Help please with Bath visit

Old Oct 6th, 2017, 05:37 PM
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Help please with Bath visit

My husband and I have an opportunity to take a quick, last minute trip to England (Bath) and I’m looking for some help to fine tune our itinerary. We are flying into Heathrow from the U.S. on October 12. We are planning on renting a car so that we can be flexible.

Day One: Arrival and Windsor. The first day we were thinking about possibly stopping in Windsor to see the castle. We don’t want to do much driving after flying so should we stay in Windsor or continue a bit farther? Any hotel recommendations? Our budget is around £150.

Day Two: Make way towards Bath. The next day we thought we’d visit Stonehenge on our way to Bath. My husband is interested in seeing Highclere Castle. I realize our schedule does not match the days the castle is open. Can we see it from the road? I am trying to decide where to stay for the next three nights.

Day Three: The third day we’d like to spend in Bath with the free walking tour in the morning, the baths and tea in the afternoon. I read about the Pump Room for tea. Is this a good place or overpriced and touristy?

Day Four: Drive to Southhampton or Bristol to watch a football match. Tickets are a bit scarce, so we will play this by ear. Spend the day in Southhampton or Bristol before the game.

Day Five: Up early to drive back to London for flight home.

So firstly, does this itinerary sound reasonable? We are flexible as to our activities except for our day in Bath. Secondly, I am trying to decide the best area/place to stay. Since we have a car, we can stay outside Bath. Maybe we should stay in or near Salisbury since we are hoping to visit Stonehenge on Day 2. Is that a convenient place to stay to visit Bath on the third day? We’d love to stay in a B & B. Thank you in advance.
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 06:05 PM
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Absolutely -- don't drive any farther than Windsor.

No charm but GREAT location and reasonable rates and usually under your budget https://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/...rc=GHA_Organic

Re Highclere >>Can we see it from the road?
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 06:27 PM
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Also coaches Southampton direct to LHR:

https://beta.nationalexpress.com/
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 07:46 PM
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I really enjoyed having tea in the Pump Room. Sure, it is a touristy thing to do but it is nicely done and enjoyable.
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 11:16 PM
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http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nton-abbey.cfm
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 02:42 AM
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Not a B&B, but we stayed here in May and loved it - a few paces from the baths:

https://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/cry...d5b98f5260e0c2
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 05:02 AM
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Thank you everyone for your feedback. It is very helpful. janisj, we will book that hotel in Windsor. Any restaurant recs while in Windsor? We’re not necessarily into high end dining. Local flavor is usually our preferred choice when traveling. We looked into Bristol matches but the timing isn’t quite right for us, so I think we may continue with our original plan of Southampton. Thanks so much for the suggestion of the express coach. Thanks for the link MmePurdu. We’re trying the weigh the pros and cons of dropping the car off the night before and then getting around without it. I imagine staying in Southampton our last night after the match would make the most sense. Any hotel recs? I’m having some issues with national express coach site. It’s not letting me see the times of the coaches. We would probably need to leave Southampton around 5ish am for a 9:20 am flight.

Unfortunately the hotel StCirq recommended is not available the days we need it.

What about staying in Salisbury on 10/13 and 10/14? It looks like it’s a good hub to visit Bath, Stonehenge and the match in Southampton.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 05:13 AM
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Salisbury would be a great central location to hit Avebury, Stonehenge, Bath and Southampton. You would want to keep the car for the drive back to LHR.

One thing about Bath . . . driving/parking in the city can be a real beee-atch. There are park and ride lots where you park and take frequent buses into the city centre.

this one is on the SE side of the city so fairly convenient if you are driving in from Salisbury http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/p...th-city-centre
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 05:15 AM
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Oh - I'd make sure you can get tickets to the match before committing yourself to Southampton and/or Salisbury.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 06:31 AM
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You might consider Winchester, rather than Southampton, very near but smaller/more interesting, I think. I also prefer Winchester to Salisbury, a small town feel and convenient, easy to come & go by train or car.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 09:57 AM
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MmePerdu, would you recommend Winchester as a base for Bath as well? It would be nice to not change hotels, but I’d be willing if it’s not convenient. Winchester certainly looks good for an early up and trek back to LHR.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 10:08 AM
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Winchester is good for Southampton but is a longer/more difficult drive to Bath. Either Winchester or Salisbury would be fine -- But only if you do get your tickets to the Southampton fixture.

So nail that down first -- because if you can't, then you probably should stay in Bath as your original plan.

Even though both are nice and both cathedrals are lovely, IMO, it would be a mistake to stay in Salisbury or Winchester as a base for Bath if you aren't going to Southampton.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 10:22 AM
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Yes janis mentions Avebury Circle and IMO it is in its own way impressive - much more low-key and you can I believe still walk freely amidst the stones (and grazing sheep) - was that way generations ago when I visited and pictures indicate still is:

https://www.google.com/search?q=aveb...w=1745&bih=863

It is an easy drive by with short or long stop.

And on the edge of Salisbury Old Sarum I thought was a neat site too -especially if you read the book:

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/v...ces/old-sarum/

https://www.google.com/search?q=old+...w=1745&bih=863

And leave time for Salisbury the city - I loved walking south of town just a tad for the famous vista of Salisbury Cathedral looming over bucolic meadows that Constaable and others put on now famous canvasses:

https://www.google.com/search?q=sali...w=1745&bih=863

Well those are some things I enjoyed in addition to Stonehenge.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 10:22 AM
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Decide first what you want to do, then afterward consider the best place to stay to do them. That, I believe, is the point on which we agree.

Obviously Bath is the best base for Bath & environs. But if you're then planning activities in the vicinity of the others, all have convenient transport options and my preference, in this order, are Winchester - Salisbury - Southampton only if circumstances demand it, not because it's comparable otherwise. Also consider that I generally prefer smaller to larger cities, if the logistical aspects are near equal.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 11:51 AM
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Since a primary point of the OP was spending time in Bath -- I think that is a given. Southampton makes no sense unless and until they have tix. Once they do - then sure, Winchester or Salisbury as a base would work.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 04:49 PM
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Okay, we've got our tickets for Southampton vs. Newcastle! We are SO excited for this as we have been wanting to attend a Premier League match for forever! Buying tickets was a strange process. Sheesh!

Thank you everyone for being so patient. This is a crazy, last minute trip. I think staying in Salisbury as a base makes more sense than Winchester. I was thinking about possibly changing hotels the last night but we really wouldn't be able to enjoy Winchester if we arrive in the evening after the match. So it's really not worth the trouble to switch hotels.

Thanks for the tip re: parking for Bath, janisj. And thank you PalenQ for the info about Avebury Circle, Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral. And KTtravel, we plan on going to the Pump Room for tea.

I've got a lot of reading up to do before we hit all these sites!
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 11:55 PM
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My post the other day seems to have disappeared, but I would recommend you get the train from Salisbury to Bath. I know it seems like a waste of having the car, but yu avid all the hassle of parking and traffic.
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 03:42 AM
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Nonconformist, actually that sounds like a great idea. We’re happy to have the car for any side jaunts, but avoiding the headache of parking and traffic sounds like a win to me. Hmmm, should we do that for the football match in Southampton as well?
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 04:01 PM
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Having afternoon tea at the Pump Rooms is great - yes its touristy and yes it's expensive but absolutely worth it - I grew up near Bath and lived in the city for a while and we always took visitors - absolutely worth it. Make sure you have a glass of the mineral water from the spring when you are there - sadly it wasn't available last time we went.
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