Bath/Cotswolds Alternative

Old Jan 26th, 2021, 02:34 PM
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Bath/Cotswolds Alternative

It is a quiet day at the office and I have found myself contemplating a return to the UK - a guy can dream can't he?

Our last trip was a great experience and we really loved every moment. On a return we would like to repeat a similar structure but perhaps in a different area.

We flew into Heathrow and took National Express to Bath. Staying two nights in Bath we then rented a car and drove to Chipping Campden which served as our base for six nights. While in the Cotswolds we enjoyed drives to
Stow-on-the-Wold,,Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh. We went on a few leisurely walks, spent an afternoon at Hidcote Manor Manor Garden and Stanway House.. We also just enjoyed being in the countryside - the views, strolling along High Street and adopting the Lygon Arms as our local pub.

On a return trip we think we might want to visit a different area but with a similar arrangement - getting oriented for a few days in a smaller city then driving to a picturesque countryside. We aren't seeking to duplicate our previous trip but the pace was relaxed and it suited us before we boarded a train for a few busy days and nights in London.

This trip idea is just that but I would happily seek ideas or suggestions for a similar design.

Thank you,

JBT

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Old Jan 26th, 2021, 04:45 PM
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My first choice would probably be York for 2 or 3 days then time in the Dales. You could fly into either LHR or MAN. There is a train from MAN to York and from LHR you could either take a train from centra London or a National Express coach from LHR

Or you could do a couple of days in Cambridge and then East Anglia/the coast; or Chester and then North Wales

If Scotland would be a possibility my REAL first choice would be Edinburgh for 2 or 3 days and then the rest in either . . . the Trossachs - or - Fife - or -Aberdeenshire/the Caste Trail - or - Invernessshire
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 08:22 AM
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As usual, I will echo Janis' suggestions. Time of year might matter, as Yorkshire and Scotland can be a little more prone to chilly weather in the shoulder seasons.

I absolutely adore East Anglia, so a base in Cambridge for a day or two, then something of a loop itinerary that includes Ely (a must-stop IMO) and some of the fabulous wool villages in Suffolk, such as Lavenham and Kersey, could be great. Or you could visit some of the coastal villages in Norfolk and maybe extend up to Lincoln - utterly breathtaking.

But I'd absolutely second the idea of Edinburgh for a few days, but then I'd give very strong consideration to heading south, down into Northumberland, possibly via the Lammermuir Hills. The coastal villages in Northumberland, including the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Bamburgh with its amazing castle that looms over the village green and faces the sea, and Alnwick ("Annick") with its imposing castle. In between is lovely rolling countryside. I'd loop back to Edinburgh via the Berwickshire and East Lothian coasts, where there are even more charming villages and lovely country. (Or you do this trip in reverse - coast south, inland north.) Google the places on this map - https://goo.gl/maps/JaSWhim68j3HeM2W7

Last edited by Gardyloo; Jan 27th, 2021 at 08:34 AM.
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 09:39 AM
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Thank you both for the suggestions.

I should have mentioned that our most recent trip that I referred to was in early April of 2019. We enjoyed all of the Easter preparations and I had more than my fair share of hot cross buns. I haven't really contemplated what time of year we might return since it seems so far away.

The Scotland ideas are appreciated. Cambridge and East Anglia seem to have the components we are seeking. I think that York and the Dales sound terrific.

Any fans of Canterbury and the SE countryside?

Thanks again,

JBT
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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 10:35 AM
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"Any fans of Canterbury and the SE countryside?"

Sure -- That was going to be my 4th (or is it 5th? ) suggestion. The scenery isn't as dramatic as Scotland or Northumberland or Yorkshire but there is enough to fill a dance card for sure. There are soooooo many castles and gardens in Kent/East Sussex to easily fill more than a month. A short list of castles would include Dover, Deal, Walmer, Hever, Bodiam and many more. Stately homes - Chartwell, Knoll, Penshurst Place, Igtham Mote, + more. World famous gardens include Sissinghurst, Scotney Castle, Great Dixter, Penshurst, Leeds Castle and many more. Plus the coastal towns and various white cliffs. You could do the first couple of days in Canterbury - or in Brighton. Brighton is very convenient to LGW if they resume long haul flights (currently LGW has greatly reduced service due to covid and consolidating a lot of flights into LHR instead).

My three favorite gardens in southern England are Hidcote, Sissinghurst and Great Dixter. Sissinghurst has a B&B on site.



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Old Jan 27th, 2021, 12:40 PM
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Another vote for Cambridge and East Anglia, and definitely include Ely. I've seen a lot of lovely cathedrals, but I was blown away by Ely. I'd also add Conwy in north Wales as a base.
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Old Jan 28th, 2021, 05:55 AM
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Have a look at Dorset on the south coast. Plenty of picturesque villages, interesting towns and a stunning coast line. The area is often overlooked by overseas tourists. Some suggestions

Sherborne, Shaftesbury, Wimborne, Corfe Castle and Wareham.
Villages such as Abbotsbury, Cerne Abbas, Burton Bradstock, Milton Abbas
On the coast - Swanage, Weymouth and Lyme Regis.
You also have Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.

There are many more.
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Old Jan 28th, 2021, 12:43 PM
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Many thanks for these suggestions. Your input was exactly what I was seeking. It seems as if we have many good options to choose from as well as more than enough time to research.

Again, thanks and best regards,

JBT
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Old Jan 30th, 2021, 08:19 AM
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Ah... I miss England, too, JohnnyBoyTexas. I loved the beauty and walks in the Cotswolds, too, and I found the Peak District is similarly beautiful. I'm a huge fan of this area, for hikes and Victorian-era history and stately homes.

For this area, I suppose in and out of Manchester is the better option (unless you really want London, which is ok, too, but just 4 hour train travel rather than 2 hr). After an overnight flight, that first and last travel days feel like a wash, anyway. Definitely do not rent a car at the airport immediately after the flight. That's terribly stressful and unsafe. I actually have relied on public transportation for the dozen or more trips since, and I love that option. I've never missed having a car in England, but if you love driving (I do not), then definitely rent. Just don't write off the trains/buses, especially if you are able to walk easily. Or if you like to hike, which I do.

So, if Manchester airport, you either train into Manchester Piccadilly station (the city), or continue on from there to York. No direct train from Man airport to York. I've been to York twice, and I'm actually not a huge fan, though I love the York Railway Museum and the Minster. Probably, the city seems to pale next to the stunning countryside surrounding it.

Peak District places I've loved, starting from York and continuing southwest, for an idea of the places you might see:
- Haworth, Keighley (for stunning walks in the moors, Bronte sisters connection; the PBS/Masterpiece movie 'To Walk Invisible' may whet your appetite)
- Lyme Park (a gorgeous stately house; the BBC Pride and Prejudice was filmed on the grounds, but lovely walk too to the Hunting Tower)
- Eyam "plague" village (a moving experience, and if you walk to the boundary stone, the views are just lovely)
- Haddon Hall (extraordinary Tudor stately house; has played Thornfield Hall is many Jane Eyre adaptations)
- Chatsworth (stately home, historic gardens)
- (a bit further south, into Derbyshire) Calke Abbey is incredible, and haunting; shows the decline of these stately homes)

As a base, Bakewell is lovely. The Monsal Trail runs nearby if you want a hiking day.
Also, I heard from a local that Renishaw Hall is supposed to be a nice visit, but I've not been. This is in the area, too.

Have fun planning!
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