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Trip to England 2022

I husband and I are planning a trip to England in July or August, 2022. I am wondering how soon we should start booking hotels, flights and attractions. I have been to Europe before, but it was with a tour group so everything was planned for us. This will be the first time we have planned a trip on our own and my husbands first trip overseas. I have Rick Steves' London travel guide and it has been very helpful deciding on attractions to see and hotels to check out. I just wondered if I should make hotel reservations as soon as I can or wait. With the state of things with COVID I am not sure how to proceed with planning. Hopefully by next year, things will be back to normal regarding travel. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Joan Sonnenfeld

Posted by
8244 posts

I'd suspect you do not need to book hotels right now. I'd not book anything that is non-refundable (boy that has been a lesson for many over the last year, hasn't it?).

I "would' start working on your itinerary (and it sounds like you've done that), pick your potential hotels and maybe see if there are any newer reviews on Trip Advisor or Booking.com. Unless your travel dates fall on a UK holiday, I'd wait until about 6 months out. I'm planning to travel in May and some of my days fall on a Bank Holiday weekend. I'll book that probably in November.

Fun to plan, isn't it!

Posted by
3213 posts

With everything changing seemingly weekly, I’d hold off on anything non-refundable. Under normal conditions we begin making flight and hotel reservations about 3 months out. We don’t reserve attractions, but we normally go to London in November or December when lines are short. Flights right now are a wild card. With restrictions on those from Europe coming to the states, the flight selection isn’t like it normally is. If you can get a good deal on a flight that is refundable 5 or so months out, go ahead a buy it, but expect the times, flight numbers, layovers, and possibly even connecting airports to change, possibly multiple times. Definitely, proceed with caution, but continue planning.

Posted by
1356 posts

How much of your itinerary have you drafted?
For example, if you're going to the Fringe Festival in August in Edinburg, you'd want to book refundable hotels early, as the moderately-priced properties book up quickly. The Fringe is great fun, but it's something to either plan to attend or plan to avoid.
Check also for other festivals, bank holidays, and where you'll be on Sundays- again plan to attend or plan to avoid. {Some small towns are VERY quiet on Sundays, with shops closed.]

Many European hotels are very small, so if you find a property at which you REALLY want to stay, book early, of course. Also- hotels with air conditioning are most desirable in the summer, along with hotels with elevators.

REMEMBER you can fly open jaw- into one airport, out another.
You can track airlines prices on Google Flights.

Have a great time planning!

Posted by
618 posts

Jsonnenfeld,

The Schools in England break for their 6-week summer vacation around July 20th each year. This is when England goes on holiday. Usually to other places in Europe or other continents, but if 2022 ends up being a stay vacation for most Brits like it was this year, then your weeks in July/August will book up quickly. I would suggest you might go the first few weeks of July to avoid the possibility of crowds and higher prices.

Margaret

Posted by
4697 posts

I'd suggest you start looking at flights and fares about 6-8 months out, and spend some time tracking fares and comparing airlines. Your flights are the bookends of your trip, and likely to be changeable but not refundable (unless you want to pay much more). They'll drive the rest of your itinerary. I agree with the advice about open-jaw flights and expecting the airline to move times around as flight dates get closer.

Start looking for hotels a few months before (or sooner if you're set on a specific hotel or a high-demand date like a festival), and definitely pay for reservations you can cancel on short notice. Most timed-entry admissions should be OK to buy a couple of weeks ahead or even later. They should be easy to cancel if necessary, and even if you can't you're not out much money.

One place you might consider visiting, if you'll be in London in the right period, is Buckingham Palace, which is normally open for a couple of summer-fall months when the Queen is out of town. Those timed entries can be in high demand and require early booking. For me, the visit was well worth the trouble.

Posted by
3406 posts

I would like to suggest you look at Premier Inns. This UK chain offers good value and a consistent product. Several locations in London. My personal favorite is the Waterloo one.

I will make reservations with this chain far in advance and then check prices every few months. Be sure you get the ones that can be cancelled with no fees.

Posted by
18892 posts

I was going to mention the Premier Inns as well, because you're traveling in the summer and--depending on the weather gods--may need air conditioning. A lot of moderate hotels in London aren't air conditioned, but most if not all of the Premier Inns are. You can book rooms with very generous cancelation policies (be sure that's what you're doing, because they also have non-cancelable options), and PI's rates this far ahead may well look like great deals when you take a look at rates six months from now. Lots of people prefer a more traditional hotel, and PIs are not for them. If, on the other hand, you prioritize things like solid Wi-Fi, air conditioning and elevators, PIs are worth very serious consideration.

https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/home.html

Posted by
4974 posts

Book your flights as soon as you find a price that works for you. We got tickets on British Airways in February of this year, for a stay this October. If we wind up not being allowed into the country for a week, without a 2-week quarantine, we’ll have to skip the trip, and stay in Italy for another week, instead of continuing to London. But we wanted our flights booked as soon as we were vaccinated - and the price (along with some frequent flyer points) was right, before those seats got taken by somebody else.

As for lodging, our last 2 trips were ay a B&N in north London. Their Website os still up and appears to be running, but we’ve never gotten a response as to room availability. E-mailing the owners’ private e-nail has also gotten no response. I don’t know whether they’ve died, some the Edwardian residence that made up the B&B but never closed the Website, or are for sobe reason choosing to ignore booking requests. Not the latter, I’m certain - that’s just not their style. So we booked another place - refundable. I say do the same - book refúndanle rooms (know the date you have to cancel to be able to get a refund, if necessary) ASAP. You have a bed, the place has confirmed customers, so has a light at the end of the Covid tunnel, and you can focus on your itinerary while you’re in England. Unless you don’t have the money to put up now. get your flights and your lodging set, and you’ve gotten the practical parts of your trip set.

Posted by
182 posts

I’d book fully refundable hotels as soon as you are ready to do so. Because the UK’s international travel rules are totally shambolic with constant changes, most people are travelling domestically, which has made it difficult to find availability at good hotels and AirBnBs. I suspect this trend will continue next year. It therefore will really benefit you to be ahead of the curve, there is no downside to booking early if it’s refundable.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you very much for all the great advice! Keep it coming!

I have been looking into the Premier Inn near Victoria Station as a possible hotel. So I am glad to hear recommendations for this hotel chain. Air conditioning would be a plus! It is close to transportation so we would be able to get around London easily. We plan to use the underground and buses to get around. I plan to only book refundable hotels and watch for flights very carefully. Hopefully the airlines get things figured out and more flights will be available by next summer.

Has anyone ever gotten an Oyster card to use for transportation?

Posted by
23 posts

Is there a reason for you choosing July/August. As someone has already said, the UK school holidays start in mid July and go right through August. Everywhere will be mad busy and prices higher. Late May and all of June are good times to visit, as is early September.
Are you just visiting London or other parts of England. There are moors and mountains in the north, hills in the Midlands, castles galore, old cities like York, Chester, Winchester. Seaside towns with nice beaches all around the coast. Gritty northern cities such as Liverpool and Manchester with great museums, vibrant centres, great restaurants and shopping. All within a few hours of London.
I would also recommend Premier inns, which are everywhere, clean and comfortable. Others to consider are Holiday Inn express and the Village hotel group.
For July/August bookings in London, you would need to book ASAP but 4 months before should be OK. For times outside that, a couple of months will be OK, even shorter for the places outside London or off the beaten track.
Make sure you are insured for Covid cancellations. Someone described the restrictions as "shambolic". I think that is more to do with the dynamic nature of the infections.

Posted by
8 posts

I want to go when Highclere Castle is open. (Yes, I am a Downton Abbey fan!). I see in most publications they are open July until Mid-September. I e-mailed them and they will be coming out with their 2022 schedule soon, so our plans could change. I am also watching tours from London to Highclere for their dates. Rick recommends a couple of companies in his book, so that is who I am looking into using. I would rather go earlier in the year, but depends on their schedule. Due to my husband's work, we can't go after mid-September.

Our base of operation will be London. We are planning another day trip to Winsor castle, Bath and Stonehenge. I may look into other day trips and skip some things in London. I am still working on our itinerary.

Everyone has such great recommendations of things to see! I wish we could spend a month there to see more sites!

Posted by
25746 posts

Windsor Castle is really easy to do on your own, and a tour which tries to do Windsor Castle (easily takes 4 hours, or more), Bath and Stonehenge in one day will cutting lots of corners.

Posted by
3406 posts

Re: your Oyster card question. Yes, many people on this forum have used it. Very convenient and easy to use. If you have a contactless credit card that works as well.

I like the Oyster card because if I drop or lose it, it isn’t as serious as my credit card. I’m not pulling out my credit card as much with the Oyster card.

Posted by
25746 posts

what questions do you have about the Oyster card, Joan?

They still work well, but are no longer the only way...

Posted by
8 posts

Regarding the Oyster card, we are looking for a convenient, no touch way to pay for using transportation. I don't want to use a credit card each time. Also, something that may save us some money.

Posted by
8244 posts

"We are planning another day trip to Winsor castle, Bath and Stonehenge."

Please, please, please, reconsider doing this. Yes, there are bus tours that do this from London but you are spending more time on the bus than you are on the ground.

Definitely do Windsor Castle on your own from London - it's really very easy to do the train transport and you do not need to book ahead.

How many nights will you have? IF you have enough nights, you may be able to shift one or two nights to Salisbury so you can do Stonehenge from there (there is a dedicated coach from Salisbury city center or the train station out to the stones that runs all day) as well as seeing the Cathedral and Close area and then spend a night in Bath to enjoy that city.

Posted by
18892 posts

I've used an Oyster Card on three recent trips to London. It's very easy to obtain and reload as necessary. It definitely saves money, because the Oyster-Card rate for a tube trip is lower than the single-ticket rate. In addition, there's a per-day cap on what you're charged, so if you have a day when you're hopping on and off the Underground a lot, you'll end up not being charged for some of your travel.

Since there are two of you, it's worth thinking about the weekly travel card, though. In normal times quite a lot of attractions (not just in London) have 2-for-1 deals for people who arrive by train. In the past it was necessary to buy your entry ticket at the sight itself (not online, ahead of time) and show a train ticket to get the free ticket for your fellow traveler. (It may be different now.) A weekly travel card purchased at a train station qualifies you for the 2-for-1 deal. Both visitors have to have a travel card. Although a lot of the major museums in London are free/donation-requested, there are quite a few big-ticket places where a 2-for-1 deal can save a lot of money. In the past, the Tower of London and Kew Gardens participated in the offer.

https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london

This is not something to be concerned about now, because COVID may cause changes in the way the 2-for-1 program works and the participating attractions do change from time to time.

Here's an explanation of the current (COVID-era) booking procedures: https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/travel-advice

Weekly travel card prices vary, depending on which zones they cover. This chart shows the current prices: https://content.tfl.gov.uk/adult-fares.pdf . You might need just a Zone 1-2 card. As of 2019 there was a procedure for paying the fare difference (prior to traveling) if you needed to make a single trip to a more-distant zone.

As you can see from the chart, the 7-day travel card is not less expensive than the weekly cap, so it only makes sense if you're going to benefit from 2-for-1 offers. If you will not, it's better just to use the Oyster Card, because you may very well have days when you don't use the Underground much; in that case the Oyster Card might be cheaper than the 7-day travel card. (And of course you may also be spending fewer than 7 days in London.)

Posted by
3213 posts

I agree with acraven about the Oyster card’s ease of use. The Oyster machines are very user friendly, whether getting a card or adding funds to it. We use the tube extensively on our London trips. After tapping to leave a tube station, the machine displays how many money remains on the card. For planning, we take the number of days we’ll be in London and multiply it by the daily cap to determine how much money to have on the card (plus the little extra needed to get from/to the airport). Since we go to London pretty much every year, we keep the Oyster Card for our next trip.

Posted by
2627 posts

How many days will you be in England? You have not told us this in any of your posts.

"Our base of operation will be London. We are planning another day trip to Winsor castle, Bath and Stonehenge."

You will barely scratch the surface of each of these places on any tour that tries to cover all in one day.
Each place is worth going and staying in that area for 2 nights.

Bath was one of my favorite places on our Rick Steves Best of England tour. We stayed there 3 nights with the tour, but added 2 nights there before the tour began. There's plenty to see in Bath; it's beautiful. Bath Abbey is lovely. You will want to see the Roman baths. Bath has good restaurants, museums, parks, and the Royal Crescent. We spent several afternoons walking around Bath and never got bored.

Stonehenge--To me, seeing Stonehenge is 100 times better if you're staying in Salisbury nearby. Salisbury Cathedral is amazing. A medieval town that is great for walking and discovering.

About London being your base of operations--good plan for perhaps a week. But if you have longer than that, you may want to look at spending some nights in other places. That way, you get more than a glance at the places you visit.

York would be another good place to train to for several days. Lots to see there. More than you can enjoy with just a day trip.
Oxford or Cambridge (one or the other) would be good for 2 nights.

It is easy to get to the places I've mentioned by train or bus from London.

Posted by
18892 posts

Another thing about spending some night outside London if you have more than a week or so and are leaning toward take several day-trips is that lodging may be considerable cheaper in other places. How much cheaper will definitely depend on what those other places are. York, for example, is fairly pricey (but worth it in my view).

Posted by
8 posts

Sorry about not giving the amount of time we are planning. At this time, we were planning to stay 10 days/9 nights but only staying in London and just doing day trips. With all the wonderful information people have been giving us, we may cut back a few days from London and move around a bit or possibly add a day or two. This is why I am starting to plan now so we can change our minds and make this a trip of a lifetime!

My previous trip to Europe was to Italy and Greece and was such a whirlwind, I never got to really look at things and enjoy the beautiful sites around Rome and Athens. We spent more time on busses and boats than looking at the sites. It was just too much packed into 10 days. I don't want to do that on this trip so the advice about the day trip that we were planning to take is very appreciated. We just want to have time to soak in the sites and have time to sit back and relax too.

Posted by
8244 posts

We spent more time on busses and boats than looking at the sites. It was just too much packed into 10 days. I don't want to do that on this trip

Excellent that you realized that!! The day trip including all 3 of those sites is exactly that.

Thanks for giving us your time frame. Your arrival day will not really be useful for touring. You may want to plan for some outdoor activity but I don’t like museums on arrival day. If you are flying from Nebraska you’ll have at least 2 flights -one to a hub and then the leg to England. From Idaho I always have at least 2 flights...sometimes 3, lol. That means a long flight day so more tiredness to overcome with the jet lag.

With 9 nights you could consider Nights 1/2/3 in London. Go out to Salisbury on Day 4. Spend nights 4&5 there with Stonehenge on your full day, Day 5. Head to Bath the AM of Day 6 and overnight there. Return to London for 7/8/9. Head back home Day 10 and start planning your return, lol!! If you can add days that is wonderful!!

Now to determine if Stonehenge and Bath are important to YOU. They are to me and I make repeat visits. Others, not so much. They are in all the guidebooks but just because a travel writer and people on a forum say they have import doesn’t mean you have to include them if they don’t pique your interest.

I’m glad you found us!!

Posted by
1 posts

Not sure if you are considering taking a rental car. If you are, there are two good options, IMHO.
If you are able to pick up from an airport, especially Heathrow or Gatwick, then Auto Europe is going to be cheapest. They are a broker, and will offer you a page of possible providers (Avis, Europcar, etc) and different car sizes. They also have some providers who will rent from city center locations, but these are more expensive than the main airports, for some reason, even if you are bringing back to the same location. The one hang up with Auto Europe is if you want to drop off at a different location, this incurs the same fees as if you booked from the car company directly. But that said, I've had lots and lots of experience with them and mostly perfect experiences. Automatic gear cars normally available.
For city center pick up and drop off at the same location, central London, we just booked via Priceline, ending up with a car from National to pick up at Victoria Station. That was cheaper than AE, and cheaper than going direct to any of the car rental companies.
The problem you face with the local offices of car rental companies is opening hours: seldom anything other than 9-6 and only Saturday morning: makes weekend pick up and drop off more complicated. Sixt seems to have a system for out of hours drop off in some locations. Sixt often has good deals in London.

Word of warning on drop off. ALWAYS take a video of the state of the car if you aren't able to get an in-person check in. It is a well-known scam that an agency will contact you 2 weeks later and say they found damage on the car and please pay some sum that just happens to be below the deductible on the insurance you may or may not have taken out. This happens frequently if you use your own credit card as insurance rather than paying for local insurance. When you drop off the keys at the office ALWAYS ask for an in-person inspection, and ALWAYS request that someone signs off on papers if they say they can't do it at that time. Tell them you took a video. These things will protect you. If they insist that the car is damaged, ask them to provide photos that are date stamped on the day of your return. The onus is on them to prove the damage, not on you to prove there wasn't damage. Contest any charges on your credit card.

Posted by
2788 posts

I like Pam's plan. I can't imagine trying to do Bath and Stonehenge on a day trip from London.

Posted by
25746 posts

If you pick up in Central London, say Victoria as above, who pays the £15 Congestion Charge?

Info on Oyster cards https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/visiting-london/visitor-oyster-card

If I could add to all the great advice posted so far when it comes to each day in the city. Pick one must see place for each day, then look at the surrounding area to fill the rest of the day. This is a much better system than rushing backwards and forwards across the city in both time and stamina. If you do end up in Victoria as a base, don't disregard it as a venue to explore the area of Pimlico just down the road is very interesting. I'd be happy to give you details if you would like them.

Posted by
136 posts

Using public transportation in London is a good idea, but don't discount the transportation you were born with - your feet.
What I mean is: don't use the Tube for EVERY ride between places. You'll miss seeing a lot by being underground for a journey that could have been a short walk, instead.

There are maps available to let you know (although I've not used one because my daughter lives in London and tells me which to walk and which to ride - plus I'm a photographer and I like looking at stuff above ground more than under it)

Read this article for some insight into this. It's not current, but walking distances in London probably haven't changed a lot in the time since it was published.
https://rodcorp.typepad.com/rodcorp/2003/10/london_tube_map.html

Posted by
21 posts

I have only experienced Windsor Castle from your travel wish list. We stayed nearby in a hotel with air conditioning because a heat wave hit on our trip so we figured, why not see Windsor? We had a rental car and left our other month long rental for cooler air at night. If you do add this place to your list then I have the following advice. Windsor is closest to Heathrow from all of your locations. Good to know if you need a quick plan B. When visiting Windsor I would suggest viewing St. George's Chapel first. It is easier to space out from crowds and still get pictures on the rest of the property, but the cathedral did feel a bit rushed and more packed, because it is one place they watch for any photography which is not permitted. Make sure you see the changing of the guards at one of your locations, it was fun to experience! The lines to enter Windsor Castle were very long Summer 2019. I felt like they could have used a lesson from Disney on expediting lines, so get there as soon as you can in the day. Do fill up on breakfast first though. Do not miss the town of Eton. It is right down the street from the castle and very charming. We even saved a lot on parking by finding a lot in Eton and walking over the bridge on the Thames. The gift shop at the castle had just as much Buckingham Palace merchandise as they did Windsor Castle, so if you do both castles you may see similar items. Seeing King Henry the 8th's armor at Windsor was a highlight for my husband! Enjoy planning your trip. We are also planning summer of 2022 but we won't book until February.

Posted by
4873 posts

Use kayak.com for comparative pricing for lodging and TripAdvisor as well, especially using its feature with a map that helps match the lodging with location.

I would book at least 6 months in advance and don't do the non-refundable, since with COVID you never know.

Here is my review of our four week self drive of England and S.Wales
28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home

https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=599139

Posted by
249 posts

We're going to London, Bath, the Cotswolds, Cornwall, and back to London in June 2022. We've made our flight, car, and hotel reservations already. With the way things have been going, we only stay at hotels/B&Bs that have free cancellation. (Most do.) We use Rick's books as our first resource (as we have for the last 11 years), but also TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, other travel books, etc.

Don't forget to make dinner reservations if you want to eat well. We just returned from two weeks in France and I can't tell you how many times we were sitting having a wonderful dinner and see people turned away because they didn't make reservations.

I'll usually pick out three hotels or restaurants and ask my wife to make the final choice. I enjoy planning. She enjoys traveling.

Posted by
2 posts

With regards to hotels, I think you should be pretty confident with booking now if you are looking for July/August. That'll be the summer and, if tourism picks up hugely as expected next year with the increase in overseas visitors, then the hotels will getting fuller at a quicker rate. I'd also recommend booking your main attraction tickets early especially if you want to do something that sells out quickly and you cannot walk up (e.g. Harry Potter studios). London Eye book it on the day and walk up so you can judge based on the weather. You can also do some really good walking tours in London, we did one recently with See The Sights Tours and it was really good - https://www.seethesightstours.com - whilst you can also do a lot of walking and self exploring on your own too.

Posted by
4748 posts

Premier Inns - you know what you are going to get no matter which hotel you stay in anywhere in the country, but they are a bit boring if that’s your only U.K. experience. Usually, the sooner you book, the cheaper the room. I wouldn’t bother paying for their (very average) breakfasts - there will be plenty of nearby cafes.

Highclere can be done yourselves as a day trip by train - you don’t need to take a tour.

I prefer York to Bath as a side trip from London - easy by train and accommodation is much better value and there is plenty to see. (Bath is the second most expensive place for hotels after London).

As others have said, the day trip covering Bath, Stonehenge and Windsor is a long time sat on a coach and little time seeing these places. Having separate day trips to these three places plus Highclere won’t leave long for London itself. Is Stonehenge actually of interest to you? There seem to be many comments on this forum from people saying they feel they ought to go, but …. It wouldn’t be in my top 100 things to see in the U.K., but it’s your trip not mine.

If you are staying in London for the whole week, you may want to consider renting an apartment from say Trip Advisor or Booking.com rather than staying in a hotel.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that things will be “back to normal“ by next year, as Covid isn’t going away. Ensure any booking is refundable. I usually book holidays in late December or early January for the following summer. Track prices for flights and hotels.

If you decide to venture into Scotland, please note that school holidays here start at the end of June until mid August, 2-3 weeks earlier than England and Wales. Accommodation in Edinburgh in August needs to be booked soon as it gets full.

Posted by
456 posts

Just a thought, but maybe spend the first part of the trip outside London for 3-4 days and do side trips from that location. Then return to London for your city portion of vacation. There are several reasons I suggest this. First is that many flights from the US to London arrive early in the morning and you can't access your hotel until later in the day. Second, is that I tend to get a bit tired of the same hotel after a bit and am glad for a change. i also like a mix of big city/smaller city experiences on vacations and I like starting in a city that is a bit less overwhelming. I've stayed in London many times and enjoy the city and its convenient public transit, but it's a bit intimidating on the first visit. So, you could use the day of arrival to travel by train or coach to another smaller city. Suggestions might include Canterbury, Portsmouth, Bath, Oxford, or York. You can reach Oxford, for example, by using the Oxford coach that leaves from Heathrow. If you do decide to stay in two different locations, you want to end in the city where you departure flight will be. In London I'd suggest staying within easy walking distance of the train that runs between London and Heathrow.

Posted by
8 posts

Our plans have altered slightly. We are going to be flying into Dublin, Ireland to attend an American college football game. We are planning our trip for August 25th to September 6 (that includes flights). Our plan right now would be to fly out of US to Dublin stay in Dublin a few days touring the city and attending the game. Then we will take a flight to London and stay in London about 7 days. Then fly back to Dublin to catch a flight back to the US. I have discovered in my research that this is the least expensive way to do it because one way tickets get very pricey. If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know. We are discussing what we really want to do and what we want to do if we have the time in London. Highclere and Winsor castles may be the only day trips we will be able to do. We can only be gone for 2 weeks or less. Hopefully we will be able to go back again some day and see more!
If anyone has any suggestions about Dublin, I would love to hear them. I have discovered that hotels near the city centre are very expensive and a hop on hop off bus ticket might be the way to see the sights in the short amount of time we have there.
Thank you for all the advice I have received. It has helped make planning easier knowing what you all have experienced.

Posted by
25746 posts

this is the least expensive way to do it because one way tickets get very pricey.

One ways can be verrrry expensive.

The way to do it is use "multi-city" which used to called "open-jaw". You should be able to go A-B, surface to C, C-A for very little different than A-B, B-A, and no returning to B to fly home.

Posted by
1638 posts

hey hey js
as Nigel says no no to one way flights, multi city
USA-Dublin-London-USA
no backtracking or spending money on flight and hotel in Dublin.
since spending that many days, what about an apartment?
cross-pollinate.com/London
booking.com/London
put in your filters (apartments). read fine print, cancellation policies, some have washer/dryers, pack light, know checkin is usually 2-4pm, early checkin ask plus if luggage storage so not pulling luggage around. been there done that!!
wowcher.co.uk
it’s like Groupon for London and beyond. register email and look what there is, 2 for 1’s, afternoon teas
walks.com
withlocals.com/London
discoverwalks.com
eatingeurope.com
manze.co.uk. home of the pie and mash. read about the history, saw on a special very interesting
jasons.co.uk. a relaxing boat ride down regent’s canal
streetsensations.co.uk. Guide to London’s favorite streets and markets, click map.
stmartin-in-the-fields.org. cafe in a crypt
timeout.com/london. lots of info
there is sooooooooo much to see and do, can’t do it all!! we did a gin tour, gin is my drink, great tour going to different pubs and bartender/owner makes special cocktail using their gin. spend time roaming all around the squares “free entertainment”, if a theatre show look for discount-london.com, took cab to abbey road and walked across. just some different things to do if interested
London is such a great city and beyond, have a fun time, no stressing just go to plan B, stop at a pub for some beer and continue on. when you’re flying back to USA you’ll wanna plan your next trip!!
hang loose and aloha

Posted by
618 posts

No need to do one-way flights - way too expensive. Book directly with the airline. If using Delta or American, you will need "Advanced Search" or Multi-city to get the extra drop-down search boxes. Search USA (your preferred airport) to Dublin (DUB) then London (LHR) - USA. - You can start looking now to monitor pricing.

Much nearer the time of your vacation, book a separate one-way flight from Dublin to London. Look at British Airways or Aer Lingus. Ryan Air and Easy jet are budget-friendly and will work but do have restrictions and often fly into smaller airports across England. for example, STN (Stansted) is not really London.

As far as sights in Dublin, check on the Ireland forum. Lots of information.
Margaret

Posted by
8 posts

Is travel insurance something we should look into for our trip? If so, what are some reputable companies to go thru?

Posted by
714 posts

Most definitely. Don’t leave home without trip insurance and in these times of COVID, double check the small print to ensure that you have the cover you need. Recommendations are probably best from those on your side of the pond.

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That's my thoughts too. Hopefully things will be better, but don't want to take a chance.

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12205 posts

OK, you have a good start on a great trip. As suggested, book your flights as a “multi-city” flight (priced almost like a roundtrip), with your outbound flight US to Dublin and your return flight London (LHR for Heathrow) to USA. Don’t include the transport from Dublin to London; leave that for later when you understand the options better.

Remember that if you depart the US on August 25you will arrive in Dublin on August 26. (I mention this because even after 20 trips to Europe I sometimes forget this fact). So spend 3 nights in Ireland, and travel to London or elsewhere in the UK on August 29.

This is great timing, as it will put the last part of your trip in September, which is our favorite time in London. That is largely due to the “Totally Thames” month-long festival. This is a mix of cultural, historical, musical, athletic, and other celebrations of the role of the River Thames in London’s history. It is a festival for locals. Not that it doesn’t attract some tourist (like us) but it seems no more than the usual number of visitors at that time. And prices do not seem to be elevated above normal.

https://thamesfestivaltrust.org/ Use the “what’s on” button to explore, but remember the schedule for September 2022 is nowhere near complete at this time.

You will have roughly a week left; I suggest you explore first (maybe Bath, or Salisbury, a village near Highclere Castle, or ???) and save London for last since you will need to spend a night there before flying out on Sept. 6.

One option you might consider is to take the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead (in Wales) instead of flying from Dublin to London. The ferry takes roughly 3 hours (more or less) and there are are at least 5 sailings per day. From your landing at Holyhead, you can take a direct train to London’s Euston station and be there in 3 1/2 hours. But if I were doing this, I would go only as far as Conwy in Wales—-less than an hour’s journey by train from Holyhead—-and overnight there. Rick Steves describes Conwy in his “Explore Europe Wales information page as “one of Britain’s most pleasant small towns” and “one of the most purely delightful British towns of its size; and Conwy Castle as “Wales’ best”. That’s pretty convincing. (Full disclosure—-we have not been there yet).

The next day continue on the train directly to London, and then change trains for your chosen destination outside London, whether Bath, Salisbury, or other). There may be other routes to those cities from Conwy than going all the way into London, but all the ones I saw seems to require lots of train changes. But you’ll have to change train stations in London (likely to Paddington or Waterloo for those particular towns) and perhaps changing trains outside of london is preferable. You can figure that out later too.

Whatever you decide, leave at least 3 or 4 nights at the end to spend in London.

Trip insurance: rather than getting recommendations for a specific company, I suggest you go to one of the websites that helps you compare several different policies to get the one best for your needs. I use either insuremytrip.com or Squaremouth.com and don’t really have a preference for one or the other. Most policies provide both trip cancellation and medical/evacuation coverage, and you should have both. The cost of the insurance is based on a combination of trip cost and length, your age, and maybe other factors such as where you are traveling.

For trip cost, you calculate that based on the total amount of NON-refundable costs. Generally this includes airfare and any tours you have booked, as well as non-refundable lodging if you book any of that (not advised these days). You won’t know this until you actually purchase your flights so you have time to read up and learn more about this. Generally you must purchase within 2 weeks or so of your first non-refundable payment to have coverage of pre-existing conditions.