With this years London Film and Comic Con (LFCC) well underway, I have been reminiscing on our time at the event last year. I got Alex a trip to LFCC for Christmas and we had an amazing time. He is comic crazy and I have to admit at first I was a little hesitant about going but I had the best time. Don’t get me wrong I know more about the comic book world than most but I had no idea I would enjoy myself so much! As a result, I thought I would write this post about our trip and share some tips we picked up along the way. A bit of a warning, this might be a long one!
Before I committed to LFCC I did a lot of research into the various comic cons that are held around the country. However, my motto is often go big or go home so I went all out and decided London it is.
Tickets, Costs and Budgeting
One of the first questions I asked myself when I considered getting tickets was cost. I knew that Christmas 2017 would probably be the last one I could afford to spoil Alex a little as the hardships of student finance were starting to kick in. At university I work three jobs so I saved hard to be able to take him on a trip I knew he would love. I was so shocked when I found out a 3 day entry ticket was only £55! I was sold and got the tickets straight away. For those of you that don’t know, LFCC runs across a three day weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at the end of July. There are a variety of ticket options you can chose to suit you, but as we were comic con newbies I stuck to a standard 3 day pass. I also got us a hotel for the duration of our stay which I’ll talk about a bit later.
As I am super organised and like to be 100% prepared ( I totally didn’t buy my first Christmas 2018 present in March), there was a long wait as guests for the event were announced. We found this exciting as Alex got to choose which guests he wanted to see and we could plan the days together. This brings me to my first word of advice, it may sound self explanatory but autographs, big guest talks and meet and greets are not included in ticket price. I knew this and had factored in their cost to my budget. I really didn’t want Alex to have to pay for anything so I said I would pay for any two guest experiences he wanted. He chose a meet and greet with Benedict Cumberbatch who we both LOVE so I also got one and Steven Yeun who plays Glenn in The Walking Dead.
We decided to not pay for any talks as there are lots available that are free.
LFCC takes place in the Olympia London exhibition centre which is in Hammersmith, London. We took the train to London Paddington and the tube from then on. If you can it is well worth getting a weekend travel pass as this allowed us to use the tube as much as we needed throughout our stay. LFCC was easily accessed by train and tube and is about a 15 minute walk from Kensington (Olympia) Station.
The hotel I chose for us was the ‘Brook Green Hotel’ which was a 10 minute walk from the venue. I can’t recommend this hotel enough. I didn’t break the bank but I did save an awful lot to be able to afford somewhere a bit nicer than our typical Travelodge. We got a complimentary breakfast each morning and the hotel was walking distance from many different shopping centres and food places so we ventured out in the evenings and took sandwiches for the day. That’s another good point to remember as we learnt the hard way – food and drink at LFCC is quite pricey, so you may want to consider taking things with you as we did.
What to Expect
I had no idea what to expect when we arrived. Once we had got through the queue, we were greeted by an enormous hall filled with stalls, memorabilia, cosplayers you name it! There were two main floors when we went – one for traders, stalls, memorabilia etc and the upstairs for talks, autographs and meet and greets. It was crazy walking around and seeing so many famous people from shows and films. At one point we were stood next to Weasley brothers from Harry Potter!
The first day was definitely overwhelming and we just looked round and took it all in. We had previously highlighted the free talks and bits we had wanted to see which really helped us plan our days. I would say it is really worth having a rough idea of what you want to do and see before you go as without a plan I can imagine it being even more overwhelming.
I was also really surprised at the scope of what was available. There was your expected Marvel, DC, Doctor Who, Star Wars etc but there was also a lot from TV shows that I love and even clothing, artwork and activities stands. Alex splashed out and got his brother a big paint balling pack for his birthday. My favourite stand had to be this one that had artwork created from the words of entire books! I got a Beauty and the Beast one straight away.
The guest experiences range in prices. Some autographs were as little as £15 where you go up to a desk, pick a photograph of the guest in question and they sign it for you there and then. Autograph queues work by you grabbing a numbered ticket from a machine located at the end of the queue for each guest. You then wait until the number group is called before you can queue so if there’s someone you know will be in high demand I would head for the tickets straight away.
The bigger the guest, the bigger the price really. We weren’t planning on doing any autographs but as soon as I saw Alex’s face when he saw Mads Mikkelson, I knew we had to get him one. I played the system a little bit and queued with Alex so I could snap a few photos of their interaction. It was so worth it! Look at the smile on his little face!
As I mentioned earlier, we had two meet and greets planned. Alex’s with Steven Yuen was first so I watched him queue as far as I could then waited eagerly for him to return. You get given a number when you book a meet and greet and they call you to queue in number groups so it’s super simple and saves you hanging around for a long time. When Alex came out he was buzzing. He said that it was a great experience and Steven was really nice. When you come out you get a folder with your picture printed out inside included in your ticket price.
On the final day, we met Benedict Cumberbatch, who I fell in love with the minute I saw him as Hamlet in London. He sent LFCC into a bit of a frenzy, the queue for him all day were so big that at one point I didn’t think we would get in to see him at all. We finally did and although it was a little rushed, it was an amazing experience and Benedict was lovely. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful weekend.
We didn’t know what to expect when it came to cosplaying. Would everyone be dressed up and we look stupid for not? The honest answer was that LFCC was one of the most inclusive, judgement free places I have been. There were an equal ratio of people dressed up to those that weren’t. I actually kinda regretting not cosplaying by the end as it looked so much fun and we all know how much I love DIY costumes and fancy dress! Also, don’t be afraid to ask people for photos, as everyone we asked were more than happy to pose and interact with us in their chosen character. It was amazing!
It was an absolutely amazing weekend. It was so worth the endless travel planning and saving for the look on Alex’s face. I sometimes feel like he misses out on the things he wants to do as he puts so much time and money into other people so Christmas is the one time I endeavour to make he feel special.
So, if you’re planning on taking a trip to LFCC soon you definitely should and I hope this has been helpful. My main take away points would be;
- Be sure to budget and plan the things you really want to do before hand
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing – you’ll be on your feet a lot
- Arrange travel plans in advance as you’ll save panic and money
- Embrace all things comic, crazy and cooky
Until next time,