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2 week May trip with kids

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Dec 17th, 2017, 12:09 AM
  #1
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2 week May trip with kids

I'm trying to plan a trip to London with my husband and three kids (6,9,12.) We have two weeks, including travel days at the end of May. The kids have never been to Europe and this may be a one-time thing for us, as we are using flyer miles to travel from California. I was considering flying into Edinburgh and spending a few days there, before taking the train to London. I've heard there are high fees to fly out of London. So I have considered taking the Eurostar onto Paris for a couple day, and departing from there to home. My husband and I have been to Paris before, but I thought it might be fun for the kids to see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Louvre, etc. while in a Europe. I know that Paris is huge and we can't see much, but a few landmarks might be cool. But I'm concerned that will be too ambitious an itenerary. Looking for suggestions. Should I just stick to Edinburgh and Scotland, with some day trips thrown in? Or is the Paris thing feasible? Traveling with kids is a bit different than as a couple, and while I want to make the most of it, I don't want to ruin the trip with stress.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 12:11 AM
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Meant to say "stick to Edinburgh and London."
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Dec 17th, 2017, 01:35 AM
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I think either would be fine but if you go to Paris I would go for more than a couple of days. And I wouldn't go there in order to avoid the airport taxes. I think the kids would enjoy Paris more if you were there a bit longer so it started to feel more familiar. To be honest, I'd split my time evenly between London and Paris and drop Edinburgh. I liked Edinburgh but I think two places would be better than three and the logistics of London/Paris work better. So I'd do Edinburgh/London or London/Paris. But certainly Edinburgh/London/Paris would be fine - just busier.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 04:13 AM
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Edinburg, London and Paris are well connected by trains; I have done busy itinerary before with children and 3 locations in two weeks can be done. Just pack lightly (carry-ons only. If you want to relax more, obviously pick 2 cities like London and Paris. Don't pick it based on airport taxes. In the long run, that will not matter as much.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 04:17 AM
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Paris is not huge at all. Compared to London, it's tiny. I would fly into London and out of Paris and skip Edinburgh, which, frankly, if this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe, seems like an odd choice.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 07:26 AM
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I don't think Edinburgh is an odd choice at all. Especially with a family. It is a wonderful destination for children.

How many nights total (is the whole trip exactly 14 days? -- i.e. 13 nights on the ground? )

If you can get the route via miles then flying into EDI, staying 3 nights, train to London for 6 or 7 nights (rent a flat in London) train to Paris for 3 or 4 nights, fly home from CDG.

The reason I suggest 3 nights in Edinburgh is you will have a loooooong travel day and at least some of you will be jet lagged so the first day could be a 'throw away'.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 09:22 AM
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Two weeks should be fine IMO for Edinburgh - train to London and then Paris - about 3 days in Edinburg - 5 each in Paris and London. Book train tickets ASAP for Edinburgh-London (www.nationalrail.co.uk) and London-Paris (www.eurostar.com) for cheaper tickets that can sell out early. For train info check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 09:43 AM
  #8
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I agree with Mel that Edinburgh would not be my choice of a third city for two weeks although I do like the city. It is however small enough so it does not add a lot of demands for a visit. Would look carefully at the travel details using your flyer miles as to how many stops and how long it will take you to go door to door to Edinburgh. If there are several connecting flights and long layovers it might be torture. I would not worry too much about the LHR departure tax, its small in comparison to the total cost of your trip and avoidable if you fly into London and Eurostar to Paris and fly home from Paris. Just London and Paris would make a nice and not too stressful trip. Day trips from both cities are also possible. You travel as fast as your slowest traveler which probably will be your 6 yo. I think renting a flat in London is a good idea unless you think you need help from hotel staff during your visit. if you have the time and want to add a third destination I would add Venice. Fly to London, hopefully nonstop from California, Train to Paris than fly or overnight train it to Venice and fly home from Venice.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 09:46 AM
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You might qualify for group travel, since there are 5 of you.

Check out the prices on this website for Eurostar, which explains everything you need to know.
www.seat61.com/Europe-train-travel.htm

You could go early and stay late - but if this involves a hotel, it might be hard to find beds for all of you.

The attractions that most people want to see are roughly in a
2.5 km x 3.0 km rectangle. Get a map to see where they are located.

The days will be short and probably very cold. So don't bring too much on the train, or you'll regret it.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 09:47 AM
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As for the Louvre - if you just want to see the Mona Lisa and get out of there, that might be feasible. The Louvre is a gigantic museum...
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Dec 17th, 2017, 09:48 AM
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Sorry, I forgot you were going in May...
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Dec 17th, 2017, 10:05 AM
  #12
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The reason that I considered Edinburg, is that I heard it's pretty low-key, with some fun things to do with the kids. Thought it might be a good destination to recover from jet lag, but still take in a third culture. My husband and I spent some time in Italy last year, and since there are so many places that the two of us have yet to go, I don't think I'd like to add that as my third city. Although, it is incredible! To be honest, we also spent some time in Paris about 15 years ago and didn't love it. It was in the dead of winter though and quite dreary, so maybe May will be a different experience. But it is something that I think my kids would enjoy seeing. And @fuzzbucket, you are right, the Louvre is HUGE. I honestly think they would be satisfied just seeing the glass pyramid. Lol. But I am open to a different destination all together. We are in the beginning stages of planning and still quite flexible.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 10:41 AM
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Paris-London-Amsterdam would work too and give three very different cultures.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 02:53 PM
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My kids really enjoyed the London, Paris + Venice but you know your kids better. I enjoyed Edinburgh but would not put it on my top 20 list of places to visit in Europe.

You really could spend your time just in London and Paris and spend your time not dashing around but visiting at a nice pace. You will still have lots you will not have done or seen. You can easily take day trips from both places. My kids really enjoyed Stonehenge (do the after hours tour, if possible), Bath (take the silly walk tour), Giverny, and Chenonceau (we rented a rowboat there.)

I did take my kids to the Louvre and they actually enjoyed a fair amount. Of course, we made it a kid-centered tour and took the time to eat yummy pastries in one of the cafes there. It is amazing how reviving a little treat can be (for parents and kids!)

Another favorite area with kids is the Dordogne region: cave paintings, canoeing down the river in Sarlat, castles, parks, etc.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 03:11 PM
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You don't have enough time for Paris, London, and the Dordogne.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 03:50 PM
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Edinburgh, London and Paris would be my choice. Edinburgh does have a number of great places that kids would enjoy, then train to London and Eurostar to Paris. I agree that trying to add someplace like Venice or the Dordogne simply doesn't make sense within your travel times. Have you looked at the possibilities for visits in Edinburgh ?
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Dec 17th, 2017, 10:59 PM
  #17
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Historytraveler, I was thinking that we would recover from our travels the first day and perhaps get our bearings with a hop on/hop off bus tour if we have the energry. The next day do Edinburgh Castle, Mary King's Close, and Camera Obscura. And perhaps on our final day do a day tour of Loch Ness and the Highlands. Not sure if the day tour will be too long for the kids, but I've heard the Highlands are breathtaking and they might get a kick out of the Loch Ness bit. As far as lodging is concerned, I am considering an apartment rental.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 11:50 PM
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If you want to go to Loch Ness, here's what you need to know about lodging and trains, etc. I would not look for one that's too far out of Inverness, though.
http://www.visitscotland.com/info/to...s-area-p245001
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Dec 17th, 2017, 11:50 PM
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If you want to go to Loch Ness, here's what you need to know about lodging and trains, etc. I would not look for one that's too far out of Inverness, though.
http://www.visitscotland.com/info/to...s-area-p245001
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Dec 18th, 2017, 02:13 AM
  #20
 
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I guess one issue I have with taking day trips from London is that London is a very expensive city for lodgings, especially with a family.


If you want to visit a lot of places near London that are in other towns, I would change lodgings to something less expensive.
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