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Change of plans

Hi all
Well. We arrive at heathrow on Friday and I'm sorry but I can not enjoy myself in London just yet. I am looking for a new destination for 2 nights before heading to Bath. We have/had train tickets booked in advance that are very expensive now to purchase last minute. Considering renting a car at heathrow but that has its own set of stressors. Any suggestions about a good place to visit between London and Bath. Also recommended mode of transportation? Would be open to a tour that got us there? We really prefer natural landscapes, gardens and coastlines.
Thanks in advance

Posted by
490 posts

2 nights...Edinburgh by train would be nice. Scots are tougher than Englishmen anyways! ( Just a joke from my granny from Dundee. God Save the Queen)

Wherever you go take your courage and adventure with you.

Enjoy

Posted by
75 posts

Thanks. Should have said. We are going to Bath then Cotswolds then Edinburgh then York

Posted by
709 posts

How about Salisbury or Winchester? Not sure about transportation from
Heathrow but im sure it can be done. You could take the train from either Salisbury or Winchester to Bath.

Posted by
395 posts

Just got back from our trip last night. In the Cotswolds we stayed at Stow and had a car. If you want to extend your time in the Cotswolds, Stratford on Avon is an easy day trip (30-ish minutes by car) and Blenheim Palace was also perhaps just 20-30 minutes from Stow. My family really enjoyed Blenheim. The gardens were extensive and the multi-generation family history of the Spencers and Churchills provided considerable context to the grand house. I believe Hidcote gardens are also very close to mid-Cotswolds. Stonehenge and Avebury are day trips from Bath; perhaps catch a day tour from Bath if you don't want to rent a car. We stopped at Lacock Abbey while heading north form Avebury; my daugher really enjoyed the Harry Potter filming connections with the Abbey and town.

BTW we really enjoyed this tapas restaurant in Bath: La Perla. It's an easy walk from the Roman Baths.

Posted by
2711 posts

I suggest Salisbury. You can take the bus there from Heathrow airport.

Salisbury Cathedral is beautiful. You can also take the Stonehenge Bus the second day you are there, from the town center out to Stonehenge and back. Like eef said, then train to Bath. Or bus--much cheaper. We have hotel recommendations if you'd like them. We spent several days there last May.

If you go to Canterbury, as a previous poster said, you must go into London to catch a train. It's southeast of London. Dover is farther south than Canterbury, but a trip that includes both would be interesting. However, that's in the wrong direction to continue on to Bath.

Salisbury is more or less on your way from London to Bath.

Posted by
533 posts

I really loved south Devon when I was there last year, and I think it ticks all your boxes. There's plenty of gorgeous natural coastline, and you can take the bus right to the edge of Dartmoor (though we didn't).

From Heathrow, you can take a bus to Reading, then get a train to either Totnes or Torquay. Advance tickets seem not to be available for Friday, but off-peak tickets are around GBP 45, which is fairly reasonable for the 2 1/2 hour trip. There are many hotels in the area, though I haven't checked availability for your dates.

From Totnes or Torquay to Bath next Sunday, Advance train tickets are available from GBP 18.

Posted by
2711 posts

Another option close by Heathrow is Windsor. You can take the bus from Heathrow airport to Windsor. Cute little town. Good hotels and restaurants. And you'll want to see Windsor Castle! A great place to spend two nights. Walk around town after seeing the castle and visit the shops.

Walk down to the River Thames, which is beautiful, and across the bridge to Eton, where prominent families send their sons to school.
You can take a boat trip on the river. Very scenic and relaxing.

Posted by
75 posts

Great suggestions! I'm always so appreciative of the time the people on this board spend helping others:)

Posted by
15 posts

I would suggest going to Oxford for two days. It's a very easy train ride from there to Bath. I was going to do this,before I start the, "Best of England Tour" in September. But, then I decided to just stay in London and take the direct train (from Paddington) to Bath. Not too worried about staying in London yet, but I still have time to change my plans, if I need be. Have fun!

Posted by
1838 posts

Dover & Canterbury are in completely the wrong direction for later getting to Bath.

Salisbury is on a rail line with regular trains to Bath that take an hour. Winchester is OK but not on the direct line to Bath - you have to take a bus to nearby Romsey. From Salisbury, you could take a shuttle bus to Stonehenge. If deciding on Salisbury or Winchester, you take a shuttle bus to Woking where you catch the train.
http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/salisbury

From Salisbury, you could take a 45 minute train ride to Sherbourne:>http://www.sherbornedorset.co.uk
www.sherbornecastle.com

Trains:> www.nationalrail.co.uk

Posted by
4536 posts

Do be aware that if you want to use them that your Advance tickets will only be valid from the booked starting point and not from some intermediate place.

Posted by
533 posts

Another coastal area that's closer to "in between Heathrow and Bath" is the Isle of Wight. It's been 10 years since I was last there, but I remember it being very beautiful, and visiting Osborne House (Queen Victoria's holiday home, and the place where she died) was fascinating. Bus to Reading, then train to Portsmouth or Southampton (about an hour, walk-up fares around 20 pounds), then a 20-minute ferry ride to the island. The island itself is covered by a network of buses that makes it easy to get around (and you can buy a multi-day ticket so you can hop on or off at will), though it helps if you're not in a hurry.

Posted by
533 posts

Millions of people will be going about their normal lives in London today. The British Government advice for those travelling to the USA may be of interest? https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/terrorism

That's a fair point, but our emotional reactions to these things are not 100% rational, and that doesn't make them wrong. If pumpkin5 feels unable to have a good time in London and would rather spend those days somewhere else, then a change of plans may be the right thing to do. The purpose of going on vacation, after all, is to enjoy yourself.

Posted by
4536 posts

Marco- what is London like now? Heavier police or military presence?

Well I'm not in London (although I have many relatives who live there) but I daresay there are millions of people carrying on their lives in the same way as they did yesterday and last week, and will be doing tomorrow. Yes there may be a few more visible police about, but the threat level hasn't been raised back up any further so I doubt there will be much visible military.

Posted by
26039 posts

Unless you are around the Southwark end of London Bridge or Borough Market you won't see anything much different than if you had been in London last Thursday or Friday, with the possible addition of a few more raindrops because of all the autumnal Lows you keep sending us.

I'm sorry that you are being put off, but I understand.

I'm just getting in initial reports of a massacre in Orlando going on now.

Posted by
2711 posts

Nigel, just saw the Orlando Sheriff on TV in a news conference about the Orlando shooting. Workplace violence. Former employee who had been fired came into a business, shot his former boss and then other people. 5 dead, 7 in hospital. Shooter is dead; turned the gun on himself.

Total madness. Senseless violence. Very sad.

Posted by
914 posts

I would say Salisbury as well. If you have a care you can do the usual plus Wells, Glastonbury, the Cheddar Gorge. Had a friend leave for London today who was shaken but ultimately decided to go. I am leaving next week. I have always felt less safe in the US than a foreign country. She and I agreed everyone needs to decide for themselves.

Posted by
2711 posts

Pumpkin, you wrote,
"We have/had train tickets booked in advance that are very expensive now to purchase last minute."
What train tickets are those?

Posted by
1 posts

Hi, do you think you'd be comfortable in London but outside of the center? Hampstead and Richmond are two charming suburbs. Just a suggestion. :) I hope you have a wonderful vacation!

Posted by
4 posts

My family of 6 (4 adults, 2 teenagers) spent last week in and around London (27 May - 3 June). We stayed in the Kensington area and visited many of the main tourist sites, as well as museums, street markets, cathedrals, etc. and also took a few side trips (Paris, Stonehenge, Oxford). Three in our party had never traveled overseas. I would also consider us to be a little more cautious than most families. Although our thoughts were with those affected by the recent tragic events in London/England, they had absolutely no impact on our trip (other than lots of security checks for many of the venues we went to). The city was beautiful, as well as many of the people we met. It seems like every trip I have taken overseas has been preceded by some type of tragic event, but I have always chosen to carry on with my plans (although sometimes reluctantly).

Needless to say, there is nothing wrong with wanting/having to postpone/cancel a trip due to the extra anxiety of the current climate in the city/region you will be travelling to. However, if you try to put into perspective how miniscule the risks are, and know that once you arrive, you will create memories that will last a long time, you may be able to proceed with already laid plans.

Here is a link to a good article on putting the risks of travel into perspective so you can enjoy yourself, even in these harrowing times. Although it was written almost 1 year ago, the points are still just as relevant:
http://www.wendyperrin.com/7-keys-traveling-without-fear-despite-terrorist-attacks/

I really liked the following point made by the author:
"Every time a new tragedy happens, I update this article. Because even though these events underscore that we’re living in a world where anything can happen anywhere at any time, they are not reason to stop traveling, or to avoid huge swaths of the globe out of a misperception that your risk is greater there than anyplace else. Actually, they are reason to keep traveling, to make friends around the world, and to be a thoughtful ambassador for your country."

Posted by
4556 posts

The suggestion for Richmond could be a good compromise. You could easily visit Kew Gardens one day and Hampton Court Palace on another from there.

Posted by
1025 posts

One option would be to add to your time in Bath. We recently spent four nights in Bath to extend the RS Villages of South England tour. We went to Oxford as a day trip. Stonehenge and the Cotswolds are also close by. Salisbury is also a good choice.