2024 summer family trip in UK..advices ?

Old Aug 30th, 2023, 08:39 PM
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Yes, I agree you should narrow down where you and your family most want to go and then posters here can help you refine your plans. Guidebooks are going to be your friends.
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 12:51 AM
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Yorkshire Castles https://www.britainexpress.com/count...tles/index.htm

York https://www.visityork.org/

Durham https://www.thisisdurham.com/

The Dales https://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/th...hats-on/shows/

There is 28 days of stuff to do in God's own county.


If you want Welsh castles https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-.../castles-wales and a foreign language
https://www.visitwales.com/things-do/events/festivals

at least 28 days to do in this country.

Both areas will have more reasonable pricing on accom.
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 01:04 AM
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Looking at some of the things that you enjoy, You might do better to keep off the main tourist routes and stay elsewhere. For example, stay in Ironbridge, Shropshire not the Cotswolds, Skipton rather than York.

Take a look at spending some time in Northumberland. Lovely coastline, castles, Hadrians Wall, beer and much cheaper to eat out than most of the places on your list. The other advantage is that you do not get the same tourist numbers than the main “go to” locations.

Regarding your dates, as Janisj has said try to travel as early in July as possible. Schools in England break up around 19 July 2024 whereas in Scotland many areas will start their school holidays at end of June.
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 05:18 AM
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I'll go to the local library to get my hands on some travel guide but most of the time I think forum like this one are better than written guides !

Originally Posted by uktravelover
Looking at some of the things that you enjoy, You might do better to keep off the main tourist routes and stay elsewhere.

(...)
Regarding your dates, as Janisj has said try to travel as early in July as possible. Schools in England break up around 19 July 2024 whereas in Scotland many areas will start their school holidays at end of June.
Going outside well beaten paths is something we can do and that we try to do in our lenghty trips. But every time it after seeing must see. Going in Uk without seeing London, York, Edinburgh or isle of Skye....maybe on a second or third trip but on the first (and maybe only) one ? If many people goes to those place I guess that's because they are hard to miss or to pass by. Of course some other place can be enjoyable too, so that's why we will open minded about that. We will have to read more about those ideas and thanks for them !

Like we said the earliest we can go is july 3, and flights will be our main deciding factor on this one. Is it better to start in England or in Scotland (weather, crowds, prices) or at that time of year it doesnt make much difference ?
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 09:04 AM
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Given what has been said about Scotland in August, I'd go there first. But frankly your timings are poor so I would consider going to Orkney rather than Skye for example.

London is going to busy whatever time you go, so that can fit in anytime.

Skipton is in no way a substitute for York, different period, smaller and worth a whole 4 hours out anyone's life. York requires at least 2 whole days.
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by tostaky
If many people goes to those place I guess that's because they are hard to miss or to pass by.
Or because marketing and heavy media coverage have stimulated interest. My own (unscientific) assessment is that without Harry Potter and Outlander, the tourist scene in Scotland would be quite a bit different than it is now. The Isle of Skye is on your list. Why not Stonehenge, or Hadrian's Wall or Stratford-upon-Avon?

Let me offer some ideas (worth what you've paid for them ) on an overall strategy. I've made similar suggestions to family members and friends as they were contemplating their first significant trip(s) to the UK.

1. Don't begin in London, end there. If you're going to be in the UK for 3-4 weeks, use the time to get accustomed to things like looking right before you cross a road. The metropolis is so big and so busy and so full of things to do and see that it's easy to become bewildered and exhausted (never mind the impact of jetlag, even it it's only five hours' difference.) Save it for the end when you can pick and choose, see things you've missed in the rest of the countries, and fill in any gaps.

2. Choose three or four (not more) bases and do hub-and-spoke day trip exploring from there. Since you prefer Airbnb or similar accommodations (presumably self-catering at times) this will probably be the best way to manage logistics. This might limit your geographic coverage (well, not "might," "will definitely") but you're going to have to make those choices anyway. I'll offer my suggestions for some bases below, but these are personal preferences and others will have their own.

3. Keep an open mind on swaps and substitutions. Your research can yield impressive benefits when you look at alternative locations and how they might sit with your priorities and aims. Durham or Lincoln instead of York; Royal Deeside instead of Loch Lomond; Cambridge and Suffolk instead of the Cotswolds... You don't have to choose right now but look at the various alternatives as you do your research.

4. Guidebooks are fine, history books are better. You don't need to memorize which Plantagenet king succeeded the previous one, but Britain has been the source of so much history, from prehistory through the Roman and Anglo-Saxon times, the Highland Clearances and the industrial revolution, civil wars, the building and loss of empire... on and on. Coming from Quebec you already know some of this from a North American perspective, but as educators you know full well the benefits of research.

So, where and in what order? Like I said, all personal opinions, take them for what they're worth.

I'd start north and progress south, with "hubs" in the Highlands, the North of England, the South of England, and ending in London.

I'd start with a couple of nights in Edinburgh, or maybe just outside of the city core but commutable, mainly as a location to overcome jetlag. You do NOT want to jump into a car and start driving on the wrong side of the road.

For a Highland base I'd pick Oban, from which you can visit Mull, Iona, Staffa, Glen Coe, and numerous locations in Argyll as day trips. You say you like history, good food, pubs and local music and festivals? How about exploring the densest collection of prehistoric sites in Scotland in Kilmartin, an hour south of Oban? Seeing the puffins on Staffa, the island that inspired Felix Mendelssohn? Or attending the Inveraray Highland Games, held in the lovely village of Inveraray in mid-July every year? The seafood in Oban is as good as it gets, visit Iona, cradle of Scottish Christianity, or do a day trip to Glen Etive and Glen Coe?


For a base in the North of England I'd pick the North Yorkshire coast, around Whitby. This would give you access to some incredibly picturesque coastal villages including Staithes, Whitby itself (both with Captain James Cook associations) Robin Hood's Bay, and others. Then inland are the North York Moors, with stunning scenery, sites like Rievaulx Abbey and natural sites like waterfalls. The city of York is around an hour by road (park on the periphery) or less that by train from Whitby.


Farther south, I'd suggest someplace around Cambridge as a base. The ancient university city is beautiful, and the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk countryside within easy reach of the city is - in my view, and see the warnings above - no less attractive than the Cotswolds, but with far fewer people about. Google Kersey, Lavenham, and Long Melford for example. You can easily visit beautiful Ely with its stunning cathedral (the "Ship of the Fens") or Cochester for its (major) Roman Heritage, or visit important WW II sites like the Duxford air base and museum, on and on.


And finally, London. Enough said.

Like I say, just some opinions. Others will have their own. But I'd suggest you start by deciding if a "hub and spoke" approach works for you.
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by tostaky
Maybe I could do that, but you can see our itinerary so that should give you an idea !
let me put this another way. You have posted over a dozen threads in the last year asking other people for their thoughtful advice.

In total, you have posted zero trip reports and zero answers to other people’s questions.

Would you be interested in treating this and other forums as a two way street?
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by FTOttawa
let me put this another way. You have posted over a dozen threads in the last year asking other people for their thoughtful advice.

In total, you have posted zero trip reports and zero answers to other people’s questions.

Would you be interested in treating this and other forums as a two way street?
You are right about this. English is, obviously, a second language for me. Writing in english is not always an easy task and writing a full trip report is a bit much since we always make 3 weeks or more trips. Gaving that said it true that me own experience could be profitable for others travelers and I should sometimes take time to help people.
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 10:42 AM
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Gardyloo: many thanks for that long and detailed answer. I will carefully look into it and answer it back with some observations (and maybe some questions !)
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 11:16 AM
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For ideas, please hit the airplane icon at the top of the Europe home page to see the TRs of others, tostaky.
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Old Aug 31st, 2023, 12:58 PM
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Hope this works . . . this is a link to Trip Reports about the UK https://www.fodors.com/community/sea...archid=8910570

Bear in mind that a few include the UK and other countries but you can usually tell enough by the title and tags if it is somethng that would interest you. Some are VERY long and a few are very specialized and maybe not all that helpful for a family's first trip. But you can pick and choose the info that interests you.
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Old Sep 1st, 2023, 04:44 AM
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Bilboburger is right in say that Skipton is not a substitute for York, but it is a great base to explore North Yorkshire. Having lived in West Yorkshire for several years, I initially thought of Harrogate or Ilkley and taking the train to York for the day, but know from visiting my niece on a regular basis that hotel prices can be high in both. Personally I would avoid staying in York at the time of year the OP is travelling. As mentioned it will be very crowded with overseas and UK visitors particularly if there is a meeting at York Racecourse.

Gardyloo has made some great suggestions, but I would also be very wary of staying in Whitby as the roads get busy with visitors, many with caravans, heading for the coast and staying in and around Whitby. Having spent time on both the Yorkshire and Northumberland coast, I would still go for Northumberland, particularly if the plan is travel to/from Scotland.
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Old Sep 1st, 2023, 06:49 AM
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Thanks to all once again ! I knew that you are bettre than a printed travel guide !

Many seems to think that travelling in Uk in july (and maybe first week of august) should be avoid. Of course we would like to travel at other time of year but given our jobs we have two choices: travel in the heart of summer, or not travel at all.

We have long decide to go with the former. We are use to crowds, we have done 12 coutries in Europe, many places in USA and Canada in july and august so we are kind of use to the crowds. Is whole UK worst than New-York, Paris, Rome, Florence, Berlin or Barcelona at that time of year ?

Last edited by tostaky; Sep 1st, 2023 at 07:32 AM.
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Old Sep 1st, 2023, 07:39 AM
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No, the UK is certainly not worse than those other places in fact probably much nicer.

But I don't think you are looking at the problem the right way. Due to variations in schools around the country (UK) and some areas having hot spots of busy tourism with very small roads so it makes most sense to visit Scotland in the early period and England later.

UK, lots of history, lots of places to see and variable weather made more confusing by Climate Change.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Sep 1st, 2023 at 07:42 AM.
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Old Sep 1st, 2023, 07:57 AM
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Bilbo, I have taken a good note about that recommandation and it does make a lot of sense. The main problem is that flights from Montreal all goes to London. Being jetlagged and hop into a train/bus/another flight our arrival day is not something we like !
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Old Sep 1st, 2023, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by tostaky
Bilbo, I have taken a good note about that recommandation and it does make a lot of sense. The main problem is that flights from Montreal all goes to London. Being jetlagged and hop into a train/bus/another flight our arrival day is not something we like !
You could land at Heathrow and catch a car service to Windsor for example to deal with jet lag and visit a lovely castled town. Or into central London on the QE underground which is dead easy.

Then next day you can spend time in Oxford or Winchester or move onto the Cambridge/Ely side of your holiday

seat61.com explains the trains. Planning https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

public transport is a bigger thing but here is a good planning tool https://www.traveline.info/

if you use Google maps for planning you will find that cars need about 40% more than Mr Google thinks
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Old Sep 1st, 2023, 03:17 PM
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Air Transat does fly direct Montreal to Manchester, if that helps. Then fly back from Gatwick to Montreal.

Or they could route you via Toronto to Glasgow.

I do like Bilboburgler’s suggestion if it must be a straight London return.
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