First Time to England - Itinerary Help!

Jun 16th, 2019, 09:40 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,991
>>Roundabouts are also quite challenging. <<

Oh Pshaw! Roundabouts are wonderful things -- I wish we had some where I live. Well - we DO have one but it is at a small, little traveled intersection so doesn't really accomplish much of anything.

One most certainly can plan a trip around trains and a few buses -- but places like the Costwolds a car is really needed -- unless one has days and days and 'wasting' time using the local buses isn't a problem. So if the Cotswolds are a 'must' - you'll need a car.
janisj is offline  
Jun 17th, 2019, 10:41 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 69
Look on Viator.com for some tours. My husband and I are fans of history, and will be going to cliffs of dover and see Dover Castle. Also if you like Downton Abbey, they have beautiful tours there. Going to see one day Bath, Stonehenge, and Windsor castle. There is so much to do. We really loved going to Oxford university and the town was wonderful. Great eateries and the people there were wonderful. Enjoy!
euromom is offline  
Jun 17th, 2019, 12:09 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,367
Viator is a reseller, you will do better to buy direct. Public transport for places like Bath, Windsor, Dover etc makes it easy to DIY. I cannot imagine trying to do Bath, Stonehenge AND Windsor in the same day. Windsor needs at least half a day on its own, and Bath can easily occupy more than one whole day. And you have to allow for transport time.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 17th, 2019, 12:18 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,991
>> I cannot imagine trying to do Bath, Stonehenge AND Windsor in the same day. <<

Me neither -- but a LOT of people do

It cuts bot Windsor and Bath ver very short and makes for a very long day with as much time on the coach as 'at' anyplace. The fastest central London > Windsor > Stonehenge > Bath > central London could be driven legally is just under 6 hours -- so you do the math.
janisj is offline  
Jun 18th, 2019, 05:28 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 692
RE: Roundabouts. If you do not understand roundabouts, which are great, by the way, there are lots of videos to explain them to you. They were new to me when I first started to drive in England, but after the first one or two, they were fine. Thankfully, we are now getting more and more of them here (Canada) and they save having to stop at intersections, especially those that would be a four way stop in ordinary circumstances. If a roundabout is more than one lane wide they clearly mark on the pavement what lane you should be in to get where you are going. If you miss your lane for some reason, you just go round again and get where you need to be.
jane1144 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2019, 07:34 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,825
Pshaw? How charmingly British.

Sure, the popular thing to say is: "It's no problem to drive on the opposite of the road." But I've admitted to a few friends that driving in England and Scotland was far more stressful than we expected. And then they admitted the same thing back. But they sure weren't going to volunteer it.

We have roundabouts in our state, and I don't need a video, but thank you, Jane. It might be helpful for some.

English roundabouts are confusing because everyone is going the wrong way. Unlike a four-way intersection, there is no chance to take a breath and visualize the correct path, and think "okay this is where I turn" because others are flying on and off as well. We also were on one, where there was a curvy road leading onto the roundabout that we thought was part of the roundabout. So then we were trying to get off, but we weren't yet on the roundabout. Also add that most of us use GPS and sometimes it lags slightly and tells you the wrong street to exit on, so then you have the passenger and the GPS telling the driver different things.

So I wanted to see some places that we had a personal connection and there just wasn't good public transport. One of them was seeing my host family, but the others weren't essential. If I could have a do-over, I would see my host family, and do everything else by train. To reiterate, we made it without an accident, a speeding ticket or a single scrape to the vehicle. This is my truth, and that is the point of this forum. To share the real travel experiences we each had.

On TripAdvisor, there are multiple day-trip tours of the Cotswolds, Oxford, Windsor. These include smaller vans as well as larger coaches/buses. Would this be as fun as having a good yell in the car, or feeling shaken up by a near miss? Only the Original Poster can decide. But she does have options.
5alive is offline  
Jun 20th, 2019, 07:42 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,367
I grew up in England. I learned to drive, stick, in England. I love roundabouts. I adjusted easily to driving an automatic on the wrong side of the road after I moved to the US. But it has been over a decade since I drove (an automatic) in England, and I have no real desire to do it again. Too much stress, at least driving solo.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 20th, 2019, 08:14 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,991
>>English roundabouts are confusing because everyone is going the wrong way.<<

They are absolutely going the correct way since one is (hopefully) driving on the left. It would be gawd awful trying to do roundabouts anti clockwise from a left hand lane . . .
janisj is offline  
Jun 21st, 2019, 01:36 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,355
For me the only three things that hit me when driving on the wrong side are
1) Starting the journey on the wrong side
2) correcting my road position
3) long journeys are more tiring as of constant (2) above.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 21st, 2019, 02:04 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 6
Hello,

This trip sounds so great! I was living in London for 1 year and I was so overwhelmed with the amounts of activities and things to do there. So, please don't worry about missing something from your list of things to visit - they have so many touristic objectives that it is crazy .

The list you made is covering all major attractions. Maybe plan to stop by and see the London eye since it is a great attraction - I don't recommend you take a trip in the eye because you will spend hours in line to take your turn and that is wasted time. For sure you can take some cool pictures from near the London eye and have your memories.
Also, I would recommend you take a walk in Notting Hill London's neighbourhood - many movies are done in that location and it looks special.
Local markets are also amazing attractions for locals and tourist, but since you are more into royal history I will not recommend that.

I hope you have a great trip and enjoy yourselves. My kind regards. Schedule
roxanabogdan3152 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2019, 07:30 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,991
>>I don't recommend you take a trip in the eye because you will spend hours in line to take your turn and that is wasted time.<<

That is not necessary at all. One simply books (on line or by phone) in the morning once you have an idea of the weather that day and then just show up at your appointed time.
janisj is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2019, 09:36 AM
  #32  
LNE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 9
Thanks for all the tips and advice about driving in England! We are still debating on whether or not we want to. Maybe we will just hire a car for the Cotswolds since it seems like one is almost a necessity there. We do have lots of roundabouts where we live, so we are used to them at least! I'm still re-working our itinerary to see if a car is necessary

roxanabogdan3152: Thanks for the recommendations! I would love walking around Notting Hill. We do want to see some local markets, mainly for the food, not for shopping!
LNE is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2019, 10:38 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,991
>> . . . local markets, mainly for the food, not for shopping!<<

The mac daddy of food markets would be Borough Market. It is on the southbank and makes a great combo with nearby sites including Southwark Cathedral, the Shard, Tate Modern, the Globe theatre - and it is even walking distance after visiting the Tower.
janisj is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2019, 11:34 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
And the South Bank Walk along the Thames in that area has many benches for a picnic.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 03:53 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 19
Originally Posted by LNE View Post
We would love to do a lot of walking in the Cotswolds. Do you recommend any particular towns?
I live in the Cotswolds... A car is a definite advantage if you want to see different towns and villages, our public transport is dire.

Cirencester is a fun, pretty market town. It has a small market, lots of independent boutiques and lots of historic buildings plus some gorgeous parkland. You can even walk to Sapperton, a lovely quaint village, if the weather is nice.

Moreton-in-Marsh is lovely, more bustling and high energy. Main benefit is a train line to London, a lovely arboretum and a train line to Stratford upon Avon if you fancy some Shakespeare.

Stow-on-the-Wold is pretty but I find a little ove rested, there isn't a huge amount to do there, though there is a great restaurant (The Butchers Arms, weirdly best known for their fish)

The Slaughters (Lower and Upper) are IMO definitely worth visiting if you are in a car. Not loads to do but great to stop and have a wander through. Same for Bibury, though it is much more touristy.

Burton on the Water has to have a special mention. It does get awfully touristy, but the river is so pretty and in terms of Cotswold Villages it probably has the most to 'do' in terms of musuems and shops.

Going out towards Bath, places such as Castle Combe (known for its racing circuit but also the village is stunning) are worth a morning. If you want to be fancy (and I mean expensive but incredible) book a table at the Manor at Castle Combe. Stunning food.

Painswick, up by Stroud and Cheltenham, is lovely, but only worth visiting if you are passing through as it is very small.
​​Burford, similarly.
hattonth is online now  
Nov 11th, 2019, 06:35 PM
  #36  
LNE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 9
It's been a while, but I've booked flights and hotels and wanted to get some more feedback on our itinerary.

Saturday - Land in LHR at 9 am. We are staying at The George Inn in Eton and planning on going to Windsor Castle to just do St. George's Chapel since it's not open for visitors on Sundays. If we are feeling up to it, we would do the whole tour, but that seems unlikely. So I was planning on treating our tickets as a donation so we can come back the next day.

Sunday - Windsor Castle tour then Sunday lunch. We would pick up a rental car (probably in Slough) and maybe stop by Basildon Park on the way to Stow-on-the-Wold where we are staying at The Old Stocks Inn.

Sunday night-Tuesday night - Cotswolds

Wednesday - Drive to Thyme Manor in Southrop to stay for one night

Thursday - Drop car off in Slough and take a train to London. We are staying at the Sanctuary House Hotel in Westminster for 7 nights. I was planning on going to Regents Park and Camden Market, but depending on time, we may save this for our last full day.

Friday - Tower of London, Borough Market, St. Paul's Cathedral

Saturday - Train to East Grinstead or Tunbridge Wells to Hartfield Village to visit Ashdown Forest

Sunday - Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guards (I know, I know...), Churchill War Rooms, and maybe Kensington Gardens or Notting Hill

Monday - We would love to go somewhere on the coast. I was looking at Deal, Whitstable, or Rye. Thoughts?

Tuesday - Walk by Parliament, Westminster Abbey tour, afternoon tea

Wednesday - No plans yet, unless I decide to stretch out some plans on other days.

Thursday - flight out of LHR at 11 am

Thanks in advance for your help! I would also love some restaurant suggestions in the Cotswolds in Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Upper and Lower Slaughters; and restaurant suggestions in the Westminster, Pimlico, St. James's areas! We like a wide variety of cuisines and definitely want to try some Indian food in London.
LNE is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 07:19 PM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,991
Random comments:

>>We would pick up a rental car (probably in Slough)<<

You can more easily collect a car in Windsor or back at LHR.

>>Sunday night-Tuesday night - Cotswolds
Wednesday - Drive to Thyme Manor in Southrop to stay for one night<<

Thyme Manor is in the southeastern Cotswolds so you could stay the whole time there if it fits your budget.

>>Thursday - Drop car off in Slough and take a train to London. We are staying at the Sanctuary House Hotel in Westminster for 7 nights. I was planning on going to Regents Park and Camden Market, but depending on time, we may save this for our last full day.<<

Getting from Thyme Manor to Slough (or anywhere else) to the hotel to Regents Park or Camden Market will be one HUGE schlepp.

>>We are staying at the Sanctuary House Hotel<<

Sanctuary House is very near the St James's Park tube station - but it is not convenient to any trains (from Slough, Windsor or LHR). So If it was me -- but it isn't. I'd maybe take the car back to LHR and take the tube (or even a pre-booked car service) to the hotel.


. . . More later
janisj is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 07:38 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,355
Thanks for coming back. May June, should be fine (see janisj's comments) the days are pretty long which helps. In the Cotswolds do look at walking in the countryside, maybe to a pub, it can be very pleasant in the evening.
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 08:35 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,580
Originally Posted by LNE View Post
Monday - We would love to go somewhere on the coast. I was looking at Deal, Whitstable, or Rye. Thoughts?
Have a look at Brighton. Numerous trains daily, walk out the pier, along the waterfront, tour the (marvelous, weird) Royal Pavilion. On a Monday things won't be especially crowded; it's a terrific day trip. https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion/
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 09:07 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,746
Originally Posted by LNE View Post
Monday - We would love to go somewhere on the coast. I was looking at Deal, Whitstable, or Rye. Thoughts?

................We like a wide variety of cuisines and definitely want to try some Indian food in London.
Deal and Whitstable are really nice, haven't been to Rye, Ramsgate has a really nice harbour with restaurants, bars etc. St Margaret's at Cliffe is beautiful and close by to Deal, you need a car to drive down to the beach though (at Kingsdown, nice pub called the Zetland Arms or the Coastguard pub, the drive down to it is down narrow roads but the scenery is wonderful), doubt there is any public transport.
Whitstable is famous for it's oysters, you can walk along the seafront and see the old fishermans huts.


Odin is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:49 AM.