Sight-seeing times England

Hi there, I've had very helpful comments posted in the past and I sincerely thank those experienced travelers who have helped me out. I wonder about how much time the sights I want to see will take - it's our 1st time in England ever and our 1st in 20 years to Europe. We plan to fly overnight, Seattle to Heathrow, arriving at Noon. Following RS suggestions, we'll take a train to Bath, drive to the Cotswolds and York, take the train back down to London and take the train to Oxford (??) in 12 days including flight time. Recommendation was to buy a 3-day Train FlexPass. So how much time would it take us to do the Bath Walking Tour, Roman Baths, Avebury Stones and Salisbury Cathedral? How long for Hidcote, Walking tour of Chipping Campden, Bleinhem Castle, York Castle/Museum/Railway Museum?? How many hours would you allow for each tour? It will just be my husband and me, no children! But I'd like to maximize our first trip to England. Thanks! RH

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8722 posts

Well I can't help much , but I have been to Bath twice, once on my own , and it took me about 1.5-2 hours to enjoy the Roman Baths, I enjoy the history and spent a fair amount of time examing the Roman ruins exhibits. I didn't do a walking tour, but did walk about , I also visited the Clothing Museum in Bath. This all totalled a full day. I could have spent longer walking around Bath, didn't get to the Jane Austen Museum, or to see some of the streets I wanted to, Bath is a lovely walking town, so do allow at least a full day there to enjoy it.
I also visited Bath as part of a bus tour from London, it included Stonehenge and Salisbury. I would not do that again, frankly didn't get enough time in Bath ( and it was my second visit) and found that the time in Stonehenge and Salsbury could have been less ( my personal taste). Salisbury Cathedral is one of those places that you could walk through in 20 minutes or enjoy for an hour or two ( are you the type to stare at stained glass and alter cloths, if so allow more time then 20 minutes) Alot of " how long does it take" is based on peoples interests,some people swear they can happily get in and out of a certain museum in an hour, I take three and find it too short, so alot is up to you.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
895 posts

Blenheim Palace - you could take the tour of the house and see the nearby gardens in about 2 hours; if you want to see more of the gardens/park or walk across to Bladon, then clearly you need to add time Avebury - they are just some stones: you could walk from the car park, walk around, and walk back to the car in 20 minutes if you want to. I guess most people, having got there, stay rather longer (unless it's raining). There is also the museum, though it is only a small one and wouldn't take very long to walk round either.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11668 posts

Those questions are so subjective they are almost impossible to answer. Dunno what you like and dislike, ye see? I'll have a bash but its only a bash, ye ken? From my personal experience, not counting any transportation, attraction only: Bath Walking Tour - dunno since I haven't seen a RS UK book for 15 years. We have been to Bath several times and each time took 2 thirds of a day to a whole day wandering around Roman Baths - the afternoon if you want to get wet; 10 minutes if you just go to the Assembly Rooms and look over at what you can (or can't) see Avebury Stones - we spend a rushed half day but we dawdle and picnic and read signs and watched village cricket; probably half an hour if you just want to rush over and touch a standing stone and say, "Oooh, they're in a circle" Salisbury Cathedral - 10 minutes to a couple of hours Hidcote - my wife goes there 3 or 4 times a year, all day each time. You could probably manage with 90 minutes or 2 hours, more if you want lunch or Tea at their very good restaurant Walking tour of Chipping Campden - 10 minutes one way, turn around and 10 minutes back. Or you could do a proper walk and get into the fields, visit with the sheep, get into the church and have Tea - several hours Bleinhem Castle - I expect you mean Blenheim Palace. A couple of hours or all day. York Castle - not long, at least not for me York Museum - never been inside
York Railway Museum - all day for a railway enthusiast like me, or a couple of hours. Really - all day..

Posted by Tod
San Diego, CA, USA
237 posts

A couple of observations- Taking a train to Bath is more complicated than a bus since there is no train station at Heathrow. You need to either go into London and back out to Bath or connect to a station on the London-Bath route (Reading?) and join the train there. I've only done the coach and when I did it the bus trip was something of an adventure but I'm sure it's normally more boring and routine. The walking tour of Bath takes a couple of hours but going back to catch up with the things you passed can easily take the rest of the day. The Roman Baths are much larger attraction then they look like and you should allow at least two hours for that since it has museum exhibits as well as extensive tours of the ruins and foundations. Hidecote deserves at least two hours or wandering and wondering. Salisbury Cathedral is interesting but unless you attend evensong I would allow an hour or so - certainly less than Yorkminster or Westminster. The other questions are harder to answer - part of charm of the Cotswolds is slowing down and getting a glimpse of the life. Same with Avebury or ruin sites that don't have an agenda or tour. You should do it for as long as is interesting but allow time to relax as well as for happy accidents and opportunities for unplanned experiences. There is a great little under-appreciated archeology museum in the Salisbury close as well that is a great primer if you're at all interested in Old Sarum or Stonehenge. If you're not going to do the block-buster sites of Sarum (at least you don't mention them) do you even need to swing down that far or head to Cotswolds from Bath. Maybe if you posted your interests and a working itinerary it would be easier for people to give more useful input. My $US.02,

Posted by R.
Seattle, WA, USA
4 posts

Thank you for your comments, you have been very insightful. Thank you very much for spending the time to help clarify some things for me. I appreciate your time, RH

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1186 posts

Re York: I'd say at least an hour each for the Yorkshire Museum and York Castle Museum (I'd give priorty to the Yorkshire Museum, disagree with RS on this). Nigel is right about the RR Museum, an hour or all day depending on your interest (i'd be on the short side). You didn't mention York Minster but most visitors would put it on top of the list, indeed near the top of all cathedrals in Britain. At least an hour, there are tours about that long as I recall, evensong is great if you can do it, and it's right next to the old city which is well worth strolling through. One full day in York would cover all these sights though you'd be dragging by the end.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1541 posts

Hello R. If you will be at London for one or two days, I think you will not have time for going to Avebury stones and Salsbury cathedral and Blenheim Palace. I think Salsbury cathedral is not the most beautiful cathedral in England. I walked through Blenheim palace with a guide, I did not like it. One day is sufficient time for seeing York.