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AJ

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I am seriously considering that this is the year I want to make the pilgrimage to the holiest of football sacred sites, Villa Park. I am excited about this, so I am probably jumping the gun here, as I haven't even put it to the missus yet. But, I have been doing some research into it, and it is very doable. I still have a plethora of questions.

I want to come over late November. I know fixtures change frequently, but for two weeks stay, I could watch Villa play 3 games. Manure away, away to Chelsea, and then finally the big highlight, Villa at home to Leicester.

I have found a nice hotel in Chelsea, which is handy for the second game. I want to base myself in London so I can do things outside of watching football which would interest my girlfriend there. Other than a slight crush on Jack, she has no real tangible interest in Villa, so London it is to do the touristy things.

When I am abroad, I usually take about 2 grand Australian dollars worth of local currency for miscellaneous and spending money. According to the currency converter, that would give me 1122.20 pounds. Would that get me far over two weeks over there? I hear a lot that England is expensive, but I really have no idea regarding say, how much  am I going to fork out at a 7/11, train tickets, taxis, and stuff.

I also hear that crime is bad, but, how bad? Do I need to arm myself and take a security detail with me to the shops? There are shysters in every country, especially here, but are there certain things I have to be on my guard with?

Is it easy to get tickets for games? I think it is best to go through the official AVFC site for the Leicester game and have the tickets sent to the hotel, but I don't know about the away games. I am quite happy to mingle with the home crowds for the Manyoo and Chelsea games. I actually enjoy talking to fans of other clubs, as long as they don't start being dicks. As a guest, it should be expected that I will be respectful towards them, so I will be nice.

A lot more questions may arise if this does gain momentum, and of course, I fully appreciate the feedback I receive.

This is a must do for this lifetime of mine. Sitting here on the opposite side of the planet watching Villa play on a TV screen or a laptop, it just doesn't really cut it. I have to see it, and feel it, what it is like to actually be there. I am also unopposed to meeting fellow VillaTalkers. That would be cool too.

Anyways, thank you all for your feedback, and UTV.

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I wouldn’t worry about crime, just keep your wits about you.

Not entirely sure how to go about getting the away tickets as they may not even be available for season ticket holders who attended less than 9 away games last year, but people tend to advise asking your local Lions club on here (not sure how that works)

I think over £1000 should be enough for two weeks for spending money but it depends what sightseeing you want to do and how expensively you want to eat. For train travel you could look at the journeys you want to make and book in advance (12 weeks in advance - use the National Rail website) or you could look into a BritRail travel pass (I only know about this as it has been in the news this week!). For taxis, you can use Uber (other companies are available before I get warning points...) and get around for reasonable prices. If you’re based in London I’d expect to pay £5 if not more per pint of beer (that’s a guess - I’m from the North and avoid London where possible). Consider looking at AirBnB for accommodation and booking in advance on Travelodge/Premier Inn websites if you’re happy for basic hotels to maybe keep costs down. 

 

Edit: for trains if you’re going for the pay by journey option it would probably be worth getting a ‘two together rail card’ - costs £30 and will give you a 33% discount on all the tickets you book (you’d both need to be travelling). Any advice with booking trains just ask in this thread as the system is a mess - seemingly designed to trick people into paying more than they need to (there are lots of loopholes to get cheaper prices)

Edited by chappy
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25 minutes ago, chappy said:

I wouldn’t worry about crime, just keep your wits about you.

Not entirely sure how to go about getting the away tickets as they may not even be available for season ticket holders who attended less than 9 away games last year, but people tend to advise asking your local Lions club on here (not sure how that works)

I think over £1000 should be enough for two weeks for spending money but it depends what sightseeing you want to do and how expensively you want to eat. For train travel you could look at the journeys you want to make and book in advance (12 weeks in advance - use the National Rail website) or you could look into a BritRail travel pass (I only know about this as it has been in the news this week!). For taxis, you can use Uber (other companies are available before I get warning points...) and get around for reasonable prices. If you’re based in London I’d expect to pay £5 if not more per pint of beer (that’s a guess - I’m from the North and avoid London where possible). Consider looking at AirBnB for accommodation and booking in advance on Travelodge/Premier Inn websites if you’re happy for basic hotels to maybe keep costs down. 

 

Edit: for trains if you’re going for the pay by journey option it would probably be worth getting a ‘two together rail card’ - costs £30 and will give you a 33% discount on all the tickets you book (you’d both need to be travelling). Any advice with booking trains just ask in this thread as the system is a mess - seemingly designed to trick people into paying more than they need to (there are lots of loopholes to get cheaper prices)

Thank you very much for that.

BritRail passes seem like a very good idea.

As for the hotel, its a 3 star guest house, and works out to be about 600 pounds for 10 nights. I use booking.com, since I have been using them for a while, I get some decent discounts.

As for away game tickets, can you line up at the gate on game day for them, or do you have to pre buy?

Again, thank you very much. Muchly appreciated.

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London will be expensive, id consider an Airbnb with kitchen facilities so you're not out every night, id spend more than that in 2 weeks, the good thing is London has a lot of free stuff like most of the museums, whats not free is usually really expensive though (tower of London will be about £80 for 2 of you)

agree that if you start drinking it can get daft and cost a fortune, so again Airbnb flat might be better for getting some cans or a bottle of something

crime is like anywhere else, the areas that are high level of crime and are pushing the stats up are not where you are likely to be going

trains - from memory Chelsea isn't on a great tube line so basing yourself there might not be that good, oyster cards are a no brainer

based in London and trying to do stuff, maybe brighton? weather might be shit but at least its out of the big city and if you're in to that kind of thing the seven sisters is a nice walk

tickets -  id contact a couple of lions clubs and see if you can join (not sure about oz ones) the club used to give them an away allocation of 6 tickets for each game which I know some of the clubs used to use to entertain travelling from abroad fans

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1 hour ago, villa4europe said:

London will be expensive, id consider an Airbnb with kitchen facilities so you're not out every night, id spend more than that in 2 weeks, the good thing is London has a lot of free stuff like most of the museums, whats not free is usually really expensive though (tower of London will be about £80 for 2 of you)

agree that if you start drinking it can get daft and cost a fortune, so again Airbnb flat might be better for getting some cans or a bottle of something

crime is like anywhere else, the areas that are high level of crime and are pushing the stats up are not where you are likely to be going

trains - from memory Chelsea isn't on a great tube line so basing yourself there might not be that good, oyster cards are a no brainer

based in London and trying to do stuff, maybe brighton? weather might be shit but at least its out of the big city and if you're in to that kind of thing the seven sisters is a nice walk

tickets -  id contact a couple of lions clubs and see if you can join (not sure about oz ones) the club used to give them an away allocation of 6 tickets for each game which I know some of the clubs used to use to entertain travelling from abroad fans

Thanks mate.

Brighton seems nice, but it has to be London. We are both big on history, and London seems best for that. When I am not busy trying to chase down match tickets, there is just so much I want to see and do there.

Luckily, I am not a big drinker, and would just have a social pint if the occasion arose. I will stick with my $2k AUD standard, and just see how that goes. 

Getting tickets to matches, that does worry me a bit. I would be disappointed if I wasn't able get to at least one of them. I am a bit optimistic about the Leicester game though.

Anyway, I appreciate the advice, it is very helpful. Thanks again!

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The missus came home, and I put it forward to her. She's excited.

Looks like it is all go so far! 👍

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@villa4europe, where would you recommend to stay in London?

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Personally i love camden and I think it's a good piece of the city away from the really big touristy stuff it is touristy and not sure if it's considered hip anymore or if the city moves that fast, it's still better than Shoreditch imo 

 last time I went was with my German missus who'd never been before and I got an airbnb on mornington crescent, just a little flat that I can't remember the price but it was perfect for what I wanted 

 

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The only other advice I can give you on the tickets is get involved with the #avfc on Twitter follow some people, get some followers, let people know you're travelling over for the games and then unashamedly beg for help near the time they go on sale

I've seen local people doing it today for spurs tickets, you never know

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For a cheap way to get to Manchester you can go with Megabus, it looks like less than £15 on the day of the Utd game.  It'll obviously take longer than by train or plane though.  I probably wouldn't even admit you're a Villa fan if you're with the home fans!

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1 minute ago, sharkyvilla said:

For a cheap way to get to Manchester you can go with Megabus, it looks like less than £15 on the day of the Utd game.  It'll obviously take longer than by train or plane though.  I probably wouldn't even admit you're a Villa fan if you're with the home fans!

 

nothing to say.JPG

Edited by Amsterdam_Neil_D
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3 hours ago, Amsterdam_Neil_D said:

 

nothing to say.JPG

So I just jump on the Benny Hilltler to Manchester?

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3 hours ago, sharkyvilla said:

For a cheap way to get to Manchester you can go with Megabus, it looks like less than £15 on the day of the Utd game.  It'll obviously take longer than by train or plane though.  I probably wouldn't even admit you're a Villa fan if you're with the home fans!

If it came to that, I would be playing that tourist card well.

You know. Little Johnny Foreigner on his first time in Big Bad England, getting a taste of English culture through football. I would sit there quietly amongst the Mancs or Chelskians, not bothering anybody, just taking the whole experience in like soaking up sunshine at the beach.

Until we are at least two goals up, I will then rip off my coat to reveal my Villa shirt and start break dancing in my seat. 😜

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On 09/08/2019 at 13:17, AJ said:

Thanks mate.

Brighton seems nice, but it has to be London. We are both big on history, and London seems best for that. When I am not busy trying to chase down match tickets, there is just so much I want to see and do there.

Luckily, I am not a big drinker, and would just have a social pint if the occasion arose. I will stick with my $2k AUD standard, and just see how that goes. 

Getting tickets to matches, that does worry me a bit. I would be disappointed if I wasn't able get to at least one of them. I am a bit optimistic about the Leicester game though.

Anyway, I appreciate the advice, it is very helpful. Thanks again!

the chelsea away game i think you'll struggle...for either end. chelsea is an expensive area too, so i'd expect you could find cheaper hotels elsewhere. premier inn are a popular budget chain and i've never stayed in a bad one...rooms always clean and comfortable

for the home games, put it out on here once your trip is all sorted. i'll be amazed if between however many 100s of active VT users you couldnt be sorted out. otherwise check out your local lions club if you have one, or contact AVFC directly too.

london travel - uber as others have mentioned but costs will rack up if you're trying to see everything - tube, bus all very easy and cheap.

getting around the country by train is pricey, so you're better off looking at coach (national express or megabus) it's often a fraction of the price of train. if you want to look into train tickets go to trainline.com - you can pre book your tickets and can get etickets these days too

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London is expensive but that's where the main tourist attractions are.  You might consider staying outside London and travelling in using off peak travel? 

I stay at a place called High Wycombe. Its unremarkable and of no interest. But it's on the main line into London and passes Wembley. I also recommend the basic hotel chain called Premier Inn. £60 per night would be typical for outside London if you book in advance. Clean, comfortable and normally have a nearby restaurant that's cheap/average. 

You will easily get a basic pub meal and a drink for £15 each. 

Crime is rarely a problem if you are sensible and avoid clearly dubious areas. There are bits of London I wouldn't venture into. But that's the same in Rome, Paris, New York or Edinburgh. 

Coach travel and the London tube are cheap. Main line trains can be expensive, particularly if you want to travel in rush hour. 

Most of the best museums in London are free. Sightseeing is free and there is plenty to see. If you want to save cash you could easily spend nothing.  The Imperial War Museum and the National History Museum are fantastic. For a charge, book to go to the top of the Shard. You will see EVERYTHING (as long as it's not raining). If you or the other half like Harry Potter the studio tour is fantastic. 

If you don't want to stay in Birmingham there are plenty of places within an hour's travel. Worcester has good train connections and is a historic riverside city.  Warwick and Warwick castle are similarly near and interesting. 

 

 

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@tomav84 and @Mandy Lifeboats, thank you very much for the advice.

What is probably most critical for me to go ahead with this, is how my chances are getting tickets. The Chelsea and Manchester away games look like a challenge, but it seems I should be fine getting a ticket for the home game. I checked out the official site, and it seems that tickets become available about two weeks prior to the game, so maybe I can call them prior to leaving here? There are suggestions I get in touch with the Lions club, but I don't think they can help me here. A wonderful organisation that does a lot of good within the community, but I don't think they will be big on securing tickets to international sporting events.

As for setting a base location, the main consideration is for my girlfriend. Convenience is the main factor here. Things like a safe area, plenty of convenient shops, and easy to navigate to the touristy places, and not too far. As far as myself is concerned, I just want a place to sleep. I believe if I am on holiday somewhere new and I am spending a lot of time at the hotel, then I am doing it wrong. The things we want to do outside of football include Big Ben, Hyde Park, visiting Buckingham Palace and hypothetically planning our B &E and how we would get away with it, London Eye, Picadilly Circus, that big footbridge over the river that we saw in 28 Days Later, and for an adventure for myself a stroll through Bethnal Green, just to check it out. Another thing we would like to do is go see some live bands. A survey through the old CD collections show that we both favour English bands nearly 4 to 1 opposed to everywhere else. ( No Spice Girls, One Direction or anything like that. They can all do one.) All that would still make a good holiday, but my own main priority is football, and being at Villa Park is the number one goal. Everything else is a distant second.

So you can see my time will be divided. One side, the happy, GF appeasing tourist, the other side being a man on a mission, willing to infiltrate such seedy, insidious places like Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge just to see his favourite team play. I am at this stage optimistic about achieving both tourist and football fan ambitions, and with the very useful advice I have received from everyone so far, it is already looking to go smoother and more cost effective. If this all comes off really well, I cant thank everyone enough.

 

 

Edited by AJ

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@AJLondon is a big place. But once you get used to the tube system you can get to any of the tourist or shopping areas with ease. 

The Tube is generally safe and low crime.  Just be sensible. If your other half wants shops then Birmingham has an area called the Bull Ring. Again it's safe and low crime if you are sensible. 

The tourist areas of London are pretty safe. Pickpockets and bag snatches are the only things you need your guard against.  

I think you will struggle to get tickets for the away games. For the home game it will depend how well we are doing. But there are a lot of people on here who might be able to help.  

If you are on Twitter, follow Villa legend Shaun Teale. He will follow you back. That will give you contact with loads of Villa fans who might also help.

I know I can't help with tickets, but if you want any advice, just ask. 

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With hotel prices ridiculously expensive and not very good value on the city edge ( Regents Park and St Pancras), I have found a nice place in Camden that is reasonably priced, and quite nice. It is about 400m walk to West Hampstead Station. Its also about halfway between Stamford Bridge and London's city centre, and it is rated 9.2/10 on the booking site. The price on the room works out to be about less than 60 pound a night, and it comes with all the extras.

@villa4europe, good call.

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On 14/08/2019 at 11:51, AJ said:

With hotel prices ridiculously expensive and not very good value on the city edge ( Regents Park and St Pancras), I have found a nice place in Camden that is reasonably priced, and quite nice. It is about 400m walk to West Hampstead Station. Its also about halfway between Stamford Bridge and London's city centre, and it is rated 9.2/10 on the booking site. The price on the room works out to be about less than 60 pound a night, and it comes with all the extras.

@villa4europe, good call.

Camden is a great place for gigs too.

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