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Need advice planning trip to London and ?

Need advice planning trip to London and ?

Old May 9th, 2004, 06:15 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Need advice planning trip to London and ?

We are planning a trip to England, leaving August 8th. We have tickets, and hotel for 5 days in London. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on options for our other 4 days.

Would like to keep costs/travel time as low as possible, but am willing to consider anything.

A little background: This is my husband's first trip anywhere outside US, I've been to England & Scotland, France and Prague. I'm hoping he'll catch the travel bug, too. He said he doesn't care what we do, he's happy to have me plan anything and he'll go along. I thought it would be better to do things I haven't done before, and have new experiences with him.

My thoughts so far have been: #1 - spend our time travelling just around England and Scotland - I know there is plenty to see, and it might be a gentler introduction for him. Friends of ours will be in Edinburgh at the same time. I thought I would get us train passes. However, I have done this before.
#2 - take the train to Brussels for two days, then on to Amsterdam for two days. Are two days enough for a taste of each city?
#3 - Paris - but I know that a few days is not enough in Paris.

I've also read that August is a big time people from the UK travel, and that trains tend to be full. How true have you found this?

Any other suggestions? Comments on any of these?
Thanks in advance!
-Karen
karenc8898 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2004, 06:24 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 62
Why not fly to Brussels or Amsterdam? Easyjet is a good alternative and would save you time and money.
biggy47 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2004, 06:25 PM
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Karen, I like the Edinburg idea. In my experience, men like Scotland. You could rent a car there and drive to St. Andrews or to visit some of the castles. The Brussels and Amsterdam idea is nice but may be covering too much in four days.

Good luck!
Grasshopper is offline  
Old May 9th, 2004, 07:09 PM
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Wow - just checked out easyjet. It opens a whole new world of possibilites! What cheap flights. I guess the decision just got harder.
karenc8898 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2004, 03:12 AM
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But, following up on your first enquiry, you're likely to find Easyjet under pressure from holidaying Brits - more so, perhaps, than trains within the UK.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old May 10th, 2004, 03:30 AM
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I think with 4 days you just want one other place -- and I would second Edinburgh -- it's got history, castles, churches, kilts, single malt whisky and some very nice restaurants not to mention a real accent to our US ears -- plus it's on the water ... well Leith is -- so you get another sense of the world than London. Depending on your interests you could do a daytrip to Glasgow.

Another alternative would be to go someplace scenic or rugged on the coast of England -- I'll leave that to the experts. The reason I'm not recommending the Costwolds etc... is they will be overrun. [As will, of course, E-burgh in August with the Festival]

I'm going to get killed I am sure -- but I spent one afternoon in the center of Brussels and found that just enough to see Grand Place and the cathedral. I'd choose A'dam -- much more interesting -- those canals you know So I'd train to Brussels in the morning -- check in, do Grand Place -- buy your chocolate then train to A'dam the next morning for the bulk of your time. Or if you REALLY want charming -- try Brugge/Bruges.

Okay bottom line would be one other place that contrasts nicely with London -- whether that is coastline or another country ... your choice
sfowler is offline  
Old May 10th, 2004, 06:03 AM
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Edinburgh in August? Aren't we forgetting a certain annual event that packs the city every year at that time? I don't think that would be a "gentler introduction" for him.

If you want him to get the travel bug, take him to someplace very different from London - Paris - and impress him with how easy it is. The Eurostar to Paris is quicker than the train to Edinburgh and if you have already been there you can demonstrate how easy it is to maneuver and survive even where they speak a foreign language. You will have plenty of time for shared experiences on subsequent trips. Plus, you are right that 3 days isn't enough - if you convince him of that, he will have to come back!?



derekflint is offline  
Old May 10th, 2004, 06:24 AM
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Are you flying RT from London (ie do you have to return to London to leave & from which airport?)

You've gotten a lot of great advice so far, Karen. I'll just add a few more thoughts/pieces of info-

Now that you've discovered easyjet, be aware there are plenty more discount airlines to choose from-ryanair.com, volare.com alpieagles.com A couple of websites that have search engines for multiple carriers are

whichbudget.com
applefares.com
skyscanner.com

I think whichbudget may be the newest, but skyscanner allows you to look at prices over a period of days to see what's cheapest.

That said, keep in mind trains travel city center to city center, while flying requires getting back & forth to airports (& often secondary airports for these discount airlines) at 2 ends plus added time for check in for security etc. Consequently, it's been proven that the train can actually be faster than flying (ie London/Paris), but not necessarily cheaper. I'm not trying to talk you out of flying, just giving you a "heads up" about time/cost comparisons.

At the current exchange rate $ to GBP is heartwrenchingly awful. Things will cost almost twice as much there as here. So one thought is to get out of the UK for the last 4 days. While the exchange with the euro isn't great either, it's a lot better. If you want your husband to "catch the bug"-spending a fortune may not be the way to do it. And on that subject, while he says he'll go anywhere, I'd ask him if there's some place he might like.

You don't say what he likes (sports, beaches, art, reading) but maybe 2 city locations is not a good idea in August.
mclaurie is offline  
Old May 10th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Normally Edinburgh would be my recommendation hands down. But, NOT in August unless you have already booked your hotel, love huge crowds, and want to attend the Tattoo/festivals.

Three major scenic areas in England (Cornwall, the Cotswolds, and the Lake District) will be pretty crowded in August.

So my choices would be:

1) a trip to North Wales -- inexpensive accomodations, glorious scenery, less crowded, decen rail connections (or better yet rent a car)

or

2) Eurostar to Paris. More expensive of course - but very convenient from London and a great introduction to Europe for your hubby. Of course Paris in August has its own issues - but it won't feel nearly as crowded as Edinburgh.
janis is offline  
Old May 10th, 2004, 05:23 PM
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Wow! Thanks so much for all of the really helpful advice! I'd considered that Edinburgh would be packed. Friends of ours will be there, expressly to see the tattoo (although, they will also be on their 4 week honeymoon). We had all thought it would be nice to meet up, but it's not necessary.

My husband has expressed some interest in Amsterdam, out of all the options I gave him. I guess I need to start doing some research on Amsterdam! Any suggestions? I'm guessing three days should be enough time? That'll give us a day back in London for some rest before we leave.
karenc8898 is offline  
Old May 11th, 2004, 05:02 AM
  #11  
ira
 
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Hi karen,

Amsterdam would be nice, but I recommend Paris.

You might find "Ira?s Mother?s Trip to Paris" helpful for a first-timer.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34497442

ira is offline  
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