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England in November - Comments on Itinerary?

England in November - Comments on Itinerary?

Old Aug 9th, 2014, 05:23 AM
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England in November - Comments on Itinerary?

We are going to England in early November to visit relatives and to do some touring. Us = late 60s, like to walk (even in cloudy, damp, drizzly November weather? ... maybe), like exploring Norman cathedrals, pubs, museums and all that. Have been several times to England but we have added new places on the itinerary below. We will travel around by bus and train. We would welcome your comments, ideas, and/or cautions.

Nov 5: arrive London Heathrow 7 a.m. and take bus to Oxford
Nov 5-6-7: Oxford including one full day out to Blenheim; plan to stay at The Buttery (any comments on this one?)
Nov 8-9: train to Castle Cary and then taxi few miles to Wells; Saturday evening concert in Wells Cathedral--Brahms Requiem and Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending (cannot wait for this!); Sunday afternoon concert in cathedral of Faure's Requiem
Nov 10: Worcester - we know it's not on many travelers' radar but this is for family reasons
Nov 11-12: Birmingham - see comment above, ditto
Nov 13-14-15: London - have been several times before; plan to stay at Premier London County Hall unless I hear disturbing comments from you about this hotel
Nov 16: depart from Heathrow

Many thanks for your thoughts.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 06:29 AM
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Your plan looks absolutely fine.

The location of that Premier Inn is good - it is probably the highest priced Premier Inn and is often booked up because of its location.

It is a long train ride from Castle Cary to Worcester so you might not have much time once you get there. Depends what you want to see/do there but you might want to stay two nights.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 07:21 AM
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Good itinerary. And I've heard good things about the Buttery Hotel; it's very central.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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All sounds perfectly reasonable for what can be a depressing time of year, what with it getting dark all too
early. But the concerts sound magical, and the Christmas lights and decorations should be well on the way.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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Oh forgot . . . re the Buttery - good choice for Oxford. Fabulous location.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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Have you thought about London concerts? We like the Wigmore Hall http://www.wigmore-hall.org.uk/calendar/2014-11
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 07:15 PM
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>

There is good frequent bus service from Wells to Bristol. Then easy train from Bristol to Worcester. This may be better than returning via Castle Cary. (Actually, I`d also likely choose train/bus via Bristol when going to Wells).

I can think of no earthly reason why one would feel the need to be defensive about visiting Worcester. I wish I had been smart enough to spend more time when I was there.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 07:59 PM
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>>I can think of no earthly reason why one would feel the need to be defensive about visiting Worcester.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 03:30 AM
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Thank you all for your comments, very helpful nuggets here. Re Worcester: no disrespect intended, it's just that I have not read much about it, am happy to hear that it is a good place to visit. The Bristol connection to Wells looks much better than Castle Cary; the CC-Worcester train has 15 intermediate stops, which I look forward to avoiding.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 03:45 AM
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You are here for Guy Fawkes night - you could try and find a firework display and bonfire to visit.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 03:45 AM
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November can also be quite beautiful if you get cold sunny mornings with the light really showing off the autumnal colours.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 03:52 AM
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After Wells, I might prefer to stay in Bristol [a great place for concerts] with its own medieval cathedral, and great connections on the train to Birmingham but Worcester is also lovely and I see that this is for family reasons so it looks as if you don't have a choice.

as well as the Wigmore Hall in London, you could consider the Cadogan Hall as well.

The concerts in Wells sound terrific - who is performing?
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 04:18 PM
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Here are the listings for the concerts in Wells Cathedral Saturday, November 8, and Sunday, November 9. I have copied and pasted the information from the 2014 music calendar shown on the excellent web site of the Wells Cathedral:
www.wellscathedral.org.uk

Saturday 8 November 7.00pm
WELLS CATHEDRAL ORATORIO SOCIETY:
BRAHMS REQUIEM
Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem; Brahms Alto Rhapsody;
Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending
Katherine Broderick (soprano), Rachael Lloyd (mezzo soprano),
Darren Jeffery (baritone), Thomas Kemp (violin), Southern Sinfonia,
Matthew Owens (conductor)
Tickets: £10.00 – £25.00; available from Wells Cathedral ShopBoxOffice and atthe door

Sunday 9 November 3.00pm
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY: FAURÉ REQUIEM
A devotional performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem,
sung by Wells Cathedral Choir, interspersed with war poetry
Admission: free Retiring collection in aid of the Poppy Appeal and Wells Cathedral Music
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Old Aug 11th, 2014, 02:01 PM
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EYW&BVT, the Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society are not dissimilar to the choir that I sing with and the Brahms REquiem should be very well sung I think, being part of the normal choral repetoire. I note that next year they are singing Elgar's The Kingdom which by contrast is very rarely done but must be experiencing a revival as we sang it earlier this year.

similarly, the Faure Requiem is rightly a very popular piece and i expect that the cathedral choir will do it very well. We went to Wells a couple of years ago and sadly we didn't attend a concert in the cathedral so I'm quite jealous!
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 03:09 AM
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Annhig, your comments are making me eager to land in Wells. I see that their choir has won many awards and there are several videos of the choir on youtube. Do you live far from Wells? Come join us for the concerts!
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 05:30 AM
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If doing most of that by train look at the BritRail England Pass - especially because November is off-peak and they are discounted 20% - lets you hop on any train anytime - no restrictions and trains go to just about all the places you have on your hit list. For lots of great info on British trains check www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - for schedules and sample fares check www.nationalrail.co.uk.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 11:42 AM
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I've stayed at the Buttery twice and would go back again. It's a short walk from the bus stop to the hotel. Decent breakfast, too. There is no lift, but they are happy to help carry luggage up and down. As others have said, it's a great location.

In Oxford, check out the Oxford TI online before you go for the list of guided walks that they do. It's a fun way to learn more about the city and get into some of the colleges. Plus the meet up for walks is just a couple doors down from the Buttery.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 12:23 PM
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A 4-day BritEngland Flexipass costs $355 in first-class - relfectin a normal Senior discount (60 and over) and if you take 20 % off for the off-peak special valid when OP is going that makes $275 p.p. for unfettered first-class travel - hop on any train anytime - that translates into 39 pounds per day for fully flexible first-class travel throughout England - if wanting to go 2nd class the pass is correspondingly much cheaper.

IME of riding British trains for eons first-class is MUCH better than 2nd class - the difference being greater than on Continental trains IME - in first-class you always find lots of empty seats if just showing up - 2nd class is often chock full - and seats are much larger in first class and on many long-distance trains you get complimentary drinks and food - often unlimited - the whole journey.

anyway check www.nationalrail.co.uk for sample fares and I'm sure you'll see what a bargain that could be if doing most of that by rail.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 12:24 PM
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I should have added - a flexipass gives you X number of days of unlimited travel to be used anytime on any day over a two-month period - so for your longer trips burn a day on a pass - for shorter ones just pay as you go.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 02:02 PM
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Do you live far from Wells? Come join us for the concerts!>>

lovely idea, EYW&BTV. however the choir that i sing in, the Three Spires Singers in Truro, will be doing its own performances of Britten's War Requiem on 8th and 9th November as part of Cornwall's commemoration of WWI. Thanks for the invite though!
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