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Advice on 8 day England Itinerary - No London

Advice on 8 day England Itinerary - No London

Jul 29th, 2014, 11:21 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Advice on 8 day England Itinerary - No London

All,
My husband and I are planning an 8 day trip in late September/early October. We have both spent extensive time in London but my husband has never been anywhere else in the UK (I have, but a LONG time ago). I would like to give him a flavor of what else the country has to offer and don't want to spend all our time in cities. Enjoy history, scenery, food, architecture, walking, heritage sites. We generally like to have a car on holiday so we can explore independently. I would appreciate any input on the following itinerary that I've developed which I'm hoping captures a bit of a good feel for what England has to offer without stretching ourselves too thinly. Any input most appreciated!

Day 1 - AM Arrive Heathrow - Bus to Oxford
Day 2 - Visit Warwick Castle by Train - Overnight in Oxford
Day 3 - Pick up Car - Visit Stratford-on-Avon - on to Cotswolds base town (? Advice?)
Day 4 - Explore Cotswolds by car or on foot weather depending (stay in Cotswolds)
Day 5 - Visit Blenheim and on to Bath
Day 6 - Visit Salisbury/Stonehenge (overnight Bath)
Day 7 - Relax/Sightsee in Bath
Day 8 - Visit Hampton Court Palace/Return Car & Heathrow - Flight @ 8:30 PM

As always, thanks to the Fodorites for your expertise!
lregula is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 12:08 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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This is just my opinion, but I think it is too much jumping around. I did kind of the same thing in March but jumped from Taunton, to Glastonbury, to Wells and onto Bath. We had plenty of time in Taunton, not enough in Glastonbury, barely saw Wells and plenty of time in Bath.

I would stick Blenheim with my Oxford day and use it as a base for the Cotswolds.

I adored Hampton Court Palace but it seems out of place with your itinerary if you do not want to do London at all. However, I have never driven in London so you may have plenty of time for this. Others should weigh in on this.

Also you may want to switch your Stonehenge day to day 7 and Bath to day 6, because it seems like you would be backtracking. You could stay your 7th night in Salisbury.

I rarely critique an itinerary because I'm not as experienced as other Fodorites (only three int'l trips), but I think you'll be happier if you have less bases.

Just my two cents. I would love to do your trip! It sounds wonderful!
mogsanova is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 12:22 PM
  #3  
 
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I agree with mogsanova that you should switch days six and seven.

Aside from that, I think two nights in each of your locations sounds all right.

Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick are very close to one another. I'm trying to think of a logical way that you could go to Blenheim (if you must - I wasn't a fan of the house ) before you visit those towns. Maybe you could go out to Blenheim on the afternoon of your second day? Then the next day, pick up your car, spend time in Stratford-on-Avon in the morning, visit Warwick Castle in the afternoon, and go to your base for the night.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 12:27 PM
  #4  
 
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It's a matter of personal taste, but I really like Salisbury more than Bath. Wells is in the same general area, and is a very pretty little town, where I would have liked to have spent more time, with one of England's most beautiful cathedrals.

I also suggest a visit to Avebury, which to be honest was more interesting to me than Stonehenge, although Stonehenge is pretty impressive.

I haven't been to Blenheim, so can't comment. I've been to Hampton Court Palace several times, but once would have been enough. I wouldn't hesitate to skip it. It's a bit overly touristy, like many places in England.
bvlenci is online now  
Jul 29th, 2014, 12:28 PM
  #5  
 
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You may like to look in on Old Sarum and read up the history on the Salisbury trip
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Sarum
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 12:29 PM
  #6  
 
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You really don't need or want a car in Bath, so I'd try to rearrange this so that you drop the car on arrival in Bath then take the bus back to Heathrow. Problem is fitting Hampton Court Palace in.

As your flight is pretty late in the day, you could take the bus from Bath to Heathrow (2 hours), stow your luggage and take a bus (111) to and from Hampton Court Palace ( a little over an hour each way).

I'd also try to visit Blenheim from Oxford as it's close.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 12:31 PM
  #7  
 
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I accidentally sent if off before I was finished. I wanted to add that my daughters love Hampton Court Palace and dragged me back there, and they almost did so a third time the last time we were all in London. I convinced them that December wasn't the best time of year for that. Like everything else, it's a matter of your own tastes and interests.
bvlenci is online now  
Jul 29th, 2014, 01:13 PM
  #8  
 
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Another idea:
Day 1 - Cab/bus to Windsor from Heathrow. O/N. Windsor Castle is great to explore, plus lots of restaurants and pubs. Nice to walk around while you tire out from jet lag.

Day 2 - Pick up car in Windsor. Drive to Bath along M3/A30. On the way could detour and see Jane Austen's house at Chawton if you are a fan. And/or stop at Nether Wallop. Lovely little town where they filmed some of the Miss Marple mysteries. Will pass by Stonehenge (one of those things that is on everyone's list, and when you see it you don't ever need to again). Could also see Longleat as you go towards Bath. Another place I find more interesting than Blenheim - and kind of eccentric. O/N in Bath or consider somewhere like Bradford-on-Avon - lovely place that's a lot easier to drive in than Bath.

Day 3 - Bath/Bradford on Avon. O/N

Day 4 - Drive to Stratford. On your way could see Tetbury and Bourton on the Water. O/N Stratford/Cotswolds. (I would stay in Stratford, so much to see and do. If you want to be in countryside could try Wilmcote. Or Stow in the Wold.)

Day 5 - Warwick Castle. (Would also recommend Sudeley Castle or Snowshill. Sudeley is very romantic, Snowshill Manor is quirky and the village is lovely). O/N Stratford/Cotswolds

Day 6 - Drive to Oxford. Drop off car. O/N Oxford

Day 7 - Oxford. Bus tour or train to Blenheim. O/N Oxford

Day 8 - Bus to Heathrow.

Some options - You could spend Day 6 in Stratford/Cotswolds if you want more time there. Then spend the day you leave for Heathrow in Oxford until the time for your bus. On Day 1 if you felt like you could drive right away, you could pick up car at Heathrow and drive to Hampton Court and overnight somewhere near there. You would have to feel pretty confident about driving after a long plane ride - most people aren't up to it. Or you could detour to Hampton Court after you pick up the car at Windsor, but you'd really have to want to go there.
Have a great holiday.
rickmav is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 01:18 PM
  #9  
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Thanks for the input, all! OK, I know it means an extra move, but what about this...

Day 1 Arrive Heathrow, Bus to Oxford
Day 2 Visit Blenheim, Explore Oxford
Day 3 (Car) Warwick and Stratford, on to Cotswolds base
Day 4 Explore Cotswolds
Day 5 Visit Stonehenge/Salisbury (stay in Salisbury)
Day 6 Explore Wells/Avebury (stay in Salisbury)
Day 7 Visit Bath (stay in Salisbury)
Day 8 Drive back to London for 8:30 PM flight (Hampton Court)?

Any idea for good base in Cotswolds? I really would like to experience some "country" time but want a village that is charming but not too small (i.e. walk from dinner after wine).

Thanks again for the advice!
lregula is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 01:27 PM
  #10  
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Rickmav, posted my response before seeing your very helpful response. Appreciate the input!
lregula is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 01:33 PM
  #11  
 
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I think you still need to re-think things a fair bit.

>>Day 6 Explore Wells/Avebury (stay in Salisbury)

Day 7 Visit Bath (stay in Salisbury)<<

Wells and Avebury are in opposite directions from Salisbury and you would be driving about 4.5 hours plus the stops.

Then the next day you'll have another 2.5 - 3 hour drive.

Whereas Wells is only 20 miles from Bath.
janisj is offline  
Jul 30th, 2014, 08:33 AM
  #12  
ESW
 
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Include Avebury with Stonehenge on Day 5. They aren't very far apart. This saves backtracking on Day 6 as janisj points out.

If you are 'into' stone circles, think about a brief stop at the Rollright Stones when you drive from Oxford to Warwick.
ESW is offline  
Jul 30th, 2014, 08:47 AM
  #13  
 
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. I convinced them that December wasn't the best time of year for that>

Well December is a smashing good time for Hampton Court - well not the gardens or maze maybe but the interior takes on a Christmas decor dazzle with appropriate music, some by live musicians, throughout - Christmas season at Hampton Court is extremely popular and a special treat IME.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 30th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...y_England.html

A Tudor Christmas at Hampton Court Palace!
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 11:17 AM
  #15  
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Thanks to all your great suggestions, I think I've straightened out my itinerary and am ready to start booking hotels. Would appreciate any red flags in the following:

Day 1: Arrive, cab/bus Windsor, visit Windsor, O/N Windsor
Day 2: Pick up car, drive to Bath area, visiting Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Salisbury on the way O/N Bath/Vicinity
Day 3: Bath and environs sightseeing
Day 4: Explore Cotswolds on way to Stratford area/Chippen Camden (still trying to pick a hotel/town - want to do the "English Manor" thing in this region)
Day 5: Visit Stratford and surrounding villages
Day 6: Visit Warwick Castle on way to Oxford (O/N Oxford) drop car in Oxford
Day 7: Visit Blenheim via bus/train (O/N Oxford)
Day 8: Explore Oxford; Bus to Heathrow; Flight @8:30 PM
lregula is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 11:36 AM
  #16  
 
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Pretty good. OK -- just one thing

You are Visiting Stratford and 'surrounding area' one day and Warwick the next 'on the way to Oxford'. Maybe you didn't realize it but Warwick is only about 8 miles/15 minutes straight up the road from the center of Stratford. And Warwick wouldn't be 'on the way' to Oxford since it is to the north.

So I'd rearrange those days a bit. In fact it is VERY easy to manage Warwick Castle and a bit of the town + all the Shakespeare properties in Stratford on the same day.

So I'd do this:

Day 4 From Bath wander around the Cotswolds and finish up wherever you decide to stay (what is your budget BTW?)

Day 5 Warwick from the Castle's opening time til after lunch then on to Stratford in the mid afternoon.

Day 6 explore a bit more in the surrounding Cotswold area.

Day 7 Blenheim in the morning. Makes more sense to do Blenheim while you still have then car since it is on the road between Chipping Campden (or other Cotswold towns) and Oxford. Drop the car in Oxford in the mid-late afternoon. Explore Oxford

Day 8 Explore more of Oxford - coach to LHR in the late afternoon.
janisj is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 11:39 AM
  #17  
 
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So I'd rearrange those days a bit. In fact it is VERY easy to manage Warwick Castle and a bit of the town + all the Shakespeare properties in Stratford on the same day.>

I wholeheartedly agree with janis - I did them both on the same day my first time and it was no problem. Warwick takes but a few hours for most. Stratford most of the Shakespeare Properties are clustered in the compact town center - all the major ones.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 11:55 AM
  #18  
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Thanks, Janis and PalenQ - very helpful and I'm glad to visit Blenheim by car - your advice makes perfect sense! As for budget for my English Manor experience, I am willing to splurge for this lodging although I don't have to if the property looks right (say no more than $350-400/night) -- I'm seeing that this area is very expensive. Any suggestions for a fabulous property welcomed!
lregula is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 12:38 PM
  #19  
 
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Look good. Some places I'd recommend: If you are driving to Warwick (which by the way is great, but they charge you for parking and it's very expensive) you might want to take a detour to Hampton Lucy and have lunch at The Boar's Head. Afterwards stroll over to the St Peter ad Vincula Church. Lovely, lovely. http://www.britainexpress.com/counti...mpton-lucy.htm.

In Stratford we loved drinking and eating at The Garrick Inn. There's a very small snug at the front and then a dining room at the back. Great food. You may be visiting Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, and if so make sure to wander around the cemetery that surrounds it. Some great headstones (sounds weird to say!) and photo opportunities along Avon. We went there on a foggy day in December. Very atmospheric! In Chipping Campden the Bantam Tea Rooms are popular and good. Try and snag a spot by the fire if it's cool outside.

In Oxford, if you love the Morse mysteries or Alice in Wonderland, Brideshead Revisited, etc. you can download (free) a lot of themed walks. We combined a few and wandered to our heart's content. The perfect thing was to walk up a tiny street and hear a student practicing their singing. Would also heartily recommend the Bodleian Library tour.

You are going to have such a great time.
rickmav is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 01:15 PM
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Your budget is pretty generous. You could stay at the Lygon Arms in Broadway - quite posh and around £200 a night. http://www.thehotelcollection.co.uk/...tswolds/rooms/ (the is another un-related/cheaper Lygon Arms in Chipping Campden)

or Dormy House - a little more expensive but still w/i your budget

http://dormyhouse.co.uk

Or Lower Slaughter Manor http://www.lowerslaughter.co.uk/hotel - some ore their rooms are w/i your budget
janisj is offline  

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