Guidebook Updates for England

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our guidebooks on England, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Across Britain

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Brit Xplorer bus pass has been discontinued and replaced by the Skimmer pass, which is valid for 7, 14, or 28 days.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

Bath & nearby

  • Parkside Guest House has closed.

For books printed before April 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Bea's Vintage Tea Rooms has closed.
  • Rajpoot Tandoori restaurant has closed.
  • Baytree House B&B in Wells has closed.

For books printed before October 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Pratt's Hotel has closed.
  • Casanis French Bistro-Restaurant has closed.
  • Bath no longer holds separate Literature, Music, and International Music festivals, but instead puts on the 10-day Bath Festival in late May, followed by the Bath Fringe Festival.

Brighton

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Brighton Wheel is no longer operating and has been dismantled.

Canterbury

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Sunday service at St. Martin's Church now takes place at 9:00.
  • Deeson's British Restaurant has closed.
  • Morelli's Restaurant has closed.
  • The Canterbury Cycle Centre no longer rents bikes.

Cornwall

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Western Discoveries tour company is no longer in business.

Cotswolds

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Badgers Hall Tea Room in Chipping Campden is now only open to non-guests on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The Johnsons Coaches bus routes linking Moreton-in-Marsh to Stratford-upon-Avon via Chipping Campden (and other Cotswold towns) have changed route numbers to #1 and #2.
  • Value Self Drive car rental is no longer in business.
  • Iain Taxis is no longer in business.
  • Chipping Campden Private Hire is no longer in business.
  • La Tradition bakery in Chipping Campden has closed.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

  • Sheepscombe House B&B, near Chipping Campden, has closed.
  • Chure House B&B and Stow-on-the-Wold Youth Hostel, both in Stow, have closed.
  • Stow-on-the-Wold now has a modest tourist information office that's staffed by volunteers; it's on the main square, in St.Edwards Hall (closed Sun).
  • Blenheim Guest House, near Blenheim Palace, has closed.

Dartmoor

For books printed before April 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The Transmoor Link #82 bus is no longer in service.
  • Farleigh Cottage in Chagford is no longer in business.
  • Sandy Park Inn near Chagford no longer rents rooms or serves food, but is still open for drinks.
  • The Walled Garden B&B in Moretonhampstead has closed.
  • The White Horse Inn is now called "The Horse."

Dover & nearby

For books printed before September 2017, the following may apply:

  • The Dover White Cliffs tour company that offered boat tours to the cliffs has closed. Rick recommends Dover Sea Safari instead.
  • The Amanda Guest House on Harold Street has closed.
  • Bus #15 no longer links the town center with the ferry terminal or Dover Castle.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The shuttle between the Eastern Docks ferry terminal and the train station is no longer running; take bus #15 instead.
  • While the tourist information office in Rye has closed, the Rye Heritage Centre now provides tourist information.

Durham & Hadrian's Wall

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Oldfields restaurant in Durham has closed.
  • Gibbs Hill Farm near Hadrian's Wall no longer runs a B&B but still rents hostel beds and self-catering cottages.
  • To get to Holy Island from Newcastle via public bus, take Arriva #X15 to Beal, and then Borders bus #477 to the island. By train from Newcastle, go to Berwick-upon-Tweed and catch bus #477 there.

For books printed before April 2017, the following may also apply:

Lake District

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

Liverpool

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The greater Liverpool area transit system is under renovation through at least 2019. Trains may use other stations in surrounding areas and connect travelers with the city center via bus service (check www.merseyrail.org for updates).
  • Best Western Feathers Hotel is now called Hallmark Inn Liverpool.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Side Door restaurant is now called "Jenever."

London

  • The Heathrow Express does not accept Oyster Cards.
  • Recommended guide Tom Hooper's new email address is tomh1@btinternet.com.
  • Fernandez & Wells restaurant in Soho has closed, as have Potato Project and Melt Room.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The Heathrow Connect train is no longer running.
  • The Courtauld Gallery is currently closed for renovations, with a reopening tentatively planned for fall 2020.
  • Sir John Soane's Museum is open Wednesday–Sunday (not Tuesday–Saturday).
  • In Greenwich, the Old Royal Naval College's Painted Hall may be covered with scaffolding in 2018, but you can see the painted ceiling up close by booking a guided tour online.
  • Inigo Jones' masterpiece of Neoclassical architecture, the Queen's House in Greenwich, has reopened.

For books printed before August 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Advance tickets for the Tower of London purchased on the Tower's website are now valid only for the date selected. (Vouchers that previously gave travelers seven days after the date selected are no longer available on the website.)
  • The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries, a new museum within Westminster Abbey that has been closed for the past 700 years, has opened. (You’ll see rare objects from royal coronations, funerals, and much more from the Abbey’s 1,000-year history.) Space is limited and a timed-entry ticket is required, available in 15-minute intervals; purchase on the Abbey's website. Westminster Abbey is open until 16:00 May–August (last entry one hour before closing). Tickets for the galleries cost an additional £5 on top the Abbey entrance fee. Visitors with a London Pass can make a same-day reservation at the Abbey if space is available for £5. 

For books printed before June 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Afternoon tea at the V&A Café is now Sunday 15:00–17:00, and requires a reservation.

For books printed before April 2018, the following may also apply:

  • From August through April, the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace takes place on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • The Churchill War Rooms now offers timed reservations, which are recommended because of increased crowds.
  • The Golden Hinde replica has reopened, and has new hours (daily 10:00–17:00), a new website, and a new phone number (+44 (0)20-7403-0123).
  • The National Portrait Gallery will no longer stay open late on Thursdays. The gallery will close at 18:00 on Thursdays, but will remain open late on Fridays until 21:00.
  • Eurostar now offers direct train service between London and Amsterdam (and Rotterdam). Trains will run twice daily, taking 3 hours 41 minutes. Initially trains will only run direct from London to Amsterdam – those traveling from Amsterdam will need to change trains in Brussels and go through passport control. Direct service from Amsterdam may be running by late 2019.
  • The budget airline Monarch is no longer in business.
  • The budget airline Thomson Airways is now called TUI Airways.
  • The Orangery at Kensington Palace is now closed for restoration work until 2020.
  • Evan Evans tour company's US phone number has changed: 800-422-9022.
  • The family discount for the London Zoo is only available online, not at the entrance.

For books printed before December 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The Banqueting House is now closed to the public on Thursdays.
  • The Geffrye Museum is closed for a two-year refurbishment, with plans to reopen by 2020.
  • The National Army Museum has a new website: www.nam.ac.uk.
  • London Duck Tours has ceased operations.
  • The bus from Southampton's cruise port to Southampton Central Station is now called QuayConnect.
  • BritainShrinkers (a company selling "unescorted tours" from London via Eurostar trains) is no longer in business.
  • Big Ben will only ring for special holidays and occasions while the four-year restoration to the Elizabeth Tower and clock is underway.
  • Ebury Wine Bar has closed.

For books printed before July 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The time of the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace has changed to 11 a.m. To see it up close from one location, we recommend getting there at 10 a.m.

For books printed before April 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Teapod, near Tower Bridge, is no longer a tea shop.

For books printed before October 2016, the following may also apply:

  • A one-way ticket on the Eurostar train between London and Paris or Brussels now runs about $225 for standard fare, $130 for "standard premier" fare, and about $380 for "business premier" fare.

Oxford & nearby

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Travelers can book Oxford Castle tours online to avoid long lines. Tours of the castle are mandatory for entry.
  • The News Café has closed.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Blenheim Guest House near Blenheim Palace has closed.

Portsmouth

  • The D-Day Museum is now called The D-Day Story and has a new phone number: +44 (0)23/9288-255.

For books printed before April 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Most printings of Rick Steves England, Seventh Edition include a version of the Portsmouth map (pp 296–297) with a key showing the incorrect labels for dots 12–16; here's a downloadable PDF of the corrected Portsmouth map.
  • The Royal Marines Museum has closed. Its collections will eventually move to the Georgian Boathouse building in the Historic Dockyard (slated to open in 2020).
  • The tourist information office is now located in the Portsmouth Museum. It no longer offers Sunday guided walks and has new hours (daily 10:00–17:00, Oct–March until 16:30). A more convenient tourist information point is at The Hard Interchange bus station next to the Harbour train station (daily 9:30–17:15).
  • The Spinnaker Tower has a new phone number for booking tickets: +44 (0)23/9285-7520.
  • Oyster Cottage B&B has closed.
  • The Georgian Tearooms at the Historic Dockyard have closed.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

  • Cecil Cottage B&B has closed.

Stonehenge

For books printed before September 2018, the following may apply:

Stratford

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Individual tickets can now be purchased at all Shakespeare Birthplace Trust sights. A "Full Story" combo-pass covering all five sights (Shakespeare's Birthplace, Shakespeare's New Place, and Hall's Croft in town; and Mary Arden's Farm and Anne Hathaway's Cottage just outside Stratford) is available to purchase at any of the sights or from the tourist information office, and is 10 percent cheaper online (£22.50 at sights, £22 from tourist information, £20.25 online). The "any three" combo-pass is available only at the tourist information office (£16.95). Shakespeare's Grave is not covered by any combo-ticket.

Warwick & Coventry

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Coventry tourist information office is now located in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. It has new hours and a new telephone number (Mon–Sat 10:00–16:00, Sun 12:00–16:00, tel. +44 (0)24/7623-4284).

Windsor & nearby

For books printed before December 2017, the following may apply:

  • The railway formerly known as First Great Western has been renamed to the Great Western Railway. Downton Abbey fans visiting Highclere Castle can take these trains from London's Paddington Station to Newbury, then hire a taxi for a ride to the castle.

York

  • St. Raphael Guesthouse has new owners: Fran & Jamie. They will continue to honor a Rick Steves discount to those who book direct, and their contact info is the same.

For books printed before April 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Free walks with volunteer guides on summer evenings now begin at 18:15.
  • Clifford's Tower may be closed for renovation in 2018.
  • The Jorvik Viking Centre has reopened.
  • The Blue Bicycle restaurant is indefinitely closed after suffering flood damage.
  • Evil Eye Lounge has stopped serving food, but still serves drinks.
  • Abbeyfields Guest House has closed.
  • Amber House B&B has closed.

For books printed before April 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Abbeyfields Guest House has been sold, and is no longer a B&B.
  • The extra free town walks with volunteer guides that run in July–August leave at 18:15, not 18:45.