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6.5 Days in London

My wife and I will be in London for six and a half days in mid-March. Neither of us have been to England before. We are torn about taking a overnight trip to Bath but some friends who have been to England many times suggested that since this is our first trip we should concentrate on all the sites in London since there is so much to see. What are your thoughts on this?

Posted by
9363 posts

London is a big city with lots to see and do, but that's no reason you should limit yourselves to just the city. You have plenty of time for an overnight to Bath. It's not difficult to arrange, so if that's what you want to do, go for it. It's your trip, not theirs.

Posted by
2638 posts

As Nancy said London is a big city and there is so much to see and do that you won't see or do everything in your six and half days. But since this is your first trip to England it would be nice for you to take a day trip to Bath. This way you can see some of the English country side on the way to Bath. You could leave from Paddington Station, it's an hour and half train ride. There is a train that leaves every half hour. You could get there around 9am spend the day get back to London around 6:30pm in time for dinner and theater/going to pubs or take a later train back.

Posted by
8 posts

I am traveling to London for 8 nights in April. I made a list of everything I would like to see in the city, and have estimated I need/want about 4 days to see it all. Of course, I'll be editing my list as I go, as I'm sure you will be also! There are a few tour companies that do a one (long) day tour of Bath and Stonehenge from London. Or, you can opt to spend the night. I decided to do that instead, so I could do a full-day Mad Max tour of Stonehenge, Avebury, etc. The full-day tour has rave reviews, and also gives me the previous half-day to tour sights in Bath I want to see. If you haven't read through Rick's London 2009 book, it gives you a very good description of all the different things to see, both in London and Bath...and you can prioritize from there. Good luck!

Posted by
754 posts

I'd say there more to england than London.
Uk is such a small place its not like you have to travel ages to get a fresh scene.
I'd recomend York.. only a couple of hours trip,no where near as crowded and frantic as London, and people might even talk to you!
Hope you have a really great time, where ever the will take you.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks everyone for the good advice. Neither of us feel like doing any rushed day-trips (did that in SE Asia last year but that's another story)so I think we'll decide whether or not to do a day and night trip very soon.

Now, another question - we are both very interested in architecture and history - particularly Roman history as it pertains to England -- that's why we thought of Bath. Is there another city within two hours of London that you'd recommend over Bath or do you think Bath is probably the best for that type of visit?

Posted by
359 posts

For Roman history in England, Bath and York are probably the two biggies; and of course London itself. Them and any town ending in 'chester' or 'cester'; have a look at www.brims.co.uk (very basic overview of the Romans in England). The whole of Somerset & Avon County (Bath/Bristol area) have countless Roman 'leftovers' but you'll have to dig into the travel books for details. You'll find no friendlier folk than those in Somerset/Avon; assuming you can understand what they're saying when they speak 'broad' Somerset -have a pint of Scrumpy (apple cidar) while you're there.

Posted by
2154 posts

If you like history and architecture, definitely go to Bath. In addition to the Roman Baths, which are fantastic, Bath has great Georgian architecture.

As for whether to spend all the time in London, make a list of all the sites that appeal to you in London and in Bath and rank them. If you can hit most of the sites you most want to see in London and still spend a day in Bath, then go to Bath. It's a very easy day trip. There is no right or wrong answer to this one.

Posted by
881 posts

Hi, Shatter. Colchester (aka Camulodunum) is the oldest city in England, and was the second largest Roman city in the UK next to Londin. It has wonderful Tudor architecture, and GREAT roman history. It is here Boudica led her rebellion against the Romans, and first sacked Camulodunum, and then London! And almost routed the Romans! The castle has a display on that history. Colchester Castle lies in the middle of town on the high street, and is surrounded by wonderful, authentic Tudor era buildings, and the original Roman City Wall still runs below the Castle, and through town. The Roman buildings are all gone, however the Castle was built by the Normans using the existing foundation from the old Roman Temples - since this was "lost technology" from the Dark Ages, the Normans were able to build their largest keep here.
While the Castle is a shadow of it's former self, it's still a fun tour (reasonably priced), it has Roman artifacts, and great mosaics, and you can climb down into the Roman foundation and look around.
Colchester is also the main shopping town in SE England, so it's great for that too, and the "Red Lion" Inn - think the original from the 1600's, not the chain, is a unique stay. It is NOT like Bath for the Roman architecture, but it does have a lot of Roman history, and the Tudor/Victorian architecture is nice.
PS - The recently discovered some new ruins while building an apt complex that they believe are an old Roman Circus (2005 discovery). I am not sure if anything is viewable or open to the public there, but here's a link: http://www.catuk.org/excavations/circus/index.html .
If you have any questions, let me know!

Posted by
881 posts

PS - pricewise, $35 each way to get there per person, 1hr, castle is about $10 tour, its 1GBP to get form the Train Station to the High Street/Castle, and if you chose to stay the Night, there are great "unique" or "heritage" properties to stay in for $140-160 a night (or better). Thursday is late shopping day, so if you want to do a day trip, that's a good day.

Posted by
5756 posts

Don't forget to visit the Museum of London which provides and excellent and informative overview of how London developed. As other posters have noted you should see Bath and it can be a day trip, not an overnighter.

Posted by
643 posts

Rick says to make a list of all the sites you want to see. I did this. Then mark down how many hours you estimate you will spend at each. The Tower Of London takes a minimum of 3 hours to tour. You can easily spend half a day there. We made the mistake of scheduling the Tower of London and Greenwich in the same day. By the time we got out of the Tower it was nearing 2pm and we decided we didn't have enough time to go to Greenwich.

We spent 9 days and 9 nights in London, and we were busy every day. There is so much to see, we didn't see everything but we saw a lot and had a great time.

We were planning on Bath as well as a weekend in Paris in the beginning. We're glad we did neither. London has so much to see, 9 days went by in a flash.

My advice would be to stay in London for a week in one place and just do it. If you have to see Bath, I'd do that on a day trip.

Posted by
3419 posts

Personally, if I had to choose one city as a day trip, I think I would choose York. It has wonderful shopping and history in the Shambles, the Jorvic "museum", the Minster and the great walks on the wall. I just really like the atmosphere there. Bath is ok, just not my favorite.