There’s 2 days to go until BritMums Live 2014 (as far as I know it is Wednesday today…)! For many of the bloggers coming, the trip to The Brewery will be incredibly straightforward as they travel around London on a regular basis. If that applies to you, this post probably isn’t for you, unless you’d like to have a glance through in case I’ve missed something. For those of you who haven’t been to the big smoke for a while or travelled in London on your own before, here are some BritMums Butterflies tips for travelling in London.
- Plan your journey – have it on your phone or a little note of paper in your pocket. Everyone needs directions but carrying a massive A-Z makes you look like a tourist and a potential target for some of the not very nice people around. Scroll down a bit for the Google Map to The Brewery.
- Leave plenty of time – although if you’re late arriving at The Brewery we’ll still be there to say hello so don’t worry.
- Once you get into your main station, don’t be afraid to ask the uniformed staff for help. In general they are lovely – ask them nicely and they will help. Bite their heads off and help may not be quite as comprehensive. Simples.
- If you need to travel by Tube, take the time to buy an Oyster card. There will probably be a queue so unless you feel the overwhelming need to speak to a human through a piece of glass, buy one from the ticket machines. You pay a £5 refundable deposit (so you could just return your card on the way home) and use top up the card on a ‘pay and go’ system. If you’re making one journey each way within Zones 1 & 2 you only need to add a fiver. These journeys in cash would cost £9.40. Tap your card on the circular plate at the barrier (with the picture of a card on) when you start and finish your journey.
- Once you’re into the Tube system the TFL staff are again very helpful – if you have luggage don’t battle through the small gates, go to the end of the row and use the wide one – that’s what they’re there for. Rather obviously, the green tick means that gate is working and you can use it. The red cross means it isn’t. You would not believe the number of people this baffles.
- Stand on the right on the escalators with your luggage in front of you. The left side of the escalators is for people are in a hurry. Leave them to it. I’m going to let you into a secret – 99% of the time there will be another train in a few minutes.
- Whatever line you travel on, chances are it will be hot, quite possibly smelly and busy. The recommendation from TFL that you carry a bottle of water is well founded and well worth it. If you come into Moorgate and are heading to Starbucks or All Bar One head out of the exit signed for Moorgate/Finsbury Square, not Moorfields.
- If you want to grab a cab from one of the main stations there will be a taxi rank and taxi marshal who’ll organise the queue and send you on your way. If you want to flag down a cab, stick your arm out with confidence so that the driver can see you – taxis “for hire” will have the orange light on. If the light’s off, it’s not available. Before you get in, tell the driver where you want to go and if you want to pay by card – there may be a surcharge for a card payment. Make sure you’ve got enough cash as the driver will not be impressed if you have to go to a cashpoint and will charge you for waiting. I’m expecting a cab from Kings Cross to The Brewery to be between £12 and £15 for a 3 mile journey at lunchtime.
Finally, look after your stuff! If your bag has a zip, zip it up. If you can wear it ‘cross body’ do so with the clasp towards you. If it’s a shoulder bag, again, keep the clasp towards your body. What I’m saying is don’t give anyone the chance to take an opportunist dip in your bag. Before you start shaking and thinking you’d rather stay at home, this has never happened to me. I’m trying to help you feel confident as you stride out! If you do need to get your phone out (selfie??) if it makes you feel happier, pop it back in your bra (sorry chaps) so you don’t have to dig in your bag again.
Being in London is no different to being out in any other city, just be canny, plan ahead and finally enjoy it!
If you need help on the day the Twitter customer service team at @TFLTravelAlerts offer real time assistance and can offer advice before you go too.
You can find me @cheetahsinshoes on Twitter if you need a bit of moral support or please do tag me @cheetahsinmyshoes on Instagram being happy on your way in! Once we’re there, I’ll be spending a fair amount of time on the Butterflies sofa – with my right arm in a purple cast you should be able to find me. I’ll also have some of my camera stuff with me and am happy to try and answer questions on taking photos or blogging about health issues.
Please, enjoy your travels into London – make it a positive start to what I am sure will be an amazing weekend. BritMums Live 2014 – bring.it.on