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First Cut England itinerary – your feedback requested

First Cut England itinerary – your feedback requested

Dec 22nd, 2013, 09:20 AM
  #1  
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First Cut England itinerary – your feedback requested

We were in England 20 years ago for our honeymoon and want to go back again in early June to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. On our honeymoon, we visited Lyme Regis, the Cotswolds, and Wales. We want to re-visit London and the Lake District plus see some other parts of England. Here’s the draft itinerary and some questions for the England experts. Thank you.

Fly to London Heathrow from DC

London- inc. day trip to Cambridge (3 days). Visit British Museum, Crystal Palace. Does it make sense to do Cambridge as a daytrip or should we drive there once we rent the car (see next step). It seems to be in the other direction of where we are ultimately heading.

Rent a car from Heathrow – we are too chicken to rent a car in the city and drive out from there, not being used to left-side of the road driving.

Stonehenge (1 day) – see it at dusk so we can get up close.

Oxfordshire (3 days) – see Oxford and driving tour of Midsomer area using Midsomer Trail maps on the tourist website. Maybe drive through Cotswolds a bit. We were disappointed with the Cotswolds 20 years ago as we did not see the Miss Marple environment we were hoping for. I remember being in Chipping Camden. Any thoughts?

Yorkshire (3 days) – see Yorkminster, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Castle Howard. Are the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors good for day hikes? Good scenery? Not really played up in the guidebooks compared to Lake District.

Hadrian's Wall (1 day) – do we need to stay the night here or can we just do it on the drive from Yorkshire to the Lake District.

Lake District (3 days) – follow some Wainwright walks.

Manchester- stay close to airport for the night. Drop off car. Would this be better than driving all the way back to Heathrow?

Fly home from Manchester to DC
gensuki is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 09:40 AM
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Crystal Palace - you do mean the football team?? - no games in early June. And if you mean the Crystal Palace of the Great Exhibition well that burnt town in 1936. Or is there another reason for visiting CP - athletics maybe?

<> you see it behind a fence like everyone else. Unless you're going to celebrate the summer solstice with the druids and hippies.

<> Undoubtably.
sofarsogood is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Cambridge as a day trip by train or bus makes more sense, book train early and the prices are good.
bilboburgler is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 10:32 AM
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Cambridge as a day trip doesn't make sense. . . IF one only has 3 days in London. In fact Cambridge doesn't make all that much sense on this short trip, unless you change some of your other plans.

3 days in yorkshire (remember, it takes ti e to get there in the first p,ace) is not nearly long enough to see all that.

W/ the new visitors center now open at Stonehenge, I'm not sure late access is still offered. Check the English Heritage website.

Hadrian's wall is not enroute from York to the Lakes. From York to the lakes via the Wall is a 5+ hour drive w/o stops so you'd have very little ti e to explore the Wall.
janisj is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 10:37 AM
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North Yorkshire -
You have far too much planned for 3 days so will need to narrow it down.
The Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors are both large National Parks.
I live in the Dales (Wensleydale) and can vouch it is scenically beautiful and perfect for walking.
Castle Howard isn't in either national park, it's in the Howardian Hills and it's not a place to be hurried. Lots to see there. It's close to the Moors though which are also great for walking.
North Yorkshire has very different scenery from the Lake District (no lakes or mountains for a start!).
York itself is a must see - not just the Minster.
Hadrian's Wall -
You'll be going way out of your way to visit when going from Yorkshire to the Lakes.
Morgana is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 10:38 AM
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Oh, and what do you think is at Crystal Palace??
janisj is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 01:46 PM
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"we did not see the Miss Marple environment we were hoping for. I remember being in Chipping Camden. Any thoughts?"

Only you know what you were hoping for.

If you didn't find it then, it's unlikely you'll find it now.

Miss Marple IS a work of fiction, you know.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 04:12 PM
  #8  
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Thanks to everybody for their feedback. My husband is a dinosaur fan and although the real Crystal Palace burned down, apparently there is a park which has dinosaur structures which he wants to see.

I know Miss Marple is fiction; I was expecting to see a lot of cozy cottages with lots of flowers and I guess I didn't see a lot of that.
gensuki is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 04:31 PM
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>>I was expecting to see a lot of cozy cottages with lots of flowers and I guess I didn't see a lot of that.<<

I have no idea where you looked -- but the Cotswolds (including around Chipping Campden) are chock-a-block with cottages/flowers. Maybe your memory is a bit foggy after 20 years?

The Crystal Palace museum is in pretty far south London and nearly an hour by public transit from most other places you will be visiting. AFAIK they just have a few concrete dinosaur sculptures. If he's interested in dinosaurs, why not go to the Natural History Museum which has a lot of space devoted to them.
janisj is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 04:34 PM
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Maybe you were looking for thatched cottages -- there are some in the Cotswolds but they are mostly found in other parts of the country . . . But there are absolutely tons of cottages/gardens in the Cotswolds.
janisj is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 04:43 PM
  #11  
 
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Another consideration is that the filming of numerous British shows in small towns or villages don't often give a real perception of the place in the real world. For example, many of the outdoor scenes in Downton Abbey are done in Bampton, Oxfordshire. I've been to Bampton and doubt that any Downton Abbey fan passing through on the A4095 would recognize the location.

There are certainly many villages with "cozy cottages with lots of flowers".
historytraveler is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 05:11 PM
  #12  
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Great! Where should I go in the Cotswolds to see the best cozy cottages and flowers? Regarding foggy memories, my husband also remembers being disappointed. Regarding Crystal Palace, my husband has googled and he still wants to see it, even if it is kitschy. I also may take North or South "Midsomer Trail". Do you think these are good?
http://www.visitmidsomer.com/page/Mi...urders_Trails/

Regarding Yorkshire, there is no way I can do a deep dive in 3 days, but can you recommend what one can do to get a good feel of the place in 3 days? The problem when you live so far away is everything can't be a deep dive and you hope in the short time you have you can see something terrific.
gensuki is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 05:38 PM
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To start with try Minster Lovell,the Slaughters ( Upper and Lower) and Burford but get off High Street and explore its side streets. There are, of course, others that are seldom if ever mentioned in the guide books or here on Fodors but discovering these places for yourselves should be part of your experience.
historytraveler is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 06:23 PM
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first -- maybe ditch the 'cozy' bit (and never use the 'quaint' word )

If you were disappointed by the Cotswolds -- you probably still will be. Not much changes thereabouts. The villages historytraveler mentions are lovely - but then so is Chipping Campden. Your expectations may be a bit skewed.

None of those villages on the Midsomer trails are in the Cotswolds. (I lived for a time sort of at the junction of the two 'trails'. along the old A40) Some lovely places - but if you didn't find the Cotswolds scenic, you'll probably feel the same about these.

>>you hope in the short time you have you can see something terrific.<<

Of course you can - just not the Moors/Dales/Castle/Howard/York in 3 days. That would be a rushed week. So pick 2 - York and a day driving through the Moors - or- a couple of days in the Dales and a day in York. something like that. That will get your toe in the water but FAR from a deep dive.
janisj is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 06:36 PM
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Oh - and most of the places on the Midsomer trails aren't villages at all but good sized towns.
janisj is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 08:22 AM
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Oh the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace! That takes me back 40 years to Sunday outings. We loved climbing over them as children - they where HUGE.

It's an easy enough journey if your husband is set on seeing them. Less than half an hour by train from London Bridge or Victoria to Crystal Palace station, which is right by the park. It won't be a scenic train ride, but you'll see some of the real London - the flats, council estates and tiny terrace houses that most Londoners live in, rather than the swanky Georgian splendour of the West End.
anicecupoftea is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:55 PM
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Why not take a train to York and rent a car there?
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Dec 24th, 2013, 08:27 AM
  #18  
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Yes, sigh, I realize the Midsomer Murder Trails are not in the Cotswolds. I didn't realize "cozy" would be offensive to some, so my apologies. It comes from watching too much Miss Marple and Midsomer Murders on TV (yes--I know they are works of fiction).

We thought we would get the car at Heathrow so that we could drive to Stonehenge and Oxfordshire area.

By the way, I've gotten some great advice on this thread (thank you!), but don't appreciate the snark by a few. On a lighter note, my husband lives dinosaur kitsch--you should see our dinosaur snowglobe collection!
gensuki is offline  
Dec 24th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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I hope my posts didn't come across as snarky. Didn't mean them as such. Hard to tell the tone when reading online. The 'cosy' bit was just stepping awfully close to the 'q' word which rubs a lot of Brits the wrong way - like one is putting a disneyesque spin on things.

If you want to visit the midsomer areas and the Cotswolds, renting the car at LHR is really the only place that makes sense.

And if you DH is into dinosaur kitchen - then definitely go to Crystal Palace.
janisj is offline  
Dec 24th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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Have you seen these?

http://www.dinosauradventure.co.uk/
http://www.wildlifedinosaurpark.co.uk/
janisj is offline  

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