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willem

School Me: London Tube; Oyster card; Senior Railcard; and more

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One little addendum on the subject of SIM cards.

 

It's a lot easier to by a SIM card in the UK that in the USA.

I tried to get a temporary SIM while visiting the USA a few years ago and was surprised how hard it was (presumably to comply with federal requirements about user data).

 

You can find cheap basic SIM cards for sale at all convenience stores and supermarkets. These will be available for you to activate and load credit onto before use (prepay) and are called "pay as you go" or PAYG plans.

 

MoneySavingExpert is a great resource for all UK consumers, and this page gives you a low down on current best deals for PAYG SIM cards:

 

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/best-pay-as-you-go-sim-cards

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Thanks for that link, jamesontheroad. It has a lot of information that has not concerned me before now.

 

I'm a bit confused and hope you can clarify something for me. Does "available for you to activate and load credit onto" mean that I need to buy the SIM and then buy minutes or data? Or does it mean that I need to activate the SIM (how?) and then load additional credit onto it after I exhaust the initial credit? Put another way, does the SIM come with any credit already on it?

 

Thanks for any education.

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Don’t know how much time you have in London (there is never enough), but I just wanted to mention that St Pancras and Kings Cross stations are worth a visit. They are right next door to each other, but have very different and attractive decors. Apart from the attractive decor of St Pancras, it is interesting to see where the Eurostar departs (maybe you are going on it). Kings Cross also has great decor, trains depart from here to Scotland etc. Kings Cross features in Harry Potter books (if you have young relatives) and you will find the Harry Potter souvenir shop there.

 

In London I have also enjoyed sitting on the top level of public double decker buses, right at the front if possible. Lots of routes, so there will be one to take you to a tourist site. There are also the tourist hop-on, hop-off buses of course.

 

Jean

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Never enough time in London? Dr Johnson said, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life".

 

I believe the train to St Albans leaves from St Pancras, and we do plan on a day trip there. We'll schedule some extra time for station-seeing.

 

I would like to take the train to Inverness, but that probably won't happen. We might make a day trip to Paris. (Thanks to jis for that idea.)

 

And it doesn't take young relatives to spark an interest in Harry Potter. Speaking of which, the Harry Potter Lexicon is a resource for any Harry Potter fan.

 

Thanks for the ideas, Jean.

 

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You are welcome willem. Yes a day trip to Paris is well worth it if you can fit it in your budget. Book early to get lower fares, though beware, almost all are non refundable. Rail Europe will happily sell you a reasonably priced insurance that will refund the fare in case of cancellation, no questions asked. I have bought the insurance but never had a chance to exercise it.

 

For maximum time in Paris take the first Eurostar of the day out and the last one back. As soon as you get to Paris get yourself on the Hop-on Hop-off tour bus. That is much easier for someone who is not familiar with the Metro and RER systems.

Edited by jis

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You are welcome willem. Yes a day trip to Paris is well worth it if you can fit it in your budget. Book early to get lower fares, though beware, almost all are non refundable. Rail Europe will happily sell you a reasonably priced insurance that will refund the fare in case of cancellation, no questions asked. I have bought the insurance but never had a chance to exercise it.

 

For maximum time in Paris take the first Eurostar of the day out and the last one back. As soon as you get to Paris get yourself on the Hop-on Hop-off tour bus. That is much easier for someone who is not familiar with the Metro and RER systems.

 

Alternatively, spend a night in Paris. Hotels there tend to be a shade cheaper than London ones, and it's a city that's well worth seeing at night as well as during the day.

 

And if you consider the Eurostar ride as a railfan attraction in its own right rather than just a convenient means of transportation, there might be arguments for riding it during daylight hours.

Edited by cirdan

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Of course you could also spend multiple nights in Paris if you so choose. that goes without saying. If you have even more time (and money) you could do both Paris and Brussels

 

For the moment we were discussing day trips and what you can do in such ;) As a railfan, you can do even a London - Paris - Brussels - London day trip all in daylight even in the winter.

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