Itinerary for 14 day UK Trip

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Feb 15th, 2010, 08:39 AM
  #1
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Itinerary for 14 day UK Trip

I'm planning on a 14 day trip to the UK at the end of June through the beginning of July, with my wife and 10 year old daughter. We will be purchasing BritRail 8 day Flexipasses and have already made reservations for lodgings (a mix of hotels and B&Bs). I'm pretty happy with my train travel plans, but I'm wondering if I have allocated enough time for activities in the specific cities. Does it seem like I am cramming in too much in too little time?

Day 1 Arrive in UK - via Gatwick -> Take train from Gatwick to Bath. Check into hotel in Bath, then see Bath Abbey, Pump-Room, Roman Baths, and take Bath hop on/hop off bus tour.

Day 2 -Take day trip to Stonehenge (either 1/2 day or full day Stonehenge/Castle Combe tour), take river boat trip from Pulteney Bridge to Bathampton.

Day 3 - Take train from Bath to Carlisle. Arrive in Carlisle in the afternoon, then see Carlisle Castle and Abbey)-This is a brief night stay over since I want to see the city due to personal family connections to the area.

Day 4 -Take train from Carlisle to Inverness in the morning (arrive in the afternoon , check into lodgings, then walk around downtown area).

Day 5 - Spend the morning in Inverness (take Jacobite Loch Ness/Urquhart Castle tour), then take train from Inverness to Edinburgh in the afternoon. Arrive in Edinburgh in evening, check into hotel.

Day 6 - Spend day in Edinburgh and take local bus tours (i.e. Royal Edinburgh Ticket tours of Britannia, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, etc...)

Day 7 - Spend day in Edinburgh seeing the remainder of Edinburgh sites (2nd day of Royal Edinburgh Ticket)

Day 8 -Spend morning in Edinburgh seeing any remaining city center sights, then depart for Newcastle (South Shields) by train. South Shields is where my wife's grandfather grew up so she wants to spend some time in the area.

Day 9 - Spend day in South Shields (see St Paul's Monestary/Bede's world (in Jarrow) and Arbeia Roman Fort).

Day 10 - Spend morning in Newcastle (see Segedunum Roman Fort, Newcastle city center, and Millenium bridge), depart for London by train in the afternoon. Arrive in London in early evening (about 5:00PM), check into hotel in Victoria station area, grab dinner, then take Open Top Bus Night Sightseeing Tour of London (leaves Victoria Thistle around 7:30/8:30PM).

Day 11 - Spend day in London (see Changing of the guard, tour London Tower, attend an evening show (Henry VIII) at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre).

Day 12 - Take train from London Victoria to Hampton Court Palace (leave Victoria at 9am, return to London-Waterloo around 2PM), depart for Greenwich (leave London Bridge around 3pm) to see the Royal Observatory/Prime Meridian.

Day 13 - Spend day in London (see Victoria & Albert musuem in the morning, see British museum in afternoon)

Day 14 - Depart for US (via Gatwick Airport)

Thanks for any feedback,

Brent
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Feb 15th, 2010, 08:53 AM
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First day MIGHT be ambitious; you don't say when you arrive and so I don't know when you'll get to Bath or how you'll feel.

Your London days look not too crowded; resist the urge to over plan! You might consider going to British Museum first--I'm guessing there will be more of interest to your child there and so you might want to linger there a long time.

If changing of the guards is a must see, I won't try to talk you out of it; but it would be prudent to be at the Tower at opening and go straight to see crown jewels.

I think you'll really like the Tower, the Globe, Hampton Court, and the British Museum! (Do you have your Globe tickets?--get them asap)

DH and I really enjoyed our BritRailFlex passes so don't second guess your decision--it gives such flexibility for us tourists!
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Feb 15th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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Have you been to London before? If not you really have very little time in London to do it justice IMO

and yes for that itinerary a BritRail Pass is a no brainer IMO. Some great sites that will tell you a lot about the nuances of actually riding the trains, if a novice: www.seat61.com; www,budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com - things perhaps like they still have trains where you must open the door from the outside, from the inside, to get it to open. And to make your trip really leisurely i would highly encourage you to get a first-class railpass. I have had over 40 first-class BritRail Passes and am always really glad i've had the first-class option - a world of difference in classes on British railways, reflecting IMO the traditional class stratification in Britain.
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Feb 15th, 2010, 09:20 AM
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Where are you coming from? If arriving after a long, overnight flight, you haven't allowed for jet lag. And you've crammed a lot into your first day in Bath. (Probably only a halfday if that much. You need to change trains, get yourselves to your hotel and check in -- if it's not too early.) I'd put at least one more day in Bath; the Roman Baths alone take a couple hours.

To get the extra day, I'd omit Inverness. It's not a particularly attractive city, and I don't think Loch Ness/Nessie is worth the extra time on this trip.
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Feb 15th, 2010, 10:30 AM
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We're flying in from Orlando (departing at 5:55PM, arriving 7:05am). I'm figuring we will get into Bath around 11am or so. Thanks for the tips on pre-purchasing the Globe tickets. Everything I have read indicates that to combat jetleg, you should get out and be active. However I am considering only doing the half day Stonehenge tour on the second day so that we can see all the sights of interest in Bath (Roman Baths, Royal Crescent, etc...) if the jet lag is bad. I definitly plan on getting a first class rail pass, if not to splurge a little, but to also make sure we increase the liklihood of getting on a train and not having to sit on our luggage in the aisle.
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Feb 15th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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Rethinking your first day is probably a good Plan B; make your Plan A, listen to the advice here, and change only what you want to. The Baths will take a while, though, so planning only a half-day tour on Day 2 is most likely a better plan. You won't run out of things to do in Bath even if you actually get there by when you think and you all feel chipper!
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Feb 15th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Inverness itself has never really impressed me nor Loch Ness -oh they are nice enough but there are two days IMO that you may spend better elsewhere.
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Feb 15th, 2010, 12:32 PM
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Rather than doing a loop wy not make it a one way from Gatwick to Inverness (or vice verse) and fly to/from Inverness - Easyjet have flights to Inverness from Gatwick or take the Caledonian Sleeper (bargain berths can be very cheap)

Carlisle could be done as a day trip from Newcastle and Bath can be done from London - I'd stay with an overnight bag then take the train back via Salisbury & Stonehenge or take a Mad Max tour from Bath
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Feb 16th, 2010, 01:03 PM
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Caledonian Sleeper trains | ScotRail
Buy train travel tickets for the ScotRail Caledonian Sleeper Trains, overnight train services operating between London Euston and Scotland.

Book online - Timetables - About the sleeper - Seated Sleeper
www.scotrail.co.uk/caledoniansleeper/index.html

Good tip from Alan - i took the Caledonian Sleeper from London (Euston Station) to Inverness and loved it- i had a first-class railpass so got a first-class birth - a private single -about the finest overnight train out of zillions i ever took in Europe - breakfast served complimentary in my compartment. If you have a railpass then the pass would pay for the train fare but not the optional sleeping accommodations, which range fromi think 4-person compartments to private doubles and singles - latter two considered first class i believe.

Personally i would take the train up the East Coast line -really scenic once you get past Newcastle - running right along a rugged coast and i would take the West Coast line back - also nice scenery and you can stop off at the fabulous IMO Lake District that way. But to save time (and a night's hotel costs) consider the Caledonian Sleeper trains.
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Feb 17th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Re Caledonian Sleepers - do NOT go in the regular seats in the few cars that offer them - though you can do so at really cheap rates and even with no extra charge if you have a pass.

I made that mistake once - thinking that a 'reclining seat' may not be too bad. Well it was a night train from Hell IMO - the seats may have reclined - about an inch and they were so close together that you were cramped - right next to someone else. I got no sleep that night and would never ever again ride in the regular cars on those 'reclining seats' that do not recline.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 10:58 AM
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From Edinburgh there are some sweet easy day trips, such as to Sterling and its famous Castle (Braveheart associations) and a neat regional town surrounded by lush countryside

Or to St Andrews, taking a train across the famous Firth of Forth rail bridge to Leuchars, then bus five miles into this famous ancient seaside town - St Andrews with its Golf Courses - like the Old Course and just a neat old town- nice seafront with some ruins - home to famous university, Prince William went here.

Or by bus from Edinburg you can easiy day trip south to the Borders Abbey region - Melrose, jedburgh, etc and their famous old ruined for the most part abbeys (railpass not good on these buses, however)
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Feb 20th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Brent, a couple of thoughts about the Scottish bit. Inverness is nae bonny. It may well be what you want a bit of a transport hub, but whay DO you want, so we may advise.


You will struggle to "see" Edinburgh in 2 1/2 days. Decide what you want to do and focus on it. Please include the people and not just the buildings.
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