Day Trips Outside of London

Old Jan 9th, 2022, 05:34 PM
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Day Trips Outside of London

I am taking my 20-year old to London in late March. We will be arriving on a Saturday and departing almost a week later on Friday. We have been to London before but stayed in Downtown London and did a number of the museums and very tourist things.

I am contemplating staying in Downtown again but taking day trips outside of the city. Any suggestions? We like history museums and gardens. This is just meant to be a relaxing getaway. I also don't know if I should rent a car for our time there or rely on the trains.

I appreciate any suggestions!
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Old Jan 9th, 2022, 06:09 PM
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OK -- the big question is . . . will you also be spending a fair amount of time wandering around in London as as well as day trips?? If so staying in central London (downtown isn't really a 'thing') and doing a few day trips sort of spoke & wheel from London by train is likely best. Absolutely no need for a car.

BUT -- if you are planning on mainly seeing/doing things outside the city, and not spending much time at all IN London, staying in London doesn't make a lot of sense . . . accommodations are by far more expensive in London than in most outlying areas.

Also, what day trip sites are you considering?? Places that are essentially in or just outside greater London like Hampton Court Palace, Windsor, etc. Or places farther afield like Stonehenge or Bath or the Cotswolds or Oxford or Cambridge or ?? Whether you'd need/want a car depends on exactly where you are going.

So give more info re where you plan on visiting.

March can still be quite wintry . . . or it can be nice - but cool/wet is definitely a possibility

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Old Jan 9th, 2022, 07:20 PM
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I am most familiar with central London. I am not opposed to staying outside of London, I am just not sure where. There are however, 2 - 3 museums I would like to see in London - but I am sensing from your point, it might be best to stay outside of London and travel in for the few museums we would want to see.

Outside of London, Kew Gardens has come in our discussions as has Windsor, Oxford and Cambridge. We've done Stonehenge but not Bath.

We have to pick this time (late-March) as my daughter is on break and this trip is in lieu of the study abroad program that was cancelled b/c of Covid. This all came up very last minute and I am literally throwing this together.
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Old Jan 9th, 2022, 07:46 PM
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"Outside of London, Kew Gardens has come in our discussions as has Windsor, Oxford and Cambridge."

OK -- just addressing these (and it would be hard to hit much more in the short time you'll be in London) . . .

1) Kew is IN London. It is on the tube - less than 30 minutes from the very center of town

2) Windsor is just outside London and a quick train ride from the center of town.

3) Oxford/Cambridge are each a shor-ish train ride from from London (each less than an hour).

Since you only have 5 full days in London - don't count on doing much if anything on your arrival day on Saturday or your departure day Friday., I'd stay in the very center of London (like South Kensington, Victoria, Soho, Covent Garden, the Southbank, Russell Square, etc) and do one day trip to either Cambridge or Oxford (I'd recommend Oxford but either is fine) and and a day trip to Windsor. Windsor won't take an entire day since unless you get a late start. The remaining days would be touring in London. . . . including Kew on one of those.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 02:49 AM
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In terms of the base, there are a couple of good options in zone 2/3/4.

Tfl rail: Ealing Broadway - 1 station or 10-13 mins away from Paddington. Trains run fairly frequently on all days

Southwest rail: Wimbledon; easy access to Waterloo

London overground: Wembley Central

These places should be accessible enough while you can have less touristy experiences. There are abundant dining options in these areas.

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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 04:19 AM
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For a short stay, central London is more than fine. Daytrips morning/afternoon plus a show at a theater on return. Pick your London location by convenience for daytrips and theater to cut down on commuting.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 05:37 AM
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Definitely stay in central London. If the weather is fine you might do one way to Kew by boat. Actually, if the weather is bad, forget Kew. I recently visited Ely, just beyond Cambridge, and fell in love with the cathedral. Maybe you could combine the two. Another day trip option is Brighton, again, with good weather.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreycwuk View Post
In terms of the base, there are a couple of good options in zone 2/3/4.

Tfl rail: Ealing Broadway - 1 station or 10-13 mins away from Paddington. Trains run fairly frequently on all days

Southwest rail: Wimbledon; easy access to Waterloo

London overground: Wembley Central

These places should be accessible enough while you can have less touristy experiences. There are abundant dining options in these areas.

Staying outside the centre would save money . . . But it would add time, transport costs, and complicate some day trips because of rail/tube links etc. For a long stay a suburban base can make sense. But IMO/IME for a short visit, it is almost always better to stay as central as one can afford.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 09:52 AM
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Is the twenty years old a girl? Do either of you have an interest in Jane Austen? If yes, and seeing that you have not been to Bath, I would head directly to Bath on arrival day and spend two nights, returning to London the third morning or go to Oxford the third morning (if you have an interest in Blenheim or the colleges of Oxford). Bath is beautiful. It has wonderful architecture and a gorgeous Abby, plus the Roman Baths. The layers of history from the Baths to Georgian times to the connection with the American Revolution is interesting. I do note that you mention a relaxing trip, and the bit of extra travel at the beginning might not be relaxing, but Bath has easy walking and lots to see in a very small area.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 12:24 PM
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Hi, Miki2621

Is there a particular historical era that is most appealing? I love Regency and Victorian literature, with a special interest in botanical exploration (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Brontes, botanical piracy/flowers, tea clipper ships), so I look for museums with 19th century highlights. Bath is really lovely for Regency. The Assembly Rooms and Fashion Museum are fantastic if Jane Austen fans. One Royal Crescent is open for tours, and I understand they shot scenes from Bridgerton here.

But in/around London, Carlyle's House in the Chelsea area is a wonderful Victorian townhouse-with docents. The Chelsea Physic Garden is nearby and has a very rich history for medicines and foods. (Also, there's lots of shopping on Kings Road for the 20 year old. Even the Anthropologie there is slightly different than US offerings.) In addition to Kew, Chiswick House & Gardens has connections to the Duke of Devonshire and his interest in botanical exploration. Ham House is in Richmond, and I thought the tour/docents there were good. (You'll notice they're National Trust properties. Americans should join Royal Oak Foundation for entry to NT properties.) Of course, Grenwich is a great village, with so much history. That's a lovely day out.
Have fun planning!

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carlyles-house
https://chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk/
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ham-house-and-garden
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fea...g-from-the-usa
https://no1royalcrescent.org.uk/
https://www.rmg.co.uk/

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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 12:42 PM
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"Is the twenty years old a girl? Do either of you have an interest in Jane Austen? If yes, and seeing that you have not been to Bath, I would head directly to Bath on arrival day and spend two nights, returning to London the third morning or go to Oxford the third morning "

If you do this it would be really easy since there is an express coach directly from LHR to central Bath and then a train to either Oxford for half a day and then on to London, or train directly from Bath to London.

Trains from Bath to Oxford have a change (at Didcot I think) and take about 1 hour 10 minutes. The journey from Oxford to London take from about 50 minutes to 1hr 15 mins depending which train you catch. Or, if you skip the jaunt in to Oxford . . . trains from Bath to London Paddington take less than 90 minutes with no transfers.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 01:26 PM
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What Janisj suggests is exactly what we did, bus to Bath, train to Oxford, train to London. We spent three nights in Bath, took a great walking tour of Bath one day and the Mad Max tour of the Cotswolds another. We spent a night in Oxford so we could tour both Blenheim and the colleges and get in a walk and some bookstore time. Wish now we had taken another day and dropped down to Salisbury, but didn’t think of it at the time, and very sorry to have missed it.
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Old Jan 12th, 2022, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
"Outside of London, Kew Gardens has come in our discussions as has Windsor, Oxford and Cambridge."

OK -- just addressing these (and it would be hard to hit much more in the short time you'll be in London) . . .

1) Kew is IN London. It is on the tube - less than 30 minutes from the very center of town

2) Windsor is just outside London and a quick train ride from the center of town.

3) Oxford/Cambridge are each a shor-ish train ride from from London (each less than an hour).

Since you only have 5 full days in London - don't count on doing much if anything on your arrival day on Saturday or your departure day Friday., I'd stay in the very center of London (like South Kensington, Victoria, Soho, Covent Garden, the Southbank, Russell Square, etc) and do one day trip to either Cambridge or Oxford (I'd recommend Oxford but either is fine) and and a day trip to Windsor. Windsor won't take an entire day since unless you get a late start. The remaining days would be touring in London. . . . including Kew on one of those.
I appreciate the suggestions. Would I need a car in either Cambridge or Oxford?
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Old Jan 12th, 2022, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Miki2621 View Post
I appreciate the suggestions. Would I need a car in either Cambridge or Oxford?

Absolutely not. You wouldn't need one and you definitely wouldn't want one. Just take the train to either one - everything is very walkable.
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Old Jan 12th, 2022, 10:50 AM
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Other great day-trips from London are Portsmouth to see the HMS Victory, the remains of Henry VIII's Marie Rose which sank, and a Charles Dickens birthplace museum.
My teenaged daughter and I enjoyed a day in Dover. They have a great tour through the tunnels used in WWII to house communication equipment and a hospital. There's also a castle to visit. And of course, the cliffs.
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Old Jan 12th, 2022, 05:45 PM
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We looked into Dover and it has really peaked out interest. Did you travel from London to Portsmouth or Dover or did you have a car?
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Old Jan 12th, 2022, 05:46 PM
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Thank you - We are definitely looking into Cambridge and/or Oxford.
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Old Jan 12th, 2022, 05:46 PM
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Thank you ChgoGal!
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Old Jan 12th, 2022, 07:21 PM
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Is Greenwich being considered? We did a "daytrip" there years ago. It wasn't really a trip: A boat ride down the Thames, visiting the Royal Observatory, and the maritime Museum, checking out the Cutty Sark (the ship, not the booze), and IIRC a very good market. A nice park walk. Tubed back to central London, I think.
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Old Jan 13th, 2022, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by AJPeabody View Post
Is Greenwich being considered? We did a "daytrip" there years ago. It wasn't really a trip: A boat ride down the Thames, visiting the Royal Observatory, and the maritime Museum, checking out the Cutty Sark (the ship, not the booze), and IIRC a very good market. A nice park walk. Tubed back to central London, I think.
That's a good one, too! It's especially meaningful if you read Dava Sobel's "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time." I thought the narration by the boat captain (pilot?) was also interesting & entertaining. Bring a few coins for a tip.
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