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Dales, Lakes, Peaks and Cotswolds - can you help us make a great itinerary?

Dales, Lakes, Peaks and Cotswolds - can you help us make a great itinerary?

Old Mar 15th, 2010, 05:18 PM
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Dales, Lakes, Peaks and Cotswolds - can you help us make a great itinerary?

We are an Aussie couple in our mid 50’s that have 8 weeks leave in May and June 2011. Prior to arriving in Britain we will have spent 3 ½ weeks in Italy and 2 weeks in Ireland, we then have 2 weeks to spend in the countryside then 5 days in London before flying home.

We enjoy walking, general site seeing, nature, the outdoors, loading up the daypack with goodies and finding a special spot for a picnic. Of course we want to see the main sites but like to wander off and just see what we see. We are happy to stay in B&B’s and have been looking at some of the lovely hostels on the YHA website. I guess we are simple travellers who don’t need all the extras.

This is a base to start, our ideas so far, we would really appreciate any input and suggestions to make it into a memorable trip and we look forward to your help and guidance.

Sunday June 5 – fly into Manchester as early as possible and train up to York, spend the rest of that day wandering around and stay overnight.

Monday/Tuesday – pick up a car and drive through the moors to Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay, drive to Rippon and explore the Dales

Wednesday – head over to the Lakes District for 3 days

Saturday – drive to the Peak District for 3 days

Tuesday – drive down to the Cotswolds for 5 days – have seen a nice little cottage in Bisley but not really settled on any particular accommodation or village

We would then return the hire car and take a train into London.

Is it possible to use a base and maybe see the Lakes and the Peaks? Is the Settle Railway worth a visit or maybe a walk to see the Viaducts? I have spent hours using the AA route planner which is a great tool but I am hoping you will come up with some gems that we can include so now we are in your hands.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 05:47 AM
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Anyone care to help me?
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 07:58 AM
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Hi Maudie,

I think you have a reasonable plan. I hope Morgana sees this as she provided some great advice on Yorkshire (maybe do a search of her posts??) and she included some lovely drives.

We just loved Whitby.

I dont think there is a reasonable base to do justice to both the Lakes (which are GORGEOUS) and Yorkshire (also Lovely!) so I think you are on the right track. You would spend most of your day driving if you tried to split it halfway as a base.

Hope this helps, sounds like a lovely trip!
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 08:07 AM
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When in Yorkshire we base ourselves in Skipton ("gateway to the Dales"). It's about an hour & a half drive to Lake Windermere so it's do-able as a base for that area as well. However, the Lake district is so nice I'd try to spend a couple days there and a couple days in the Dales if possible.
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 08:13 AM
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I didn't read your post too well! You asked about a base for the Lake and Peaks districts. Those are further apart than the Lake district and the Dales (plus you've got the Manchester ring road in between), so I can't think of an ideal base that covers both of those.
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 08:15 AM
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DOH - I read the same thing!! Sorry! I agree with alan...think you will need 2 bases there.
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 09:56 AM
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Hi
I'll try and help with the Yorkshire side of your trip. First thing - North Yorkshire is a very large county and you are trying to do a lot in two days. But as long as you plan carefully you can certainly have a Moors day and a Dales day. To start with your Dales day -
Assuming you are staying in or near York, a drive I have recommended can be found here -
http://www.skiptonweb.co.uk/tourist/...rive/index.htm
I really can't better this - added links where you want them and a realistic itinerary.
This seems to have gone down very well with many people who have done it. It will give you plenty of beautiful scenery, a real flavour of the Dales, plenty of picnic spots and you can linger as much as you want.
I am not sure about your reference to Ripon (note spelling) which isn't in the Dales and to be honest with limited time I wouldn't go there.
Moor day - a drive across the Moors to Whitby and RHB sounds great - it's not a fast road especially if you do the scenic route, but again you can get in and out of the car as you please to enjoy the view. I normally recommend Castle Howard as it is so magnificent, or a ride on the NYMR, or Rievaulx but there's probably not time.
www.nymr.co.uk
www.castlehoward.co.uk
www.english-heritage.org.uk/rievaulx
Don't miss out on the superb fish and chips at Whitby especially at the Magpie Cafe or Trenchers.
www.magpiecafe.co.uk
www.trenchersrestaurant.co.uk
I could give you enough suggestions to keep you busy for weeks so it is hard to try and condense it into one day.
I do like your style of travel though - just mooching around, exploring what might be around the corner.
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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I live in the next village to Bisley so can tell you anything you'd like to know about this beautiful, peaceful, unspoilt, untouristy typical South Cotswold village.

I think it is a great central location for the Cotswolds. We are 30 miles from Bath and Bristol, the same for Worcester and the Malverns. The north Cotswold towns of Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Campden etc are also within 30 miles, as is Winchcombe. Oxford is not much more but it always takes longer to get there. Saying that I've got to be there for a meeting tomorrow at 10 - I shall leave at 8.30 and should get there in good time for a coffee before it starts. Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick don't take much more than 1 1/4 hours to get to.

Just a couple of weeks ago fellow fodorite Songdoc stayed in Cooper's Cottage in Bisley, and told me it was 'perfect'. It is small, built in what was once a stable or coach house - from outside you can still see the hayloft door with the bedroom window enclosed. It is literally one-up-one-down with a tiny kitchen and bathroom but it is set in a gorgeous garden with stunning views across the valley. Songdoc will be posting his trip report shortly.

http://www.cottageguide.co.uk/coopers/

There are other cottages in Bisley, one is...

http://www.dovecottagebisley.co.uk/

If you stay at Cooper's Cottage you park your car outside Dove Cottage and walk a few yard along the lane.
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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If you like walking, this may interest you...

http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/in...articleid=1196

I believe they are now downloadable.


If you stay in Bisley, please pack up a picnic and take a walk down the Toadsmoor Valley. It is one of the most glorious places in the world. When my children were small they called it the Magic Stream, there is something so serene sitting by the side of the tumbling brook among the buttercups watching butterflies and dragonflies flutter around and no sound but the flowing water and the birds singing. It truly is a special place.

Here's a bit more about Bisley that is not on Bisley's own village website...

http://www.gonomad.com/destinations/0603/cotswolds.html
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 03:54 PM
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Oh wow - I woke up to all those wonderful replies! Thank you so much, its pretty difficult knowing the right time to post when we live in a different time zone. I have to get to work now but will re-read your replies in depth later. Sounds like we are sort of on the right track with a bit of tweaking.

Thank you again.
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Old Mar 17th, 2010, 06:12 AM
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We have been pouring over our map after reading about all the wonderful places posted here.

jamikins - thank you for your ideas, so pleased that you loved Whitby - that stays in for sure.

alan64 - Skipton sounds like it would be perfect given Morgana's suggested drive.

Well Morgana - it sounds like you know us so well. Thanks so much for the wonderful information you have provided. I wish we had two weeks as well but sadly we don't. Moors day looks great as well as the Dales Drive from Skipton.

We are tossing up whether to omit the Peaks and add more days in the Yorkshire area. Possibly something like this:
Day 1 - explore York on foot - stay in York?
Day 2 - pick up hire car and have our "Moors Day"
Day 3 - more Moors - Castle Howard/NYMR
Day 4 - drive to Skipton - stay
Day 5 - our "Dales Day"
Day 6 - drive to Lakes
Day 7 - Lakes
Day 8 - Lakes
Day 9 - Drive down to Cotswolds (Bisley?) - anywhere nice to stop on the way for a lunch break and stretch our legs?
Stay on for 5 or 6 days.

How does this sound so far?

JuliaT - yes I think it was your suggestion to Songdoc about Bisley, I am anxiously waiting for his trip report. We would be in heaven staying at either of those cottages and Bisley just seems to "fit" with us. And you can guarantee we will take that picnic to the Toadsmoor Valley! The website for the walks is a wealth of information - thanks so much for that.
We were thinking that maybe we could take the hire car into Gloucester and hand it in there the day before we leave then train back to Stroud, that way we could take the train from Stroud into London. Does this sound feasible? Is it an ok walk from Stroud to Bisley?

Interesting that it takes so long to get to Oxford - maybe it might be worth taking a train that day if we decide to go there.

Thank you so much everyone for your ideas and suggestions, I am sure we will have a lot more questions.
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Old Mar 17th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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Maudie, I'm glad you are thinking about Bisley. This is such a beautiful yet relatively undiscovered part of the Cotswolds.

Anyway, yes you can drop off the car in Gloucester and get a bus or train to Stroud. It's only a few miles.

As for Stroud to Bisley, that is around 4 miles. Bear in mind that Stroud in in a valley, Bisley is 600-plus feet up. It's a l-o-n-g hill - I know because I had to walk it when we had all that snow in January!

There are a few - very small - buses that pass through Bisley. Very small because the lanes are so narrow! Four times a day the no 25 stops by the Bear Inn - at 8.37, 11.07, 14.17 and 16.47. This takes about 20 minutes to get down to Stroud.

http://ww5.gloucestershire.gov.uk/Bu...mes/025MF.HTML

(This 2008 timetable is all I can find, but if you definitely are coming to Bisley then I will check the times properly for you.)

Alternatively there are taxis which would be something like 15 GBP each way. And there are buses every hour from Eastcombe/Bussage down to Stroud but you've still got to get to Eastcombe.

Oxford today took me 90 minutes due to an accident on the A40, but I got back in 50 minutes. Actually taking the train would have taken considerably longer because you can't get a direct train from Stroud. In fact it takes longer to get to Oxford by train from Stroud than it does to get to London!
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Old Mar 17th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Hi, glad we can help.
Your Northern itinerary sounds fine. It's difficult for me to say miss the Peaks, but what you have already planned makes sense.
You'll have some time on Day 4 to do more exploring. Skipton itself is a bustling market town with a castle. Somewhere to stop off on the way (not directly on the route but easily done) would be Fountains Abbey. This is a World Heritage site and a large estate which also contains Studley Royal Water Gardens, Fountains Hall, a very good visitor centre etc. You could easily spend a lot of time here!
www.fountainsabbey.org.uk
In preparation for your trip you might like to watch the film Calendar Girls as a lot of it was filmed in Wharfedale where you will be exploring if you do the Dales drive. Also if you do the Dales drive don't miss stopping off at Bolton Abbey. The car parking can be a bit steep here (£6 when I last went) but the Abbey and its setting is magnificent. Alternatively you could have lunch at the Devonshire Arms and park for free!
www.thedevonshirearms.co.uk/index.cfm
Malham Cove is also pretty amazing - and worth the effort if you climb up the steps and see the limestone pavement at the top.
If you feel like pushing the boat out, the Angel at Hetton does wonderful food, is picture book pretty, and surrounded by walks if you want to walk off your meal! The days will be long when you are here so you can make the most of the light evenings.
www.angelhetton.co.uk
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
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Old Mar 17th, 2010, 12:14 PM
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+1 vote for climbing up to the top of Malham Cove.
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 05:54 AM
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Hi again Julia, thank you for the bus/walking info - I think it may just be easier to drop the car in Gloucester on our last day then head to London from there. I didn't realise how uphill it was or downhill with our luggage.

Regarding those two cottages does one have the edge on the other? They both look so lovely, at present we are leaning towards Dove Cottage as it has a garden area and BBQ which would be just perfect to enjoy on a long balmy evening with a G&T. I think we are pretty much settled on Bisley.

Morgana, yes Fountains Abbey was the place I was thinking of when I originally posted about going to Ripon, that looks fabulous. I love that film but will certainly have to watch it again and concentrate on the scenery, thanks to suggesting that. It will be disappointing to miss the Peak District and I was looking forward to seeing Chartwell House - just to have that image of Mr Darcy coming out of the lake but we can't do everything or so my DH keeps telling me! But I do feel the extra couple of days in the Dales and Moors will more than make up for it and we won't be rushing so much.

Would you mind suggesting a few ideas for accommodation? I guess it would make sense to stay in York itself for the first night so any nice B&B's with middle of the road prices? Once we pick up the car should we move to a different location out of York, a base for our two Moors days? And then where would be a nice place/area to stay for a Dales days?

As for the Lakes-where do you suggest we start looking for accommodation there, Ambleside, Buttermere, Windermere - just so many places to choose from? I guess we need somewhere that is easily managed to drive in and out of.

One last question if I may, if we drive from the Lakes District to Bisley in the Cotswolds I guess we will be using the M6 but is there another more scenic way? Or maybe somewhere we can stop off for lunch and a walk? Or should we just get from A to B without any detours? Any suggestions would be most helpful - just trying to get our heads around the logistics.

Thanks too Alan, for the thumbs up on Malham Cove - I was looking at a YHA in the area but still not sure we would be ok using them.

We really do appreciate your time and assistance - its great getting so much brilliant advice from people you live there!
Maudie
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 09:04 AM
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Cooper's Cottage v Dove Cottage, hmmm.

Well, I've not been inside Dove Cottage. Both are small but I get the impression from the pics that Cooper's Cottage is a bit larger. At CC you have a separate galley kitchen, but it looks like DC has the kitchen area as part of the main room. Look at the photos, you see that table in DC that's in both pics? Well that is in the middle of the combined kitchen/sitting room, It is not a big room!



CC has a small downstairs bathroom with shower cubicle, and the bedroom is quite spacious whereas DC has the bathroom upstairs making the bedroom a bit smaller. In both cottages the staircase leads directly into the bedroom.

DC has a patio area, but CC has a grassy area with garden furniture. Very few places to rent would not allow you some sort of outside space. CC is a little higher up the valley and will therefore have a better view - I can see it as I drive along the other side, but I don't see Dove Cottage. Looking at the enlarged view from DC's bedroom window, I would say CC definitely has the better views, more open across the village and the valley.

I note that DC is 100 pounds a week more expensive in high season. But they do give you a welcome basket!

So it's kind of six-of-one and half-a-dozen of the other.
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 09:08 AM
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Hi
More than happy to give you info about places to see, restaurants and pubs to eat in etc but hard for me to recommend York B and B's as obviously I don't use them! But if you follow this link there are some York 'experts' who you can message or post a question, and I know they will be able to help you.
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowFor...e_England.html
For your Moors day I'd recommend either the Pickering or Helmsley area (Pickering is larger than Helmsley).
However, with a car you could choose a farm or rural village B and B which are often very good value for money. I have heard good things about this place which would be great for your railway day-
www.yorkshirenet.co.uk/stayat/hollinslodge/
For your Dales day it might be easier just to stay in York if you don't want to keep packing and unpacking. But having said that, I think you would love Pateley Bridge in Nidderdale.
ww.roslynhouse.co.uk
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Old Mar 19th, 2010, 12:24 AM
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Some more photos of Cooper's Cottage on this website...

http://www.fivevalleyscottages.co.uk...es/nwc0010.htm

In June CC is 295 GBP a week, and DC is 475 GBP a week. Even though you are only staying a few days and the rate would be pro-rata it would seem that Dove Cottage would cost you considerably more.

Got to go now, but re the drive south, if you went via Chester and then down the Welsh Borders as far as Ludlow before branching east to Worcester (1 hour from Bisley) you could avoid much motorway driving, and it is the most beautiful drive. Have a look at a map and see what you think.
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Old Mar 19th, 2010, 04:50 AM
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Morgana, Thanks for the suggestion to use Trip Advisor UK, I use the site all the time to check on accommodation but didn't think to use the UK site.

Hollins Lodge looks great, I am sure we would be happy there and I just knew Roslyn House in Pateley would be wonderful before I even looked at it - its my real name and even spelt the same which is unusual. I think we would be more than okay with packing and unpacking just to stay in those places.

JuliaT, thanks so much for the in-depth "look" at both cottages and yes it does seem 6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other but I think Coopers Cottage is the one. The view at CC wins out as well as the price and if we get to give you a wave when you pass then so much the better. We will have about 6 days there so it will be great to stay put and just really enjoy our time in your beautiful part of the world.

DH is really happy with your suggestion of driving via Chester, that's a great idea. We were watching a program on TV last night by Griff Rhys Jones called Rivers, in the episode he was exploring the Wye and Severn Rivers, we really enjoyed the scenery so we can relate to the general area. When our trip gets closer I hope I can rely on you for more exact information for the journey.

Thank you to both of you for your detailed information, you have given us some choices we would never have thought of. We can now go ahead and make some firm plans, even though our holiday is ages away its nice to know we have that part of our trip settled, at times it can feel overwhelming! But with your help we feel confidant that we can have a wonderful holiday and you can rest assured you did help us to make a "great itinerary" I feel like I have made two new friends!

As the time gets closer I am sure we will have lots more questions. We really appreciate the time you have spent answering our question.

Best wishes
Maudie
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Old Mar 19th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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No problem Maudie, ask away all you like!

And it would be lovely to meet with you when you are just down the road in Bisley so keep in touch...

My email is [email protected]

(Totally irrelevant, but one of my daugahter's middle name is Maude. Such a pretty name I think.)
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