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Hickstead to Stonehenge to Windsor Castle to London

Phoenix, Arizona
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Hickstead to Stonehenge to Windsor Castle to London

Hi Travelers,

Need suggestions. We are flying into Gatewick on Friday, 10/3. We will be staying with family in Hickstead once we get there. Saturday and Sunday are TBD right now. Open to suggestions - Brighton? Dover? Jurassic Coast drive? Eastbourse? too many options tbh.

Monday - We plan to pick our bags from Hickstead and head to Stonehenge, spend a couple hours there, then drive to London visiting the Windsor Castle on the way to London. We will be staying in London on Monday night.

Our background > Hubby and I have traveled a lot but most of it before we had kids 3 years ago. We have traveled to a couple countries since we had them but its definitely slowed us down. Our 2 boys will be 1 and 3 years old and we will be traveling with them.

Questions:

1. What time should we get to Stonehenge? And how much time should we allocate towards that? I read earlier the better, but when does it start to get super crowded? With 2 toddlers, I am not sure how early we can set off from Hickstead plus the almost 2 hour drive.

2. I am really tempted to drive by Bath before we head back east towards London/Windsor. But hubby says I am being too optimistic. But am I? While I know we won't get experience the Roman Baths, I am hoping to just drive by the city and get a feel of the great city? I know adding this adds 1.5 hours in driving. Thoughts?

3. Windsor Castle - I see the last admission is at 4 pm during our dates. Given our toddlers might not make touring the castle from the inside a very pleasant experience (for us and other arounds us), we might just see the castle from the outside, take some pics and continue on towards London. Is driving by Bath more desirable than touring the inside of Windsor castle? I am guessing we can only do one or the other.

Hubby and I have both been to London before, so we will only be in London for 1 day before heading to Belgium or Scotland. The goal is to take pictures at the landmark sites with the kids this time :)

Thank you for your suggestions.

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6 replies to this topic
Pewsey, United...
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1. Re: Hickstead to Stonehenge to Windsor Castle to London

Forget Bath, husband is correct! Earliest entry for Stonehenge in October is 0930hrs. Allow 2 hours and if pushed for time prebook a timed ticket. There’s a decent cafe too so assume you leave at 1200hrs

allow 75-90 minutes to Windsor which will give a reasonable visit. ( going via Bath will add 2 hours driving thus wrecking the day - and not seeing anything )

Do you have a plan for handing back the car in London- keeping it is really, really not recommended.

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Phoenix, Arizona
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2. Re: Hickstead to Stonehenge to Windsor Castle to London

Yes! We are definitely returning the car as soon as we get into London. We will be in the Vauxhall area so hoping we find a car rental place closeby.

I came up with an alternate plan last night. LMK if this is more reasonable.

Monday: Drive from Hickstead to Stonehenge. Visit Stonehenge. Then drive to Cardiff. See a little bit of Cardiff in the evening. Stay night in Cardiff.

Tuesday: Stay night in Cardiff and check out sights in South Wales (I don't want to post in the wrong place asking about Cardiff here, so I'll save that for another post).

Wednesday: Drive from Cardiff to Bath. Check out Bath, then Windsor Castle and get to London by the evening. Stay night in London.

Thursday: Sightseeing in London.

Friday: Head to Belgium (most likely). Spend 3 days there. Fly back to the US on Monday.

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Salisbury, United...
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3. Re: Hickstead to Stonehenge to Windsor Castle to London

If you are driving from Stonehenge to Cardiff you can drive right through bath

Stonehenge A303 to A350 to Warminster A36 to bath A46 to junction 17 M4

M4 to Cardiff I do it at least once a week

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4. Re: Hickstead to Stonehenge to Windsor Castle to London

OP, could you perhaps let us know whether you need an itinerary for one day, or three?

This is a lot of driving with toddlers. I doubt they will be impressed with Bath exteriors, Stonehenge, or the wall that surrounds Windsor Castle.

Your latest itinerary cover roughly 400 miles in three days.

Please, please do not rely on the wildly optimistic drive times provided by Google Maps.

My only advice at this juncture is to see less, well.

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5. Re: Hickstead to Stonehenge to Windsor Castle to London

I agree with everything Laura says.

I have boys aged 4 and 2 (sorry to be a stuck record on this forum, but feel it's relevant that I have some current experience). For them, at least, this would be far too much driving. Your kids may be different - they're American after all. But English roads are pretty different to Arizona roads. I would say the Cardiff-Bath-Windsor-London day is unrealistic unless you take only a very superficial look at Bath.

I also find that where you stay is important, and having somewhere that works for you and the kids for all three nights is really helpful for a relaxing break. They won't be interested in the Roman Baths, but they'll be interested in something random, like, the stools at the breakfast bar that go and up down (to use an example from our last holiday). So my questions are:

How much do you want to go to Cardiff and surrounding area?

How would that compare to spending all three nights in or near Salisbury, and using that as your base to visit Stonehenge, Bath, and other places like the New Forest or the Dorset coast? (There is tons more to see in Dorset, but depends on the time you have)

Just a thought!

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6. Re: Hickstead to Stonehenge to Windsor Castle to London

16935WMmichaelg has some excellent advice for you.

I would also think it would be much better to stay in one place that acts as your base, and see others as a day trip.

It's also a good point about the difference in roads between North America and the UK. The most frequent comment we get from ambitious travelers from North America and Oz is that they would have scaled back their trip, and tried to do less.

I'll also say that on the face of it, I saw this entire itinerary as more geared to a couple traveling alone--not with toddlers. You may want to shift your focus on ways they can be outdoors doing something more kid oriented.

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