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Best of England tour questions

We are looking at this tour for Sept and had a few questions for people that have taken the tour or are familiar with England (we've never been).

  • there are tour dates still available in Sept. Is this a good time to go?

  • we like to get to Europe 2-3 days early to get over jetlag and allow a buffer for any delays. Since the tour starts in Bath and spends 3 nites there would you recommend staying in Bath before the tour? In London? Some other town?

  • it looks like the tour spends about 2 days in London at the end. I expect one could happily spend days if not weeks in London and not be bored, but if you were to extend by just a few days because you need to get back to work how many would you recommend? An extra day? 2? 3?

  • any other suggestions or things you wish you knew before you took this trip?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Posted by
373 posts

We just completed this tour. Only my opinion, but I will share some thoughts.
1. There are SO many stairs to negotiate. None of the tour hotels had elevators except the final tour hotel in London. (and even then we had two sets of stairs to navigate with luggage). Pack as lightly as you can.
2. Our tour stayed at the Brooks Guesthouse in Bath. We had a very uncomfortable room. It was 50 spiral stairs to the basement breakfast room. ( and back up of course). It was very small with no closet or drawers to unpack your suitcase. No AC but there was a small fan. You will need to purchase an extension cord if you want to charge devices etc as the electrical outlets are very limited. In summary, if this is your tour hotel and you want to spend extra days in Bath ahead of time I would find a more comfortable hotel.
3. If you have never been to London I would suggest spending both pre and post tour days there. We had been to
London 4 times prior to the tour , and still have things we didn’t get to do or see.
Our tour hotel was the Radisson Blu Kensington. It is an excellent location especially for return to Heathrow. The Gloucester Road tube station is two blocks away with elevator access to the Piccadilly Line that will take you directly to Heathrow for about 3 pounds.
Feel free to PM me if you have other questions.

Posted by
1352 posts

I did this tour several years ago. I spent a few nights in Canterbury pre tour, but I agree with the previous poster that you could easily spend time in London before and after as you haven't been before. You could easily fill a week in London.

I did the tour in September and thought the weather was perfect.

Posted by
2678 posts

I have never been on a RS Trip but know that you will have a great time. I've been to London 4 times(one was 3 weeks when my husband was on sabbatical there) and am going back in June. We also try to add a day or two every time we have to connect in Heathrow. I still have things there on my bucket list. If you like museums, I suggest you visit the British Museum twice on non-consecutive days-it's too much to absorb on a single visit. You definitely want to go to either London or Bath a day early to get over jet lag, and I would add on as much time in London as your work schedule will allow.

Posted by
1195 posts

As for if there are tour dates left in September, just check the "Our Tours" page on this web site. All tours are listed and you can, by entering "Dates and Prices" tab, find out what dates are available for any particular tour. I just did a quick check and it looks like there are still 3 tours available (one early, one mid and one late Sept) for the BO England Tour.

We are going on this tour in a few weeks. We are staying in London 4 additional days. We could use more time but I am not sure I could afford any more.

Posted by
12236 posts

but if you were to extend by just a few days because you need to get
back to work how many would you recommend? An extra day? 2? 3?

John, we've never taken an RS tour but we've been to London for as long as a week on Trip #2. Based on the description, the BOE tour includes closer to 1.5 days in London than 2: not nearly enough if you are interested in the city's long history and many attractions. Yes, you can fill as many days as you can spare but it will involve some pre-reading and planning to determine how you should most enjoyably spend your time with things that interest YOU.

Posted by
637 posts

thanks for all the replies and info! And yes you are right Rebecca, one of the big pulls of a tour at this point is the convenience. Also I think guides add a lot to sightseeing; I've enjoyed Paris Walks, tour guides in Rome, etc. as well as the local and trip guides on the RS tours.

Posted by
3449 posts

I took this trip a few years ago. I also went in September and truly enjoyed it.

I would definitely stay somewhere else if you arrive early than in Bath. London would be great with all the shows to see, food to eat, and general sight seeing you can do. It is easy to get around with the underground and bus services available for a reasonable rate if you use the Oyster transit card. I have been there too many times to count and still enjoy going back. Stonehenge is not on the tour so if you want to see it, pre tour would be a great time to do so.

The descriptions of the Brooks Guesthouse in Bath given by others sounds like a completely different hotel than the one I stayed at. My room was huge and comfortably furnished with a large bed with a firm mattress (I paid the single supplement and was expecting the standard business traveler single room common in many English hotels). Breakfast was served on the ground floor in the main dining room and had many options available from a full English to bagels with cream cheese and most everything you might want in between. True there was no elevator, but I had only a carry on bag and I don't remember there being that many stairs. No air conditioning, but not needed when I was there. It was rainy most of the time we were there, but not a real problem and weather was perfectly clear for most of the trip once we left Bath.

Our final hotel in London was the Sherlock Holmes at 108 Baker Street. Nice recently renovated hotel at the time. Had air conditioning which was a major relief as London was having one of its worst heat waves in quite a while. They had availability for those wanting to extend their stay. If I had the time to do so, I probably would have done it as the rate for the room I was in was very reasonable compared to what I am used to seeing in London.

Posted by
8061 posts

I also did this tour in mid-Sept a few years ago. I spent about a week in London ahead of time, then 2 nights in Salisbury for a Constable exhibition plus several nights in Bath before the tour. I planned my tour to coincide with the Jane Austen Festival as I am endlessly fascinated with the Regency era and all things Bath.

We stayed at Brooks but was in a small single with no issues. Our ending hotel was The Fielding near Covent Garden.

I stayed about 2 nights longer at the end, then took the Eurostar to Paris for the Paris and Heart of France tour with a day ahead in Paris and a further week in Paris at the end of that tour.

Definitely take a waterproof jacket with a hood for any tour in UK (or France, lol)!

Posted by
1036 posts

I think guides add a lot to sightseeing

Yes - I agree completely, but you can find local guides - at least in London. Try looking at, which I was introduced to on this forum and which we used twice, last time we were in London - and will be using again.

Posted by
931 posts

John, we spent almost two weeks in London last fall. Researched and did it on our own. We had more day trips planned than we actually took due to 1) tiredness or 2) other things we decided we wanted to see. After 12 days we had barely scratched the surface of London. Although the research was time consuming for me (mainly finding an apt.) we enjoyed moving at our own pace. We did 6 different London Walks tours during those 12 days. We like guided tours too, but chose to pick when and what we were going to learn about. If interested you can find my London, Paris, Amsterdam adventure under the trip reports from fall 2017.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi John, I have been on the Best Of London tour and recently, for work, spent a total of 21 days in London. Best advice I could give...if you can stay in the Hilton Paddington do it. You have the Underground access to anywhere in the city quickly. There are a lot of nice restaurants nearby and you literally can get on the Heathrow Express without ever going outside. Book on line for competitive prices, and again, the benefit is the easy access to quick transportation.

Posted by
1173 posts

I went on this tour the beginning of September last year and enjoyed the tour. I stayed at the Brooks Guest House and paid the single supplement. I had a large room on the same floor as the livingroom (Lobby) and had a good mattress. I love London and stayed before and after the tour in London. Of course you could take the train to Paris if you prefer but since you are already in London, I would stay in London. I did change hotels in London due to pricing as I was staying 4 more days. I thought all the hotels were very nice and enjoyed all the sites. Going to London or Bath 2-3 days earlier is a great idea.

My opinion, I would stay in Bath before the tour and see the sites you will not see on the tour, then stay in London afterwards and see London. I could not do this as I had another tour planned and it was cancelled due to lack of people signing up but had already booked my London portions of the trip and just switched over to the Best of England tour. It worked out very well! I would have stayed in Bath had I had planned to go on this tour!

England has funny weather, warm, cool, rainy, sunny. You name it. even in September. Bring good walking shoes, light rain jacket, scarve, layer your clothes. Pack light and have a great time. I love to travel in September so I think it is a good time to go. But remember weather is unpreditable so you just need to be prepared for it.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
1007 posts

We were on the Villages of Southern England tour last year which ends in Bath. We stayed on a couple of nights in Bath at the end of the tour. I would spend a little time in Bath before the Best of England tour. Bath has much to see, but it is less intense than London.

Posted by
2678 posts

Hilton Metropole in London also has a great location-it's one block from the Edgeware Road Station and Circle Line trains go directly to many important tourist destinations, such as Westminster Abbey. It's also just one stop from Paddington and has a Marks and Spencer across the street if you like to eat inexpensive sandwiches for your meals.