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A Guide to visiting Jamie

My flat, which has been dubbed “Jamieham Palace”, is open for family and friends to visit. My services as a tour guide and travel agent are also available to family and friends to help them plan and execute their trips.

Scheduling

At this time my vacation days are nearly all spoken for in 2012 (however you can still visit, I may only be able to join you on weekends and evenings). 2013 remains open for booking and planning.

I maintain an online Calendar that you can use for reference when planning trips. But before you book flights or submit vacation forms please be certain to get ahold of me to confirm dates (either by e-mail, facebook, cell phone or smoke signals).

Calendar: Click Here

 Accomodations

Flat

I can comfortably host 1 person in my flat; it gets a little cozy with 2 people and I haven’t dared to try 3 people yet. With that being said, I will have 2 or 3 people as requested but please don’t plan to spend more than a couple (2-4) nights at the flat with that many people.

The flat is centrally located between 2 major Tube stations: Lancaster Gate (Central Line) & Paddington Station (Heathrow Express, Bakerloo, Circle, District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City). I am also very close to Hyde Park. This makes travelling around the city (or out of the city) pretty easy.

The flat is a Studio, meaning that my bedroom, sitting room, dining room and even kitchen are in the same open space (bathroom is just outside). It’s cozy.

What you get:
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  • Double Air Mattress & Linens (sheets/blankets/pillows/towels)
  • UK Cell Phone (for texting, can call to US, may need to add £)
  • London Oyster Card (for the Tube, may need to add £)
  • Full Kitchen arrangement (stove, appliances, fridge, etc.)
  • Local and knowledgeable tour guide (when not working)

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If you’re feeling moved to thank me for the accomodations here is a short list of items you can use to reward me for my hospitality (not the entire list, just some suggestions, of course):

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  • Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
  • Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce
  • Marshmallow Fluff
  • Jiff Smooth Peanut Butter
  • Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • Pillsbury Banana Bread Mix
  • Pillsbury Ginger Bread Mix
  • Welch’s Grape Jelly
  • Saltines

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Just remember, whatever you bring me will clear space out in your suitcase to bring back souvenirs or other shopping items! In actuality I’m doing you a favor by requesting these items.

Hotel

If the thought of sleeping on an air mattress or sharing a cozy space with me doesn’t suit then there are any number of hotels available throughout London.

In my Neighborhood

There are several hotels in my neighborhood but I do not have personal experiences with them. I’ve briefly looked at reviews and the following seem to be the most favorable (and are within 1-2 blocks of my flat):

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  • (£££) Paddington Hilton: This is a pricier hotel but it’s a known reputable chain and it’s directly next to Paddington station for great location.
  • (££) Lancaster Hotel: This is a large hotel just down the street and directly next to the Lancaster Gate Tube station.
  • (£) Royal Court Apartments: This is a slightly cheaper hotel and I’ll note that I’ve never stayed there nor know anyone who has. It is directly next door to my flat and has a more apartment type feel than a hotel one.

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Around London

The Grange Hotels (a range of them owned by the same company) are fantastic. I personally recommend:
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  • The Grange White Hall: Next to the British Museum and in close proximity to Russell Square the location could not get any better. I had a great experience with them in 2011 and found the rooms to be comfortable, clean and very nice.
  • The Grange Holborn: Near Holborn Tube Station and in close proximity to the British Museum this is a centrally located hotel with easy access to the Central and Piccadilly tube lines. I’ve stayed on 2 separate occasions and found the rooms to be incredibly comfortable, clean and well maintained.

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Transportation

By Plane

Recommended Airport: Heathrow
Other Airports: Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton

From Heathrow:

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  • Take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station (~15 minutes/£18).
    • Exit main exit from Paddington
    • Turn right onto Praed Street
    • Follow through 2 sets of lights, 3rd set is Gloucester Terrace
    • Turn left on Gloucester Terrace, look for (ask Jamie for Building Number and Flat Number)
  • Take the London Underground Piccadilly Line from Heathrow to Paddington Station (~1hour15minutes/£5.30)
    • Take Piccadilly to Earl’s Court
    • Change for the District Line heading towards Edgware Road.
    • Exit at Paddington Station.

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Airline Recommendations: 

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  • Virgin (£££) – a pricier airline but they offer the best services and experience if you can catch them on a deal.
  • British Airlines (££) – pay close attention to who is “operating” the flight; BA affiliates with AA and often if you book through BA you’ll end up on an AA flight.
  • Aer Lingus (£) – very reasonable in cost but you’ll likely layover in Ireland and receive an Irish passport stamp and not a UK one.
  • Delta / KLM (££) – they are affiliated airlines and both are very good.

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Other notes about flying.. if you’re coming from the US expect to pay $800-1200 round-trip depending on the season (more in the summer, less in winter or fall).

By Tube

I live between 2 Tube stations: Paddington (Heathrow Express, Circle, District, Bakerloo, Metropolitan) & Lancaster Gate (Central).

From Paddington:

0.18 miles / ~10 minutes

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  • Exit Paddington (by Praed St, if possible).
  • Once on Praed St. look at the Hilton.
    • If you’re on the same side of the street as the Hilton, head left.
    • If you’re on the opposite side of the street as the Hilton, head right.
  • Follow through 2 sets of lights, 3rd set is Gloucester Terrace
  • Turn left on Gloucester Terrace, look for (ask Jamie for Building Number and Flat Number)

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From Lancaster Gate:

0.14 miles / ~7 minutes

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  • Exit the Underground station and turn right.
  • Cross the street at the lights (Hyde Park on your left) – Turn right.
  • Take 1st Left for Gloucester Terrace, look for (ask Jamie for Building Number and Flat Number)

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By Train

London has any number of train stations. The closest to me are: Paddington, Euston, Victoria, King’s Cross, or Liverpool. Any London train station will do as you can catch the Underground to either Paddington Station or Lancaster Gate. (See “By Tube” for directions from the Underground stations.)

Recommendations

London Sites

There are a million things to see and do in London. Below are some of my favorites and recommendations that I would make to friends visiting. If you want more information on an attraction please let me know.

When you’ve decided your date and begun to plan your trip make sure to reach out to me so that I can help customise an itinerary and lend you a hand in planning!

Must See/Must Do

Big Bus Tours
London is a very large city and much of what you’ll want to see is outdoors and visible by the street but you may not want to go in (think Big Ben).  This style of travel gives you the opportunity to explore the city from the streets and have all the major landmarks pointed out to you.

Tower of London
The Tower of London reflects British history dating back to the early 1000s. The stories are well known and sure to entertain. The Crown Jewels are also housed in this famous castle. Be sure to partake in a Beefeater tour, as they’ll paint the gory history of the Tower beautifully! I recommend planning for at least 1/2 a day to visit and explore the Tower of London to it’s full extent.

Tower Bridge
While you’re in the vicinity of the Tower of London take a tour of the Tower Bridge. You’ll get an opportunty to go inside the actual Bridge; there is a great museum and exhibit about how the Bridge was built and how it functions, you’ll even get the opportunity to see inside the engine rooms for the bridge. The views from the Bridge’s walkway are also spectacular.

London Eye
The London Eye is an experience to be had; you’ll get beautiful views of the city from all heights as you take a loop around this large ferris wheel like structure.  If you’re visiting during tourist season you can benefit from using the “Fast Past” ticket to avoid the queues.

British Museum
The British Museum is the best of the London museums. It has the Rosetta Stone, as well as the Elgin Greek Marbles, and many other sights to behold. The building itself its a beautiful creation and there are usually very interesting visiting exhibits to be seen.

Sights: Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, South Bank of Thames, Hyde Park.

Other Considerations:

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  • Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Oxford Street (for shopping)
  • Olympic Grounds
  • Kensington Palace
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Borough Market

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Seasonal Sites

Winter

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Day Trips

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  • Stonehenge
  • Bath
  • Oxford
  • Cambridge
  • Cardiff
  • Brighton

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Tour Groups

Haggis Tours – for Scotland / Wales / England

Anderson Tours – for Daytrips

Evans & Evans Tours – for Daytrips

Travel Tips

The following are some considerations when it comes to traveling. Tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way or that have been passed down to me.

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  • Credit Cards & Debit Cards:
    • If you’re using them internationally make sure that your company has put a travel flag on them.
    • For Credit Cards expect to receive a charge each time you make a purchase (so avoid small purchases unless you have confirmation that there are no charges).
    • For Debit Cards check with your bank if they have an affiliated branch over here for ATM usage (Bank of America is affiliated with Barclays, for instance, and you can use their ATMs free of charge).

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