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anuta_n Jul 26th, 2007 02:26 AM

Day Trips outside of London
We've recently moved to London and would like to start exploring the towns and areas of interest outside of London. We'll be taking our 15 month old son with us most of the time. Can drive or take a train (though would prefer to drive when bringing our son along) Please suggest places we should visit. Thank you.

stonefinder1 Jul 26th, 2007 02:38 AM

Go to Portsmouth!!!!! It has the HMS Victory, Spinnaker Tower the old dock yards, museums, the train stops right outside of the area no need to have a car!!

kaneda Jul 26th, 2007 02:56 AM

There are just too many places to visit inside and outside of London to list here. Buy a good guide book and road atlas and work your way through the places. An express coach can be preferable to hours and hours of driving yourself to more distant places.

It does depend on what you like for where you go. Consider a day out in France/Belgium which is very easy to do by car from London. Off season (when the kids are at school) is a lot cheaper than now and can be booked on the internet at the ferry sites. Tabloid newspapers often have special offers with very cheap car trips (keep your eye on front pages).

From Portsmough, you can take a ferry to the Isle of Wight, which should be booked beforehand.

nona1 Jul 26th, 2007 03:45 AM

Broadstairs for a nice quiet traditional seaside resort not too far from London. Beautiful beach for little'un to play on, and you can hire a beach hut for the day from the council.

isabel Jul 26th, 2007 04:28 AM

I've done the following places as day trips from London and found them all easy to do and very interesting: Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Canterbury, Warwick, Stratford, Brighton, Arundul and Leeds Castle.

janisj Jul 26th, 2007 10:00 AM

there are sooooo many besides the ones already mentioned. I suggest you get a copy of the Daytrips London guidebook and/or Day Tours by Train from London

Both should be in any bookshop in London.

halfapair Jul 26th, 2007 10:22 AM

I agree about Portsmouth. We day-tripped from London back in Sept 2006 and had a wonderful time. The HMS Victory was great & I had a good time shopping at the outlet mall. I wish we could have gone to the Isle of Wight. I have a glass vase made there.

travelinwifey Jul 26th, 2007 10:34 AM

You can take the underground to Hampton Court Palace, about 30 mins from London. Hopefully that wouldn't be too long of a train ride for your son. If I remember correctly you can also just stop off at Runnymede via train if your son is doing okay. Someone please correct me on that last part if I'm wrong:) Driving wise, you can spend that long in traffic in London just waiting to get out of the city.

PalenQ Jul 26th, 2007 10:48 AM

My favorites:

Oxbridge - Oxford or Cambridge or both - i prefer Oxford but the jury is split about on them

Hampton Court (go at Christmas Time where there are lots of special events and alively atmosphere)

Windsor, Windsor Castle and Eton

Salisbury (and Stonehenge)

Avebury Circle (some think much more impressionable than Stonehenge)


Brighton - kid can join the sand and bucket brigade on the beach

Hever Castle

Cotswold Hills - for a romatic weekend in a thatched cottage

Paris - just a bit over 2 hours by high-speed train - another weekend get-a-way

Arundel - castle of your dreams

Hatfield House

and in London take the kid to Crystal Palace Park to frolic with the dinosaurs

PalenQ Jul 26th, 2007 10:51 AM

<If I remember correctly you can also just stop off at Runnymede via train if your son is doing okay. Someone please correct me on that last part if I'm wrong>

respectively wrong i think. I walked to Runneymede from Windsor Castle and it's out in the middle of nowhere - i had to walk a few miles from Runneymede to the nearest train station - Staines i believe.

Not much at Runneymede - few plaques.

janisj Jul 26th, 2007 10:58 AM

one minor correction - you can't get to Hampton Court Palace by underground. You'd take a regular main line train from Waterloo station.

travelinwifey Jul 26th, 2007 11:00 AM

Thank you:) We did a guided tour previously of Hampton Court that stopped at Runnymede on the way back and walked through the gardens. That was via bus. I thought I saw a underground station across the street but it looks as though I was wrong. A year later I took the underground straight to Hampton with our inlaws and didn't investigate a stop at Runneymede again. Thanks for the clarification.

PalenQ Jul 26th, 2007 11:04 AM

there is a bus stop with a TFL sign on it that could be confused with a Tube stop perhaps.

janisj Jul 26th, 2007 11:05 AM

&quot;<i>A year later I took the underground straight to Hampton with our inlaws</i>&quot; Nope - the tube doesn't go there. Honest. It is a regular train.

anuta_n Jul 26th, 2007 11:19 AM

Thank you all very much for answering!!! All the locations mentioned sound very interesting and we'll make sure to visit them all. However, while choosing for this weekend, we came across a criteria which we never thougth we'd have to consider... which of the above are not flooded or in danger of being flooded? If anyone has the information on which are safe to go to this weekend, please let us know. Thank you!!!

travelinwifey Jul 26th, 2007 07:03 PM

Thanks Janisj, got the two mixed up. You are correct of course:)

PalenQ Jul 27th, 2007 06:33 AM

These trains are called the Overground as they are often built on pillars.

PatrickLondon Jul 27th, 2007 07:20 AM

Well, not quite. The term Overground is quite recent, to indicate the train systems that were not part of the London Transport (later TfL) system called the Underground. Once upon a time they more or less ignored each other's existence, but once they started to be brought together into zonal fare systems, etc., someone had to find a name to cover the suburban trains.

PalenQ Jul 27th, 2007 10:36 AM

so is it only rail lines built up over the town, like many in old Network SE in south and east suburban London are called Overground

or all all non TfL trains called Overground, even those that run flat on the ground like to Hampton Court i believe.

It does seem most are elevated however.

machbird Jul 30th, 2007 03:30 AM

i agree with going to the isle of wight, we took our son around that age and he loved the ferry and the beach (the ancient subway also interesting but hot and people squashed in).

also drove to ashdown forest (near gatwick) to see winnie the pooh's 'enchanted forest' and play poohsticks at pooh bridge. some of the college kids on a tour there played with ds and he loved it. thank goodness when the tour left they gave the boy a bunch of sticks, we stayed another hour.

we lived in amersham and went to odds farm park near windsor, plus legoland (also near windsor) and a goat farm near aylesbury. walked some on the south downs trail and fed the ducks on the rye at high wycombe. also lots of wildlife places near canterbury.

DS actually just loved riding the trains, both the overhead and underground.

hetismij Jul 30th, 2007 04:15 AM

I'm still puzzled as to how travelinwifey managed to visit Runnymede on the way back from Hampton court. On the way back from Windsor yes, but from Hampton Court? Thats certainly taking the scenic route.
Either way there's not a lot there, but your son could have fun running around in the meadows, if it's not too wet. If you go out to Windsor then consider visiting the Great Park too - lovely walks, and gardens, a totem pole (in Valley garden) and &quot;Roman ruins&quot; by Virginia water. You get to Virginia Water along the A30, rather than from Windsor, although it is part of the park. DOn't confuse the lake/park with the village though!.
Our kids used to love running around in the Great Park

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