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Need help with daytrips outside London

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Need help with daytrips outside London

A complicated question-sorry so long..

We're coming to London 7 days 8 nights the first week of November & still haven't finalized our outside-London travel details. We're giving 2 days to see sites outside London (which were hard to part with!) and want to see Bath, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace.

At first, I wanted to do them all on our own (cheaper, more time, freedom, etc.) One day to Bath by train, and one day to Windsor in the AM & Hampton Court in the PM. I've read some posts about doing both the same day, and know it may be tight... but wanted to try it. We don't want to race through these places, but also aren't ones that have to see every corner and read every plaque.

So, when trying to plan travel between the two, I couldn't quite figure it out. We'd like to leave London early enough to get to Windsor when it opens at 10am, or at least by the 11am Changing of the Guards. Then take the train from Windsor Eton Riverside to Staines (early afternoon), bus 216 from Staines (as Adam recommended) to Hampton Court. The route looks like it should work on the train/bus maps & also looks the quickest. But, when trying to get tickets, or even times & prices, Journey Planner doesn't give me the options I need. Maybe I'm just using it wrong - wrong station names or stops possibly? Do the buses depart from the same station the trains arrive? The planner doesn't show a direct path on bus 216 from Stains to Hampton Court - is there a change? And...would our travelcards zone1-2 help with the bus leg? Sorry so many questions...this leg of the trip just really confuses me.

Anyway, then we looked at guided tours. We didn't find a tour company that does Windsor & Hampton Court the same day & see what we want to see (couldn't go to Hampton Court & see only gardens). There are the tours that do Windsor, Stonehenge & Bath together. It doesn't seem to cost much more than travel & admission costs would on our own (though I didn't have all the info to do a perfect comparison), and we wouldn't feel sketchy about the travel details. Stonehenge isn't a "must see" but would be an added bonus. Then we'd see Hampton Court Palace on our own another day.

Is the tour the right choice?

Am I missing something simple to just go it alone?

Thanks for any help.

London, United...
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11. Re: Need help with daytrips outside London

I agree - do both as half day trips. For Hampton Court, you don't have to change at Surbiton if you go from Waterloo, there's a train straight through to Hampton Court station (the end of the line) and it takes about 30 mins, maybe less. If you come from Victoria, as someone said, change at Clapham Junction. When you come out the station, turn right and go over the bridge and you'll see the palace. you might enjoy a short stroll along the Thames while you're there too. Much nicer than a bus through Staines etc (apologies to anyone who live there!)

Southcoast Mass
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12. Re: Need help with daytrips outside London

Last time I went I did the Windsor Castle and Hampton Court days out separately. The train from Paddington to Winsdor is a snap. Change at Slough by just walking across the platform. It brings you right into Windsor Village and it's a short walk to the castle.

Hampton Court was not so easy. I took the tube to Richmond and the bus to Hampton Court. It drops you right outside the front door but I sat in traffic a real long time. Then after seeing everything, sat in traffic again (rush hour) on the way back.

These two castles in one day is a huge undertaking, in my opinion. You must be fit and have lots of stamina.

The coach tour with both sounds good for you, it's just sometimes these tours don't give you enough time at the site. The drop you at the castle and say "be back on the bus in two hours." I've always found it difficult to do 1000 yrs of history in 2 hours.

You are going to have a great trip, Enjoy!

London, UK
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13. Re: Need help with daytrips outside London

Every Christmas we take the RugRats/AnkleBiters/Lil'Blighters to Hampton Court Palace for the day. We get there as it opens, buy a family ticket & set off to catch the guided tours, actors performing in the courtyard - story of St George with fireaters is a favourite - with full child participation, music & dances in the Great Hall, the food historians making up traditional dishes in the Tudor kitchens. We allow time for sandwich lunch, afternoon snacks & a run round the maze. Every year, we get chucked out as they close the Palace at then end of the day....two hours to enjoy it, you must be joking !