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Qs about where to stay in London, where else to visit, and EPL match tickets

Qs about where to stay in London, where else to visit, and EPL match tickets

Old Jan 10th, 2022, 08:12 AM
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Qs about where to stay in London, where else to visit, and EPL match tickets

We're taking a family trip to England in mid-May, with my husband, myself, and our three young adult offspring (ages 25, 21, and 20). I'd appreciate any insights on the following:

(1) We only have about a week (will arrive Saturday morning and fly out the Sunday a week after, so 8 nights). We'll spend about half that time in London. For the rest of the time, we'd like to spend a little time outside London. We're most interested in seeing York and the Cotswolds. Is there any reasonable way to do both of those in the limited time we have? Maybe a morning train from London to York, do York that day, then a train back to London and from London to the Cotswolds (probably Moreton in Marsh) the next day, with a couple of nights in the Cotswolds before heading back to London to leave? Note - we will not have a car and will be depending on public transportation. Relatedly, our flight home leaves out of Heathrow around 11:30 am on Sunday. Is it reasonable to travel to Heathrow from the Cotswolds, or possibly from Oxford, that morning, or would we really need to be in London the night before?

(3) We're considering an Airbnb while in London since there will be 5 of us. We've found a good option in the Bayswater area, as well one in Marylebone. I'm leaning towards the Bayswater place since the Marylebone place only has 1.5 bathrooms, which wouldn't be great for 5 of us. Also, I lived in the Bayswater area for 4 months 30+ years ago while doing a study abroad in London. That's obviously been a long time ago, though, and I know areas change. Is Bayswater an ok area to stay, or would the Marylebone place be a better option? There's also a cheaper option near Kensel Green tube station, but that looks to be pretty off the beaten path. Thoughts?

(4) We would like to go to an EPL match. The Manchester United/Chelsea game takes place while we are there, and my kids would absolutely die to go to that match. I emailed the Man U ticket office to see if there is any way to get tickets, and the only options they provided were buying memberships for all of us and hoping to get tickets through their internal process, or buying incredibly expensive hospitality packages. If we purchase memberships, how likely is it that we'd actually be able to get tickets for this match (as I'm sure it's a really popular one that many members would want tickets to)? Is there any other option for getting tickets (to that or any other match) apart from purchasing a membership? And lastly, if by some miracle we were able to get tickets to the ManU/Chelsea match, is it reasonable to do Manchester for the match in a day trip from London (train that morning, watch match, and train back afterwards)?

Sorry for so many questions, and thanks in advance for any help!
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 08:56 AM
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Bayswater and Marylebone are fine and just about equally convenient. Kensal Green - isn't. There are many many other good neighborhoods as well.

Your idea of trying to do York and the Cotswolds in what would be at very most 3 days isn't practical really. It would be better to do one or the other.

Re driving -- will you not have a car because you are non-drivers, or because you think you don't want to drive?? The Cotswolds are not impossible car-less but are MUCH easier with one. The local buses are really organized to get people to shopping/school/work and not for the convenience of visitors. As for York, the city is totally doable sans car, but if you wanted to see things out in the countryside (like the Dales, Castle Howard, Moors, whatever) you'd want a car. You wouldn't want a car IN London of course, but renting a car for a couple of days for either the Cotswolds or Yorkshire is worth considering

If you really do not want to drive, consider places that are easier car-less . . . Bath with maybe a Mad Max day tour into the Cotswolds. Or Oxford with a local bus to Woodstock for Blenheim Palace. Or Cambridge with local buses or train to Ely and Duxford.

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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 09:11 AM
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Thank you so much, Janisj! We weren't planning to have a car because we're from the US, and are really nervous about driving on what for us is the other side of the car and road. It sounds like we need to rethink our plans in light of that. In terms of doing the Cotswolds without a car, we have some in our family who would enjoy long walks in the countryside and visiting small town shops more than visiting sites (especially after several days of intense site seeing in London), and others who would prefer actual site seeing. I had thought if we booked a place in Moreton in Marsh (which looks to have train service from London), those who want to do the former can do it from there, and those that want to visit sites could take a train to Oxford for the day, take a cab or hire a car to a site nearby, etc. Is that not practical though? Maybe York would be a better option in that regard since it's a larger city, though our oldest daughter really wants to go to the Cotswolds. It's hard to please everyone!

We could also do as you suggest and stay in Bath or Oxford. If we did that, would either/both be a good area for outdoor exploration for those in our family who prefer that? Also, with 3-4 days in somewhere like Oxford, would we would run out of things to do?
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 09:12 AM
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Gulp, York one day and the Cotswolds the next day. You guys must like the tough life. It is possible but draining.

I'd look at Oxford as a more reasonable blend of ancient buildings, wonderful churches and a city near the Cotswolds. Then you could catch a train to Oxford, stay over a night and hire a car to tour the Golden buildings of Morton-in-Marsh etc.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 09:27 AM
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Thank you, @bilboburgler. It sounds like my York and the Cotswolds idea isn't a very good one, so I'll rethink it. I'm wondering if there's a typo in your second paragraph though. You say "I'd look at Oxford .... Then you could catch a train to Oxford...." Did you mean to put a different place in one of those spots?
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 09:43 AM
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"We weren't planning to have a car because we're from the US, and are really nervous about driving on what for us is the other side of the car and road."

90+% of the posters on Fodors are Yanks (including moi), and the vast majority who have visited rural parts of the UK have driven cars and lived to tell the tale Not trying to brow beat you into something you really really don't want to do. With 5 of you, it would be cost effective to hire a driver for a couple of days in the Cotswolds. Moreton-in-Marsh does have rail service (as do a few other places like Kingham and Charlbury. These mostly aren't the 'honey pot' Cotswolds villages you envision.

"we have some in our family who would enjoy long walks in the countryside and visiting small town shops more than visiting sites (especially after several days of intense site seeing in London), and others who would prefer actual site seeing."

The Cotswolds is chock-a-block with stuff to satisfy both sides of the family.


If you are not 100% against driving, I might suggest you stay a few days in London - take public transport or a car service out to LHR, pick up a car, jump on the M-40 (the 'freeway' that heads towards Oxford and the Cotswolds), to the A40 and stay in Burford. Straighforward drive and all on divided motorway or dual carriageway so easy to acclimate to the car/controls, etc. Stay the 2 or 3 nights you have. Take day drives and walks around the region. Drive back to LHR, drop the car, fly home. LHR is not much more than an hour's drive from Burford but allow extra time for traffic. IF your flight home is before about 11AM, drive back the evening before and drop the car/stay at a LHR hotel, but for later flights driving down on the morning is fine.

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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 10:32 AM
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Thanks, Janisj. I know other Americans rent cars in England, but I don't think our group is going to try it. Honestly, I'd be willing to give it a go myself, but my husband and kids are strongly against it and have said they're not willing to drive themselves or ride in the car with me driving. So that's out!

I'm rethinking our plans in light of the advice I've been given. How would we find a driver for a day or two in the Cotswolds, and how much would that cost? And is it possible/practical to take taxis, or is the area too rural for taxis? I guess I'm wondering if we could take the train to Moreton in Marsh (or somewhere else close to whatever town we want to stay in), then take a taxi to some other town and/or sites? I guess the alternative would be to just go to Oxford and do a day trip through the Cotswolds, although that's not really ideal either. I definitely need to regroup and rethink!

Last edited by JennSw; Jan 10th, 2022 at 10:39 AM.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 10:46 AM
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"How would we find a driver for a day or two in the Cotswolds, and how much would that cost? And is it possible/practical to take taxis, or is the area too rural for taxis?"

Easy Peasy . . . they do a bang up business driving wimpy Americans and Canadians (not being snarky - honest) There are several taxi companies and driver guides (don't expect taxi ranks like in major cities -- some of these are one-offs with one driver/car) But Just google' Local Taxi Moreton in Marsh' and you'll get 3 or 4 hits. There are also a couple in Charlbury which also has rail service from London
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 10:55 AM
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Thank you again! And no problem at all with the snark. I agree we (or my family, anyway) is being wimpy, so we can expect to get called out for that. But this is probably a one time trip as a whole family, so I'm trying to keep everyone happy!

Questions about taxis - is it possible to just get a taxi from place to place (like we would in a larger city), or would we have to book a taxi for a whole day? Also, is it likely to be a problem finding someone with a taxi large enough to fit five of us (plus luggage, at least for the trips from/to the train stations to place we're staying) plus the driver?
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 11:09 AM
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No need to feel like a wimp. I grew up and learned to drive in England, but I've lived in the US long enough I use public transport when I go back. Much more relaxing.

If you considered basing in Bath (well worth time on its own account) this is an option: https://www.madmaxtours.co.uk/
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 11:12 AM
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Most taxi companies operate minbuses, seating up to eight people, which you can book.

Does it have to be the Man U game? Seems like a lot of time out of your already short, and busy trip to drag up to Manchester and back, plus the expense of train tickets as well as membership and tickets if you can get them (which is unlikely) and the chance of the game being moved for TV coverage depending on how things are at the end of the season. Man U will probably not be up there fighting for the title (or even a place in Europe), but Chelsea could be with a following wind and Man City collapsing, which I admit is unlikely. Does it have to be a premier league match even?
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 11:41 AM
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There are half a dozen or so London teams in the Premier League right now, including Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham, so you don’t have to travel all the way to Manchester to see a match. If for some reason you can’t get tickets for a home match with one of those teams, there are others in the Championship and other lower divisions that will be just as entertaining with tickets at lower prices.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post

Does it have to be the Man U game? Seems like a lot of time out of your already short, and busy trip to drag up to Manchester and back, plus the expense of train tickets as well as membership and tickets if you can get them (which is unlikely) and the chance of the game being moved for TV coverage depending on how things are at the end of the season. Man U will probably not be up there fighting for the title (or even a place in Europe), but Chelsea could be with a following wind and Man City collapsing, which I admit is unlikely. Does it have to be a premier league match even?
This is an excellent point - when we visited Liverpool it was obvious our budget wouldn’t stretch to Anfield admission.
We did tour those hallowed grounds and then happily watched Tranmere play in Wirral.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 12:27 PM
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Looking at the Man U site it says date to be confirmed for that match. Some current fixtures are postponed due to Covid and there will be a lot of jiggling of dates and times towards the end of the season so even if you could buy the tickets you may not be able get to the match.
Maybe try Spurs who play Burnley that weekend (in theory). West Ham is at home but to Man City so no hope a tickets for that, and the rest seem to be playing away.
The lower leagues seem to finish on April 30th, and you probably wouldn't get tickets for any play-offs.

Sorry.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 12:37 PM
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Hi, JennSW. Envy you your trip. I'm a Yank who dislikes driving in England. Did it once, and it was fine, but definitely added bother & stress to my vacation. (I hate driving in Chicago, too, so I'm no fan of cars.) I've happily relied on public transportation in the Cotswolds on 6 or 7 trips now.

RE: Moreton-in-Marsh (websites are below)
I love this village as a fan of hiking, history, gardens, and big stately piles (manors). If you decide to train to M-i-M...
  • the Bell Inn has connections to JRR Tolkien, if that's of interest. I stayed in one of their rooms, but don't recommend except for maybe a drink. My room was pretty lackluster, but fine for me (a single, just needing a bed between hikes/country walks)
  • A nice circular walk is from M-i-M to Sezincote (beautiful, India-inspired manor). I looped back to Batsford Arboretum (childhood home of the Mitford sisters), but I was a bit tired after Sezincote, and while the arboretum is lovely, it's large, and it can be a pass if you get tired. Also, if the hikers are really fit, they can add in Bourton on the Hill, which is a beautiful Cotswold village, too. Bourton House has a beautful garden, but you may be gardened-out.
  • When hiking (or walking, as the Brits don't use 'hike,') the ground around there can be pretty boggy/muddy, so you want waterproof hiking boots. Also, at Sezincote, they will not let you tour the house in hiking boots, but allow you to walk in your socks, so be prepared to take off your shoes if you've been walking. I think they gave me a bag to put my shoes in, but I'm not 100% on that, so maybe have a bag ready.)
  • The White Hart is an historic coaching inn worth a look
  • If you're there on a Tuesday, I believe they have a big farmer's market. I didn't see this, though. Just heard of it.
  • On a rainy day, OR if there's someone who's extroverted who likes meeting people, English teas, and would like to be driven around, the Secret Cottage tour is a really nice way to see a sampling of Cotswold villages, interspersed with 1-2 visits to a thatched roof cottage. I had a wonderful time on a rainy day when I didn't want to hike. (I booked the night before.) At the time, they offered 3 "teas" at the Cottage, but I think that may be cut to 1-2...? It's a bit pricey, but I thought it was a lovely afternoon.
  • Had a fantastic Indian dinner at the Spice Room. Indian food just seems to taste so much better in the UK.
Good luck planning! I hope you get your soccer tix! (I've been watching Ted Lasso.)

https://www.sezincote.co.uk/
Batsford Arboretum
https://www.bourtonhouse.com/
https://whitehartroyal.co.uk/
https://www.cotswolds.com/things-to-...ttage-p1990713
Spice Room Moreton
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 12:52 PM
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Also, RE: YORK...
If I had to choose just 1 location outside London between York/Cotswolds, I'd go with the Cotswolds. I've only been to York twice, so by no means an expert like other Fodorites, but I don't love the city. I love the countryside around it. Castle Howard is spectacular, as is Fountains Abbey in Ripon. My favorite thing in York is the railway museum (being interested in 19th century travel), York Minster, and eating kedgeree at Dean Court. (Kedgeree is a Scottish-Indian breakfast dish, like a rice porridge with white fish, peas, and raisins. Like nothing I've ever had.)
https://www.inncollectiongroup.com/dean-court/

But if you're daydreaming of something like Castle Howard for sheer magnificence, you may want to look at Derbyshire to see Chatsworth, Haddon Hall, the village of Eyam, and Bakewell. I prefer the landscapes of the Peak District to North Yorkshire.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 03:18 PM
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Do all five of you have to do the same thing together every day?
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Old Jan 11th, 2022, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by JennSw View Post
Thank you, @bilboburgler. It sounds like my York and the Cotswolds idea isn't a very good one, so I'll rethink it. I'm wondering if there's a typo in your second paragraph though. You say "I'd look at Oxford .... Then you could catch a train to Oxford...." Did you mean to put a different place in one of those spots?
Hi Jenn, yes my written English can be a bit manky. What I meant was that Oxford offer you a pseudo medievel city scape with some wonderful museums, churches, colleges etc. Easy to get there via train or coach from London. Car hire or a car service from Oxford is also pretty easy (it avoids the whole LHR/M25 car rental thing, that some visitors find a bit stressful) and gets you off to a good visit to the Cotswolds.

You could do something similar in Cirencester for example but Oxford is so much nicer. I would try and stay in the Cotswolds at least for one night or better two and it is worth doing some walking between the villages, the UK has a massive network of open paths. I would recommend visiting Burford Church which has a special chapel in memory of a family of local landlords. Next to it is a special addition, paid for by locals, which commemorates just how much the local people hated the family.
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Old Jan 11th, 2022, 06:33 AM
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If you wanted to do the York visit you can see some amazing sights in town and out in the country of which Fountains abbey and Ripon Minster are just the most publicised. I would do either Oxford and the Cotswolds or York and surroundings or Cambridge and Ely. These three are some of the most sublime areas in of the country but I could go on about Wells, Salisbury, Durham, Chester etc, "we have a lot of history".
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Old Jan 11th, 2022, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Most taxi companies operate minbuses, seating up to eight people, which you can book.

Does it have to be the Man U game? Seems like a lot of time out of your already short, and busy trip to drag up to Manchester and back, plus the expense of train tickets as well as membership and tickets if you can get them (which is unlikely) and the chance of the game being moved for TV coverage depending on how things are at the end of the season. Man U will probably not be up there fighting for the title (or even a place in Europe), but Chelsea could be with a following wind and Man City collapsing, which I admit is unlikely. Does it have to be a premier league match even?
It doesn't have to be ManU, but my kids would really love to see that game and would be willing to schlep up to Manchester to see it. That said, it sounds like the schedule isn't set and getting tickets is a long shot at best. Maybe we'll purchase memberships and apply for tickets, and just see how it plays out. If we can't go to that game, we'd like to try for one of the EPL matches in the London area, but I'm definitely not purchasing memberships to more than one club, so not sure how we'd get tickets to a London area match without doing that. The FA cup final is also at Wembley the day we're arriving. That would be very cool to see, but not sure we'd have the energy for that after the long trip over.

Originally Posted by AJPeabody View Post
Do all five of you have to do the same thing together every day?
No, we don't. I'd like us to all do our overnights at the same place, but we can and likely will split up during the days. My oldest will want to do day hikes, markets, cultural events, and has less interest in seeing castles and museums, etc. Others of us will want to see the sites and are going to be less interested in hiking around the countryside. No reason we can't split up so everyone can do what they want, but we'd like to be located somewhere that both are options.

Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
If you wanted to do the York visit you can see some amazing sights in town and out in the country of which Fountains abbey and Ripon Minster are just the most publicised. I would do either Oxford and the Cotswolds or York and surroundings or Cambridge and Ely. These three are some of the most sublime areas in of the country but I could go on about Wells, Salisbury, Durham, Chester etc, "we have a lot of history".
I'm leaning towards the Cotswolds and Oxford for this trip. I've done Wells, Salisbury, and that area of the country before, and would like to go somewhere new. I've also been to Oxford before (and Bath), but my family hasn't been to either, and I haven't been to the Cotswolds.

An additional question - is it a reasonable plan to stay the last night in Oxford, and travel from there to Heathrow before our flight? If so, can we do that by train (train to Paddington, then tube to Heathrow), or is there a better option for that? Our flight leaves out of Heathrow at 11:30 am.
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