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Thread: Planning a trip through UK: Any tips? page 2

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    Leida's Avatar
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    Oh, sorry, one more question: I left out Canterbury and Dover, is it a mistake? Is it a good option from London as a day trip, or too far by public transportation?
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  2. #12
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    Depends on what kinda "stuff" you enjoy but i highly recomend visiting Mull & Iona if you can manage,
    I live about 15 minutes north of Dunnotter but aside from that theres not that much to see around Aberdeen without hiring a car (and even then...) West coast of Scotland has a lot better scenery and all the wee villages and castle ruins and awsome beaches etc.
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    The Harry Potter-ish place in Oxford is Christ Church, as you probably know. I think they turned the hall there into Hogwarts. Oxford Castle is actually the old prison, but has lots of castle-y appeal. The Ashmolean has certainly become a lot more 7.5-year-old-friendly since it was revamped - but if shrunken heads and unexpected discoveries are more his/her thing, try the Pitt Rivers - Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford - which is not quite like any museum you can find anywhere else.

    I know you didn't ask about food, but anyway... Primal food in central Oxford at lunch time is stupidly hard to find - unless it's a Farmers' Market Thursday, in which case head to Gloucester Green and ask the man with the pig roast for 'pork roll without the roll' - he's used to it . Apart from that... Gourmet Burger Kitchen on George Street, highly recommended.

    If you want one classically Cotswold-y Cotswold town, Burford might be best. It has that nonchalant 'hasn't fallen down in 500 years so why worry?' feel - and lots of pubs - and excellent ice cream from the delicatessen at the bottom of the hill. Famously cute villages include Bibury and Bourton on the Water. Bourton is more set up for tourists, with specific attractions (model village, Birdland...) rather than just the 'wow, these shops are expensive, let's look at the church' experience - but does get a bit swamped in coach parties. I know there are buses to Burford - better ask Google about the other two, sorry.

  4. #14
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    Stirling Castle is a really fun visit in Scotland too. The Castle Story
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    And if you do decide to visit Edinburgh, then I can thoroughly recommend (as being very child friendly) the Toy Museum on the Royal Mile (which is free!) and the Whisky Heritage Centre up by the Castle. The Castle is lovely, but exceedingly expensive and a long climb for young legs.

    You could also take a train to North Berwick and check out the Scottish Seabird Centre, which is extremely child friendly (my children used to love it when we lived near there), and you can take a boat trip around the Bass Rock, which is great fun. A picnic on the beach always goes down well, too, and it's a safe beach for children to paddle about in the water.

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    How exciting........are you going to Ireland??????? Bunratty is an amazing castle and village. Also down in Cornwall is a wee smuggler town called Polpero (I think). You have to walk a mile to get there, cos no vehicles, except emergency in the village, but a really amazing little place.
    If for some reason you can pop across to Denmark, the burial mounds are really impressive.
    You will love it, but make sure that little 7.5 keeps a diary and sticks absolutely everything in it. Including train tickets, serviettes with logos on, pamphlets and maybe a short summary of the days events.
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  7. #17
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    I think if you do all that, you'll be spending most of your time on the train/coach. It's a **** long way from Cornwall to Scotland - it's a long way from Ross on Wye, which is almost half way up England, to Edinburgh, which is only the start of Scotland. I know the U.K. is smaller than the U.S. and so you probably have a different view on what constitutes a long way. But let's put it like this... it takes me 3 hours to get 100 miles to London from my home in the Cotswolds using public transport - and I still have to drive part of the way. If you travel all the way up and down the country, you may not have time to see much when you get there.

    If you're looking for something fun to do near Ross on Wye, then I recommend a little place called Puzzle Wood in the Forest of Dean. The series Merlin was filmed there. Have you seen that in the U.S? it's great family teatime viewing, and my kids love both the place and the series. They loved the wood even before we turned up and found we had to dodge actors and cameras and everything.

    The Warner Bros Studios, home of all things Harry Potter, is just outside London and is well worth a visit. We went there a few weeks back.

  8. #18
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    Heya, I actually put together the hours of travel by train and coach on my itinerary. I was using Rick Steves' sample and corrected it a bit, plus relaxed the pace. The longest hauls are to and from Penzance (rail, 6 to 8 hours) - I will drop it if I have to. I am calculating a 21 day itinerary, so it is not bad on paper so far. I am trying to use my 8 days of flexi rail pass wisely, to cut the hours as much as possible.

    Plus I want to use the tour companies in the hard to get around places (Scotland and North Wales). I will try to find the tours that offer the places you suggested in Scotland.

    Oh, thank you! I forgot about the Puzzle Wood in the Forest of Dean, we loved it when we visited Ross a few years back, and our kid will like it. I will put it on the least for Ross!

    Yep, the reason Oxford made it on the least is both Warwick and the HP place & yep, we plan on the Muggle Tour of London and the WB Studios experience instead of the more standard Tower-British Museum-Westminster etc things (we have seen it, kid would love HP stuff more).

    Thank you for the tip on the Toy Museum on the Royal Mile - that sounds great.

    For Cotswold I am thinking to just ride a bust from Moreton to Chipping Campden and do the hikes around there for a day, we'll see how far we can get (on our first trip to England with the just two of us we had little thrills of losing ourselves in the countryside, most notoriously when we hiked to the Avebury stone circle from Stonehenge, lol!!!) and that dissapearing trail near Ross.... Aww, good times! But with the kid I am afraid to be too non-nonchalant.

    No, we are not venturing in Ireland, I see it as a different trip one day, I would like to do something like a cultural experience immersion.

    Thanks, folks, it helps a load! (Don't you guys love how people come together over the internet?)
    Last edited by Leida; 10-22-2013 at 07:14 AM.
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leida View Post
    Oh, sorry, one more question: I left out Canterbury and Dover, is it a mistake? Is it a good option from London as a day trip, or too far by public transportation?
    I don't recall much in Dover other than the castle. Canterbury is a beautiful little, mostly unspoilt, walled city -- some of the walls and gates are still standing. It's also stuffed with old buildings. But if time is limited other places like Chichester or York offer similar.

    Canterbury has the cathedral -- St. Augustine (the later one not the bloke from Hippo) was detailed by the Pope to convert the English. He was supposed to go to London, which people knew was the most important town. He actually stopped in Canterbury in Kent -- I guess that was easier (and safer). Hence the senior cleric in England is still the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    York also has an archbishop: here he is:

    Archbishop_of_York1.JPG


    The Irish, God love 'em, hadn't waited for people at the "centre" to do anything, and had already got about converting Scotland and northern England on their own initiative. It caused a little friction later on, because Ireland seems to have been evangelised in part direct from the Middle East, and they were calculating Easter according to a different system than was used at Rome and doing a few other things (such as clerical tonsures) differently -- and, therefore, so were people in Scotland and northern England. That kind of thing was reckoned serious in those days. Honestly, it was.

    Irish monks wandered all over the place and may even have reached the New World:

    Brendan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    I lost the plot again ... I think you can probably miss Dover. Canterbury is a gem, but there are roughly equivalent places.

    The Kentish place that really impressed me was Sandwich. Quite unspoilt.

  10. #20
    Leida's Avatar
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    Interesting. From what I have been reading Dover seemed more attractive since it has the later time period connection (tunnels) and the cliffs walk/boat ride/park. Am I reading correctly that Canterbury would be similar to Gloucester/York?

    I am thinking doing either Windsor or Greenwich one day and Dover or Canterbury - the other out of London. I'll read up on Sandwich, haven't run across it yet.
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