My Southern UK Trip Itinerary


I just finished planning a vacation I’ll take with my parents through the southern parts of the UK. Here’s our itinerary in case anyone else finds it useful. I spent a day researching the worthwhile destinations close to London.

This itinerary is an opinionated one. I left out Stonehenge (forums said that unless I’m really into anthropology, it’ll just be a pile of big rocks to me), chose Cambridge instead of Oxford (they’re similar and Cambridge has the magnificent King’s College Chapel), and opted for the Seven Sisters over the White Cliffs of Dover (I found out the White Cliffs aren’t that white anymore).

The only undecided part of this itinerary is whether and where to get the rental car for the Jurassic Coast. Let me know if you have good ideas.

March 18 - London

  • Tower of London
    • Wiki: “The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.”
    • tickets: $33 book here
    • address: London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom
  • Greenwich
    • Wiki: “As well as the presence of the first example of Palladian architecture in England, and works by Christopher Wren and Inigo Jones, the area is significant for the Royal Observatory where the understanding of astronomy and navigation were developed.”
    • address: a neighborhood of London
    • free!

March 19

  • Westminster Abbey
    • Wiki: “Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the most notable religious buildings in the United Kingdom and has been the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs.”
    • tickets: $29, buy at gate
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • Wiki description: “Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (brand name Kew) is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. An internationally important botanical research and education institution, it employs 750 staff.”
    • tickets: $13, buy at the gate
    • address: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB

March 20 - open

March 21 - Cambridge (1hr from London)

  • King’s College Chapel
    • Wiki: “King’s College Chapel is the chapel at King’s College in the University of Cambridge. It is considered one of the finest examples of late Perpendicular Gothic English architecture.”
    • tickets: $13, buy at gate
  • Market Hill
    • Wiki: “Market Hill is the location of the marketplace in central Cambridge, England. Operating as a marketplace since Saxon times, a daily outdoor market with stalls continues to run there. The market square commands a central location in Cambridge.”
    • punting, lots of options
  • Scott Polar Research Institute Museum
    • description: “The Scott Polar Research Institute, established in 1920 as part of the University of Cambridge, is a centre of excellence in the study of the Arctic and Antarctic. Research covers both the natural and social sciences and is often interdisciplinary. The Institute also houses the World’s premier Polar Library, extensive archival, photographic and object collections of international importance on the history of polar exploration, and a Polar Museum with displays of both the history and contemporary significance of the Arctic and Antarctic and their surrounding seas.”
    • free!

March 22 - Seven Sisters (1.5hr from London)

The Seven Sisters is a series of chalk cliffs by the English Channel. They form part of the South Downs in East Sussex, between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne in southern England. They are within the Seven Sisters Country Park which is bounded by the coast, the Cuckmere and the A259 road. They are the remnants of dry valleys in the chalk South Downs, which are gradually being eroded by the sea.

Best views and how to get there

March 23 - Blenheim Palace (2hr from London)

Designed in the rare, and short-lived, English Baroque style, architectural appreciation of the palace is as divided today as it was in the 1720s. It is unique in its combined usage as a family home, mausoleum and national monument. The palace is also notable as the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill.

March 24 and 25 - Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of southern England. It stretches from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset, a distance of 96 miles (155 kilometres). Chartered in 2001, the Jurassic coast was the second wholly natural World Heritage Site to be designated in the United Kingdom. Its entire length can be walked on the South West Coast Path. The site was featured on the television programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the South West (of the UK), and in a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Jurassic Coast was named as the fifth-greatest natural wonder in Britain.

South West Coast Path

Durdle Door by Radu Micu on

Durdle Door by Moritz Petersen on

Old Harry Rocks

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  • Lyme Regis and Charmouth for fossil hunting
    • How to get here and where to get a rental car? Book a place to stay

March 26 - Bath, Somerset (1.5hr from London)

Bath is a city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, known for its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 11 miles (18 km) south-east of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage Site in 1987.