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If you had to choose: Northern Wales, Lake District, or Great Glen / Central Highlands?

If you had to choose: Northern Wales, Lake District, or Great Glen / Central Highlands?

Mar 4th, 2007, 04:29 AM
  #1  
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If you had to choose: Northern Wales, Lake District, or Great Glen / Central Highlands?

If you had to choose just ONE area in which to spend a few days, where would you go, and why? (Please don't add to my list unless you have a REALLY good reason...I've already gone nutso narrowing this down!)

(a) Northern Wales (e.g. Conwy, Caernarfon, Snowdonia)
(b) Lake District (perhaps based in Ambleside or Grasmere)
(c) What my Fodor's book describes as the "Great Glen / Central Highlands" (specifically Glencoe / Fort William area)

Here's what we're looking for: awesome roads (we really enjoy driving), dramatic scenic vistas, quiet villages, moderate hikes, impressive castles, and of course history in all its shapes and forms. The trip will be in late June / early July.
hausfrau is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 05:02 AM
  #2  
 
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Wow - what a difficult choice! They are all incredibly gorgeous. If I HAD to choose, I would do it in this order:

Scotland Highlands
Northern Wales
Lake District

Sounds like your criteria are similar to ours. If you want jawdropping scenery, you have picked the right bit of the world.

We are returning to Scotland and Northern Yorkshire this summer - just cannot get enough.
batraveler is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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I would agree with that order (even though I'm half Welsh and love North Wales)- but remember that June/July is peak midge time in Scotland and you could end up being eaten alive. You won't get any nasty deseases but they are b#@@%y annoying, and the bites are itchy!
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Mar 4th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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Hi, Hausfrau -

I see you've started your new thread - hope you don't mind my joining in again.

It might be helpful to mention that [as I understand your present plans] you are starting off from Germany, and driving via Cornwall!

If that remains you plan, I suggest North wales - it has all the scenery you want plus little villages, etc. and it won't be too busy.

The lakes will be pretty busy by june/july, and Scotland is very far away!

regards, ann
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Mar 4th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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I agree with all, the choice is difficult, but should be chosen based upon the rest of your trip, so if you are in the west, Wales would be great - and so much less busy then the lakes (I love the lakes, but hate the peak tourist season). I think Wales is the least "discovered" of the three and you wil benefit from that. The crib gogh ridge (snowdon horse shoe) is one of my top 10 mountain scrambles.
Piedmont_Phil is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 06:25 AM
  #6  
 
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My order:
a
c
b
Because you specify impressive castles and scenery - I would say A is your best bet.
c has the scenery but as others have pointed out - midge season.
b has the scenery but will be very busy
a has the best castles (my opinion) and very good scenery and some lovely drives.
Recommended castles: Conwy (great castle and charming town), Beaumaris (one of the least visited and very unique), Harlech - magnificent scenic location and views and a very good castle, Caernarvon - great castle.
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Mar 4th, 2007, 07:16 AM
  #7  
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Well so much for my top secret plans ;-) Yes, Ann is right, I am driving from Germany and will be going to Cornwall (at least that is the plan right now) but I really do want to know opinions about these 3 spots regardless of where/how I'm coming. So far you've been immensely helpful since I hadn't heard about the midges and wasn't sure which area would be the "least" busy (sounds like North Wales is inching ahead!).
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Mar 4th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Ok if you are also going to Cornwall then N. Wales has the edge. Scotland is along way from Cornwall. As well as Castles North Wales has some lovely, really old churches, particularly on Anglesey, which are good to visit, plus some interesting industrial archeology - the slate quarries and mines are fascinating.
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Mar 5th, 2007, 02:21 PM
  #9  
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Northern Wales. Been to Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, North Wales. I'd ecommend Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Snowdon Mountain Railway, King Arthur's Labyrinth, Mount Snowdon and Black Rock Sands Beach with a cute little cafe at the entrance to it.

We stayed at Tan Y Foel Guest House (http://tyfhotel.co.uk/) near Betws y Coed and loved the place.

North Wales is a magical place and very much unspoilt by progress.
 
Mar 5th, 2007, 10:40 PM
  #10  
 
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I think ba's list is the right order for June?july.

Midges are unlikely to be an issue then.

But NOT if you're coming from Cornwall to do it
sheila is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 11:56 PM
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sorry, Hausfrau - didn't realise that you were trying to keep the rest of your plans secret.

REgardless of where you were coming from, as that time of year I'd still choose North Wales.

REgards, Ann
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Mar 6th, 2007, 03:13 AM
  #12  
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No problem, Ann! Our other plans obviously affect our final itinerary. Considering the distances involved, it sounds like we can get what we are looking for in North Wales, and it makes a lot more sense than going all the way to Scotland...despite the fact that I REALLY want to go to Scotland! So much U.K. to see, so little time...

hetismij and rhapsody, thanks so much for the list of sights and the link to Tan Y Foel - it looks incredible! We'll see if we can fit a couple nights there into our budget.

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Mar 6th, 2007, 02:41 PM
  #13  
rhapsody
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If budget is a problem I contact a hotel direct. I do that with our special desire to stay, and usually get a deal.
 
Mar 8th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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rhapsody, I agree, I almost always contact hotels directly. I like having that personal connection, and sometimes they do give you a deal.

So here's a question for anyone still following my thread...if we were to drive from Cornwall up to north Wales, where would be a good place to stop overnight, say in central Wales? We were thinking that we could drive through Snowdonia National Park and then spend a couple of nights near Betws y Coed. I am looking at a few neat B&Bs/guest houses in the area around Llandrindod Wells right now...is that a nice scenic area?
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Mar 10th, 2007, 04:07 AM
  #15  
rhapsody
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I don't know Llandrindod Wells well but topping your post for janisj and others.
 
Mar 13th, 2007, 07:06 AM
  #16  
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Rhapsody, thanks...no responses yet, but I've found plenty of guest houses around Llandrindod Wells and it's only for an overnight, so I'm just going to pick one!

I'm still debating where to stay in North Wales...I'm torn between Tan Y Foel in Betws-Y-Coed versus something like The Old Rectory (www.oldrectorycountryhouse.co.uk/) in Conwy. I've read tons of old posts about these two towns and people seem to have very strong opinions towards one or the other. Considering we'll be coming from the seaside (Cornwall) I was thinking we might like to be a little inland for a change? Would Betws-Y-Coed still be close enough as a base to visit Caernarfon, Beaumaris and Conwy?
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Mar 13th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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Betwys Y Coed is about half an hours drive from Conwy but still OK for visiting the other places mentioned. Both hotels look lovely but are about 2 miles out from the towns. It depends whether you prefer a peaceful, out of the way place to stay or somewhere in the town.

My personal preference in north Wales is to stay in Llandudno - plenty of choice of accommodation plus somewhere to wander round in the evening, after dinner, window shopping, walking along the sea front or along the pier.
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Mar 13th, 2007, 09:40 AM
  #18  
rhapsody
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Betwys-Y-Coed is close to all three. As Maria says, it depends on what sort of an age are you and what you like. At this stage of my life I like staying in peaceful, away places. Both look equally good. Now that's helpful!
 
Jul 25th, 2007, 05:54 AM
  #19  
rhapsody
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Hausfrau, From one of your other posts I noted you are back from U.K. and went to Scotland too despite the popular advice. Good for you!! Did Tan Y Foel work out?
 
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:41 PM
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Hi rhapsody, yes, we took our trip to the U.K. at the end of June and had a great time - even though it rained every day except one! We spent 2 nights at Tan Y Foel and it was absolutely fabulous. I can't thank you enough for the recommendation. Definitely the highlight lodging/dining experience of our whole trip.

We had a terrible time deciding where to go, even after everyone's great advice. I just couldn't give up Scotland. We ended up spending 2 nights in Cornwall, 3 in Wales, 3 in Glen Coe, and 2 in Edinburgh, with an overnight in the Lake District en route to Scotland. I know this sounds like a lot of moving around, but we are used to road trips and we timed it in such a way that we never had to go more than about 250 miles in a day, and spaced out the driving days so we weren't doing a lot of back-to-back driving. We took A and B roads as much as possible so we were always out in the countryside. Each place was fabulous in its own right, but if I had to choose I would say that Glen Coe was my favorite, for the knock-out scenery. I am so glad we made it all the way up there!

Some people will probably say we did too much, but it didn't feel too rushed (we had 17 days total) and in retrospect I wouldn't have changed anything (except the weather!).

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