British Isles

Jul 18th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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British Isles

My husband and I are in the thinking about stages of a trip to the British Isles and the chunnel to France. My husband wants to golf Saint Andrews, we love nature, beautiful gardens, soft adventure, and wonderful food and wine. We experienced B&B's for the first time in Alaska this summer, and pleasantly enjoyed them. When I think of England, Scottland and France I feel clueless...I've arranged wonderful trips for us in the US, Canada and Central America...Help!
CLynnWeg is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:08 PM
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I forgot to say: we are in our mid to early fiftys, traveling w/o children, finally used to driving distances in California. ( 500 miles from North to South)
CLynnWeg is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:17 PM
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How long a trip are you thinking of? You mention Scotland. Are you hoping to include London/other parts of the UK? And then Paris, or other parts of France?

These places look pretty close on paper, but each could take weeks in its own right, and driving especially can be maddeningly slow. Anyway, just a few more Q's to get a sense of what you are aiming for.
noe847 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:29 PM
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OK, need to clarify here. The driving can be charmingly slow or maddeningly slow depending on whether you are trying to cram in a lot of mileage to get to far flung destinations with short available time. There's not a lot of what you'd call freeway driving.
noe847 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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We like to relax on our vacation. Are thinking of 2 weeks in the summer (after June 15, before Aug. 15). We like to drive about 4 hours a day...can do 6. We definately want to see London. I am totally clueless on England and Scotland and need help..we love the outdoors and beautiful scenery. Alaska was hectic and too much traveling ( I equated it to seeing Europe in 2 weeks. The only Europe I know is British Columbia, which I love. We live in the wine country (Sonoma County), so I would love to see the part of France that is similar...but am insecure of the language barrier. We like to be comfortable, but have some adventure. Can't spend my whole vacation in castles and museums. Any help would be appreciated...we aren't in to organized tours!
CLynnWeg is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:52 PM
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Do some research on English Country Homes and Estates like Stourhead. England has some of the best gardens in the world and visiting a few of them sounds perfect for you. Try the National Trust website.

And don't miss Kew Gardens while you're in London.
Jul 18th, 2006, 08:42 PM
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OK - I'm a Californian who lived in the UK for 5 years and spend probably half of my vacations in the UK so I can give you some comparisons.

DO NOT think of the UK in terms of how many driving miles or hours per day. There just ain't nuthin' comparable to I-5 or I-80 or the 405. While there are motorways (similar to CA Freeways) they are not where the scenic bits are. You need to get off the motorways onto A and B roads to see things. And in polaces like rural Scotland and bits of England you will be lucky to average 35 - 40 mph.

2 weeks is not very long. One good thing - in June/July the days are VERY long - daylight until 11:00 p.m. in the north.

So w/ London/Scotland and St Andrews as your main wish list, here is a reasonable itinerary (just one of many possibilities)

Fly open jaw Into London out of Glasgow (or vice versa). Stay one week in London. No need for a car. During that week take maybe one days trip by train to some small town or village -- lots of options.

Then take the train to Edinburgh. About 4.5 hours city centre to city centre. Stay a couple of days in edinburgh - again w/o a car.

Then pick up a rentak car and drive north of Edinburgh into Fife for a couple of days. Here you will see/play St Andrews, the Fife fishing villages, Falkland Palace/gardens, maybe a 1/2 day boat trip to the Isle of May to see puffins and other sea birds up close.

Then head west - you will have about 2.5 days to play w/ here so you can't be too ambitious - but Stirling castle, Glencoe, several gorgeous lochs, and the Trossachs (mainly just REALLY pretty scenery/lochs/waterfalls/villages) would all be doable in a couple of days.

Then stay the last night along Loch Lomond before flying out the next day from Glasgow.

That is one way you can do what you want in just 2 weeks . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jul 18th, 2006, 08:45 PM
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Sorry about the typos " . . .And in places like rural Scotland . . ."

" . . . rental car . . "

and probably others - but you get the idea.
janisj is online now  
Jul 18th, 2006, 08:56 PM
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In order to keep it relaxing, I'd say either do the Scotland/England combination (already stretching the relaxing definition a bit) as Janis suggests, OR do a France/wine country trip.

I'm curious, what part of BC do you like? The coast/mountains, the wine area of Okanagan, or the Rockies? We've spent a lot of time in BC and had some amazing trips.
noe847 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 11:14 PM
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I'm from California too and we've made a loop of the British Isles from Gatwick to the Welsh Border, up to Glasgow, across to Edinburgh and back to London in two weeks. It wasn't too big a rush for us although there were a few places where we did commute on an M1 motorway for quite a distance (like Glouchester to Stoke on Trent, for example).

The cool places are off the main roadways, however.
artvark is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 03:19 AM
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Janis has given you very good advice. Just one word of warning - if you aren't interested in the Edinburgh festivals (, don't come to Edinburgh in August.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Thank you all for your good advice and a place for me to begin my research. In response to noe847 I've never been anyplace in BC I haven't liked, most memorable and on the top of my list to revisit are The Pacific Rim (Tofino) and the Sunshine Coast. Both were very special places. We haven't spent a lot of time in Vancover, so I'd like to do that. I love Victoria, but there is so much else to see and we've done that many times!
CLynnWeg is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 01:33 PM
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There are some pretty strict things about playing the Old Course. Book that first and pitch everything else round it; and book it NOW.
sheila is offline  
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