Voice of the consumer: Tips for getting around in London

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette) - 11 News lead Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette, but is currently on maternity leave spending time with her first child! Along with columns penned in advance of her leave, you'll hear from guest writers, including KKTV’s Don Ward and Dianne Derby and retired KKTV anchor Betty Sexton.

Previous columns can be found here.

If you’re planning a trip to London, maybe this will help.

I lived in England as a child for a few years in the 1970s, and I try to go back at least once a year. I spent a lot of that time in London.

Travel off-season and book flights early. I’ve had wonderful trips in March and October. Kids are in school, and things aren’t as crowded. The weather is often better than you would expect, but be prepared for some chilly, rainy days. I just picked a week in March next year and found flights from Denver in the $600 to $700 range. That’s pretty good. A price-watching app such as Hopper can help you track the price if you’re planning months in advance.

Take the Tube. I recommend the Heathrow Express train to get from the airport into central London. You should be able to get a roundtrip ticket for about $45. For the rest of your travel around London, use the Underground or the Tube. Taxi drivers are wonderful, but the traffic will slow down even the best of them. Be prepared for lots of walking and stairs in the Tube.

Get an Oyster Card. That’s what you use to get through the turnstiles in the Underground. You can buy one from a machine at Underground stations. I would recommend putting 25 or 30 pounds on it to start; you can always add more. The card will charge you the lowest fare on every Tube trip. The Oyster card also works on London’s buses.

Get up and go. The popular attractions get crowded as the day goes on. Plan your day, pick the top priority for the day and get there when it opens. I have also found that some spots, such as the Tower of London, have smaller crowds late in the day.

See a show. London’s West End Theatre is Europe’s Broadway. It’s as good as it gets. Beware of “discount” websites for theater tickets. Go to the official website for the show. That may be a better deal. There’s also a site called theatremonkey.com that has London discounts.

Save money on meals. London has great restaurants and wonderful pub food, but I will often skip the restaurant and go to a grocery store. You’ll find premade sandwiches, chips (crisps as the English call them), even a cup of cut fruit for a few pounds. Enjoy your trip to London. I love it, and I hope you will too!

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