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Comments & Suggestions on My Itinerary Please!

Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 12:08 PM
  #1  
Len
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Comments & Suggestions on My Itinerary Please!

Message: Whhheeeww!!! 10 days definitely is not enough time in England based on all the amazing places I have heard about on this site and read about in the travel books. I wish I had a month. Anyway here is the tentative itinerary I put together and I would love feedback and suggestions from all you England experts…

(10 days)

March 28th Friday: Arrive London. Staying at The Rubens. After checking in or dropping bags. Buckingham Place (Changing of Guards), Parliament, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, Cabinet War Rooms, Big Ben. Pub for lunch (suggestions?) Dinner Convent Garden or Mayfair? Early night to help the jet lag.

Saturday: British Museum (half day) Lunch at a Pu ???) Tower of London for second half of day. Do you recommend a private tour guide for either of these? I thought it might be nice for my Dad as his hearing is not the best. Dinner maybe in Convent Garden before seeing a play?

Sunday & Monday: Still trying to figure these two days out. All of these might be great but suggestions are greatly appreciated: National Gallery, St. Paul's Cathedral, Harrod's, Walking Tours (Pubs, Jack the ripper), Windsor Castle, Boat ride on Thames, London Eye, A lot of great pubs, Trafalgar Sq., The Parks (walking tours) etc.

Tuesday: Check out. Pick up rental car and head toward Bath. Stay a The Manor House (Outside Castle Combe- two nights) Has anyone heard of this place? It looks amazing online www.exclusivehotels.co.uk but I would love personal experiences. After check in, drive to Castle Combe see the town. Then to Stonehenge, Avebury, and Salsibury to see the Cathedral. Maybe have dinner in Salsibury? Back to hotel. Any places other than these you suggest?

Wednesday: Drive into Bath. Do a city tour of Bath. Eat at pub there? Suggestions? Do I need a full day in Bath or should I drive to another town like Glastonbury (Somerset) or Bradford on Avon as well? Would love to find a real country inn or pub to eat dinner anywhere in this area. Back to hotel.

Thursday: Check out of hotel. Drive North toward Broadway (Northern Cotswolds) where we will stay at the Dormy House for 2 nights (any personal experiences at this hotel? And do you think Broadway is a good center town to see the Northern Cotswolds?) After check in,drive to Stratford on Avon --see the Shakespearesites and eat lunch there...suggestions? Then maybe Warwick Castle for tour and possibly the Kings feast for dinner. Back to hotel.

Friday: Out early to drive and see Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. Then hit Bourton On Water, The Slaughters, and Stanton. Maybe finding a great little place to have dinner in one of these great towns. I want the best historical villages, and these all seem to come highly recommended. Thoughts? Back to Broadway maybe for an ale at the Horse and Hound pub? (I think that is the name?)

Saturday: Check out. Head back toward London. Anyone recommend stopping in Oxford on the way? Back to London check back in to the Rubens. One last dinner and maybe another pub or play.

Sunday: fly back to NYC.

Does this seem way too ambitious? And would anyone forego my Cotwolds concentration for York and then Edinburgh? Any and all thoughts and recommendations are greatly appreciated & welcomed! Thanks.


 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 02:12 PM
  #2  
Susan
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Dear Len,

I am not an England expert, but have traveled to most of the places you've mentioned. Your itinerary looks very packed to me, but reflects my own style of planning. I like to have more to do on my list for each day, and then narrow down depending on how we're feeling--do we want more outdoor space today? one to many museums, etc.

Day one - the more I can make my first day fit the new time zone, the better I do with jet lag. If you are coming from the US (I'm not sure you said where), and are arriving after an overnight flight, you may want to consider splitting your day. Get out early and walk around (with emphasis on outside and daylight), back to the hotel for refreshing and a quick nap from about 2 to 4PM, and then out again for fresh air in the evening with bedtime about 10 PM or so. This only works if you keep your nap short. But going to bed early on the first night always leaves me waking at odd times.

I found the Tower of London a bit hard to absorb, and was disappointed that we didn't take a tour guide. The ones we overheard sounded very interesting. The British Museum is very accessible, so I think you would be satisfied with going on your own interests.

For Sunday & Monday, consider grouping by location as your first priority - maybe Harrod's, Hyde Park and the Victoria and Albert Museum all on one day? Lots of variety, but minimal travel to and from.

On our first trip, we only spent half a day in Bath, and then on to Glastonbury in the same day. It was do-able, and I really like the abbey ruins. But in retrospect, I think a full day in Bath would have been better. More relaxed and would have had a better sense of the town.

You will likely refine your itinerary based on feedback from many seasoned Fodorites. I would NOT add York or Edinburgh - way too much travel time, and the Cotwolds is a charming and rewarding area to explore. Have fun planning.

Susan
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 06:26 PM
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Len
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Thank you so much Susan. Great advice. I am still miffed as to which town is best and central for Northern Cotswolds? Chipping Campen or Broadway?
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 06:42 PM
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xxx
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Harrods is closed on Sunday, I believe.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 07:34 PM
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Susan
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Sorry, can't help. We did stay at a B & B in Lower Slaughter and enjoyed it.

I do think Oxford is a wonderful place for spending a day, so unless you have things you want to return to see in London on Saturday, I would suggest you consider visiting if possible.

I know others will give you good advice and say that this list is very ambitious for a 10 day trip. But my husband and I took the same route in reverse and enjoyed the "sampling" approach on our first trip. You mention traveling with your father - is he up for the same jam packed pace?

 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 07:39 PM
  #6  
Len
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Well he is 55 but in pretty good shape. We are equally excited about this trip as we are both Huge history fans! Especially English History. I have considered taking guided day tours on both days in the Northern Cotswold with Genny at Tour Gems. I heard great things and she can really take you to many places in her vehicle through all the most scenic back roads and give you the history behind each town or site. I am concerned though, that I may need to back off a bit for my Dad. I want this to be a special trip for him, that is why I guess I want to be able to see so much!
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 10:11 PM
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Leslie
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Yes, York is wonderful - especially for history buffs, but considering you are going in March (colder up north) and have only 10 days, I think your general focus on the Bath/Cotswolds/Stratford/Warwick circuit is a good choice.

Yes, you're trying to pack too much in each day. Will probably find you can't do all you'd planned on your first day in London. Actually, I think the very best thing to do on arrival in London is taking the Big Bus Tour or 'Round London Sightseeing tour if it's not raining (double decker buses with live guides and you can hop on/off for 24 hours). It's a great orientation and nice to sit when you're jet lagged.

Nor are you likely to be able to fit in driving from London to Castle Combe, Stonehenge, Avebury and Salsibury all in one day. Something will probably have to give (Stonehenge and Avebury are similar). In Bath, recommend the Guide Friday double decker bus tour also. Parking in Bath is difficult so you don't really want to drive in Bath much.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 10:13 PM
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Leslie
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a few more comments...

Broadway is a great little town, very convenient to Stratford also. So is Stow on the Wold. However, I wouldn't drive from Broadway to Blenheim and back. Blenheim (Woodstock) is so close to Oxford, better to see it enroute to Oxford.

Finally, if your flying home from Heathrow, Windsor is a great place for your last night. See the castle and return the rental car to the airport, rather than coming all the way in to London for your last night. It'll save you the transportation problem back to the airport and easier to return a car to the airport than to the city office. No drop off fees.


 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 04:14 AM
  #9  
k
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Len,

When are you going? I am going in January 2003. While I am spending a chunk of time in London, I have a 4 day jaunt planned where I will do 1)Stonehenge and Salisbury, then drive to Bath to stay overnight 2) Bath 3) drive to Stratford upon Avon, see town, 4) Warwick Castle/Kenilworth ruins, then maybe Oxford before heading back to England.

From what I've heard, a full day in Bath is worth it. Also, the reason I ask about timing - Blenheim Palace is closed in winter (according to its website), so I decided to skip it. I think you can still see the gardens, but in winter? I'll pass. I was kind of disappointed abou it, but just thought I'd pass it along.

Happy travels,
Karen
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 04:16 AM
  #10  
k
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Oh, sorry, you did put that you were going in March. Just check the Blenheim Palace website to see when it reopens.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 05:08 AM
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bettyk
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Len, if you are near Parliament/Cabinet War Rooms around lunchtime, we ate at the Red Lion (restaurant upstairs not the pub downstairs) on Parliament Street. It was quite good and reasonably priced. Also recommended on this website, though I didn't eat there, is the "The Two Chairmen, corner of Queen Anne's Gate and Dartmouth Street, 100 yards from St James' Park tube station. Useful for visits to Parliament, Westminster, the Cabinet War Rooms, and St James' Park. Some Members of Parliament use it. "

As somebody else mentioned, Harrod's is not open on Sunday except during the Christmas Holidays.

There's way too much to see in London in a couple of days, so you may just have to reconcile yourself to a return visit!
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 07:56 AM
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Len
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Thanks for all this great advice! I will be in London for 4 days. I think the bus tour when we first get there sounds like a great idea! Maybe staying in Windsor that last night is a good idea. I thought about that but was not sure. I will probably drop Avebury from my excursions. I was thinking about the Cotswolds House in Chipping Campden as my center for Nothern Cotwolds (I've heard it is a great little town and not as touristy as Broadway...true???) Also maybe I will see Blenheim on my way back toward London or Windsor. I have booked at the Manor House outside Castle Combe, it looks amazing and the people were so friendly that I spoke with. Anybody stayed here. Do you think it's a good base to see Bath and surrounding area? Thanks again you all have such great advice. Thanks, Len
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 09:52 AM
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helpinglen
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Old Oct 24th, 2002, 07:04 PM
  #14  
susan
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Hi Len,

Fun to see how your plans are developing. Ironic - we booked at the Manor House last year, and then changed our minds and went out toward Cornwall instead, as we wanted to cover some new territory. My only regret about changing directions was not being able to stay at the Manor House. I agree, it looks beautiful and I also thought they were very friendly. On the web site, it looks so elegant with great grounds. I don't think you'll go wrong there, and hope you'll report back.

So, Harrods is closed on Sunday. How about saving Westminster Abbey for Sunday morning and attending services? Great place to be for history buffs. I kept imagining all the coronations, statesmen, weddings, etc. Both WM Abbey and St. Pauls have their own web sites if you want to check out service times, special activities.

I agree with Leslie that the bus tour on the first day is nice if you want an overview and to cover some highlights. Also, check out Fodors suggestions for "best 3 day itinerary" under the London city guide. Very sensible groupings of the major sites by location. I highly recommend Sir John Soane's museum.

If you and your dad like theatre, consider checking out the half price same day tickets. We had good luck, were surprised at the number of choices, and it made for a fun evening. (Fodors lists:The SOLT Half Price Ticket Booth on the southwest corner of Leicester Square sells the best available seats to performances at about 25 theaters. It's open Monday-Saturday 10-7, Sunday noon-3; there is a £2 service charge.)

Probably my best suggestion (if you haven't done this already) - search this forum for "Ben Haines". Mr. Haines gives the best advice for travel to England, hands down.

Susan
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 08:09 PM
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Len
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Suan you rock! Thanks a ton. I am looking forward to the Manor House. I am very interested in checking out a play while in London. I live in New York City so I see many plays, but I have heard London is even better than NYC! I will definitely check out the 1/2 price tickets. My last big hurdle now is getting a Northern Cotswold hotel. I figure since we are staying in a country Manor House during our Southern Cotswolds, Bath, Salsibury part of the trip, that maybe we should stay in one of the towns for the North. I have heard both Broadway and Chipping Campden as the best recommendations for historical beauty and central location. It's just that Frommers recommends Lygon Arms and The Broadway in Broadway & Cotswolds HOuse and Noel Arms in Chipping Campden, and Fodors recommends The Dormy House near Broadway and Charingworth Manor outside Chipping Campden. I am so confused...would love first hand feedback on these places. Charingworth looks amazing but it is another country house a lot like the Manor House in Castle Combe, thus I think I would rather stay in one of these towns to be able to walk out at night and go down the street to a pub. Once I get this I think the foundation for my trip will be built and I can concentrate on my London itinerary.

Thanks again Susan you have been so helpful.

Len
 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 08:06 AM
  #16  
Aaron
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Old Oct 25th, 2002, 08:08 AM
  #17  
helpinglen
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Old Oct 25th, 2002, 08:28 AM
  #18  
Steve James
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Len - I'd recommend Chipping Campden over Broadway as a base.

It's a delightful village IMO and is of great historical interest. It's a bit larger than Broadway - and less subject to day-tripper coaches as it's not on a main road.

I've only ever been to the Manor House for coffee but it's a lovely location. I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Bath is easy enough from Castle Combe.
There are several other lovely places nearby.

Steve

 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 09:22 AM
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Len
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Thanks Steve. I think I will stay in Chipping Campden. I have heard of several great places including The Cotswold House, The Noel Arms, The The Kettle House B & B. I want something that is very comfortable but also very old and historical, so I feel the history of the town. Any suggestions? I will tell you that right now The Cotswold House looks too modern and I really don't want that. The Noel Arms looked best to me. Thoughts? Thanks again Steve.
 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 12:18 PM
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Ani
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Len, we stayed at the kettlehouse in MArch and it was WONDERFUL-unfortunately, they have sold and the b&b has shut down! Just thought I'd let you know!
 

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