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aheape1979

London before British Isles Cruise: Is this do-able?

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If you're looking at restaurants with a great view instead of a dinner cruise, I'd add Duck and Waffle (https://duckandwaffle.com) to that list. We did breakfast there, but my co-worker says the dinner is fabulous, too. 

 

For a unique afternoon tea experience, I highly recommend the B-Bakery tea bus: https://b-bakery.com

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5 hours ago, Cotswold Eagle said:

 

Great. I see Becky and her team out and about locally with guests from time to time. They get great reviews and certainly came up with a unique selling point - you may not need much breakfast on the train! And the size of their bus means they can go to places (such as my village 😉) that bigger bus tours can’t. 

 

Let me know if I can answer any other questions. 

Thank you!

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We had a wonderful dinner at The Shard a couple of years ago, in Obelix.  The views were sensational.

 

I agree, don't do a dinner cruise.  The cruises down to Greenwich are fantastic though.

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4 hours ago, djh1959 said:

We had a wonderful dinner at The Shard a couple of years ago, in Obelix.  The views were sensational.

 

I agree, don't do a dinner cruise.  The cruises down to Greenwich are fantastic though.

Thank you!  I've taken everyone's advice and chosen not to do the dinner cruise.  

Any recommendations for the Greenwich one?

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I can quite understand if you don't want to do the organised bus tour of London, but I would not recommend a private tour using a driver.  There are ferocious parking restrictions, plus congestion, which means you could have hassle and waste time trying to rendezous with the driver every time you get out.  For the private tour experience, I'd suggest a private guide on foot.  You'll see loads on foot, and the guide can take you on the bus/tube as needed to get from place to place.  That'll be far more effective than a private driver.

 

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On 6/25/2019 at 3:01 AM, aheape1979 said:

 


Day 2:  Private tour of London.  We will probably do either the 5 hour or 7 hour tour (chauffeur and guide).

 

 

32 minutes ago, Island2Dweller said:

I can quite understand if you don't want to do the organised bus tour of London, but I would not recommend a private tour using a driver.  There are ferocious parking restrictions, plus congestion, which means you could have hassle and waste time trying to rendezous with the driver every time you get out.  For the private tour experience, I'd suggest a private guide on foot.  You'll see loads on foot, and the guide can take you on the bus/tube as needed to get from place to place.  That'll be far more effective than a private driver.

 

 

 

Yes, there are advantages to having a private guided tour using public transport, but a tour by car with a driver and a guide resolves the problems that you envisage. No parking problems for guide or guests, and driver & guide will be on the same wavelength for rendez-vous.

And the car is a private little oasis, and somewhere to keep your bits & pieces.

An expensive option, but the OP's  20th anniversary gift.

 

JB :classic_smile:

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1 hour ago, John Bull said:

 

 

 

Yes, there are advantages to having a private guided tour using public transport, but a tour by car with a driver and a guide resolves the problems that you envisage. No parking problems for guide or guests, and driver & guide will be on the same wavelength for rendez-vous.

And the car is a private little oasis, and somewhere to keep your bits & pieces.

An expensive option, but the OP's  20th anniversary gift.

 

JB :classic_smile:

That's exactly what we were thinking!  If we see something and purchase it...no carrying it around all day, and don't have to plan or navigate how to get to the sights.  Plus, it will give us a really good overview so that we can choose where to spend more time in the free time we built in.  

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1 hour ago, aheape1979 said:

That's exactly what we were thinking!  If we see something and purchase it...no carrying it around all day, and don't have to plan or navigate how to get to the sights.  Plus, it will give us a really good overview so that we can choose where to spend more time in the free time we built in.  

As you are staying in a fantastic location I would make sure that the driver take you places that are further afield. Enjoy! 

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Updated Itinerary:

June 4: Arrive at LHR in the morning.  Shower and breakfast at Revivals Lounge, then take car service to Windsor (they keep our bags) and tour for a few hours.  Car service to St. Ermins.  Dinner, walk around, whatever we feel like...

June 5:  Private London tour (5 hours).  Afternoon tea, maybe a market visit, shopping.

June 6:  Eurostar to Paris with private tour (5 hours).  Have dinner at a bistro and take a later train back to London.

June 7:  Sunday, so hit the Columbia Flower Market!  Also, attend a service at Westminster Abbey.  Have Sunday roast somewhere.  See any sights we want to!

June 8:  Train to Moreton in Marsh and Mystery Cotswolds Tour.  We plan to take an hour or so in town after the tour is over before our train back to London.

June 9:  Sleep in a little, then head to Southhampton after breakfast.

 

Thoughts?

 

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Your revised itinerary looks better. There's so much in London to see. I would stay there the whole time and not venture out on your day trips to Paris and the Cotswolds, but it's your vacation. With your free time on Sunday, some of the places I'd suggest would be Shakespeare' Globe, the Churchill War Rooms, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert, or Kensington Palace. It would be easy to spend three hours in any one of these.

 

We were in London for six nights last fall and did not have enough time to do everything I wanted. We're only getting two nights this September, and our big must is going to Kew Gardens for the Chihuly exhibit. We'll try to get in a couple of shows. We managed four last year.

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A very easy itinerary in London.

Once there, especially after your tour (hopefully a morning tour?), you'll realise that there are so many sights you'll  want to add. 

You've got a day-and-a-half with no firm plans. Nowhere near enough time for everything, but a decent amount of time, so you can prioritise what to do once you've seen the lie of the land.

 

Paris - It's a rush to include an overview of Paris but if you've not been & don't expect to get another opportunity, then go for it. 

 

Cotswolds - Not desperately iconic but a lovely part of England. And too many folk only ever see London and the monotonous strip of black-top between the big bad city and the port. 

 

Have a great trip

 

JB :classic_smile:

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15 minutes ago, John Bull said:

A very easy itinerary in London.

Once there, especially after your tour (hopefully a morning tour?), you'll realise that there are so many sights you'll  want to add. 

You've got a day-and-a-half with no firm plans. Nowhere near enough time for everything, but a decent amount of time, so you can prioritise what to do once you've seen the lie of the land.

 

Paris - It's a rush to include an overview of Paris but if you've not been & don't expect to get another opportunity, then go for it. 

 

Cotswolds - Not desperately iconic but a lovely part of England. And too many folk only ever see London and the monotonous strip of black-top between the big bad city and the port. 

 

Have a great trip

 

JB :classic_smile:

Thank you!  That's what we were thinking.  My touring style has changed so much as I've gotten older.  Instead of planning every minute of every day, we like to plan the major things, then take time to "go with the flow" and do what we want.  

This is probably the only time I will get my husband to Europe, so Paris is a must-do on this trip..  Our cruise docks in Le Havre, but we don't want to spend 6 hours round trip on a bus with 50 other people to see Paris.  Instead, we will probably enjoy Honfleur that day.  

My husband wants to see some of the countryside, hence our Cotswolds day.  We actually added a day to our original plans when I told him about going there.  An added day of vacation....makes my day!  We live in a rural area of SC (on a farm), so he is excited about leaving the big city for a day (especially after our other city touring).  

 

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1 hour ago, geoherb said:

Your revised itinerary looks better. There's so much in London to see. I would stay there the whole time and not venture out on your day trips to Paris and the Cotswolds, but it's your vacation. With your free time on Sunday, some of the places I'd suggest would be Shakespeare' Globe, the Churchill War Rooms, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert, or Kensington Palace. It would be easy to spend three hours in any one of these.

 

We were in London for six nights last fall and did not have enough time to do everything I wanted. We're only getting two nights this September, and our big must is going to Kew Gardens for the Chihuly exhibit. We'll try to get in a couple of shows. We managed four last year.

I think the Churchill War rooms will definitely be on our list.  Our hotel is nearby, so it could be a quick walk over.  

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10 minutes ago, aheape1979 said:

Our cruise docks in Le Havre, but we don't want to spend 6 hours round trip on a bus with 50 other people to see Paris.  Instead, we will probably enjoy Honfleur that day.  

 

 

 

 Honfleur is a pretty little fishing port (OK, perhaps more reliant these days on tourists than fishes) and makes for a very pleasant but very lazy day.

 

The vast majority of cruisers choose one of three destination..........

 

Honfleur.

 

Or Paris.

 

Or the D-Day landing beaches, museums, sights & cemeteries.

Very instructive, and very moving.

And because sailings from Le Havre tend to be mid-evening, easily enough time to fit in a lot in a day.

The big downside is that you can't (well, shouldn't) decide on this on the spur of the moment.

There's no public transport that will do the job.

Negotiating with a taxi at the port to tour the D-Day places would be super-expensive and pot-luck on the driver's knowledge and standards of English.

So you really need to consider and fix well in advance 

- a self-drive car (needs research on the geography & sights) which I get the impression might not be your thing.

- or pre-book a van tour. They're not desperately expensive if you join a tour-share (up to 16 passengers) with others on your cruise RollCall.

Best-known van tours are by https://www.overlordtour.com/product-category/tour-from-ports/ who get 5-star reviews on all review sites.

And - depending on your ship / date - as well as D-Day van tours (which need to be organised by a cruiser from your RollCall) they offer seat-in-bus tickets with a set itinerary which combines Omaha / American Cemetery with the ancient city of Bayeux.

Far more interesting and memorable than pleasant Honfleur.

But also more tiring. 

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

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43 minutes ago, aheape1979 said:

I think the Churchill War rooms will definitely be on our list.  Our hotel is nearby, so it could be a quick walk over.  

 

The War Rooms are a timed entry ticket and they do sell out. If you're buying a pass that includes them, you can skip the line. If not, and they sell out, you can actually join the Imperial War Museum online. It's frankly not that expensive (a lot less expensive than a return flight to London...), and you'll go straight to the member line with your confirmation e-mail on your smartphone. It also gives you free admission to the HMS Belfast (the main IWM is free admission).

 

The trip JB describes to Omaha, Colleville-sur-Mer, and Bayeux covers an amazing amount of history (haven't done that tour, but I've been to all three places). And it should get you into the French countryside, and some understanding of the bocage and hedgerows that were such an important feature of the Battle of Normandy. 

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We enjoyed our day in Le Havre. The MuMa museum is fantastic. 

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12 hours ago, John Bull said:

Cotswolds - Not desperately iconic 

 

Wait, what? It’s SO iconic that Arlington Row is on the inside front cover of U.K. passports 😝😡🤣

 

OP - if I may ask, what are you intending to do in Moreton-in-Marsh with the hour before your train (I am assuming you mean that you will not take the one the tour connects with, but wait for the next one)? There’s not a huge amount to do, given that it will be late afternoon. 

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5 hours ago, Cotswold Eagle said:

 

Wait, what? It’s SO iconic that Arlington Row is on the inside front cover of U.K. passports 😝😡🤣

 

OP - if I may ask, what are you intending to do in Moreton-in-Marsh with the hour before your train (I am assuming you mean that you will not take the one the tour connects with, but wait for the next one)? There’s not a huge amount to do, given that it will be late afternoon. 

We were thinking there may be a cute little cafe to have coffee or some shopping.  If that's not so, I'd love to know so that we don't book an open return time.  Thank you!

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18 hours ago, aheape1979 said:

We were thinking there may be a cute little cafe to have coffee or some shopping.  If that's not so, I'd love to know so that we don't book an open return time.  Thank you!

 

There are several coffee shops and tea rooms in Moreton-in-Marsh and a few galleries and antique shops if that’s your thing. But be aware it is pretty much closed by 5 pm, apart from the pubs and supermarkets, so factor that in. 

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