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Itinerary Questions

I am traveling solo to UK to visit in-laws for a week. They will drop me off in London the evening of July 20. Because of ticketing issues (that can't be changed) I don't fly home until one week later (July 27). Not sure how to spend that week. It's a little too long to spend it all in London. I know a person could spend a month there and find interesting things to do, but I'd like to break it up with another place. Does it make sense to spend a couple of days in London and then maybe 3 in Paris? The only problems I can see is that it will involve 3 different lodgings (London, Paris, and London airport hotel) plus travel time on the Eurostar both ways. I'm stuck on the return flight leaving from London. I've been to both cities before so I don't need to see that much. Just want to get a feel for them both again.
Any suggestions?

Posted by
5262 posts

This is a good problem to have. But surely you must have some ideas of your own, as you've been to both London and Paris, and presumably elsewhere. It's hard to help without some idea of your interests, where you've been already, what kind of week you can afford, etc.

I spent a week on my own in London last year after a longer tour with other people. I revisited some of my favorite places and discovered some new ones. Not everything made a hit with me, and I wore out my feet, but I had a good time nonetheless. If I had your problem, and having just been to London a few months back, I'd probably go to Paris for the week.

Splitting the time between the two cities (your own personal Tale of Two Cities?) also makes sense. Having to change lodgings and get from place to place shouldn't deter you -- that will happen whatever you do unless you just plunk down in London for the week. I think you've answered your own question. But Mrs. EB of course has good ideas too.

Posted by
130 posts

Thanks for the suggestions Mrs.Eb and you're right, of course, Dick. Just having trouble making up my mind and wanted to hear some other thoughts. Thanks!

Posted by
6358 posts

It is a bit difficult to recommend another spot to enjoy without knowing your interests.

Paris is an easy trip on the Eurostar.

London to Edinburgh is a lovely train ride.

Or leave the UK and take a two hour flight to Venice. Or across the sea to Amsterdam.

So many choices.

Posted by
42 posts

What about Eurostar to Brussels? Visit Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges. Pick one as a home base to stay in, as they're all fairly close train rides. You could spend 4 days there and see most of it. Then take a late Eurostar train back the day before you fly home and go right to your airport hotel.

Posted by
7124 posts

Stay the night of the 20th near Gatwick, and catch an early flight with Vueling to Barcelona the next morning. Four nights over the weekend is a good amount of time for a summer experience in the Catalan capital on the Med.

Posted by
1889 posts

You don’t say where your relatives live. That would certainly have a bearing on where to go next!

Posted by
2939 posts

I have the same question as James. Where do your in laws live?
When you say
"They will drop me off in London the evening of July 20."
Maybe you had rather be dropped off somewhere else?

If we knew where the in laws live, and thus where you'll be starting from,
we could perhaps come up with some more good ideas, in addition to the good ideas already posted.

Also, what are your interests?
Castles? Historic homes? Small villages? Hiking? Museums? Shopping? Nightclubs?
Knowing this will make our suggestions more useful to you.

Posted by
5551 posts

I'm not sure what kind of advice you are seeking. Can London - Paris - London be done? Yes it can - Eurostar is better than flying.

You say you have been to both before. Are there not other places that you would prefer to see? I would suggest Berlin, Prague, Amsterdam or Budapest. There are plenty of flights to each place from London each day, but book asap, as prices only head one way and they have been available for months.

Posted by
130 posts

Ok, Here's the whole reason for the trip. My wife is taking her Youth Chorus on a trip through Europe. I don't want to go with them on the whole trip but thought I would see the end of the tour. The last four days of the tour include performances at Canterbury Cathedral and London. My plan was to combine this with a week with my in-laws after the tour and a few days to myself in London before the tour. I made the mistake of scheduling my return flight months ago using miles for a business class ticket one week after the tour. I hadn't scheduled the trip over yet before my in-laws called and said they had just found a conflict and could I please spend the week with them before the tour instead of after. I can't change my free ticket so that's a given.

I really don't know what I will see with them in the first week but I know it will be interesting. They live in a small town near Bath, so we might go west to Devon. They've also talked about going up to the Lakes District.

My preference for the last six days on my own is to not spend too time getting on and off buses and trains and finding lodging so I might just stay in London. However, I've spent a lot of time there in past years and was debating about something else. I don't want to rent a car! How about day tripping from London? Any suggestions about that? (short bus tours, etc?)

Posted by
2939 posts

OK, now we're getting somewhere. We know now what you really want.

There are several ways to do day tripping out of London.
One company that does trips out of London is the London Walks Company.
Look at www.walks.com and see if their day trips to places like Oxford, Cambridge, Salisbury, Winchester, etc. suit you.
They also do great walking tours around London.
Not just the usual tourist spots, but special places.
One walk takes you on a tour of Beatles sights around London.
Another walk takes you on a tour of architectural styles around London.
They have dozens of London walks, and dozens of day trips.
Have a look at their website.

Two other bus tour companies you should check out are:
www.EvanEvansTours.com
www.goldentours.com
Both bus companies do day trips out of London.
You may want to see Leeds Castle, Warwick Castle, or Windsor Castle.
Browse their tours and I think you will find something you'll like.

You can also take many short day trips yourself, using the train or tube out of London.
You can take the train out to Hampton Court Palace.
You could take the train north to York. This could be a day trip, or an overnight.
Likewise, you could take the train to Salisbury, spend one night,
see Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral, train back to London.

Posted by
130 posts

Thanks! Sounds like some good options for staying in London.

One more question: Since it's just me, I don't want to stay in a hotel but would prefer a B&B that serves an English breakfast. I'd also prefer not spending a fortune on lodging for the week. Does it make sense to look for B&B's just outside of London but in the same tube zone? Maybe Earls Court area? Any areas you would suggest?

Posted by
2939 posts

Earls Court is not outside of London. It's in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,
within London; it's a neighborhood and a tube stop on the Piccadilly tube line, coming in from Heathrow Airport.
It is a convenient location for coming and going from Heathrow Airport into London (or vice-versa).

Inexpensive hotels and B&B's might be found there.
Sorry; I don't know of any. I usually stay in a different neighborhood.
Here's a page that describes the neighborhood and has photos.
https://www.airbnb.com/locations/london/earls-court

Do you want to be outside of London?
There are some fine areas on the edge of London.
But you can also find inexpensive B&B's and small hotels in London if you look around enough.

Posted by
2939 posts

A good B&B with an English breakfast is Aster House, 3 Sumner Place, London.
www.asterhouse.com
It's not cheap, but not expensive for London.

If you want suggestions for inexexpensive B&B's in London,
start a new topic, with that as the question.
You will get a lot of responses.

Posted by
130 posts

Thanks for all the advice, everyone. You helped me consolidate my thinking. I've decided to stay in London the whole time and take a few day trips from there.

Thanks again!

Posted by
1540 posts

B&B type small hotel I always stay in is Jesmond Dene on Argyle St. a couple blocks from Kings Cross station. Last time I checked a single room with bathroom down the hall was about $90.
Locations is ideal and you can even walk to the British Museum from there.
Tube station is on the corner across from Kings Cross station.
If you pay cash - they give you a discount at the hotel too.

Posted by
3187 posts

Check Amazon for books about daytrips from London-my favorite is by Earl Steinbicker. Rick Steves books will tell you how long the train takes from London to various destinations.