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12-14 day trip to England and France itineraries

Hello Everyone,
My husband and I are trying to scramble together a two week trip to England and France in July. We have never been to either place.

We definitely want to see the sights London, The Cotswolds, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon, Canturbury, Dover (if it all makes sense). We like history, museums, hiking and seeing unique things. In France, we want to go Paris and Versailles. We like French film and culture (besides being vegan).

I made this post vague on purpose, because I realize you're the experts. We are having trouble nailing an Itinerary.

If France seems like too much for what we want to see in England, we would also do England/Edinburgh instead.

Posted by
1838 posts

Don’t bother with France = best on another trip. Plenty to see in Britain.

Posted by
560 posts

Yes, stay in England. A few years ago we spent about 3 weeks in England and still didn't see everything. Bath is wonderful, and we did a 4-day inn-to-inn walk along the Rights of Way that started and ended in Bath. If you like to walk, I highly encourage exploring the countryside this way (check out http://www.cotswoldwalks.com). It was a highlight of the trip. We also loved York and Durham. I believe we were in London 5 days and there are still things we did not see. My recommendation is to not try to see everything; pick London and another area or two and enjoy them at a more leisurely pace.

Posted by
4686 posts

Excluding international travel, how many days/nights do you have in Europe?

Would you hire a car?

If you haven't been to London before, five days will allow you to see the top highlights, considering you maybe jet lagged the first day or so.

Canterbury and Dover are too much to cover in one day from London, so I would suggest that you aim to spend at least one night in Canterbury. Alternatively, stay in nearby Faversham or Whitstable, more traditional, characterful coastal towns. In Faversham, take a brewery tour or visit the art galleries in Whitstable. There is good hiking around the South Downs (hills). The area around Rye is also good for history and hiking.

Personally, I think that the Cotswolds are overrated and are best explored by car. Two full days will give you a flavour of the area. The New Forest (not new!) us between Canterbury and the Cotswolds and is good for hiking.

Bath merits at least a full day. Stratford upon Avon is a disappointment to many as it's tourist tacky, but if you are into Shakespeare, a visit to the theatre is a must. Take a cushion as the seats can be uncomfortable!

Day trips worth covering from London include Greenwich for the Observatory, Hampton Court, Windsor, Brighton and Cambridge. York is a good two day trip from London.

Do you have time for France or Scotland?

Posted by
220 posts

If visiting Paris is important, you can take the train from London to Paris, leave early in the morning and arrive in Paris in time to see a few sights. Then you could spend 2 - 3 days there and use 1 for Versailles and see a few major sights in Paris. That would give you 8 - 10 days in England. So, you could spend 4 - 5 in London, which gives you 4 or 5 to see Bath, the Cotswolds, etc.

If you haven't booked a flight, you could check into flying into London and out of Paris, which would save several hours of travel back to London.

As someone suggested, you could drop Stratford-upon-Avon unless you want to see a play there; the theater is well worth it. You could also see an RSC production in London or even attend a play at the recreated Globe in London.

Whether you have time for Paris depends on how much you want to see in England. It's fine to split your time between Paris and England. I met several people who routinely take the train to Paris for a weekend to visit one or two museums or attend an event. You can't see everything, but you would still get a taste of Paris.

If you decide to stay in England the whole time, then you might take the train from London to Oxford as part of your Cotswolds leg. It is fun to walk around, has great paths along the river, and has several wonderful museums, including The Ashmolean. You can rent a car there and drive around the Cotswolds for a day or two. It's a better departure point than London for a car rental. If you rent, you can drive to Binsey (Lewis Carroll) and the Perch pub near the Thames before heading out.

Posted by
4661 posts

You have plenty on your list to fill two weeks, and you might want to stick to England this trip and save France for another time. But if you do go to Paris, try to fly home from there ("multi-city") so you don't lose a day backtracking.

I'd suggest Canterbury as a day trip from London, skip Dover, and skip Stratford unless, as suggested, you're major Shakespeare fans. If you want to see a Shakespeare play you can probably find one at the Globe in London. (Bring the cushion to that one too, and try to get a seat against a wall so you have something to lean back on.)