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Advice on Day Trips from London and Edinburgh

Advice on Day Trips from London and Edinburgh

Old May 7th, 2011, 04:11 AM
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Advice on Day Trips from London and Edinburgh

Hello I am looking for some advice on good day trips to take from London in mid-June. My sister and I are going on a trip to Scotland and England from June 8 - June 24. We are hitting the ground running since we are first spending a few days in Paris with our parents and will fly to Edinburgh in the evening. We have decided to use two cities, Edinburgh and London, as our bases from which to do smaller trips. The new plan involves 7 nights in Edinburgh where we will take a day trip probably with Rabbies tour company to Stirling Castle & Loch Lomond National Park. We will also take another day to go pony trekking. Then we are going to take trains to Coventry to visit a friend of mine for one night before taking the bus to London. Then we are left with 8 nights in London. So far, we have only decided that we want to visit Oxford for a day in London and I am also interested in Bath and maybe Stonehenge.

So, now that you have some background, here are my questions...

Scotland:

Has anybody gone with Rabbies before? Is it a good company? Does anyone have any others to recommend?

Does anyone know of good pony trekking/horse-back riding places around Edinburgh?

England:

What would be good day trips by train or bus without loosing too much time from London? We are most interested in history, castles, nature, that sort of thing.

Does anyone know of somewhere we can go horse-back riding around London?

I would like to see Bath, would it be better as a day trip (considering it is a 2.5 hour train ride) or is there so much to see it would be better to spend a night there?

Would you recommend going with a tour company in London as well for day trips or on our own?
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Old May 7th, 2011, 04:18 AM
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There are tonnes of daytrips you could do from London:

Stonehenge/Salisbury
Bath
Canterbury
Oxford
Cambridge
Brighton
York (would be a very long day but it is doable)
Hampton Court
Windsor/Eton

You could do any of these on your own but we always recommend our guests use www.walks.com explorer days - they are affordable, you get two walking tours (morning and afternoon) some short spare time for lunch etc, and you use public transport but get the group rates. If they require some other transport (like a bus) they make all the arrangements and you get a private bus with usually commentary from your guide.

We have always been very happy with them!
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Old May 7th, 2011, 04:26 AM
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I've done Bath as a day trip from London several times - IMO it is easily seen in a full day there - you may want to leave before 9:30am, the time before you cannot leave on some cheaper day return type tickets so it would cost more.

There are some great castles in Kent, closer to London by train like Hever Castle where Ann Bolyene, I believe grew up, and Bodium and others.

If taking more than a few day trips by train from London check out the London and Beyond railpass that allows you to hop on any train anytime - no restrictions on time of day, etc. It would take you to Bath and all over Kent and to places like Cambridge, Oxford, Salisbury (Stonehenge) and any place within a 100 miles or so of London, including Shakespeare's Stratford. check these sources for current info on that and for a tsunami of great info on British trains in general - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and the pass lets you leave earlier for Bath than the 9:30am or later (weekdays only) restriction - such fully flexible tickets like to Bath where you come and go when you wish can be really really expensive - and it is nice to think well when I have seen everything I'll just head back to the station in Bath Spa and hop any of the frequent trains back - and not having to have specified in advance your return time as I believe at least some discounted tickets require. check all the various fares and conditions attached to them at www.nationalrail.co.uk - if you are 60 and over check out the Senior Rail Card that costs 23 pounds but then gives you I think 33% off many trains but again I believe not perhaps before 9:30am but not sure about that so check that if doing that card.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 04:49 AM
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I'd like to point out that York is just as 'doable' as many other day trip locations mentioned regularly on here. Many seem to think it is so far 'oop north' that it is out of reach but my husband commutes for work purposes from York to London once a fortnight (as do numerous other people), and it's certainly fine for a day trip.
York station is very central and you can be off the train and in the heart of the city within minutes.
King Cross to York is a very regular service and although some trains stop more often than others the fastest ones are less than 2 hours. I think that makes it quicker than going to somewhere like Bath although I haven't checked for sure.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 05:48 AM
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York to me, along with Bath, are the two most interesting and also beautiful cities in England - York has the famous Minster church and town walls you can still walk on. a fine fine day out and yeh two hours by train each way - again you may want to leve before 9:30am on that trip.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 08:11 AM
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"I'd like to point out that York is just as 'doable' as many other day trip locations mentioned regularly on here."

They could do it on their way to Coventry - take an early train to York, leave luggage at the left luggage office then later in the day take the train to Coventry via Birmingham
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Old May 7th, 2011, 08:16 AM
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North Berwick's boat trip to the bird sanctuaries is a wonderful day out of Edinburgh. see my trip report.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 11:10 AM
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Well, you could spend all 8 days in London and still not be done. If you've not been to London before, I'd urge you to not take more than a couple day trips, at the most. (Greenwich and Hampton Court are HALF-day trips from London.)
I'd definitely suggest you do your own tour-planning--with maps and guidebooks and the internet and this Forum, you can custom make itineraries in the city that are most efficient and cost effective for you two.

But as to input on where to go for the day:

Definitely Oxford!

We LOVED York, not as a day trip, but I'd say to try that.

Bath is wonderful. But instead of Bath/Stonehenge, you might consider Salisbury/Stonehenge. We did that as a day trip from London and it was fabulous.

We also LOVED Dover as a day trip from London.

(In 2008 we spent 2 weeks in London and took 5 day trips; in 2010 we spent 4 days in London and then in a car did a 9 day loop of England and a bit of Wales. If you want to read how we did any of those things--including day trips in 2008 to Oxford, Salisbury/Stonehenge, and Dover as well as visits in 2010 to Canterbury, Oxford and Dover again, and York--you can click on my screen name, scroll down to my trip reports, and read.)
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Old May 7th, 2011, 01:51 PM
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Hampton Court, right in metropolitan London to me is one of England's most sadly overlooked palaces - reeks of history with Henry 8th doing much of his shenanigans there and have lovely gardens and is on a cutish part of the Thames River.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 02:17 PM
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"Hampton Court, right in metropolitan London to me is one of England's most sadly overlooked palaces "

Since when?? It is a very VERY heavily visited site.

Duda: here is a link to riding and equestrian centres near Edinburgh.

http://www.touristnetuk.com/sc/edinb...ding/index.asp

Rabbies is a very weel known/well thought of tour company.

I like alanRow's suggestion to visit York enroute down from Edinburgh and then travel on to Coventry. Stay the night in Coventry to visit w/ your friend and on to London the next day.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 02:47 PM
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When I went to London, I did Canterbury as one day trip, and really enjoyed the tour of the cathedral and also the walking tour of the town.

I also did a day trip to Hastings to see the battle site.

Both of those were easy day trips and I had a 2-day train pass. London itself needs 4-5 days already though.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 09:28 PM
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I was just in London and took two London Walks day trips, one to Oxford and the Cotswolds and one to Cambridge. The first trip was a disappointment. The group was too big and guide wouldn't even let people stop for the washroom, she had her schedule and she stuck to it, and made everybody else do the same. I am aware that she had to think of the train schedules, etc, but she could have handled the situation better. Another thing that took away from the enjoyment of the tour was the large group size, some of the particpants could only speak limited English - no fault of the guide. The Cambridge tour was the exact opposite, a smaller group, maybe of 25 people, that allowed the guide to be a little more flexible.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 01:13 AM
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Thank you all for the great suggestions! Janisj, thanks for the riding link! I think that we will limit our day trips from London to two days so as to have as much time to see the city as possible. I will talk it over with my sister, but I think that we will do Oxford on our own and then do a day trip with London Walks to either Bath or Salisbury/Stonehenge.

The only reason I was considering doing the tour for Oxford is that it includes the Cotswalds. Does anyone know how it would be to this part on our own without a car? Could we just go for a walk around the countryside once we were done with Oxford?
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Old May 8th, 2011, 06:48 AM
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"London Walks to either Bath or Salisbury/Stonehenge"

London Walks is wonderful --but their out-of-town tours are only on certain days (some just a couple of times a summer)

Salisbury/Stonehenge only on Tuesdays
Bath only on Thursdays
Blenheim & Oxford only a couple of Saturdays
The Cotswolds (which is a very good one if you only have a day) - just two Sundays a month.

IF the Cotswold tour is scheduled while you are in London -- that is the one I'd choose because that is the one w/ the messiest logistics doing it on your own.

If the Cotswold one doesn't fit -- then I'd do Salisbury/Stonehenge.
Bath and Oxford are each very easy to do on your own
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Old May 11th, 2011, 01:30 AM
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London Walks are now doing Oxford and the Cotswolds as one tour every Wednesday according to their website. But I think we will probably end up doing Salisbury/Stonehenge with London Walks because, as you said, it is the hardest to do on our own. My sister is arriving at my place on Saturday (I am on exchange in Norway) and we will decide then which day trips we will do. Thank you for all the great tips!
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Old May 11th, 2011, 08:29 AM
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"But I think we will probably end up doing Salisbury/Stonehenge with London Walks because, as you said, it is the hardest to do on our own"

Actually, I suggested the Cotswold trip would be the hardest/messiest on your own. Salisbury/Stonehenge is easier -- train to Salisbury and local tour out to the Stones.

Oxford is VERY easy on your own, but the London walks Cotswold tour gets you to places like Minster Lovell or Burford that are difficult or next to impossible to get to from London

here is a youtube video overview of the Oxford/Cotswolds LW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvESks6mXBQ

Salisbury/Stonehenge is a perfectly fine tour -- but it IS something you could do independently. Just wanted to clarify . . .
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