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Weekend family trip to london


We would like to take our children to london & kent for two days as a b'day present for one of them. We would like to have a glimpse of the major sites (they have already visited most of them last year) and shop at the Bluewater shopping center for a few hours (Lego store). This will be the first time that we will take our car with us, we will take the eurotunnel early saturday morning and return late sunday evening. We are thinking of checking in at the Premier inn Thurrock west on the saturday morning, then taking the train to london from Purfleet Train station. We will then head back to Purfleet in the evening, stay at our hotel and head to Bluewater on the sunday after breakfast. As we don't know Kent well at all I was wondering if anyone of you had any comment about this itinerary? Does it seem doable to you? What is Purfleet train station like, is it safe to park our car there? Any help/comments would be greatly appreciated! Have a nice weekend!


Is there nowhere south of the Thames to stay?

Purfleet is just outside zone 6, for a better priced ticket, I'd be within zones 1 to 6 as the daily maximum on an OYSTER card is £8.50 for adults.

Take a look at this map for which stations are in which zones.

And here are the prices for TFL

And here details of OYSTER

If you can, borrow someone's OYSTER card, you are allowed to lend them to others, there are no photos, if it's registered too, whoever lends it to you will be able to see how much credit you've used and where you've been.

Jun 15, 2013 20:49

I would offer two bits of advice:

Firstly avoid the M25 (a very long stretch in the SE segment is in the course of being widened from 3 to 4 lanes and, while it has been OK on the couple of occasions I have driven it, I wouldn't choose to use it) and in particular the Dartford Crossing which regularly snarls.
Secondly many British railway lines (including parts of the underground) catch a nasty disease at weekends called "improving your railway" which basically means that they don't work at all or are replaced by very slow bus services.
In your position I would choose a hotel on the south side of the Thames with easy access to Ebbsfleet for its regular high speed services to St Pancras (which do usually work at weekends) - and very convenient for Bluewater too.
The train fares will be a little higher but you will save two Dartford Crossing tolls.
You should be able to access suitable hotels either direct from the M20 or by switching from the M20 to the M2 in the Maidstone/Chatham area.

Jun 15, 2013 21:32

how about looking at Travelodge Woolwich Arsenal? It's very near the DLR tube line as well as train into the centre of London, do if train is running slow, you have tube alternative. It depends on where in London you want to go.

Ebbsfleet to London return will cost you £16.50 per adult and then you pay extra for travel around London. Woolwich would be less than £9 for unlimited travel for the day. It's not much further to drive to Woolwich.

Jun 15, 2013 22:19

I guess you should take into account the price of hotel also.

Jun 15, 2013 22:42

Thanks everyone! It's really helpful of you all. I think we will use the Ebbsfleet to St Pancras link, from what I was able to see online it's about 36€ for two adults and two children return on the same day (saturday), parking isn't very expensive either. I do know someone who's oyster card I can borrow, thanks for that tip as well, I didn't realise that these could be used by someone else. I have looked into other hotels but they are all either fully booked, very crummy looking or very expensive. Any other tips are more than welcome! I'm really looking forward to the trip now. Have a nice weekend.

Jun 15, 2013 22:58

It would not make any sense whatsoever to use Ebbsfleet to London if you're going to stay in Purfleet.

You will have to drive the wrong direction from London, from Purfleet to Ebbsfleet, that is going to take you a minimum of 20 minutes in free flowing traffic, possibly longer. Then you take the 20 minute train to Kings Cross. If it's £36, then add on £17 for travel around London (assuming children are young enough they go free) = £53. By the time you add up travel and parking, expect the journey to be an hour.

The alternative is to drive to Rainham in zone 6, 10 minutes, or even Barking in zone 4 where you have tube as an alternative, 15 minutes. If the first sights you want to see are in the east, such as Tower on London, then it's even more convenient. Rainham is 36 minutes to Fenchurch St, Barking is 17-20 minutes into London. So total cost is £17 (assuming kids again travel free). Travel time from Rainham will be around 50 minutes, Barking around 40 minutes.

The only downside is that you'll have further to drive at the end of the day, the upside is you'll have an extra £36 in your pocket.

The alternative is to drive to Rainh

Jun 16, 2013 07:32

Oh I see it's London on a Saturday, in which case, the upside is you are actually also nearer to your destination of Purfleet for the night. The alternative of Ebbsfleet means driving back towards London at the end of the day. It doesn't make sense unless you find somewhere to stay near Ebbsfleet.

Jun 16, 2013 07:36

Makes complete sense. I have stayed at that Premier inn and it's a nice, quiet and clean hotel. You can get to that Premier Inn without even driving on the M25 if you wish. Bluewater and Ebbsfleet are really close by so you wont waste lots of time in the car.

If I wanted to go to London and Bluewater in the same weekend I would do exactly the same as you suggest.

Jun 16, 2013 17:21

But I would add, if you can, stay in the Premier Inn Dartford. The hotels are close together but it will cut travel time.

Jun 16, 2013 18:33