London first trip

Old Mar 18th, 2003, 06:32 PM
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London first trip

We are contemplating our first trip to London/Europe next summer. Thinking of about 8-10 days in London at the same location (hotel) but taking possible day trips, tours around the area. Is that reasonable or will it be too much time/distance to take a bus tour, etc. to places in the english countryside, even to Wales etc and return in the evening to our hotel?
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 07:00 PM
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I'm not sure how far you want to go, but during my first trip to England, my group stayed at Newport, just inside Wales, and we made day trips from there by bus. We took one day trip to Winchester, which is almost as far as London, and we had plenty of time to look around. Also, on the day that we came back to London, we had lots of free time. This, despite the fact that we were on a choir tour and had to be back at the cathedrals for rehearsal at 3:30 and Evensong at 5! So I think day trips, at least as far as eastern Wales, are do-able from London. Be sure to leave plenty of time for the city of London itself, though!
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 07:16 PM
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Although I love London, on a first trip I think 4 days is plenty to see the major sites and then go outside of London and base yourself somewhere else. London is a great city to spend a longer period in once you've seen the lovely countryside and other historic areas. You'll save money on hotels and find time to enjoy the scenery when you aren't worried about missing your train or bus back to town.
Another poster on this site lead me to the www.qjump.co.uk for train travel planning.
If you really must stay in London, you could always look up the www.originallondonwalks.com site for day trips to surrounding areas. They do the guided walks of London which I've been on many and always enjoy, and I know they go to Bath and Oxford as a days out trip where you meet your guide at the train station and go together. They also offer days out to Kent which should be beautiful in mid summer and they generally get you back in time for evening theatre.
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 08:03 PM
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i've been to london more than 30 times so i am not objective, so i say make london a base....forget wales on a first trip--its a trip in itself...
you can do windsor, cambridge, oxford, stratford, all on day trips with ease, plus hours and hours in london--that would easily take you 8-10 days....plus some shopping, etc...
london simply has more attractions than you could see in 3 months....
harrods london tour is worth the extra money--make a reservation in advance and ask for the front seats on the upper level...
the war rooms are very interesting and especially relevant this week
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 04:27 AM
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Please would you say where you want to go on day trips ? Thus briefed, we can see whether you need two hotel nights west of London, somewhere like Didcot.

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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 04:30 AM
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Hi
On our last London trip we did Bath for a day, Cardiff and Carephilly castles for a day, and Cirencester for a day.
Previously we had done Oxford. You can even do Edinburgh as a day trip, but you will return about dawn.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 04:54 AM
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I think the answer depends upon 1)where/what outside of London you want to see, as Mr Haines says, 2)possibly whether you're prepared to do some driving outside the city 3)if you anticipate going back to England in the future. If you plan to go back at some point, you don't have to pack everything into this trip. Concentrate on London & do day trips to places that are in easy reach (Hampton Court, Windsor, Greenwich, Bath etc.) IMO, you don't get a real feel for the countryside unless you can do some "roaming" without worrying about train/bus schedules.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 09:28 AM
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Hi
Wales won't work as a daytrip, but places as far-flung as York will, even Edinburgh, though that's a long trip for giving short shrift to that city.

I have a file on London with daytrips; if you'd like to see it, email me at
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 10:18 AM
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We have been to London a number of times, for as little as 4 days, & as much as 10 days, & we have always taken atleast 1 day trip (usually more) outside of London. On our 10 day stay, we made our London hotel our home base. We took daytrips, on our own to Cardiff/Caerphilly Wales (which is very much doable from London), Portsmouth 1 day, & Stonehenge/Salisbury another. We did a bus tour of Cantebury/Dover. We did a trip to Edinburgh via overnight train. That still left us 5 days for London. On a couple of those days, we spent a few hours in Greenwich, & 1/2 day in Windsor, with plenty of time to still do more on those days back in London. Again, we have taken other trips to London, so have seen various things in London over various trips & do not feel the need to spend only time in London for the whole vacation.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 11:12 AM
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The previous posters have given you some good suggestions. If you take one or two day trips, you'll come back to London refreshed and eager to hit the streets of the city again. My wife and I were in London last March. Even though we had a plane and hotel package that required us to pay for our London hotel from the day we arrived until the day we left, it was well worth it to go to Paris for two days and one night. We also took one day trip to Cambridge. Any good London guidebook will have suggestions for day trips. I highly recommend Rick Steves _London 2003_. For a long list of ideas, read _Daytrips London: 50 One Day Adventures by Rail or Car, in and Around London and Southern England_ by Earl Steinbicker.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 04:44 PM
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London makes a great base for day trips. Cambridge, Oxford, Stratford, Canterbury, Portsmouth, Brighton, Bath, Leeds, Beverly are just a few of the possible day trips from the city. Cardiff in Wales is also doable -- just a two-hour train ride from Paddington and frequent connections.
But if you spent your entire 8 - 10 days in London, you certainly wouldn't run out of things to do. We've been going to London for almost 30 years on everything from one-week tours to four weeks settled in and still look forward to exploring more.

Have a great time planning your trip and enjoy it when you get there.

V.
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