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Can I plan a UK trip in two weeks?

As many of you kind souls have supported me, you may know that our Switzerland trip- in two weeks, may be doomed by flight cancelations [5-6 canceled legs at this point.] We will give it one more try after yesterday's cancelations, but then I think we are done with that option. BA seems to have problems getting us into Zurich, and maybe now with Geneva??? Rest assured I've done all my research, but with two weeks to go, other carriers are way too expensive, only have one seat, etc., and our dates aren't flexible. [We are flying some American partnered routes.]

So-

Maybe we just fly to Heathrow and spend the two weeks in the UK? Have any of you had any experiences with last minute hotel bookings in September? Is there generally availability? Can any of you share pros/cons putting a UK trip together at the last minute? I have been to England and Scotland before, but haven't been to much of the countryside. I spent so many hours planning the Swiss trip, that I don't want to start planning a UK trip until I know the former is a dead duck. The heart can only take so much.....

Thanks to all for your past generous contributions and support . Safe travels!

Posted by
204 posts

The kids are back in school in September (hopefully) so hotel bookings should be more readily available. I’d suggest looking at the east side of the country - Suffolk, Norfolk, and up the east coast up to Northumberland. Beautiful countryside, lovely old Wool towns, lots of history and off the main tourist route.

Posted by
4745 posts

If you have a through BA ticket to Switzerland, are you proposing to rebook or just use the first leg of the journey? You need to ensure that by only using part of the ticket that your return leg won’t be cancelled automatically.

Ian’s ideas are sound - avoid tourist hotspots such as Bath and the Cotswolds where you will have to pay a premium for late booking. At least booking so close to the trip you have more clarity on the Covid situation.

Northumberland is one of my favourite parts of the country.

Posted by
12203 posts

Pat, were you going to be hiking in Switzerland? If so, I can suggest a way to do some great walking in the UK countryside. A cooperative named HF Holidays owns country houses all over, in England, Scotland and Wales, situated near beautiful walking areas. We have been to several of these and plan more for our next UK trip. They book 3- or 4-night holidays at the houses, all-inclusive (meals, room, and guided walking all included). We enjoy the camaraderie on the trail and at meals (and pub time before and after). You need not be a member to go, but there is a small surcharge.

I looked and there are lots of options with availability in your time frame. We have been to this one on the so-called Jurassic Coast, with great coastal walking:

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours/guided-walking-lulworth-cove-3

Easy to get to from London by train to Poole, short taxi from there. They have vacancy Sept. 3-6. Other locations that have vacancy Sept. 3-6 or 4-7 are Exmoor (home of the wild ponies), Lake District, Northumberland, South Downs, Scottish Highlands, and others. Snowdonia has vacancies Sept. 10-13, as do Lake District and Northumberland.

You can see the whole list of options here:

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours#/holidays?dfrom=2021-08-30&dto=2021-09-17&FC.Holiday%20Types=Guided%2BWalking&sort=ordering%7CASC&page=1

Filter for dates that fit your travel plans. Maybe pick two, and mix with 2-3 night stays in other places of interest—-York? Salisbury? Cornwall? I would spend 4-5 nights in London—-September is our favorite time there. There is a month-long “totally Thames” festival celebrating the culture and history of the river. You can view the planned events here:

https://thamesfestivaltrust.org/

Posted by
3400 posts

I love the HF holidays suggestion.
https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/

I would also think about Cornwall. Premier Inns make it easy to get reservations all over the country without a great deal of worry about what type of accommodation you will be getting and reasonable prices.

Posted by
1355 posts

Incredible suggestions- mighty interesting. Suggestions for a trip that needs to happen sometime.
We will try one last attempt to rebook for Switzerland. You should see our notepad of pages of notes for each time a flight has gotten canceled.
It's our flights into/out of Heathrow that are now getting canceled, so we would ask BA to just forget about those legs. I know one can't abandon a flight itinerary.
I really don't know what will end up happening here.
Thanks so much.

Posted by
9776 posts

Hi Pat. I sure understand the frustration of constantly changing itineraries! We finally decided to abandon BA thru LHR to GVA and Alaska kindly booked us on Condor to FRA from where we will take the train into Switzerland. Might that be an option for you?

I fully expect that our return the end of October will change…

Posted by
1951 posts

For London, I like the Lime Tree Hotel, I had a very pleasant stay there in 2017 and I understand they have undergone some renovations.

A friend of mine stayed in Cornwall, which she enjoyed very much. Also, you might check out towns like Torquay of Agatha Christie fame.
I think you could rather quickly plan a lovely vacation in England.

I know the folks on the forum will have great suggestions. Enjoy!

Posted by
911 posts

Absolutely! I once planned a 2 week trip for 2 in just a couple of weeks. You could stick to the south of England and have a fabulous time! London, Dover, walk along the cliffs of Beachy Head, Lyme Regis, and lots of day trips available from Bath. Do the stuff in Bath but also head to Wells, Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Avebury, Salisbury, West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill, Farleigh Hungerford Castle, you could head to the Cheddar Gorge and of course Penzance and the Cornish Coast.

Posted by
1355 posts

Laurel, were you using points or money to be bale to change flights? How were you able to change? We used money, and the problem is Business Class flights now are outrageous on the other airlines.

We just discovered another leg of out trip hasn't flown for 15 months, so that will be canceled soon.

Safe travels.

Posted by
9776 posts

We used points plus cash as BA has a huge fuel surcharge. I guess changing with points was easier this time as those seats were not sold out.

Another UK resource, which we are using in October, is On Foot Holidays.

Posted by
76 posts

Pat- I'm a firm believer in never giving up...BUT...do you want to be in Switzerland and then get stuck there when BA makes yet another last minute change? You appear to have the patience of Job but you are clearly playing with fire and as you have indicated your dates are not flexible. Yes putting a trip to the UK together in 2 weeks is easy- the biggest issue is hotels- not last minute but if open (reopened)? Hit the internet then call (live real voices can provide you with wondrous information). But you are burning daylight with your repeated "one last chance"..... Good luck and may the force be with you!

Posted by
12203 posts

Pat, Laurel’s strategy might work for you. Given that BA keeps canceling the flights to Switzerland that are your original plan, won’t they just refund your whole amount if you ask?

I just priced flights on Condor to Frankfurt for a trip starting around 2 weeks from now. They would put you on Alaska from San Diego to Seattle, then Condor direct to Frankfurt. The fare in Business on Condor (regular cabin on the Alaska flights) is as low as $3400 roundtrip, depending on the days you choose to fly. Other days are higher, but not a lot.

The train trip from Frankfurt to Switzerland is quick and easy. We actually did this a few years back, when we ran out of BA miles to fly business class both ways with them. We flew to Switzerland with BA, but returned with Condor, spending a couple of nights in Colmar on our way between Geneva and Frankfurt. The Condor plane did not have lie-flat seats in business class like the BA planes, but it was nevertheless very comfortable, especially for a daytime flight. So if you really want to get to Switzerland, this might be an option.

But two weeks in the UK would be lovely too, if you don’t want to entirely give up on BA business class. I assume they would refund the portion of the fare for the canceled flights between Heathrow and Switzerland?

Posted by
1355 posts

Lola,
Thanks. We actually purchased the the Business Class seats for $2500 each less the 10% for having the BA Visa. However, in some years the $3400 is a decent price. My husband will be contacting BA early tomorrow morning for options. It's turning into a comedy of errors. Not sure why we keep going at it, honestly ??? i guess because Switzerland is so beautiful this time of year.
Safe travels!