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London Daytrips (Oxford, Dover) -- flexibility with train tickets

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Oct 8th, 2012, 01:42 PM
  #1
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London Daytrips (Oxford, Dover) -- flexibility with train tickets

We will be spending just over a week in London at the end of the month and would like to consider some day trips while maintaining as much flexibility as possible. There will be 6 of us in total (2 kids, 2 parents (us), 2 grandparents) and we have a Friends & Family railcard though that doesn't appear necessary.

Two options for daytrips of interest will be Oxford and Dover. It appears from playing around with the www.nationalrail.co.uk site, that I can get GroupSave tickets for £47 for Oxford and £75 for Dover (price is for all of us). The price is the same for tomorrow or in 3 weeks time.

Any idea what the walk-up fair is or how to find out? I'd like to know if I need to buy them ahead of time (even if only a day before). We'd like to keep our options open for weather and group mood if possible.

Thanks.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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Hi there - my best idea would be to go to national rail and put in today's or tomorrow's date and see what the fare is.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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I would not bother with Dover, it's a really grim place, have only passed through it on the way to the ferry and that is enough. What attracts you to Dover, is it the castle? If so there are others closer to London eg Windsor. Check Hampton Court in case there are any events around Halloween time.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 11:43 PM
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"I would not bother with Dover, it's a really grim place, have only passed through it on the way to the ferry and that is enough.

Odin - you should have stopped. Yes, the town of Dover is a grim place . . . But the Castle is a NOT.

" What attracts you to Dover, is it the castle? " . . . Would be wouldn't it . . .

The castle would be a must for your family indy_dad. It will take most of the day, everything from a Roman lighthouse to WWII tunnels/hospital. From the train station take a cab up to the castle - it is a fairly long and very steep walk. Plan on staying at least 5 hours and eat lunch at the NAAFI Restaurant or one of the other cafes on site. Dover is and ENTIRELY different experience than Warwick or Windsor or Hampton Court Palace..
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Oct 9th, 2012, 12:09 AM
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Thanks Janisj, but no thanks. I'll keep driving through Dover to the ferry and on to France if that's ok with you. Better food for a start. If I want to see a castle, I can find ones in a better location than Dover.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 02:01 AM
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Odin. Can I suggest that you go to Dover Castle before you dismiss it so cavalierly? You will then know why so many visitors enthuse about the experience. It is totally different from all other castles, because it was an active defensive centre for a thousand years.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 04:45 AM
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I'll go see for myself.

Anyone of figuring out the walk up fair? Am I going to have to break down and actually call someone (hate it when that happens).

Actually, it looks like it is the case. I get the same rate when I check for today, tomorrow on in 3 weeks. (I couldn't do the today bit last night as it was too late).
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Oct 9th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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I think it'd be worth it to wait and see what the weather's like. The fares wouldn't be dramatically different enough to require buying in advance.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 11:11 AM
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"Anyone of figuring out the walk up fair? "

www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Advance booking to Oxford (up to the evening before) can offer a substantial saving over walkups. Though often the bus is faster door to door and fractionally cheaper than even the nest advance savings (google Oxford tube and the X90. They have different routes out of central London)

Remember there are two routes (supersonic from St Pancras and subsonic from Charing Cross and/or Victoria) for Dover, with widely different prices and discount regimes
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Oct 9th, 2012, 11:37 AM
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I guess flanner's post was a typo and not a comment on the often baffling pricing structure !!
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Oct 9th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Well, perhaps I'm slow, but I don't see how to determine the walk-up rates other than trying to price out tickets for today.

When doing so, I get the same price with the Groupsave (£47) total for 6 to Oxford. So, looks like I can wait until we get there though I still likely by them a day or so ahead just to be sure.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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If you find only a few hours is enough for Dover's Castle, as it has been on several visits by me, you could easily stop off at Canterbury on your way back to London and visit the world-famous cathedral for a few hours as well.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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I doubt you can do the castle in less than half a day (so a full day when factoring in travel time)

But if you do finish early consider Deal instead of Canterbury. Of course the cathedral is wonderful - but I think your kids would really get a kick out of Deal - they give you torches (flashlights) to explore the dark/spooky corridors. It is only about 6 miles up the coast from Dover. Easy bus or train connection.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/d...s/deal-castle/
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Oct 9th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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Nice to see that you're still packing in the sights, indy-dad.

Dover Castle looks like a great place for your family to explore, and yet again, you'll have beaten me to it, though we lived in Kent [albeit the other end] for about 15 years.

we never made it to Deal, either.

quite pathetic.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 12:37 PM
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@annhig -- ah, but you've been to Sri Lanka

@janisj -- Deal looks like a nice option. Only open on the weekends at this point, but we might be able to make it work. To stay flexible, we'll probably book London/Dover return and then Dover/Deal return on the spot if we are up for it.

Any thoughts on bus vs. train? Looks like it will be £11.80 for the group on the train so no big deal.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 12:42 PM
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Oh, and one more Dover question: I understand that the cliffs are best viewed from below, but are there any worthwhile walks close by? Which direction?
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