day tours from London

Old Jan 14th, 2004, 09:52 AM
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day tours from London

We would like to take two one day or half day tours outside London. We have chosen one which includes Startford upon Avon, Oxford and the Cotswolds. Any ideas on what other area would be best? Possibilities are: Bath/Stonehenge, Windsor/Salisbhury/ Stonehenge, or Oxford/Stratford/Warwick substituting Warwick for the Cotswolds. Orr would it be better to take a train someplace on our own? We wouldn't have a car when we reached our destination.
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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 10:02 AM
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I would definitely look into a day trip to Canterbury too. The ones you note are quite good, depending on what you like. Warwick is really nearly an entire day in itself. So the rest of that one must really be quick. Check out Canterbury--my favorite.
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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 11:12 AM
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My suggestion would be Canterbuy and then the Windsor/Salisbury/Stonegence tour for the other.
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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 11:37 AM
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If you are taking regular guided tours you will not have much time in any of these places to see much. I'd take day trips on my own, they are easy to do and you can set your own pace. For example you can go by train from Victoria Sta. to Canterbury in 90 min. The town is walkable and the cathedral is marvelous. Warwick Castle is 90 min. from Marylebone Station and is a full day trip by itself. Stonehenge is the only place not too easy to get to, you need to train to Salisbury and then take a bus to Stonehenge. Windsor CAstle/and town can take up the better part of a day, I would not combine it with anything else. You can reach Windsor by train in about 35-40 min. I would also suggest Hampton Court, 30 min from London by train. Again, it's worth the better part of a day. All of these places (except Stonehenge) are a short distance from the railway stations so you are basically "in town" when you arrive. Go to www.thetrainline.com for train prices and schedules.
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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 11:43 AM
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My sister and I did the Stonehenge/Bath day tour from London.
Tour starts pretty early in the AM (if you're lucky your bus is one of the first to arrive at Stonehenge; good for pictures).
Bath was interesting (those Romans were everywhere!).
It's a pretty long drive; it'll help if you have a very entertaining driver/guide.

On the way back, our bus had engine problems... forcing the driver to detour to this small village.
The streets were so narrow our bus had only inches to spare on each side! I had visions of the bus being stuck, wedged between 500-year old stone buildings... they would have to saw the top off the bus to allow passengers to exit...
Miraculously, our driver was blessed with dexterous driving abilities.
When we finally drove off, everybody heaved a big sigh of relief.

I looked at the driver in the mirror and his forehead was sweating!

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Old Jan 14th, 2004, 01:02 PM
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Hi
Many of the places you mention don't require having a car when you get there, and in fact a car would be a problem except for exploring the Cotswolds.

Stratford, Oxford, Windsor, Salisbury, and Bath are all easy train or bus rides. I haven't been to Salisbury, but I believe just outside the train station you can get a bus to Stonehenge and back.
Once you get out of the train at Stratford, Oxford, Windsor, or Bath, the walk to the center of town and or the principal sights is easy.

I've looked into the Oxford/Stratford/Cotswolds tours myself, and it seems to me that you are in the bus much more than you are seeing the sights. That's a lot in one day. The Cotswolds part is almost all seen from the bus windows, with I believe a brief stop for a meal in one town or another.

There is also a bus line X55 that runs between Bath and Stratford, with stops in Cotswolds towns along the way.

On the other hand, if time is short and you want to be able to quickly survey two or three places in one day, the bus is the way to do it.
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Old Jan 16th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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I lived in London for a while last year and took day trips to Oxford, Canterbury, Winchester and Rye. All were enjoyable, but I particularly enjoyed Winchester. In the cathedral, you can take a "roof tour" where you walk up through the roof above the nave, and out onto the roof (with beautiful views), into the bell tower. It was one of the most interesting & unique tours I've taken!
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