European Itinerary Part 1 – London, Bath and Stonehenge

European Itinerary Part 1 – London, Bath and Stonehenge

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How do you fit in all that Europe has to offer in less than 3 weeks? Cities, culture, theatre, history, nature and more…

  • First, don’t try to do everything. With each place I visit I always assume I will return again.
  • Have a plan, but don’t overbook yourself. You don’t want to be so booked you can’t do and see the unexpected.
  • Be flexible. Even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
  • Stop and breath. You don’t want to miss out on the experience because your rushing from place to place.

Five countries in 17 days, all without going broke or crashing every night from exhaustion! Here we go…

Day 1 | London

My daughter loves English history, so for us including London in our itinerary was a must. London’s history is rich and there are so many things to do and see. You could stay for a month and still not do it all. This was my daughters first trip so our itinerary contains many of the classic attractions that London is known for.

Getting to London

The easiest way to get into the city (airport is about 20 miles from London) is on the Heathrow Express train. We purchased our tickets in advance and it was half the price of tickets the day of.  In less than 20 minutes we were at Paddington Station (central London). The drive is more like an hour with heavy traffic. Once in London we took off on foot to explore.

Buckingham Palace
Little Known Fact: The clock tower is NOT named Big Ben! It’s actually called the Elizabeth Tower, Big Ben is the name of the biggest bell inside the clock tower. The great clock started in 1859.

Our trip was in June coinciding with record high temperatures across Europe; most places in London do NOT have air conditioning, ice cold drinks, or fans. It was so hot we bought a bag of ice from the convenience store just so we could cool down.

Day 2 | A Stroll Through Historic London

On our second day we jumped head first into 900 years of history at the Tower of London. Our favorite part was the tour with the Yeoman Warders, the ceremonial guardians of the tower, commonly referred to as the Beefeaters. Their stories are engaging and humorous, really brings the tower to life.

The Tower of London is more than 900 years old!

The Tower of London houses the Crown Jewels that contain more than 20,000 gemstones! The jewels are still used in royal ceremonies today including the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth at her coronation. No pictures are allowed inside.

Every night the Tower of London Guards and Chief Yeoman Warder take part in the Ceremony of the Keys, when the Tower of London is locked up for the night.
Obligatory picture with the red phone box

Later in the day, we visited Tower’s Bridge, Twining’s Tea, Regent Park and had tea at Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Sanderson hotel. We found Towers Bridge a little disappointing. The Mad Hatters tea was fun but the food was nothing to write home about although the tea itself was fantastic. Regent Park is perfect for an evening stroll.

Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regent Park

Day 3 | Bath and Stonehenge – Step back in time 3000 years

I adore the countryside, so a trip out of London was a must. We chose a tour with the English Bus Company to visit Bath and Stonehenge. Our tour group was small, less than ten people, and our guide, Lilly, was charming, knowledgeable and a lot of fun. Our first stop was Bath in county Somerset, 97 miles west of London.

River Avon
We had lunch at Sally Lunn, the oldest house in Bath, c1402. The famous Bun made for a delicious sandwich.
The city is famous for the Roman baths, from the year 43 AD, developed from the warm springs.
Tip – to get to Stonehenge you have to take a shuttle, there is no protection from the sun at the stones, so make sure you are prepared on a hot day.

Day 4 | Harry Potter Studio and West End Theatre

For Harry Potter fans, going to the Harry Potter Studio is a must. The Studio is in Leavsden, about an hour outside of London via train and bus. To step into the magical world of Harry Potter did not disappoint. Make sure you get your tickets in advance they do not sell at the door. Click the pictures below to get a glimpse inside the studio.

On our last night in London, we went to West End Theatre district. We had dinner at Brumus, good price and good food and the big winner of the night, air conditioning! After dinner we saw Phantom of the Opera (dubbed London’s greatest love story) at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Phantom has been playing there continuously since 1986, the longest running show in the West End, second only to Les Miserable.

Our Top 5 In London

  • Tower of London
  • Harry Potter Studio Tour
  • City of Bath
  • Stonehenge
  • Phantom of the Opera in the West End

Next stop, Paris!

Series NavigationEuropean Itinerary Part 2 – Paris and Versailles >>

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