WARNING: Do not do this if you’re not confident you can follow through because this is very risky.
NOTE: Things to consider while doing all these.
- Always, always mind your time! Make sure you leave about an hour and half padding extra before your flight. Do not underestimate anything.
- The London weather! It can change from sunny to windy to rainy. When I say windy- it means windy! You might want to consider bringing a light jacket or coat. It also depends on what season you’re going. Spring weather I think is the most unpredictable of all.
- Priorities. Know your priorities and stick with them.
- Study the tube beforehand. Travel forums are helpful BUT pick and choose which advise will help you more, advises can be overwhelming. Have a confidence in yourself that you can do it.
- Don’t be scared to ask. If the first guy does not help you, ask another one. Do not be discourage by snooty British attitude, you’ll find the right one who will help you. A lot of times it will be the quiet girl with a headdress sitting in one corner, you’ll be surprised!
- Shoes! Use a comfortable shoes- you are going to be walking about 2-5 miles more or less on this travel. So wear comfortable shoes.
Our flight from Barcelona to Stansted boarded about 15 minute early. We took RyanAir, they have a habit of doing that which is even better. Later my cousin told me that as soon as the passengers starts boarding off the plane, the crew and even the pilot are ready with the broom and cleaning stuff to clean the plane because it’s going to turn around right away with passengers on board back! I was laughing until I saw (on our way back that night) with my own eyes, luggage coming out of the plane from the passengers who just boarded off and on the other side we were boarding on the plane! Well, they’re very efficient alright and probably that’s how they can offer better deals- by how many times the plane can come and go. LOL! It’s just my assumption- don’t take my word for it.
Anyways, the flight was fine- I was very much refreshed from a good night sleep the night before. Took some Tylenol every 4 hours (500 mg) for my back ache from Air France flight! I still had it but very tolerable. We arrived at Stansted Airport about 10 minutes early, and of course we gained one hour because of the time zone difference. So we were there at 7:50 AM. Not bad! We lost that at the customs and immigration
. There was not a long line but it took so long because all Non-EU passport are on this line. If you are an International Traveler you probably know how long it takes for those customs officers to clear some people. When it was our turn it just took about 5 minutes and we were stamped and cleared. We looked right away for an ATM. If you have a bunch of cash, it’s probably best for you to find the money exchange booth (they take a lot off the exchange, just to let you know), but if you’re using your card- find an ATM and withdraw your desired amount in pounds. Then find the Information Kiosk and ask as many questions you can remember that you don’t know because it will help you a lot. Ask for pocket maps and buy the necessary transportation tickets. There is also some transportation offered when you are walking through the hallway from the gate to take you to London proper, some of them they offer it as early as when you’re still waiting to board the plane. If you prefer this, it is your choice.
In our case- we were picked up by relatives because we had some gifts for their newborn baby and other family stuff. But you could take the train (Stanstead Express) to central L0ndon, this will take you about 50 minute to your destination which is Liverpool Street Station. This station will be important to you especially if you’re using Stanstead Airport and also if you’re using the London tube. We took this but the reverse when we were coming back to the Airport, it was very smooth.
An Advise: Do not be intimidated by the London Tube. You can ask a free Tube map from any Tourist shop nearby or from any Information Kiosk nearby. Take time to ask and understand what the signs are and where the colors go.
If you’re in Liverpool Street Station (from Stanstead Airport), you only need to use the Yellow Circle Line. For the few hours we were in London, we managed to go in Tower of London (we bought the tickets online, ahead of time), Westminster Abbey, The Parliament Square (includes Big Ben, The Parliament and any other historic building that’s in there) and the Sherlock Holmes Museum. I know it’s very ambitious but you can do it, if you plan it right. Our flight back to Barcelona was at 8:30 that night.