See a beautiful part of England through our eyes in UK Road Trip Part One. Explore in and around the city of Bath, our old hometown Hungerford, Royal Windsor, and the most famous of all, The City London.
The actual route and the order in which we visited places were mostly dictated by Brendan’s schedule. He works all around the country during the busy UK events season, but we laid out our complete road trip route on this map in a logical order.
Read our road trip round-up post here.
We broke our UK Road Trip down into three parts:
- Part 1: South England (Mar, Apr, May)
- Part 2: London to Edinburgh (Jun, Jul)
- Part 3: Scotland to Ireland (Aug) Coming Soon
This is Part 1: South England
Almost every big city in the United Kingdom has a city sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus. They’re a great way to get a quick look at a place as a whole before you decide which attractions you fancy.
Search online for each towns tourism information website to find attraction prices and ideas of things to do. They are all well positioned to give visitors the best up to date advice and tour information.
Read here about the two wonderful weeks we had in one of England’s crown jewels; The City of Bath. We love everything about Bath; the vibe of the place, the look, the architecture, its story and that there’s so much to do for everyone. I would happily plant my feet and grow old in Bath. It’s gorgeous.
Here’s a post about what to do in Bath with (or without) kids.
We stayed in a relatively nice Airbnb. I say that because the location was as central as you can get which was perfect. It was good value for money, but basic aspects of it were not good enough for us to recommend it here. For example, the beds were uncomfortable. We can look past quite a few shortcomings but comfy beds are important. Apart from the old washing machine which broke and couldn’t be fixed, the apartment was fine.
I’m happy to send a link of the Bath Airbnb to anyone who wants it, so drop me an email or comment if you’re interested. We’ll only refer places in our posts if we are 100% happy.
From Bath, we stopped at the nearby historic market town of Lacock to see the birthplace of British photography and one of the great Harry Potter movie filming locations, Lacock Abbey.
Read about our visit to Lacock Abbey here.
The nearby Cotswolds, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a place we discovered while in Bath. We couldn’t go there then but we plan to explore it in the near future.
If you can only choose a few places to visit in England apart from London, try to visit Bath? We really think it’s that great. And Windsor too.
Make sure you go to Windsor…
You cannot travel all the way to England, stay in London and NOT visit Windsor Castle, the real home of Queen Elizabeth II. She grew up there people! In our humble opinion, it’s a must see or rather a ‘must not miss’. Either way, it’s well worth a day of your time to explore Windsor and Eaton.
You can tour Windsor Castle, the biggest occupied castle in the world, in two hours. Walk The Long Walk, from Windsor Castle to the big hill, but be prepared if you’re traveling with small children. Go on the only remaining amphibious duck currently operating in England to tour Windsor town and get a fabulous view of the castle from the River Thames. Follow royal footsteps through the old parts of Windsor across the bridge to Eaton.
There’s plenty to keep you happy in Windsor. We share what we got up to and learned about Windsor in these posts:
We can recommend this Windsor Airbnb apartment without hesitation. Clare is the sweetest kindest hostess we’ve met and her place was great for our family
Near Windsor, we stayed in Woking, Ascot, and Chertsey in good Airbnb’s that we’ll be happy to recommend.
We didn’t plan to stay in Woking but we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed ourselves. If you’re into art you’ll appreciate it more and families will find lots to do in and around Woking. Its public transport system is well connected with trains getting you into London in less than an hour. Woking is a good base from where to explore London and the counties of Berkshire and Surrey, especially if you cannot find or afford accommodation in London.
Find our post all about Woking HERE
In Chertsey, we explored around Virginia Water Lake in Windsor Great Park and went birding. Windsor Great Park is a royal park of 2020 hectares with a Deer Park, The Long Walk from Windsor Castle, the Valley Gardens, and Virginia Waters.
Nearby major attractions include Thorpe Park, an amusement park with well-known thrill rides better suited to older kids and adults and the pristine Wentworth Golf Club. Wentworth golf club is the headquarters of the PGA European Tour and is well known for its role in professional golf.
Our stays in Ascot were unexpected, but our Airbnb’s were all-around quality apartments situated in quiet, upmarket neighborhoods. Here’s one for you to check out. Ascot is just around the corner from Legoland Windsor so we couldn’t resist the urge to surprise the kids with a spontaneous visit to Legoland. If you want to visit Legoland Windsor, plan ahead to make the most of your day and to get value for your money.
Leah and I added ‘A day at the Queen’s races’ to our bucket list. Ascot racecourse is massive! We dreamed about the pretty dresses we’ll wear and laughed about the hats we’d pick as we Googled pics of ladies strutting their stuff at Ascot Races. It looks like so much fun and it’s something we’d love to do together one day. You’d understand if 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth did not attend the races, but Her Royal Majesty attended all five race days this year to watch her own horse Seniority compete amongst others.
“The 92-year-old arrived at the sporting festival in classic style alongside son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, in the royal procession for her favourite equestrian event of the year.” – The Mirror
At the moment our bags are packed with practical, comfortable clothes; nothing that’ll do for the likes of Ascot Racecourse. Next years races are set to take place from the 18th to the 22nd of June 2019. That’s more than enough time for us girls to get ready and all dolled up to watch the Queen’s horses race at Ascot – with the Queen and the royal family in attendance. Wouldn’t that be something?
Hungerford is an old hometown of ours. We have fond memories of it and love going back there.
We stayed in an Airbnb on Iverwood farm where we could keep warm by the fireplace, further prepare for our time in the UK and explore the area on warmer days. Hungerford is the westernmost town of Berkshire on the border of Wiltshire. Nearby Hungerford is Reading, Newbury and one of the ten oldest towns in the UK, Thatcham.
We booked Iverwood Barn again for February and March next year when we return to the UK. Can you get a better recommendation than that? Check it out here.
Read about our day out in Oxfordshire to get the kids closer to nature here.
View of The London Eye and the aquarium along the Thames from Westminster Pier.
It can be tough to decide what to do in London, especially if you have limited time. Brendan and I’ve been to London many times before when we lived in the UK so we’ve seen all London’s major attractions. This time we wanted to share London with the children. They honestly loved it; so much so that Leah asked if we could live in central London when we go back to the UK next year.
Did you know that London is also known as ‘The City’ and “The Smoke” / “The Big Smoke” / “The Old Smoke” – air pollution in London regularly gave rise to pea soup fogs, most notably the Great Smog of 1952, and a nickname that persists to this day.
Don’t let London’s nickname put you off. You can breathe easy in London. If you can’t; quit smoking.
On our first day in London, we go straight to one of our favorite places in London, the Natural History Museum, to show Nick and Leah all its treasures. You can easily spend a full day here, but if you use your time wisely you could make it to the Science Museum next door or the Victoria & Albert Museum nearby. Read about our Day At The Natural History Museum in London.
Go on an Afternoon Walk In Central London to see some of her sights; Buckingham Palace, the official home of Queen Elizabeth II, Horse Guards, 10 Downing Str, Big Ben, Westminster Palace, the London Eye and the river Thames from Westminster Pier. Take in the relaxed city vibes of St James’s Park while the kids play and watch swans, cormorants and a variety of ducks parade on and around the lake with an army of new hatchlings in tow. Take a day to explore Maritime Greenwich and stand on the Meridian Line of the world at the Royal Observatory on the top of the hill at Greenwich Park.
See a show at one of the many world-renowned theatres or go to a live event. Brendan took Leah to her first concert in London on a daddy & daughter date to see Taylor Swift live at Wembley Stadium. Our little girl had stars in her eyes when she came home later that night and couldn’t stop talking about everything she’d seen. Turns out Taylor isn’t much of the Country-singing girl-next-door type of performer anymore as her Reputation stadium tour showed a slightly darker side of her. Perhaps not the ideal first concert we would’ve picked for our impressionable little girl, but with Daddy at her side, she had heaps of fun and it was a super entertaining pop concert.
London comes alive with events in the summer so accommodation should be booked well in advance; months even, if possible. Avoid getting stuck where no-one wants to stay for good reason and do not get stranded like we were 9 pm at night with no-where to go when our Airbnb turned out to be a dump and all of London was fully booked. In the end, we drove more than an hour to the Holiday Inn Express at Luton. We’ll remember them for coming to our rescue that night, for comfortable beds and because the kids loved the buffet breakfast. Now we easily book with Holiday Inn if we need a place for a night or two.
Book accommodation for London as soon as you know you’re going.
Now Read Part 2: London to Edinburgh
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