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August Trip to England

I am planning an 8-day trip at the end of August to England. We are going to use public transportation and some taxis to get around. I'd like to spend 3 days in London, 3 days in Cornwall (based near Penzance), and 2 days in Stow-on-the-Wold. I am hoping to take a sleeper train from London to Penzance to maximize our time, as well as hired a private tour one day in Cornwall. Have I crammed too much traveling into my itinerary?

Posted by
365 posts

It sounds as if your gut feeling is that you have crammed (are plans already set?) too much traveling into your itinerary. Believe your gut. I would use the Stow-on-the Wold days in Cornwall and/or London.

Are the 8 days (or is it 8 nights?) in addition to travel days, or are the days on either end also partial travel days?

Posted by
2402 posts

Note that Monday 26 August is a Bank Holiday so the days around that are absolutely peak season. Transport will be very busy and accomodation rammed/charging high prices. The schools go back the first week of September so that would be a better time to visit - or before the school holidays start around 23rd of July.

Anyone else reading this might like to note the school holidays as by avoiding these, you should have lower prices for accommodation. Also note that in the UK (and much of the world) we put the day first, then the month and finally the year. Goodness knows why the USA has to be different but hey ho, they still use Fahrenheit for temperature. Having said that, the UK still has roads marked in miles instead of Km.

https://www.icelolly.com/school-holiday-dates

Posted by
996 posts

If you can push your trip back to the first week of September it will indeed be a better time to see Cornwall.

I would reduce to London and Cornwall. Both far more interesting than Stow in the Wold which is pretty, but you can see pretty old villages in Cornwall too.

Posted by
201 posts

Glad to be reminded of bank holiday concerns! We cruise from Southampton on 25 August 2025- a bank holiday! Should we forget visiting London before the cruise? Probably best to spend time there after we return?
If that is the best plan, then I'd look to book one of the few flights that depart the US in the morning of the 24th and arrive in London that night. The next morning we would take a train or the National Express bus to Southampton.
Suggestions please for convenient lodging for that night and any other pertinent advice regarding my plan.
Thanks!!

Posted by
866 posts

Where to stay on the evening of 24th depends a bit on arrival time. If it's very late maybe a hotel at Heathrow would be better, but try to get one attached to a terminal at LHR. Then the best route to Southampton is probably the National Express bus.

But if it's not too late then I would recommend looking at somewhere close to Waterloo station in central London and then you can just get a train to Southampton from there the day after. This is preferable as it will always be nicer to wake up in the centre of town with the opportunity of a walk down the river on the morning after rather than still being at an airport! Any time up to 10pm would be fine to still easily get the tube into town.

Look at the Premier Inns at County Hall and Waterloo for good value simple hotels or the Marriott County Hall if in budget and you want somewhere with full service and a perfect position opposite the Houses of Parliament.

Posted by
5720 posts

There are very keenly priced hotels at Heathrow that night. The Premier Inn at Terminal 4 (traditionally a well priced one) is just £58 currently.

The Holiday Inn Express at Terminal 4 (a favourite of this forum) is £88 including breakfast (which is £10 extra each at the Premier Inn).

The buses shown below call at Terminal 4 15 minutes after the times shown from Central Bus Station- so 0830 and 1015.

Then next morning National Express have direct buses to Southampton at 0815 (arrive 1030) and 1000 (arrive 1220).

If you booked that bus now it is £17 each, so no need to trail into London either to stay or to catch transport to Southampton.

The big problem with staying near Waterloo and relying on a train is that public holidays are a favourite time to do engineering work. There is no certainty that the Waterloo to Southampton rail line will be open. By then the alternative service from Victoria will no longer be running- it ends at the June timetable change.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately, I will need to go at the end of August due to our work schedules. I do think we’d rather see Cornwall than the Cotswolds. Do trains from London to Cornwall book up months in advance if looking to travel at the end of August (ie 20 Aug)? Specifically looking at taking the GWR Riviera Sleeper overnight train, which doesn’t appear to be available to purchase tickets beyond 28 June at this point. How busy it sounds during that time of year, I’m wondering if purchasing a train ticket is going to be almost immediately sold out months in advance.

Posted by
866 posts

No, the trains will not sell out quickly. The day trains don't sell out at all and booking a few weeks in advance should be fine for you to get reserved seats. The sleeper I suppose can sell out, at least of bed space anyway, but again just being ready when the trains are released will be fine - no need to be up in the middle of the night in the US for example. Just bear in mind that the sleeper does not run on Saturday nights.

Posted by
5720 posts

Also bear in mind that all day trains have at least one unreserved car.