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Help On Planning Seven Days In London, Ben Haines, Elaine and others

Help On Planning Seven Days In London, Ben Haines, Elaine and others

Old Jan 4th, 2005, 11:01 AM
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Help On Planning Seven Days In London, Ben Haines, Elaine and others

I am helping friends plan their first trip to London. They only have seven days. They want to see Stratford On The Avon. Is it possible to take a bus or train trip for the day from London?
I have suggested a bus tour of city, the tower of London, at least one play, The Victoria And Albert, if they can work it in. They want to see the changing of the guard. Also I suggested Hampton Court and Blenheim. Again , is it possible to take a bus or train to those places. Bath was also an option. They wanted to see the Cotswolds or pretty villages also, but I was not sure if that would be packing in too much for a seven day visit. Thanks for all your suggestions. I have managed to see these over the course of several trips. It might be fun to spend one night outside the city. They do not plan on getting a car this trip.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Check out the London Superthread that elaine started - a lot of your questions will be answered there: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34549622

You can pretty much take a bus or train to anywhere from London. Stratford, Hampton Court and Blenheim are all do-able from London.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 11:18 AM
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They can take the train to Stratford or Bath -- not Blenheim, but they could take the train to Oxford and a short local bus ride to Woodstock.

The Cotswolds are more of a problem -- really need a car to see much in the Cotswolds. Can be done by public transport, but not easy. There are organized day tours from London - but expensive and you really spend more time on teh coach instead of exploring villages. Original London Walks also does a day out in teh Cotswolds.

But w/ only 7 days they will probably have time for ONE (at most) of these day trips. The easiest would be Bath OR Stratford - train, spend the day walking around and seeing the sites and train back to London.

remember Hampton Court Palace will take more than 1/2 a day - all day if they take the boat back into London -- so if the do HCP and one of the other day trips they will have only 5 days for london. And the first day they may be in a jeg lagged fog - so have them bite the bullet and pick ONE of those places - but to keep their options open. They may find they don't want to leave London at all.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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oops, the thread I posted above is not the London Superthread. Try this instead: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34548473
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 11:26 AM
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Hampton Court AND Blenheim AND Stratford are all too much for a 7-day trip, let alone adding in the Cotswolds or Bath. For a first visit to London they should only plan 1 day trip, 2 max.
Hampton Court is an easy day trip - they could consider taking a boat along the river one way and that would give them a different view of the city.

Are they absolutely sure they need to see the Changing of the Guard? Boring, IMO.
What about Westminster Abbey? Cabinet War Rooms? Covent Garden? Shopping on Oxford Street or King's Road and/or markets like Spitalfields or Portobello Road? Other museums, such as the British Museum? One or both of the Tates? Any gardens, such as Kew? One of the excellent London Walks? (they could consider a day trip to Stratford and a bit of the Cotswolds with a London Walks Explorer Day). Afternoon tea?
There's so much to do in London - you need to warn them about overbooking days away... at the end of the trip they would regret not spending enough time in the city.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 11:34 AM
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wow, I'm embarrassed to be mentioned in the same appeal as Mr BH, I have been to London a number of times, but by no means am I expert, just still exploring.

In addition to the Superthread, click on the top of this screen on Destinations, and have your friends take a look at fodors suggestions for London visits of various lengths.
That, and the esteemed Mr Haines's suggestions in the Superthread, plus other experts here like janis, can help you narrow down the choices.

I'll suggest that on the day they see an evening play, that afternoon they could plan for a nice afternoon tea somewhere, plain or fancy. It takes the edge off hunger, avoids requiring an early and rushed dinner, and dinner or a light meal can be had after the theatre.

There are organzations that do Cotswolds tours from Oxford (and other places as well), but that would mean staying overnight in Oxford, not a bad idea, but it's time out of London.

For an alternative 'pretty' experience, Bath is quite easy as a daytrip, it's beautiful, no car needed, walking tours start from the town center, and I just love it there. Again, Bath is also worthy of an overnight stay, but compromises can be made.

I've heard that Cambridge is lovely and also easy to get to and from as a daytrip; I haven't been there yet.

What time of year are they going?

There are Changings of the Guard at places other than Buckingham Palace; in London, the Horseguards up the road has one that is much more easily seen than the one at Buck. Palace. There is also a Changing OTG at Windsor Castle, though you didn't mention their going there.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Another choice for a pretty village to explore in an easy day trip is Marlow in Buckinghamshire. Very attractive, nontouristy, great for walking around and having lunch. Right on the Thames as well. Go to www.marlowtown.co.uk for info.
(Admittedly, I'm biased as we are about to put in an offer on a house for sale there.)
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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You are all great!! I love this forum.
Thank you for all the information you have so graciously shared.
I remember that my parents enjoyed Hampton Court, but I have not been there but I did enjoy Blenheim. I agree about packing too much in seven days. I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed several trips to England and it is still one of my favorite destinations. I also was not all that keen on "Changing of The Guard".
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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Elaine, They are going the end of March. I have been several times in March and April.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 04:05 PM
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End of March gardens should be starting to bloom--Kew Gardens, with an afternoon tea at Maids of Honor, can be a lovely way to spend half a day.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 06:12 AM
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Thanks Elaine. They both love gardens and I am so glad you suggested this.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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I'd advise them to do Blenheim and perhaps Woodstock (Cotswolds town) in the same day. However, there's so much to do in London I don't really know if I'd recommend any deviation at all. There's so much to do here!

I'm assuming they like old houses (for want of a better desciption), the Wallace Collection W1 is free and offers fabulous interiors and antiques as well as a splendid courtyard cafe for lunch. There are many similar properties, if you could advise their interests I'd be only too pleased to assist.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 07:49 AM
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BTIlke, good choice! Marlow does rather put Maidenhead in the shade, doesn't it? I used to live nearby (Wooburn Green).
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 08:19 AM
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Hi Kate, yes it does. Maidenhead has been disappointing, just too much bog standard suburbia and we're not suburbanites by nature. We decided we had to move closer in (Hampstead area) or farther out (Marlow isn't that much farther out, but it seems a different world!). The dog voted for farther out. And Marlow is more like the kind of place we had in mind when we decided to move to the UK.
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