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London/Amsterdam Holiday

Hi
My husband and I are thinking of traveling to London and Amsterdam next Christmas. London has direct flights from Orlando, the airport near my parents so convenient. Would like to visit other places in Europe over the holidays but don't want the connection on the way out. Can you recommend a hotel/B&B that is near the RS walking tours in London? I have been years ago but my husband is has not. What day trips could we take that would not involve big buses?
Travel to Amsterdam via Eurostar?
Thank you

Posted by
2739 posts

First, how long is your trip? How many nights in each city? You could easily spend a couple of weeks in London without doing a day tour out if town. Be aware, if you will be in London at Christmas, that there will be NO public transportation on Christmas day.

There really isn't one location that is close to all the walking tours. But since London has such an excellent public transportation system, just look for a hotel that is inside the Circle line, and is close to a Tube station ( preferably one that has more than one line). We quite like the Premier Inns. You are unlikely to find them on a 3rd party booking site - go to their own website.

Yes, you would travel to Amsterdam on the Eurostar.

Posted by
17881 posts

There are many, many day-trip options from London that can be completed by train. What are your special interests?

For the benefit of other responders, these are the walking tours provided in the London guidebook: Westminster, Bankside, West End, City of London, Docklands and East End (plus others outside London proper). You might find a hotel location from which you'd be willing to walk to the starting points of the first four walks, but it would be rather a lot of walking. The Underground is very good and helps save your feet. I've stayed recently at the Premier Inn Country Hall, which is just across the river from Westminster. I walked between that hotel and the areas of the Bankside, West End and City of London walks, but I am a big-time walker.

Since you're interested in walking tours, I'd suggest also investigating those offered by London Walks. In normal times they offer many walks every day on a wide variety of topics and covering many interesting neighborhoods. The current cost is 15 pounds per person. You don't have to reserve in advance; you just show up at the designated Underground station. This would be hugely advantageous in December, when the weather can be just a bit unpleasant. The guides are typically very engaging; some are out-of-work actors, I believe. I very much appreciate that the walks are conducted professionally. If the guide shares a legend or a tall tale as opposed to an historical fact, he or she will make that clear.

London Walks also conducts a few out-of-town daytrips (at higher cost, of course). I believe those normally start with a train ride, because that will cover ground faster than a bus.

Posted by
5486 posts

Uncertain what you are referencing when you say RS walking tours.

As noted use of the London Underground will assist in your traveling to the “sites.” So will your own two feet.

Do you want a B & B because breakfast is included?

Been traveling to London for years. Have rented apartments, AirBnB’s, and last year enjoyed stays in 2 different Premiere Inns. Both were in outlying neighborhoods as I had no need to be in London proper. You do pay for meals at the Premiere Inns.

One evening I had a ticket to see The Witness for the Prosecution at County Hall. County Hall is adjacent to Westminster bridge across the Thames from Parliament.

Used the tube from Richmond to Westminster
(about 30 minutes) and walked across Westminster Bridge to County Hall. At 10:30pm after seeing the play walked over to Waterloo Station ( 5 minute ) and took the Jubilee tube to Westminster. Changed to District Line and went back Richmond. Expected the tube to Richmond to be vacant at that time of night. Bemused it was busy with other riders.

As far as day trips: Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, Greenwich, Oxford, Cambridge, Whitsable, Canterbury, Rye, Brighton, Bletchley Park and Blenheim Palace to name a few.

Posted by
1600 posts

hey hey creesepv
as others have asked, how many days is this trip and what is you budget in pounds (london) and euros (amsterdam)? is this a round trip to/from london or a multi-city flight (into one city and out from another city)? you do not want to be backtracking. what other places do you want to see and what does "don't want connection on the way out" mean?
so many different walks within london and outside:
freetoursbyfoot.com
discoverwalks.com/london
citygardenwalks.com
sussexbloggers.com/west or east compliments of our poster, nigel.
shoreditchstreetarttours.co.uk
aladyinlondon.com
getyourguide.com/london sightseeing tours at a cost
royalparks.org.uk download maps of parks and take a walk
withlocals.com/london tours at a cost
timeout.com/london subscribe for newsletter and get upcoming news
keep an eye/alert out for eurostar.com dates, times and costs. the earlier you buy tickets the cheaper it is, about 3 to 4 months before you go. so much to see and do in london. dress warm and wear comfy walking shoes/boots on slippery grounds and cobblestones, know what is open and closed during holidays.
hope this gives you some ideas to search and decide what suits your fancy. enjoy and good luck
aloha

Posted by
127 posts

Thank you for all your responses.
We are looking to spend 3 days or so in London. I have been many times before but not my husband. We are looking to do the walking tours mentioned in Rick Steves' tour book. I have been out to Oxford as well but are looking for another side trip maybe Stonehenge and Bath?

Yes to 1 way, flying home from Amsterdam

Will not arrive until Dec 27th most likely. Hoping to spend Christmas with my parents next year unlike this year.

cost about 110 pounds or so. Looking for convenience and not spending a ton of time traveling on the tube to get to the locations.

Amsterdam, not sure if we should stay in the city or in the cute town I have heard about, Leiden.
Thanks again

Posted by
24641 posts

To help you decide between Leiden and Amsterdam - what do you see as the pros and cons of each?

I know both quite well, and another you don't mention, Haarlem.

What might tend to pull you more to Leiden - is it that it isn't Amsterdam (if so why), or is it that it is closer to den Haag and Rotterdam, or that you are drawn to the scientific discoveries made in Leiden?

The three places are quite different, one from each other....

Posted by
127 posts

HI
Leiden looks like a cute little place with a great deal of history. We are looking forward to seeing Amsterdam but not sure I need to stay in the city. It may be easier to do side trips however from Amsterdam. We have heard of Haarlem as well as a location to stay. What would be your pro's and con's?
Thanks

Posted by
3489 posts

If you are not familiar with multi-city air itineraries, one could save you a lot of time at little or no extra cost. Amsterdam and London are gateway cities so you should be able to set up a route that suits. But you must use a multi-city search function to arrange the route; these itineraries are not a pair of one-way tickets.

Posted by
4451 posts

Re your last question, Haarlem vs. Amsterdam as a base: I'd say the major pro of Haarlem is that it's a smaller, less crowded city with its own interesting sights (the church, Frans Hals Museum, and others), and still a short train ride from Amsterdam. The major con, if you visit Amsterdam from Haarlem, is that the train puts you in the most crowded, touristed part of Amsterdam, especially unappealing if you make that trip several days in a row. If Amsterdam is your real target, there are quiet pleasant neighborhoods for sleep and excellent transit for getting around.

I haven't been to Leiden, but one of our frequent posters, who lives there, describes it in ways that appeal to me very much, so maybe I'll get there.

You'll get more and perhaps better answers to your Amsterdam-Haarlem-Leiden question in the Netherlands forum.

Posted by
6101 posts

We spent a week in Leiden on our trip to the Netherlands. It is beautiful with flower bedecked canals. Population is over 120,000 so the adjective “cute” doesn’t describe it. Beautiful small city with history of the Pilgrims living there, a university town with many prominent names among the alumni.
Have you checked what London is like at Christmas? Museums are closed, many restaurants close or are booked months ahead, public transit stops Christmas Day. We went then, and with a lot of planning and help from a local, made it work. We used trains for day trips never buses although they are an option.

Posted by
1577 posts

Leiden is a nice town and staying has the advantage of letting you see a more "relaxed" part of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is suffering from overtourism so a smaller town can certainly be nicer and less crowded.

Posted by
72 posts

Some years ago, we were in London over Thanksgiving and it was the start of the Christmas season. One day, we took the train to Warwick Castle which was about an hour or so away. We took a tour of the castle and in the evening, there was a Christmas Fair. It was a highlight of our trip. Wherever you are on Christmas Day, maybe you can find a lovely church service with wonderful music. I'd look for some kind of dinner reservation well in advance.

Posted by
511 posts

On the topic of day trips from London, there are trains in every direction. If you haven't been to Greenwich, take one of the Thames boats. Portsmouth is a long train trip but if you like boats it's a "must-see". Bath has beautiful architecture and of course the Roman baths. I was going to suggest Cambridge both for the university and the Imperial War Museum but you'd probably want to spend two days for those. Probably the easiest way to choose which one to take is to get a guidebook from the library and read about them. Chances are one will jump out at you.

Hope this helps,
Marty