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Cheap flights to London are available from Darwin International Airport and typically include a transfer in Singapore. Cheap flights exiting Adelaide and Perth on Emirates route through Dubai whilst other carriers may include a flight to either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. Flights available from Sydney have carriers such as Air China stopping in Beijing, a Malaysia Airlines flight may route via Kuala Lumpur and Etihad transferring through Abu Dhabi. Departures from Brisbane generally route through Kuala Lumpur or Dubai, with cheap flights on Singapore Airlines transferring through Singapore. Ground transportation at Heathrow Airport is just as busy as London itself. A taxi rank is located outside each terminal but whilst convenient, this is a pricey option. The Heathrow Connect rail service travels to Paddington with tickets £9.50 stopping at all stations. The Heathrow Express is a bit more expensive but is the quickest and easiest way to get into the city.
Getting Around London
A little planning or patience will make navigating London simple. Purchase an Oyster card (similar to Melbourne’s Myki card) for the best price and easy transition between services. The London Underground, Docklands Light Rail (DLR) and Overground all use a zonally based fare system. For cheap travel, opt for the red buses which have a flat-fare of less than £2 as does the Tramlink system. London Black Cabs are somewhat expensive and largely unnecessary. Most attractions are within walking distance, are accessible on the extensive public transport network or en route with a guided tour. Barclays Cycle Hire is similar to Brisbane’s City Cycle scheme and is a great way to explore London at your own leisure.
London is much more than the British Museum, Tate Modern and National History Museum. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, ride the London Eye and then welcome greater London with open arms. See a human skeleton a little under eight foot tall at the Hunterian Museum, a jar of moles at Grant Museum of Zoology and the cringe-worthy tools at the Old Operating Theatre. Nostalgia is particularly romantic at the Charles Dickens Museum and Pollock’s Toy Museum – round this off with a quick photo at London’s first red telephone box at the Royal Academy entrance. Take a flying trapeze class at Hoxton’s Circus Space, a pottery workshop at Wheelhouse Pottery or an overhead walk through Kew Gardens on the Xstrata Treetop Walkway. The Lee Valley White Water Centre has white-water rafting on the 2012 Olympic course or laze by the huge pool that is Tooting Bec Lido for a cheap afternoon. Of course a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a ride on an open-air bus tour. If this isn’t enough, join the Jack the Ripper tour for a tasteful, yet gruesome slice of London.
London is an impressive retail palace with equally impressive price tags. Snare a treasure at the Camden Market or Portobello Road Market. Harrods and Harvey Nichols offer high end department store shopping while the Dover Street Market houses multiples levels of boutique style fashion. Visit Lazy Oaf or the amazing emerging talent concept of Wolf & Badger. Liberty is a mall-style shopping dynasty, but if the budget can’t stretch, Bicester Village and The Galleria Outlet Centre should satisfy retail needs. For fine dining, sample the tasting (degustation) menu at Seven Park Place. Gilgamesh offers a group set menu or delight the carnivore within at Hawksmoor Guildhall with their imaginative beef tasting menu. Enjoy roast pheasant at Powder Keg Diplomacy or the Cantonese cuisine of Plum Valley. For a cheap eat visit Lantana, Princi and the Princi Pizzeria for delicious wood-fired pizza. Sip on cocktails at Beaufort Bar or head to the gorgeous jazz sound of Nightjar. Find your way to trendy Experimental Cocktail Club, laid-back Efes Pool Club or the breathtaking backdrop of Club Aquarium. Slow it down at Passing Clouds, party hard at Egg Nightclub or alongside thousands of clubbers at world-famous Ministry of Sound.
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