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Kam Jul 19th, 2001 07:24 AM

Help with Itinerary Please
I will be in England for 2 wks at the end of August with my husband and two children (11 & 13). Our itinerary looks like this: <BR>-4 nights/3 days London - booked Starlight Express- will see Tower of London, Imperial War Museum, Hyde Park (staying at London Elizabeth),Eye Over London, do Big Bus or Original Tour first day, British Museum <BR>-early train to Bath - day sightseeing - pickup rental car and head to Worcester to visit relatives for 3 nights - while here we'll do Warwick Castle and maybe Stratford <BR>-blank day/ night which unfortunately falls on the bank holiday Monday - need help here <BR>-1 night near Dumfries in a castle <BR>-2 nights in Chester - will spend one day touring in Wales <BR>-drive to New Forest area for 3 nights again to visit relatives (hopefully via Avebury <BR>if time permits) <BR>Any comments or suggestions would really be appreciated. I'm trying to make this trip as much fun for the children as possible as it is unlikely we'll have a chance to bring them back again.

janis Jul 19th, 2001 07:50 AM

Everyplace you mentioned is wonderful - but your itinerary is very scattered - going north/south, backwards/forwards with little rhyme or reason. <BR> <BR>Let me make a few suggestions to make your itinerary less hectic: <BR> <BR>London (your plans there are fine). Pick up rental car at Heathrow (not in Bath). You don't save anything by taking the train since it is an easy drive to Bath and you would either have to drop the car back at Bath or pay extra to drop it at Heathrow. <BR> <BR>I Would go from Heathrow to the New Forest (not a bad drive). Then after visiting your relatives travel NW to Bath. Spend the day in Bath and then up the motorway to Worcester. using Worcester as a base you can see Stratford/Warwick and even Chester or North Wales. So staying 4 nights with them might be a good idea. <BR> <BR>Now comes the difficult part - Driving all the way to SW Scotland for one night seems a bit daft. It isn't a bad drive to Scotland - but once you are in Dumfries/Galloway the routes aren't very direct. If you are set on the castle stay in Dumfries do stay two nights. <BR> <BR>Your plan - Driving from Dumfries all the way back to the New Forest and then back toBath to drop off the car would be VERY difficult.

Kam Jul 19th, 2001 08:12 AM

Thanks for the response - I know it seems a little scattered but we had to fit the visiting in on weekends - also we drop the car off at Gatwick on the way home - Scotland is a long drive but we are indulging my son - the castle is too expensive for a second night there but perhaps somewhere in between?

janis Jul 19th, 2001 12:35 PM

Please reconsider - I'm afraid it really is more than a "little scattered". You are planning a 650 mile detour (200+ miles up from Worcester and 400+ miles back from the Dumfries area to the New Forest for one overnight in a castle for your preteen son. <BR> <BR>Is it THIS particular castle, or just ANY castle he wants? If you simply want to stay overnight in a castle why don't you look into someplace in North Wales (Ruthin Castle comes to mind as an especially nice one) which is less than an hour from Chester. <BR> <BR>This would save you HUNDREDS of miles of boring motorway driving (the only way you could possibly acomplish the Dumfries trip in your time frame) and actually give you time to see/enjoy the castle you are staying in. Distances in the UK (even with some on the motorways) are much "longer" than in the US. Plan on 650 miles taking 13 to 20 hours. A LOT of time to be stuck in a car.

NotEnglish Jul 19th, 2001 01:54 PM

Why would you waste any time in Chester. Spend it in Wales.

Kam Jul 20th, 2001 06:42 AM

janis -Actually - it's Scotland that he wants to visit - the castle was my idea for something they couldn't experience at home. Maybe it was a bad idea but I've booked it now. Chester is also a given as my husband's family lived there for generations and his family name keeps cropping up in the area which will I hope give our children an interest in the history....I guess my big concern was that one blank day between Worcester and Dumfries that happens to be the bank holiday. I really think I need to book something for that night somewhere between the two and I was looking for suggestions. <BR>We are only driving from Dumfries to Chester and from there to the New Forest area. I think you sound frustrated by all the overly ambitious agendas you read, mine included - I know it must sound like "if it's Tuesday we must be in Liverpool" (and here I thought we'd really pared back). <BR> <BR>NotEnglish - Wales deserves far more than the two days I will be in Chester ! one day........ <BR> <BR>Anyway, thank you both for taking the time to reply and if you or anyone can think of a convenient and interesting stop between Worcester and Dumfries, I'd appreciate the input.

Anne Jul 20th, 2001 06:52 AM

I can't remember the title (and the book is at home), but when I was planning a trip to England with my kids I bought an excellent book about London from I THINK it was called "London for FAmilies".

xxx Jul 20th, 2001 07:23 AM

Kam, you are looking for suggestions for specific portions of your itinerary. Originally, you posted your entire itinerary and asked for "Any comments or suggestions would really be appreciated." <BR> <BR>Now, someone has gone to the trouble of giving your two detailed responses that you are ignoring and did not really want in the first place. I'm not trying to bash you at all, but how would you feel if you were trying so hard to answer someone's request when they didn't really want that advice in the first place (even though it was requested)? Of course, the poster, as you pointed out, sounds "frustrated." <BR> <BR>Perhaps, if you rephrase your request to fit your last post, which stated, "I guess my big concern was that one blank day between Worcester and Dumfries that happens to be the bank holiday. I really think I need to book something for that night somewhere between the two [Worcester and Dumfries] and I was looking for suggestions." That appears to be the only suggestion to your itinerary that really are seeking.

Kam Jul 20th, 2001 08:01 AM

OK - I give up. I do appreciate the advice and I think I said thank you. If you read my post carefully and the replies I think you will see that I wasn't driving 400 miles to Dumfries from Worcester but was looking for a stop in between and from Dumfries I wasn't driving 600 miles to New Forest but was stopping in Chester.I was hoping to get a few suggestions for things to do or see in the areas I was going to be in. I obviously wasn't clear. I apologize for posting a request for help and I will go back to my tour books.

janis Jul 20th, 2001 08:17 AM

Kam - Don't worry. No offense taken. I honestly thought you were looking for suggestions on the itinerary. <BR> <BR>That being said -- On this itinerary (which you already know is going to be rushed) I would not stop between Dumfries and Worcester. I would spend two nights in Scotland. One in the castle and one in a B&B in the same area. There is a lot to see and you could even squeeze in a side trip to Hadrian's Wall which the kids should love. <BR> <BR>Then it is a straight shot down the Motorway to Worcester. About 3 - 4 hours.

janis Jul 20th, 2001 08:22 AM

ps: I didn't mean you would be driving the 650 miles all in one shot -- but Worcester to Dumfries to the New Forest IS over 600 miles so you would be driving that far to accomodate essentially one over night.

xxx Jul 20th, 2001 11:38 AM

Kam--I have no critique of your schedule, only my own experiences and observations based on our UK trip earlier this spring. 1. Parking was difficult in Bath. You may not wish to have to contend with a car there. 2. While driving distances were often short, they took more time than anticipated. In addition, I am an adventurous driver and liked the freedom that a car offered us. But after a week, I was more than ready to get rid of that car. Driving on the left is not terribly difficult BUT it does require concentration and can be more mentally exhausting than you anticipate. 3. We spent the night in Christleton right outside of Chester. Our hotel was called the Chesire Cat. ( No,I don't work for them. For 55 GBP per night, it was one of the nicest places we stayed. 4. After Warwick, consider Kennilworth Castle. It is only a a few miles away and as it is a ruin, it is a nice contrast to the fully restored Warwick. My opinion (and it's just that, only mine) was that Stratford was overrated. Although I admit I am not a Shakespeare fan, I felt it was simply a few historic sites surrounded by shops, shops and more shops. 5. We made the VERY painful decision to delete Scotland from this trip. We just did not have the time for the distance. 6. If you have the time, North Wales is worthy of more than a day. It was by far the best part of our trip and we wished we had planned for more time there. We toured 5 castles in 2 days--Conwy, Beaumaris, Caenarfon, Cricceth and Harlech. Other than Caenarfon, they are ruins and there is nothing "inside" to tour. Have a great trip.

Lalady Jul 20th, 2001 07:54 PM

As a Californian who lived and drove in th UK for several years, I strongly urge you to multiply UK miles by 1.5 to 2.5, to give you an idea of driving times. It's not like 600 miles in CA! <BR> <BR>All the best.

Tom Jul 21st, 2001 05:05 PM

Kam - you sound annoyed. But look at this from another point of view. From some of your earlier posts I think (I might be wrong here) that you are from California. <BR> <BR>If so, if a Fodorite posted "we will be in San Diego for 3 nights then are going to Tahoe for one night and then to Indio for 3 nights to visit relatives and we are dropping the rental car car back in San Jose. Please give me suggestions about this itinerary." Wouldn't you kindly explain (as I think Janis tried to do) that the itinerary doesn't make any sense and they might want to re-think it?? <BR> <BR>As has been exlained by several others -distances take much longer in England and you will be spending most of your time in the car - not a very good way to see England/Scotland - especially for the poor kids stuck in the back seat for 2 weeks.

Kam Jul 23rd, 2001 08:05 AM

I thought I may revisit this post Monday am. Janis - thanks for the advice about staying 2 nights in Dumfries area - I think you're right and we'll likely do that rather than stopping and exploring enroute. I still don't understand all the comments about spending so much time in the car though-We have 4 car trips (commutes) of any length at all and these are Bath to Worcester 1.5 hours, Worcester to Dumfries 4 hrs - Dumfries to Chester 3 hrs and Chester to New Forest 4 hrs -these times are according to Maporama)Why is this unreasonable? <BR>-I'm not from California - but the right coastline - I'm from BC.( yes we really are braving England with our poor battered Canadian dollar) We have driven to California several times and I know that this is not I5 driving but am I really doing too much driving? This is a serious question as I have spent a lot of time researching in books and reading this forum and others to try and get a sense of what we want to do and what we can do and feel that we've already cut out so much. Of course everyone wants to see as much as possible - after all there is so much to see but I don't want us all to be exhausted either. <BR>Again - I REALLY appreciate the suggestions that have been made and the time taken to reply to my posts 9and especially Janis). If I sound annoyed, I'm sorry. It was more frustration as I felt I wasn't being very clear about my plans. I also didn't want to put too many "I have to be here on this date" in the original post as I didn't want to bore all the people who read these looking for information. I should have been more specific. I am upset thinking that because of my posts anyone would think that their advice isn't appreciated. The responses to these posts, especially by those who are residents in Britian, make us all feel welcome as visitors to your country and perhaps that is what travelling is all about in the end.

Steve Jul 23rd, 2001 08:22 AM

We were in Chester about 20 years ago so my information may be dated. Ruthin Castle in Wales had a great banquet with knights, wenches & knaves, etc. A nearby slate mine conducted tours deep underground. Also, one of the shops on the main street in Chester had an access to a Roman bath through their basement. They didn't advertise it. We were told by a local to go see it.

Steve Jul 23rd, 2001 08:27 AM

We were in Chester about 20 years ago when our children we 10 & 12, so my information may be dated. Ruthin Castle in Wales had a great banquet with knights, wenches & knaves, etc. A nearby slate mine conducted tours deep underground. Also, one of the shops on the main street in Chester had an access to a Roman bath through their basement. They didn't advertise it. We were told by a local to go see it.

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