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10-11 day trip planning, how much is too much?

I'm working on planning a 10-11 day trip to England in August. I want to be able to see a lot but I also don't want to be running all over the place and not really get a chance to see anything in depth. Not wanting to plan a whirl wind tour of England in other words. ;)

So my question is, if you had 10 days to spend in England with London as your base, you've never been there before so everything will be new, what would you plan on seeing outside of London?

I'm thinking of going to Paris for a few days. I figure I'm right there so it makes no sense not to go see it. Other than that, I was thinking maybe Bath but what else? Is something like Bath a place I could do on a day tour from England or plan on spending a day or two exploring it?

I was also thinking the Cotswolds but now I'm wondering if I could be spreading myself thin. I don't know what to expect so maybe two or three other places in England plus Paris isn't too much to do.

My goal is to not only see London but also get out to see some of England as well.

Posted by
20864 posts

If your goal is to see both London and "some of England", I think Paris is a mistake on such short trip. It's another huge city that could use a whole week, or longer, by itself. If you want London and Paris, I'd just think of this as a nice city-break trip and not try to get to places like the Cotswolds or Bath.

How many nights will you actually have in Europe?

Posted by
503 posts

It all depends on what you want to do. You mentioned you don't want to be "all over the place" so....if you goal is to see London and some other parts of England, then I would drop the idea of Paris and focus on London with some day trips. Given a 10 - 11 day trip (and I'm assuming that's purely days on the ground and doesn't include arrival and departure days) you could put together a really nice trip.
I would suggest you look at what you want to see/do in London and then plot it out - I generally figure a site in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once you figured out your "must see's/do's" in London and the approximate amount of time you'll need, you will then have an idea of how many free days you have and then can look at possible day trips outside the city.
As for how long it will take to see/do what you want to do in London, post your planned itinerary - lots of great experience here that can help you figure out if it's realistic or not!

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for replies already. :)

I'm gonna be on the ground for 10 days.

Ok, let's split the trip then. Let's say if I want to see Paris then it would be a London-Paris trip and that's it but if I want to stay in England the entire time, I know Bath would be on the list but would Scotland be a good addition? Do a London, Bath, Cotswolds, and Scotland trip or am I spreading myself a little thin again?

What would be the limit as far as places to see in a 10 day span? I'm figuring London should take 4-5 days...I think but I don't know how long Bath and the rest would take.

Posted by
76 posts

GB is my favorite place to visit out of the many beautiful places I've been to in Europe. I have 2 trips planned there this year. So no , 10 days is not too much.
Trip #1 : 6 days in London with day trips out to Cotswolds, Bath, Cambridge, Windsor. Fly to Edinburgh, stay 2 nights rent a car go to Falkland Palace, St. Andrews, see the castles going North, a stopover in Inverness, drop down to Loch Ness. On to the Isle of Skye and fly out of Glasgow.
Trip# 2 in September. Fly into Manchester. Spend the night in Bakewell. Visit Chatsworth and Haddon Hall. On to York, then north to Whitby stopping in a few villages on the way. Hit Durham and Hadrian's Wall, down to Haworth to visit the Bronte sisters. Then a village or two on way to Manchester and back home.
I like to concentrate on two weeks in a small area. But of course if this is the only trip you're planning , go on to Paris. My bet is you'll be hooked on travel like me and find a way to come back.

Posted by
2905 posts

London is a fantastic city, with enough to keep you busy for a month.

Bath could be done as a day trip from London. You would leave early morning train out of London to Bath.
Spend the day in Bath. Then return to London by train.

If you choose to spend the night in Bath (a good idea), there is a very good tour of the Cotswolds that leaves from there. Mad Max Tours.
It's on a mini-bus, leaves early in the morning, covers several villages, returns to Bath that evening.

If you added Scotland, what do you want to do and see there?

I would drop Scotland from the plan unless there is something special there that you've always wanted to see.
You just don't have time for it.
It's a long way from London. Even a fast train doesn't make the trip any less boring.

Posted by
2905 posts

"My goal is to not only see London but also get out to see some of England as well."

You can take the train or bus into the countryside in any direction from London and see small towns, villages, farms and castles.
You may want to head toward Salisbury and stay a few nights and see Stonehenge.
Or you may want to head to the Cotswolds, stay there a couple of nights.
Or you could head to York and see beautiful countryside out the train window as you travel.
You have lots of options.

You may want to get the Rick Steves England guidebook and read it. It gives many suggestions for short trips out of London, as well as giving good information about London. Also gives good descriptions of places out in the countryside to visit and stay for several days.
You may want to watch some Rick Steves England videos on YouTube.
All this will be helpful in your trip planning.

Posted by
15 posts

I've been working on nailing down a basic itinerary.

So far, I think London, Bath, York are on my must do list. I'm assuming I can cover those in 10 days pretty well?

With Bath, I was thinking of using a day tour to see Stonehenge and the Costwolds. I've read good things about the Mad Max tours from the various posts on this board. Are there other tours I should look at? I liked the idea of that tour is based in Bath. That way I can kill two birds with one stone. See Bath for two days with one of them being the tour.

Am I on the right path with London, Bath and York? Is there an area that would be a good addition as in "in 10 days you can see all of that PLUS this..." sort of thing?

As far as what I like, the history has got to be #1 but I'm also trying to not make this trip "History 101". I want to try and get a feel for what England is all about. I'm trying to kind of "cut a swath" through so I can get an idea of the food, the people and the culture of England, not just London. I hope that makes some sense. :)

Posted by
2905 posts

You are on the right track now.

"So far, I think London, Bath, York are on my must do list. I'm assuming I can cover those in 10 days pretty well?"
---Yes. This is a good working itinerary.

"With Bath, I was thinking of using a day tour to see Stonehenge and the Costwolds. I've read good things about the Mad Max tours from the various posts on this board. Are there other tours I should look at? I liked the idea of that tour is based in Bath. That way I can kill two birds with one stone. See Bath for two days with one of them being the tour."
---Yes, use Mad Max Tours. They are excellent. Look no further for tours out of Bath.

"Am I on the right path with London, Bath and York? Is there an area that would be a good addition as in "in 10 days you can see all of that PLUS this..." sort of thing?"
---You are indeed on the right path.
---I would add to this various day trips out of London. You will have several days in London to see London sights.
But allow several days in which you take day trips out of London. A good day trip would be going out by train to see
Windsor Castle. Another day you could take a train trip out to see Hampton Court Palace. These are both on the outskirts of London.

Also look at leaving out of London and doing a day trip with one of these companies.
These tours leave out of London very early in the morning and take you to a variety of locations such as
Leeds Castle
Warwick Castle
Salisbury and Stonehenge
Canterbury Cathedral
Browse these websites and see if one of their day trips suits you.
This is the easy way to add some things to your itinerary that lie outside of London some distance away.

Posted by
503 posts

Can you do London, Bath and York in 10 days? Yes, but can you do them well? In my opinion no. I've spent a fair bit of time touring England (Including everything you've mentioned) so my advice is that with only 10 days you either do London/Bath/Cotswolds or London/York with maybe a day trip to the Lake district. I think by trying to do Bath/cotswolds and York, you will be spending too much time "traveling" and not enough "seeing". Bear in mind that whenever you change lodging locations, additional time is involved - packing/unpacking/ checking in and out of accommodations, etc., etc. etc. so plan on 1/2 day for each change (including travel time). This obviously leaves you with less time to sightsee, etc,. etc. Also, I'm assuming you are flying in/out of London which means that you should be back in London the evening before your flight which will also cut down on your sightseeing hours.

Posted by
823 posts

I have a total of over 14 'full' days visiting London and there is still a lot I haven't seen. You can easily spend you entire 10 days in London and only scratch the surface.

If you're into museums, many of the state-owned are free. The British Museum is so large that it would take a week to see and comprehend everything (if you plan to go, develop a plan beforehand).

To get an idea what many/most tourists go to London to see, check out the London Pass web site. (I'm not endorsing the product but it's a good "one-stop" web site for the top tourist attractions.) Figure out what you want to see.

The Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard can be very frustrating because of the crowds. However, Royal Guard ceremonies also occur, usually with much smaller crowds, at the Horse Guards Parade and at Windsor Castle. There are some very good web sites devoted to everything 'guards'.

Many of the big attractions can be "all-dayers" if you let them. Have a time limit and plan of attack before arriving.

Get familiar with the Transport for London (TFL) web site so you can plan your public transportation itineraries. Once you've decided what you want to see, use the TFL trip planner to figure out how long it will take to travel between sites. BTW - in my opinion, this web site is the #1 reason to purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM card for your smart phone.

10 days in a big city can be fatiguing even when the city is as wonderful as London. You may want to plan a day-trip or two outside the city. Although you can get to most of the countryside via public transportation, I'm actually a fan of the escorted (coach) tours because they 1) take care of the transportation and entrance fees, and 2) add a little structure to the trip. Just Google "London Day Trips." (I use Viator to get an idea of tours available around places I've never been...)

In August, a lot of Europe will also be on Holiday so expect crowds wherever you go. Places in London to escape the crowds are the larger parks (Hyde, Regents, etc.) and the Botanical Gardens at Kew (easily reached by the Tube).

With 10 days in London, I would suggest a holiday apartment over a hotel. My favorite neighborhoods are in the vicinity of the SW7 postal code (you can search London SW7 in Google Maps) for the good transportation options and walkability to major sites.

One last thing, Buckingham Palace is open to the public Late July-September. It's an unforgettable tour. You can find details on their web site.

Posted by
6267 posts

10 days isn't as much time as you think so IMHO drop Bath and keep York.

So many wonderful places to see and experience in and around London but don't rush.

Hampton Court (travel by train)
Windsor Castle (travel by train)

Hours can be spent just seeing all of London's outdoor markets. Camden Lock, Borough, Brick Lane, Spitafield's, Portobello Road, Maltby, Columbia Flower (to name a few).

Countless lovely churches, cathedrals, abbeys:
Temple Church
All Saints Margaret Street
St Brides
St Pauls
Southwark Cathedral

Oxford Street
Regent Street
Portobello Road
Fortum and Masons
Carnaby Street

Museum of London
Churchill War Rooms
British Museum
Natural History Museum
V & A
Both Tates
Horniman Museum
Imperial War Museum
National Gallery
Cartoon Museum
London Transport Museum
Grant Museum of Zoology
Sir John Sloane Museum
to name a few

Unique places:
The Glass covered Leadenhall Market
The art deco gem of a pub, The Blackfriar
Sir John C Ritbalt gallery (the Treasure room) in the British Library
Brunel Museum
The Rotherhithe Picture Research Library
St Dunston in the East's Garden
Richmond Park
Whitechapel Bell Foundry
The Silver Vaults
Lord's Cricket Ground Tour
Mudlarking with London Walks
Dennis Severe's House
Guildhall Underground Roman Amphitheater
Highgate Cemetary
Beech Garden in Barbican Estates

And this list doesn't even mention the iconic sites nor attending theatre.

Enjoy your days.

Posted by
1199 posts

I'm an explorer that gets bored if I stay too long in one place. Both London and Paris are 5-night destinations (my max) in my view - so you could do both and have a great trip and fly home from Paris (that's what I'd do unless I'm also flying home from London). If you're flying home from London, stay the first 5 nights and the last night in London and then venture out in southern England for the remainder (you could circle over to Bath, Cotswolds, etc.).

Posted by
15 posts

Everyone has given me some awesome info. Thanks!

I think I have a pretty good idea of what to focus on now. I'm sure I'll be posting more questions as I think them up. :)

Posted by
6540 posts

You have to take into account the travel time between your stops as eating up at least a half day of your very limited time. Its like trying to see the best of California all in one trip.

Posted by
3428 posts

Since this is your first experience of the UK, I'd keep it rather simple. Cover London in depth and do some day trips (I say on your own rather than with most companies- though London Walks is the exception). Both York and Bath can be done as day trips- no you won't get to see and do everything- but you CAN get a good taste of each. Both are easy to reach by train and are very walkable cities. Windsor is a must in my mind. Very easy, quick train ride from Paddington station. Can be done as 1/2 day (if you skip touring the castle and its grounds) or 3/4 to full day. As a first time, I'd suggest allowing at least 3/4 day and doing the castle and grounds tour and maybe a short cruise on the Thames (boats leave from near the bridge over to Eaton) as you get to see the back of the castle and a bit of the country side. Canterbury and Dover are also possible day trips. As are Cardiff Wales, Winchester, Cambridge, and Oxford and many other places. If you are interested, private message me with your email and I'll share an article I wrote for AAA Carolina's "Go!" magazine several years ago. I share my favorite places in London and our favorite day trips by train. As Rick says, figure you will return- and this trip is just to get a taste of areas you might want to explore in more depth.

Posted by
3144 posts

I really don't think you can do London, Bath and York really well in 11 days. London and environs and nearby day trips alone would easily eat up all those days. If you're into history, how important is it to you to see the Roman Baths in Bath? That might help you decide whether or not to go there. The Georgian House Museum there is really good. In London, you should plan on two different trips to the British Museum-it's difficult to absorb all the world-class sights in one trip. If I were you, I would divide sights into more than one category-top priorities, which for me would be Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, and British Museum, and secondary priorities-you might like British Library, Churchill War Rooms, London Museum, Imperial War Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, art museums, Victoria and Albert Museum, Windsor Castle(easy day trip). If you're wanting to see cathedrals, Salisbury is close to Bath and you might consider skipping York. Cambridge is close to London and you could see King's College Chapel, which has some interesting historical exhibits and the Eagle Pub where Watson and Crick announced their discovery of the structure of DNA. If you like music, go to Evensong at Westminster Abbey and/or Salisbury and/or King's College. If you go to evensong at King's College, get in line very early(an hour ahead of entry would not be that early). I have been to London 6 times and still haven't made it to York(hope to do so next summer on way back to London from Edinburgh) because there are so many great sights close to London. If you decide to skip York and focus on London area, there are books on Amazon that list lots of day trips(including York, but there are so many things I want to see in York that I think a day trip would frustrate me) The train system is so quick and convenient! Day trips we have done-Leeds Castle and Blenheim(Evans Evans bus), Canterbury and Dover(Evans Evans bus), Cotswolds and Oxford on one of the previously mentioned bus tours, Cambridge, Windsor. I wasn't particularly impressed with Canterbury and Cotswolds and Blenheim and Bath and liked Cambridge better than Oxford. On one of my favorite trips I left London early AM, spent the night in Salisbury, toured Bath the next day(left bags at place mentioned in Rick's book), then went to Cardiff for two nights. St. Fagans Musuem near Cardiff is really good.

Posted by
1010 posts

Just tick to London for the 10 to 12 days. We have been there five times, for up to a month each time We still want to go back and spend more time there. You will fall in love with London and not want to leave.