Travel in London for Christmas!
I was living in Paris for 6 months when one of my best friends invited me to spend the Christmas with her cousin and some friends in London. Of course I said yes. I didn’t have much time to think, it was just the week before Christmas and I had no plans. And I was so excited about going to London for the first time with my best friend. What a better occasion to be there, right?
The city is absolutely stunning at this time of the year! The stores are amazingly decorated, you can find the best shows, musicals and ballets. The streets are beautiful and people are happy. I mean, it has everything to be perfect! Yes. Except for one point: there is no public transport at all on December 25th. I went to London literally to spend the night of the 24th and I should be at the airport the day after, imperatively by midday. I had bought a non-refundable plane ticket, and as I had friends coming from Brazil to my house in Paris, I had to be there on the right time. There was no way to change it!
So back to my Christm eve.
I was enjoying very much the food, the music, the conversation, the warm ambiance, when I told someone: I have to wake up early tomorrow to get the metro to the airpot. And everybody laughed at me saying: there’s no public transport on Christmas Day. Relax, stay one more day with us.
I felt like: WHAT? HOW THERE’S NO PUBLIC TRANSPORT? Then I immediately googled the possibilities about going to the airport on the Christmas Day and it didn’t make me feel more calm. The last Heathrow Express train leaved Paddington at 8pm, and it wouldn’t start running again until 29 December. The tube starts winding down at 8pm, and doesn’t work again until Boxing Day. The Overground and TfL Rail don’t start back up until 27 December.
No buses. No regular taxis, except for the rare black cabs charging around £100, which in my home currency meant 4x more. By that time my Christmas eve was over, people around me were too drunk to help me, and I was getting really annoyed. Googled again. I had to find a solution. That was when I found a bus company offering shuttle service to Heathrow, for the marvelous price (compared to my other options) of £15.
So it was around 6am, I got my stuff, went down stairs, and tried to get a ride with some stranger to the central station. But the streets were empty. Out of nothing a black cab appeared and the driver asked me if I was Julie. I said: Yes, it’s me, thanks (but of course not). I know it wasn’t the right thing to do, but there was no other way. And I finally got to my final destination 😀
Lesson of the story: when in London for the holidays, first thing to do is to check your possibilities to get out of there!