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Heading to London and the UK. Could use touring advice.

Heading to London and the UK. Could use touring advice.

Old Dec 24, 19, 10:53 am
  #1  
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Heading to London and the UK. Could use touring advice.

My wife and I are heading back to London for the first time since 1996. We'd like to spend a few days refreshing our past experience in the city. We don't have to visit Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and other key sites. We will visit some of the newer tourist sites such as The Tate, and maybe the London Eye. Any suggestions for 3 days?

I expect we'll extend this time by doing day trips to Cambridge/Oxford, and Bath.

That aside, we'll have 5 days to wander the UK countryside. I thought about touring Cambridge/Edinburgh. I'm aware how long the train ride is. Are there places to stop in between that are worthwhile?

We discussed landing at LHR, then heading to Oxford/Bath/Stonehenge. Thoughts? We could do this as a 2 or 3 day tour, then head elsewhere. Maybe the Cotswolds?

We've never toured the countryside, so any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I did a search in this forum, but not much is posted.

Cheers!

dh
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Old Dec 24, 19, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by dhammer53 View Post
I thought about touring Cambridge/Edinburgh. I'm aware how long the train ride is. Are there places to stop in between that are worthwhile?
York is worth a short visit. The train from London to Edinburgh stops in York so travel will be easy.
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Old Dec 24, 19, 1:59 pm
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When abouts are you heading over? Some options that might be good in the summer might be not so good round about now
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Old Dec 24, 19, 7:44 pm
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Originally Posted by jt82 View Post
When abouts are you heading over? Some options that might be good in the summer might be not so good round about now
We'll be there early April.

After reading the car rental threads, we'll be using public transportation to get around.
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Old Dec 25, 19, 7:19 pm
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I second York. Great day out. You can do it by train from London,

Windsor was a good day out from London.

Imperial War Museum is great.

Salisbury Cathedral was amazing. If you are doing Stonehenge then make sure and allow a couple of hours for Salisbury Cathedral.

If you're in to Harry Potter you can go to the Harry Potter Studios.

If you're in to Doctor who there is a great Whovian store in London.

Greenwich is good.
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Old Dec 25, 19, 7:23 pm
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If you will be using the train you can buy a 2-4-1 train card. It might pay for itself. You can do it digital and keep it on your phone. https://www.railcard.co.uk/?nreTrack...882.1577323478
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Old Dec 26, 19, 7:42 am
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I would skip the London Eye and replace it with a boat trip down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich. It's a very pleasant ride.

For Bath/Salisbury/Stonehenge etc. I'd reconsider your decision not to drive. We toured the same region a couple of years ago and found driving ourselves more convenient.
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Old Dec 26, 19, 11:31 am
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If you didn't see them last time, I recommend a visit to the WWII Cabinet War Rooms. (Get tickets online ahead of time to skip the ticket booth line. You'll still have the security check line, but it tends to be shorter. And go early or late to avoid the afternoon crowds.)
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Old Dec 26, 19, 11:48 am
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I enjoyed the cabinet war rooms. If you are thinking about heading west from Heathrow, my suggestion would be to continue on from Bath to the west, to Devon and Cornwall and then head back along the south coast, or to head north through the Cotswold towards Stratford and Warwick then back to Heathrow, drop the car and spend whatever days you have allowed for London. You would need to drive to get the most out of this trip. I would prefer the northern version myself. Lots of interesting towns to visit and very nice countryside. Save York and Edinburgh for another trip.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Badenoch View Post
I would skip the London Eye and replace it with a boat trip down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich. It's a very pleasant ride.

For Bath/Salisbury/Stonehenge etc. I'd reconsider your decision not to drive. We toured the same region a couple of years ago and found driving ourselves more convenient.

Agree with skipping the Eye. If you're organised, get free tickets to the top of the Walkie Talkie building in the city for a pretty decent view.

With the boat trip, used the Thames Clipper ferry service rather than the tourist boats that charge an arm and leg. There used to be an app you could download that would point out all the important stuff. And there is a bar onboard!

War rooms are take it or leave it imho. You got to like that era of history to really enjoy it.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:15 pm
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Thank you all for the advice. I'm still researching. Keep em coming.

Dan
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Old Jan 2, 20, 4:30 am
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If you’re travelling to beyond London, book you train tickets online and in advance. Use the website of the train company so you do not get charged an ‘admin fee’ (of sorts). This will save you a considerable amount. Trains for early April will go on sale in the next few days.

The Tate Modern is very nice and you can catch a good view of London here at night. I would agree also to skip the London Eye, and check out the SkyGarden (a.k.a. ‘Walkie Talkie) and also ‘The Garden at 120’ which are both free and very new, (The Garden at 120 is less known, and lower but also considerably less crowded). I can’t speak for outside London as I’m a ‘southerner’.
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Old Jan 2, 20, 4:46 am
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Originally Posted by CarefreeBA View Post
If you’re travelling to beyond London, book you train tickets online and in advance. Use the website of the train company so you do not get charged an ‘admin fee’ (of sorts). This will save you a considerable amount. Trains for early April will go on sale in the next few days.
This is not universal and depends on where you are going. For example, for Cambridge there are no Advance fares on the fast Kings Cross line, so there is no benefit to buying in advance and I would advise against doing so. There are Advance fares on the Liverpool Street line but that is a lot slower and I would say only worth it if you will be starting from near there.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 2:05 pm
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A rough draft of our itn:

Day 1 - arrive LHR and take the train to Canterbury (walk around and get acclimated/relax).
Day 2 - White Cliffs of Dover
Day 3 - Spend the day in Whitstable (just a 30 minute ride north of Canterbury).
Day 1 - 3 sleeping in Canterbury.

Day 4 - 6 London (2 nights and 3 full days). We may spend a day on Oxford or Cambridge.

Day 7 - Bath (city and Roman Baths).
Day 8 - Stonehenge
Day 7 - 8 sleeping in Bath

We may reverse the trip while keeping London as day 4 - 6.

This itn is not set in stone.

Thoughts and comments please.

I know that it's about 2 hours from LHR to either Bath or Canterbury. When we depart, our flight is at 1730, so that gives us plenty of time.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 2:25 pm
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Why Whitstable? To be honest Canterbury is pretty small, and you could probably do it on same day as Dover?

Stonehenge - very overrated. If you really must go, then I'd suggest looking at visiting Salisbury, or alternatively, go from Bath - Wells - Stonehenge while you drive back up to London. You can see Stonenhenge from the A303 and to be honest its as good a view as visiting it!
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