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Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

Toronto, Canada
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Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

Hi everyone,

I'm a 34 year old male, travelling to London/UK/Europe for the first time this April (Apr. 14th-May 15th).

I'm fun, easy-going, and pretty much open to most things. I want to use this time to just bum around a few countries and experience the various cultures.

Some of my interests include: trying new foods/wines, hitting clubs/lounges, checking out concerts, hitting a football game (no preference in team/league), hanging out with locals (not necessarily doing the "tourist" thing), etc.

I do have a friend that lives in London, however, he may NOT there when I arrive (he's job-hunting)...so I'm planning to do all of this on my own. I do have a connection who is pretty hooked up in the club industry in London, so evening activities shouldn't be a problem.

Keep in mind, i have only booked my flight, and NOTHING else, so I'm open to some tips/suggestions. :)

1) What will the weather be like during this time of the year?

2) I would like to hit the following places during this trip:

LONDON, IRELAND, SCOTLAND, AMSTERDAM, and, if time is permitting, PARIS/CZECH REP (and maybe more if i can squeeze it in)...

Is this realistic considering i'll be there for about a month? I'd open to spending a short time in each country, if it meant seeing more...

3) If I am arriving in GATWICK, how should i determine which order i should do the countries in?

4) How would you recommend getting around these various places? (ie. Train/plane....)

5)Two things i want to do in ENGLAND - Visit family friend in Southhampton, and check out STONEHENGE (only if you people would recommend it.). If STONEHENGE sucks/or is boring, i could skip it...Especially if it's out of the way.

Anyways, I know it's alot of info, but, even if someone is able to suggest a few things/give me pointers/etc... I would greatly appreciate it!

Thank you, in advance, for your help!

SIR10LY

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

1). No-one knows. It is Spring / early summer. Could be anything.

2) Realistic? Depends what you want to see and do in those places. Each could justify a week, so you'll need to prioritise.

3) Makes no difference where you arrive.

4) Train from central London to Scotland/paris. Plane elsewhere.

5). Do a search on here for Stonehenge. Consider Avebury as well.

have fun

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

Thank you for the quick reply peterscot!!

Appreciate the advice! :)

london
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3. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

www.seat61.com for trains to/within Europe

www.flightmapping.com for flights to Europe

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

Nice..thank you for the links hickney ! :)

York, United Kingdom
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5. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

When you say bum around I guess you may be more interest in seeing the countries than the hotel rooms Have you ever look at the couchsurfing network.

Charlotte, North...
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6. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

You may want to check out several other boards and some books. I'd recommend Rick Steve's Europe Thorugh the Back Door (and his site Ricksteves.com). At your age you might want to also consider the Let's Go series and others, too. Personally, I think you are trying to do TOO MUCH. London, Edinburgh (or other Scottish desitnation like Inverness), Paris and Amsterdam would easily fill 4 to 6 weeks or more. Remember that you loose 1/2 to a full day each time you change locations. Spend 1 week in London and do your desired day trips. Train to Scotland. Spend 1 week in either Edinburgh or Inverness. Fly to Amsterdam- spend 1 week. Fly or train to Paris 1 week. You could drop Paris and save some time and money. Or drop Amsterdam and take the Eruostar to Paris and extend time in the other locations. You can easily spend several weeks in each city and not be bored! Scotland and London are my personal favorites. Let me know if you have quesitons.

kent,England
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7. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

I would skip Stonehenge unless you are in that area for some other reason. You can see it from the road but they charge you to go right up to it and it is not really worth it unless you are into the pagan/spiritual thing. Train travel in the uk is extortionate especially if you are not doing a simple return trip so car hire could be an idea or a coach from Victoria station. Fly to Scotland and/or Ireland as it is cheaper than the train in normal circumstances.

If going to Southampton take some time to visit the New Forest.

London sightseeing - dependant on timescale it is worth doing an open top bus tour as you get to see a bit of everything. Admission to most places is pricey (due to tourists!) but a simple walk along the Embankment will reveal hundreds of years of history. Visit Westminster Abbey and at least have a walk around the outside of the Tower of London. River trips are also a good way to condense London's history into a fun trip.If you do a river trip note that the OXO tower you will see on the south side was built as such as advertising along the river has always been banned and they got around it by placing the windows in such a fashion to spell OXO thus getting round the law! If you walk up The Mall from Buck Palace towards T square stay on the left hand side, as you pass through Admiralty Arch look to the right hand side of the left arch and you will see what looks like a nose about 1/3 of the way up. This dates from Napoleonic times when soldiers on horseback could rub it as a way of 'rubbing old Boney's nose in it'! In T square you can see what was the world's smallest police station (it's now a council broom cupboard!) Wander into the City (if you don't know this is the original old London town and although now the financial hub has numerous famous streets and sights) If you get time you can do an evening Jack The Ripper walk (ring 020 8530-8443 to book the best trip) and I am only speaking from experience and have no link the company whatsoever) .

Don't forget the south side of the thames, the Southbank is a nice walk and a visit to Borough market is worthwhile. The Imperial War Museum in Lambeth is well worth a trip, it is informative, humbling and very interesting.

Have a trip on the London Eye but only if the weather is fine ie not cloudy. Don't bother with London Dungeons - v expensive and done in less than 2 hours.

Food - DO NOT eat in any Angus/Aberdeen etc steak house - they are appalling and a rip off. In general unless you want posh nosh finding a decent pub is best for a bite to eat (Wetherspoons pubs do cheaper drinks and a decent cheaper menu). You do not need to tip in pubs and depsite what others may say only tip in a restaurant if the service deserved it.

Places to avoid especially after dark - Brixton,Peckham,Streatham,Kilburn,Harlesden, Bethnal Green,Hackney

Hope this helps, if you have any more specific questions feel free to ask.

Fredericksburg, VA
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8. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

My comment is specifically about Stonehenge - how badly do you want to see it? If your trip will not be complete without it, then you need to go. Otherwise...

We didn't go last year, and my son (then 10) was quite disappointed. So we made it a priority to go this year. We took the train from London, and wandered around Salisbury awhile as well, but my son's comment about it was that he was expecting "more". Don't get me wrong - we thoroughly enjoyed our trip and the stones are amazing, but you'll be there with a few thousand others, you can't touch the stones, and it will take you awhile to get there. We had gone to Avebury the previous year, and my son decided he liked it better, even though the stones are not as organized. But you can go up and touch them, there are more of them, and they're spread out more.

As suggested, search here for the Stonehenge threads, and look for posts by GilliganUK, who is really quite the Stonehenge expert.

Cybored

Ottawa, Canada
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9. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

It will pay you to do some advance planning. Trains are expensive in England but if you decide in advance what you want to do and book in advance you can save a lot of money. If you want to fly to Europe check out Easy Jet and Ryan Air. For accommodation, check the Youth Hostels Association or if you wnat to staty at hotels, check Travelodge.co.uk. I would skip Stonehenge.

Hampshire, United...
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for Amesbury, London
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10. Re: Canadian invading UK for the first time? Help needed,please.

Thank you for the nice words, Cybored! I must admit when I read the OP's post, I thought 'No, I won't convince him to go and see Stonehenge'. I do recognise that it can be a bit 'hit and miss' for people. It's nice to say you've seen it, but unless you have a real desire to go, it's not worth going out of your way for. There! People won't believe I've said that!

But...to maidenengland,

>> I would skip Stonehenge unless you are in that area for some other reason. .. it is not really worth it unless you are into the pagan/spiritual thing. <<

Purleeease! You can also be 'into' Stonehenge for its historic importance; for its archaelogical importance; for its iconic status; for its mystery; for its architectural importance even (there is no other stone circle quite like it); for its photogenicity; for its wonderful rock cakes even (they are good!)... but... 'pagan/spiritual thing' indeed ... hah! (stomps off, muttering darkly).