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Itinerary Help: 10 days in UK with teenage boys- -after London, then what?

Itinerary Help: 10 days in UK with teenage boys- -after London, then what?

Feb 9th, 2009, 06:41 PM
  #1  
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Itinerary Help: 10 days in UK with teenage boys- -after London, then what?

I posted for help with a European itinerary in the fall, received great advice from all and, after learning what was available at the lower mileage level from American Airlines, chose London in late July, for ten nights. DH and I have both been to London, and DH has been to Edinburgh. Otherwise, none of us has explored the UK. Our sons are 16 and 13. They will love the hop on hop off, Cabinet War Rooms, Imperial War Museum, Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower, and probably changing of the guard, British Museum highlights only in London. Otherwise they will look forward to small town and country stops, maybe a coastal stop, castles, ruins, etc. They would love falconry, shooting, surfing, wandering by themselves through a safe village, a place that seems like their secret. They don't mind a little driving or weird food.

I was thinking of London four days then working our way up to Scotland, then travel agent friend advised me that was too far for 10 days: focus on London and southern England. I read Traveller 1959's trip report and loved the North Devon part. Thinking maybe four days London, then out to North Devon, Dartmoor, Cornwall? Would it be a huge mistake to miss Cottswolds, Stratford, Bath, Oxford, etc?

Or, after London, go north to Lake District, Scotland. No need to base out of/tour Edinburgh- -would prefer small towns.

I guess we don't feel the need to "check off" the major sites outside of London. Looking more for relaxation, scenery, and activities that interest teenage boys (besides ale!).

What do you think?

rileypenny is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 07:00 PM
  #2  
 
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You have literally countless great options. None would be "wrong" I'll give you one choice (many others will chime in w/ other ideas - you'll just have to research and pick the one that sounds best to you and the boys)

But one perfect plan for your situation might be:

Fly into London

5 days in London (I think 4 is a bit short simply because day 1 may be a jet lagged blur) - or 4 if you must

train to York - one day/night in York car-less

Pick up rental car and do a 4 day loop to include the North Yorkshire Moors/Whitby, Northumberland (Hadrian's Wall, lots of castles, beautiful coastline) and then back down to Manchester

fly home from Manchester. If you can't fly out of Manchester - then do 3 days and then drop the car in Newcastle. You can then take the train or fly back to London the night before your flight out.

If you only had 4 days in London you'd have one more day to play around w/ in the north.

But like I said - just about ANY other itinerary would also work.
janisj is online now  
Feb 9th, 2009, 07:26 PM
  #3  
 
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Oooh, I like janis's plan. York is gorgeous with the Minster, the medievel wall and Roman ruins.

Whitby is a wonderful coastal town with awesome views from the Abbey ruins above the town. This is also the town that gave Bram Stoker the inspiration for Dracula and the home town of Capt. Cook.

We are doing Hadrian's Wall in April.
bettyk is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 09:54 PM
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Well I'd take them the other way down to Cornwall. Small area but packed with everything you've asked for. It's the home of UK surfing. Lots of small villages. Dramatic coastline with plenty of deserted bays with cliffs, 'smugglers' caves, and so on. Moorland. Heaths. Pastoral scenes. Lots of tourist attractions if you want an 'organised' day out (Eden Project, Gweek Seal Sanctuary, Flambards theme park, Paradise Bird Park) + interesting towns and places (St Ives, Mousehole,tors, tintagel, coastal paths, Minack theatre).
nona1 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 02:14 AM
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Let them loose with a guidebook and an atlas and see what suggestions they come up with..?
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 11:26 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for all. My head is in the guide book researching these places as we speak. Nona- -how is Tintagel Castle--heard it was a good stop. And Patrick, good idea- -I have gotten some general input from the boys which is the reason for my pursuit of scenery and outdoor activities, castles, quaint towns vs. the moving along the classic tourist itinerary checking off certain sites. You know, the type of site where you look, you saw, it's great, check it off and get back in the car. Since they aren't the type of kids to roll up their sleeves and go through a 400 page guidebook with me, I thought I'd narrow it down to a couple of itineraries and then let them choose. I think the definition of the type of teenager who goes through a guide book is "girl".
rileypenny is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 11:28 AM
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For surfing how about Newquay - i believe a primo surfing local - in SW england
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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Before jj corrects me it is Newport, like in Newport Jazz, that is surfing Valhalla - i believe.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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You more or less got it right first time.

None of the Newports (by some measures, the most common town name in Britain) is any good for surfing, except on the web.

Newquay's usually regarded as the centre of Cornwall surfing - though many prefer beaches near Padstow, bits of the Scillies, Sennen Cove or lots of other beaches in the area.

There's a good forum about them at www.surfnewquay.co.uk/
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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When my parents took my brother and I to England, Scotland and Wales when I was 13, I loved Tintagel. Also York (we went on a great ghost tour), and to a lesser extent, Bath.

We took DS to London when he was 10. He was very much into James Bond at the time, and we all enjoyed LondonWalks "Spies" tour. Be forewarned, though, that it's more about real spies, such as Kim Philby.

My son loves the theater, so we went to several shows. If/when he returns to England, he'd love to visit Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as Cambridge. There were no performances at the Globe when we were in London, unfortunately.

I'm not sure about the comment about only girls loving guidebooks (I don't think my DD would do that). But one technique that's worked for both kids is for me to narrow down some possibilities, and then have the kids look at those ideas, in a guidebook or online. For one trip, where we visited a bunch of castles and caves (Dordogne region of France), looking at pictures online helped DS narrow down which castles and caves he'd most want to see.
Lexma90 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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Drove with our kids from Canterbury to Devon/Somerset and then to Cornwall. They were young teens - we actually did take surfing lessons at Sennen Cove and met another family with boys similar ages. The two families also enjoyed going to Mt. Saint Michael and generally exploring the SW. We all LOVED Tintagel castle - really a spectacular site. But it was very fun to be in Cornwall with all the English families that were vacationing there.
AtlTravelr is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 11:58 AM
  #12  
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Our English friend here in town thinks that Devon and Cornwall will be swamped with crowds this summer and recommends we go north, either to the Lake District or to the North Yorkshire Moors/Witby/Hadrians Wall area, or both. Following up on janisj's idea, I've been researching and I think the north would be wonderful. Hopefully, the weather will be nice. Do you think we could do 3 nights in the Lake District then move to the east coast for 3 nights? We travel light and don't mind moving around. However, on our last European trip we had many two-night stops and that was tiring and inefficient. Where would you stay the night? If we had our choice, we would probably try to stay in a small town or village in a hotel or B&B under 200GBP per night, with good dining options nearby (is it asking too much to get king size bed and a/c?). I'm thinking about whether we could take the train to York in the morning, see York, rent the car and drive north, not staying overnight in York.
rileypenny is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 12:26 PM
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a/c - in Northern England??

Not necessary and not hardly ever available . . . .

Kings sized beds? Yes sometimes. Sometimes they will be twin beds that can be linked together so the B&B can rent the room as either a double or as a twin.

Also, many B&B have family accommodations that sleep 3 or 4 in the same room.

3 days in the Lakes on the west side of the country and 3 days somewhere in Yorkshire or Northumberland on the east side would be a nice division. Or 2 days/nights in the Lakes and 4 over to the east would be good too.

You can see much of York in one day - but it would be a really full day so you really wouldn't get on the road until the evening. So I'd save a day's car rental -- stay overnight in York and pick up the car the next morning and get an early start.

janisj is online now  
Feb 12th, 2009, 02:08 PM
  #14  
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OK I get it on the A/C. Been looking today and it is nowhere. I'm one of those people who sleeps with the thermostat at 68 degrees, and somehow, every time I check into a hotel with no A/C they give me the "nice and toasty" west-facing rooms with sliding glass doors!

After looking, I think your 2 days in the Lakes District/4 days west split looks better. The Lake District looks absolutely beautiful but unless you're a serious hiker, two days might seem enough.

Here are some places to stay in the Lake District that look nice. The Gilpin Lodge (2 miles east of Windermere), The Pheasant (between Cockermouth and Keswick), The Overwater Hall Hotel (Bassenthwaite/Ireby/Keswick), Miller Howe Hotel and Restaurant, and The Samling but it is booked. Have been looking in Fodors Guide and on Trip Advisor. Familiar with any of these?
rileypenny is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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when in the "fall" rileypenny?

<<Our English friend here in town thinks that Devon and Cornwall will be swamped with crowds this summer and recommends we go north, either to the Lake District or to the North Yorkshire Moors/Witby/Hadrians Wall area, or both. >>

the only time that Cornwall is likely to be swamped, this or any other year, is during the UK school holidays between mid-July and the end of August. so if by the fall you mean september onwards, you'd be fine.

if you mean October, your lads would need to be made of stern stuff to do much surfing as it can get a tad chilly in the sea, even with a wet-suit. Sept would be OK, I think.

it's a bit of a trek [no more than Scotland though] and once you are here, there's loads to do.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 06:22 PM
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"sleeps with the thermostat at 68 degrees" Just to put your mind at ease - even in summer, you'll be really lucky if you get 68-70 F as high temps during the day -- and NOWHERE near 68 in your bedroom at night. Trust us on that.

I have not stayed in any of those lake district hotels - I personally like the Ambleside/Grasmere area since it is pretty central for touring the northern and southern lakes. But just about anywhere can work . . . .
janisj is online now  
Feb 12th, 2009, 06:36 PM
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I think your boys would really love Warwick Castle. It has dungeons, wax figurines from Tussaud's in the various rooms, falconry and archery exhibitions, just a very cool place to hang out for 3 or 4 hours. The memory of those horrid dungeons still haunts me!
Hagan is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Ann, we will actually be there in late July. What do you think? Roads and beaches and towns overcrowded in Cornwall, or bearable? How cold would the water be? Janisj, I can't wait- -bring on the chill. We will probably be leaving behind temperatures in the high 90's at home.

Do you think it would be awful to drive up from London to York, stopping at or driving through Cottswolds and Stratford-Upon-Avon on the way? I realize it would take all day. Then we could drop the rental car off somewhere up north and take the train back to London at the end.

I'm torn on Warwick Castle. I'm wondering if it's a little cheesy. However, so many people list it as one of the great highlights of their trip...
rileypenny is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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re Warwick -- a teensy bit of it could be called cheesy. but 95% is terrific and a definte "not to miss" if one is in the area.

But are you asking about driving from London through the Cotswolds, visting Stratford, Warwick castle and on to York -- in one day?

Uh - nope. Driving through the Cotswolds - you'll want to stop at least a couple of times to explore villages/etc - a minimum of half a day. Stratford - even just the birthplace/Anne Hathaway's Cottage/Mary Arden's House would take at least 1/2 a day. Warwick Castle takes the best part of half a day. The drive to York - - do you see a theme here

You really can't squeeze in everything. There is just so much time and literally hundreds of "musts" - detouring to a completely different part of the country to see a few of them doesn't really work.

So you just need to bite the bullet and decide whether you want to head up north - or - to the southwest - or - to the Cotswolds/Stratford/Warwick and nearby.

You really can't make a wrong decision - there is more than enough to keep you busy in all three areas (and others too).
janisj is online now  
Feb 13th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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hi again rilepenny,

Ann, we will actually be there in late July. What do you think? Roads and beaches and towns overcrowded in Cornwall, or bearable? How cold would the water be? Janisj, I can't wait- -bring on the chill. We will probably be leaving behind temperatures in the high 90's at home.>>

LOL - i think that I can guarantee that you won't get temps in the high 90s in Cornwall, not even in late July. in fact to be brutally frank, the last two years, you'd be lucky to get them in the high 60s almost anywhere in the UK but they were exceptional. [i hope]. if you are used to temps in the high 90s, the water will NEVER feel warm to you - this is not the med. but wet suits [you can rent] should solve the problem.

As for crowds, it depends where you stay/visit and what your standards for crowded are. St. Ives would probably be crowded by anyone's standards that time of year, as would Padstow, Port Isaac, and Land's End, but you would be bound to find some places that hardly anyone else had.

Wherever you decide to go, late July is school holiday time so you should book up your accommodation ASAP. it will be going quickly, as hard-pressed Brits decided to holiday at home this year.

regards, ann

PS - Warwick Castle cheesey? What's wrong with that???

annhig is offline  

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