It's def more fun to go with other people, so do that if you can.
I've been to expo on my own quite a few times and its ranged from lonely to awesome. The awesome times are when I've made friends with people there and ended up walking around with them. The lonely times are when I've been walking around on my own.
Well....I mean, I don't wanna say that you can't have fun if you're on your own, but it's always been a bit isolating like that. Going in cosplay will make it better though.
I've been in cosplay with friends and it was awesome and then I've been in normal clothing on my own and it's been...meh, disappointing. Just talk to everyone you can, make friends and hope that someone will let you tag along with them.
As for the trains, definitely follow the cosplayers. Though I would ask them where they're going first, I ended up following a group into Hammersmith where they were picking a friend up first :|
As a non-londoner I had never navigated the tube before and made all these mistakes, so here are my top tips for getting to expo on the train/tube:
- Get a direct train into London and make sure whichever station you're travelling to has a tube station right near it. This means when you get to the station there will be an indoor entrance directly to the tube station.
- When you're in the tube station, you want a day travelcard that has access to zones 1-4. The ExCeL centre is in zone 4 and being able to travel between 1-4 will cover you if you get lost.
- There are two places to get the day travelcard in the tube station, 1 from a counter with a person and the other from a machine. If you see a huge queue for the counter, try walking past it until you get to a ticket machine. I did this and it was like striking gold, most of the people queuing didn't try walking past and so the ticket machines were vacant and ready for use.
- When you look at the tube map, left is Westbound, right is eastbound, up is northbound and down is southbound. It sounds obvious but I didn't put 2+2 together when I first navigated the tube and had no idea where I was going. The ExCeL centre is generally going to be Eastbound because it's on the right side of the tube map.
- The tube is underground but the DLR is kinda outside-y. Don't worry, it still counts as the tube and you can use your travelcard there. You WILL need to get on the DLR to reach MCM, so aim for that if you're really lost.
- Keep a look out on the tube website for service closures and plan your journey around them. This is what it looks like for Saturday: Clicky
If you tell me your train station then I'll tell you where you should go and stuff if you want.