Thoughts??? 8/9 weeks Europe with Kids

Old Jan 17th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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Well, as you're committed to the car, try to get one with steering on the left as most of your driving will be on the Continent.

My favorite base in the Cotswolds is Burford. I like The Lamb and the Bay Tree Hotels, both small. You can inquire whether they have a family room or two rooms with inner connecting door. Of course you can't put children that small in an adjacent room without a connecting door. Small hotels and B&Bs are more likely to have family rooms.

You might look at Wyck Hill House just outside Stow on the Wold but have not stayed there in years. There are people on here who live in the Cotswolds who will have better suggestions for the area. Also look at cottages, almost always a better bargain with more space.

My favorite hotel on the south coast of Cornwall is the Talland Bay which also has cottages. It is over your budget but have a look, it's a lovely place. However, you can easily find a small cottage at or under your budget. A few web addresses: www.tallandbayhotel.co.uk www.bedandbreakfastburford.co.uk www.cornishcottageholidays.net www.beachside.co.uk

Don't leave booking too long, while UK schools will still be in session, June is popular with couples with young children such as yourself, couples without children and retirees!
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 09:08 AM
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I have never leased a car, but I would definitely assume a car leased in London will be a right hand drive - which will make driving 'interesting' on the continent!! And are you sure you can drop a right hand drive in Frankfurt - these are things I would definitely check into ASAP!
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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Agree, Jami, but as OP says leased car can be dropped anywhere, am hoping they have left-side steering cars avaiable. I've driven our French car in the UK and a UK car in France but would not want to do it for an extended road trip.

Still, there are plenty of Brits resident in France driving their UK cars for years.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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I thought from your other threads you were reconsidering the lease??

If you are picking the car up in the UK it is almost certain to be RHD. Why not consider renting a car for the short time you are driving around England . . . and then get a leased car once you hit the Continent.

(personally - I'd still do a combo of rentals and trains and forget about the lease because of all the cities you are visiting. But you seem really [REALLY] reluctant to use trains)
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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Really like the idea to go to Gardaland (http://www.gardaland.it/resort/), it's a great amusement park and very Italian. Sirmione in that area is a darling town too.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 03:44 PM
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Crazy- just a couple of comments to re-enforce some of the above-
1. With children distracting you, driving with the same car in England and on the continent will be very very challenging. I have driven on the left hand side in England and Ireland for 10 to 12 days in a row and, even tho I did not have any alcohol until the car was always parked for the night, was very happy to return the cars with only minor damage. Rent a car when you leave London and return it before taking the train to Paris.
Once you are in France, I believe you can lease cars through Renault when you leave Paris and they are brand new. And I think insurance is included. Also, I think there is a drop fee but it isn't that much. I understand wanting to drive everywhere because of the hassle with luggage, but parking in some cities will cost more than the car rental. And be careful with the size of the car- you can only put 2-3 suitcases in the trunk in all but the larger (and a lot more expensive) rental cars. And if the car is too large you will have trouble driving on some of the smaller (narower)roads.And if you have a lot of luggage, there is the problem with unpacking the car and getting up multiple flights of stairs with the luggage if the hotel doesn't have an elevator. Maybe you could reduce the amount of luggage and use laundramats more- The standard way to pack is to pack what you think you will need then repack with half as much. There are supermarkets and department stores all over in which you can purchase items that you forget or run out of.

2. Having spent 1 night in Varenna, as mbloggs pointed out, Varenna is really small with not much to do except eat and stroll the lakefront. Six days would really bore me unless I had relatives there.

3. I would replace Innsbruck with Salzburg and the surrounding lakes (add a day or 2 from Varenna).

4. Maybe spend more time in Munich ( add a day or 2 from Varenna) and visit the castles and other sights around Fussen.

I hope you have a wonderful trip and please write a trip report- everyone with children will appreciate it!
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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Goodmorning!!!

Ok . .just rechecking the lease and yes we are getting a left hand drive car ...but is this going to be tricky in England? DO you think we should rent a car in the uk and then pick up the "lease car in France?"

We do still want to see Cotsworld and Cornwall so THANKYOU SO MUCH
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:43 PM
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Just to make it even more interesting how about when we get to Italy we spend 5 days (or is this still too long) in Varenna . .remembering our day trip to Milan is in this time.

then drive to an apartment in Tuscany that isn't too far from a train station for 8/9days . . from this base we will take a train to Rome/Siena/Florence etc and still do little drives to other places??? SUGGESTIONS PLEASE

then drive somewhere from this base to Salzburg.

This sound better?
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:48 PM
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Hi CF

>Day 16-19 - Disney
2 days too many

>Day 25-30 - Travel South to Barcelona
It's a 9hr drive the short way. How many stops, and for how long each stop, do you want to make on the way?

You might want to go Paris--> Bordeaux--> Pau--> Roda de Isábena--> Barcelona
You will see the ocean and the Pyrenees.

>Drive through France to...
See maps.google.com for Barcelona--> Avignon--> Briançon--> Lake Orta--> Varenna

You are leaving out Venice????????????????

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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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morning >> I think we are going to just do a day trip to Disney and stay longer in Paris now . . tell me do you pay entrance fee and then pay for rides as well??? The trip to Barcelona we have put aside 4 days . .but we could extend it if you thought that would be best We don't know what would be best . . we thought a night somewhere in the "loire Valley" then a few days in Sarlet . . .then Barcelona? This was based off someones recommendations . . .what do you think?

We have been to Venice twice now ..mind you it was in WInter . . .everyone seems to love it but we don't have fond memories of the place . . .it was coldest place we had ever been . .the gondola ride was expensive and the water was smelly and dirty . . .so we didn't think we would go again but everyone seems to suggest to go there! WHY . .what am I missing? It has been over 10 years since we last went have things changed?

I like the sound of the drive from Barcelona to Varenna . .what would you suggest in regards to time spent in these places.

Can I also just take this time to say THANK YOU to everyone for helping us! I PROMISE it will end up as a blog for others travelling with kids!
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 06:48 PM
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I am pretty sure the Disneyland Paris is just like the other Disneys where you buy an insanely expensive day pass and then all of the rides and attractions are included. But it will still be a very pricey day, EVERYTHING in Disney is expensive.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 06:57 PM
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Your trip sounds awesome! Your kids are so lucky to have parents who are enthusiastic adventurers!
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 07:03 PM
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>> Thanks for that I was hoping so! and >> we figure you live once and we know we have great kids and we love doing the kids things as well ...I just know this trip is going to be great! Just got to figure out the details
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 07:46 PM
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I think it was goldenautumn who mentioned ride tickets at Disneyland. That info is probably 35+ years out of date. (long before there even was a DL Paris) No you don't have to but tickets for individual rides.

"but is this going to be tricky in England? DO you think we should rent a car in the uk and then pick up the "lease car in France?""

Uh - yes I think that is what I said. I was assuming it would be a RHD car which would be harder on the Continent. But being a LHD car just means it will be harder in the UK.

BTW - please note it is 'the Cotswolds' not 'Cotsworld'. Once could have been a typo but not four times. (Cotsworld sounds like a theme park)
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 07:59 PM
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hi >> thanks for that . . I have set up shortcuts with the towns names and didn't put an "s" on the end . .whoops! So I think this change is better . . .rent a car in the uk for one week . .train to Paris and after Paris pick up a car to drive south of France to Barcelona and so forth.

Thanks again !
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 09:46 PM
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"Just to make it even more interesting how about when we get to Italy we spend 5 days (or is this still too long) in Varenna . .remembering our day trip to Milan is in this time."

I still think 5 days in Varenna is too long. Why not spend a couple of days on the lake and then for a completely different thought - drive down to Rapallo. There's a fantastic small hotel in Rapallo, in the hills above the town, with room to park. It offers meals and when I stayed there in June was nowhere near full. From there you can drive or go up and down the mountain to the town on a cable car, which is great fun for the kids. From Rapallo you can get the train and do a Cinque Terre walk, spend a day at the beach, catch the bus to Santa Margherita Ligure, get a boat to and from the pretty town of Portofino, and do a day trip into Genoa which is a fascinating city. The Italian Riviera is one of my all time favourite spots in Italy, arguably on a par with the Amalfi coast.

Why are you going to Milan? It's a very big busy city, and while I like it for shopping and the duomo and the Last Supper, it doesn't strike me as a great choice with young kids.

In Tuscany I already mentioned a place called Il Palazzo, an agriturismo (working farm - oil and wine) in the hills outside Arezzo. It has a range of apartments, a lovely pool and space for kids to run around. Arezzo is a wonderful city (I lived there for a year) and is not full of tourists. It has a beautiful centre to explore and if you're into art, the frescoes of Piero della Francesca. You can catch a train to Florence and then go on to places like Lucca or Pisa, a bus to Siena (90 minutes) or you could drive to any of these places. If that doesn't appeal, there are thousands of villas advertised on the internet near regional centres like Florence, Cortona, Siena, Perugia, Lucca. the only one of these places with fast connections to Rome though would be Florence. The rest require train changes and slower trains or buses.

I totally approve of driving to Salzburg. What a lovely small city with a beautiful castle to visit and truly memorable cake!
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 09:57 PM
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" . . . and didn't put an "s" on the end . .whoops!

No, it isn't the 's' that is the problem.

The area is called 'the Cotswolds'. Cotswold (sans s) is a perfectly good adjective. "Cotswold stone", "Cotswold village", etc.

What isn't correct is the "r" you keep adding . . . Cotswo<red>r</red>ld
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Old Jan 18th, 2013, 12:14 AM
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So glad you plan to pick up the leased car after Paris--I know you mentioned you had arranged parking but you won't need it for day trips, Reims is so easy by train and Disney by RER. Your time in Paris will fly by, if you want there are more easy day trips--Versailles, Giverny, Chantilly, Rouen, etc.

If you could start the UK part of your trip with the Cotswolds or Cornwall, then do London, you can take the eurostar direct to Paris from St Pancras station in central London. Most trains, but not all, stop in Ashford in Kent, so that's an option rather than going back into London but a long drive from Cornwall. If you leave the UK from Cornwall, check flights from Exeter, Flybe I believe flies Exeter-Paris, there may be others. Also there are flights from Southampton, both easier, imo, than driving to Ashford for eurostar. You do have to watch luggage allowances.
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Old Jan 18th, 2013, 01:33 AM
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>>>then drive to an apartment in Tuscany that isn't too far from a train station for 8/9days . . from this base we will take a train to Rome/Siena/Florence etc and still do little drives to other places??? SUGGESTIONS PLEASE
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Old Jan 18th, 2013, 01:39 AM
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(Cotsworld sounds like a theme park)

... or a superstore selling baby's beds (no doubt located alongside Toys R Us and Currys)!
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