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Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

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Brampton, Canada
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Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

Greetings! As a day trip, which would you choose to do? Which do you find more impressive or interesting? Originally, I planned to make a day to Bath part of our 4 1/2 days in England. Now, after hearing about the excitement of Hampton Court Palace, I'm a little torn. Here are my pros of each:

Hampton Court Palace:

- Entry included in the London Pass

- Travel included in the London Pass w/ travel

- Reenactments

- Grounds

- Closer to London, shorter day

Bath:

- Would make me feel that I saw a bit more of England than just Greater London

- Roman Baths

- Neat architecture

- Bath Abbey

- I've heard it's just a must-see

The trip would take place on a Sunday, in October. I've heard that HCP isn't as nice outside of summer. On the other hand, does Bath have enough to make it worth a day trip from London?

I will be seeing Windsor Castle and the Tower of London on separate days as well. Would HCP be a bit overkill?

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

Anna

Adelaide, Australia
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1. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

Bath is a beautiful historic city and very much worth a day visit, and you can take an escorted free walking tour of the city.

www.visitbath.co.uk

www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk trains depart from London Paddington station, and you can check with them, for their two for one tourist passes in Bath.

Raleigh, North...
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2. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

my vote is for bath, we spent a day there and wished we could have spent the weekend. we drove from cambridge, and then we stopped at stonehenge on the way, and then spent the entire day in bath. we went from there to a hotel at LHR where we stayed before our flight back to the states.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

I personally would choose Hampton Court Palace. I've been there at various times of year (Feb., March, and October), and have enjoyed all of my visits immensely. It is, of course, more fun if you get a sunny day, but I think that applies to Bath (or anywhere you'll be outside). I prefer Hampton Court largely because of the history and the architecture, and the atmosphere. Also, as you note, HCP is a very easy (about 30 minute) trip. You can go first thing in the morning, spend several hours (I don't think I've ever spent less than 4 hours there), and still get back to London in time to see something else. That might be crucial since you have a short time in London. I think you would find HCP different than either Windsor Castle or the Tower of London.

Full disclosure: I recommend HCP because my visit to Bath left me distinctly underwhelmed. Perhaps I had just heard too much "you must go to Bath" for it to live up to its billing, but I personally would not classify Bath as a must-see. Others will, of course, think I'm crazy, because lots of people think Bath is fantastic. (There is definitely plenty to see in Bath, though, for a day trip.) If you want to take a day trip to see something outside of metropolitan London, and want to take a whole day, IMHO Cambridge or York would be great choices.

Whatever you decide, have a wonderful trip!

Adelaide, Australia
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4. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

There probably is'nt much history to Bath ?www.buildinghistory.org/bath/index.shtml

Edited: 27 March 2010, 04:51
London, United...
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5. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

The question as to which of Bath or Hampton Court Palace is more impressive or interesting will garner as many answers and reasons for those answers as there are TALFers who've visited both. The best answer reflects back on you: what interests you? Roman baths and lovely architecture plus a bit of English countryside or a Tudor (and Baroque) castle plus maze and gardens (both descriptions are very general, just a starting point)?

What does stand out in your question is the matter of the Londonpass. For a four and a half day stay in England, the Londonpass may or may not provide the value you seek, and the travel option with the pass is, in the very great majority of cases, very poor value, unless you plan to stay outside of zones 1 or 2 in central London.

You also mention 'our...days in England'. It sounds as if at least two will be travelling; rather than rely on a Londonpass consider the offers shown at www.daysoutguide.co.uk The link below is in the process of being updated by our very own hoogo, so watch this forum for its new iteration due in the next week or ten days. The information given may not help you decide which of HCP or Bath to visit but may give you a good idea of how to plan other sightseeing.

tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k313631…

Brampton, Canada
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6. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

TravellerPlus: Thanks for your recommendations.

I guess what interests me about the London Pass is the fact that I don't have to buy tickets in advance and I can still skip the line. Also, the London Pass offers transit to Windsor Castle and/or HCP included with the extra travel option. If I bought an Oyster Card, I would still have to pay extra to get to Windsor Castle. Plus, they offer a 20 pound afternoon tea for two at The Orangery, which my mom wants to try.

As for the Days Out Guide - I checked it out awhile ago and found it difficult to navigate and understand. I like the idea of 2-4-1, but it seems I'd have to do a lot of extra work to get it. Many of the offers also don't currently extend to October, so it makes it hard to plan in advance. London Pass just honestly seems to be the least amount of hassle.

I'm so torn. We have 4 full days in England before moving on and I wish that we could see something outside of London. I guess that's what really attracted me to Bath. But is Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths enough to warrant a 12 hour trip?

I'm interested in HCP because of the history and reenactments, along with it simply being a shorter day, which I prefer. If I skip Bath, however, all I'll see of England is Greater London. That seems to me a bit of a shame.

London, United...
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7. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

You're very welcome.

The travel option of the Londonpass does include the journey to and from Hampton Court, but at a rather inflated cost. A three day pass without / with travel costs £65 / £87, but three one day off peak Travelcards cost just £5.60 each, or £16.80 for three days. A one day off peak Travelcard for zones 1 - 6 which will take you to and from central London to Hampton Court plus any other travelling in the city you might care to do that day costs just £7.50. And travel to and from Windsor is not included in the Londonpass as Windsor is well outside the TfL zones; that's a separate ticket you'll need to buy from either Paddington or Waterloo.

Using the two for one offers requires a Travelcard bought at a rail station ticket office, as those paper tickets are good for National Rail travel, hence viewed as rail tickets for the two for ones. Since you'll need Travelcards to make your way around London buying them at a rail station may be worth the extra effort to save pounds, but it's really up to you. And the very great majority of the offers are usually rolled over every six months with some added or deleted.

Tea for two for £20 at the Orangery is a rather good deal, but there are also options there: hrp.org.uk/Resources/Afternoon_Tea_2010_2.pdf for the current menu.

space coast, fl
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8. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

With just 4 days, I would stick to Hampton Court. It's great! Bath is wonderful too, but you will have something to look forward next time! You WILL want to go back!

Enjoy!

Jakarta, Indonesia
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9. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

I agree, with just 4 days I'd opt for the Hampton Court... Bath is beauuutiful but you can't properly appreciate it if coming as a daytrip only, especially on a weekend (where the hordes of tourists fill the small town)

Stay overnight, you'll get to sleep at a lovely family-owned English B&Bs.. the many atmospheric old pubs/restaurants will guarantee a perfect, romantic evening :) save it for another journey.

Little Rock...
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10. Re: Bath or Hampton Court Palace?

Which aspect of British history is more interesting to you - the Roman occupation or the reign of the Tudors? For me, I've done a lot of reading about the latter, and Hampton Court Palace was a "not to be missed" for me. Whereas the Romans... eh. So, if you would enjoy doing a little historical reading, that might make the choice for you.