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Day Trips from London

Hello. My husband and I would love to do a day trip from London to Bath, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. The organized tours seem so expensive (about $150 pp USD). Are there any other less expensive options out there? Even if we can't visit all sites, that's fine too I guess. Is there a way to do it yourself by train/bus?

Oh, and I am aware of the London Walks excursion days. They are doing a trip to Bath on the day we have available for 31 pounds. This is an option. But my husband really wants to see Stonehenge. =(

Thanks everyone!

Posted by
8700 posts

You can easily take a train from London to Windsor. A single (one-way) ticket costs £7.30. A same day return (roundtrip) ticket costs £9.30. If you have a travelcard for zones 1-2, you can buy a ticket from the edge of zone 2 to Windsor and back to zone 2 and pay even less. Go to www.windsor.gov.uk for lots of helpful information.

Posted by
8700 posts

You can do a day trip to Bath on your own. The bad news: A walk-up 2nd class train ticket from London Paddington to Bath Spa costs over £60 each way. The good news: An advance saver same day return (roundtrip) ticket costs as little as £47 and sometimes buying advance single tickets each way will cost even less (as little as £27.50 combined). Booking between 30 and 60 days in advance usually gives the best fares. Register and book at www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk. You have to give a UK postal code when registering, but you can enter your home address when actually booking so your credit card information will go through. Pick up your tickets at a FastTicket machine at Paddington, inserting the same credit you used when booking.

Posted by
977 posts

On the subject of day trips from London, has anyone done a one day London/Paris/London escorted tour travelling via the Eurostar? Interested to hear your thoughts.

Posted by
8700 posts

Judy,

You can easily do a day trip to Paris yourself. Rick's London guidebook has suggestions. Book your Eurostar tickets ASAP (up to 120 days in advance) at www.eurostar.com to get the best fare. Take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, either www.paris-opentour.com or www.carsrouges.com. Or share a carnet of ten Metro/RER/bus tickets (€11.10) and strike out on your own. If you think you'll take more than five rides, buy one-day zone 1-2 Mobilis passes (€5.60) which will give you unlimited rides. Go to www.ratp.fr to download and print a Metro/RER map for central Paris. Click on the British flag in the upper right-hand corner to view the site in English.

Posted by
934 posts

the timetable is limited but, megatrain have seats to Bath for £13. And sometime £8 on the return. Only really works as an overnight.

Posted by
45 posts

I remember taking the London Walks Tour to Bath, thought it was reasonably priced, and worth the time and money considering I nad never been to Bath or London before. It was nice because we had a fairly small group and our own guide to show us the ropes and ask questions. Also, had time on our own for lunch and to wander around on our own.
Also, I had taken a bus tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Salisbury Church (I'M pretty sure it was a church). Bit of a long day due to spending time traveling on the bus, but worth it as someone else drove and I got to enjoy the scenery. But, can't remember the name of the company for the life of me. I do remember getting a pamphlet regarding their day trips at the hotel I was staying at, and I'm pretty sure the starting point for all the day trips was at Victoria Station. If you don't get to do everything, remember what Rick says- assume you will return.

Posted by
993 posts

Jennifer, Kelly from Plano is right about Victoria Stn. There is also a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. If your husband is really interested in seeing Stonehenge you might want to think about applying for one of the tours inside the stones. You have to apply by mail giving them your preferred dates and times. I actually think the website used to be in Ricks book. The tours are early in the morning before it opens to the public and after it closes. A guide takes about 15 people inside tells stories and makes sure you take nothing away nor leave anything. The trick is getting there...maybe spend some time in Salisbury and take the after closing tour?? I don't know, it would take some plannie but I just thought I'd tell you. It's pretty great being able to put your arms around those huge stones. Laurel, Kirkland WA

Posted by
12040 posts

Other possible daytrips: Canterbury, Oxford, Cambridge, Dover.

Posted by
34 posts

Jennifer, I've been to Bath twice and am returning in October. The first time I went I rented a car in London, stopped at Windsor Castle on the way to Bath. The second time in Bath, my sister and I took the Mad Max tour recommended by Rick www.madmaxtours.co.uk and had a blast! They took us to Stonehenge, two Cotswald towns and Avebury. Avebury was cooler than Stonehenge because you actually get to walk amongst the stones and cows! Having been to several castles in Britain, I have to be honest, I wasn't that impressed with Windsor. Warwick was by far a better "Castle Experience". I prebooked my bus ticket into Bath for 24 GBP on National Express www.nationalexpress.com. You see so much of the countryside this way.

Posted by
977 posts

Thanks for the good advice Tim re the Paris day trip. Will check it out.

Posted by
2664 posts

Hi Jennifer, I wouldn't miss Windsor. Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited cstle in Europe. Besides touring the castle you can take a boat ride on the Thames, walk to Eton and tour Eton College. Great Windsor Park is a great place to take a picnic to. There are great pubs for a meal. I'm sure you would enjoy it. You can take the train from Paddington Station, it's a 35 minute ride. The main street and the castle is a two minute walk from the station.