3 weeks in the UK May 2012

Aug 12th, 2011, 12:44 PM
  #1  
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3 weeks in the UK May 2012

I would like some feedback on my rough itinerary:

Arrive London- 4 nights. I am pretty sure about the main attraction each day. Staying in Bloomsbury so I can sneak into the British Museum when DH decides to nap or go to a pub...

Train to Edinburgh- possibly stop overnight in York to walk the walls.

Edinburgh 2-3 nights. Again, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to see.

This is where it gets sketchy: Get a car. Drive. ;-) 10 nights Scotland and north Wales. For Scotland, I am wrestling with stopping for 2-3 days with day trips vs short drives daily to see more different places. North Wales, could use a suggestion for a central spot to stay see the Iron Ring, Portmeirion (sorry indy!), the railways on day trips.

1 night somewhere on the way to Salisbury.

1 night Salisbury- Avebury, Stonehenge, Old Sarum, Salisbury.

Last night turn in car. Hotel close to Heathrow for early morning flight.

You have helped so many others, now it's my turn! Thank you all!
eastenderusvi is offline  
Aug 12th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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We stayed at the Snowdon Ranger YHA hostel, just a little south of Caernarvon. It's not far to Portmeirion from there. If you don't want a hostel, Caervarnon might work.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Aug 12th, 2011, 03:03 PM
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I wouldn't stay in Caernarvon. The castle is great but not much to recommend about the town itself. You might have a look at Conwy, and Betws-y-Coed. It's been several years but we really liked the Castle Bank Hotel in Conwy. www.castle-bank.co.uk
historytraveler is offline  
Aug 12th, 2011, 04:45 PM
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I'm not that familiar with Wales, but in Scotland I would recommend 3 or 4 nights in our favorite B&B -- www.auldcummerton.co.uk. It's in a small village but central enough to drive the whiskey trail, see Balmoral and lots of castles,national park and more. The B&B is quite lovely as are the owners.
crckwc1 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 12:44 AM
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Definitely recommend an overnight (or longer?) in York on your way to Edinburgh. It's a beautiful city with so much more for you to see and do than walking the walls.
Not sure if you have your dates settled, but the end of May is a week's school holiday for the vast majority of schoolchildren (exact days can vary and some schools have slightly more than a week off). Don't underestimate the effect the week off has on transport, popular tourist spots, booking accommodation etc. Now our own children are grown up we avoid going away during such weeks!!
Morgana is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 03:31 AM
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I second the suggestion of Conwy in North Wales and also loved the Castle Bank hotel. There is a castle and walls to walk. Within daytrip to Caernarvon, Beaumaris, harlech Castles. Take the train from there to BlenauFestiniog and steam rail as well as slate mine visit. Snowdonia is nearby.

On the way to Salisbury, spend the night in Chepstow. (South Wales). Another great castle and big enough town for pubs/restaurants and B&Bs.

Have fun!
irishface is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 03:31 AM
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I second the suggestion of Conwy in North Wales and also loved the Castle Bank hotel. There is a castle and walls to walk. Within daytrip to Caernarvon, Beaumaris, harlech Castles. Take the train from there to BlenauFestiniog and steam rail as well as slate mine visit. Snowdonia is nearby.

On the way to Salisbury, spend the night in Chepstow. (South Wales). Another great castle and big enough town for pubs/restaurants and B&Bs.

Have fun!
irishface is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 03:52 AM
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This is rare, at least in my experience, on this Forum, to have several posts in agreement over a specific lodging--but I'm going to third the recommendation above for CastleBank hotel in Conwy. And Conwy itself is also more than charming.
texasbookworm is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 01:19 PM
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Hmm, Conwy looks interesting. Thank you for the Castle Bank recommendation. Could one see Portmeirion and the Harlech Castle in a day? What about Beaumaris and Caernarfon?

It is tough to judge distances, even with the route planner site. I do not want to do long drives and short visits. I would rather see a few areas more in depth. I realize that York is worth more than one night, but at some point something has to give, unfortunately.

It is easier to decide when you absolutely know WHAT you want to see in an area. But when you want to explore, it is a lot more difficult. ;-)
eastenderusvi is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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I agree, Conwy is a lovely town and would be a good choice.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Re Conwy, don't arrive late and expect to get into the castle, etc. Sidewalks start rolling up about 4:30 pm. I learned this the hard way last year.
VolCrew is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 06:50 PM
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I think it would be better use of your time and more cost effective to combine the train with driving. For instance, get a car in Edinburgh and return it in Edinburgh. Train to, say, Chester, drive around Wales. Train to Salisbury and either drive or a coach tour to the sites you want then coach to Heathrow from Salisbury. It sounds complicated but will be much easier and save you time and money over the distances you're talking about.

If you buy your train tickets in advance on the National Rail website you'll save big on advance fares. Also advance tickets on the National Express website for your trip to Heathrow can be very cheap.

The driving distances don't look far on the map of the UK but it can be VERY time consuming and expensive to drive, surprisingly so. Better to take the train on the longer stretches.
joannay is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 07:06 PM
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joannay: That is an interesting new piece of information. I was thinking that driving would allow for more flexibility and the chance to stop places that struck our fancy. Now recalculating...
eastenderusvi is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 09:06 PM
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I spend about a month every spring in the UK and almost never use a car. I do only when I want to visit villages, houses and gardens that are in the countryside and that I can't reach by train or bus/coach. I enjoy driving the country roads for short periods but using the train system is my favorite way to travel, especially the distances you want to cover between the areas of particular interest. I believe you'd arrive in those places much more rested and ready to enjoy your local drives if you did the same.
joannay is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 09:18 PM
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That is certainly an option -- especially if you don't want to see places in between you stopovers. But one thing to consider: Car hires are normally quite a bit more expensive for short periods than for full weeks or more.

A 2 or 3 day rental can cost more than a 7-day one. Sounds bizarre - but the same occurs in the States. In fact if you rent for a week and return the car a day early, you will be assessed the much higher daily rate instead of the cheaper weekly rate.

So before jumping for a series of short hires, be sure to price out the alternatives.
janisj is offline  
Aug 13th, 2011, 09:27 PM
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The best deals I've gotten on rental cars in the UK have been at local garages that have been recommended by the small hotel or B&B owners after I get there. However, when I book a car beforehand I do generally reserve on a weekly basis.
joannay is offline  

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