Southwest of England, July with 2 kids

Jan 27th, 2010, 04:58 PM
  #1  
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Southwest of England, July with 2 kids

Hi, planning to explore the Southwest of England with my wife, 4 year old son, 2 year old daughter in July.
Part of our 3 week holiday in England with London as the base.

1. What do you think about the schedule I've put together :

Friday Arrive at Heathrow, London
Sat-Sun London
Mon - Tue Cotwalds
Wed - Th Cornwall
Fri - Sa Exmoor / Exmoor Nat'l Park
Su - Mon Bath
Tue- Wed London again
Th Day trip to Cambridge
Fri Day trip to Windsor and Legoland
Sa - Su London

Last week London ? Some other place ?


2 - For Cornwall and the Cotwalds, do I need to be picky about the town/village where we spend the night ? We will most probably have a car --- so I was thjinking we can drive around both the Cornwall and Cotwalds, and it really doesnt' matter where we stay for the night.

I'm asking because a lot of the affordable accomodations in "recommended towns/villages" are already fully booked as of now.

3 - Are 2 nights for the places I've selected out of London enough ? Or should I stay extra nights in some places (like Cornwall?) ?

4. With the schedule above, I still have another 6 days to do other things in or out of London. Any reco's ?
I think the Lake District is too far...?

Thanks!

ERic B.
Eric_Bal is offline  
Jan 27th, 2010, 05:54 PM
  #2  
 
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I'm not sure why you're bouncing in and out of London like that. I think I would make it a single visit at the start of the trip - using public transit, getting rid of jetlag and leaving plenty of time for the kids to be kids. Definitely rent an apartment so you have ore room and the ability to at least have breakfasts and snacks at home.

Then, rent a car as you leave London and do a circuit, ending up at Heathrow - or Windsor - the night before you leave. IMHO you are making too many 2 night stops. I would tend to stay longer in fewer places and do day trips - to avoid all that packing and unpacking and finding your way in a new area.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 27th, 2010, 11:38 PM
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I have a slightly different spin -- though I also think it is a bit jumpy every 2 nights somewhere new and in and out of London. Plus you are allotting quite a bit of time to London (2 days, + 4 more days, + 2 day trips out of London + another full week).

1) I might consider doing it something like this:

• Friday Arrive at Heathrow, Stay in Windsor. See the castle on Friday, and Lego Land on Saturday morning through early afternoon. Sat Afternoon drive to the Cotswolds (note spelling)
• Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues nights in the Cotwolds
• Wed, Thurs nights in Bath
• Fri, Sat nights in Exmoor/North Devon
• Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed nights in Cornwall
• Thurs, Fri nights somewhere between Cornwall and London -- the Dorset or Hampshire coasts, or Salisbury, or the New Forest -- lots of possibilities.
• Saturday drive towards London and drop car either in town, or out at LHR and take public transport into London.
• Sat - Sun plus the add'l week in London. Take a day trip to Cambridge any day during that period.

OR - you could cut London back to a week and shuffle the above itinerary a bit (cutting one night from the Cotswolds and/or Cornwall) and use the extra 4 days or so to go somewhere else. The Lake District will be even more busy than the Cotswolds/Cornwall, so I'd recommend North Yorkshire instead.

2) "do I need to be picky about the town/village where we spend the night? . . . I was thjinking we can drive around both the Cornwall and Cotwalds, and it really doesnt' matter where we stay for the night. . . . I'm asking because a lot of the affordable accomodations in "recommended towns/villages" are already fully booked as of now."

Yes - you do need to be picky and book ahead. The Cotswolds and Cornwall are very popular and you are going in high season. Not every B&B has family rooms, and most that do only have one. And some won't take toddlers. And you have found that some are already booked. By the time you are there even more places will be booked up. So - definitely make reservations. (If you were going in March or October - my advice would be different, but you are traveling in July)

3) 2 nights might be "enough" in some of those places - but that just means you are packing/unpacking/moving all the time. Slow down a bit and relax.

4) See the end of my answer to #1 . . .
janisj is online now  
Jan 28th, 2010, 01:37 AM
  #4  
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Thanks Janisj. Noted your point about moving around too much in a short time. Will revise plan based on that.

Clarification on #2 (again, i only know about the places thru travel guides so my apologiies if questions seem strange)

There are many villages/towns in both Cotswolds and Cornwall. I've found some available accomodations but they are in villages/towns that I originally didn't plan to stay in. For example, I want to visit Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds but can't find a place to stay in. Can I just stay in Burford (where I found accomodations already) -- will it be easy for me to still visit Chipping Campden ?

Same situation in Cornwall.

Thanks
Eric_Bal is offline  
Jan 28th, 2010, 02:12 AM
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I'd just like to through in camping in the New Forest for a day or two as well
plastic_paddy is offline  
Jan 28th, 2010, 03:56 AM
  #6  
BKP
 
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Unless your heart is SET on Legoland I would skip it. I'm sure you feel like you're planning a day just for the kids and you're kids probably deserve the break too, but I think you can find better alternatives. We have a 4 year old son, who, if you ask him, will tell you that he loves Legoland. But he really doesn't. The lines are too long and there are just too many people. There aren't enough opportunities for your kids to just run and have fun. It's expensive. Our son is tall for his age, but an average height 4 year old will probably not meet the height requirements for the bigger rides. It just isn't a really fun day for our little family. We've found that our 4 year old prefers running, climbing and playing hide and seek at old castle ruins.

Wow, I didn't realize I was so anti-legoland!

If you do want to plan some time that is more focused on your children you can take a look at the sites:
www.castlexplorer.com (a list of TONS of castles -- from Disney-esque with knights and tournaments -- to ruins that you have to hike in to see)
http://www.geocaching.com/ geocaching is sort of like going on a treasure hunt but with a gps -- our son LOVES it. There are tons and tons of caches in the UK. It's a great way to go on a walk through the countryside while still keeping your children happy and engaged.
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Jan 28th, 2010, 08:48 AM
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"For example, I want to visit Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds but can't find a place to stay in. Can I just stay in Burford (where I found accomodations already) -- will it be easy for me to still visit Chipping Campden ?"

You can stay in ANY village or town in the Cotswolds as a base to see the whole region. Every one the villages are w/i easy driving distance of each other. Think of the Cotswolds like one county in the States. You can get anywhere from anywhere. Burford is a nice place to stay.

Same for Cornwall. Just pick a B&B/town you like and don't worry about exactly where it is. You can tour all of Cornwall and much of Devon from any single location.
janisj is online now  
Jan 28th, 2010, 02:06 PM
  #8  
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Thanks J anisj...that's exactly what I needed to know!
Eric_Bal is offline  
Jan 28th, 2010, 03:37 PM
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I like and agree with janisj's suggestions. When we went to England last summer, we went to Windsor castle the first afternoon and then Legoland on the first full day. We then drove a loop around England. By going to Legoland on the first full day, my jet lagged kids were happy to wake up and do something fun. It made an easier transition to England time. On all of our Europe trips with our kids, I have found planning something very kid friendly the first day (even if it wouldn't be my grown up first choice) gets us off to a good start. The last thing you want to do is put them in a car to drive that day so that they don't sleep too much during the day. If your 4 year old likes Legos, you should go to Legoland. There is plenty for even a toddler to do for a day there.
padams421 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2010, 01:58 AM
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You could even get out to a theme park - Thorpe Park is not far from Windsor and is designed for all ages
plastic_paddy is offline  
Jan 29th, 2010, 06:57 AM
  #11  
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we are flying from asia...and not a direct flight. we arrive at around 1:30pm .. but after about 20 hours from leaving our home to landing in heathrow. i understand the need to get them out of the sun on the 1st day doing something fun to combat the jetlag....but won't lego land be too much ? worried i might tire them out and push them too the limit so soon after landing. this would be the longest trip we've taken them so not sure. how old were your kids and how long were your flights ? thank you!
Eric_Bal is offline  
Jan 29th, 2010, 07:01 AM
  #12  
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sorry..i just re read jjanisj first note. you recommend lego land for our 2nd day, afternoon!

if we follow that route, is cotswolds the logical first stop before bath ? Not the other way around ? We were t hinking of taking public transporation to Bath , spend the 2 days there, and just get a car when we leave bath for the cotswolds ? Since Bath is a walking place, anyway.

From Heathrow, is there do-able with toddlers public transportation to Windsor (to Legoland too) then to Bath ?
Eric_Bal is offline  
Jan 29th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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Disneyland is only 2 hours from London if that's what you want.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Jan 29th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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This makes the most sense: Windsor then the Cotswolds -- then Bath, then the southwest/Cornwall. Otherwise you'd be to-ing and fro-ing.

I'd get a car at LHR and drive to your B&B/hotel in Windsor on arrival. Normally it isn't a good idea to drive the first day due to jet lag -- but Windsor is only 7 miles from LHR so just 15 mins max. depending on where you stay.

Then after LegoLand on day two - drive up into the Cotswolds - about an hour's drive give or take to Burford for instance.

Thane after a few days on the Cotswolds - head down to Bath and then on to the southwest.
janisj is online now  
Jan 29th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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what janisj said, in spades.

think about renting a cottage in Cornwall for a week and making that the centre of your trip. spend the first week travelling down to cornwall via the Cotswolds, the 2nd week in Cornwall, then fly back to London from Newquay [4 flights a day to Gatwick, and some to London City] or get the train back - one of the great British train journeys, especially the first half.

have a look at the Cornwall Tourist Board site - www.visitcornwall.com for lists of accommodation of all types. you'll find plenty of child-centred activities here to keep you and the children occupied for a week plus lovely beaches, walks, gardens....

have a great trip,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
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