1st time in London

Flight arrives 6 AM from Chicago, wondering if we should take a train to Bath & spend a night or two (as RS suggests), then back to London or just spend all our time in London. We only have 4 days, but will luggage be a problem since hotel check-in will probably be late afternoon? Also, continuing on to France...would it be better(time & $ wise) to go directly to Bayeux area on overnight ferry or take train to Paris first? Plan to spend about 7 days in France. Thanks

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2899 posts

Carol,

With only four days, I would spend the entire time in London; there is just so much to do in London. Luggage is typically not a problem. Most hotels will hold your luggage even if your room is not yet available for check-in. Ask your hotel about this when you make the reservation.

I traveled from London to Bayeux by train last fall. It took me 6+ hours from the time I left my hotel in London to the time that I arrived in Bayeux (tube to St Pancras, waiting for Eurostar, travel to Paris, transfer from Gare du Nord to Gare St Lazare and train to Bayeux with a transfer in Caen). The trip was easy and I thought the price was reasonable as I bought my Eurostar ticket a few months in advance at one of the cheapest rate available. My one-way ticket from London to Paris was under 40 GBP. I bought my ticket from Paris to Bayeux after I arrived and I think that was around 30 EUR or so.

I can't comment on whether or not a ferry would be a better choice.

Posted by Robin Z
Troy, Oh, USA
1634 posts

Hi Carol, go into London and forget about Bath. London has so much to see and do that you will want all 4 days there. If your room isn't ready your hotel will hold your bags so you can go out and start your sightseeing. Hope you have a great trip.

Posted by Claudette
huntington beach, ca, usa
471 posts

Hi Carol, I agree with everyone, spend it all in London. So much to see and do there. If you want to do a daytrip, Windsor Castle is much closer.

Posted by Karen
Phoenix, AZ
10 posts

Carol,
I agree, Bath is nice, but not much to do there. The museums in London are fabulous and aren't really expensive. The Tour of London can eat up much of one day. I would spend my 4 days in London.

Posted by Matt
Washington, DC, USA
566 posts

Rick Steves uses Bath as an initial starting point on his tour ideas because he recommends a clockwise progression around Britain with a dramatic end in London. For anyone not doing this route (for example, not then heading to Wales or to the Lake District) I'm not sure it's a great decision to arrive in country and then immediately spend 2-3 more hours heading to Bath, though it is worth seeing some day. You can go a week in London and still only scratch the surface of great things to see and do. With only four days, I'd stay in London if I were you.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

I'm with the others. Skip Bath this time.

Laura has given you the fastest train route from London to Bayeux.

For train timetables and fares from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour, go here. Brittany Ferries has overnight service from Portsmouth to Caen. It will probably cost more to travel this way than if you can get the cheapest discount fare tickets on the Eurostar, but that could be offset by saving the cost of a night in a hotel.

Book the Eurostar up to 120 days in advance at www.eurostar.com to get the best fare.

Posted by Julie
Austin, Texas, USA
6 posts

I think it's unanimous -- I'd stay in London the whole time. Bath is lovely, but London is unbelievably exciting and full of adventures.

You'll still have a difficult time with 4 days deciding what to do in London. It has great museums, tons of historical sites, great theater, great shopping. I resisted the Tower of London on my first trip, but now I've been back several times now and can't believe I didn't go before. It's not high literature, but I really enjoyed reading "The Other Boleyn Girl" before our trip and then checking out the Tower.

Other favorite activities are Westminster Abbey, the Tate Modern Museum, St Pauls, the British Museum, the London Eye, shopping on Regent's Street, walking around Soho and Covent Garden, and a musical in the West End. We stayed at Hazlitts in Soho and it was great fun -- and the location was great.

Posted by Carol
Oak Lawn, IL, USA
90 posts

Thank you all, I'm convinced London is where we will spend all our time!