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Best way to see England and Wales, mother daughter bucket list trip

Best way to see England and Wales, mother daughter bucket list trip

Old Jan 12th, 2013, 08:45 PM
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Best way to see England and Wales, mother daughter bucket list trip

I want to take my mom on a trip to Wales and England. Her ancestors are Welsh but we have never been to Europe. Were both in good health, (for now) but she is a little limited with knee problems. I have been looking at bus type tours, but they are sooo expensive. Would love some tips and ideas about pros and cons of the pay one price and they take care of the driving and hotel arrangements versus the do it yourself for a first timer trip. I am quite comfortable traveling in the US, just a wee bit nervous about making all the arrangements and driving in England and Wales. Tips? Itinerary? Help?! We are hoping to go this upcoming fall....
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Old Jan 12th, 2013, 08:56 PM
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"<i>Would love some tips and ideas about pros and cons of the pay one price and they take care of the driving and hotel arrangements versus the do it yourself for a first timer trip.</i>"

Those aren't your only 2 options. You can do it yourselves and still take a few local day tours. An easy way to see a lot w/o having to rent a car and drive yourselves (if in fact you don't want to drive)

Where in Wales is the family from? That will make a difference where to go and how to get there.

Also - how many days are you looking at?
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Old Jan 12th, 2013, 09:08 PM
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Agree, you can easily plan this trip and get around independently! Especially with our help Can you give us a bit more info? How long do you have? Where in Wales is the family from?

London can easily fill a week with a couple day trips. If you would like a tour try www.walks.com for their excellent day trips via public transport. I would avoid those coach tours from London that try to cram 3-4 places into one day.

Wales is accessible by train, depending on the location.

Sounds like a fun trip to plan!
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Family is from the Cardiff area. Four generations ago, so no known ties, but would love to see the area. Very interested in the mining history. We can take at least 10 days and as long as two weeks. Would love to also see London and parts of England, but don't know what to see! I'm 45, mom is 70. We are both interested in history of any kind. She is somewhat limited in walking so no hiking trips this time... We would most likely need a day here and there to just relax from the previous days travels...

Thanks so much for any and all help!
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 08:57 PM
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sorry, that didn't have anything to do with mining history, but it is fun and seems like a great thing for a mother/daughter trip
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 10:45 PM
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For Cardiff, have you checked out

http://www.visitcardiff.com/
http://www.visitcardiff.com/things-t...l-museum-p9641
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 11:04 PM
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pigfeathers [great screen-name BTW]

it is very easy to get from London to Cardiff - there are frequent fast trains from Paddington which you can book in advance to get cheaper tickets.

you could spend a few days in Cardiff, then rent a car and pootle about south Wales - the areas around Tenby and the Brecon beacons are both lovely and could easily fill a week.

then get the train back to London and spend a few days there before going home.
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 11:18 PM
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Two places which could help you get a feel for the history of Wales, especially the mining industry are Big Pit at Blaenafon and St Fagan's National History Museum, which is outside Cardiff. Both are parts of the national museum and free to enter. Details are at http://www.museumwales.ac.uk.

Both are accessible by public transport, but you would probably find a car useful for touring the area.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 07:31 PM
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Hi Pigfeathers (love the name). I don't have specific itinerary ideas, but wanted to comment because your situation mirrors mine so well. My mom and I spent two weeks in England nearly two years ago, when I was 46 and she was 70. She is also a bit limited in walking and stamina, but full of curiosity and game to try things.

We found a travel style that suited us well. We stayed in only two bases - Winchester (because a friend lives there, and it's lovely), and a little village in Wiltshire called Sherrington. We took the train from Winchester to London and Windsor, and rented a car for our week in Wiltshire.

The train was easy for my mom, but we weren't handling luggage. The only time I worried was when we had to make a change in Slough and there were stairs involved. Look at the National Rail site if you plan to travel by train - they have accessibility information about each station.

We loved both accommodations - the first was a real English pub with rooms, and the second, in Wiltshire, was a thatched cottage. We spent our days exploring at a leisurely pace, and our evenings either having a dinner out or relaxing in our homey little cottage. It was perfect. We got to see and do a lot without overtaxing my mom or trying my patience. It was a wonderful mother-daughter trip. Just stick to what you know in your gut will be enjoyable for both of you, and don't try to overdo it. Savor those moments with your mom, and know that it means just as much to her!
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 07:33 PM
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Thank you all! I love the idea of a few days in London then a train to Cardiff.

Is renting a car and pootling around pretty easy in Wales? I have not been out of the states and no nothing about international car rental and driving in Wales.

And any suggestions on lodging near Paddington and in Cardiff? (I usually stay at either Holiday Inn Express or Marriott stateside, I like the free breakfast!)

I do have a friend who is a travel agent who I know can help here, but it's nice to talk to other people. Thank you so much. Been putting this trip off for about 5 years, but just know without a shadow of a doubt that it will happen either in August or September this year. Had a slight health scare with Mom and will not put this off any longer!
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 07:37 PM
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Thanks for the comments on my screen name. It's our farm name here in Northern California, we raise pigs, chickens and turkeys sometimes, so the name pigfeathers just seemed natural!
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 10:53 PM
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Just wanted to comment on the London hotel...padding ton is not a great choice. It is not really convenient to most sites and the area doesn't have as much charm. I believe there are holiday inns in better locations closer to the river. If you are worries about getting from heathrow to your hotel we use www.justairports.com for affordable transfers...or the tube, which isn't that bad if you know where to change to avoid stairs. The heathrow express is expensive and not convenient to some of the better areas to stay.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 09:49 AM
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Swansea is the exact region family is from. Nanny left Wales at the age of 17 in the early 1900's. So... fly into London, stay ???? Then train to Wales and stay in Cardiff or ?? and how to rent a car?
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 11:04 AM
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Swansea is a city but not a majorly large one. Is it Swansea itself or a village nearby? The countryside around Swansea is delightful and would be a lovely area in which to stay.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 11:16 AM
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if you are arriving on an early morning flight into Heathrow, you could get the horribly over-priced Heathrow express into Paddington, and then get the train straight from there to Cardiff.

book a nice hotel in Cardiff for a couple of nights and then pick up a car and set off for your Welsh trip down memory lane.

the train journey will be a good use of time when you may be jet-lagged and by the time you get to Cardiff your hotel room should be ready if you need a nap!

then you can spend a few days in London at the end of the trip which will keep all of your London nights together and put you in the right place for flying home.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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annhig's suggestion is excellent. I personally think getting all the major travel out of the way in one go is best. Get all the way to Cardiff on day one and you will have uninterrupted time in London at the end.

Another option -- instead of going into London (or transferring to any train) you could take a National Express coach right from LHR to Cardff. This would be the easiest w/ least schlepping. But I'd probably take the train which would be more comfortable after an overnight flight.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 08:15 AM
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I like the catch the coach at the airport idea on the major travel day. Sounds easy. But if we wanted to do the train, how would be do that? Is there a train station at the airport?

And as far as car rental goes in Wales, can that be done right in Cardiff?

I've got my mom diggin around on ancestry.com to get more info. Nanny left Wales at 17 cause the town she was from "ran out of coal". She was from Swansea and somehow tied to the Rotger family. Were hunting down more info.

And any suggestions as to where to stay in London?
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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We used www.autoeurope.com when we visited England and Wales in 2007; they have offices in Cardiff.

From what annhig wrote, it looks like you would have to take something like the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station in London, then take the train from there to Cardiff.

Lee Ann
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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Sorry, I hit submit too soon. What is your lodging budget?

Lee Ann
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 09:02 AM
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Most of the posters on this board make all their own travel arrangements on the internet--making plane reservations, investigating transportation options and making hotel reservations, etc. It's part of the fun.

Renting a car over the internet is easy. You can reserve with Europcar or Auto Europe and pick the car up wherever you like. If I'm renting a car at a big city, I prefer to pick up at the airport. Driving on the left side of the road in a large city intimidates me. It's easier when I can drive from the airport.

I think we are often intimidated by the idea of driving on the opposite side of the road from what we're used to, but it's really not that big a problem. You will get used to it quite fast.

Be aware that most rental cars in Europe have standard transmissions and that if you really need an automatic transmission, it will cost considerably more.
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