England itinerary help request

Old Jul 14th, 2019, 05:42 PM
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England itinerary help request

The airline tickets are purchased (round trip LHR) Sept. 19-Oct.10, and our hotel for the first 4 nights in London secured. After that, we will pick up a rental car and hit the road. We enjoy beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, castles, gardens, lots of walking, history - and a bit of shopping. We never try to “see it all” and enjoy a relaxed pace. The proposed itinerary: London 4 nights, Cornwall 5 nights, Bath/Cotswolds 4 nights, Conwy 3 nights, Keswick 3 nights, Heathrow vicinity 1 night before our flight home. Doable? All comments/suggestions appreciated. Is there enough to see in each location? I have really struggled with this itinerary - such a big area/so much to see.
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Old Jul 14th, 2019, 11:00 PM
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Yes doable.

Cornwall is long and thin and the roads are [email protected]@t. slow. Depending on where you want to go you may want to make it a two baser (just to cut travel time). Give us a few details and we can help.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 03:52 AM
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We are thinking of renting a cottage in Bodmin which appears to be a central location. There is also a rental still available in Charleston. Interested in seeing Eden project, St Michael’s Mount, Port Isaac, manors & castles etc.i still need to do a lot of research. Main question here is - is it reasonable to rent our car at LHR in the morning and drive to our rental in Bodmin or nearby in one day? By map, it looks to be about a 4 hour drive.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 04:34 AM
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Yes in one day, more likely 5hours+ depending on the day of the week. For example, Fridays will be slower and you may end up sitting in stationary traffic. Generally, add 25 to 30% on google times.

Bodmin... I might either aim to be more west or do a two centre. If Annhig comes along she can advise, but if you mean Charlestown (town) that is not in or on Bodmin and is a better place to stay. I might also look towards Truro.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 01:58 PM
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What I'd do is take the train from London to Plymouth and collect a car there -- That will save you a VERY long driving day. You can drop it back at LHR before flying home.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 02:09 PM
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You can also fly from LHR to Newquay on Flybe.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 02:48 PM
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That works too . . .
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 06:35 PM
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I think Truro is a good idea/better choice.. Thank you. We would prefer to see as much of Cornwall as we can from one location without the hassle and wasted time of relocating. Also don’t mind that one long day of driving to get there as long as we can arrive before dark!.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 09:20 PM
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What you will actually have is 3 days in London, 4 days for Devon/Cornwall, 3 days for Bath and the Cotswolds (which isn't very much since you' really need a minimum of 1 full day in Bath), 2 days for North Wales, and a skosh over 2 days in the Lake District.

Easier travel to the SW, and back down to London from the Lake district -- i.e. taking the trains (or flying) -- will squeeze out just a little more time for seeing/doing. Driving from London isn't just a long motoring day, it will require either a dreadful time getting out from a city centre rental location, or the hassle of traveling out to LHR and collecting a rental car there. Just to give you and idea - this past Sunday morning my driver (who knows London like the back of his hand) took a full hour from Pimlico to LHR T-3. There is construction and congestion EVERYWHERE. And that was on a Sunday morning.
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Old Jul 16th, 2019, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
You can also fly from LHR to Newquay on Flybe.
Well isn’t that interesting!? I will look into flights
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Old Jul 16th, 2019, 07:42 AM
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Flybe's future is somewhat suspect.
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Old Jul 16th, 2019, 10:36 AM
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IMO taking the train would be better -- it is from the city centre and there's no hassle of getting out to whichever airport, security etc. A train would likely be faster all in -- by the time you got to LHR and checked in for the FlyBe flight, the train would be half way to Plymouth . . . or wherever.
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Old Jul 17th, 2019, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
IMO taking the train would be better -- it is from the city centre and there's no hassle of getting out to whichever airport, security etc. A train would likely be faster all in -- by the time you got to LHR and checked in for the FlyBe flight, the train would be half way to Plymouth . . . or wherever.
Hi Janis,
i have been looking into the train. We have never used trains in our travels before so I have a few questions. What is the best site for booking train travel? A site called “Omio” appeared much less expensive than rail Europe - is it valid? I assume we need to reserve our tickets ahead of time. Also, do I book 2nd class? Seriously, I know nothing about train travel. I am a little concerned about getting to and from stations with luggage - we will each have 1 checked bag. (Don’t think I can do 3 weeks in England’s fall weather with just a carry on!) Assume we would taxi to Paddington Station from our hotel in Kensington, take the train to Plymouth, and then taxi to the nearest car rental location? Self drive the rest of the itinerary and then return the car in York and take the train back to London? Our flight home is not until 5;30 pm - is it safe to take the train that morning or should we go the night before? Thank you so much for the info!



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Old Jul 17th, 2019, 05:36 AM
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read up seat61.com which explains the trains
start on https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ to get the timings and then book through to get better prices. Lots of nonsense has been stated on this site about different booking sites but the prices vary by about £1 so just click through and follow nationalrail.
You can reserve a seat on all sites, in 2nd class they tend to be smaller with less space. Bags go at the end of the carriage and I tend to keep an eye on mine. 1st class, more space, sometimes a snack and coffee, sometimes a paper. It depends on the route.

Omio and raileurope are American sites set up to cost Americans money, avoid.
When you book your ticket you can arrange for the ticket to be held in a ticket machine at the station of your choice, you just walk up, stick your card in and voila.

I'd want to be in London the night before the flight out, so normally it is best to save your time in London to the end of the trip. Probably.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Jul 17th, 2019 at 05:41 AM.
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Old Jul 17th, 2019, 06:12 AM
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So helpful - thank you! Just sent an e-mail to our London hotel since we did not get a confirmation. If we are, in fact, booked there then we are starting the trip staying in Kensington. If they did not process the booking, I think we will save London for last as suggested and maybe stay in the hotel’s Paddington location. All good. We are definitely going to take the train to Plymouth. Do you think York makes the most sense as a return city upon leaving the Lake District? Kind of excited about this train thing.
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Old Jul 17th, 2019, 06:16 AM
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Do not use RailEurope. (It's a travel agency run by the French and Swiss national railways.)

Do read up British trains on seat61.com.

Also consider taking the night train to Cornwall to save sightseeing time. It's called the Riviera and has recently acquired new rolling stock. There is a video on seat61. However, I took the night train to Scotland last year and found the ride really rough, not sure how much new rolling stock would help (I've ridden a lot of night trains, and usually sleep well on them.)

Last edited by thursdaysd; Jul 17th, 2019 at 06:43 AM.
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Old Jul 17th, 2019, 06:38 AM
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Well York is a great place to come back to London from. But, read on...

If I wanted to drive to York from Keswick most of the route can be very beautiful, slow but beautiful. York itself is fantastic and most of the drops are near the station which is just outside the city walls. A walk around York is a tourist must. However, if you just want to get back to London from Keswick quickly I'd use the nationarail site to find a quicker route, maybe Carlisle, Machester or Bolton would be faster I forget which. If in doubt use Rome2rio to track down the fastest.

It is perfectly sensible to leave Keswick in the morning, drive to York and take a latish train into London, it takes about 3 hours for the drive bit and 2 hours for the train bit, but there are lots of things you might like to see along the way. The great thing about trains is that you don't have to plan for exhaustion at the end of the day. You just finish being a tourist, grab a snack and jump on board. Have I mentioned Fountains Abbey BTW?
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Old Jul 17th, 2019, 07:05 AM
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Avoid Rail Europe and any other 'agency'.

Re where you are staying . . . Which specific hotel? Some play fast and loose with their location and Kensington could be a very good location - or not.

And I personally would not stay at Paddington. It is convenient for Paddington station and for Hyde Park, and Notting Hill. But it is at the NW corner of central London so is very far from many/most of the major sites. There are much more central locations. You say 'the hotel's Paddington location' which makes me think it is a chain property. Which chain? Maybe we can suggest a better located property of the same chain or just a better location in general.
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Old Jul 17th, 2019, 07:31 AM
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Park Grand London
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Old Jul 17th, 2019, 08:02 AM
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That is a small chain of hotels that are all in the general Paddington/Lancaster Gate area plus the 'Kensington' location (and one near Heathrow). The Kensington one is very close to the Earl's Court tube station which is probably the best located of most of them. If the 'Lancaster Gate' ones were actually at Lancaster Gate they'd be good but they are more Paddington. If the Marble Arch Suites location fits in your budget - I'd choose either it or Kensington.

Any reason you are focusing on Park Grand's? Do you have points or something?
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