My wife and I, along with our granddaughters ages 15 and 10, are planning a trip to England for next June. We're thinking of concentrating our visit in the London/Midlands area. The girls are very interested in the Harry Potter park near Watford, but the wife and I think there are also plenty of attractions in greater London and the Midlands that they and we would enjoy. My main question concerns lodging for the 4 of us...does anyone have any recommendations for reasonable accommodations for a family of four? Thanks!
London Premiere Inns. They have adjoining rooms. For first time visitors can’t beat the Premiere Inn at County Hall.
Where exactly in “ the Midlands” are you considering.
Be sure to take them to find the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron in Leadenhall market and see if the
Harry Potter walk from www.walks.com would be of interest. https://www.walks.com/our-walks/harry-potter-film-locations-in-the-city/
One advantage of Premier Inns is that most of them (definitely including the one at County Hall) are air-conditioned. It's possible you might need a/c in London in June, and not all moderately-priced lodgings have it.
"Midlands" is a huge area. East Midlands, West Midlands.
Where do you mean?
The area around Oxford is what I'm most familiar with. I lived in Woodstock from 1980-82 when in was in the Air Force...beautiful little town and I still have some friends there whom I hope to visit. The girls might enjoy Warwick Castle as well. Any other suggestions?
To find accommodations in your price range for the four of you, I'd say to look in the Rick Steves guidebook for Great Britain and check the Trip Reports section of these forums for hotel / B&B recommendations (and places not recommended, if any).
Are you looking for two rooms next to each other? Do you want an ensuite bathroom with each room? Do you want breakfast included?
As for where to go in the midlands, if you're already planning to go to Warwick Castle, how about Stratford-upon-Avon? I don't know about your granddaughters, but I was very big on Shakespeare when I was a teenager. S-u-A has a Premier Inn that's centrally located, an easy walk to the hop-on-hop-off bus terminal. Another hotel nearby is the Villare (formerly the Grosvenor; we stayed there in 2015).
How many days/nights will your trip be? To do justice to S-u-A I highly recommend staying at least two nights so that you have one full day to see the full circuit.
Hope this helps!
hey hey dknapp
look at cross-pollinate.com/london
they have apartments available. put in your dates and see what is available. don't know about midlands.
withlocals.com /london has things to do and some have children for free.
timeout.com/london has what's going on for all to enjoy
manze.co.uk try their peas and mash. a london must do. fresh pie made in shop and a culture thing.
wowcher.co.uk sign up with email and see all the offers. it's like groupon.
take the grandkids on a tea in the afternoon special. look at 2 for 1 specials
b.bakery.com red double bus tour around london highlights
jasons.co.uk a canal boat ride down regents canal
streetsensations.co.uk street markets around london
stmartin-in-the-field.org lunch in a crypt at the cafe
mms.com the m&m's store
look for theatre tickets at half price (lastminute.com/theatre)
so much to see and do rtoam around regents sreet, picadilly square. so much "free entertainment.
your grandkids will love to see all of this.
watching changing of the guard at buckingham palace can be so crazy and busy. it's fun and a sight to see
have fun and enjoy
In Oxford their is the Pit Rivers Muaeum which is a really quiry collection and definitely different to any other museum, being an eclectic collection of archaeological and ethnographic objects from all parts of the world. It's in an interesting building too.
Go for a punt on the river... great fun for all ages.
There is also Blenheim Palace. This was the reward given to John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough after his victory against at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. It was also the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill. Allow a full day as the Palace is magnificent. Opulent doesn't begin to describe it. The grounds are pretty good too.
All my pictures and write up are here.
I have mixed views about Warwick Castle which is owned by Merlin Entertainments (who are linked to Madam Tussauds). It is in danger of becoming an 'amusement' attraction. If you do go to Warwick, don't miss the church with its Beaucham chapel and the magnificent tombs of the Earls of Warwick (as well as Robert Dudley, who was reputed to be the lover of Elizabeth I).
I have to admit, I much prefer the ruined Kenilworth Castle with its connection to Robert Dudley who nearly bankrupted himself in preparation for a three day visit by Elizabeth I. He was convinced his massive spending and updating of the castle would wow her. It didn't! It is a massive structure and has been described as "the finest surviving example of a semi-royal palace of the later middle ages" Read more about it here.
Information about visiting here.
Thanks for all the excellent tips! Our next task will be to figure out what type(s) of transport we'll use during our stay in the UK. Our current plan is to fly into Heathrow on a Sunday, see London and the surrounding area (Midlands, etc) for the next 5 days, then leave on Saturday. I'm pretty sure that public transit (train/tube/bus) will be the best way to get around in London. Based on some initial research, it appears that some of the other places we might be interested in visiting (e.g., Warwick, Oxford, Harry Potter theme park) may be accessible by train or bus from London, if that is where we are staying, but there are other places such as Stonehenge where public transit might not be so practical. What are the forum's thoughts on this? Should we get a rental car for the day or two that we want to travel outside London?
I second the suggestion for Premier Inns as a reasonable choice. County Hall or Waterloo are well located for the tube and the trains. Advance purchase can get you some very reasonable rates. The Hampton by Hilton on the other side of Waterloo Station has also been showing some really low rates lately.
I know that you can easily visit the Harry Potter studios as a day trip from London. I saw many young people departing my train in various costumes as I was on my way to Bletchley Park which was further along the same line and also a very convenient day trip. If they have any interest in WWII history, mathematics or computers, Bletchley Park is a very interesting stop and is just a 5 minute walk from the train station.