London Day Trip

Feb 3rd, 2007, 01:00 PM
  #1  
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London Day Trip

I am traveling to London and Paris with only a week to spend because the kids are in school. I am flying into to Gatwick, arriving around 8:30 a.m. I would like to make a day trip outside of London that day. I realize that we will be tired, but we are willing to fight the fatigue and rest later. I will be traveling with husband and 3 kids (ages 6-14). We want to go to Oxford and are looking for suggestions on where else we should go. We don't care what time it is when we return to London that night. We will proably rent a car, unless I hear that that is not a good idea. Some of my choices are Blenheim, Warwick, and driving through the Cotswolds. We don't need to spend much time in any one place. I just want the kids to be able to get a feel for smaller towns in England. I am looking for suggestions on how to spend that day. Thanks!
susiela is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 01:26 PM
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nbujic
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It sounds like a heroic effort to me.
The traffic around London is huge ( they also drive on the "other side" of the road).
You know your kids, but driving a jet-lagged family for hours does not seem to be the best way to see much.
Oxford is (of course) a university town , full of beautiful buildings and students, but does not have a "small town feel" you are looking for.
 
Feb 3rd, 2007, 01:37 PM
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We stayed in London and drove out to Bleinham Palace. Didn't have kids then but would definitely take them there. If I'm not mistaken, that's where there is lot's of armor and swords and such. We did take our 14 yr old last spring and loved Churchhill's bunker, finding little taverns to eat in, the food halls at Harrod's, high tea at Brown's and navigating the underground
njswyo is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 02:07 PM
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You could get a Southern DaySave card and explore the southeast before running into London. Note restrictions:

http://www.southernrailway.com/main.php?page_id=122
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 02:30 PM
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Try Brighton as it's an easy train journey from Gatwick and just as importantly you are going against the main traffic flow.

It's got sortof a beach but it's crowning glory is the Royal Pavilion - www.royalpavilion.org.uk/

You might want to consider overnighting in Brighton or in Gatwick before picking up the car
alanRow is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 03:24 PM
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You may not care what condition (jet lag, etc.) you may be in, but have some regard for the others on the road please. I'd scrap this plan and go for something manageable. Take the train into London, check into your hotel and then if the family is up to it do some sightseeing. Try and stay outdoors for a portion of the day, it helps re-set your internal clock !!

I hate to say this, you do seem like you want to see things, but your kids are not going to appreciate much of anything dead tired .. nor will you. Frankly it sounds like a terrible idea, and one that could be dangerous should you be involved in an accident due to jet lag, unfamiliar roads, driving on the left, and driving a car you are not familiar with when tired.

Driving a car back into London (if that is your thought) is practically insane at best. Even those familiar with London streets can have a difficult time due to one-way streets, traffic, etc.

If you go anyplace via train from Gatwick (Brighten for example) have a plan for your luggage, you won't be too comfortable with dragging luggage around with you.
Lori is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 03:29 PM
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I would not ever attempt driving from Gatwick to Oxford and back to London after a long haul flight. Not a good idea at all.

If you don't want to head south/southest via train as Alan suggested, you can catch a bus to Oxford from Gatwick. The travel time is about 90 minutes. I don't remember how often the buses run, but they are fairly frequent. From Oxford you can take the bus or train into London.
historytraveler is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 03:30 PM
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Plan for luggage - leave at Gatwick left luggage & pick it up on the way back as Brighton Station doesn't have a left luggage office
alanRow is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 03:32 PM
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Forgot to mention that parking in Oxford is next to impossible. You'll have to use a Park & Ride and take the bus into the centre.
historytraveler is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 03:40 PM
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I'm sorry - but the others have been FAR too easy on you.

Flying overnight, renting a car, driving from LGW to Oxford (parking outside of town in a park and ride lot and taking a bus into the center - since there is essentially no parking and driving in Oxford is very difficult), then driving back into London and dropping you car is nuts and borders on criminal.

Your kids will not get anything out of this trek -- and you might kill all of them.

There was that firm enough???
janisj is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 03:59 PM
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Okay, I got the point. I was having a hard time determining whether my plan was feasible or not, so thanks for the input. Is it a feasible plan on one of the other days where we do not have jet lag?
susiela is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:16 PM
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That's better

If you want to go to Oxford from London it would be far easier to take the train or Oxford Tube (which is a bus - not the tube) You can take a local bus to Blenheim/Woodstock from the center of Oxford.

Or if you decide on Warwick - take the train there from London.
janisj is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:19 PM
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after you acclimate to the time zone, take a train into the country for the day. we went to stratford-upon-avon to see shakespeare-related stuff. you can take the train from marylebone station and it is about 2 hours each way.
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Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:21 PM
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nbujic
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good for you.

We took a bus to Oxford. ( a bit longer than an hour from Marble Arch)
The train may be faster.
We also took a bus from Oxford to Blenheim.
Both are very nice to visit , after you have rested in London !
 
Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:38 PM
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There you go again, assuming that you know how the OP family will be affected by time zone change.

We always have a full day of activity after we land - possibly because we have learned how to handle jetlag.

OP may or may not be capable of functioning normally, and it's not up to anyone else to assume the contrary.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:44 PM
  #16  
nbujic
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o.k.
please share.
how do you handle the jet- lag?
(just don't say your children are more capable than others; we have already been informed on that subject)
 
Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:49 PM
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I strongly disagree. It's true that jetlag affects people differently, but it is usually imossible to predict how it will affect you on any particular trip and we have a family of four. How likely is it that all four will be similarily affected? Not much, IMO Besides by throwing in driving on the left and other differences in signage etc.,it's a formula for disaster.

A person may well think they are not affected by jetlag, but it is indeed the same line of thinking that a couple of drinks doesn't really affect one's driving. It does even if you think you are fine.
historytraveler is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:51 PM
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Eat my shorts.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 05:07 PM
  #19  
nbujic
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Author: Robespierre
Date: 01/26/2007, 02:30 pm

Yes. Maybe my kids are more...capable...than others. My 13-yo had Métro navigation nailed in about ten seconds. I understand there are people who have a problem "figuring it out."

just kidding, no need for a food fight!
 
Feb 3rd, 2007, 07:30 PM
  #20  
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I to travel with my son. He does extremely well regarding jet lag. BUT, he usually has a much better time the following day, so I plan the first day with something not to strenuous. I have driven (often) in England, it doesn't take long to acclimate, but I wouldn't do it the first day I arrive. There is SO MUCH to see in London for kids. I went to school there in College. I am going back in June with my son (his fourth time) and there is still things he wants to see.
We will be there 8 days, and we will be doing quite a few day trips. Stonehenge can be done in a day (you can get a private tour), Oxford we did not find all that interesting (to a 19 year old at that time). I can give you TONS of things for the kids just in London alone for the first day. Then they would be ready for a very early start the next day. You can also so Bath in a day (and perhaps include Stonehenge in that itinerary), there is Cambridge also, which you could do in about 1/2 day. In about 2 hours you can go to Cheddar Gorge. Great caving, climbing experience there. Windsor Castle is nice...1/2 day. We have driven the cotswold...absolutely gorgeous and quaint, but alot of looking at scenery through a car window probably wouldn't be all that interesting to kids..at least not mine..he's rather be "doing" something. Leeds castle is beautiful...great grounds. But for kids I would strongly suggest Hever castle Anne Boylens (sp?) former home.
Great caste, very ancient looking, drawbridge, wonderful (and difficult) maze, beautiful gardens. We drove there. My brother took his three boys there also, they loved it.
Anyway, there is so much to see. I hope this helps. If you need more, let me know.
Have fun.
 

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