UK/Wales in 8 days-need planning help

Im going to UK for vacation, 8 days/7 nights. We've been to London and Cotswolds before (wasn't planning on repeating Cotswolds). Going to stay in London for 3 nights, then onto Windsor/Highclere/Stonehenge for 1 day, sleeping in Bath. Stay in Bath for a day and another night. Then after Bath, want to hit southern wales. Never been to Wales. Is there a unique castle to stay in, or cute towns worth seeing? (Cardiff? Abergavenny? Newport?) I know Rick recommends Caerphilly Castle, but no hotel rec's in the area. We would do 1 night in Wales, and head over to Stratford, and have 1 night in Stratford, then head back to Heathrow. We are renting a car to get around. Any recommendations? Missing anything of note along this route? Any travel tips would be most appreciated!!
Thanks!

Posted by Laurel
Arlington, WA
829 posts

Before commenting, do I understand correctly that you want to leave London for Bath and see Windsor, Highclere & Stonehenge on your way?

Posted by Lauren
New York
3 posts

Yes. Planning on doing those 3 in 1 day. Don't have a ticket to Highclere and its sold out, but read here you can see the grounds. Sleeping in Bath that evening.
Thank you!

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7976 posts

One day isn't much for Wales. The only 'castle hotels' I've come across are pretty bogus - - a hotel adjacent to a ruin, that sort of thing. And all are in the north. An idea might be to go see Caerphilly (one of the best of the big ones) then head back to see Chepstow and spend the night in the village. Tinturn Abbey is nearby and of course the lower Wye Valley. You don't have much time to do anything else. I'd rate Cardiff way below the two castles. There's not much in Newport. And, yes, you've skipped quite a bit between London and the Severn Bridge; but without some idea of your interests, typing lists is a waste of time.

Posted by Stacy
Connecticut
98 posts

I have never been, and don't know if it fits your preferences, but there is a small inn next to Llanthony Priory in Wales that might be what you're looking for. We will be there in late May, and they are already booked. :(
Have fun!

Posted by Lauren
New York
3 posts

Ed - Thank you, you've given much food for thought. We like anything historical, esp castles, but also seeing the local towns. Between London and Bath, we are aiming to see Windsor Castle, Highclere Castle (I'm at Downton fan), Stonehenge. Then the sights in Bath. Is there any significant castle or sight we are missing? Any town that is a must-see?
There is so much to see, its overwhelming. For Wales, I think it sounds like a plan for us to spend 1 night there, in the Chepstow village. I don't think we need 2 nights? and then go on to Stratford for some Shakespeare history. We have been to the Cotswolds. Any recommendations? Thanks so much!!!!

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7976 posts

Within a couple miles of Stonehenge are Avebury, Silbury Hill, Woodhenge, and the West Kennet Long Barrow.

Posted by Suz
Denver, USA
223 posts

Lauren, Are you going to Stratford-upon-Avon or Stratford? I assume it's the former, but because of the 2012 Olympics the other Stratford's profile is higher than before. In Bath, I recommend No. 1 Royal Crescent, a museum-in-a-house which I saw a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed. The website says it's being expanded, and I hope to visit it the next time I'm in the UK, to see the bigger better version. As it was in 2010, it was fine: small, not over-hyped, and very much worth the time and admission fee. Fabulous, well-informed docents in every room. Avebury's also worth a visit. I've never been to Stonehenge so can't compare, but after visiting Avebury, I've dropped Stonehenge pretty much to the bottom of my to-see list.

Posted by Robin Z
Troy, Oh, USA
1634 posts

Hi Lauren, what month are you going? You will need to plan your day for Windsor/Highclere/Stonehenge well. Windsor opens at 9:45am you should be there at opening, Highclere is 47 miles from Windsor so it will take you an hour to drive there, the hours there are mornings tickets 10:30am-1pm, afternoon tickets 1pm-3:30pm, you need tickets to get in, but if you are there on a day that is says "sold out" on the internet there is a chance that you might be able to buy a ticket there (but there is no quarantee of this)the price of a ticket for an adult is £18.00 (as of today would be $26.89), there are a few days available in August and Sept., it's not open to the public any in the month of June and sold out in July. Stonehenge is 35 miles from Highclere so the drive will be about 40 minutes...the opening times for Stonehenge is 9am-7pm. Bath is 35 miles from Stonehenge. The admission for Stonehenge is £7.80 ($11.65).

Posted by Teresa
Victoria, BC, Canada
101 posts

If you are visiting the Royal crescent be sure to visit The Circus it's not as famous as the Royal crescent but is a full circle. At night there is a tradition of placing a candle in the window of the houses. Absolutely skip Newport I was there in November to get a 1 day quick renewal on my out of date British passport, it's not a town that is worth stopping at unless you have a purpose!! Sadly dear old Henry VIII and his Dissolution of the Monasteries resulted in most of Britains great Abbeys just ending up as a pile of ruins such as Tintern. :( One can only imagine what could have been and once was!! Check out what is on at the Theatre while you are in Bath, they often have London pre-openings, when I lived in Bristol we would often visit for the night just to take in a play. Was in Uni in Cardiff, a nice City but as Cities go there are historically far better ones to visit such as Oxford. .. I think you are trying to fit in too much into a short stay, the miles might not seem much but in the UK the traffic congestion can often mean long traffic delays. .. I understand you've done the Cotswolds but as you are planning on visiting Stonehenge have you thought about stopping at Shaftesbury - visit Gold hill perhaps visit Salisbury or Wells Cathedral, have you been to Lacock ? .. There's always the Chalk Cerne Abbas Giant before heading to the market town of Sherbourne. .. If you do go to Chepstow, Tintern Abbey ruins are a short distance away, off the beaten track from Tintern there's a nice pub we used to frequent called the Fountain Inn.
..

Posted by Teresa
Victoria, BC, Canada
101 posts

I'm just throwing a few towns at you that you can look up as they may well be stopping points en-route.. You may already have been to many of these as they are in the Cotswolds Painswick, Winchcombe, Stow on the Wold, Chipping Campdem. Evesham had some awful flooding last year. Chedworth The seven tuns inn (went there after a hike) . If you Do go to Stratford then just a little further on there is always Warwick Castle. originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068. .
http://www.warwick-castle.com/explore-castle/history-and-restoration.aspx