England Itinerary Help!

Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 05:11 PM
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England Itinerary Help!

So I've revamped my schedule, and am waiting for my mother to weigh in as well.

I'm going to try to plan to go in May -- I like that idea a lot, and if we just avoid Bank Holidays, that seems best.

I've left in York (I really want to go there) as a day trip. I realize it would be better as an overnight, but I'm trying to limit our changes in city hotels -- but this bit of the itineraries below seems off to me.

I've searched for previous posts for day trips out of London. But I'm pretty sure my mom wants to visit Wales, and York and the Cotswolds are important to me, so I've left them in there.

So, here are my current alternatives -- more of a doable trip?:

1. London (jet lag day)
2. London
3. London
4. Day Trip: Hampton Court Palace
5. Day Trip: York
6. London (train to Cardiff)
7. Cardiff
8. Cardiff (flight to Paris)
9. Paris
10. Paris
11. Paris


1. London
2. London
3. London
4. Day Trip: Hampton Court Palace
5. Day Trip: York
6. London
7. London
8. Train to Cardiff
9. Cardiff
10. Train to Oxford
11. Cotswolds/return to London to fly home next day
Raven01 is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 06:04 PM
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I personally would not plan day trips back to back. Just seems to make the London stay more fractured when you are getting up early and dashing out of town 2 days in a row. But HCP is really just in a suburb of London so maybe it wouldn't be too bad. In your first plan it is really back to back to back since the very next day you'd be on your way to Wales.

Now about "Wales" --- Wales is a very large place. When you say your mom wants to go to Wales, does that mean a big city like Cardiff w/ some interesting things nearby, or is it mountains and castles like in Snowdonia/North Wales, or is it amazing coastal scenery/castles like St Davids/Pembrokeshire??

You can do a day trip to York - it is just about 2 hours by train. You would want to get a very early start but you could easily have 10 or 11 hours in York and still be back to London by 10 p.m.

No one can decide for you which is better - the Cotswolds or Paris. That would be like asking "Lake Tahoe or San Francisco?". Two entirely different and totally "worth it" sorts of places. Pick which one you want to see more.
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:26 PM
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You might want to consider a variation on your second option, but with a bit more time added to Wales. Maybe days 1-5 in London, a morning train to Cardiff on day 6, and enjoy 4 days in Wales. One optio: tour Cardiff, its castles, etc. on day 6 and 7, then rent a car and tour the Wales countryside on days 8 and 9, ending up in Oxford towards the end of day 9, etc. Alternatively, you could base yourself out of Cardiff and do a few guided day trips from there. There was a company that I was considering for day trips - http://www.seewales.com/ - but in the end I did not end up leaving the city, so I cannot endorse them.

We were in Cardiff for 3 nights (2 days because we arrived at dinner time the first night and left first thing in the morning after the third night.) We toured pretty leisurely because we were also visiting my daughter's friends, but we could have used more time in Cardiff. I hope to return to Wales to see some of the countryside, especially in North Wales.

Here are a few of my trip reports that may contain some useful info:

Glasgow/ Edinburgh/ York/ Salisbury/ London (outline format)

London/Oxford/Cardiff (narrative format)

noe847 is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:35 PM
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If you go to Paris, have you considered the Eurostar train to Paris, rather than flying? Unless it's less expensive to fly, for some reason, I think you might enjoy the train, plus you just go from city-center to city-center, avoiding all the extra time, money, and hassle of getting to and from airports.

MECindylou is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:03 PM
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Sure, the Eurostar is convenient. But it really isn't that useful for Raven01 unless they decide to go back to London. If they are in Wales - then flying to CDG makes much more sense than going back to London to catch the Eurostar. Getting to Cardiff airport from Cardiff is not a hassle.

She has another thread where other options/ideas were discussed.
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 05:16 AM
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Oops, just noticed that...yeah, you're right...I was thinking she was back in London before leaving for Paris...didn't look at the itinerary carefully enough...
MECindylou is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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Sometime back, in my early 60's, we rented an apartment for two weeks. The first week we saw a lot of London. The second week we did a day trip each day. We did York, Cardiff, Paris, Brighton and well you get my point. Actually you can do days trips back to back. Isn't that what people do when they do a bus tour?
rogeruktm is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 08:44 AM
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In my limited experience the HCP day trip is really only half a day so it's not like doing two HUGE day trips back to back. It's hard for me to say "leave Paris" because Paris is amazing, but I also don't like to hop around too much on vacation. I don't think you'd regret staying in the UK for your entire stay.
laustic is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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"Isn't that what people do when they do a bus tour?" Yes - and that is one major reason many of us avoid bus tours . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 09:02 AM
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Looks far more doable. Not sure again why you want to go to Cardiff but I'm English so what do I know. I prefer to go Welsh country side say aberdovey and the alternatinve technology centre but I would not come half way round the world to see them.

I prefer having Oxford in the loop and I would try to have all the train journeys together so Oxford and york make sense together
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Cardiff is in Wales not England
alanRow is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 11:21 AM
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Did someone say it wasn't in Wales?
laustic is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Someone asked about my mother's Wales request. I wish I could be more specific, but that's about all I know. Neither of us know a lot about the area. Is there a specific area that is recommended for first timers who want to visit Wales? I've picked Cardiff based on the transportation, to be honest. I want to hav fairly direct train travel from place to place to limit that concern. If there is another, convenient city that we can visit that has good train service, I'm completely open to researching it!
Raven01 is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2008, 05:16 PM
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"If there is another, convenient city " except for Cardiff - Wales really isn't a "cities type of place". It is mining history, mountains, scenery, castles (MANY castles), rural villages/towns, sea coasts etc.

If you just want to set foot in Wales and need convenient rail connections - then go to Cardiff. It is a neat city - but not "Wales" in the remote scenery way. You could visit Chepstow and Tintern Abbey from Cardiff.

janisj is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2008, 09:37 PM
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Two recommendations for sightseeing in Cardiff - St Fagans Folk Museum (20 minutes by bus from the bus station), and it's free! The second is Cardiff Castle but do make sure you do the tour.
marg is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2008, 02:38 AM
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Does it have to be York, or will another historic city do?
You could take a train to Chester, stay overnight and then take another to Aberystwyth.
You'll get to see some Welsh scenery and (pace the good folk of Cardiff), Aberystwyth is far more Welsh.
You will hear Welsh spoken in the streets.
You change trains in Shrewsbury which is a charming small town. You might be able to have a quick look around.
From Aber, you could take the train to Cardiff and catch your Paris flight from there.
MissPrism is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2008, 02:42 AM
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A day trip from London to York is madness. You will spend all day on the train.

If you want a similar type of city try Canterbury, Salisbury or Winchester. These are all easily accesible on the train.

What is it that is so special to you about York? - we may be able to suggest substitutes that have the same thing.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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Raven01--Your requests and the answers you are receiving lead me to think that an organized bus tour of about 12 days to two weeks would be what your Mother and you should consider, especially for first time travelers to the UK. You can always plan to go back and refine your next trip to those places that you enjoyed or missed on the first tour.

Go to a Travel agency and collect some catalogs, go through them at home, and select a tour that meets your needs. You can then call the company to reserve two spaces.

This may not suit most Fodorites but I think that you should consider it.

Flame away, you-all.
Margo is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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We live near York and my husband commutes to work twice a week from York to London. The right train does the journey in less than 2 hours. A day trip is certainly doable if you want to visit York enough - and I am probably biased but I think it is a beautiful city with much to see. It's compact too, and the station is close to the town so you could be off the train and into the city very quickly. The food on the train is pretty good - manybe surprisingly so - so perhaps you could book an early evening train and have a meal on the way back.
Morgana is online now  
Old Jan 26th, 2008, 01:51 PM
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I agree with the tour suggestion. My husband and I did a 28-day coach tour of Great Britain and Ireland and really enjoyed it. It did what I hoped it would do--gave me the chance to see where I would like to go back to and spend more time.

For instance, I found that I like Cornwall better than the Cotswolds, which was a surprise to me. And I like England, Scotland, and Wales better than Ireland. I love London and have been there a number of times, taking day trips to different places.

I still want to do an English garden tour and spend some more time in Cornwall.

carolyn is offline  

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