Day trip + London= too much?

Jan 9th, 2009, 06:48 AM
Original Poster
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Day trip + London= too much?

Well, I'm leaving for my second trip to London in late Feb for 8 days. I'll be staying with friends, so I'll have personal tour guides around London, BUT I really want to take advantage of not having to pay for a hotel and use that money to take some day trips.

Now, am I being over ambitious with where I want to go with my time there? Please let me know your thoughts! BTW, I'm young...25yrs.

Where I want to go:
Windsor Castle
Dover Castle/White Cliffs

I figured Stonehenge/Bath would be a full day trip and Windsor and Dover each a half day (with coming back to London after I'm done).

Let me know your thoughts...please don't suggest I stay in one of the towns, because I just don't want to! But I really do welcome other suggestions!

Thanks so much! Jenn
genabee6 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Dover will be much more than a half day. The castle alone takes a minimum of 3-4 hours and that is at a rush. It is massive and has everything from a Roman lighthouse to WWII tunnels (don't skip the tunnels because they may not sound interesting. They are amazing)

I usually tell folks to plan on 4 hours for Dover castle but to not be surprised if they spend all day.

Then there is the time to get to the cliffs view points, etc plus the train journey to/from Dover, plus transport to/from the castle/train station. So it will definitely take from early morning to early evening - at least.

Windsor can be done in half a day -- depending on where your starting point is in London. But pretty much plan on getting there at Castle opening time and getting back to London by mid to late afternoon.
janisj is online now  
Jan 9th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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This combo can be difficult to do in one day, unless you join a tour group from London (which there are plenty of). But if you want to DIY, I think that's very tough.

There's enough to see/do in Bath to warrant a full day.

For Stonehenge, it'll work better to pair that up with Salisbury if you're DIY. You can pick up the Stonehenge tour bus from Salisbury train station and/or Salibury town center. The Stonehenge tour bus is the only way I know of to get to Stonehenge (unless you drive, or take an organized tour).

So, either just go to Bath; or Stonehenge/Salisbury. Or visit all on 2 separate days (or, what you don't want to hear, stay overnight in Bath or Salisbury to visit all 3 places in 2 days, without backtracking to London).
yk is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 09:42 AM
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yeah - ditto what yk said about Stonehenge/Bath. Not really doable as a day trip w/o going on an expensive guided coach tour. (I was fixated on the "Dover as a half day from London" bit and forgot to address Bath/Stonehenge)
janisj is online now  
Jan 9th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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It may be very difficult to do Stonehenge and Bath in one day using public transportation, but we did it easily with a rental car.
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 10:54 AM
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Thanks so much for the advice! This is why I posed this question...I knew there would be a bunch of you out there that would give me great ideas.

As of right now, I'm thinking of doing the guided tour thing for stonehenge/bath. I really don't wanna do it on my own.

thanks again!
genabee6 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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One combination that makes a good day trip is Stonehenge and Salisbury. You take the train from Waterloo to Salisbury, a bus right from Salisbury rail station and back. We did Stonehenge in the morning and Salisbury in the afternoon. The town of Salisbury was quaint and the cathedral excellent. We did it in a pretty short day say from 9 am to 4 pm all including travel from door to door. On a quick google to remind myself how we went there last year from London I found this link which gives directions.
laurie_ann is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 04:05 PM
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The advice about Salisbury/Stonehenge day trip is great; it's what we did; took a train from London, caught a tour bus right outside the train station to Stonehenge, spent as long as we wanted, rode back into town, saw the Cathedral and a bit of the town, rode the train back. It was wonderful.

As always, Janis is absolutely right--this time about Dover. It was a FULL day; we rode train, walked to the cliffs and along them a long time, walked back to the castle, spent about 3 hours which wasn't nearly enough, and rode train back. It was a LOT of walking (if there's ever a next time, we'll take taxi from train station to --somewhere, castle or near the cliffs.) And it was summer with lots of light and a pretty decent day. Walking along the cliffs was fabulous, so try to do that at least a teeny bit (it may be too cold to do it for a long time) and definitely allow 3-4 hours in the castle.

Bath is terrific too and could probably be a whole day. But Stonehenge/Salisbury and Dover Castle and Cliffs would be my preference over Bath (and haven't been to Windsor yet but it does look like a half day trip).
texasbookworm is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 04:15 PM
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Windsor can be done in a half day.

Dover will take most of a day.

Stonehenge and Bath can be done in a day (and not seeing a lot) only by car.

I think there may a bus tours of the latter - but I wold check carefully what you actually get to see/do.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 06:27 PM
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Perhaps one of London Walks' Explorer Days would work in your schedule.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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The bus station behind Victoria Station has a tour office nearby. There are many day tours from there and one that my family did was very rushed but included, Stonehenge, Windsor and Bath. If you want to go to all three just to say that you were there, then it might be worth the price. As far as quality time, you need a day for Bath, a day for Salisbury/Stonehenge and a half day for Windsor. Dover is a full day trip.
bubbahop is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 09:32 PM
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I'd also vote for combining Stonehenge with Salisbury and/or Avebury. Avebury is a town not too far from Stonehenge with a stone circle made of very large stones that surrounds much of the town. There's also a museum and a few other things.

Stonehenge will not take long. Even listening to all of the audio tour as you walk around the stones only takes about 1 hour.

You don't say if you'll have access to a car or if you are relying on public transport. I don't know if there are buses that go to Avebury or not.

I did a quick search and found this tour which picks up from London hotels:

I've never used this company and i'm sure there are other companies that do a similar tour, but it gives you an idea. Old Sarum is a decent site too (on this tour) although there is not much left of the ruins.
see_the_world7 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 09:43 PM
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You might like to think twice about why you want to see Dover.

The journey to it is extraordinarily slow, and the White Cliffs often disappoint visitors. They're not that easy to see, except from the sea, and the boat tours run only in midsummer, so you need to book a slow and pricey round trip to Calais. Most importantly, they're no more Great Landscape than the Statue of Liberty is Great Sculpture.

Their importance is historic and emotional (freedom's frontier and all that sort of thing), so there's really only any point in going there if you invest the time janisj talks about going round the castle and the rest.

Given that, you might find you get more out of an organised trip that includes Canterbury.
flanneruk is offline  

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