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Family needs help with one week visit to England

Family needs help with one week visit to England

Sep 19th, 2010, 06:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 472
When we have traveled to Europe in the past, we have gotten off the plane and driven 2-3 hours. We find that it helps us to adjust to local time. (we did do this when we went to Ireland and I don't recall there being a problem but I will ask my dh as he is the one doing all the driving! I am just the navigator.).

Regardless, do you think Bath is the best place for us to go for these two days?
jeanned is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 06:46 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 472
Another question... I am looking into apts in London but am not sure what the best location may be. I have inquired about places located in Kensington, Chelsea, and Westminster. Am I looking at the best locations?

Important to us would be:
* safety
* located near the tube
* located near tourist sights, etc..
* located near interesting restaurants, etc..
* Being located close to a park would be a bonus for our children

Also I have read that it is very difficult to obtain football tickets. Any recommendations of how to do so?

Thanks again.
jeanned is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 07:04 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,536
jeanned, I do not think Bath is an ideal place for your family, especially in November. I've been to Bath twice, and didn't hate it, but I can't quite see young boys loving it. The Roman Baths were fine, but some of the tour is out of doors, and it could be unpleasant weather.

I think staying in London for the week would be fine, with day trips.

I might also suggest Salisbury, as it is easier to get to than Bath, much closer to Stonehenge, and you could visit the Cathedral and environs, which might be interesting. If I remember correctly, there is medieval history, there, too.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 04:14 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,142

Regarding apartments, there is no such thing as a "best" location. Kensington (though I would suggest no further west than Gloucester Road), Chelsea, and Westminster are all good locations, safe, have interesting restaurants, and have tube stops. Honestly, anything inside the Circle Line (yellow) between Gloucester Rd. to the east and Holborn to the west would be acceptable.

Tourists sights are, of course, spread all across the city.

I would focus on apartments that physically work and are very close (< 8 blocks) to a tube station.

Are there any apts in particular on your short list you want to share a link with? It's easier to offer advice on specific apts.
bardo1 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 04:20 AM
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I had heard such good things about Bath-- do others agree with tuscanlifeedit?
jeanned is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 04:26 AM
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Bath is a really beautiful city, lovely to look at. The Roman Baths are cool as well. Not sure there is enough to entertain the kids though for more than a day trip.

Another option is www.walks.com check out their day trips to many locations. They also do one to Salisbury/Stonehenge. This way you also get two walking tours during the day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon.
jamikins is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 04:48 AM
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Bath is wonderful, but I agree w/ tuscanlife that it will not keep children's interest for more than a few hours. For me, the main attraction was the architecture - not something kids typically get excited about.

There are other possibilities for an overnight outside of London if you are set on getting away. Even many of those (Oxford, Cambridge) are better suited for adults.

I think an overnight in Salisbury (just 1 night) with a side jaunt to Stonehenge (plan on spending 30-60 minutes there) would fit the bill. Alternately, Windsor would also work (again 1 night only).
bardo1 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 05:16 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
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We were four people and we hired Luxury Vacations--Andrew Stevens to do a day trip for us via a luxury van. He picks you up at the hotel, you don't have to worry about driving on the other side of the road, and he drops you off at your hotel in the evening. He has a website and a phone number. I called him to make the arrangements.

You can easily cover Bath and Stonehenge very easily in a day. It would be more economical than taking a bus tour for five people.

The driver narrates and provides history for your family prior to each site.

We were crazy and we covered Stonehenge, Avebury, Salisbury Cathedral, Lacock Abbey and Bath spending about an hour at each location exept Avebury which was just a 15 minute stop. He passed by the white horse in Wiltshire and we stopped briefly at Silsbury Hill. For us it was a very long day starting at 7AM and ending at 9PM but you clearly don't have to do all that. You can just cover Bath and Stonehenge. Stonehenge you stay 45 min max and the rest of the time you can tour around Bath.
europeannovice is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 05:40 AM
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Who knows if you can afford Luxury Vacations (it would have been nice of europeannovice to have included the price along with her recommend!)... but it would solve the problem of Bath; I agree, Bath is fun for adults, but not enough of the right sights to hold interest of young boys for long, so best to see and move on. There is (or used to be) a Free walking tour hour, starts 10:30 am and 2 pm outside of Pump Room, led by volunteer docents, usually quite learned, retired profs and the like. Quite entertaining as well, with anecdotes, mild jokes etc. http://www.bathguides.org.uk/Home.htm

Wiki has a super condensed Bath entry for DIY: http://wikitravel.org/en/Bath_(England)
travelerjan is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 09:21 AM
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The price is dependent on the type of vehicle used and the number of hours you hire the guide. What I paid will probably not be the same as what someone else will pay. It is customized to fit your needs and time schedule.

The big bus companies, EvansEvans, and Premium etc offer tours to Bath and Stonehenge but they charge quite a bit per person (their prices are listed on their websites) and you are on a bus with 30 or so other people and must stick to the company's time schedule.

If we did the tour with the bus company we would have had to cancel that day because my son was still not 100% from the food poisoning he got a couple days before. Our driver was so patient as we had to make numerous stops for bathroom breaks throughout our day. We toured and left the area when we were ready.

Sure you can do it much more economically if you took the train yourself but then you would have to choose Salisbury and Stonehenge or Bath but probably not both in one day. Once you get to Bath I suppose you can hook up with the madmax tours that go to Stonehenge but the timing might not work out properly unless you did an overnight at Bath.

Or you can do two separate day trips. One to Bath and one to Salisbury and Stonehenge. It depends on how you want to use your time. There is so much to see in London that a month is not enough time. As another poster said, London walks offers tours to each but on different days.

Lots of possible choices. That is why this forum is great. You can read everyone else's suggestions and then do what you feel is best for your family.
europeannovice is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 09:38 AM
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We aren't really bus tour people so we would definitely rent a car for this side trip. We like the flexibility of going where we want, being able to stay as long (or as short) as we want to stay, and of course it is much more econcomical when you are talking about 5 people to rent a car vs going on a bus tour. My DH is comfortable with the driving conditions so this isn't an issue for us.

I actually was thinking of Bath as a base from which we would venture out. I thought it might be a good location to find a b & b or hotel for the 2 nights and to do day trips from there. My thought process is that it would be a nice town to walk around at night and to retire to. Am I off base?

We are an "active" family and enjoy canoeing/kayaking, biking, hiking-- any of these activities available?
Thanks so much for your suggestions, please keep them coming.
jeanned is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 09:38 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Apologies if this has already been suggested (no time to read all the responses) but how about a day trip to York? A quick, regular service from Kings Cross (quickest trains less than 2 hours), and York is an amazingly beautiful city with much for children to enjoy.
If you think the trian journey is a bit long then perhaps breakfast on the train might appeal and make the journey go by quickly? The food isn't cheap but it's surprisingly good.
The Railway Museum in York is a 3 minute pedestrianised work from the station and is superb - and free to get in! Your children would have a whale of a time here.
Many other things to do for children and adults - walk the walls, museums, ghost walks etc etc
Morgana is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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Morgana, York sounds interesting as well. I'll take a look at it. We are actually thinking of renting a car & staying for 2 nights vs doing day trips out of London
jeanned is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,142

Now that you have elaborated, it makes good sense. Bath would be a good base for exploring Salisbury/Stonehenge, Cheddar Gorge, Weymouth, and many charming smaller towns.

And Bath is indeed a lovely place to walk around at night and to retire to - especially if you are located in the center area. There are many hotel and B&B options in various price ranges.
bardo1 is offline  

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