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Where to spend the last two nights of our England vacation

Where to spend the last two nights of our England vacation

Old Jan 10th, 2008, 01:42 PM
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Where to spend the last two nights of our England vacation

We (my wife and I, our three children- 8,6 and 3- and my in-laws) are visiting England for nine nights in late March/early April. We are staying in London for the first seven nights- near Sloane Square in an apartment we rented through VRBO thanks to a tip someone posted here (thanks Fodorites). That leaves two nights to stay somewhere outside of London. We definitely want to go to Windsor at some point, so that is one option, but we could also do that as a day trip during our London stay. My inlaws have mentioned Stonehenge- I remember being somewhat underwhelmed by it when I was a kid, but that's one possibility. Another is Bath, but not sure how engaging the kids would find it. Perhaps we could stay in a hotel in or near Salisbury and use that as a base. I know it's a kind of open-ended question, but any thoughts on what to do with those last two nights (really two and a half days because we have a late afternoon flight from LHR)?

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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 01:58 PM
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Thjey all have things to recommend them.

Bath: I think the children would like the Roman Baths, which are fabulous, with the exception of the 3 year old. The Building of Bath museum has some interactive opportunities for children too, and the costume museum has some dressing up opportunities.

If you stay at Windsor you could perhaps take the children to Legoland as well as the castle.

I agree Stonehenge and Salisbury might not appeal to young children.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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We got special access tickets to Stonehenge and my 5 year old grandson is still talking about it. Unfortunately, we weren't there long as it was 8C and sleeting -- end of May. The tickets allow you to stay an hour.

With special access tickets you get to go inside the stones. The only drawback is that the shops are closed.

We also went to Arundel Castle. He enjoyed that also, but he's into castles.

When we were in Salisbury on another trip we stayed at Webster's B & B.

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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 03:25 PM
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OUr family stayed overnight in Windsor when our sons were 10 and 5. They really enjoyed the castle and Legoland. LLand was also one of the only amusement parks I have ever been known to enjoy--a nice family outing we still talk about years later.

Our older son got into Roman history in Britain on that trip--a kind bookstore owner in Buxton (Peak District) took him aside and showed him pictures of Hadrian's Wall and other sites and convinced him I was making a good suggestion when I told him he would like Rosemary Sutcliffe's novels. I think your kids are a little young to get terribly excited by that era in history including the Roman baths at Bath. Castles are probably more likely to appeal.

Our kids enjoyed an overnight in Oxford on the same trip. Again, the 10 year old was more engaged/aware of what he was seeing and quite excited that he could visit the pub that Tolkien frequented.

David Macaulay's books of Castle and/or Roman City might be good to read before the trip. There are also good videos (maybe DVDs by now... we had them in video format)
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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From London, it is a quick trip to Woodstock where Blenheim Palace is (the home of Winston Churchill.) This is a charming old English village and the huge palace is just gorgeous. It is a fun village, very quaint. Fodor recommends a small funky B&B--we stayed there, called The Blenheim. Rooms are small but more than adequate--it is literally around the corner from the Palace. Also the church where Churchill was buried is in the town and worth the visit. Also you can go to Windsor for the day and continue on up to Woodstock--it is just a short ride from there. We did this on the day we arrived after all night travel to London --so it works well. barb74
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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Churchill is buried in the nearby village of Bladon - not Woodstock.

Blenheim Palace is beautiful (despite what flanner thinks of it ) But at least two of your kids are probably too young to enjoy it. There is an adventure playground - but the Palace/grounds/gardens really isn't for little ones.

All of the places mentioned so far are fine - but Windsor Castle/legoland might be best. The castle will have some of the same "Child issues" as Blenheim - but there is the Dolls House which is amazing and your kids are the perfect ages for Legoland.

If you want to go a bit farther, Warwick castle is good for kids of all ages.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 11:11 PM
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York would be another choice - plenty for all your family to enjoy. it's a 2 hour train journey from Kings Cross London up to York itself. The city is very compact so as long as you chose a central Hotel you would be able to travel around easily on foot.
I am sure your children would love the National Railway Museum (free entry and excellent). There is also a York wheel just outside the Railway Museum (like a smaller version of the London Eye).
York is very beautiful with loads for you all to enjoy. You can walk along the ancient city walls, there are many other museums and places of interest including ghost walks in the evenings. The Minster is just stunning. You can take a boat along the river or explore the tiny medieval streets known as the Shambles. Here are some websites if York appeals -
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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"Children" of all ages enjoy Warwick Castle. An easy 1.5 hour train journey from London Marylebone to Warwick (town). It's owned by Madame Tussauds and has lots of interactive things to enjoy and as it's probably Easter hols whilst you're in the UK, there will probably be even more child-friendly happenings.
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 06:02 AM
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I agree that Warwick Castle and Windsor Castle would appeal to young children. Definitely forget about Bath/Stonehenge until they are older. While in London, consider taking the boatride to Greenwich from London Tower pier.

Blenheim is not so interesting for children either but fascinating for adults IMO.

I know this is probably too far away for you but if your children are into Harry Potter, they might be interested in Alnwick castle in Northumberland. It is where some of the movies were filmed
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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Since you want to go to Windsor anyway, maybe stay somewhere near there on the Thames and do Windsor Castle and Legoland. Then you will be close to Heathrow for your return flight.

For your day trip from London, you could take the boat to/from Hampton Court Palace. It's castle-like and has a famous maze that kids love.
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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I have to agree with so many of the postings - we lived in windsor for 3 years recently and I find there is so much to do there for kids. My kids were 8 and 11 when we first arrived, and I can honestly say we surely visited every castle in Southern England. Legoland was a family favorite - it is fun for the entire family, easy to park and get around. Very close to the sights in windsor, such as the castle and eton college, etc. Windsor is definitely a day trip, Legoland a day trip, and if the weather is nice the kids will enjoy the walking all around. Of all the castles mentioned, Warwick castle was the favorite (other than Windsor) of my kids because of the interactive dungeon, the layout, and the wax museum. We took many visitors there and lots of kids - all loved it. Well worth the trip. I agree that Bath and stonehenge are a little sleepy and slow - not much to fill an entire day for children, though interesting for adults. You might consider a boat ride from windsor down the river - my kids always enjoyed the locks and the views. Have fun - England is beautiful.
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