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England 7 day trip with 3 college kids May 2023

England 7 day trip with 3 college kids May 2023

Old Apr 19th, 2023, 07:24 PM
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England 7 day trip with 3 college kids May 2023

Flying into LHR May 20 leaving Gatwick May 27. Taking my 3 college kids , Looking for ideas for a 7 day itinerary. I do not mind hustling on a European vacation as I enjoy history and there is so much to see. I just booked non refundable airfare. What are the things I should book asap. I arrive sunday May 21 in morning so I assume I will see some of London then, Would like to do a day trip to Stonehenge and day trip to Bath with swimming. Imperial war museum, WIndsor castle, Crown jewels are all on list. Not interested im Harry Potter, I feel like I have another day trip to either Cotswolds or Oxford (leaning towards Cotswalds. Can anyone give me some suggestions on how I should lay out this quick England trip.
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Old Apr 19th, 2023, 08:00 PM
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Welcome to Fodors.

OK -- You don't have a week. Sunday will be pretty much a 'non day' what with arrival formalities, transport in to London, checking in (BTW - where are you staying?) and at least some of you dealing with jet lag. Then Saturday is your departure day . . . it will be packing, checking out, traveling to LGW, security etc. So you actually have five full days and even your short list of things would fill 10 days or more. Four day trips (Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor, the Cotswolds) in five days is just about impossible.

Now, you could spend the whole five days outside of London -- staying somewhere in Oxfordshire or Berkshire or Wiltshire, renting a car and visiting Windsor, Stonehenge, Bath and the Cotswolds . . . but you'd have no time IN London. But that really isn't a practical idea.

Instead, with so little time you should stick to London and maybe a day trip to Windsor (or Hampton Court Palace).
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Old Apr 19th, 2023, 09:12 PM
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Agree with Janisj in regard to your time. You do not have time for day trips to Bath, the Cotswolds, Stonehenge, etc. all separately.

However, you said you do not mind hustling and there is one way that would allow you to do all three in a fairly efficient way without much stress.

From Bath, there is a little Company called Mad Max. They do all day, small group tours that include time in Stonehenge and several villages in the Cotswolds with stops for walks and lunch. It is a long day, but not rushed. They use small vans, knowledgeable drivers and are reasonably priced. I have taken their tours, highly recommend them, and they get rave reviews from others.

Bath is one of the most beautiful, historic, small cities I have ever seen. The Roman Baths are a stunning example of the influence of the Roman Empire, the magnificence of its architecture and the creative genius of engineers of the time. I absolutely love Bath and hated to leave, Stonehenge was of great interest to DH. He found it moving in some way. To me, it is just an arrangement of very large stones. We both enjoyed the Cotswold villages a lot. That being said, we were middle aged on that trip.

Just these questions for your consideration? Would those college age kids enjoy an all day long van tour, even with stops and lots of time for walking, etc? Are they actually interested in Stonehenge or thatched roof cottages and tiny villages?

They might enjoy punting on the river in Oxford (along with a lot of other college age kids and families) more than old stones. They might rather rent a boat and drive it on one of the many rivers and canals.

Here is an option for squeezing all this in, if it does suit all of your interests and energy levels. On arrival, Sunday, the 21st, head straight to Bath. I prefer the train, find it more restful, but you can check on times for bus and what would work best for you. This is not such a waste of time as it might first seem. If you are going on a day trip anyway, get the travel out of the way and rest as you go.
Take a walk around Bath, dinner.
Book a Mad Max tour of Stonehenge and the Cotswolds for the next day, the 22nd. Must book ASAP.
The morning of the 23rd, take a tour of the Roman Baths (book ahead) and a free walking tour (check times so the tours don’t overlap) for the history and architecture of Bath.
Take a mid to late afternoon train back to London.

That leaves three full days for London or two for London, one for Hampton Court. London will be rushed, but could be OK for a short trip.


Last edited by Sassafrass; Apr 19th, 2023 at 09:42 PM.
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Old Apr 19th, 2023, 09:47 PM
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swimming in the Baths.... the actual baths are not for swimming, they hold a disease that cannot be eradicated but you can swim in a modern pool. https://visitbath.co.uk/blog/read/20...the-plunge-b62 or you can "take the waters" https://www.thermaebathspa.com/about...waters-of-bath

5 days, I'd discover London. 10 million people mega city, what not to like?
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Old Apr 20th, 2023, 09:52 AM
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Sassafrass: Yes, Mad Max is a really good option for day trips to Stonehenge and the Cotswolds. The daily Stonehenge tour does (barely) touch on the Cotswolds - but not really -- Lacock is as far north as it goes. The actual Cotswolds tour only runs Mon/Wed/Fri - so they would have to stay a minimum 2 nights in Bath (and spend two full days sitting in the vans). Then throwing in Oxford which would likely mean another night outside of London -- leaving at very most 2.5 days IN London. If they were to do this -- IME/IMO just taking the Express coach fro LHR to Bath is easier than the train with transfers though both are easy enough.

I am interested to hear where they are staying - hopefully they have booked a hotel because this May is a really busy month in London. The OP does ask "What are the things I should book asap" - hopefully that only means activities and tours and not a place to sleep.
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Old Apr 20th, 2023, 10:03 AM
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If it was me, I'd plan ONE day outside London, and that would be to Cambridge. It's very beautiful, very walkable, and for college-age kids it might be quite the revelation. The train ride (from Kings X) isn't super scenic but not bad.


Last edited by Gardyloo; Apr 20th, 2023 at 10:07 AM.
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Old Apr 20th, 2023, 11:56 AM
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^^^ I agree big time. Stay in London and do maybe one day trip by train - Cambridge is good, or maybe Oxford or Windsor. But just one (at most)
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Old Apr 20th, 2023, 02:10 PM
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ok this is what I came up with:
Sunday May 21 - Arrive 7:10 am Heathrow leave 9am

Take bus to Oxford England – arrive 11am. Punt on river walk around town

Stay overnight in Oxford.

Monday May 22 Rent car from Oxford and drive to Bath Spa.

Bath spa tour Roman ruins

Bath spa swim thermal spa

Stay overnight in Bath.

Tuesday May 23 Drive to Stonehenge

Tour Stonehenge – Pass Avebury – Drive back to London return rent a car.

Wednesday May 24 London (Westminster Abbey and British Museum)

Thursday May 25 Train to Windsor Castle – See changing of the guard . St George

Friday May 26 London (Tower of London, Crown jewels , St Pauls Cathedral)

Sat May 27 London (Imperial war museum – Churchill rooms)

Sunday May 28 Gatwick 2:10pm

what do you advise/advise against. Nothing is booked yet but flights

Last edited by Darens67; Apr 20th, 2023 at 02:11 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old Apr 20th, 2023, 02:35 PM
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Just a couple of quick comments since I'm dashing out.

• For that itinerary you really do not need a car (a car IN Oxford and IN Bath can be a real liability). You can take trains from Oxford to Bath, from Bath to Salisbury (for Stonehenge and the Cathedral), and from Salisbury to central London. (this wouldn't let you see Avebury but it sounds like you were only planning a quick look see anyway)

• You probably should try to find accommodations ASAP if not sooner (In all three, London, Bath and Oxford) because things book up and finding two rooms everyplace may be difficult
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Old Apr 20th, 2023, 03:25 PM
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Sounds exhausting. I like the idea of a week in London (or it’s actually less) and maybe do Windsor or Cambridge (I wouldn’t even do that with 3 teenagers/20 somethings). Do all the things you want to do in London but do them at a leisurely pace. Take the kids to parts of London where people their age hang out. Shoreditch and Camden. Let them hang out in a pub and go to a couple of fun plays and/or a football match. Your first day is kind of a wash and jet lag will hit hard in the afternoon if you’ve come from the US. Our rule when we started taking our kids to sightsee in big cities was one big event then eating then maybe smaller site or even just let them do their own thing when they were older.

Oxford or Cambridge are fun because they’ll see people they can relate to. Bath and Stonehenge to me is a whole other trip.
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Old Apr 20th, 2023, 05:38 PM
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I also think your plan is exhausting. There is plenty to do in London in such a short time. Maybe a day trip to the countryside to somewhere like Bath and Stonehenge would be nice for a change from the city. Cambridge and Oxford will be at the end of their Easter term and might be in exams.
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Old Apr 21st, 2023, 07:14 AM
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I took my same age kids on this trip in 2019. (I’ll put my trip report below.)

I really debated doing exactly what your latest itinerary lays out.Looks amazing!

Like you, we like to hustle! We have no problem touring at light speed. And I felt an obligation to show my 20-something year olds as much as I could before they were “off my payroll.” (We are all headed to Mexico City this Christmas so the journey continues.)

In the end, with 9 nights, we chose the following itinerary:

London: 5 nights - day trip to Oxford
Edinburgh: 3 nights - day trip to St Andrews
London: 1 night in Nottingham

There is soooo much to do and see in London! We could’ve (and maybe should’ve) spent the entire time in London. That said, I like the idea of introducing kids to as much as possible and they can go back where they want when they are adults. The world is a big place!

Trip Report: London & Oxford June/July 2019

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Old Apr 21st, 2023, 09:44 AM
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Any further suggestions comments ideas
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Old Apr 21st, 2023, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Darens67
Any further suggestions comments ideas

Kinda sorta depends . . . since we don'y have any idea what you think of the ideas and suggestions and comments already offered . . .
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Old Apr 21st, 2023, 11:54 AM
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One thing we always do in London is take in some evening shows or concerts. Would your kids enjoy a Shakespeare play at the Globe? Some churches serve lunch or dinner along with short concerts. Both are usually really good. Would your family enjoy a cruise on a canal boat from Little Venice to Camden Market? The canal (Regent’s, I think) is a wonderful contrast to the busy areas of London. Or walk or rent bikes to go on the paths along side the Canal?
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Old Apr 21st, 2023, 12:34 PM
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Here’s a list of plays in the month of May in London.
https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/whats-on/may

Bike riding on the canals sounds fun!
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Old Apr 21st, 2023, 01:37 PM
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I think your plan sounds too ambitious and think Sassafras has given you an excellent plan.

If that doesn't appeal to you, I would base yourselves in London and possibly plan on one day trip. What do the "kids" want to do? Theatre in London is excellent and you may wish to see some plays, enjoy some pubs, etc.

I wouldn't try to drive, unless you are used to driving on the left side of the road, until you are thoroughly recovered from jet lag. Also, you may need to allow more time to clear customs and retrieve your luggage at Heathrow.
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