Travelling to London for a casting? Shelley has put together your travel options if leaving from Cardiff.
When that phone call comes in from your Agent telling you there’s a casting tomorrow for you or your child, at first it’s a mad panic of “Oh my god – work, school, the other kids, the expense!” But once you’ve calmed down and mulled it over and pulled in family members and friends to help, you realise you can do this! After all this is why you joined an Agency! This is what you’ve been waiting for! And these pesky castings never come in when you want them to, it’s always when you’ve got a million other things going on.
Anyway, lets imagine you’ve worked out taking the day off work and school etc – now you’ve got to work out where the heck you’re going!
There’s a cluster of casting spaces that casting directors use in the centre of London (round Soho, off Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus) and then there’s a load scattered on the outskirts. We recently had to trek to Sydenham Library on the south circular to meet a Casting Director. We drove and it took forever but public transport would have taken longer and involved so many changes, it was easier to just stay in the car.
If you’re new to all this and need some travel tips, here’s a few ideas to get you up there and I’ve tried to cover as many options as possible if travelling from Cardiff. Information should be helpful to those travelling from Newport or Bristol as well.
The most expensive option, not always that reliable but shortest journey time of 2 hours from Cardiff to London. You’ll arrive in Paddington and from there get the Underground.
Using the London Underground:
- Download the London Underground app to your phone.
- You can pay using contactless at the turnstiles as you travel or buy a one day travel card for £12.80. Contactless works out the same price as an Oyster card.
- Children under 10 travel free on the Underground, you just get your ticket and then go through the wider gates so you can walk through together.
If you have to get to the centre of London I recommend driving the length of the M4 and turning off at Hounslow West and parking in the Underground stations car park. Its £5 for 24 hours. And from there you can hop on the Piccadilly line and go straight into Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square/Covent Garden/Holborn which covers a lot of casting destinations! Or you can change trains as needed, and get anywhere on the Underground map*.
– Remember that the map is a design and doesn’t truly reflect where places are overground.
– Allow 2 minutes between stations when working out journey times and 5 minutes if you need to change trains.
– Hounslow West is outside the congestion charge. If you choose to drive to a different station just check whether you hit the congestion zone as you’ll be liable to pay. You can do this online after the date.
When you receive your casting details google the address and the nearest Underground station. From there you can work backwards to see what your best travel option is.
If you get the Megabus or National Express, you get turfed out at Victoria Coach station. So if your casting is in Victoria, you’re winning! If you need to travel out of Victoria, you can walk to the underground station nearby. It can be a little bit tricky to navigate, but if you’re not able to drive to London it’s a good cheap alternative to getting a train, with returns costing anything from around £5 to £25. Bear in mind when booking coaches that you’re still at risk of traffic delays, so always book your coach with an arrival time of at least an hour before you need to be in London.
When booking the return journey, if travelling by coach or train, allow a good hour and half after the audition time in case they’re running late, and then an hour to get across London (longer if its rush hour!). My last top tip is to check out the new sn-ap buses www.sn-ap.com for cheap and easy travel. Your first trip is free!
Whatever option you choose, if you’re travelling with your child you have a day of adventure ahead of you! See it through their eyes – take time to do something after the audition if you can. Even if it’s just walking up and down Shaftesbury Avenue looking
at the theatres and what shows are on, visiting one of the free museums, or if money is no object catching a show or hopping on the London Eye – your day will end up being a lovely memory for you and your child regardless of the casting outcome.
Good luck and break a leg!