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We booked airfare -- now the rest!

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We booked airfare -- now the rest!

Hi all. After getting over the shock of the fees and fees and fees for our plane tickets (the fee to choose your seat really bugged me...) and a glitch in payment system which will require us to call tomorrow -- we can think of other plans.

April 17-23 East Coast US to London (etc.)

It's almost overwhelming to know where to start even with the FAQs. Next concern is lodging - comfortable, reliable, good location, 2Adult + 1 Child (who will be 11).

I think we will plan to stay in London most of the time but hoping to get to Stonehenge (which we've read is easily combined with Bath?) and if we can figure it out, I would love to take the train to Wales for a day (or overnight?) as we can trace 2 branches of our family there. It would be nice just to see a small piece of it.

We love to go a bit off the beaten path, see things that are unique and/or might be a hidden gem and get a sense of how people live during our travels (in Iceland we took tours with locals in very small groups - which was only us us + another family most of the time). London seems so overwhelming. So much to do and multiple ways to do everything.

Tips? Discounts? fares? must-sees, and more!

Thanks in advance for pointing me in the right direction.

35 replies to this topic
BAC
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1. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

You need to look back at Forum questions and threads as about 85% is there. The search bar can narrow down your search and then post individual questions on What's left.

London, United...
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2. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

With five full days and plans to visit Bath, Stonehenge and possibly Wales, if you want to go “off the beaten track” you won’t have time for London as well. You need to prioritise what’s most important, set out your plans, taking account of travelling time, checking into and out of hotels if you plan on more than one base etc.

California
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3. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

What airline was that? Most decent airlines will let you pick your seats within your class for no extra charge.

r c
Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

welcome,

have you looked at any travel books? They will have things like lodging, food, what to see, where to go, day trips and such. Cost of attractions, when they are open or closed, some will even have a free day.

Just a note that many museums in London are free.

heres a web site for you to look at...

www.seat61.com

alot of great train info.

Stonehenge/bath is a common destination for travelers/tourist. You can also find info in travel books. There are also web sites. Stonehenge has a web site and is below.

english-heritage.org.uk/visit/…

you can look at many sites like this and see how to get there. ITs something that people want to know and will ask for daily. I will let you browse the web site and see how to get there.

You dont have alot of time to do alot. So make the most of it. I havent been to stonehenge/bath yet, but for me and my research its a good day trip. Thats 1 day gone from your 6/7 days. Also, i hope you know you will loose 1 day traveling there.

You can easily spend all of your time in London. Not sure what floats your boat, so again, i would do some research and in what floats your boat then make some priorities.

heres a web site for lodging. there are many others like it, but i use it as my go-to.

www.booking.com

You can choose your budget range, lodging type, amenities and it also has a map feature.

You may want to note too that getting around london is really nice and easy using the tube. I haven't figured out the buses, yet, but in any case, you can easily get around. So you shouldnt have any issue but you can always look for a place close to a tube stop.

good luck.

Wiltshire, United...
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5. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

You can visit Stonehenge and Bath in a single day but many would suggest that you do neither justice and will spend more time travelling than viewing which might not go well with an 11-year-old. You have only a short period here and there is far more to see than you can manage.

Start with working out the time you arrive and at which airport ( likely to be one of two but London actually has six airports). That will give you a sense of what might be achieved on day one. Then you need to think about getting to the airport for your return home, which will tell if you can manage anything at all on the last day. Then fill in the blanks.

Wiltshire, United...
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6. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

<<Most decent airlines will let you pick your seats within your class for no extra charge.>>

Welcome to (at least) European Air travel. Low cost carriers will charge for seat selection and luggage (and food) and increasing numbers of legacy airlines do as well, including BA and US carriers (by hook or by crook), see united’s Basic economy fares

Edited: 2:43 am, December 14, 2017
Rutland, UK
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7. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

It would help to know what time you land on the 17th and what time you leave on the 23rd. I assume from Heathrow; is that so?

To do justice to London you need to allocate it at least four full days, so exclude arrival and departure days from that, and make it six if you want to venture out of the central city to excellent nearby attractions such as Windsor, Greenwich, Hampton Court or the Harry Potter Studios, tickets for which will sell out pretty soon. Make booking it a priority.

As for your more specific issues, for accommodation google ‘Premier Inn, London’ and look at family rooms. This is a chain of economy hotels that are highly rated even though there are no frills. Expect to pay between £80 and £150 a night depending on how central you want to be and if you book a non flexible saver rate. If this doesn’t suit, tell us your nightly budget in £s.

I don’t think you’ll have time to visit both Stonehenge and Wales. Stonehenge can be easily combined with Salisbury but far less easily combined with Bath. Though you can get from Stonehenge to Bath, you’ll probably only get two or three hours there which will not be enough to do it justice. An alternative is a Windsor-Stonehenge-Bath coach trip. It’s expensive and a very long day with many hours on a boring motorway with just brief amounts of time at the destinations. It suits some but it is hard to recommend it.

Going to Wales just to say you’ve been to Wales because your ancestors are from there seems pretty pointless. You can get to Cardiff and back in a day but what’s the point of that if your roots are in Abersoch or Aberystwyth? Give more details on your Welsh ancestry.

Trying to get a sense of how locals live is something of an illusion. Which locals? The mega rich Russians or Arabs who stay just briefly? The office worker who lives 50 minutes away in the suburbs? Detailed insights can be garnered by doing some of the walks with www.walks.com but the emphasis will be very much on history and past lives rather than present ones. Through the walks you can get to see less visited, quirky places but don’t obsess about “off the beaten path” and “hidden gem”. Reserve that for your 10th visit, to begin with focus on what you want to see and only you can research that. There are no “must-sees”, instead think of “what-we-want-to-sees”.

For discounts research Two for One (see the info top right of this page) and don’t even bother looking at the London Pass. No matter what their publicity may tell you, it is not worth it.

Edited: 3:14 am, December 14, 2017
Guildford, United...
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8. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

+1 for Salisbury and Stonehenge, rather than Bath. The cathedral and the other properties in the Cathedral Close can easily take up the half of the day you are not in Stonehenge. Easy to do by train from Waterloo.

Hotel - start by looking within the yellow Circle Line on a tube map or just the other side of the river from it on the South Bank. Premier Inn is an often recommended chain; budget prices, especially in advance, consistent standard, albeit without room service etc. Not their Hub brand, though, as rooms will be too small for three of you.

London, United...
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9. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Rev…

This page might interest you.

Wales is not a day trip and to research family history will surely take time and although I do not know all your details , I suspect that you simply do not have the time on this trip.

Machynlleth, United...
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10. Re: We booked airfare -- now the rest!

To do Stonehenge and Salisbury under your own steam you need train from Waterloo ( or Paddington) to Salisbury.

www.nationalrail enquiries.co.uk

Then use this local tour bus from Salisbury station:

www.thesalisburytour.co.uk

Well-conceived set-up: (1) You are automatically in the next time slot at Stonehenge, don't have to queue there(2) if you want to stop and the pre-medieval Old Sarum site on the way back but don't need the whole hour before the next tour bus, you can use the ticket on any local bus back into town. If you want the English Heritage audio guide at Stonehenge (recommended) you have to pay separately for that.

With stunning Salisbury cathedral, historic town and river walks this is really a full day out.

If you really want a hidden gem, you could consider Sherborne , a further 40 minutes on the train line from Salisbury, rather than Bath, which is overrun by tourists. Tiny historic town as pretty as any in the Cotswolds, but with more to do within a walkable area: with Abbey and 2 castles and a couple of quaint shopping street; plenty of cafes. On the same day trip you might prefer to get to the closer, ruined castle here than explore Salisbury, but I doubt you'll have time for it all. Both Salisbury and Sherborne are on a main rail line, so trains run late if you want your ev Ning meal there.

With only five days you are going to have to choose between London/elsewhere, usual tourist spots/hidden gems .... you won't have time for it all.

I agree that not much point going to Cardiff if your ancestors came from rural mid or north Wales; they're so different they could be on different planets. My part of rural mid-Wales is 5 hours from London on the train, so not a day trip. I suggest you leave Wales to another trip. Or, if it's your priority, postpone most of your London trip to a future time. You haven't booked enough days to do both.

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