Surviving London

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5 - MAPS

For those who are traveling from out of town or are unfamiliar with the city, we’ve put together a “Surviving London” guide, aiming to clue you up on some of the less obvious aspects of London. Before coming out to here for the festival you might want to look at these tips. They could save you time, money, and above all, hassle.


At Raindance, we don’t teach filmmaking, we make filmmakers. Click HERE to check out all our courses for writers, producers and directors.

Submissions for the 20th Raindance Film Festival opened January the 1st. Our team of programmer is now watching all the shorts and features we receive. But when it comes to September, we will be announcing the Festival programme and you will able to buy tickets. Have a look at last year’s programme HERE.

If you want to submit your film to the 20th Raindance Film Festival click HERE.


There are 5 main airports in London: Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Stansted and Luton. There are about an hour from central London and you will find plenty of trains from/to the centre.

Gatwick is only 30 minutes away from London Victoria using the Gatwick Express. A standard single ticket costs £16.90 and a standard return is £28.80. There are also trains to London Bridge and St Pancras International that you ca purchase online with First Capital Connect and Southern.

It's very simple to get to central London from Heathrow, the Piccadilly line will take you straight to Piccadilly Circus. For around £6/£7, The Heathrow Connect will also take you to other central London destinations, like Paddington. A lot of hotels are situated in that area.

In July 2008, Business Traveller Magazine rated London City Airport as having the best public transport links in the world. From the airport, the train will take you to Waterloo, London Bridge or Statford, both on the Jubilee Line which will connect you to central London. To buy tickets for your train journey, go to the National Rail website.

The Stansted Express run all day long between Stansted Airport and Liverpool Street. The journey is about 46 minutes long. Once in Liverpool Street, you are only a few tube stops away from Oxford Circus or Piccadilly CIrcus.

Get to London form Luton Airport will take you just over 20 minutes. First Capital Connect & East Midlands Trains operate services from the airport to St Pancras International. A single ticket will cost you around £12.

Find Cheap Tickets
Depending on where you are travelling from but Easyjet or Ryanair are usually quit cheap.
If you come from Germany, you might also want to try Germanwings. It offers cheap flights from the main airports in the country, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg...

If you are coming from France or Belgium, you might try to get the Eurostar. If you book really in advance, you can get a good deal. Plus, it is usually nice to travel from the centre to the centre. Leaving from Paris, Lille or Brussels, you will arrive at St Pancras International.
If you rather flying, have a look at the Air France website. They offer flights from pretty much every French aiport. But it will probably be more expensive than Easyjet or Ryanair.
Edreams is actually a good website to compare prices on all available flights.

And if you are not scared of long trips in crowded buses, you may want to check out Eurolines, which is probably the cheapest way to come from any other big city in Europe.


Central London is filled with a variety of Hotels and other accommodations that will suit all tastes and budgets. Whether you’re seeking pseudo-royal king size suites or are tolerant of just a bed and four walls, there will be something for you within a short walk or tube ride from our courses/festival locations.

For Low Budgets
If you have a very low budget, you might find a shared room in a hostel for about £10. Have a look at this website which provide a full list of places in town.

For Medium Budgets is usually a good website to provide you with a choice of middle budget hotels.  You will probably look at £60/£70 a night, depending on the location you are looking for.

For Big Budgets
Then if you have a really high budget and you want to fully enjoy your time in London, you can book an amazing suite at Hilton or The Ritz.


If you take nothing else from these tips, please make sure you buy an Oyster card when traveling on buses or the London Underground. This is far better value for money than individual tickets. For a small price of £5 you can save £££s on journeys by charging your card up prior to traveling, For instance, a return tube journey may cost you £6 through buying individual tickets though it will cost only £2 when using Oyster. Even if you’re only here for a few days it’s worth buying. Do it now!

Please beware that, cosmopolitan as London might be, the Underground doesn’t run all night. Last trains typically run at around midnight. From then on it will be night bus hell (which can be confusing even for the experienced Londoner), so plan ahead if you’re hoping to attend any of the Raindance parties. It may be worth traveling by taxi if you’re expecting a late night. 

For further information relating to traveling in London, please visit the Transport for London website HERE.

5 - MAPS

Make sure you have got a tube map with you at any time. This will be very handy.

Probably the best online map for London is Just type in a postcode or street name and an easy to follow map will appear instantly. It's what we use at Raindance when we need to find the location of a meeting.


English food may have the cultural stereotype of having the blandest food in existence, but in reality London has some of the best restaurants in Europe, if not the world. Whatever your budget they’ll be something suitable in the immediate surroundings of the Festival, from exquisite cuisine in the neighboring Chinatown to some of the most eclectic and quirky places to eat in the city.
We’ve compiled a list of Raindance favourites located in the Soho area:

Cheap Places

Beatroot: Delicious vegetarian food to eat in or take away – moderately priced and healthy. 
92 Berwick Street, W1F 0QD, 020 74378591

Ed's Diner: Have a burger and shake the way The Fonz did it. This 50's style hamburger joint is like stepping through a time-warp. They have great burgers at affordable prices.
19 Rupert Street, W1D 7PA, 0207 287 1951

Hummus Bros: If it’s chickpeas you fancy then look no further than this quirky food outlet. 
88 Wardour Street, W1F 0TH

, 020 7734 1311

Wagamama: Great Japanese food at very affordable prices. 
14A Irving Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7AB, 0207 009 3600

For Medium Budgets
If you want to eat in a more proper restaurant and if you are ready to spend around £30/£40 for a meal, sure you will find something that suits you in Soho.

Quo Vadis: One of London's most famous restaurants serving fine British food. 26-29 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 6LL, 0207 437 9585

Kettner's: You will will be able to eat French food in this sophisitcated restaurant founded in 1867. 29 Romilly Street, Soho, London W1D 5HP, 020 7734 6112

La Perla: is a fun filled, vibrant Mexican restaurant and bar in the heart of London. 11 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RQ, 020 7437 2060

La Trouvaille: is a corner of Gallic charm on the fringes of Soho. 12a Newburgh Street, London W1F 3RR, 020 7287 8488

Refuel: is housed in the stunning boutique Soho Hotel in a former multi-storey car park. The Soho Hotel, Flaxman Court, London W1D 3DH, 020 7559 3000

For Big Budgets
If you do have the budget, you will be able to enjoy the cuisine of the world most famous chefs.

The Dorchester: in Mayfair is where you will be able to enjoy the cuisine of Alain Ducasse and was the second restaurant in London to get 3 stars at the MIchelin Guide. Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA, 08719612074

The Ledbury: With 2 stars at the MIchelin Guide, this restaurants serves modern French cuisine in the har of Nothing Hill. 127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AQ, 020 7792 9090.

Some great websites for restaurant research are:

Also, visitors should be aware that the standard tipping rate in restaurants is 10%, and 0% in bars, unless you’re being waited on. Keep that money and buy yourself another drink!


We use several venues for our courses and the Festival but they are all around Soho. Here is a list of the different venues and how to get there.

Craven Street 10 Craven Street, London WC2N 5 - Near Charing Cross
This is where most of our courses take place. To get there, go to Charing Cross Station, go down in the direction of Trafalgar Square and it will be the first street on your left. Please don’t be scared by the aspect of the building, it is in the basement but it is not that bad. Our office is in the basement even though we spend 5 days out of 7 in there, we are actually ok (a bit blind when we see the light from outside at first).

Apollo Cinema Piccadilly 19 Lower Regent Street, London SW1Y 4LR - Near Piccadilly Circus
As well as almost all the Festival screenings, Apollo also hosts some of our courses. It is very simple to get there. Get off the tube at Picaddilly circus and take Lower Regent Street. It is about 2 minutes from there, on your right.

The Raindance Film Café 51 Poland Street, London W1F 7LZ - Near Oxford Circus
This is open only during the festival and that’s where we organize gigs, parties, panels, workshop and special events. It’s also in a basement. Yeah, we might love that after all! Whatever is easier for you, you can get off the tube at Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. The entrance is in Poland Street. You have to get into a shop called Phonica and ask for the Raindance Film Café which should be visible anyway.


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Surviving London