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Itinerary help - thanksgiving family trip

Planning a last minute thanksgiving trip with our 4 and 6 year old. Adults have been to London several times but never the countryside. We will be back! We want to make sure we are kid friendly in our itinerary. Feel like a driving trip is most kid friendly vs bath/Oxford where the kids will be exhausted from walking (also think we could do those as day trips on future trips). Also wanted to pick places that aren’t great day trips from London. I’m dying to see the cotswalds - hope we’ll be back because I know November and one day isn’t ideal but was thinking this would be a teaser. Struggling to figure out groupings of activities. We can skip the day in London. Or we can move legoland to Wednesday. Should we add York and skip other things? Was initially planning on only doing countryside stuff and skipping London all together. I love antique shopping so maybe we can sneak in an hour or two of that (or I sneak it in and the rest find a playground and pastry shop!). Would love feedback! Thanks!

Sunday - arrive rent car and drive to tbd, nap, explore, evening Christmas Lights at a castle (maybe stay in Stratford on Avon or maybe stay at a castle-style hotel and make that the activity for the day)
Monday - model village and cotswalds

Tuesday - Warwick castle and return car to airport and go into London
Wednesday - London (hamleys, double decker bus tour, paddington station for paddington bear)
Thursday - sleep in London, legoland, thanksgiving din somewhere
Friday AM - fly home

Posted by
23 posts

Also found a place called the Newt in Sommerset that looks lovely for a pretty lunch and exploring but not sure that goes with the rest of the itinerary

Posted by
5467 posts

No, no, no! If you don’t care for your family’s safety, then please think of other road users and don’t get off a plane jet lagged and drive for several hours. Have your first night in London or stay in Windsor. You maybe too wiped out for evening activities. Legoland is near Windsor.

Late November isn’t a great time for visiting the Cotswolds as there will be no colour in the gardens and it will be dark by 4pm. There’s also a good chance of rain all day long! The model village in Beaconsfield (the world’s oldest model village) is far more extensive than that in Bourton on the Water and could be covered from Windsor as a day trip.

There are lots of interesting lunch spots that aren’t as off piste from your route as The Newt in Somerset is!

Posted by
3040 posts

Agree with Jennifer. But if you don't want to spend the first day in London you can take the bus to Oxford and stay there the first night.

Posted by
5324 posts

Warwick castle is a great choice for kids. We did that in 2017.
For the Cotswalds, I recommend staying at Chipping Campden and do day trips.
Stratford Upon Avon is amazing if you love Shakespeare. Not sure about kids.

As for driving after a long flight. It is spot on to be careful. Each person has their own ability to consider. I have driven SHORT distances after a long flight and never had issues.

Posted by
23 posts

My husband will get more sleep on the plane than he does at home (not our first rodeo, i promise), so we're ok (and if we aren't, we'll be the first to change plans and use marriott points to book a different hotel).

Posted by
3885 posts

If you decide to stay in Stratford Upon Avon we enjoyed our stay at the Arden Hotel. It has free parking and is in a good location. It’s probably a 2-2.5 hour drive from Heathrow and at the limit of what I’ll drive after a long flight.

Since you intend to go to Paddington Station to see the statue, consider reserving a time to get your antigen test for the return to the U.S. while there. The clinic right by the bear statue is run by the same company that runs the clinic at the airport.

Posted by
6238 posts

Thanksgiving is not celebrated in the UK. However, there will be a Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s which is popular with visiting yanks.

IMHO opinion it’s a pleasant way to be with family, give thanks and see St Pauls interior beauty. However, no clue if it will be held this year of Covid. Research online. Believe you need reservations.

As far as an “ traditional “ US Thanksgiving dinner, that too, will need to be researched. The larger more expensive hotels will offer “ traditional US Thanksgiving meals, “ but they won’t be cheap.

The Square Meal website will give an idea of costs.
https://www.squaremeal.co.uk/restaurants/best-for/thanksgiving-dinner-london_9392

Maybe the Hard Rock Cafe would come the closest. Dont know. Never been.

https://londonist.com/london/things-to-do/thanksgiving-in-london-where-to-eat-american-food-special-events-menus

I’ll be there on Thanksgiving. Never gave it a thought about having a traditional turkey dinner. Knowing me I’ll be fine with bangers and mash, toad in a hole or Cornish Pastie….or a lovely Steak and Ale pie.

Posted by
3140 posts

When our daughter had just turned 4, we did a sabbatical in Hampsted. There are some great places in London for that age group-the Natural History Museum, and the mummies and colossal statues in the British Museum. If yours are girls, tea would be a hit.

Posted by
4631 posts

It is actually possible to stay on the Warwick Castle estate in a 'lodge'. This includes the cost of one day's admission. All "medieval" themed with entertainment although I don't know about November. Bit kitschy maybe like the castle itself but might be fun too especially for the kids.

Posted by
152 posts

I'm not sure if you've traveled internationally with your kids before, but when we go to Europe with our kiddo (4.5), we focus on moving as few times as possible. Our kiddo isn't the best sleeper, and it takes him a few nights to settle into new beds. If it were my trip for just a week, I'd pick one home base and stick to it.

If you're interested in the countryside, I would fly in, pick up your rental car from the airport and drive there and then do various day trips. I'd cut out London completely, as I'm not sure going into the city for just a day would be worth it. When you factor in packing, unpacking, time at car rental counters, storing your bags, traveling from place to place, I think it will eat up a lot of time.

My husband and I did a Thanksgiving trip (in our pre-child days) to London several years ago, and loved it. It's a great time to travel. Have fun!