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Suggestions for Another Week in London after Best of London in 7 Days Tour

My wife and I are planning to sign up for the Best of London in 7 Days Tour this summer. However, we would like to stay in London for another week after the tour concludes, as we would like to explore the city in more depth and in a more individualized manner. We were both English majors with history minors in college, so we love all things related to literature and English history. Therefore, we are really looking forward to this trip, given the treasures that London has to offer on both these counts. In addition to extending our stay in London, we may want to take a trip to Bath and/or the Cotswolds during the second week.
Given this scenario, I am hoping that experienced forum members could provide some suggestions regarding accommodations and travel to these areas. I suppose it is possible to extend our stay at the Rick Steve's hotel which we use for the tour, provided space is available. If not, do you have suggestions regarding hotels? Also, what would be the best way for first-time visitors to England to travel from London to Bath and/or the Cotswolds? Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Posted by
10053 posts

What a great idea! Not enough people take the time to explore in-depth. We have spent 5 weeks over four trips in London and cannot get enough of it.

First, get an apartment for your second week. Gives you a chance to spread out and maybe prepare a few meals. London is an expensive place to dine and we find we can save a couple hundred £ by cooking half of our dinners and having breakfast at “home.” Also, you get to live a little more local, less insulated than in a hotel.

Trains are easy for day trips. The National Rail site is the place to research travel times, stations, and rates. Bath is easily served by train. I think the Cotswolds is a little more challenging, but look also at London Walks as they do daytrips in addition to their excellent local London offerings.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you for the excellent recommendations. Would you mind sharing how you locate an apartment with a reputable listing company? Also, is there a particular section of London that you would recommend considering for a short-term apartment rental? Again, many thanks for your help!

Posted by
116 posts

As suggested - get an apartment. Preferably with reasonable access to the tube. Check VRBO or Homeaway. If you are able to do this ask about the local pub and become a temporary regular :)

Things to think about in London depending on your preferences -
a. Globe Theater for whatever Shakespeare is playing
b. Evening concert at St Martins in the Fields
c. Evensong at Westminster or St Paul's or both.
d.. Any or all of Rick Steves walks not covered on your tour or just wander about.
e. Greenwich
f. Museum of the City of London
g. Kew Gardens (take the boat on the Thames back to Westminster)
h. revisit any museums that your tour just skimmed.

Bath is doable in a day but 90 minutes or so each way on the train. The Cotswolds really needs a car and more than a day. There is plenty to do in London. Your tour just scratches the surface.

Enjoy, Robbie

Posted by
116 posts

Reference rentals - Suggest you look at homeaway.com. You can search by area on the map and, since tube access is most important most listings will be quite specific. Because the tube is so go it is not necessary to be in the heart of London and you will find it much more expensive to do so. There is plenty of advise on rentals on this web site. Just search around. Personally, I do not use airbnb but many do. You will often find the same apartment listed on multiple web sites sometimes at different prices due to different fee and commission structures.

We rented an apartment for 10 days near Kensal Green and had no trouble getting around.

Good luck! Robbie

Posted by
11 posts

Great suggestions regarding homeaway.com, as well as Kensal Green area! Thanks for sharing your experiences. We appreciate it very much.

Posted by
2560 posts

We took this tour last year and loved it. Things we saw on the tour and wished we had more time to revisit: National Portrait Gallery, Westminster. Things that were not on the tour: British Museum, Imperial War Museum (this was great!), Kew Gardens (beautiful day), Churchill War Rooms. We saw two shows, would have done more with time. We visited the Globe on the tour. I could not have seen a show there, the seating is on benches and my bad back would not handle it. Our tour stayed at the Washington Mayfair Hotel. It’s ideally located, an older hotel, very nice people working there. Breakfast was good if a little monotonous after a week. An apartment sounds good but we have found on prior trips (even Hawaii where we always get a condo) with time so limited, going out to shop, meal prep takes time away from what we’d like to be doing. And, often after a day of sightseeing we default to dining out; just too tired to cook. And, staying in a hotel in a bustling city like London gives you access to folks who can help you with almost anything. And, don’t forget, that transition day-checking out of the hotel, storing your bags, getting them, checking into the apartment, will take the better part of a day you’d rather be doing other things. It’s really an individual choice. We would have stayed at the RS hotel or one similar if we had another week. And, I have to say, this is a very active tour. You just don’t “scratch the surface”, you see and do a lot given it’s only a week. Yes, there is much more to the city and surrounding areas, but you’ll be tired after a very busy week. If you get Tom Hooper as a guide, jackpot!

Posted by
1763 posts

Booking.com is another very reputable bookiing site. They have apartments as well as hotels and you can filter your search for one or the other.

Posted by
9692 posts

If you are going to change lodging, then I would suggest you head out to Bath for a couple of nights instead of doing a day trip. In fact if you do 3 nights in Bath then you could perhaps do a MadMax day tour of the Cotswolds to get a taste.

I really love Bath and find so much to do there. If your time periods of interest include the Georgian/Regency period then there is just nothing like Bath with the gorgeous Georgian architecture next to the Roman era baths.

I also love Salisbury - the Cathedral, the museum there, the Close and it's good public transport to Stonehenge.

I might consider leaving London on the day the tour ends (nothing happens that day except breakfast) and taking the train to Salisbury for 2 nights. You could see Salisbury that afternoon then take the local bus out to Stonehenge on your full day. It also stops at Old Sarum, then return to Salisbury for the evening. The next AM, head to Bath - about an hour on the train and stay there 2 or 3 nights. Return to London and finish up your sightseeing there.

2 nights = 1 full day/3 nights = 2 full days....etc

I'm glad you are staying over! You'll have really efficient use of time on the tour and be set for seeing stuff on your own!

Posted by
10053 posts

On 3 of our 4 trips to London we rented form www.LondonConnection.com, which is also a Rick Steves recommendation. Great service and lovely apartments. Many neighborhoods will work for you. No one area is perfect for all sights. We've enjoyed the area near St. Pauls, as well as Westminster, SOHO, and Mayfair. Next time we’ll stay in Kensington,

Posted by
116 posts

Beg to differ a bit with Alan. It is, as he says, a matter of personal choice.

We nearly always rent an apartment if we are going to be in a city or area more than 3 days. We have done this pre and post tour (or cruise) in Rome, Vienna, London, the Cotswolds among others. We generally make our own breakfast early and try to beat the crowds. Sometimes we will have a big lunch out and just snack for dinner. We rarely "cook" anything other than breakfast. We often are able to get a place with laundry facilities which can be very convenient (and economical). Perhaps the nicest thing about having your own apartment is that I can get up early, make coffee in my pj's and read the news without disturbing the wife. Also note that grocery shopping in a foreign county is very interesting and educational. And, there will usually be a local grocery of some sort within walking distance often very near the tube station. Local service businesses orient around the stations. Take out food is routine in London.

Generally, the owners are a font of local knowledge and recommendations - often better than a hotel concierge.
The seats at the Globe are uncomfortable :) Cushions can be rented but they don't help much. Your choice.
Transition day is not all that difficult. You can arrange a convenient checkin time with your host. You probably would have to take a taxi to be able to handle bags. Some hosts will arrange a car service for you.

As you search for a place keep a copy of the tube map handy. Also, read the reviews carefully and keep a few grains of salt handy!

Robbie

Posted by
6338 posts

I’ve been visiting London since the 70’s. Here now.

Never fails to provide adventure.

Robbie mentions a tube map. I always carry a pocket size one which you can find at any manned tube station booth. Teeny print these days with “old” eyes but always a great reference. You can also use the brilliant tfl.gov.uk website to helps plan your routes.

It is a personal preference regarding hotel vs apartment. In 2017 stayed at my preferred “ hotel,” this sojourn saying with friends in a flat. I’m fine with either. I’ve used AirBnB an have never been disappointed. I most often stay near Hyde Park so Nottinghill, Holland Park, Bayswater or Kensington neighborhoods. Good transport, restaurants, cafes.

Haven’t been to Bath in years so others can advised best amount of time to spend there.

Was in the Cotswolds in 2016. Drove. Rented car at Heathrow. Stayed at an AirBnB in Winchcombe.

This trip met some good friends who toured me around the E Cotswolds which I loved. Virtually no tourists, small villages, rolling hills and interesting sites. For example the Eleanor Cross in Geddington, and the Peterborough Cathedral. Trained from Euston station to Northampton and off we went.

As already advised check out any of the walks on www.walks.com. I’m taking the Inns of the Court walk tomorrow. Never been disappointed in any of the other walks I’ve taken with them. Very knowledgeable and personable guides.

I’ve not taken the RS Best of London tour but this is where I’d go to experience more of London.

  1. Brick Lane and Spitafields
  2. Fenton House and Gardens
  3. Granary Square and Coal Drops Yards ( then walk along the canal path to Camden OR walk from Granary Square over to St Pancras Church to see the Hardy Tree)
  4. Definitely theatre. Check out the Leicester Square 1/2 price booth. Can do in person or now check on line. Same day tickets.
  5. The London Olympics sites
  6. Hampton Court Palace
  7. Royal Academy Of Art
  8. Highgate Cemetary (need to reserve in advance)
  9. Hampstead Heath
  10. Check out the Wilton’s Music Hall for your time frame
  11. Check out the Royal Albert Hall schedule for your time frame
  12. Liberty department store
  13. Postal Museum
  14. Kew Gardens
  15. Tower Bridge experience if your not afraid of heights.

LOTS to see and do in London.

Posted by
11236 posts

There are some hotels that are actually mini apartments--each unit has a kitchen. Some hotels offer breakfast, have luandrettes, and a 24 hour front desk.

Three to look at are Staybridge Suites, Citadines and Fraser Suites. Each has numerous locations in London.

Posted by
2300 posts

We used London Connection and were very happy with the service. https://londonconnection.com/
Personally, I think Bath is better as an overnight trip than to be in and out in one day. We spent 7 days in London and then a train to bath for 2 days and then rented a car to tour the Cotswolds for another couple of days. It doesn't appear that your tour takes you to Hampton Court Palace (Henry VIII's house). It's a great day trip from London and the favorite of our stay. The Museum of London doesn't seem to get much love in this forum, but we enjoyed it as well.

Posted by
7688 posts

We were very pleased with our rental and the service from London Perfect. We stayed in Chelsea for ten days.

Posted by
258 posts

I would get the Rick Steves Guidebook and compare it with the itinerary for your tour to see what was left out of the tour.

We’ve rented a car at Heathrow to drive to Bath and the Cotswolds. It’s a nice contrast to London. Heathrow is far enough out of town that the driving is manageable. Be sure and get an automatic with satellite navigation if you rent a car.

Day trips by train are fun, too. Cambridge was one we enjoyed. We have either used small hotels or exchanged homes for our trips to London. You’ll love England. Good travels.

Posted by
3184 posts

There are so many wonderful and easy(by train) day trips from London: Cambridge, Windsor, Bath, Salisbury. There are also day tours of Cotswolds from London- London Walks and Secret Cottage tour.

Posted by
977 posts

The Globe is always number one on my list. Buy tickets now, and they will arrive at your home in plenty of time.

London Walks - any of them. They do go for "days out" to Bath and the Cotswolds. Check their website.

Get familiar with the bus lines. I have only begun to explore with them, but you get a whole different feel for where you are and which sites are where when you are above ground. I recently did a quick nip into Hackney to visit the House of Hackney. Fun locating it and having an iced coffee in a local cafe.

Enjoy!