Day Trips in London

Mar 27th, 2003, 12:47 PM
  #1  
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Day Trips in London

Hi Everyone,
I am planning to be in London for a little less than a week (Sun night to Saturday) in July. First, do you think this is too long to spend in one city? And second, do you know any worthwhile, fun day trips that I can take from London? What do you recommend seeing in the city?
casey163 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2003, 01:00 PM
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Hi
people will be better able to make suggestions if you do a little research first and let us know what interests you.
Elsewhere here on fodors.com is lots of "Destination" information on London; perhaps start there. And you will need a good guidebook anyway--browse through some at a bookstore and choose the one that appeals to you. I like Fodors's book for London, but there are many good ones.

Also, if you do a search right here on London and on London daytrip you will find many suggestions.
One week is not too long in London; neither is two weeks.

Popular and easy daytrips are
Bath
Windsor Castle
Hampton Court
Kew Gardens
Greenwich
Cambridge
Oxford
Stratford upon Avon
Stonehenge


With about 5 full days in London and the first one likely to be jetlagged, I wouldn't plan on more than one day trip.
London is full of riches.

Museums, take your pick
Tower of London
churches including St Paul's
pubs
shopping
long walks
theatre
etc etc
elaine is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 03:53 AM
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If you like gardens/flowers/parks, don't miss Kew Gardens!
Jenson is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 04:02 AM
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There's a terrific book called something like "50 Day Trips from London", which is great because it really tells you how to do the trips efficiently...trains, buses, walking routes, etc.

We did a combination of Dover Castle and Canterbury in one day, which was a nice day trip. We also did Salisbury and Stonehenge.

1 week is definitely not too long. We stayed 8 nights and did 3 day trips. I think you could fit in 2, depending on how many sights you want to see in London. Elaine's posted a good list.
china_cat is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 04:06 AM
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Hi Casey,

I spent 8 days in London (and 4 outside of it), and could have spent weeks there with no problem. There is SO much to see.

Elaine has given you a great place to start. I loved Windsor and Hampton Court. If you go to Stonehenge, combine it with a stop in Salisbury - a wonderful little town about 10 miles away.

Bath is bigger and I think it would be better as an overnight - I loved it but in your case it would probably not be the best option - others may disagree here, but we stayed 2 days and thought that was a good length of time.

In London, the Tower of London was wonderful, if you like Shakespeare go to the Globe theatre, visit Westminster Abbey and Parliament, see some plays at night, walk to the top of St. Paul's for great views, visit many pubs There is so much to do, if you want the higlights, look on this website for Fodor's 3 day or 7 day itinerary as a guide.

You will have a great time!
kaudrey is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 04:38 AM
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Everyone has given you a great list of must things to see and do in London. I have made five trips to Great Britain and spend at least a week, most of the time 10 days in London and find it is never long enough.

I would add to the list of days out from London Hatfield House but only if you are interested in Elizabeth I.

During July there is the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show which absolutely gorgeous - I think Hampton Court is awesome. If I had to see only one palace, this would be the one I would pick. Hampton Court is home to one of the largest art collections in the British Empire.

If you visit the Tower of London my suggestion is to get there as soon as the gates open, then walk quickly (being careful not to trip over the cobblestones) directly to The Jewel Tower as the lines begin forming very early to see the Crown Jewels. By mid morning the line is out the door and if you wait until the afternoon you will find yourself either spending your entire afternoon queing to see the jewels or having to decide to forego seeing the jewels. You may want to consider writing for tickets to see the Ceremony of the Keys (the locking of the Tower). Tickets are free but you must write at least 6 weeks in advance. It is really unforgettable being in the Tower after dark.

We enjoyed a morning walking around The Temple - an area of London that is often overlooked.

I agree with Elaine that there are a lot of Fodorites who can give you some very good firsthand advice if you post what your preferences are .. history, art etc.
CeeJay is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 04:40 AM
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The book referred to upstream is _Daytrips London: 50 One Day Adventures By Rail or Car in and around London and Southern England_ by Earl Steinbicker. If you were on an extended visit, I'd recommend buying it. However, any good London guidebook (my first choice is Rick Steves' _London 2003_) has all the information you'll need to plan a daytrip or two to the most popular places (which is all you'll have time for).
TimS is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 06:53 AM
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I agree that even when I spend 10 days in London....it isn't enough!! I LOVE England!! I took my mom last year, and we planned about four day trips out of the 9 days there. The concierge will be able to set you up with some day trips. We did the Evans Tour with day trips taking us to Oxford, Straford-Upon-Avon, Bath, etc. My favorite was the Steam Train that took us to Canterbury and the white cliffs of Dover. The steam train runs every month but the intinerary changes. We did the dinner thinking that it would probably be a so-so meal...WRONG! It was VERY good! You get to watch the countryside go by on your trip. It was fabulous!!
Azoria is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 07:11 AM
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Hi, Casey. I spent a week in London last May. I enjoyed it and I could have stayed longer! I really like urban settings though. I also love the theatre and I saw a play almost every night I was there. For day trips, I did a tour of Stonehenge, Avebury, Salisbury, and Old Sarum with Stonehenge Tours (stonehengetours.com). I really enjoyed the tour and I was much more impressed with Stonehenge than I thought I'd be. We also went to a great Inn in Salisbury for lunch. I also took the train to York on my for the day. I had also considered Canterbury and Oxford but there wasn't enough time. (Next time!) London Walks (www.walk.com) also offers some day trips from London that looked interested as well as some walking tours within London. Have fun!
Vita is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 08:12 AM
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You could easily spend a month in the London are, and still not have enough time for seeing all the sights there.
JoyceL is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 11:01 AM
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Thank you all so much for your comments, I ordered the fifty day trips book and the Rick Steve's book online.
I am traveling with a friend, and between us our interests are pretty wide - I am definitely interested in the theatre, architechture, and history, particularly literary history. I love castles, but I am coming to London from Scotland, where we are going to have ample opportunity to explore castles - so do you all think it would still be worth it to check out those near London? I am so excited to see the old churches/cathedrals, too.
CeeJay - where to we write for tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys? That sounds so interesting, I would love to see that!
Thanks again, everyone, for your comments!
Casey
casey163 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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Tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys: Rick Steves' _London 2001_ reads, "To attend this free 30-minute event, you need to request an invitation at least two to three months before your visit. Write to: Ceremony of the Keys, H.M. Tower of London, London EC3N4AB, England. Include your name; the addresses, names, and ages of all people attending (up to seven people, nontransferable, no kids under eight allowed); requested date, alternative dates; and an international reply coupon (buy at U.S. post office)."
TimS is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 04:16 PM
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I left out a space in the postal code I gave you in the mailing address for the Ceremony of the Keys. The correct code is EC3N 4AB.
TimS is offline  
Mar 28th, 2003, 04:41 PM
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Casey - you will have a great time and will not grow tired of the city. A few suggestions:

The Globe Theater - the Globe (built as a replica of Shakespeare's original theater - think "Shakespeare in Love") is an amazing experience. Make sure to inquire about tickets in advance as the performances sell out rather quickly. We saw King Lear there 2 years ago and it was the highlight of our trip. The Globe only has the theater company in season during the Spring/Summer so you are in luck!

If you are WWII/Churchill enthusiasts - the Cabinet War Rooms are a must see. As is the Imperial War Museum.

An afternoon picnic in Regent's Park is also a wonderful way to wind down from all the sighseeing and the hustle and bustle of the city. There is an outdoor Shakespeare venue in this park as well.

Enjoy!!!
jodalahh is offline  
Mar 29th, 2003, 04:19 AM
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Casey163 - TimS has given the correct details for writing for tickets. It really is impressive to witness a ceremony that has been performed every night (without fail!!) for over 600 years. Make sure you have visited the Tower before the Ceremony of the Keys so you can get a sense of some of the history; if you have a chance, take one of the Yeomen Warder tours.

The ceremony starts (I believe) around quarter to ten - you'll need to be at the Tower sometime around 9:00 or 9:15. Everyone will be let in to the Tower and the ceremony explained in great detail. It is really something to be standing in silence watching the Chief Yeoman Warden walking down the cobblestone street, carrying a lantern and the ancient keys to the Tower. Afterwards there is a chance to have questions answered .. I asked if there was ever a time when the ceremony was interrupted especially during the bombing of London during WWII.

The Tower is also holding an exhibit commemorating Queen Elizabeth I reign as is Hampton Court Palace. During the month of July, Hampton Court will be holding its annual Flower show 8-13 of July.

The Royal Opera House holds one hour tours ... after a lengthy remodeling program the Opera House is once again open. If nothing else it is fun to say you've been backstage whenever the ROH is featured on television over here.

I'd also highly recommend a visit to the British Museum ... the new courtyard is completed and it is awesome. My mom and I are looking forward to having lunch there as on our last trip the Museum was in the midst of remodeling. There is so much to see at all of the museum's but at the British Museum you really must check out the Rosetta Stone, 'Marsh Pete' and the incrediable display of artifacts from Sutton Hoo.

Someone mentioned Regent's Park - on our last night in London we take a walk along the canal and come back through Queen Mary's Rose Garden. Regent's is really one of the prettiest parks in London.

CeeJay is offline  
Mar 29th, 2003, 04:49 AM
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Casey,
I happened to discover this website which gives you descriptions & information on London's top 10 tourist sights

http://poweredby.10best.com/list.process/OID_58C1E50B/MID_120/CG_1/SID_82/

As you're interested in litererary history, you might want to take a Jane Austen "walk" in Bath. Here's info on a contact
Jane Austen Bath Walk
40 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2NT.
Tel: 01225 443000.
"This is a great way to find out more about Jane Austen and discover the fabulous Georgian city of Bath. The experienced guides will take you to the places where Jane lived, walked and shopped and the places made famous in her two Bath novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The tour lasts 1.5 hours."

Here's a website that will provide information on museums, sights etc. for many other British writers. For example, there's a Charles Dickens museum.

http://www.britainexpress.com/History/bio/index.htm
Have a great time!
mclaurie is offline  
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