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Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

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New York
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Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

How's our plan for a family trip with 2 teenagers?

Day:

- 1-3: Arrive and explore London, staying in Westminster area

- 4: morning train to Bath, explore city and stay overnight

- 5: leave for Oxford, either by train or by tour/transfer, seeing some of the Cotswold villages on the way. Afternoon and evening in Oxford, return to London hotel (or overnight in Oxford???)

- 6: London and visit Windsor Castle

- 7: train to Dover Castle, visit Canterbury if time allows

- 8: London, departing late afternoon

Comments welcome! We are a family with two teenagers.

Chicago
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1. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

Days 1-3 what do you plan on exploring in London? Count your first day as being lost to arrival at the airport, getting to your hotel and getting acclimated, so that's really 2 full days to explore. Most suggest no more than 2 major sights, i.e. Tower of London & St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey & Buckingham Palace in one day.

Day 4 what do you plan on seeing in Bath?

Day 5 How are you getting from Bath to Oxford? What do you plan to see there?

Day 6 Getting to and from and seeing Windsor will take the better part of a day, so don't count on seeing much IN London that day

Day 7 Not sure of the logistics of visiting Dover Castle and Canterbury in one day. Hopefully someone else will have some input.

It sounds to me like you're visiting London to see everything BUT London. With 6 actual days, only 2 of them are spent in the city. Personally I'd cut out some of the day trips, unless they are of very keen interest and nothing else in London is important.

Houston, TX
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2. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

Agree--you're not going to see much of London. You will, however, be spending lots of time on trains and possibly buses. Could also be kind of risky planning on returning to London from Dover on the same day as you then have to get to an airport (I'm assuming) and leave London.

If you have no compelling reason to spend so much time out of London, I would reduce the number of excursions and spend more time actually seeing London.

warrensburg,MO
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3. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

You'll actually be spending very little time on trains and buses, the longest train journey being from London to Bath at approx 90 minutes, about as long as it takes from Tower Hill to Edgware Road on the Circle line on some days.

If you can get through the jet lag on Day 1, you'll have 3 days plus a half day when you head to Windsor which is on the edge of London. I'd give 5 hours for Windsor Castle including transport there and back so you'll still get your half day in central London.

I would also consider keeping London as a base and doing the day trips to Bath and Dover/Canterbury but with the Oxford trip, spend a morning there and explore the Cotswolds with an afternoon guided trip by Cotswold Roaming from 2pm to 6.30pm with a dinner back in Oxford before returning to London. Keep all your suitcases at one hotel and save lugging them around the place.

New York
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4. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

Thanks for the feedback! I hadn't thought about touring the Cotswolds from Oxford, great alternative..

If I have two days to see Bath, Oxford, and the Cotswolds, which would be better? We would leave all but our overnight luggage in London - but still have to check in/out of hotels with #1:

1) Morning train to Bath, visit the city and spend the night; tour/transfer through Cotswolds with private guide in the morning, arriving Oxford early afternoon. Visit Oxford and return by train to London in the evening; or

2) Stay all nights in London and visit Bath for the day, and then visit Oxford + Cotswold tour on another day.

Our itinerary currently gives us 2 full days and 3 partial days in London (arrival day, departure day, and Windsor visit), but we could always cancel the Dover/Canterbury trip. How far in advance do I need to purchase the Dover train tickets?

5. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

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New York
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6. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

You guys are always so helpful!!! I've just booked our hotel to stay put in London throughout the 8 days, and will take a number of day trips to Bath, Oxford, and perhaps Dover. With a flight + hotel package from Priceline, it will still cost less even if we decide to stay a night away from London at some point, and we don't have to pack up our belongings!

I love the idea of doing a short tour from Oxford -- still exploring that.

I did not in fact find someone who was available to do a "tour/transfer" from Bath to Oxford on our preferred weekend dates.

Thanks again!

warrensburg,MO
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7. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

The London and South Eastern Railway operate fast trains to Dover. You need to book trains on the South Eastern High Speed route from St Pancras station (not the slower services from other termini) and your teenagers may enjoy travelling at 140mph on one of the Javelin trains. You can take a regular South Eastern train from Dover to Canterbury and then catch a Javelin back to London.

Both Dover Castle and a stroll around the city of Canterbury and a visit to the cathedral can be done in one day without a significant compromise on time.

New York
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8. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

Regarding our day trip from London to Oxford -- I confirmed that we could do a Cotswold Roaming tour from 1:30 - 6:30, visiting 4 villages, so we would have the morning + quick lunch and dinner in Oxford.

Would that give us "enough" time for Oxford? Our top interest their is visiting some of the colleges. Or better to only visit Oxford?

warrensburg,MO
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9. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

You could spend about three hours in Oxford before the Cotswold tour. Unfortunately most colleges open to the public between 2pm and 5pm. However you could visit The Divinity School and perhaps Trinity College (opens at 10am). I do think Oxford requires a full day but the minibus tour of The Cotswolds takes in Burford, Bibury and Minster Lovell so it would be a shame to miss that.

Boston...
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10. Re: Itinerary? - week in London w excursions

Oxford is the town, and is also the name of the university (think of it like an umbrella corporation). Then the "colleges" are the individual components, each with their own buildings and history, that are part of Oxford. Is one of your children perhaps interested in applying to Oxford for college? I think I would allow more time there, if so.