1st time in England - itinerary advice pls!

Travel Forums Europe 1st time in England - itinerary advice pls!

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1. Posted by Matilda (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Self, husband, sons 21 & 16 planning to arrive from Australia around 17 Dec for 1 week, including 4 days/3 nts London, then whirlwind country tour. (Planning chunnel to Paris Dec 24). This will be just a first "taste of" trip for us -plan to return following year(s). But first up would like to capture as many icons as possible, appreciate the atmosphere, experience sense of history. 16 yo also desperate to see a football match! Am overwhelmed by choice - any advice on how we can cram it all in, and still get out of town to do a whirlwind (self drive or other?) trip to include Bath, Oxford, Cotswolds, Lake District, anywhere else time permits to capture true essence of England? Don't wish to overdo museums, castles, live shows. Happy to do trouristy things this time just to know we've done them! But also wish to see different countryside, artchitecture etc. I appreciate we are probably being overly ambitious but have plenty of stamina - and loads of naivety! Could probably add a few days if necessary (France/Italty follows) Any itinerary advice will be most welcome! Also any tips on accommodation - ideally unique, central?
Thanking you in anticipation! First time on the site - love it!

2. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 615 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Matilda, your enthusiasm is infectious. Good on you!
Having been to Oz, NZ and plenty other places, one thing that annoys me about the UK is that accommodation owners can make life quite difficult. This Easter weekend I have heard of B&B places demanding a minimum stay of 4 nights. Unlike in Australia, you can't usually turn up and just stay 1 night. The operators know that if you don't like it, somebody else will.
So I would just urge that you plan a very detailed itinerary and book your accommodation well in advance, or book on a tour that has it all organised for you.
Outside of holiday periods, it is possible to wander at your own pace and find somewhere to stay. But in the run up to Xmas, you will struggle in the places that you want to visit.
Also, you may be unlikely to find a tour that includes the Lake District with all those other places, but I would urge you strongly to come (I live there!) It's only 3-4 hrs by train, so you could come one evening, stay overnight, and travel back the following evening.
The weather could be spectacular or it could be awful, but you will get dramatic views either way. Check with tour companies that they operate at that time of year - I know the tourist busses don't run beyond October.

3. Posted by Matilda (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Stevieh for words of wisdom - I will definitely work on the accommodation bookings. And if there is a way to get to the Lakes District I will make it happen! Thanks again for taking the time to reply! Cheers!

4. Posted by LittleHote (Inactive 78 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Matilda

I appreciate we are probably being overly ambitious but have plenty of stamina - and loads of naivety!

Oh Matilda! You know you're biting off far too much. If you want to go to London, 4 days/3 nights looks like a good plan. That only leaves you about the same amount of time to "do" the rest of the country. Remember the most unpicturesque countryside in England lies either side of the motorways.

I'd suggest you use the rest of your time for visiting a few places within easy reach of London: Cotswolds and Oxford sounds like a good idea. You might also like to consider Kent, as your next stop is going to be France. Canterbury and Rochester are both interesting and the north Kent marshes have a certain bleak appeal for walking. (No! Forget that. You're going in December. Too bleak.) Leave the Lake District and whatever for another time.