London Explorer (2 nights) » Review by liselise
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