Tips for newbies :)

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Tips for newbies :)

Postby moody-weasel » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:19 am

Most of this has been written before and the usual suspects know all of it but I thought it might be helpful for the newbies.

How to get to the hotel:

If you are flying into Heathrow take the free bus from the airport: 105,111,140,285
Most of the buses go down Bath road and past the Renaissance. When in doubt, ask the bus driver.

The trip is only a few minutes and you can save several pounds by not taking the hotel hoppa.

Your stop is Nene Road. You get off after a roundabout. The stop is next to a gas station. The Renaissance is across the street. 
You can also get off at the next stop which is near McDonalds (left side of the road, the Renaissance is on the right side).
Take the free bus. You do not have to pay, you get on and get off and don't have to have a ticket. 
Don't waste your money on the hotel Hoppa. 

The trip takes 6 minutes. 

111 bus or 105 bus or 140 bus or 285 bus will take you there.
If you are unsure, check out the transport for London website and look at the map:

If you have trouble finding the bus stop at Heathrow: remember that it is on the street level and you have to walk through a waiting area. 
Look for the signs to tube and busses. If you are underground and at the gates for the tube where the ticket machines are : turn around and you should see a sign for the bus. You will have to get up the stairs/escalator or take the lift, walk through the waiting area and then outside where the bus stops are. 

Hope this helps. 

If you are travelling with others you can probably save a few pounds if you take a cab instead of the Hoppa and split the cost.

Forgot something, need candy or soda?

There is a gas station opposite the Renaissance, it has a small shop where you can buy water, soda, sandwiches, candy etc. The gas station also has an ATM – not sure if or how much they charge though.

If you turn right into Nene Road at the gas station there is a small supermarket which also has a take out counter. 

Tescos Express - also a supermarket (also has an ATM) is a good mile down Bath Road. Although it is a small one it is well stocked. You should find just about everything there.

The Renaissance has a small shop as well but the gas station is better stocked.


The hotel has an ATM but again, I am not sure if they charge extra or not and depending on how many people need it, it may be empty when you get there. The same goes for the one at the gas station.

The ATM at Tescos is probably your best bet as is the airport. 

If you have time, just take the free bus back to the airport. There are ATMs everywhere. There are several at arrivals, along with money exchange.

Hot food:

The 3 Magpies – a pub a short walk down Bath Road – the food is OK and you should find other Gabiteers there.

The Pheasant – look for it on Googlemaps, the walk is a bit longer than the one to the Magpies but the food is worth it.

If you walk down Bath Road and turn left into High Street Harrington – there is a Tandoori place and the Flying Egg (not the best place if you are protein intolerant).

McD is a short walk along Bath Road – just in case you are looking for fast food.

The Renaissance has a Starbucks, as do some of the other hotels in the area.


Breakfast is included in the price of the room – make use of it! They have everything. If you have a food intolerance or special dietary requirements you may want to ask the staff first.


Bottled water can be bought at the gas station or the small shop in the hotel.

Gabit usually also has tap water and cups available at the entrance to the main hall. Make sure you grab a quick drink there before or after the panels.

The newbies meeting

Gabit does a newbie meeting on the Friday, usually early afternoon. Check back here or Twitter to find out when exactly it will happen. Not only do you get to meet other newbies but some of the staff and stewards will attend as well so this is a good place to start if you haven’t “met” anyone. Not sure how you cannot meet anyone when the lobby is full of us but I hear it has happened.  

Staff and stewards

They are colour coded – the stewards and senior stewards wear blue t-shirts and there should always be a bunch of them around. They are much easier to grab than some of the staff (red shirts) or the G4 (purple shirts). The techies wear green shirts and are busy with tech stuff so it’s best to leave them alone.

Blue jell-o

This may be premature but I do assume there will be blue jell-o at the abnormals ball. Ames – the Bluejelloqueen – usually has some jell-o ready for you at the ball. For a small donation you can get a taste and once you’ve become addicted, you can also get packets.

Blue jell-o, you ask? It appears you may have missed Sam Carter’s favourite food (or so we like to think). It also appears you may not have watched Stargate yet. Welcome Sanctuary and Supernatural fans!  

When you get to the Renaissance on the Friday there is a good chance that 99 % of the people in the lobby will be Gabiteers . The obvious exception are the flight crew members.
Every one else – especially the groups huddled together - is a Gabiteer. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself. If you are too shy, come to the newbies meeting.  
It may seem like everyone else knows someone but there are always lots of people who haven’t been to a Gabit event. You are not alone. 
If you have any questions, ask one of the stewards in blue t-shirts. 


The schedule for the event will be released a few weeks before the event itself. What usually happens is that the registration and the dealer's room open on Friday. The newbie meeting takes place early Friday afternoon.
Those who have a cocktail party ticket get to attend the party on Friday evening.

On Saturday there is an official opening ceremony followed by Amanda's first talk.
The photo sessions are on Saturday, the autograph sessions on Sunday.
There are usually two panels each day where you can ask Amanda questions.
There is an auction on Saturday and in the evening a party.

The closing ceremony is on Sunday evening.

The Hearing Dogs usually do skill demonstrations during both days and they have a table in the dealer's room.

Getting into London
While some peeps like to go shopping in London on the Friday, rest assured there will be no time for this on either the Saturday or the Sunday. 
You can plan your journeys on the transport for London website:

If you click on the "travel options and accessability" you can modify your search . It lets you choose if you require step free access etc. 

If you plan to spend some time in or around London you may want to get an Oyster card. It's a touch and pay card that you can top up. It's super easy to use, you put it in your wallet and just touch the Oyster symbol on the barriers when you get into a station and when you leave. The fare will deducted automatically. 

If you have questions regarding the event or anything I haven’t covered feel free to ask. 


Last edited by moody-weasel on Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tips for newbies :)

Postby No1_sonuk » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:40 pm

Thanks Nicky.
Just an additional note on the Oyster card thing:

You can also use some UK-issued contactless cards, so if you also have Oyster, don't keep them together to avoid "card clash".

Details of contactless here:
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Re: Tips for newbies :)

Postby Curly_Pixie87 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:44 pm

Hey, just wanted to say THANKS so much for this post- really helps to clarify things, specially re: transport was thinking I'd have to get myself electronically tagged in case I got lost! ;-). Can't wait for April now... xx
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Re: Tips for newbies :)

Postby moody-weasel » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:44 am

Hi Curly_Pixie87, you're welcome. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to answer them. :)

Getting from the airport to the hotel and back is super-easy, once you've found the bus stop. I've seen people mentioning that they want to walk because the Ren is so close to the airport but the area is not pedestrian-friendly.
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Re: Tips for newbies :)

Postby stargategirl » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:02 pm

I attended AT5 so I'm not sure I'd be considered a newbie. I'm on the AT10 waiting list, and I understand that getting a notification of someone cancelling is very slim. Does anyone know the cut off date for someone who can't attend? Also, I'm not sure if this is a polite thing to do, but I was wondering if it is ok to meet up with attendees at the hotel even though not having an official ticket to the convention?
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Re: Tips for newbies :)

Postby moody-weasel » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:05 am

Hi mamasue9, I have no idea what the cut-off date is. AFAIK they haven't even sent out all the registration acknowledgements out yet. The last day to pay for the ticket was Sep1 and there are always people playing it close. ;)
I really don't think the chances of anyone cancelling are slim, however, the closer to the event they cancel the more complicated it is to get your traveling arrangements sorted. I guess it's best to ask registration about this but give them a few days as I am sure there are still busy dealing with payments and acknowledgements. :)
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Re: Tips for newbies :)

Postby Jonathan » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:59 pm

I checked the TfL site about the free bus to the hotel from Heathrow, but they leave from Terminals 1, 2, and 3. My flight comes in at Terminal 5. Is there a way to get a free bus to the hotel from there, or a free shuttle to the other terminals? Otherwise, I'll have to take the Piccadilly Line one stop, which isn't free, but it's less than the Hoppa.
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