Please sign in to post.

1st trip to Europe-going to UK

Hi,

Thanks ahead of time for any input and for reading this post :

We will be in the UK for 11 days (actual time on ground , not flying), coming into London. We have friends near Chester. We plan on 3 days in London (with Windsor in there too) and then to their area to use that as a base for any other travel, like Scotland from there. We know that is a large area but they said Edinburgh would be a doable.

They also suggested a side trip to Ireland (either northern Ireland or Dublin by ferry). Which of these two areas would you suggest if you've been there?

Also another scenario we had was to not do the side trip to Ireland at all and go to Paris via Eurostar from London and then after that visit them.

of course a whole different idea is to not do any side trips and just explore London , their area and one area of Scotland, nearest them.

What is doable do you think in the amt. of time we have?

Thanks!!

Posted by
1003 posts

I was in London for 6 days years ago and I remember it not being enough, and I was with a group so our days were all chock full of castles and churches and museums. On the other hand, this summer I am doing a 6-week trip of 7 countries and 10 cities. So I think it's really up to you. A lot of people have advise against trying to see too much in a short amount of time, or that you're wasting too much time traveling and not exploring. For me on this long trip, I had certain places on my "life goals list" of places to go, so I was unwilling to budge and I'll have to accept the hectic traveling. So if you want to see all those places, then do it. However, you could easily spend the whole 11 days based in London and with your friends, taking side trips or overnights in the general area. I learned in my planning to take advice with caution and make sure you do what YOU want and will make you happy. but in 11 days, I think London, Chester w/your friends, and one other place for a couple days?

Posted by
2641 posts

By being in London only 3 days, I would plan on seeing the things that are most important to you to see. You don't want to be running from one place to the next. I would count Windor as a 4th day. While in Windsor you can tour the Castle, walk down to Windsor Great Park, there is a great view of the royal residents from the park. Also, you could have a great picnic lunch in the park. Then you could walk over the bridge to Eton and see Eton College.
The train ride from Paddington Station to Windsor is around 35 minutes. Then I would suggest that when at your friends, do day trips to The Lake District, to Yorkshire and northern Wales like Conwy. I truely feel that you would enjoy trips closer to Chester better then having to drive most of the day. Edinburgh is a little over 300 from Chester. I know you want to see the most you can, but in doing that you don't want to be so tired from running place to place and not enjoying it that much. Enjoy!

Posted by
2641 posts

Also, you could see the Changing of the Guards in Windsor, which is so much nicer, then trying to see it at Buckingham Palace.

Posted by
112 posts

I generally can only stand London for 3 to 4 days max. I've been there a half dozen times now and I experience new things each time. It's just a very large city and I tend to long for something besides one big city for my entire journey. On a 7 day journey I once spent 3 nights in London, 3 nights in Edinburgh with a final night in London before departing home. I connected the two via train. I could have done 2 nights each in London, Edinburgh and York and still been satisified. I happen to be an Irish obsessed fool so I highly agree with the idea of taking the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin for a couple of days. Even if you don't, there's so much to see within England, Scotland and Wales that you won't be disappointed.

Posted by
196 posts

Enjoy your friends and their area; London and York or N Wales rather than Ireland or Scotland are more realistic for your time frame. Spending only 1 day or 1 night in a location doesn't allow you to get any kind of feel for a place.

Posted by
389 posts

Since it is your first trip I usually suggest trying to do a number so that you will have a real reason to come back. Anyone visiting UK needs to glimpse London, but 11 days there would only be a start, so make sure you do a city tour, pick a few things there and then make sure you see more of the country. I'm proud to be from Portland, but the people from Seaside are very different; same for London-the country people are very different. I love Wales and don't think it gets enough attention, so that would be a place I'd point to. And be sure to rest. When you need a vacation from the vacation it doesn't refresh you much. This coming from the group tour director.

Posted by
24 posts

I asked friends in the UK about the ferry to Ireland. They greatly discouraged it. They said the crossing can be very very choppy and difficult much of the time. They advised taking the short plane ride over instead. Our agenda is so packed, that we decided to cut Ireland out and hope we can go back someday. - Julie

Posted by
4 posts

Hi Everyone!! Thanks for all your help!! From your responsese and also research, there seems to be more than enough to see in London and England iself, rather than take a side trip to either Ireland or Paris. I think we have pretty much made up our mind that Ireland is worth a trip on its own another time(flying into there from the U.S.) And same with Paris...we intend to plan our next trip after this some time to go to France and take it in at that point.

With our 11 days I am finding that just with London and areas around there (windsor and such) and staying in the Chester area that there is plenty to see and not even enough time for that even!! York is someplace that sounds lovely and one poster mentioned North Wales and I think that will be doable too.

What other areas do you all find are must sees?

I am a huge royal history buff so as I said there is plenty to see just in and around London it seems and then the country side which we will be in too. Thanks again!!

Posted by
1003 posts

If you like castles and all that, I really enjoyed Hampton Court palace. The gardens behind it were, and I was there in September, really beautiful. But I was there so long ago! I don't know about how easy it is to access from public transport as I was with a group and we had a minivan, but it was a lot of fun for me. I really loved Windsor too, we had the best lunch in a pub right by the castle too, I wish I'd had the chance to meander around the town a bit as it seemed really quaint. Of course if you like the castles, the Tower of London is quite unique and a must-do. You could always do a side-trip to Warwick Castle and there are a few other castles too. If royal history is your thing there is a plethora to do around London!!

Posted by
215 posts

Bath is a beautful city a couple hours
out from London. Worth a day or two
especially to see the roman baths themselves.

Posted by
473 posts

To expand upon Debra's comment about Hampton Court Palace, it's super-easy to get to. Take the Tube to Waterloo Station. At the train station, buy train (not Tube) tickets to Hampton Court. It's at the end of the line. Walk out of the station and go to your right. It's impossible to miss. It's the biggest building around. We too had a great time there.

Posted by
15 posts

Roxanne, sticking to London mostly is a good idea. I spent a week in London recently and could spend another week easily.If you like Beatles and rock and roll Astral travels has a half day rock and roll tour of London that was the highlight of our trip.

Posted by
4 posts

Hi Everyone and thanks for all the feedback it is greatly appreciated and helpful. We are going to leave Paris/France itself and Ireland for another time and concentrate on London and also areas near our friends. Like you all said there is more than enough in and around there !!

Thomas..you mentioned the Beatles tour, we are huge Beatle fans and so am very interested in the tour you mentioned in London. We will be going to Liverpool actually as it is near where our friends live also (30 minutes she said) so we are going with them and will be going on the tour there of John and Paul's homes and other sites.

I know there are a couple of these type of Beatle tours in Liverpool and London so if anyone has been would appreciate feedback.

Thanks for all your help.

roxanne

Posted by
28 posts

i have not been to ireland or scotland but i have been to england for 3 weeks so i can give some advice.

  1. do some side trips. dont just stay in london. when i was in london, i found the big museums were amazing but back doors were hard to open. the english say that the farther north you, the nicer the people get(the accent gets thicker too). ireland and scotland can be worth it, but if you spend more time en route than you do in the destination, whats the point?

the eurostar is very nice. i took it from london to brussels. it is a fairly short ride to paris, a day trip is possible but you may as well stay a couple days. if you take an early train, you have your choice of seats

Posted by
3420 posts

We have done over 40 trips to the UK. I love basing in London and doing day trips. I'd recommend the following: Windsor!!!!!! York!!!!!!!! Bath!! Stratford upon Avon!!!! Cardiff !!!!!! Canterbury!!

Posted by
26 posts

I second the thoughts on Bath. Cambridge or Oxford would also make nice daytrips - I'd give the edge to Cambridge if you can do only one. Have a great trip!