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Top 5 choices from London

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Apr 10th, 2015, 05:10 PM
  #1
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Top 5 choices from London

Our family of 6 (4 boys ages 10-19) will be traveling to England for our first time this June. We are renting a house in London for 7 nights. Then we will have 5 days to do as we wish before returning home. What would be the best use of those days?
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Apr 10th, 2015, 05:14 PM
  #2
 
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You options are just about unlimited. What sorts of things do you want to see/do. Castles, outdoors activities, History sites, or ???. And does it have to be in England? How about Wales or Scotland? or Paris even?

Are you flying out out of LHR?
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Apr 10th, 2015, 05:43 PM
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With kids in such a large age range I would assume you will want to break up into separate groups at times (presumably the older kids will want to go to some student pubs/clubs in the evenings).

And all of those kids are old enough to do part of the planning. Get a bunch of guide books and tour brochures and let everyone do some searching and come up with their top 4 or 5 sights - then see which match and which you might want to separate for.

For a basic list of the most important sights go to destinations above.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 03:05 AM
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I think the OP wants to know what to do with the 5 days after London. Hard to reply to that without knowing your interests. Are you driving, using trains? Do you want to stay in the UK?
Possibilities are endless.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 05:41 AM
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Chose one area and head there by train then use it as a base - doing more than one base with a group that size means a lot of time packing up, relocating, unpacking, etc.

Like take the train to Edinburgh and use that as a base - lots of neat things younger folk will be interested in there - do some easy day trips by train or bus to places like Stirling and its famous castle - with BraveHeart connections or to St Andrews, a lovely seaside town also famous for the Old Course - the most famous golf course in the world and there is so so much to see and do in Edinburgh itself.

And you could stop off in York for a day or two - oneof England; most gorgeous interesting cities with again lots of neat stuff for folks all ages - then take a train to Edinburgh and fly home from there.

Well that is just one of many possible scnerios - for lots of good info on trains - www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets that can save you a ton over wlak up fares; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com. If having to go bak to London for a flight consider taking the Caledonian Sleeper train for another unique experience the family may love - sleep in private compartments for 4 and 2 people.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 05:48 AM
  #6
 
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Any good guidebook will have lists of the "top" sights. Have each kid pick a day trip from London, or you pick an area to move to.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 05:50 AM
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Are the kids interested in the Harry Potter - the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour is a short train ride/bus shuttle from London:

http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/
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Apr 11th, 2015, 05:55 AM
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London has some of the best and most interesting museums and some of these are free. You can google them.
And agree with PalenQ, your kids might like to visit Harry Potter Studio Tour.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 09:44 AM
  #9
 
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I think they are asking about the extra 5 days . . . not for things to do in/day tripping from London . . . which is sort of unanswerable w/o more info from the OP.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 10:31 AM
  #10
 
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I think janis' idea of doing Paris for 5 days is brilliant if they are not especially keen on the British countryside or cities. Paris is but a few hours by Chunnel train - fly home from Paris - who knows if and when your kids will ever get another chance to see Paris (on someone else's dime that is!)

do a day trip to say the Loire Valley to see some of the famous castles or to Reims for Champagne tours or to Chartres for the world-famous Gothic cathedral, etc.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 12:29 PM
  #11
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Thank you for all of your suggestions. I'm sorry, I should have been more clear. I am looking for ideas after we are through with London and the area right outside the city. We are flying in and out of LHR. We are willing to go to Wales or Scotland, but have already been to Paris. My first thought was to rent a car and drive to Bath, Wales, the Lake District, York and back to London and stay one night in each city.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 01:05 PM
  #12
ESW
 
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" My first thought was to rent a car and drive to Bath, Wales, the Lake District, York and back to London and stay one night in each city."

That involves a lot of driving and although you'll see a lot of the country it is going to be through a car windscreen. Rather than trying to do all of them choose one or at the most two places and spend a little more time actually exploring them.

What sort of things are you wanting to see/do?


You mention Scotland or Wales... Scotland is going to be a full days drive from London, plus another full day back again. If you are set on Scotland, it might make sense to take the train to Edinburgh. If you spend all the time based in Edinburgh you won't need a car as public transport is good.

Wales isn't as far to drive but if you are planning on either NW or SW Wales then you need to allow 4-5 hours drive time each way.

One suggestion is to spend a couple of nights in York (Minster, Clifford's Tower, Jorvik, castle Museum, Walls to walk round, boat trip, National Railway Museum, Treasurer's House... ) and the next two in the North York Moors, possibly using Helmsley as a base. There is some excellent scenery, some lovely small villages to explore as well as ruined abbeys (Rievaulx, Byland, Mount Grace Priory and Whitby), ruined castles at Helmsley, Pickering and Scarborough. There is the North York Moors Steam Railway. Harry Potter has already been mentioned by PalenQ and Goathland Station was used for Hogwarts. Check your brakes well and drive down Sutton Bank and Rosedale Chimney, some of the steepest roads in England. Visit the folk museum at Hutton the Hole....
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Apr 11th, 2015, 02:15 PM
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mama--When you consider driving, I assume you are putting destinations into some mapping program like Googlemaps and getting routes and times. In our experience, the times suggested by such are way under what is needed--you should double the estimate, especially as you are talking about traveling in June. I guess you could possible drive to each of these 4 areas you mentioned, drop into bed, and get up and drive to the next destination, but I don't think you'd have time to "see" anything. Travel by car in the UK is time-consuming.

I'd either stay in London and take some day trips a bit further afield than maybe you will have done--Oxford, Bath could be a long day, the boys would probably love Dover, Brighton is fun for young folks, Winchester, Salisbury/Stonehenge, and several others are doable by train. Even York is conceivable to do by train. OR go to ONE other place--York, or Edinburgh, or some place in Wales--and stay for 2-3 nights. You would still have to eat up practically 2 days of travel there and back to London for your flight. There are so many day and half-day trips from London that I'd urge you to consider that--

And if you do decide to travel by car, do factor in all the things that will delay you--getting the car will take ....several hours, turning it back in will take some time, traffic delays are ubiquitous in England in the summer.

Just don't want you to set yourself up for something that is not logistically possible.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 02:17 PM
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Good advice texasbookworm.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 03:18 PM
  #15
 
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There are loads of things you could do within a relatively small distance of London, but you only really have time to do one of these things:

1. go West to Bath via Stonehenge and Longleat and back to LHR via Salisbury and Winchester. Perhaps call in at Arundel. Castles, prehistory, medieval/georgian towns and cities.

2. Castles south of London - Leeds, Dover, Bodiam, Hever, plus Canterbury for the Cathedral. Stay somewhere like Tunbridge Wells.

3. Oxford and environs

4. Go walking in Derbyshire - the Peak District. lovely countryside.

5. Boating on a canal or on the Norfolk broads.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 05:22 PM
  #16
 
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>>My first thought was to rent a car and drive to Bath, Wales, the Lake District, York and back to London and stay one night in each city.<<

That isn't 5 days -- more like two weeks worth. You would literally have one late afternoon/evening in each place after driving for hours.

Since it seems you really only have 4 days since you have to be back to fly out of LHR. So - Bath and the Cotswolds, w/ maybe a day trip into South Wales. OR - a small bit of North Wales and the Lakes. OR York/Yorkshire. OR Dover/Kent/East Sussex. OR Dorset/Hampshire/Wiltshire.

If you want to visit Scotland you'd really need to fly or take the train up. Once in Scotland you could rent a car for 3 days - then return by plane or train to London. You really don't have time to drive up and back.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 08:35 PM
  #17
 
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Slightly further afield, there are lots of cheap and short (1 hour) round trip flights to Amsterdam. Anne Frank House, various museums, canal cruises, Vondelpark, short train trips to Dleft, Rotterdam, and many others, bike tours, Dutch pancakes, Heineken Experience (or Brouwerij"t) and a thousand other attractions. Not to mention some of the best apple desserts anywhere.
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Apr 13th, 2015, 03:00 PM
  #18
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Due to all of your advice, I've decided to pare down to just York and Bath (2 nights in each). Thank you for saving me.
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Apr 25th, 2015, 05:27 AM
  #19
 
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"'ve decided to pare down to just York and Bath"

I wouldn't do that. York is a waste of time, except for the minster. Bath is maybe a day. You'd get much more out of more days in London. A week doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. If you must, York and Bath are easy day trips from London. Although Oxford, Cambridge, Greenwich are much better. With kids, Greenwich is a don't miss.
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Apr 25th, 2015, 07:06 AM
  #20
 
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York is a waste of time - enough said for that daft take on York - kids will love in York:

climbing up to the ramparts that largley encircle the town and walk along them;

The Yorvik Viking Center - kind of a thrill ride and an adventure based on Viking history in York and area

The National Railway Museum - great great place for kids - lots of hands-on things as well as oodles of trains, royal carriages, etc.

Those three kid-centric things along will take a day and then there is the Minister and lots of other sights.
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