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We bought our tickets - YAY!!! Here is a first draft for an itinerary. Some initial info is that we are flying out of Kentucky June 4, arriving at Gatwick the 5th. We fly home on July 5. We are staying with a relative who lives in Clapham Junction. Any feedback on itinerary including tips for any of the day trips (places to eat, cool things to do or see), etc... it is all welcome. Thanks!

June 5 - Arrive Gatwick 8:00AM - Train to Clapham Junction - Rest - look around this area.

June 6 - Tower of London - AM / Saint Paul's Cathedral - Afternoon / Skyview Gardens for view / Swing Dancing

June 7 - British Museum / British Library / Sightsee at Lambs Conduit and Holbourn

June 8 - Trouping the Colour Ceremony / Rest from Standing / Harrods / Twinings Tea Museum / Waterloo Bridge

June 9 - Wimbledon Tour / Spitalfields Market / Brick Lane Vintage Shopping

June 10 - Day trip to Canterbury Cathedral

June 11 - Greenwich via boat ride down the Thames

June 12 - Victoria & Albert Museum / Kensington Palace & Gardens / Look around Earls Court area (where I lived for 5 months eons ago) / Swing Dance

June 13 - Daytrip to Bath (tour Bath) / Rent a car to drive to Cotswolds villages (stay in Airbnb)

June 14 - Drive around to villages in Cotswolds - Back to Bath in evening to return car and get train to London

June 15 - West Minster Abbey / Churchill War Rooms / Royal Mews & Household Calvary Museum /Walk around Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben

June 16 - Sightsee at: Newberg Quarter / Covent Gardens / Area behind the strand / St. Paul's Church / Trafalger Square

June 17 - Tour Highgate Cemetary / Abbey Road / Little Venice

June 18 - Day Trip to Cambridge

June 19 - Kew Gardens / Theatre (Wicked)

June 20 - Day Trip to Stratford-upon-Avon

June 21 - nothing planned
June 22 - Day Trip to Hever Castle

June 23 - nothing planned

June 24 - Day trip to York

June 25 - At York, rent a car to drive to Whitby

June 26 - Whitby

June 27 - Back to York to return car - Train back to London

June 28 - Nothing planned

June 29 - Chunnel to Paris
June 30 - Paris
July 1 - Paris
July 2 - Paris
July 3 - Chunnel Back to London

July 4 - Prepare for flight home
July 5 - Fly home

Any and all feedback, ways to tweek things is welcome!

Posted by
10384 posts

I am envious! A nice long stay! Good to see some “nothing planned” days for flexibility. I wonder if adding some time to your trips to the Cotswolds and especially York would be beneficial. Also Paris could use more time.

FYI, I don't think one uses the word “Chunnel” this way. We take the Eurostar to and from Paris. If one takes a car and drives it onto the train, it is called the EuroTunnel, I believe.

Posted by
21992 posts

To maximize the time in Paris without increasing the number of hotel nights, I would take an early train over and a late train back. Note that the Eurostar tickets will only get more expensive, so I'd buy them as soon as I was confident of my dates. Certainly Paris could use more time than you are currently planning.

June 12 looks packed, but it will depend on how much of the V&A you want to see. It is a very large museum that would require more than one full day to see in its entirety. It is open late one night a week (as is the British Museum). In the case of the V&A, only the ground floor stays open, so you might focus on the upper floor(s) initially, figuring you can return for the evening hours on a later date if you need to. However, the lighting is not so great in the areas under the skylight after the sun goes down, so if those exhibits are of particular interest, you might want to see them earlier in the day.

June 15 may also be over-full, but I'm not as sure about that since I haven't been to those particular sights. You'll want to buy advance tickets to the War Rooms to avoid what is reported to be a really long ticket line. Big Ben is swathed in contruction drapes and not visible.

I'm a fan of walking tours, and you have time to take some if you enjoy walking. LondonWalks has a huge list of tours, many of them neighborhood-focused. You don't need to book ahead, so you can make weather-based decisions; you just show up at the designated Underground station and hand over your £10 (£8 for seniors). I've taken seven day-time tours during August and September, and none of the groups was large and unwieldy. The website is currently showing the winter schedule, but at some point in April I expect the summer schedule will be posted. There is a Highgate rour (not covering the cemetery, but can be combined with a visit to the cemetery), but it was not one of my favorites. The area just didn't seem as interesting to me as Hampstead, for example.

If you buy a paper weekly travel card for London at a railroad station (not an underground station), it qualifies you for 2-4-1 offers at some sights, one of which is Kew Gardens. A train ticket (not a tube ticket) to London for the day of the garden visit will also work. If you plan to (or can) take the train into town daily from Clapham Junction, you're in luck. You'd just have to hold onto your CJ-London ticket rather than inserting it in a ticket barrier at the end of the journey. To take advantage of the 2-4-1 offers you must fill out a form and present it at the ticket office at the tourist sight, and one of you gets in free. I've read no reports of significant lines at Kew, so I don't see a downside to this.

There's also a 2-4-1 deal at the Churchill War Rooms, but it consigns you to the hellacious ticket line, so you have to think seriously about the value of your time--two people twiddling their thumbs for a very long time in order to save one admission fee. In addition, there's a bit of a discount on that ticket if you but it online in advance, so you wouldn't save the full price of one ticket, just about 4/5 of the cost of one ticket.

In Canterbury I enjoyed the stained glass museum upstairs (no elevator) in the cathedral. There's a modest entry fee. It was nice to see glass, some of it historic, down at eye level. The tourist office in Canterbury offers walking tours, and I liked the one I took. I don't remember what time it was, but I had no problem taking it on a day-trip from London. The town also has a lot of attractive streets to wander.

Posted by
1065 posts

The "chunnel" is a very outdated word from the mid 90's, you will take the Eurostar train as a passenger, cars are loaded onto the "Le Shuttle" train.

Posted by
389 posts

June 9th is pulling you in quite opposite directions. I'd just focus on Wimbledon seeing as this will be very straight forward to get to from Clapham Junction. Take your time, stroll on Wimbledon Common, visit the windmill, enjoy afternoon tea at Cannizaro House. June 6th sounds a little full on for when you're still getting over jet lag but you know your stamina. SkyGardens will need to be booked 3 weeks in advance so perhaps be prepared to leave Tower of London till later in your schedule. Enjoy!

Posted by
5997 posts

We spent three nights in York. There is a lot to see there.

Walk the ancient walls
The Munster (Cathedral) is amazing
The National Railway Museum is great
There are other Museums in the city that should be seen.
Also, visit the area of the city with the narrow streets.

Whitby is nice.

Posted by
1989 posts

I would add another day in the Cotswolds during which you would drive to Stratford-upon-Avon as it is only about 30 minutes driving time from Chipping Campden. You then delete it as a special day trip out from London. (You may also be able to do Blenheim Palace - at Woodstock - about 7 miles NW of Oxford).