Help wih 10 day England Itinerary?!

Sep 5th, 2001, 01:17 PM
  #1  
Len
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Help wih 10 day England Itinerary?!

I am planning on taking my father to England for a 10 day trip. He and I are both huge history buffs, and absolutely love Europe. Last year we went to Italy and needless to say had the greatest time seeing both the big cities and the countryside, contemplating at every turn the Italy's amazing history. I would like to do that again in England, but having never been there I would love some help putting together an itinerary that includes London, and teh countryside as to explore castles and history all over. I realize three destinations will probably be all I can fit, but recomendations would be greatly appreciated. Also Hotel recommendation would be great. I want upper crust hotels, not the highest end but one level below. Look forward to your responses. Thanks. Len
 
Sep 5th, 2001, 02:49 PM
  #2  
janis
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Well - as you know you could go anywher. But since you specifically say England and 10 days here is my
recommendation:

London 5 days (minimum), take the train to York for 2 nights. Then to Warwick for one night, Oxford for two nights and back to heathrow to fly home. You could add Chester for one night Chester and take the extra night out of Oxford. Oxford.

The 2nd 5 nights may seem like a lot of moving around - but ther are all short travel days - the longest being the 2 hours the train takes from London to York.

If you don't want to go north - my 2nd recommendation is London 5 nights, Bath 1 (or possibly 2) nights, Salisbury (as a base to see Avebury, Stonehenge and the New Forest) 2 nights and back to Windsor for the last night before flying home.
 
Sep 5th, 2001, 03:11 PM
  #3  
Lori
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Well, without knowing the age of your father and his stamina level it's hard to give an itinerary. Frankly, 10 days is not a great deal of time to "see England" and I've been many times. Considering the jet lag factor you probably will lose 1/2 day anyway to that. There is so much to see in London that I'd stay put but that's my opinion only. You can take marvelous day trips from London very easily and not be bothered with the packing/unpacking scenario every day. For instance: Windsor Castle is very close by and can be done with 1/2 day. Hampton Court is easily accessible from Waterloo Station and you can be out there in about 35 min. Bath is about 90 min. from Paddington Station. York is a 2 hr. ride from Kings Cross Station. Norwich is about 90 min. from Liverpool Sta., Canterbury is about 1 hr. from Victoria or Charing Cross Sta., Warwick Castle is about 90 minutes from Marylebone Station, etc etc etc. York is about as far as we've done on a one-dayer but it's very do-able. On occasion we have stayed in one place and done day trips from there, i.e. Salisbury for example - good base for lots of sights incuding getting over to southern Wales for a day trip. I have a friend who took several EvansEvans Tours while in London recently and while I've never done organized tours she said they were very good.

Again, London has so much to see that 10 days can go by very quickly and you will only have scratched the surface. Basically it all depends on your (and your father's interests) but I would not try and do too much, you "see" a lot, but you end up not seeing very much if you know what I mean.

Can't help with hotels much as we always rent an apartment, but I would suggest using a driver pick up service when you arrive at Heathrow (or Gatwick). We have used several but were the most pleased with Ray Skinner's firm. He can be found on www.london-tranfers.com. For a flat fee (about 35 pounds - plus tip) you get picked up and taken directly to your hotel (regular taxi's can be a lot higher, and public transportation is a hassle with luggage).
 
Sep 5th, 2001, 03:40 PM
  #4  
Len
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Wow!!! Thanks so much for these great itineraries. My dad is 55 and I am 30, we are both in good shape so I think we can with stand a bit of movement. God, I don't know where to start. As I said earlier we both LOVE history. Visiting castles and medieval villages will make my father cry. We love studying different cultures and different periods in history and I know England is ground zero for all of that. How many days in London is minimum, 5? Should I rent a car to drive to places away from London or train? Should I go North or should I stay south? So many questions. What is the best time of year to go weather and tourist wise? Tahnks for all your help. Again, any Hotel suggestions in London or in the the country would also be great. Thanks.
 
Sep 5th, 2001, 06:32 PM
  #5  
John
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Len, let me offer what may seem like a counter-intuitive suggestion: skip London until the end. The reason for this is twofold – first, London can be exhausting as a starting point if you’re already a little jetlagged, and second, London is easy to get to in a few hours from virtually anywhere in Britain. If you’re touring around the countryside and really enjoying yourselves, you can skip a day or two of London time and still be able to see some of the highlights, without having to compromise due to fatigue or the need to get out of town. For a future trip, London is also a great winter destination, which can't be said for much of the countryside. Just a thought.

Instead, my suggestion would be to get directly out of London either by air or train, to a small to medium sized country town of interest, and hunker down for a day or two, walk around, see local sights, hang out in a pub, go to the shops, ride the bus to some nearby village or ruined abbey, and so on. Then get a car and do your tour, ending up five or six days later someplace where you can drop the car and get into London for the finale. Most car rental companies in Britain won’t charge a drop fee.

That said, I’d probably base my starting point at either Cambridge (if you’re pretty pooped from the flight) or Durham (if you’re not) and start a rough counter-clockwise (“anticlockwise” if you’re in Britain) route, hitting as many of the following as comfortable: Cambridge, the Suffolk weaving villages (Kersey, Lavenham et al) Lincoln, York, Durham, the Holy Isle, Hadrian’s Wall, Liverpool, Chester, poke around the Welsh border country (Shropshire, Herefordshire), Hereford, maybe the Cotswolds or Somerset if time permits, then end up somewhere near London, maybe Salisbury or Winchester or Oxford, or (I like it, others don’t so much) Brighton for the Royal Pavilion. Of course you can’t possibly do justice to all of these places, but a sampling of them will give you lots and lots of history, culture, and ideas for future visits.

For accommodation references it’s hard to beat the AA, http://www.theaa.com/getaway/hotels/hotels_home.jsp
 
Sep 6th, 2001, 01:28 AM
  #6  
Leslie
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Len - you asked about what time to go. Summer months London is crowded but weather is the best. Even so, I've been twice in August and had rain half the time so you can't really predict. August/September are months when Buckingham Palace is open to tours which was a thrill for me personally. I'd probably pick the shoulder months of either late May/Early June or September.

I think 4 days in London is minimum, with 5 being better. That doesn't leave much time for countryside touring. Personally, for two on short amount of time, I'd rent a car for countryside touring rather than training everywhere. You could, for example, take a train to Bath which is a must-see. You don't really need a car in Bath but could pick one up for continued countryside touring. Medieval Glastonbury and Wells are nearby steeped on lore about King Arthur. We also loved Longleat House and Safari Park near bath, an Elizabethan era home owned by the Marquese of Bath. From Bath you can head north to the Cotwolds, Stratford Upon Avon and Warwick, coming back south via Blenheim Palace (beautiful and the birthplace of Winston Churchill) and stoping in Oxford. Though Cambridge is a bit more interesting a college town than Oxford, it would be a bit out of your way for this itinerary. Going north to York and Hadrian's wall via Cambridge would be another option. A tour of Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace would be final stops before returning to London.



Another op
 
Sep 6th, 2001, 04:51 AM
  #7  
xxx
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Here is a rough overview of our journey from earlier this spring...Landed in Manchester in the morning. Picked up rental car and drove to Chester. Toured the city in the afternoon. Stayed just outside of Chester at the Chesire Cat in Christleton (55 GBP for a large double room--we loved it). Left the next morning for Northern Wales. In the next 2 days we visited Edward's 5 castles (picked these based on Fodor's and Rick Steve's guidebooks). We went to Conwy, Caenarfon, Beaumaris, Cricceth and Harlech. Weather prohibited going up Snowdonia although we had hoped to do so. We next headed back into England and spent the next night in Salisbury. We toured the cathedral and castle while there. Salisbury was not a destination itself for us, it was just where we ended up. We then went to the Cotswolds--spent one night in Chipping Campden and the next 2 nights at Sudeley Castle Cottages. We enjoyed Sudeley Castle. From this area, we also drove to Blenheim Palace. The next day we drove to Bath, dropped off the rental car, and spent the day/night in Bath. Stayed at the Kennard (nice but very small room). The following day we took the train into London for 6 days. We flew home from London. Just some thoughts, although you will get many on this board that do not echo mine...We are also history and castle fans. That fact dictated where we chose to go. We also realized that that fact (along with time limitations) meant that there were things nearby where we were that we would give up. For example, we did not get to Avebury, Stonehenge nor Wells. We also gave up going to York and will combine it with a future trip to Scotland. Although there are castles, palaces and beautiful manor homes throughout England, our opinion was that the best castles were found in North Wales. Given that decision, we flew into Manchester. That saved us the "agony" of landing in London, jetlagged, only to have to deal with the time and transportation of getting to where we wanted to start our journey. We found airfare into Manchester and out of Heathrow was competitive with London/London, especially when you factored in the cost of transportation from London to Chester. It was also nice to fly into a smaller, less congested airport than Heathrow. The short drive from Manchester to Chester was fine, even after getting off the plane. We did choose to taxi into Chester that afternoon rather than drive. Driving was not really a problem. It allowed us the freedom to vary what we had planned when it suited our needs. Some of the best places we stopped were discovered by accident as we drove along and saw signs--a ruined abbey in a small village named Much Wentlock comes to mind. Distances are not great but can take longer to cover than we are used to in the US. But nonetheless, I was ready to be rid of the car after a week! If we knew then what we knew now, my husband and I would have opted for more time in Wales and skipped the Cotswolds. Shopping is not our thing--but mine seems to be a minority opinion regarding the Cotswolds. I also was not a fan of Stratford Upon Avon as I thought there was too little of historical value and too much of commercial value. We went to Warwick Castle early in the morning and were enchanted. Later that afternoon, we went to nearby Kennilworth Castle. The ruins of Kennilworth were a stark contrast to Warwick. I was glad we left London for the end. It was nice to stay in the same place for several days and to not have to worry about driving. I am not a fan of huge cities and did not expect to be thrilled with London. But quite the opposite happened. Our favorites were the British Museum and the National Gallery. As an earlier poster said, one could spend 10 days in London alone, but like you, we wanted a mix. Good luck and happy planning.
 
Sep 6th, 2001, 03:03 PM
  #8  
Len
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Thank you sooo much for that amazing itinerary. Wow, there are so many differing opinions, but the descriptions of the castles and abbeys have me drooling. Although, as I live in New York City, I love the big cities as well and have heard rave reviews from friends who have gone to London. So I think I will do 4 days in London and then drive to 3 or 4 other country towns to stay and see the sights. Thus I will need suggestions on the top 3 or 4 country side towns, castles, and sights to see. As well as hotels in London and manors or inns in the country that would really add to the ambience of old England. Any suggestion please keep them coming, and to those who responded to me your suugestions are fantastic and extremely helpful. I think I will try to go for May of 2002. Again you guys are great and I love the enthusiasm on this site.
 
Oct 18th, 2002, 01:40 AM
  #9  
toppingtohelpLen
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topping for Len
 
Oct 20th, 2002, 11:55 AM
  #10  
Tahl
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While you're in London, don't miss the Cabinet War Rooms, the eerie and oddly touching underground complex from which Churchill and his cabinet managed the government during the WWII air raids. Feels like you've just walked into living history.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/cabinet/
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 04:30 PM
  #11  
Len
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Whhheeeww!!! 10 days definitely is not enough time in England based on all the amazing places I have heard about on this site and read about in the travel books. I wish I had a month. Anyway here is the tentative itinerary I put together and I would love feedback and suggestions from all you England experts…

(10 days)

March 28th Friday: Arrive London. Staying at The Rubens. After checking in or dropping bags. Buckingham Place (Changing of Guards), Parliament, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, Cabinet War Rooms, Big Ben. Pub for lunch (suggestions?) Dinner Convent Garden or Mayfair? Early night to help the jet lag.

Saturday: British Museum (half day) Lunch at a Pu ???) Tower of London for second half of day. Do you recommend a private tour guide for either of these? I thought it might be nice for my Dad as his hearing is not the best. Dinner maybe in Convent Garden before seeing a play?

Sunday & Monday: Still trying to figure these two days out. All of these might be great but suggestions are greatly appreciated: National Gallery, St. Paul's Cathedral, Harrod's, Walking Tours (Pubs, Jack the ripper), Windsor Castle, Boat ride on Thames, London Eye, A lot of great pubs, Trafalgar Sq., The Parks (walking tours) etc.

Tuesday: Check out. Pick up rental car and head toward Bath. Stay a The Manor House (Outside Castle Combe- two nights) Has anyone heard of this place? It looks amazing online www.exclusivehotels.co.uk but I would love personal experiences. After check in, drive to Castle Combe see the town. Then to Stonehenge, Avebury, and Salsibury to see the Cathedral. Maybe have dinner in Salsibury? Back to hotel. Any places other than these you suggest?

Wednesday: Drive into Bath. Do a city tour of Bath. Eat at pub there? Suggestions? Do I need a full day in Bath or should I drive to another town like Glastonbury (Somerset) or Bradford on Avon as well? Would love to find a real country inn or pub to eat dinner anywhere in this area. Back to hotel.

Thursday: Check out of hotel. Drive North toward Broadway (Northern Cotswolds) where we will stay at the Dormy House for 2 nights (any personal experiences at this hotel? And do you think Broadway is a good center town to see the Northern Cotswolds?) After check in,drive to Stratford on Avon --see the Shakespearesites and eat lunch there...suggestions? Then maybe Warwick Castle for tour and possibly the Kings feast for dinner. Back to hotel.

Friday: Out early to drive and see Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. Then hit Bourton On Water, The Slaughters, and Stanton. Maybe finding a great little place to have dinner in one of these great towns. I want the best historical villages, and these all seem to come highly recommended. Thoughts? Back to Broadway maybe for an ale at the Horse and Hound pub? (I think that is the name?)

Saturday: Check out. Head back toward London. Anyone recommend stopping in Oxford on the way? Back to London check back in to the Rubens. One last dinner and maybe another pub or play.

Sunday: fly back to NYC.

Does this seem way too ambitious? And would anyone forego my Cotwolds concentration for York and then Edinburgh? Any and all thoughts and recommendations are greatly appreciated & welcomed! Thanks.
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 05:29 PM
  #12  
Ani
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HAve to say, we spent 2 days in York, then 2 days in N. Wales touring castles--AMAZING, both of them. We went to Cotswolds afterward for 2 days and although nice, wished so much we had taken those days for York and N. Wales. Just my 2 pennies-and I am a big history/castle fan!
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 05:38 PM
  #13  
Judy
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There are lists of 50 best village pubs and pubs around Britain on Independent site, please check: www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=76572.
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 06:31 PM
  #14  
Len
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Thanks for your responses please keep them coming, as I really am a bit stumped as to which is the better itinerary!
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 08:27 PM
  #15  
helpingLen
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TTT
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 09:30 PM
  #16  
jack
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Len,

You have done some good research and thats great. You seem to have a good itinerary. 2 major points.

1. As a previous poster stated, leave london to last. we arrived heathrow 9am and by midday we arrived at windsor castle, eton (don't miss eton since it is only over the bridge) and then we headed towards salisbury. Don't worry about the jet lag...if you are smart.

If you do decide to do london first then swap your first 2 days around. It will be easier on your dad, even though he isn't old yet. (but don;t do london first)

2. From what you ahve revealed about yourself, I think that you will regret not having more time in the country. Do london in 3 to 4 days and accet that you are scratching the surface but use that time to appreciate the country and all its history and people more. Even 4 days is enough time to give you a serious dent into london and 3 days done cleverly won't leave you with too many regrets eithre (based on my eprception of what you would enjoy).

you asked if you should go to edinburgh. And whilst i think that it is possible in 10 days (depending on what trade offs you are willing to make), going there on arush might make you realise all the other things along the way that you are missing so probably better to enjoy what you got and dream of that another time. personally, the UK (which i realise is more than england) is better done as a resident if you are a history buff, cos there can never be enough time
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 09:37 PM
  #17  
Len
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Wow Jack, thank you so much! I appreciate it immensely. I think then that I will stick to my itinerary. Although two questions still remain. Bath for a full day or split it with Glastonbury? And is Broadway a great place to use as a hub for my Northern Cotswolds excursions? Thanks again to everyone who has been so helpful in my trip planning. I can't wait to be in England!
 
Oct 22nd, 2002, 12:29 AM
  #18  
sandy
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I just wanted to reply to your query about "upper crust" hotels.

•Lucknam Park near Bath
You can visit Salisbury and Stonehenge from here
•Hartwell House near Aylesbury
A good base for going to Oxford
•Lords of the Manor - Cotswolds
The Costwolds are the prettiest part of England
•Bodysgallen Hall near Chester
•Middlethorpe Hall near York


 
Oct 22nd, 2002, 12:53 AM
  #19  
Susan
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If you can, do try to allow two days for your Bath visit, Bath Abbey is just incredible and, of course the Roman Spas can take two or more hours - try not to rush. I'm sure there are incredible places to stay in the Cotswolds, but I'm sorry I can't recommend any particular town as a hub (we visited Stratford-Upon-Avon, Chipping Campden, Moreton-In-Marsh ...) it was all so lovely. Actually, perhaps Stratford (in Warwickshire) would be a good place to stay and it's convenient to the Cotswolds - it's just a bit more substantial than some of the other towns and villages we saw in the Cotswolds, and jam-packed with history, Tutor buildings, nice shops and restaurants, etc. If you do go there, you must get tickets to a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre located on the River Avon - it was one of the highlights of our trip. I know you and your father will have a wonderful time, and the spring bulbs should be blooming too!
 
Oct 22nd, 2002, 08:12 AM
  #20  
Len
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Thanks so much Susan. Great ideas. So you think the extra time in Bath is better than trying to get Stonhenge, Salsibury (Cathedral), and maybe Glastonbury (King Arthur) in? Remember we are huge English History fans. Also I have heard a lot about the Lords of the Manor in the Slaughters. I wonder if that may be a better place than Broadway to be central to The Northen Cotswolds? Please keep the comments on my itinerary above coming, you have no idea how invaluable they are. Thanks.
 

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