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This guide applies to both the London Expos which are held both in May and October and the Japan EX which runs in July.

Train:
One of the quickest form of travel to Expo.  If you are under 26 I would recommend that you buy a young persons rail card (24) which will save you a 1/3 on all train travel for a year.  Also to make extra savings book in advance as you can save up to half of the full train fare.  If you are going to buy your tickets online I would recommend that you order them from websites such as Virgin trains or National Express.  Unlike the Trainline the sites do not charge for using your credit or debit card or for ticket machine pick up.  This can save you up to 5!

If you haven't been to an Expo before make sure you know your travel arrangements in advance as it will make your day far less stressful.  Nearer to the event date you can use the National Rail website, you can use this to check any delays or problems that may happen on the day of travel.

Coach:
A slightly longer, but cheaper alternative that you can use is the coach.  Again with National Express you can buy a young person card if you are under 26 (10), which can save you over a third.  Furthermore, you can book 'fun fare' tickets which can cost as little as a 1 if they are booked in advanced.  You're also guaranteed a seat which is handy for people who have a lot of cosplay to lug around.  There are also cheap coach fares available on the Megabus website.

Car:
When driving to the centre follow signs for Royal Docks, City Airport and ExCeL.  There is easy access to the M25, M11, A406 and A13.  The AA have good information on planning your journey as well as 24 hour live traffic alerts.

It would be wise to find a map of the area off of multimap or streetmap.  The postcode is E16 1XL.

ExCeL London offers car-parking facilities for over 4,000 cars.  It is recommended that you pay for your parking before leaving the centre at one of the many pay points located in the Boulevard.  These points accept both cash and card.  Alternatively you can pay for your parking at the car park but please note that these pay points only accept payment by card.

Air:
The nearest airport to the ExCeL Centre is London City Airport.  This is connected with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) line, with the nearest station being called London City Airport.  This is on the same line which the ExCeL centre is on so it should be easy and quick for you to navigate yourself there.

Tube:
Travelling on the tube can be difficult and daunting, especially if it is your first time in London.  However, if you follow these tips you will be fine:
 

1.  I would highly recommend that you order an Oyster card, it can be ordered from here: Oyster.  It is so easy to use, as you simply swipe in at the start of your tube journey and swipe out at the end.  If you don't know how much each journey cost then this is an ideal solution, as the maximum charge applied to the card each day is a day ticket for the zones that you have been travelling in.  Plus you save 50p compared to buying the day ticket on the day.  I would recommend having at least 10 on your card as this should be enough to last two days.


2.  Be careful with online Oyster top ups.  They ask you to specify where you want your Oyster card to be topped up.  Unfortunately, large stations such as Euston have many top up points.  If you do not swipe your card at the correct place, your top up will not credit.  I did this last expo and had to go through the unpleasant experience of re-topping up my card and waiting for the first amount to be refunded back onto my card.

3. Got a young persons railcard?  You can also add your 1/3 discount to your Oyster card. Simply go to a manned counter and show your card.  They will update the details on the card and you will be able to have the discount until your Young Persons card next expires.

4.  If you don't want to do that or don't have enough time you will need a zone 1-4 ticket  which currently costs 5.90.  This will allow you travel from Central London to the ExCeL Centre itself.  If you are unsure how the tube section works with changes etc use this Journey Planner.  It will give you a step by step guide of where to get on and off the tube station.

5.  Another tip is that if you are travelling in a large group do not go downstairs until everyone is through the turnstiles!  Once you go down one set of escalators your mobile wont work and you'll end up losing people...

6.  Get a bite card - they're free of charge.  Just order from www.bitecard.co.uk.  These provide 20% discount to many of the train station food companies.  Every little helps and its useful after the Expo.

All of the hotels recommended here are close to ExCeL Centre.  Here are some places we particularly recommend.

Travelodge London City Hotel

For a family room which can sleep up to 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children costs 60.  It is really cheap when splitting the bill and does have comfy beds unlike other hotels linked here.  Breakfast here costs 7.50 per person but offers a full breakfast.  There are also double and single rooms available and these cost the same!

Only 1/4 mile away from the London ExCeL Centre

 Custom House Hotel

This place hosts up to 3 people for less than 60 pounds a night this is nothing when shared between 3 people.

Ibis Hotel
 

This hotel is right opposite the ExCeL Centre.  At the moment the hotel cost is 70 a night and you can have up to 3 people stay in the hotel.  However, if you want to have three you need to phone the hotel first.  Also be noted that if you do not enjoy sleeping on a hard bed then this may be the wrong hotel for you.

Other Hotels

However, if you wish to stay within central London then there are plenty of companies to stay in, I would personally recommend Travelodge as they are cheap and cheerful,

plus if you need to cancel or change you can.  Other companies include the Premier Inn and the Holiday Inn.  Before booking make sure you check out their cancellation policy, as you never know when you may need to use it.  Furthermore, if you need a room for three it doesn't harm to phone up first.

My advice is to take a big bag with plenty of room as you will need it to fill with all the anime stuff that you are going to be buying.  Be aware that if you are travelling down on the day of the event, the ExCeL Centre offers a left luggage facility that you can drop off your bags.  This is particularly useful if you have to wait for hotel check in times and is only a pound per item.

BUY IN ADVANCE!  Especially early bird tickets or else you'll be wasting half your day queuing for tickets not fun!  The advantage of buying an early bird ticket is that you get a nice goody bag which include anime DVDs etc.  The tickets for the event can be bought up to two months in advance.  My tip is to sign up to the Newsletter so that you know as early as possible when tickets are released.

Some simple rules to follow:

1.  Go around the whole place once before deciding what to buy.  Believe me you will regret it if you've spent your entire money half way across the room and see something you really want.

2.  Set a budget and stick to it!  Don't go above it or else you'll be paying it back till next expo.

3.  If you're on a budget do not take a credit card you will seriously regret it. 

4.  Be nice to the sellers and don't be afraid to ask for discount.  They can only say no!


 

If you're on a budget or like any anime fan would rather spend money on buying lots of lovely figures than food then pack lunches are a good idea.  If not pick something up before arriving at the Expo as it will save you lots of money.



If you want to buy alcohol in the ExCeL centre area there is an off license near the hotels.  It does close at 9.30pm though so be warned and remember to drink responsibly.


Cosplay is great way to meet new friends!  A great tip is take a camera as believe me it makes sense as you will see so many other cosplayers that you will want to take a photo of.

If you want to join the masquerade make sure you register early either on the London Expo website or first thing in the morning of the event.  Places fill extremely fast so be quick or lose out.

Please be nice and polite to them many work for free so don't hassle them.  If you are unsure about anything just ask as they are happy to help.

Finally...have fun!   
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