England in April?

Old Jan 16th, 2022, 04:13 PM
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England in April?

One among several places I am considering for a 12-night trip to Europe in mid-April is England. Other than several trips to London and its immediate vicinity, I have not travelled in England or the rest of the United Kingdom. I'm looking for an itinerary that combines interesting urban sights, quaint villages, castles and gardens, and some time in nature. I've thought about an itinerary that begins in Bath and ends in York, with the Cotswolds and North Wales in between, using a combination of public transportation, taxis, and a private tour here and there as needed. Given interests, what do you think of the following:

Arrive in London Heathrow, proceed to Bath.
Bath, 4 nights - Visit city; day trip to Wells and Glastonbury; day trip to Salisbury and Stonehenge - I am interest in seeing the Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta. For Stonehenge, I am interested in a walk from Woodhenge to Stonehenge.
Cotswolds, 2 nights - Possible bases I've been reading about are Moreton-in-Marsh (train station), Stow-on-the-Wold, and Chipping Campden - Do folks have a preference?
North Wales, 2 nights - Is there a good base from which to visit the castles in the area and Snowdonia?
Chester, 1 night
York, 3 nights
Fly out of Manchester or London Heathrow

I've also looked at Cornwall and the Lake District. Does April seem early for those? Other suggestions?

Thank you.
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 07:35 PM
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OK -- just quick right now with a general comment. While all of those destinations are doable to some extent by public transport . . . some of the connections between each region can be difficult with multiple transfers etc.

For instance Bath to M-i-M take 2+ hours with a change at Reading. Then a taxi or bus ro which ever town you decide on so 1.5 days for the Cotswolds. M-i-M to say Conwy takes 5-6 hours with 2 changes - meaning your 2 nights in North Wales would net you one day.

So unless you can add more time, I would seriously think about limiting the scope of the trip. Either flying in/out of LHR and doing Bath/Salisbury/the Cotswolds . . . OR. . . . Flying in/out of MAN and doing North Wales/Chester/York
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 12:57 AM
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Cornwall gets the spring before anywhere else in England so if I were doing a trip in April I'd say that Cornwall makes a lot of sense, if you add that to the Cotswolds, Bath, Oxford, Salisbury that would make a great holiday.

Adding in Wales and York/Yorkshire is very much a taster trip to England and Wales and for me that would be too fast but for some it would be a holiday.

As Janisj says the idea of following a horizontal (horizontal ) line along the train and motorways looking at North Wales, Liverpool, Chester, Manchester, Leeds and York makes a lot of sense but again don't rush it. April should be pleasant but it remember this is the "north" and it can rain a bit up here.
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 04:56 AM
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@janisj and @bilboburgler, thank you. I will aim to concentrate on SW England. I'm thinking one Cornwall base and potentially one additional destination. Does it make sense to head straight to Cornwall after Bath and the Cotswolds or is there a convenient stop in between, which would make Cornwall my final stop?
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 05:07 AM
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Cornwall is a long and thin peninsula and might benefit from two stops as the main road along it is very slow and all the interesting bits are off tiny roads, 1.5 cars wide. Before Cornwall there is Devon and yes all of it is nice but apart from small ancient churches, tors, hills, ancient manors, tiny fishing ports etc there is nothing that jumps to my mind, but you see I come from Dorset and to us Devon is an empty void ;-) . If it were me I'd get to Cornwall. However, around Exeter there are some wonderful visits so I might include those environs to the trip.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 08:43 AM
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There does not seem to be an easy way to incorporate a couple of days in the Cotswolds without the hassle of complicated connections (@janisj, thank you for making it clear to me) or very expensive taxi transfers. While a day trip out of Bath is an option, we may be spending more time in a vehicle than exploring the towns and villages and walking between it. This further limits a SW England option. As such, we're now looking at an itinerary focused on North England and Wales, as follows:

Friday, 4/15: Arrive in Manchester (4 nights).

Saturday, 4/16: Visit Manchester.

Sunday, 4/17: Visit Manchester.

Monday, 4/18: Day trip to Chester.

Tuesday, 4/19: Train to York (3 nights). Visit York.

Wednesday, 4/20: Day trip to Yorkshire Dales.

Thursday, 4/21: Day trip to North York Moors.

Friday, 4/22: Train to Conwy (3 nights). Visit Conwy.

Saturday, 4/23: Day trip to Caernarfon Castle. Any recommendations on other places to see in the area?

Sunday, 4/24: Day trip to Snowdonia National Park. Looking at walking and easy hiking options.

Monday, 4/25: Train to Cardiff (2 nights). Visit Cardiff.

Tuesday, 4/26: Day trip in South Wales.

What do you think? Thanks again.

Disclosure: For the Fodorites who have read and / or responded to my thread on a similar topic for the South of France, we are looking at the UK as our Plan B option. With COVID infection rates still rising and / or plateauing in France, it may not come down enough for us to feel comfortable moving ahead. If not, we would be looking at this option. I understand that much is unpredictable and the situation in the UK may not be too different, which is why we are considering plans C and D as well.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 09:49 AM
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Either move Chester to run with your North Wales bit at the end or move North Wales to Chester. They are close neighbours.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 12:06 PM
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ok, what happened to Cornwall? did we not make the final cut? Shame. Cos as Bilbo said April is an ideal time to visit Cornwall. My suggestion was going to be getting the train to Cornwall straight from landing at LHR [direct train from Paddington to Penzance, one of the world's great train journeys, especially the stretch from Exeter onwards] then renting a car and after touring Cornwall [PZ makes a fine base, but here are others] working your way back to London via Bath, and if there's time, the Cotswolds.

Never mind, the other trip looks great too.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by annhig View Post
ok, what happened to Cornwall? did we not make the final cut? Shame. Cos as Bilbo said April is an ideal time to visit Cornwall. My suggestion was going to be getting the train to Cornwall straight from landing at LHR [direct train from Paddington to Penzance, one of the world's great train journeys, especially the stretch from Exeter onwards] then renting a car and after touring Cornwall [PZ makes a fine base, but here are others] working your way back to London via Bath, and if there's time, the Cotswolds.

Never mind, the other trip looks great too.
In April that would be my choice too.
Now you've got me wanting to revisit Cornwall.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 12:28 PM
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@hetismij2, thank you for your feedback. Are you suggesting visiting Chester as a day trip from North Wales or staying overnight on the way from York to North Wales? I guess I'm trying to determine how much there is to see and do. There is not much information on Chester compared to other locations.

@annhig, Cornwall is definitely of interest, but we're having a hard time determining how to put together an itinerary that relies mostly on public transport. We could stay a few nights in Bath, visit the city, and take day trips in the surrounding area, and then go to Cornwall, visit from a base, but then what? I'm trying to full 12 nights. We're not planning on hitting London on this trip.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 12:41 PM
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There's plenty to see and do in Chester - cathedral, castle, walk along the walls, listen to the town crier, boat trip on the River Dee, museums...

Have a look at these two articles for information.

https://www.sloweurope.com/community.../chester.5658/

https://www.sloweurope.com/community...-chester.6060/
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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
@hetismij2, thank you for your feedback. Are you suggesting visiting Chester as a day trip from North Wales or staying overnight on the way from York to North Wales? I guess I'm trying to determine how much there is to see and do. There is not much information on Chester compared to other locations.

@annhig, Cornwall is definitely of interest, but we're having a hard time determining how to put together an itinerary that relies mostly on public transport. We could stay a few nights in Bath, visit the city, and take day trips in the surrounding area, and then go to Cornwall, visit from a base, but then what? I'm trying to full 12 nights. We're not planning on hitting London on this trip.
Tripplanner, there are plenty of buses if you have the mind to do some careful planning - in particular there is an open top bus which does tours of the far west from PZ [though a quick check shows it only runs May to September but I'll put this here for others https://www.firstbus.co.uk/adventure...ds-end-coaster ]- plus a train that goes to St Ives, so I think that you could probably fill a week or so just using public transport from there.

Even easier would be staying in Truro which would give you access to virtually all of the county via bus and train or Falmouth which has trains, buses and boats - lots of possibilities for excursions. You might find this TR from AlessandraZoe helpful:

Cornwall Without a Car--DONE!

Another idea is what I believe Thursdaysd did and use a tour company like Rabbies Tours - https://www.rabbies.com/en/england-t...nds-5-day-tour

Hope this might help to change your mind - or give someone else some inspiration.
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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 12:36 PM
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@wasleys, thank you. Sounds like overnighting in Chester will make the most sense.

@annhig, thank you. The number of transfers and the amount of time we would be spending on trains and buses are giving me pause as we don't have a lot of time. Not suggesting we're not interested in Cornwall - we are - but it may make more sense when we have more time flexibility.
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Old Feb 1st, 2022, 09:10 AM
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Coming a bit late to the discussion but I'd actually look across the country a bit, to Cambridge, then north. The weather can be drier in the spring than in the west or north and it might tick some boxes. Maybe you could do a tour of some of the great cathedrals in that part of the world. Start in Cambridge, an eminently walkable and lovely town, then move on up to Ely, with its "Ship of the Fens" cathedral. From Ely, it's a couple of hours on the train to Lincoln, home of its glorious cathedral but also to a fascinating medieval core. It's one of the most appealing places in England, to me at least.

The final base would be York, from which you could easily take day trips to destinations like Fountains Abbey (amazing in the spring) and out to the coast - maybe the village of Staithes (Captain Cook's home port) and Whitby. There are also day trips available to Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks, or if you want even more cathedrals and stunning small towns, it's easy to make a day trip from York up to Durham, where (to me at least) Durham Cathedral is the granddaddy of them all; it gets my vote for Europe's single most impressive structure. But the town of Durham is also lovely - riverside, university and castle...

Two or three nights (or more) in Cambridge, Lincoln and York would provide a terrific experience, with minimal logistic hassles, ample accommodation options, and glorious countryside for exploring.

Some photos (not mine) to illustrate -

Cambridge



Ely



Lincoln



York



Durham



Staithes


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Old Feb 2nd, 2022, 12:53 AM
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That would work really well, but you forgot to mention Stamford an unspoilt Georgian town built of Jurassic Liumestone which glows golden in the sunlight. It is the equal of any of the Cotswold towns, but without the pressure of visiotors. There is also Burghley House close by which is described as 'one of teh treasure houses of England
https://www.discover-rutland.co.uk/stamford/
.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2022, 12:43 PM
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<<@annhig, thank you. The number of transfers and the amount of time we would be spending on trains and buses are giving me pause as we don't have a lot of time. Not suggesting we're not interested in Cornwall - we are - but it may make more sense when we have more time flexibility.>>

Of course, tripplanner, I get it completely. I just wanted to assure you and others that it can be done!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2022, 05:46 PM
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I visited Cornwall by train & bus a while back for about the amount of time you have. I stayed in St. Ives & Falmouth. Train to St. Ives, there's a circular bus route for St. Ives/Sennen Cove for a walk to Land's End/Penzance/St.Michael's Mount. Then train to Falmouth. It was part of a longer trip but I found the Cornwall part perfectly doable by public transport. So much of what I consider the best of England sometimes takes a bit of ingenuity to get to by public transport but it's so worthwhile.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2022, 06:59 PM
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@wasleys and @Gardyloo, thank you for the additional suggestions.

@annhig and @MmePerdu, if we went with Cornwall, what else is realistic to fit into 12 nights? I would want to see more of the country than just one region.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2022, 12:49 PM
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TP - if you stayed in Falmouth or Penzance you would have enough for at least 5 -6 days. You could then get the train to Exeter or Bath or for a big city Bristol would be terrific. Any would fill the rest of your time very nicely.
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