube to St Pauls then bridge);
    Globe Theatre (original Shakespeare stage-tube to Embankment);
    Kings Road (tube to Sloan Square);
    Harrods; etc etc
    See more information about enjoying London on this post.

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