UK First time, OK to just do London and Liverpool?

I wish I could have done this trip when I was far younger. But, to keep the flying expenses down to in and out of London, is it a good trip if I spend most of the trip itself in London and perhaps take a Virgin train to Liverpool for a couple of days to see life outside the city? I'm hoping to be able to affor 14 days but may need to keep it closer to 12.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
2846 posts

Of Course it is OK! Not sure why you think going to Liverpool would let you see 'life outside the city' though- it is a city- a big one in fact. You could stay the entire time in London and do some nice day trips- would save you time and possibly some cash, too. You could see smaller towns/villages that way, and not have to move around. With 12-14 days you could rent an apartment easily (or stay in a university dorm- very inexpensive). And if you really want to see Liverpool- do it!

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1698 posts

Liverpool has some interesting places, but unless you have a special reason for going there are much better places for your first visit to Britain.

Posted by Barb
Central Florida
192 posts

Hey, enjoy ANY travel experience you can get. Years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Europe for first time when relatives were there. We ONLY saw London before going outside of England a bit. London is a great city. Much to see and do there! If you want to go outside of London - consider Canterbury or Bath.
Enjoy England any way you can get it! Brings back some nice memories for me. Thanks! ---Barb

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

On a first trip to the UK, I agree that spending a lot of time in London is worthwhile. It is also the most expensive place to stay. There are the museums, attractions, theater and centuries of history right there. After six or seven days, I think you'd probably be better off seeing some other spots. If you have another week and plan on sticking with public transportation, you could easily spend two nights in York, and three nights in Edinburgh. Bath is worth a full day and you could catch the bus from Heathrow that goes directly to Bath. You just need to make sure you get a place to stay near the bus station or plan on taking a taxi. You could get a train into London. Unless there is some compelling reason to go to Liverpool, there are more interesting sights to be found. Of course, all Beatles "junkies" will disagree with me. I've found it to not be much different in price to fly "open jaws." You could easily go into Heathrow and out of Edinburgh.

Posted by Dale
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
5 posts

I'm considering Liverpool because I am one of those Beatle nuts. I also like their football club. After a bit more thinking I'm considering changing the plans slightly. 4 days London, 2 days Liverpool, then a travel day taking the train back to London and then taking Eurostar to Paris and spending 4 days in Paris. I'd fly back from Paris.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
780 posts

Fly to Paris from Liverpool (John Lennon) airport. You should save time and can see the Yellow Submarine sculpture to boot ..

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

If trying to stay on a tight budget, keep in mind that London probably is the most expensive city in the world. If not first, at least second. It would be cheaper to fly from Liverpool via a discount airline - watch the extra fees - than backtracking to London.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

Sorry Frank, but London hardly ever makes the top 10 when it comes to most expensive cities.....

Posted by sherrell
sarasota, fl, usa
43 posts

Just got back from my first UK trip. London has a lot to keep you busy. We went on a tour with England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland in 14 days. Some places I wanted to stay longer, others not so much. But it gave us the most bang for our money. Liverpool, unless you're a Beatles fan-you could skip. It was nice but not great. Bath, I liked but maybe not more than a short day trip. I hated Oxford and Staf-on-avon. York is great,look into going there.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
645 posts

Do a walk with the company London Walks while you're in London. They are not expensive; maybe $7 to $15 depending upon the walk you choose. They have a Beatle Walk that takes you to all the Beatle sights around London; Abbey Road Studios, the places they all lived, the city office where Paul and Linda got married. Go to www.walks.com. There's a lot of Beatle stuff to see in London.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
645 posts

To "see life outside the city"; if you go to London/Liverpool/Paris, you will see 3 very large cities. It's your vacation; go wherever you want, of course. Just be aware that you won't be seeing "life outside the city" at any of your destinations, except through the window of a train. Frank is right; London is very expensive. So is Paris. You spoke of being on a budget; by adding Paris, you have upped your expenses. Not being negative in any way: just be aware what things add hundreds of dollars of expense to a trip. There are B&B's out in the countryside of England that cost about one third of what you will pay per night at a hotel in London or Paris. Just so you know. Between Liverpool and London, slightly to the west, you will find Oxford and the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds are a fine place to stop off to "see life outside the city". Country lanes and little villages, walking paths, a good taste of life outside the city. You may want to pick up Rick Steves' Great Britain travel book to make the most of planning your trip. You seem very uncertain of what is available to you in Britain outside the cities of London and Liverpool. Rick's book also has the names of small inns and B&B's in the cities and out in the countryside. Lots of good information. Yes, of course it's o.k. just to see London and Liverpool! (But you did mention seeing life outside the city in your original post, so I answered that.)

Posted by Laurel
Arlington, WA
829 posts

Of course it's okay!!! I love Liverpool AND if you can manage a train or a bus to Blackpool for a day, better still.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8757 posts

I'd be interested to know what about Oxford caused sherrell to HATE it? And Stratford upon Avon? I'm in both places frequently and would like to see them though the eyes of an American tourist. What was so awful?

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

Nigel, I loved both places. I can see how a lack of interest in Shakespeare might make Stratford fall flat for someone. Or Even Shakespeare lovers might find it to be too much Shakespeare Disney. Not me, but I was only twenty at the time. And Oxford was delightful, but being a bookish sort, I would inevitably find it so.

Posted by david
washington
837 posts

The architecture in both Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford is wonderful. But, there are no circus tents, perhaps a drawback for a Sarasotan.

Posted by Andrea
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
435 posts

Hi Dale, WHICH team in Liverpool do you like? If it is LFC, book your stadium tour in advance on their website. And you might enjoy going to one of Jamie Carragher's restaurants. We went to Cafe Sports Express near Liverpool One and had a good time. For lunch reservations weren't needed. The Museum of Liverpool is fabulous, try to make time for it. I would suggest that you could also consider flying from Manchester to Paris (if you can't get a flight from Liverpool). There is a direct train from Liverpool Lime Street Station to the airport there. I've just gotten back from my third trip to Liverpool so PM me if you have any questions. Thanks! Andrea

Posted by sherrell
sarasota, fl, usa
43 posts

Maybe some confusion? Believe me, I'm waaaay past Disney World age or loving the Circus and it's clowns. Hey, we have sun and beaches! We were on a tour and I'm not a fan of plays. They stopped at Oxford to. By that time I had seen dozens of castles and beautiful churches. Oxford really didn't impress me that much. Maybe it was the tour guide, not showing us the best of the town? Book readers RULE!
Dale-why not try to go to Ireland for a few days by ferry? That is great fun!

Posted by sherrell
sarasota, fl, usa
43 posts

Oh, and David I find your remark rather tasteless and hurtful to me. Life is to short to use hateful comebacks. : )

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

I don't remember if it's been mentioned, but cheaper lodgings in London are at the university dorms, if you're there during school vacations. . . private rooms with bath, central locations, no changes of linens, no tv. Probably wifi.

Posted by Dale
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
5 posts

Well, naturally, I guess I've changed my mind and decided to not include Paris for this trip. I'm going to keep it at 14 days, only in the UK, unless I can be talked into Northern Ireland or Ireland. London and Liverpool are still musts. This will be in January 2014, so a lot of the coastal and smaller villages probably won't be worth my time during this time of the year. I bought the Steves UK guidebook this week and I'm happy to find the lower price, but still decent hotels. For London and Liverpool, I'm looking Zhotels. For the rest of the UK, I'm liking the suggestions of Ibis or Juris Inn. A few other UK cities I've kicked around are: Newcastle, Glasgow, Birmingham, and Manchester. I want to visit pubs, Anglican cathedrals (for services), museums, universities, attend any sporting events I can, shop at bookstores which have a good selection of books on history, politics, and religion, listen to classical music, and meet people! I'm travelling by myself.

Posted by sherrell
sarasota, fl, usa
43 posts

In Liverpool, do a Hop on Off bus tour if possible of sites, Beatles etc.
Try for Ireland, I totally loved it and the people. Dingle area especially.

Posted by Katy
London, UK
130 posts

Hi Dale, I see you have decided on settling on England (or maybe UK) for your trip. Also that it will be in January 2014. Just a few thoughts. At that time of year you should get cheaper deals on hotel/accommodation - although London can still be hugely expensive. For a first trip my recommendation would be to spend a lot of it (if not most) based in London - from a London base you can do lots of day trips and you won't run out of things to do in London. Outside of London you could pick one area to go to and stay a few days, everyone would have different suggestions, mine would be York. Too much moving around you lose a lot of time travelling and adding to costs. There are many good London areas to stay - I think my favourite would be the Bloomsbury area (near British Museum) but others areas can be just as good. For specific hotels and areas you can get really good (and up to date) advice here if you give some idea of your budget and requirements.
Also see London Walks website - walks.com - for their daily walking tours, a really good resource for a single traveller. (London Walks also do day trips outside the capital, altho' not so many in winter but you can get lots of ideas of what's possible by looking at their listing.)

Posted by Katy
London, UK
130 posts

Dale, just re-read your update - guess my advice should be spend most of your time in London, with a side trip to Liverpool (which is obviously top of your wishlist).
You mention possible travel to Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and Newcastle - the large urban cities, all have a lot going for them BUT... I think you would do much better to stay in London and do day trips to eg some of the following, Salisbury, Winchester, Oxford, Cambridge. You reference Anglican services and Salisbury and Winchester have cathedrals, their tourist information sites can tell you about other places of interest (in Winchester the school especially). Oxford and Cambridge, both cover your university and bookshop interests.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Dale sounds like a nice visit shaping up,, but noticing where you are from , just want to remind you .. TAKE WARM CLOTHING..
I visited London in March and I am from cooler climes then you , and found the cold and damp worse in London then I was used to.. it sleeted ( snow/rain mix, ,super unpleasant) and rained , it was windy.. I had brought a 3/4 length wool peacoat and an umbrella, but had to buy gloves while there.. (don't generally need them here in March) . Bring hat/scarf / gloves.

Posted by Dale
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
5 posts

I must have jones these boards when I was younger. I now live in Chicago , Illinois

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
780 posts

March this year was exceptionally cold - 3 degrees lower than average. It was colder than January and February.