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Itinerary help: England over the holidays

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Sep 14th, 2018, 12:48 PM
  #1
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Itinerary help: England over the holidays

Hi Everyone,

My friend and I are going to England around the holidays and I wanted to get some feedback on our current itinerary. We are in our mid-twenties and staying in hostels/B&Bs. We plan to use public transportation. We are from the USA and are nervous about driving on the opposite side. Based on other posts and checking hours, it seems like everything we plan to see will be open over the holidays. For the most part, we are mainly interested in architecture, museums, and the normal "tourist attractions". We are also pretty big Harry Potter fans so we are planning on seeing those in London and Oxford.
December 26- Arrive in evening in London from USA
December 27-31- main London sites (Tower of London, Parliament, St. Pauls, Westminster Abbey, etc.), Harry Potter studio tour, possible day trip to Windsor if time (nights in London)
January 1- train to Bath, tour Roman Baths and other Bath sites (night in Bath)
January 2- Day trip from Bath to Stonehenge and Lacock with Mad Mex Tours (night in Bath)
January 3- Day trip from Bath to Cotswolds with Lion Tours, dropped off at conclusion of tour (night in Cotswold village--probably Stow on the Wold or Moreton in Marsh)
January 4- train to Oxford, see Oxford sites (night in Oxford)
January 5- Day trip to Blenheim Palace (night in Oxford)
January 6- Early train to Heathrow, fly home to USA

The big questions I have are:
Is this an appropriate amount of time in each city?
Can this itinerary work well with public transportation?
Should I stay a night in Stratford upon Avon and see those sites too? (I originally had one night there as well instead of two in Oxford but cut Stratford out).
Is there another place that is a "must" in this part of England that I am missing?

Thanks for your help!
Gary0144 is offline  
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Sep 14th, 2018, 02:22 PM
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Seems good and busy - book trains to Bath Spa (station name) early to score nifty discounted fares at National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables Other trains are locals so just buy at station - and I think our experts will say take a bus Oggsford to Heathrow rather than train. I took buses from Oggsford to Woodstock and Blenheim - very easy. For lots about English trains check www.seat61.com. Stratford is a nice calm town but only go IMO if really into the Bard and the alleged properties in and around town related to him - there is a bus that circulated amongst them all. Bus from Cotswolds to Stratford (though I think service may be spotty?) and bus or train to Oxford. Yes trip is easy by public transports.
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Sep 14th, 2018, 02:44 PM
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>>January 6- Early train to Heathrow, fly home to USA<<.

There is no train from Oxford to LHR. It is either train to Reading and but to LHR, or train to Paddington then train to LHR. It would be MUCH easier to just take an express coach from Oxford to LHR.

>>Is this an appropriate amount of time in each city?<<.

Your timing is fine - a little short for London but with the total time you have, its pretty good. I might reconsider your foray into the Cotswolds. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE the area (lived nearby for nearly 5 years) but the possibility that the one and only day you are there in early January will have any sort of decent weather would be sorta slim. I'd Maybe just do the cities (London/Bath/Oxford) and IF the weather is decent, or just not bloody awful, you can always take the train from Oxford to Moreton in Marsh and do a day trip walking around and taking local buses. Meaning I wouldn't even do the Lion Tours trip.

>>Can this itinerary work well with public transportation?<<

totally

>>Should I stay a night in Stratford upon Avon and see those sites too? (I originally had one night there as well instead of two in Oxford but cut Stratford out)<<

I might not stay a night in Stratford. You can play it by ear and maybe do a day trip. Can take a train from Oxford to Stratford upon Avon - about 90 mins with a change at Banbury.

You could also do the trip in reverse -- arrive at LHR, coach to Oxford. Stay Oxford, visit Blenheim, maybe day trip into the Cotswolds. Then train to Bath. Stay Bath, Mad Max, Roman Baths. Train to London. Stay in London. Fly home
janisj is online now  
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Sep 15th, 2018, 04:51 PM
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Agree with Janis about the Cotswolds. It is your most outdoorsy thing and it doesn't sound fun if it's really wet. And of course you have to sign up ahead and prepay regardless.

As Americans, we sometimes forget that England is farther north. It does got darker earlier. And it can be rainy. Tea is a wonderful antidote.
5alive is offline  
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Sep 15th, 2018, 06:06 PM
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Well, having lived in Oxford for a year, I can attest to the fact that it can rain and it can get cold although not the fierce cold you have in so many places in the U.S. That said, the English carry on their daily routines including walks in less than pleasant weather. Even I managed the English weather with little or no problems. Guess it all depends on the individual and how they deal it. Will say that when my family was there over the holidays they did not acclimate well. Personally, I wouldn"t skip the Cotswolds on the chance that the weather might be a problem, but you"re the one that has to co sider the possibilties and make your own decision

.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 08:15 PM
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>>Personally, I wouldn"t skip the Cotswolds on the chance that the weather might be a problem, but you"re the one that has to co sider the possibilties and make your own decision<<

I agree -- I just personally thinkI if you base in Oxford it is very (VERY) easy to do a day trip into the Cotswolds on the fly as it were. If the weather is even minimally OK you can jump on a local train to Moreton in Marsh and spend the whole day exploring. No need to pre book, pre plan, pre anything. But if the weather is gawd awful you can stay in Oxford that day enjoying the Ashmolean, Covered Market, Pitt Rivers, the Eagle & Child, a few colleges, etc.

(I'm a California girl but I love the weather in the UK -- yes really - much prefer the changeable/temperate weather to what we get at home. But some days - a LOT of days most winters - it just isn't peasant to be outside)
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Sep 15th, 2018, 08:25 PM
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I agree. Very easy to get to the Cotswolds from Oxford and lots to see/ do indoors in Oxford if the weather is sketchy and you don"t want to spend much time outdoors.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 11:41 AM
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And if foul take a day trip to Stratford as janis suggests is a possibility as attractions there are inside though it is a lovely town with a lake and parks in town center.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 04:14 PM
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Prepare for crazy crowds in London during this time in the main tourist areas. Or closures. Check hours of everything you want to see, book restaurants/teas well in advance. Iíve been to London during the holidays and after NYE. January was greatóIím not sure Iíd do Christmas/NY again. I didnít get in line for the Kings cross stuff, but expect it to take a considerable chunk of your timeóeven getting into the gift shop takes time.

The shambles in York was the inspiration for Diagonal Alley, or so Iíve been told, and York is wonderful. Iíd add that over Stonehenge, but Iím biasedóStonehenge doesnít really interest me. Donít let the weather stop you from doing anythingóthereís always a pub or tea shop to duck into nearby
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dar...isit-york/amp/
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Sep 16th, 2018, 04:19 PM
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You need to arrange transport for your arrival day, as it is Boxing Day and train services don't usually run that day.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
>>
I agree -- I just personally thinkI if you base in Oxford it is very (VERY) easy to do a day trip into the Cotswolds on the fly as it were. If the weather is even minimally OK you can jump on a local train to Moreton in Marsh and spend the whole day exploring.
^This is exactly what I meant but said better. When I went in 2016, mostly the day trips I saw with a bus etc were $100+ per person. You aren't going to know the weather until a few days before, yet you are committed to going if you paid.
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Sep 17th, 2018, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Nonconformist View Post
You need to arrange transport for your arrival day, as it is Boxing Day and train services don't usually run that day.
I completely agree so better arrange the transport in pretty advance if you can.
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Sep 17th, 2018, 06:20 AM
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train "improvements" tend to be planned for this holiday period and sometimes "overun" (by a couple of days or so) so locals will probably have a plan B for transport. There are a bunch of apps that can help, I like https://www.traveline.info/ certainly within London you want one of the TfL apps on a phone as it is so big and complex when things go worong you'll see the locals just switch transport while the tourists wait to told often after all the spaces have gone.
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Sep 17th, 2018, 09:33 AM
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Stonehenge - yes many are non-plussed with viewing with crowds from roped off areas but if you twin it with a good look at Salisbury - nice regional town with stunning cathedral - it can make a great day and Stonehenge is a place that is neat to have seen in any case. Train to Salisbury - take bus or cab from station to Stonehenge and then spend rest of day in Salisbury.
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