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Ideas for 8 days Pre-Cruise in England & Scotland?


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We are booked on a British Isles cruise for May 2022 and are considering the TA 

in April. There are 8 days between the two and we have never been to the British Isles.

 

How would you spend your time pre- cruise? London of course and we had Edinburgh

in mind. Thoughts? Experiences? Thanks

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London is easy, but expensive.

Three full days is probably best, though there's enough for a couple of months 😉

 

Edinburgh is well over 400 miles.

By road or rail it's a full day in each direction. So that's two of your eight days lost.

By air it's under 90 minutes from Southampton & about the same back to a choice of London airports. So allowing for the faffing around at airports that's two half-days out of your eight.

The problem by air is that you'll have luggage worthy of two cruises and an 8-day break, and lots of luggage on a internal flight is expensive - seriously expensive.

If your cruises are into and out of Southampton, you can stash much of your luggage in Southampton & fly with just one or two 20kg bags. But if your British Isles cruise ends in Dover and your trans-Atlantic sails from Southampton, your luggage will be a problem if you want to fly to Edinburgh.

Travel to Edinburgh city centre from the airport is very very easy, very very quick, and very very cheap by tram https://edinburghtrams.com/plan-journey/route-maps-stops 

Edinburgh is a delightful city, but two full days will do the job.

 

If Edinburgh is a complication too far in the time-scale, consider Southampton as a base for a few days. It's a pleasant enough city with plenty of hotels, pubs, shops, restaurants, etc. And although its own tourist sights are few, Southampton is a rail junction, with direct trains to places like Salisbury & Stonehenge, Portsmouth, Winchester, Weymouth, Chichester or Brighton. Plus the Isle of Wight by ferry, and loads more places if you rent a car.

 

JB 🙂

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We are thinking about a cruise that ends up in Southampton. Then going to Cardiff area to see distant relatives. GWR seems to be the way to go, even around other areas. To John Bull the idea of home base being Southampton sounds great. Luggage becomes a issue. Ship some home? 

Plan on Southampton to Cardiff spend 4 days then to Heathrow (train). Better exchange rates in UK or USA?

Everybody stay safe.

     

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14 hours ago, bluenose1 said:

We are thinking about a cruise that ends up in Southampton. Then going to Cardiff area to see distant relatives. GWR seems to be the way to go, even around other areas. To John Bull the idea of home base being Southampton sounds great. Luggage becomes a issue. Ship some home? 

Plan on Southampton to Cardiff spend 4 days then to Heathrow (train). Better exchange rates in UK or USA?

Everybody stay safe.

     

 

Here's a thread about places in easy day-trip range of Southampton

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2683750-where-to-stay-convenient-to-southampton/?tab=comments#comment-58015893

And another (the OP was on a port-of-call visit, so limited by time).  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2762730-a-day-in-southhampton/?tab=comments#comment-60447216

 

Yes, direct hourly train service from Southampton to Cardiff takes about 2.5 hours, costs as little as about £10 if you pre-book from about 6 weeks out (only valid for the train time that you select). More limited and complicated on sundays.

Half-hourly direct train service Cardiff to London (Paddington) takes under 2 hours. Because you arrive at Paddington station, by far the fastest and simplest way to get to Heathrow is the Heathrow Express train - every 15 minutes, journey time 15 minutes. Heathrow Express has dynamic pricing, inexpensive if booked months out, but buying on the day can be as expensive as taking a limo😝. So book the Heathrow Express as soon as your travel plans are confirmed  

 

Luggage involves no extra cost on the trains, but there's a degree of schlepping and guarding the bags during the journey.

 

Best exchange rates by far are by using your credit card to pay for stuff, especially if you have a card which charges no foreign transaction fees. DECLINE any retailer's offer to convert the check to USD cos they use their own awful exchange rates - ignore their lame attempts to persuade you that being charged in your card's currency is better for you cos it never is. And check the POS screen before accepting to ensure that it isn't automatically set to USD - a common trick, especially in central London restaurants. Always but always ensure that your card is charged in local currency.

When we travel, we always like to have some local jingle in our pockets. If you feel the same, get a small amount (£20 to £30) in the US before you travel. Top up with cash in the UK, where exchange rates are generally better than in the US, but if you use your card/s you'll probably not need to top-up. (Amex and DC cards are not accepted everywhere, Visa and MC are)

 

JB  🙂  

 

 

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6 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

Here's a thread about places in easy day-trip range of Southampton

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2683750-where-to-stay-convenient-to-southampton/?tab=comments#comment-58015893

And another (the OP was on a port-of-call visit, so limited by time).  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2762730-a-day-in-southhampton/?tab=comments#comment-60447216

 

Yes, direct hourly train service from Southampton to Cardiff takes about 2.5 hours, costs as little as about £10 if you pre-book from about 6 weeks out (only valid for the train time that you select). More limited and complicated on sundays.

Half-hourly direct train service Cardiff to London (Paddington) takes under 2 hours. Because you arrive at Paddington station, by far the fastest and simplest way to get to Heathrow is the Heathrow Express train - every 15 minutes, journey time 15 minutes. Heathrow Express has dynamic pricing, inexpensive if booked months out, but buying on the day can be as expensive as taking a limo😝. So book the Heathrow Express as soon as your travel plans are confirmed  

 

Luggage involves no extra cost on the trains, but there's a degree of schlepping and guarding the bags during the journey.

 

Best exchange rates by far are by using your credit card to pay for stuff, especially if you have a card which charges no foreign transaction fees. DECLINE any retailer's offer to convert the check to USD cos they use their own awful exchange rates - ignore their lame attempts to persuade you that being charged in your card's currency is better for you cos it never is. And check the POS screen before accepting to ensure that it isn't automatically set to USD - a common trick, especially in central London restaurants. Always but always ensure that your card is charged in local currency.

When we travel, we always like to have some local jingle in our pockets. If you feel the same, get a small amount (£20 to £30) in the US before you travel. Top up with cash in the UK, where exchange rates are generally better than in the US, but if you use your card/s you'll probably not need to top-up. (Amex and DC cards are not accepted everywhere, Visa and MC are)

 

JB  🙂  

 

 

Thank You. Hopefully I can put this trip together. 

 

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There is way too much to do in the area for 8 days (or 30, or 60...) to do justice. I've lost count of the number of times I've been to England, but have never been to Bath, for instance! I used to travel to Salisbury for work with some frequency, so I've been there a number of times. And London may be my favorite city of all I've visited.

 

I like JB's suggestions, but I have to ask if you've been to London? Because if you haven't (and it was on your obvious list), and you don't go, are you going to be disappointed, or hate yourself for your decisions? Because Cardiff looks amazing, and I totally want  to go, but 4 days our of 8 to visit family would not get me there for 4 days at the expense of London (that's me, not you; not arguing priorities here!).

 

It's expensive, but in my opinion you have to experience London by staying there. Enjoying the food. Splurging on a good meal if you like. Grabbing biscuits (cookies) at Fortnum & Mason. You can see a lot of England as JB points out from Southampton. But you kind of have to experience London by being there. And that kind of becomes the driving question to me as you work on your plans.

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Thank you MeHeartCruising, John Bull, and markeb.

Oh yes, I have realized how expensive London is. I appreciate the

"inside" nitty gritty. We had planned to stay in London at 3 nights

pre cruise if we do not do the TA. The expenses of the TA and the 8 nights

between the cruises really adds up substantially.

We will be giving it some more thought.

 

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