Please sign in to post.

Two weeks off, staying with family for 5 days, help us plan the rest!

Seeking advice on two more countries to piggyback with our visit to England visiting family. We have visited England before but would like to do more of London this time. Our family lives in Devon. 14 days travel time, possibly a little longer.
Nice hotel recommendations in London for familes?

Thinking Ireland, France?

I am aware that this is only a tentative plan right now because of the current travel restrictions and global pandemic we are in.
Of course we will be wise and what we book and make sure that we can be refunded or change it to another date. No matter what, we are going to be traveling to visit family as soon as we can.

Posted by
2497 posts

You don't mention where you are travelling from or the time of year. With 2 weeks off, and the first and last being travel days from and to home, plus 5 days with family - that only leaves 7 other days. How many days do you want in London? Paris might be the obvious choice, especially if you will be flying home from London. Visit family, go to Paris, then finish off in London at the end. All this assuming you can enter these countries at the time you plan to travel.

Posted by
6369 posts

Play my lives in Devon

Decoder ring please

CJean asks some very salient questions

Posted by
4 posts

Yes- traveling from North Carolina-US. Time of year- July 2021. Thank you for taking time to respond!

Posted by
16996 posts

I definitely wouldn't want to try to squeeze two additional countries into your non-family time. If you want to spend 5 days with your family in Devon and "do more in London", that leaves very little time for another country. (Or do you mean your family will join you in London?) I'd be looking for ease of transportation and hope for a multi-city flight going into London and out of a major airport near your other destination, or vice versa. I suggest checking fares both ways, because occasionally there's a significant difference. I'd try hard to avoid a round-trip flight, because that would mean losing a major chunk of your last full day, just getting back to your starting point.

Flights to Dublin and Paris are often reasonably priced, though that can vary by origin and I have no idea what will happen with airfares next year. I'd consider the refundability (or non-refundability) of whatever transportation I needed to travel between London/Devon and the other destination since we can't be sure at this point what the rules will be next year. I guess France is a bit riskier than Ireland.

You'll get more useful hotel suggestions if you tell us your nightly budget in pounds and how many people you will need to house. I think the Premier Inns offer good value, but they are business-style hotels without local character. The typical room has one large bed and a single bed made up as a sort of sofa if you don't need a second bed.

Posted by
4 posts

Would need 5 days in Devon with family. Thinking 7 total in England.
Ideally a hotel in London with some local character/good location - up to 250 pounds per night. 2 adults, 3 girls- 16, 11 & 9. Don’t have to see it all in London- maybe 2 nights.

So yes maybe 1 more country- Ireland or France? Up for suggestions.

Posted by
4259 posts

All good advice above, and if you're giving London just two days you must have been there before and seen a lot already.

Ireland or France seem like logical choices for the rest of the time. Which country would your spouse and daughters like to visit? If either one appeals equally, then you could base your choice on whether Paris or Dublin offers better options for your flight home. I agree with others about the value of multi-city flights to save time backtracking to London.

Another consideration -- you could spend all your remaining time in Paris with plenty to see and do. Dublin alone wouldn't likely fill your available time, but to get to other parts of Ireland you'd probably want to drive. Would you want to be driving on the left-hand side, perhaps on some narrow windy roads, for even a day or two?

If this were my trip and I had daughters I'd go for Paris.

Posted by
1481 posts

hey hey afjones
as Cjean and acraven mention, more info needed.
who are we and how many, if kids ages. is that total 14 days counting arrival and departing day which leaves 12? best to count nights: 5 days, is that 4 nights or 5 nights to visit family? train london to devon and back is 2 days which is now 7 days used. how many days in london? then you want to piggyback 2 more countries. you're asking too much, unless you like spending time in train stations, trains, airports, planes, checking in hotels usual time, 2-3pm, packing up next morning, shower, breakfast, checking out, getting to transportation for next destination.
don't know what next july 2021 will bring, everyone wants to travel and hoping next summer covid-19 will allow us. summer is sooooo busy and crowded, expensive, supply and demand for hotels/apts in large cities. have you spent time in london and what would you like to see that you haven't. have no clue if all hotels/apts will be open, some may have claimed bankruptcy, may charge more to make up for loss or discounts just to be happy to have guests. what ever you decide check cancellation policies for refundable options and have insurance, read all the fine print.
are you flying multi-city (into one city out of another) to save on back tracking.
look at to paris or brussels, spend couple days and fly home from there. book early for better rates, fly to dublin with flight to USA from there. figure out your costs and if that's what you want.
staying one place in london, explore the city, take couple day trips (brighton, windsor, boat ride up regents canal or the thames, street markets, theatre shows, london walks)
what does nice hotels mean, rooms are smaller and stars* means paying more for amenities.
don't want to be delores downer, lots to think about and consider, what's your budget in pounds, interests. is your family advising you about your holiday?
feel free to come back and ask more questions, get answers which may be good bad and ugly to you. it will help you out knowing what your plan A to plan B and not stress out. enjoy

Posted by
4022 posts

Sorry, your brief is too wide. You don’t give much indication of your interests, so it’s difficult to advise where to go, as there are hundreds of options! I would consider an apartment for 5 of you in London, not a hotel, where you would need 2 or 3 rooms.

You want to do more of London but you will only have 2 days including jet lag? Your first day is going to be lost to jet lag and it will take you at least half a day to travel between London and Devon and the same back, so for your second week, I would consider somewhere you could get to from Bristol airport rather than having to backtrack to London.

I would get your children to do some research as to what interests them and draw up a shortlist. Do you want somewhere hot? Cool? Somewhere scenic? Beach time? Cities or coast or countryside?

Posted by
252 posts

London can be quite expensive lodging wise for a family of 5. You should look in to an apartment, as most hotels you will need two rooms. There are several good options around the Kings Cross and St. Pancras station. With three girls, I would definitely do Paris. There is so much for them to do, especially shopping wise. They can walk all the major shopping spots, including the luxury brands along Champs Elysee and Avenue Montaigne and the more affordable La Rue du Commerce, visit the Eiffel Tower, do a boat ride on the Seine, enjoy outdoor cafes, and so much more. If you are there on a Sunday or Wednesday the outdoor open market on Blvd. de Grenelle is awesome and so much fun. This is all of course, dependent on COVID which we all wish would disappear! You could take the Eurostar from London directly to Paris from St. Pancras station. Its a pleasant ride and will put you in the heart of Paris. There are lots of apartment options for families in Paris as well as condo hotel options. Use and play around with areas you wish to stay. My kids love Paris and all it has to offer.

Posted by
1220 posts

I cannot give any real recommendations given your rather general question, but if the bit of Devon you will be in is convenient for Exeter Airport, it has (used to have?) low cost airline flights to Europe, primarily Spain and, seasonally when you're there, Greece. Perhaps consider those options, at least one way?

Of course, the position post-Covid, I don't know. But, ignoring that, you could fly to Malaga, for example, spend time in Andalucia, then fly back to London or wherever. Southern Spain will, however, be rather hot in July.

You can (could?), also take an overnight ferry from Devon to northern Spain or to France.

I wouldn't bother with the Republic of Ireland. It looks close on a map, but the actual logistics aren't easy from most of England. Unless you're flying, in which case you might as well go somewhere better. RoI is overrated on here.

Posted by
4 posts

Nick- yes to Exeter airport- Family is in a small village outside of the city of Exeter. So I will check some flights out of there and also the ferry. You guys are helping alot!!

To answer some other questions, we will get a lot of the countryside when we are in Devon, England, so looking for cities, other popular attractions. Would love to see some European beaches.

Posted by
5036 posts

Just to belabor the obvious (or what should be obvious): Remember, there's no guarantee that the travel you're planning will be an option in July 2021. It might be, it might not. Nobody knows. If it is possible, things will probably look a lot like they do now: with mandatory masking, social distancing, closures, limited capacity, and lots of the other limitations as we are all now experiencing. (Most experts, eg Dr Faucci and most others, are predicting that things won't get back to anything like "normal" until end of 2021 at the very earliest...and it's worth noting that Rick Steves isn't taking deposits for 2021 tours yet either...)

Bottom line: it's fine to make plans (we're all doing that). When it comes to booking anything, be sure that everything you "commit" to ($$$) can be canceled for a full refund.

Posted by
1220 posts

I forgot to mention that the European ferries leave from Plymouth. If your family is near Exeter, then that should be an easy destination. From what I recall (I'm sure you'll appreciate that things might have changed now), the regular routes are to Roscoff and Santander. I think both are run by the Brittany Ferries company for when you check.

Posted by
490 posts

Devon is a great area of England to explore. I am an UK/US passport holder and I hope that I can at least visit family next June. I am not planning on extended my vacation to any other country which is what I like to do. Instead, I am building in a 14 day quarantine into my month long stay. At this point, work out an itinerary for a plan A and Plan B. To be honest there are lots to keep you busy in Devon and Cornwall as well as London without adding another country.

Try to avoid the weeks after July 18th - that's when most of European are on vacation and hotels will be more expensive and everywhere crowded. If you chose to fly to another country from one of the local airports make sure your either do an open jaw ticket back to the US from the country you choose or fly on the budget airline back to London at least the day before your flight leaves for the US or use the Eurostar to visit Paris or Amsterdam. This may be a 2022 plan so don't book a thing yet. Wait until winter passes and we see what next Spring in Europe looks like for travel.


Posted by
276 posts

Have you thought of Belgium and the Netherlands? You could catch the fast train from London to Belgium, and finish in Amsterdam, its a great airport to fly home from.

We finished a European trip with 3 teens in Amsterdam a few years ago, it was a great spot, we did a lot of bike riding, toured the canals, very different than what you will see in England, but also very comfortable.