Rioting Continues in London, Spreads Across Country

August 9, 2011 on 3:53 pm | In London, London travel,, Travel Safety, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The rioting that beset London over the weekend has expanded far beyond the capital. New problem areas have been reported in London, as well as in Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and other cities. For a map showing the location of the riots across England see this article in The Telegraph online. For the Guardian Live News Blog on the riots, see this link.

16,000 police will be on the streets of London tonight. It has been reported that the city’s jails are already full and that those arrested are being taken to jails in outlying locations.

It is our recommendation that tourists avoid London or consider postponing their trip if they have not yet departed for England. If you are already in the country and you cannot avoid the areas of rioting, pay attention to local media for up-to-date information on local circumstances and avoid the streets at night. While some think the riots in London and the rest of the country may be on the wane, we do not see any credible indications that this is so. If you are determined to be in England this week, it will likely be risky and we recommend that you change your itinerary for safety’s sake.

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New Round of London Tube Strikes?

June 9, 2011 on 8:06 am | In London, London travel,, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, vacation travel | 2 Comments

Tube drivers plan to strike the London Underground System on June 19, 27, 29 and July 1. The work stoppages will occur at various times on each of these days, although not for a complete day on any of the dates. The disruptions in Tube service are certain to bring chaos to transportation in London. See this article in the Guardian for details on the times of the strikes and the reason behind the action.

On the strike dates, travelers who rely on the Underground for travel connecting to Heathrow terminals or to trains that connect to Heathrow terminals may need to make other arrangements and should plan accordingly.

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Protest in Central London This Weekend

March 22, 2011 on 9:33 am | In London, London travel,, Travel Safety, United Kingdom, things travelers need to know, travel news | 1 Comment

Central London will not be the place to be for tourists hoping to explore London this weekend and we advise you to avoid the area. On Saturday, October 26th, hundreds of thousands of protestors will descend on Central London to protest the cuts related to their governments austerity measures.

Trafalgar Square will be one of the main gathering points, as described by this article in the Guardian.

If you had planned on touring London this weekend, we suggest that you consider changing your plans, unless you are determined to join the protests. Alternatives include taking a day trip, such as one of those described at ThereArePlaces, or simply heading out for a weekend in the country, or maybe touring some of the UK’s fine castles, such those described here.

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London and the Royal Wedding

December 14, 2010 on 9:59 am | In London, London travel,, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news | Comments Off

Prince William and Kate Middleton have scheduled their marriage in Westminster Abbey, London for April 29th. Those of you planning on a vacation in London that week may be in for a rude shock. CNN is reporting that the event is a bonanza for London’s hotels, as demand is surging. The Financial Chronicle of India has reported that there is some serious price gouging going on, claiming that some hotel rates have been boosted by 200 percent. Ouch, as if lodging in London wasn’t already high enough.

Oh, one more thing. The wedding weekend has been declared a bank holiday, meaning that it will be a four-day holiday attracting even more visitors. If you like pomp and circumstance, visiting London during this period may be just the thing. If not, head for the midlands, Wales or Scotland.

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London Tube Strikes Set Through November

August 26, 2010 on 9:21 pm | In London, London travel,, UK Travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

The staff of the London Underground are going to strike in September, October and November. At present strikes are set for September 6, October 3 and November 28. Some of the strikes will initiate at 1700 on the dates set and run for 24-hours, while other unions will start their strikes on the same dates, but not until 2100 hours (for 24-hours). Strikes of the forecast magnitude will cause considerable difficulties for those seeking transit services in London on these dates. For more details see this article by SkyNews.

Although the strikes will be only be of a day’s duration, they will cause chaos in London. If you will be in London on any of these dates, be prepared to hoof it, as the buses will be overwhelmed with passengers. Of course, some planned strikes never materialize and we can only hope that a settlement will be reached soon.

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Britain Raises Terror Threat Level

January 24, 2010 on 9:29 pm | In Europe travel, London, London travel, Terrorism and travel,, UK Travel, United Kingdom, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

The goverment of the United Kingdom has raised the country’s Terror Threat Classifcation from Substantial to Severe. The Severe ranking indicates that an attack is highly likely. The reason for the increase in classiciation is that a government meeting on Yemen and Afghanistan is being held in London next week. Although there is not intelligence that an attack is being planned, the government is being cautious and indicating that an attack is likely. See this article in the Gulf Times for more information.

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Abbey Road and the Beatles Turn 40

August 7, 2009 on 7:34 am | In London, London travel,, UK Travel, United Kingdom, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

If you are a Beatles fan, take a look at this article from the BBC on the 40th anniversary (this Saturday) of the Abbey Road Album and its endearing cover.

Abbey Road and the “zebra” crossing continue to attract large numbers of visitors, who queue-up and parade across the cross walk as was done by the Beatles for the cover of the Abbey Road album, their last. The street is very busy, so if you do this make sure there is a break in the traffic.

For more information on Abbey Road, see the ThereArePlaces London Guide for a map and other information.

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London Anxious About The G-20 Meeting in April

March 21, 2009 on 8:57 pm | In Europe travel, London, London travel,, UK Travel, United Kingdom, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

April 1st and 2nd might not be the ideal time to visit London.  The Group of Twenty Economic Meeting (The G-20 Meeting) is scheduled for April 2 and international leaders are expected to arrive on April 1.  As you may know, this meeting often attracts those disenchanted with Globalism, including groups that are often referred to in the press as anarchists.  While we don’t know exactly how to classify the protestors, we do know that the protests associated with these meeings (wherever  and whenever they are held) often descend into violence.  We urge travelers to avoid London during the G-20 Meeting. 

A number of groups are planning protests and London’s Metropolitan Police believe that the protests will stretch the police force to its limits, according to an article in the Times Online.  Although the formal G-20 meeting will be held at a site in the Docklands, there is some fear that the protests in the City of London (on the 1st) may be difficult to control.  See this article in the International Herald Tribune for more information.  In addition, the G-20 is the first international meeting that will be attended by American President Barack Obama and his presence may attract protestors related to U.S. foreign policy. 

If you have a vacation scheduled in London on April 1 and 2, we recommend relocating to the countryside as an alternative.  After all, Bath, the Cotswolds, York, Wales and the Southeast are waiting for you and can be reached by car or train. 

If don’t want to change your plans, you might consider taking day trips from London on the April 1st and 2nd.  If you elect the day trip option, be sure to depart the city very early in the morning and return late at night. See our London Guide for a list of enjoyable daytrips just outside the city, although we do not recommend the daytrip to Greenwich during this period. 

If you are determined to stay in the London, we recommend that you avoid public transportation during the G-20 meeting and check the local news for updates.

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UK Confuses Carry-On Luggage Restrictions!

January 8, 2008 on 5:12 pm | In London, United Kingdom, country travel information, personal travel | 4 Comments

Just when you thought it could not get any loonier, we have a topper.  On January 7th the Department of Transport in the UK lifted the one-bag limit that it had placed on travelers flying from airports in the UK. 

For example, last month we traveled to Munich through Heathrow, changing from an American Airlines flight to a Lufthansa flight at Heathrow.  We were prepared for the one bag limitation, but many of our fellow travelers were not and most had to check their second bag before they could board their connecting flight at Heathrow.

While the new rule change should have abolished this difficulty, it has not.  Instead, although the government has changed its policy, it allows the airports and airlines to establish their own policy regarding carry-on limits.  In other words, you cannot be sure that you can carry a second bag because the airport or airline may prohibit your carrying a second bag. 

For example airlines at Heathrow have the option of allowing you to take a second bag – although many have announced that they are keeping the one bag limitation.   As another example, Standsted Airport has decided not to change their existing policy limiting you to one bag of carry-on luggage.  The only way to try to figure this out is to call your airline’s service center and ask.

One potential shortcut is this article published by the BBC which lists the the policy by airport and airline. In the end, however, you will need to contact your airline to determine the specifics.




UK Airport Strikes in January?

December 27, 2007 on 10:38 am | In London, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, country travel information, strikes | 3 Comments

Recent labor unrest at BAA managed airports in the United Kingdom may results in strikes that will cripple aviation traffic in January.  At this time 24-hour  strikes are scheduled for January 7, 14 and a 48-hour strike is scheduled to start early morning on January 17th.  Heathrow, Gatwick and 5 other UK airports would be affected by the strikes.  See this BBC article for more information.

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