Please sign in to post.

Advice on itinerary for Spring 2022 trip

I’m planning a trip for my in-laws, husband & myself starting in London. Initially we were going to rent a car with my husband driving. However after reading lots of comments from the forum & Rick’s book, I think we’ll stick with trains & buses. My in-laws have some mobility issues, so the trip will be less active than if it was just myself & husband.

The plan is to spend 3 nights / 4 days seeing London. Then train to Guildford, rent a car & drive to Headley where my husband’s family is from. Stay 2 nights in Headley area, then return the car & train to Bath.

2 nights / 3 days in Bath taking the train or buses for day trips.

Take the train to Cotswolds area & 2 nights / 3 days in Moreton-in-Marsh.
Take the train to York & spend 2 nights / 3 days & then train to Edinburgh.
Spend 3 nights / 4 days in Edinburgh. Fly out of Edinburgh to London. Overnight in London & take the Eurostar train to Paris.

Spending 3 nights in Paris & then travel to Normandy area via car.
Return car to Paris & flying to Rome. Spending 3 nights / 4 days in Rome seeing sights & then taking train to Orvieto, renting a car & visiting our favorite villages. Return the car, train back to Rome & fly back to US.

I’m open to suggestions & ideas of what we really need to see that I didn’t list. Thank you.

Posted by
11350 posts

You say you have decided against renting a car however it would be so much easier for all of you, especially your in-laws, then constantly hauling luggage on and off trains, and stashing them on the trains. It sounds exhausting.
You have planned a great itinerary.

Posted by
7813 posts

Going to Headley, you are not too far from Winchester, great place.

2 nights and 3 days in the Cotswolds without a car, you need better planning and research. Trains won't help you much in the Cotswolds. Do you plan to take tours or hire a car just for the Cotswolds? We stayed in Chipping Campden at the Volunteer Inn, highly recommend it.

York is wonderful, we spent three nights there, lots to see. Don't miss the National Railway Museum and walking the ancient walls.

Headed to Edinburgh then back to London to go to Paris, that is a lot of wasted time traveling. Also, then you plan to fly to Rome for only a few days. Suggest reducing your travel by eliminating either Edinburg or Paris/Rome. You only plan three nights in Paris and same in Rome. Both of those cities deserve double that number of days.

You could skip Italy and fly to Paris, then take the train to London and then do Britain.

Posted by
4231 posts
  • I think you'd appreciate a car in the Cotswolds.
  • 2 full days in Bath? Likely not time for day trips unless there is something you really want to see. If it was me, I'd train to
    Bath, rent the car there prior to your visit to Headley and keep the car until you drop it off in York. A quick google search
    looks like the train from Moreton to York would double the time of driving.

  • Enterprise in Bath allows for drop off at a different location and they'll pick you up at your hotel and take you to your car. I'm
    assuming they have a location in York.

  • My first day driving in England was a bit stressful but it didn't take long to get used to it. best advice I got was from the guy at the rental counter who told me if I was a good driver at home I'd be fine in England. It helps to have a navigator in the passenger seat that first day to remind you about right and left turns at intersections; and to stay on the left side of the road.

Posted by
14157 posts

I agree with geovagriffith. I think you are moving too much especially if you have some folks with mobility issues.

I'd add the Italy time to Paris and I like the suggestion to fly in to Paris do the France portion, then Eurostar to London and fly home from Edinburgh.

I also think you are maybe overestimating how much time you have places. To me, 2 nights in one location = 1 full day and maybe some parts of other days but not 3 days. Even if you leave some place early AM by the time you check out of the previous hotel, travel, check in to the next lodging you've shot half a day. For instance, if you have 2 nights in Bath, that just gives you one full day for a day trip and that can easily be spent in Bath along with the 2 partial days you might have on your arrival day and on your departure day.

DO spend the 3 nights in Normandy. I also recommend you spend the money and have a guide for your days that you are going to do the landing areas and other DDay locations. Two days is good if you want to do the US landing areas in addition you can add the British/Canadian/French landing areas as well. It's a lot of territory to cover and a good guide is essential to me.

Posted by
11439 posts

3 nights anywhere gives you 2 full days. So when you say “3 nights/4 days” be aware that those arrival and departure days tend to offer little time for sights. The day you arrive is for getting settled in and orienting yourselves to the location. This can take time in a new location. Departure day is departure in one location and arrival in another and so it goes. We plan NOTHING for arrival days beyond getting packed, checked out, and transported to the new location then checking in, figuring out the new location, taking a walk, having dinner. The days we “sightsee” are the full days between the transfer days.

Lay out a spreadsheet with arrival and departure times so you can really see what time you have in each location. I think you’ll need to drop something from this itinerary. Edinburgh is an outlier that will take a lot of time to get to and from.

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks for all the tips. I do think a car would be best, but only concerned that my husband wouldn’t be able to enjoy the countryside while doing all the driving. Lots to think about.

As far as the Paris - Italy portion...we’ve been there numerous times, but wanted my in-laws to see the major highlights in Paris before heading to Normandy. My FIL is a Vet & probably won’t have another opportunity to go there. So, it’s a must do.

Italy - one of the few places my MIL hasn’t been, so I have a great guide I’ve used in Rome & will hire for seeing the major sites, which would be easier for them. Then head outside of Rome for enjoying the beautiful villages & food of course! LOL.

I’ll continue to do some research & look forward to more tips.

Posted by
33123 posts

I see assumptions that the Headley that Terri is heading for is the one near Winchester.

There are two others that it might be from Guildford - the Headley near Epsom and the Headley near Thatcham.

I don't understand the flight from Edinburgh to London followed by Eurostar. Either fly from Edinburgh to Paris, or take the train from Edinburgh to London and Eurostar.

Overall times are similar, even the new open access cheapo Lumo train from Edinburgh is only 4 and a half hours, and trains on the East Coast Main Line arrive in Kings Cross station directly across the street from St Pancras International from whence leaves the Eurostar. The cheapo is only £19 in advance, the LNER can be not much more, especially if you have Railcards.

Posted by
15539 posts

For some of the places, I'm going to suggest one day tours with companies that are popular with folks on this forum:

For the Cotswolds.....Mad Max Tours.
The train is very limited in that area.

For Normandie and D-Day: Overlord Tours.
We had a disabled young lady on our tour and the guide was really good about letting her know how tough the walks would be especially since it was raining.

Posted by
6113 posts

You are overestimating how long you are going to be in places as you aren’t allowing travel time.

Your pace is fast as 2 nights means 1 full day somewhere. You would benefit from a car between leaving Bath and arriving in York. The Cotswolds to York by train is either via London (necessitating using the Underground) or taking 3 trains and will take significantly longer than driving. Neither train option is ideal for people with limited mobility.

Fly from Edinburgh to France.

If you want the number of days that you state for each place, then you need to significantly increase the number of nights for the trip. You are in practice going to get 2 and a bit days in Rome and the same in Paris. That’s a lot of hassle flying for such a short visit. As you don’t want to be rushed, consider 5 nights in both cities.

Posted by
6619 posts

I agree that this is a very rushed itinerary, which will provide lots of memories of airports and train stations. Looks like 21 nights on the ground, or 23 days including your arrival and departure days. You plan to spend about half of them moving yourselves from place to place. I have the impression that you're trying to do two things here -- see numerous places in Britain, and give your in-laws what might be their only chance to see Paris and Normandy and Rome and Orvieto. Maybe you should choose one of these goals instead of trying to do it all.

I agree with others that it makes no sense to fly from Edinburgh to London and then take the train to Paris. Just fly from Edinburgh to Paris, two hours in the air. And I suggest you rethink your reservations about driving in England. Yes, your husband will miss some of the scenery because he'll be focused on the road. But the tradeoff is a lot of time in stations, lugging bags on and off trains, and having to keep to their schedules instead of your own. I don't like driving in the UK because of the left-side thing, but I'd do it on a trip like this with four people and so many places to get in so little time.

Posted by
33123 posts

... agreed with the above, Jennifer and Dick ...

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks everyone. We have decided to fly into either Glasgow or Edinburgh from the US. Rent a car & head south along the west side of the country. I’m going to re plan my days & nights for more relaxed trip. We’ll make the stop in Headley before heading into London for several days. Then take the Eurostar to Paris, Normandy & onto Italy.

@Nigel - yes, the Headley where my husbands family originated is close to Winchester & Guildford.

Thanks all. Keep sending tips!

Posted by
82 posts

I keep reading more about driving the distance from either Edinburgh to London, with many nights along the way, or vice versa. Once I did some pricing for renting a car, I was quite shocked (WOW!) at the cost for about 10 days & 1 way with drop off different location. Most cars only showed space for 2 bags even with 4 people. There will be 4 of us with 4 small roller bags & backpacks.

Any suggestions on who to rent from? Tips on options for picking up & dropping off outside of London & Edinburgh? We’re totally open to dropping off in smaller town & taking the train to center city. We don’t really want to hassle with driving inside either major city. Thanks!