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Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

Long Island, NY
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Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

Hi Friends. I'm ready to book my August trip to lovely England, but need feedback from the experts. We are a budget-conscious, family of 5 (kids aged 12, 17, and 19), who love history, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, and charming villages.

Day 1 Fly into Heathrow - Sleep in London

Days 1-6

• Westminster Abbey

• National Gallery (National Portrait Gallery if time/patience allows?)

• British Museum

• St. Paul’s Cathedral

• Tower of London

• Globe Theater tour and play

• Churchill Museum and War Room

• Harry Potter Movie Set (Harry Potter fanatic aboard!)

• A market or two

• A walking tour or two

Q: The guidebooks advise taking the Tube around London. Will it still be cheaper since we have to buy 5 adult tickets?

Q: I think the best/cheapest sleeping arrangement would be renting a flat. Does it matter where it’s located? Price is definitely an issue.

Q: Do you think I can cover all of my sightseeing interests in 6 days?

Q: Did I leave anything out that is a “must see”?

Day 7

• Rent a car and drive to Avebury, Stonehenge, and Salisbury - Sleep in Salisbury

Q: Is that too much in one day?

Q: Should we start the day early up north in Avebury because it make geographical sense? Or should we start at Stonehenge to avoid the crowds, and then double back?

Day 8

• Drive to Bath early AM - Sleep in Lacock

Days 9+10

• Drive around Cotswolds - Sleep ?

Q: Which towns are the least touristy?

Q: Where to sleep? Where to visit?

Q: Is Oxford a “must-see”?

Days 11+12

• Drive to Stratford-Upon-Avon

• See ALL Shakespeare attractions (Shakespeare fanatic aboard!)

• Royal Shakespeare Theater at night

• Warwick Castle on Day 12

Sleep ?

Day 13 Drive back to Heathrow - Fly home (?)

I would expecially appreciate advice on places to stay for a family of 5, and how to make the trip most cost effective. Also, whether I've overlooked any scheduling issues or missed some special sights. Thank you, in advance!! This is my first Forum post, and I'm nervous!!

West Virginia
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1. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

I can't answer your questions about sidetrips because I'm not experienced with those. But for your accomodation I'd say you definitely need to get a flat. Yes location will make a difference insofar as cost. You should tell us your budget in pound sterling. There is a pinned thread at the top of the forums about Do's and Don'ts for Flat Rental - read the thread.

Oyster or National Rail paper travelcards cover the cost of transport around London on bus and tube. Yes it's cheaper. Since you want to visit both the War Rooms and the Tower of London, you should consider National Rail paper seven-day travelcards as you can get 2 for 1 admission to both those attractions with the travelcard.

I think your London itineray is doable if you plan your days well. In other words, plan to see things that are near each other on the same day.

London
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2. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

To get you started on travel round London and the 241 offers mentioned above:

tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g186338-c133479/Lon…

daysoutguide.co.uk/attraction-types/2for1lon…

You should certainly be able to manage your wish list in London. Just bear in mind tiredness and jetlag can affect the first couple of days so avoid any 'heavy' sites requiring lots of concentration and theatre.

For the rest of your trip,Day 7 is fine. I would probably do Avebury first but I don't think it matters hugely. Day 8 - I presume you mean to visit Bath then drive to Lacock? Personally I'd stay in Bath and visit Lacock en route. Parking in Bath can be a pain but look for accommodation with parking included should solve that problem. Days 9-12 - there's rather a lot of ground here - you could spend all 4 nights just in the Cotswolds/Oxford without getting to Stratford and Warwick Castle which are a day each IMO, just to put it in perspective. Do ask on the local forums - Bath/Oxford/Cotswolds etc. for further info. I think accommodation will come down to cost and availability in those locations - I wouldn't worry too much about it being not touristy - anywhere that can sleep 5 at reasonable cost is likely to be touristy tbh.

I presume you know the HP studio tours must be booked in advance? They do sell out and you can't get tickets on the door. During the UK school summer holiday they will be busy. Other than that you're on the right track. You will probably find an apartment or apartment hotel better value and more practical for your group. Laterooms and booking.com are a good resource for London and locations like Bath/Oxford - the Cotswolds may be more difficult.

This list is based on reputable holiday let providers based on posters' experiences.

https:/…

Plymouth
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3. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

Hello! You've done some thorough planning, but just to be awkward I'ld give you some more thoughts:

think about travelling by bus in London - it may be slower than the tube, at least for longer journeys - but you see more en route, and on a sunny (we hope) day do you really want to be stuck underground? The bus 15 from Trafalgar Square to TOL is particularly good

Think about adding in a trip to Greenwich, and travel at least one way by clipper boat - great fun and a great way to see London's riverside. Greenwich has a great market, lovely park, two museums, the National Maritime (Nelsons coat complete with original bullet hole) and Royal Observatory (line ofGreenwich meridian) plus the beautiful chapel and Painted Hall at the old naval hospital

Cotswold towns and villages are very beautiful but very 'touristy' . Personally I'ld only give this one day and just do a small selection - my favourites are Burford and Chipping Campden.

Oxford - lovely place but I'ld think of cutting it out if you prefer to spend your time in Stratford and Warwick.

Whatever you do you'll have a great holiday. Problem is always making choices!

San Diego
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4. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

We made a day of seeing Avebury, Stonehenge, and Salisbury (in that order.) It is definitely doable, just watch your time. We got a bit later of a start then we wanted and it took forever to get our rental car (there was a problem with the person in line ahead of us), so were running about two hours behind. Because of this, we go to the Cathedral just after it closed, which was a huge disappointment. But the town itself was lovely and the outside was amazing.

If you haven't already, check out the walks through London Walks - www.walks.com. We did three with our teens and it was a favorite activity. We would have done more if we had time.

As others have said, definitely rent a flat. We rented through A Place Like Home and it worked perfectly. A wonderful member on these forums - TexScott - has a list of reputable agencies. I will see if I can find it and post it for you. If not, I am sure he will be along soon to do so himself.

Edited: 07 April 2013, 17:02
London
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5. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

amama - it's posted already in my link.

Just to add to the OP's dilemma - if you are interested in Harry Potter, Oxford has some connections so you may wish to prioritise this over Warwick. You may have to make some touch choices in the time you have available but you will still be seeing a lot.

San Diego
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6. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

Oops, I see parklandwalk in post 2 already provided a link for the rental agencies.

Posting at same time, lol.

Edited: 07 April 2013, 17:07
Nottingham, United...
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7. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

With London then one surprise is not having Buckingham Palace on your itinerary.

If your visit includes a Sunday then bear in mind that Westminster Abbey and St Pauls Cathedral are only open for worship on that day.

As for everything that you wish to see then yes I think it is doable. The key is grouping attractions together in the same area.

Re Oxford then I would say it is somewhere not to be missed and I would incorporate Blenheim Palace if you can.

As for the Cotswolds then all of the well known locations attract many visitors. You really need a guide book to make your own decisions but with a car then you can cover a few places in one day if you plan your trip properly. A few favourites of mine are Stow on the Wold, Bourton- on-the- Water and Bibury. There are many other beautiful places too though.

Nottingham, United...
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8. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

Something else that comes to mind which is missing is Changing of the Guard which I think everyone should see once.

The Greenwich suggestion is a good one to get you away from the City for a while. It is a very interesting place.

Long Island, NY
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9. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

Thank you for your generous replies!

whiterabbit, I love the article about flat rental Do's and Don'ts. I will read it carefully before booking anything. I also will check out your idea about the National Rail Travel Card. To answer your question, I am hoping to find lodging for under 100 pounds, but realize I may have to pay more like 130 pounds to avoid extreme inconvience or unsuitable conditions.

parklandwalk, thank you for your links!! I appreciate the opportunity to check out flat listings from a reliable source. I intend to scour all of your wonderful suggestions. Yes, I am aware of the Harry Potter sights at Oxford. You are so right about hard choices!! Thank you for noting the necessity of scheduling the HP studio tour in advance; my daughter would be crushed if I fouled that one up.

Sandy, I love your suggestion about visitng Greenwich. Is the clipper ride down the Thames? It sounds great; I suppose that is something I should make time for.

amama, you answered my Avebury, Stonehenge, Salisbury question perfectly!! Thanks for reassuring me. Love your suggestions about London Walks with teenagers, and the invaluable tips about flat rentals, too.

bevhicklin, thank you for the important tip about Sundays. I made that horrible mistake when visiting the Vatican and had to cut out Pompeii (extremely disappointing). I am so glad that you affirmed that my schedule is "do-able" otherwise.

Everybody, I appreciate your kindness and will take all of your suggestions to heart. I am now confident enough with my itinerary to book my airfare, and tickets to HP studio tour and Globe and Royal Shakespeare Co. If you can bear it, (and if I'm not being an information glutton!) perhaps you'll be able to help me out with my next phase of planning, specific lodging choices, once I post some more detailed questions. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!! :) bibliophile

Nottingham, United...
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10. Re: Two-Week Middle-Stage Itinerary Help Much Appreciated

OP we don't bite on this forum. Just try and help people as we can with whatever. Ask a question we will try and answer it. One of us will know the answer.

My suggestion now is take on board what has been said to you from the forum and look at your preliminary itinerary again. It does need adjusting a little bit but not much really in my opinion.