We are planning a trip to Britain in June, partly to visit cousins and friends, partly to visit new places. Here is a first draft of our plans with a few specific questions. All suggestions very welcome.
Day 1: arrive London from Montreal. Check in to Montague Gardens hotel, a junior suite with the 3-nights-for-2 special; our splurge for the trip
Still surveying which of the 1,000 great things in London we will visit. Likely: Soane House, British Library, British Museum, try to find a concert perhaps at St. Martin-in-the-Fields or Royal Albert Hall; lunch in St Martin one day
2: London: lunch at the Middle Temple – must remember to pack coat and tie!
3: London: more, more
4: Lincoln by train: about a 2.5 hours; we love trains, shall take many on this trip.
Stay at Premier Inn. Connect with cousins coming from the Birmingham area. Cathedral, castle, bishop’s house
5: Lincoln: more
6: Penrith by train: about 4.5 hours from Lincoln. Pick up rental car, drive to Keswick
7: Keswick: more of north Lakes country
8: return car to Penrith, train to Hexham, about 1.5 hours. Pick up rental car in Hexham, settle in somewhere; commence touring Hadrian’s Wall: Housesteads, Vindolanda, Roman Museum
9: Hexham, continue touring wall area
10: return rental car in Hexham … or keep it and tour part of Borders? Stay at Traquair House (ouch goes the budget, another splurge?)?
11: more Borders? Or if we have left the car in Hexham, we could take the train from Hexham to Stirling (but that’s a 4 hour train ride) and meet up with our friends coming over from St. Andrews.
12: Glasgow: [We have visited Edinburgh on a previous trip, want to visit the other big city.] Premier Inn center. This day and the next: do Mackintosh! School of Art, tour of reconstruction after the fire. Wander Merchant City. Burrell Collection.
13: Glasgow: New Lanark? We’re intrigued by reading about Owen’s model city.
14: morning return flight to Montreal
So that’s the general idea. As you can see, the draft becomes iffy after Lincoln as we approach the Lakes district. Here are some specific questions:
1. Has anyone eaten lunch in the Middle Temple? It sounds spectacular, one of the finest, and one of the few, Elizabethan structures to have survived the London Fire. Impressions?
2. Montague Gardens in London: worth it?
3. Lincoln: there’s very little in these forums about this city. The cathedral looks spectacular. We love English cathedrals, have visited York, Durham, Christ Church, Bath Abbey, Ely. The city certainly seems to merit a two-night visit.
4. The Lake district: I have read that the northern area has more rugged scenery than the south and is less congested in the summer. A car seems a necessity. We’re thinking of the smallest car (manual shift) possible since the roads are so narrow. Is this correct?
5. Hexham: any b&b suggestions for this area?
6. Traquair: if we do keep the car from Hexham, would Traquair be a good base for slowly driving around this part of the Borders? We would have to drive back to Hexham to drop off the car.
7. From Hexham we would face a 4 hour train ride with transfer to get to Stirling. Perhaps not worth it?
8. Glasgow: not much on these forums but the city seems to have some treasures and would provide a good contrast to the rural areas we would have been visiting. Has anyone been to New Lanark?
9. Pubs: meat pies with gravy and pints of bitter are a high priority for us. Any suggestions for any of the places after London?
Many thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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