Please sign in to post.

Suggestions For If I Have Extra Time

As we all know, flexibility is key when making travel plans these days. I have a 10 week trip planned for late summer/fall, beginning in Ireland. My husband and I will be traveling with another couple for almost 6 weeks. We will have 2 weeks each in Ireland and Scotland, and almost 2 weeks in England. Our England time will be spent in Liverpool (2 nights), The Cotswolds (3 nights), Bath (2 nights) and London (4 nights). From there our friends fly home and our plan is to go to France for 3 weeks before returning to London for 8 nights, then flying home from there. We are using airline miles and the flight options from Paris were unacceptably long. From what I have been able to see there haven’t been problems traveling between Ireland, Scotland and England during Covid. The same can’t be said for France.

I’m trying to come up with a Plan B in case we have to drop France from the trip. We would have to find places to go from September 29 - October 21. We have been to London twice before, but I’m not opposed to spending a bit more time than the 12 nights we already have planned for the trip. We have been to York as well. Is it realistic to think that we may be able to travel that time of year without advanced reservations? We aren’t opposed to having a car when it will enhance the trip, but public transportation would be preferable. We like history, nature, cities and villages. I welcome any and all suggestions. Thanks!

Posted by
6822 posts

I’ll suggest southeast England and part of the southern coast, Cornwall, or Wales. With the timeframe you gave, Wales with a rental car would be my preference as many places are not well served by public transportation.

Posted by
10403 posts

Wales was on my radar and I assumed a car would be necessary. Thanks for confirming that.

Posted by
3062 posts

Have you checked out day trips from London i.e., Windsor and Cambridge? Other places to visit are Glastonbury and Wells although it would be easier from Bath. Oxford is another place to explore and you can take a day trip to Blenheim Palace.
Another place to consider going to is the lake district but it would be best by car.
From Oxford you can take a train to Conwy in Wales and explore Caernarfon, Snowdonia National Park and Llangollen. Not sure how doable it is by public transportation.
Scotland is another area to explore and here’s a link that might help you decide: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/scotland/scotland-early-april-by-bus-train-ferry.

Posted by
4482 posts

The St. Fagans outdoor museum near Cardiff is wonderful. I second the idea of Wales. Cardiff is an easy train ride from London-maybe pick up a car when you're finished in Cardiff? You can easily reach St. Fagans on a bus from Cardiff. Maybe Wells and/or Salisbury. They are both reachable by train.

Posted by
33339 posts

East Anglia is quite different and has much to offer - the Fens are quite unique as is a few days on a boat on the Broads - beautiful and little to no work. Even windmills and tulips (but not in autumn).

Shropshire and Cheshire don't get much play on here - especially not Chester since Emma is no longer on the Forums...

The NorthEast has lots to see.

Severn Valley Railway, Bridgnorth to Kidderminster.

I'm not certain that the Derbyshire Dales (or Yorkshire) would fit terribly well with what I know of your hiking style, but my goodness they are gorgeous.

Posted by
10403 posts

Nigel, I’m contemplating a few days on a narrowboat. You know Jim would love to do that, as we talked about in the past. If I can find something fully refundable in the proper timeframe it would make him very happy. If I can’t do a canal boat in France, it’s the next best thing. Please tell me more about the Broads.

Posted by
33339 posts

The Broads is the term used for the many lakes (Broads) and rivers in eastern Norfolk and northeastern Suffolk, caused by medieval peat removal and then flooding, and is a great boating paradise.

No locks and wide rivers and broads so no need for steel narrowboats.

Cruisers is the way on the Broads, and there are many hire boat facilities.

I've narrowboated quite a lot on canals, have always wanted to spend time on the Broads but not yet...

Richardson's https://www.richardsonsboatingholidays.co.uk/ has a fairly comprehensive set of webpages but I think the best introduction is on wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Broads

Hoseasons was the first big company.

Posted by
8884 posts

I’ve been going to London since Nixon was in office.
I’m never bored. Spent all of 2021 November there.
Theatre, museums, strolls along the Thames, cafes, restaurants, historical sights, art, royal parks, markets, gardens, cathedrals, pubs, are but few things to keep you occupied. Trains to Brighton, Whitsable, St Albans, Cambridge, Bath. Longer train rides to Durham and Edinburgh.

There’s the Jurassic Coast and pleasant Lyme Regis. Rent a car.

My point, is Plan B should include more days and nights in London.

Search web sites such as Lady in London, Timeout London, The Londonist. All good points of research.

Posted by
3363 posts

I don't have any suggestions, just wanted to say I was jealous of a 10 week trip! I could help with suggestions for Ireland as I have been there twice recently, but London was so long ago I'm not much use.

Posted by
10403 posts

I’m liking a combination of Wales and maybe the Broads for a boating experience (or somewhere else) for the first 2 weeks, then an extra week in London. We have stayed in South Kensington before and we will be there again for 8 nights before flying home. When we arrive in London from Bath we will be in the Paddington area, thanks to Claudia’s suggestion. We have stayed at a studio apartment on the South Bank, not far from the London Eye and the Waterloo station and it is available to book during the time we would be there. We liked it and the area, but maybe we should consider an entirely different area. I’m still hoping for France, but I want to be prepared in case it can’t happen.

Tammy, we are fortunate to have the time for 10 weeks. We are taking a 6 week trip in the spring as well. My husband retired in February 2019 and due to some family issues we weren’t able to plan a trip until September 2020, when we had a long one planned to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. Of course that trip didn’t happen. Now we will spend our 37th anniversary in the Cotswolds. 🤞🏼

Our Ireland, Scotland and almost 2 weeks in England with our friends is already planned (all can be cancelled just in case), so it’s just the 3 weeks after our friends leave that I want to have at least a loose plan for.

Posted by
581 posts

Andrea, could you share information on the South Bank studio? I have a place booked in late April, same area, but I don’t love it. Thx.

Posted by
8884 posts

Given what you’ve already seen in past London visits

might I suggest checking out The Line Art Walk. Start at the architecturally interesting Design Center by the O2. This walk takes you past areas not often explored by tourists. Found the lovely Anchor and Hope pub by walking along the path. Thats as far as I followed the path. Took train from Charlton back towards Richmond where I was staying.

Secondly if you’ve not been to Richmond and Richmond Park its worth a visit.

Consider dinner at the Dragon Inn or if looking for a nice pub for a pub lunch I like the Angel and Crown down the pathway by the Tescos.

Richmond Park is huge. Simply lovely to walk about.

Posted by
10403 posts

Thanks Claudia. How convenient or inconvenient is Richmond as a base? If I add a week to the 8 nights we have at the end of our trip I'm trying to decide where we should stay that is different from our other two places, the Paddington area and South Kensington. I saw a number of AirBnB’s in the Richmond area.

Posted by
33339 posts

When Claudia pops back in I'm sure she will have plenty to add about Richmond.

The Richmond station handles both mainline and tube trains. It is the last stop on the Richmond branch of the District Line, so takes a while to get to tourist central. Also the last stop on the "Overground" commuter train from Willesden Junction and Hackney. So not much use there for a visitor. It is one stop from Kew for Kew Gardens, but probably easier to take a bus or walk.

Richmond is also on the South West Trains lines from Twickenham and Staines (with Strawberry Hill) to (eventually) Waterloo, stopping at Clapham Junction for other rail lines and Vauxhall for an easy connection to the Victoria Line and all that that opens up.

In short, not terrifically convenient for tourist commuting but fabulous for Kew, the incomparable Richmond Park mentioned by Claudia, Ham House, Barnes, and Richmond itself which is no slouch.

Richmond is in Zone 4.

Claudia's daily trip report entitled "In London Now" when she was there in November casts a great eye on what's around where she stayed. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/england/in-london-now

Posted by
10403 posts

@dpl, I’m not sure exactly what the area is called where we will stay for 4 nights, but it’s on Bayswater near the Lancaster Gate tube station. I have a few other places I'm considering for if we spend the extra week and I’m still looking.

I can’t believe we’ve been somewhere in London that you haven’t made it to. We went to the Imperial War Museum in 2014. It was the year they were commemorating the beginning of WW1 and there was a special exhibit. They also filled the moat around the Tower of London with red poppies, finishing on November 11th. It was incredible. If you’re interested I’ll show you pictures I took,

Posted by
10403 posts

@Nigel, thanks for your input. Richmond sounds like a nice place to explore for a day, but not ideal as a base for us.

Posted by
8884 posts

Claudia here “ popping back in.”

Andrea, The reason(s) I stayed in Richmond in 2021 were:
Free room and board at a friend’s place. Company she works with rented her a 5 bedroom house.

Secondly, in 2019 I’d stayed at the Richmond Premiere Inn and I liked the area.

Third I’ve been visiting London since 1972 did not need to be “ close “ to the city center.

Lastly, it is 25 minutes away from the city center and if someone wanted to see the renown tourist sites it’s NOT convenient!

Consider looking at the Earl’s Court, Pimlico, Bloomsbury, and Chelsea, neighborhoods. I also know there are plenty of rentals by Butlers Wharf.

P.S. the area you are referencing is Bayswater. Why not return there or go a bit further and look for accommodation in Nottinghill or Shepherd’s Bush.

Posted by
317 posts

One nice thing about London is that it works really well as a base for day trips. Cambridge, Ely, Warwick, Canterbury, Dover, Leeds Castle in Kent, Highclere Castle (of Downton Abbey fame), Hever Castle (childhood home of Anne Boleyn), and Lincoln with its cathedral (thanks to LNER trains) are all doable one way or another from London - train, bus, and taxi. There are, of course, many many others. You'd be able to avoid the hassle of a car because of London's excellent transport and still see more than just London.

Posted by
10403 posts

Tom, the more I think about it the more I like the idea of spending more time in London and doing more day trips. I would still like to explore Wales. I guess we could go there after our friends return home, then return to London. That would give us an additional 3 weeks there. I’m pretty sure we won’t run out of things to do. Of course I’m still hoping we will go to France for the 3 weeks.