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.