27 May 2013 - 29 May 2013
If you are a very nervous solo traveler, than this might be the tour for you. Everything is already arranged and paid for.
with that said, if you're comfortable making the arrangements to see London yourself, I suggest you do that instead. The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour is a great, easy way to get an intro to the city, but you can easy book it yourself. The options for the West End musical were poor and I would have rather paid a little more, done it myself, and have gotten a better experience. Similarly, with the 'hotel' included in the tour, the Royal National. I am aware that hotels in London are expensive, but I would have never chosen Royal National for myself after staying there two nights.
Bottom line: I was a solo traveler and I wish I had arranged my London visit on my own terms.
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
21 Apr 2013 - 23 Apr 2013
The only thing I would do differently is stay a few days longer (we already added 1 extra night!) There is so much to see and do that an extra couple of days would have been great! Contiki was a good starting point for us though and the hotels and contiki basement are perfectly located and easy to find!
Review written May 2013event 0.3
10 May 2012 - 12 May 2012
If you book the London Explorer, keep in mind that it isn't really a tour. It's mostly just an accommodation package - you don't have a tour group or anything. With that said, I'm so glad I booked this as an add-on to my trip!
The open top bus tour was incredible. If it wasn't included, I absolutely would have paid for it, because it took me everywhere I wanted to go. It's great that you're able to buy tickets for a lot of the main attractions at the Contiki Basement; it definitely saves time and money. I was able to get in to both the Tower of London and the London Eye with very minimal wait times, which was awesome.
I wasn't expecting to have a roommate for this portion of my tour, but I did. It was a complete surprise, and we ended up spending all of our time together and becoming extremely close! That's the best part about Contiki, in my opinion... all of the amazing people you meet and become friends with.
Basically, if you want to spend some extra time in London, book this add-on tour. It gives you a place to stay, a few included extras, and maybe even a super cool roommate. :)
Review written Sep 2012event 0.3
16 Aug 2012 - 18 Aug 2012
This is not a trip of its own, its an adition, before or after, to another longer Contiki.
This was a great idea. Granted, you can pretty much book the same on your own, but then, you will miss on all the little "Contiki" details that just made those few days an even greater experience for me. (A girl from my trip booked the same hotel on her own for the same nights, and Breakfeast wasn't included for her.)
With Contiki, you get the included breakfeast, maps, the Hop-on Hop-Off bus ticket (Which is absolutely worth it!!!) many coupons and my ultimate favorite, a choice for a West-End musical. (I highly recommend that booking your musical is one of the first thing you do, as the choices aren't as many as I thought and do not play every night, so plan early, I saw the Wizard of Oz and it was magical!!!!)
I chose to stay at the Imperial Hotel, that's where my tour was based as well, and the staff was very friendly and helpful, the rooms clean and the breakfast was good as well!
Review written Sep 2012event 0.3
08 Jul 2012 - 10 Jul 2012
What a time to go to London! The Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee! Lots of great things in town!
Hotel Accomadation-Royal National, ok room, staff were very unfriendly, unhelpful and incompetent. The first employee I talked to couldn't even tell me where the elevator to go upstairs was. Wi fi is only available in main lobby and then it is pretty sketchy. Good location though.
Hop On Hop off tour- Excellent! Pick up is right by the hotel and it takes you everywhere you could want to go with free informaiton while you're going there. Included boat trip down the Thames to the tower was awesome! (Tip, the cruise actually stops at the eye, so you can do the eye and get on the cruise instead of going back across the river.) This tour also includes your chocie fo three walking tours. The changing of the guard is free to the public so skip this tour and do it on your own. the Jack the Ripper tour is only during the middle of the day so it can kill your schedule. THe other one available is a Rock and roll history tour. We didn't do this part so can't say how they are.
West End Show- I love musicals and this is a great opportunity, but you get what you pay for and the seats are terrible. The agent told us since we came in early we got their best seats for this deal and we were so high up we could'nt even see the stage and the seats were so tiny my legs began cramping.
If you buy eye and Tower of London tickets with Contiki you get to go into the group admission lines which is quicker so that is nice. The eye akes for great views but is very crowded and can take a long time to get on. the tower is a very large castle. Skip the torture exhibit. It's three signs and displays and takes 20 minutes in line and 5 minutes inside.
Everything is walkable so take your bus down towards one of the parks and enjoy the experience of walking around a corner and seeing the landmarks come into view. For instance pick up your show tickets and make the short walk down to Trafalgar square to see Nelson come into view and then see Big Ben come into view. Wonderful time!
Most of the museums are free and the British Museum (huge) is just down from the hotel.
The complimentary tube pass is a life saver!
If you are doing this at the end of a tour like we did (Vista) you don't get back in until late so that first day is all travel and then whatever night life you can take in.
Overall a great experience!
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3
21 Jan 2012 - 23 Jan 2012
i enjoyed my days in london after egypt nile and prior to europe discovery winter was able to catch up on sleep sort my washing out and still shop and see the sights of london contiki basement staff friendly approachable and eager to help out if you want to stay pre or post a trip or between tours like i did then london certainly has plenty to see and do
Review written Mar 2012event 0.3
10 Dec 2010 - 12 Dec 2010
I did the European Discovery tour from the 28th November returning to London on the 9th of December. Before going home I decided to stay a couple more nights in London so I added on the London Explorer staying at the Imperial Hotel (I stayed at the Royal National the night before the tour and chose Imperial because I presumed it would be nicer).
Convenience. The tour takes you back to the Royal National which is basically around the corner from the Imperial. It meant I could walk to the hotel. The hotel is also located near a metro station. All Contiki tours that start in London leave from the Royal National and there is a Contiki Basement at that hotel which can help you if you have any questions.
Instant roommate- I was a solo traveller. Doing the London Explorer meant that I paid twin share price even though for one night I had the room to myself. This was my choice though as I didn't mind having a roommate. You can opt to go by yourself if you wish.
Activities- if you have no idea what to do in London the package gives you passes for a bus tour, a show etc.
Metro passes- you get a train ride from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the airport. You can use these passes whenever so I used the first one when I actually arrived in London (November 27).
The show- You get a pass to see a West End show and the description made me think that the ticekts would be decent however the seat I got was the WORST possible seat. I personally don't even think that should be sold as a seat. Not only was it far back but I had the balcony railing restricting my view and then my view was completely blocekd when some kids went down to get a better look. This isn't Contiki's fault however I would recommend using your free pass to go to a show on a weeknight or maybe during the day where it might not be so busy. I ended up paying money to get upgraded.
All lonesome- The best thing about Contiki tours is that you meet people. i knew that the explorer package wasn't exactly a tour but it would be good if there was some way of getting in contact with other people using the explorer package so I'd have someone to do the activities with. I had a roommate for one night but she was just taking advantage of the Contiki room rate before her tour started.
The hotel- I understand that hotels in London are expensive but I didn't think the Imperial was good value. I actually think that if given the choice again I would choose the Royal National. Cheaper and although not necessarily "nicer" than the Imperial, I think it's better value. That could be because I had much lower expectations of the Royal though.
Overall I think the London Explorer is a reasonably priced package which is great if you want to spend some days before or after your tour in London. I'd particularly recommend it to solo travellers. If I go back to London I wouldn't do it again but that's because now I have an idea of what I would like to see in London. The tour was good as I basically didn't know anything.
Review written Jan 2012event 0.3
05 Nov 2011 - 07 Nov 2011
I love these London explorer packages because they give you the liberty of doing what you want when you want, it's not a guided tour honestly in London you dont really need. They set you up with your room and then your off to explore this beautiful city. I did this tour as post days after a 21 day Europe tour and it was just what the dr ordered :)
Review written Nov 2011event 0.3
03 Aug 2011 - 05 Aug 2011
The hotel (Imperial) was in a fantastic location! It was so easy to get to and from the hotel on the Picadilly line on the Underground. The added sightseeing tour was well done. I took a bus with a live tour guide and I recommend that option to the audio guides. Even though it was raining, I sat on the top level (under the shelter) and was able to see everything that I wanted to see.
The included theatre ticket was a great option, but I wish there were more options for shows. The most popular shows were not included in the free ticket.
The hotel room was small but adequate. The bathroom was spacious, though, with a full size tub.
Review written Sep 2011event 0.3
11 Aug 2011 - 13 Aug 2011
We loved the included bus tour. However we didn't know we needed to go to the local "tkts" booth in town first thing in the morning to get the theatre tickets so we missed out on that- and because our vouchers given by contiki were EXPIRED. We were also disappointed that the hotel did NOT give us our included continental breakfast.
Review written Aug 2011event 0.3
01 Aug 2011 - 03 Aug 2011
I didn't know what to expect when I signed up for this. I knew it included a ticket to see a theatre performance, but otherwise I had no idea. I feel like three days was not enough in the city, but I didn't know that when I first booked it. I also felt very unprepared in the city. I didn't know what things I should and shouldn't go see and do. On my other tour we were given a map with highlights of the places to definitely go see and do, but in London I felt like I was lost and just wandering around.
Review written Aug 2011event 0.3
15 Jul 2011 - 17 Jul 2011
I thought this was an absolutely fabulous idea for a tour. The hotel was in a wonderful location and everything was well arranged - I booked two extra nights after the tour and was able to stay in the same room. I had a twin room to myself during the tour and only had a roommate for the second two nights, who was lovely! The Contiki Basement is a wonderful place with helpful staff and the inclusions on tour are absolutely excellent. You get a ticket to a West End show of your choice, and a bus tour which goes all over the city to the big attractions and includes a free walking tour and a boat trip up the Thames. The final stop on the boat is Greenwich, home of the Prime Meridian line and a lovely village to spend an afternoon. You can then return either on the cruise or the Docklands light railway train system, which connects with the London Underground. You're also sent two passes for the underground which allows you to transfer from the airport to the Russell Square tube station - the hotel is around the corner and there is signage pointing you towards it. Contiki really allows you to get the most out of London in a short time.
Review written Jul 2011event 0.3
01 Jul 2009 - 03 Jul 2009
Great little extension. I suggest if you are doing it along w/ a longer tour around Europe, to do London at the beginning of the trip. I did it after the Europe tour, and I was so exhausted that I feel like I didn't see everything I could have in those couple days. You do not have a tour guide, you are your own tour guide, but they give you a packet so that you can get around the city and see everything you want to while there.
Review written May 2010event 0.3