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England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

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England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

I'd posted an itinerary for my upcoming trip a month or so back, and gotten comments on it. I've since reworked it, and welcome more comments. (Hopefully it's a bit less hectic, for the most part than my earlier version.)

Travelers are myself, (Female 50-something) my just-graduated from college daughter, and my sister and her husband (who are living in England this year.) We will be mostly staying with them in Oxford and day-tripping.

Saturday: Daughter and I arrive Heathrow around 9 a.m. -- bus to Oxford. In the afternoon see a play and walk around a bit, then sleep off jet-lag.

Sunday: Sightsee in Oxford -- Ashmoleon, look at some colleges, maybe the library tour.

Monday: Up bright and early, pick up rental car at 8 and drive to Wells. Should arrive by around 10:30. See the cathedral. Around noon, drive to Bath and park in the out-of-town 'park and ride' lot. Must see's in Bath are the Baths and Fashion museum; also hope to see one or more of the smaller museums (Holbourne Gallery, Astronomy museum, possibly peek into the Abbey. Early evening stroll around for a bit, then drive to Cardiff and have a late dinner. (We have hotel reservations in Cardiff.)

(Alternatively, we could do Bath first and then go to Wells for evensong. How much of the Cathedral can be seen from your seat while listening to the service? Which is the more efficient use of time? Is it considered unspeakably rude to sneak out of the service a little early?)

Tuesday: Cardiff Castle in the morning, and a short visit to the national museum, mostly to see the art. After lunch, a leisurely drive east to/through the Wye Valley, stopping at Caerleon on the way. Probably check out Chepstow castle. By evening make it to Tewkesbury, where we have hotel reservations.

Wednesday: Day in the Cotswolds. We want to see the falconry near Moreton and the Rollright stones. (And we'll probably see Tewksesbury Abby while we're there.) Other than that, we'll play it by ear. Return to Oxford in the evening.

Thursday: Return the rental car and get the train to London, arriving around 9:45. Tube to Pimlico. Spend an hour or so at the Tate Gallery (being very selective -- I know we can't see it all in an hour). Walk to Westminster, grab an early lunch, and then see the Abbey. Mid to late afternoon at the War Rooms.(Use 2 for 1 tix.) Walk to Trafalgar Square, an early dinner at Cafe in the Crypt, then see the National Portrait Gallery for as long as we have until we need to return to St. Martin the Fields for a 7:30 concert. (The gallery is open late on Thursdays.) Bus back to Oxford after the concert.

Friday: Train to London, arriving around 10:15. (This is probably our most hectic day, but I can't see any other way to do it.) A short visit to the British Library, then to the British Museum. Spend about 3 1/2 hours there, including lunch in a museum cafe. Around 3 to Apsley House. (2 for 1) Late afternoon to the V&A, which is open until 10, though we'll need to leave a bit earlier to get a train back to Oxford. (Dinner either at the museum or a picnic in Hyde Park or something near the V&A.) The V&A website notes that 'selected' galleries are open in the evening. I can't find any info on exactly which galleries are and are not open. Anyone know where to find it? I'd hate to discover that the one thing I'm most dying to see is closed...

Saturday: Train to London, arriving around 9 -- tube to Tower Hill. Morning at the Tower. (2 for 1) After lunch to the Courtauldt Gallery; (daughter should get in free as a full-time college student -- if not, there's a a 2 for 1); late afternoon at the National Gallery. A pre-theatre dinner, then we have tickets to the theatre in the evening.

Sunday: Train to London. (Alas, the earliest train on Sunday doesn't arrive until after 10, frustrating for trying to take advantage of cheap day return tickets on the weekend.) Museum of London in the morning; Greenwich in the afternoon. (Maritime and Fan Museums -- other stuff as time permits.) Take the river boat from Greenwich back into central London, dinner (unsure where), and train back to Oxford.

Monday:Mid-morning bus back to Heathrow for our flight home.

Southampton
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1. Re: England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

I know you are using your train tickets for the 2 for 1 offers, but have you considered using the bus? There are two companies, Oxford Tube and Oxford Espress. They run every 20 minutes and may well be more convenient for your accommodation if you have to cross the whole of Oxford at rush hour to get to the station. You could then buy travel cards at a rail station (as you will need to use the tube anyway) which will get you 2 for 1. I am sure the bus will run earlier than the train on Sundays.

Your days are far too full for me and I would hate this holiday. But it's your holiday. For me the ratio of transport time to sightseeing time to too skewed towards the transport. But it is just about physically possible, which is a lot better than many itineraries posted on this board!

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2. Re: England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

Yes, I'm familiar with the bus. We'll be taking it BACK to Oxford one day (when we're a little unsure about making a chosen, pre-paid train time). But going to London it takes much longer and buying a return rail ticket also gives us an amazing price on a travel card. In Oxford our accommodation is about a 15 minute walk from the station. (And I believe the bus station is in the same area.)

Taking it on Sunday might be sensible though ... (Does the regular travel card cover the DLR to Greenwich? Or would we need to use Oyster cards for that?)

Plymouth
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3. Re: England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

I think this plan is do-able but it involves a lot of rushing around and I hope you won't be disappointed because you can't see as much of places as you would wish. I am thinking especially of Wells and Bath, the two places with which I am most familiar.

I haven't done evensong at Wells but I have done Matins which was a great experience. It - and I understand evensong also - was held in the choir area, so you would have to allow more time to see the rest of the building. I suppose you could go out before the end, but you might well feel very uncomfortable about it.

East Sussex, United...
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4. Re: England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

Thursday looks incredibly full to me - and that's if you were based in London. Add a peak hour commute in to that.... And I'm not sure whether you'll even get a seat on the train - hopefully a regular traveller on that route can advise.

As a suggestion : Can you not stay in London at least one night to make this a little less hectic ?

Mike

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5. Re: England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

We'll be buying the Thursday a.m. ticket in advance. Will that not guarantee a seat?

(As for staying in London ... really hard to justify the cost when the train is so cheap, London hotels so expensive and our accommodation in Oxford is free! In general the schedule is such that we should arrive at first morning 'sight' not much more than 20-30 minutes after it opens in the morning anyway.)

Edited: 21 April 2014, 12:23
London, United...
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6. Re: England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

A bit less hectic? No. This is definitely hectic still. Very interesting itinerary with great choice of things to see and do but just be prepared to be flexible especially on your London days because you are trying to pack in so much you may simply not get round to it all. But good luck with it.

East Sussex, United...
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7. Re: England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

Yes, if you book in advance then you can book your seat at the same time. As above, good luck.

Mike

8. Re: England (and a little Wales) Itinerary -- Mark II

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