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Just back from month in England, Scotland and North Wales

Just back from month in England, Scotland and North Wales

Jul 14th, 2001, 04:04 PM
  #41  
Going
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Tony
Hope you will finish your report. Going to UK in September and like your itinerary. Thanks.
 
Jul 15th, 2001, 10:27 PM
  #42  
greg maddex
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not really a reply but we are heading off in a few weeks -- for the month of august(1 adult /4 kids) -- looking for castles tthat we can stay at -- london ,all of wales , and /or southern 1/3 of ireland
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 01:01 PM
  #43  
Tony
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Really been meaning to finish our trip report. Just been busy. We left York by train for London. We tried the dining car and the food was quite good. The trip took about 2 1/2 hours. Arriving at Kings Cross, we exchanged the vouchers we had bought before our departure for Vistor Travelcards for zones 1 and 2. Except for Windsor Palace and Hampton Court, everything you want to see in London are within those zones. London is a great city, very alive and vibrant. Its kind of like New York, but without the tall buildings. Its also cleaner, including the cabs, with the added bonus that the cab drivers actually speak english and know where they are going. For a tourist, you would have to be nuts to drive in London. We took a cab to our hotel, the Mayfair Intercontinental. Great hotel, centrally located with a convenient tube stop. The staff was attentive without being stuffy. The concierge was very helpful with dinner reservations and suggestions. Our room was extremely large and comfortable. Would definitely stay there again. Since I had been to London before, we skipped the tour bus. On our first foray, we walked over to Buckingham Palace. The palace wasn't open for tours, but we did tour the Royal Mews, quite interesting. At the teenagers insistence, we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. The concierge had given us a card that allowed us to bypass the line. Only had to wait 5 minutes to get seated. There was a lot everyone wanted to see in London, so we got up early everyday, a real project with teenagers, and got out early. The only drawback to that is that before 9:30a.m. the tube is quite crowded with commuters going to work. More in a later post.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 01:08 PM
  #44  
Zach
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Thanks for sharing, Tony, but lately Fodors seems to have generated inti a bashing nasty site. Pity
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 01:14 PM
  #45  
Tony
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Continuing our London report, we went over to the Westminister area. We took the usual tourist pictures of Big Ben. Couldn't visit Paliament because it was in session. Walked as close as we could to No. 10 Downing Street, saw the Cabinet War Rooms, and went to Westminister Abbey, which is interesting because of all the tombs of the famous people buried there. We say St. Paul's, which probably wasn't as exciting to us because we had seen so many other cathedrals in England. Our main reaction was that it was very big. The kids walked up to the top and reported that the view was great. We got our view of London from the London Eye. Two pieces of advice on the London Eye. First, don't try to do it on a weekend. Even with their reservation system, the lines are too long. Second, go early in the morning. Having been forewarned by friends, that is what we did and we ended up buying our tickets and walking right on. For another great view, we went to the Tower Bridge. You get the history of the bridge, the view, and for those mechanically inclined, you can see the machinery that operates the bridge. A highlight of the trip was the Tower of London. This is a must see for visitors. Get there early and tour the crown jewels first. You can always take the Warders tours later. Plan to spend several hours if you want to see it all. We also had tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys for one evening. It was kind of fun and it gives you an historical perspective. If you have the time, its worth seeing.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 01:32 PM
  #46  
Tony
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While we were in London, we took two train trips outside of the city to Windsor and Hampton Court. Both left from Waterloo Station and with your Visitor Travelcards, you only have to buy a ticket from the outside boundary of zone 2 to where you are going. In both cases a family Travelcard was the best deal. If you only have time for one of these sites, I would recommend Widsor as the state apartments and the Doll House are really something to see. While you are there it is worth the time to walk through the town of Eton. Hampton Court was interesting. They did a couple of historical tours with people in period costume. Back in London, we went to the British Museum. The funny thing about the British Museum is that there is nothing British in it. It is a collection of treasures from around the world. Of special interest are the Rosetta Stone, the Eqyptian displays and the Elgin Marbles. The Victoria and Albert Museum is entirely different. It is a very eclectic collection. We really enjoyed it. We also went to the Imperial War Museum. I practically had to drag my 15 year old daughter there. However, once we started to tour it, she became totally interested, particularly with the WWI and Holacaust portions of the museum. I would highly recommend this museum to families with teenagers. On another day, we took the tube down to Grenwich. We toured the Cutty Sark sailing ship and then went to the British Maritime Museum. I was disappointed in it. Given that England was once the greatest seapower in the world, I expected that there would have been a lot more to see. Probably the most interesting exhibit was the one on Admiral Horatio Nelson. Also in that area is the Royal Observatory. You can stand on the line that separates the eastern and western hemishperes, and tour the original observatory. Coming back from Grenwich, we took the boat trip which dropped us off at Westminister.
 
Jul 19th, 2001, 02:13 PM
  #47  
Tony
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Sorry, just noticed that I misspelled Greenwich in my last post. One thing about London, it is a very walkable city (other than crossing the streets where you have to be very careful not to get run down). Lots of times we chose to walk rather than take the tube. One street that fascinated my wife and daughter was Bond Street. It is full of all the famous designers like Versace, Tiffany, Burberrys, Armani, etc. I can't understand what they get so excited about. Another store you really should visit is Harrod's. I've never seen anything quite like it, particularly all of the food sold there. We had planned to shop there for picnic lunch and had the toughest time making up our minds just what we wanted to buy. Speaking of food, I have to say we never had a bad meal in London. Sometimes we ate dinners at places recommended by our concierge. We also went to Brown's, which had been recommended by Fodors. However, the rest of the time we just would stop at restaurants that appeared crowded with locals, look at the menu, and if we like what we saw, we would eat there. As I said, all of us, including the teenagers, thought the food was great. We saw two musicals during our stay, the Lion King and Mamma Mia. Both are enjoyable and a lot of fun. The Lion King is particularly notable for its staging and costuming. While it is enjoyable no matter what your age, it is a particular hit with younger children. On the other hand, Mamma Mia would appeal especially to adults and teenagers. The music is great and the audience really gets into it. As a side note, we took a cab to the theatre on both nights, but afterwards we couldn't get one. We didn't want to take the tube and decided both times to walk back to our hotel. Having a hotel located in a central location in London certainly has its advantages. We also took a tour of the Globe Theatre. Its quite interesting seeing what the original theatre looked like. You see exactly how people originally attended plays in England. However, after seeing the theatre, I can't say that I had any personal desire to see a play there. The wood bench seating (even with rental pads available) looked far too uncomfortable, and I don't think I would ever want to stand in the stalls for a couple of hours to watch a play. It made me really glad we had had the opportunity we did to see Twelfth Night while we were in Stratford. On another day in London, the wife and family went to Kensington Palace and Notting Hill while I went on a tour of the Inns of Court and Old Bailey. We both had a great time. I stayed around long enough to watch portions of two trials. They are handled quite differently than the ones we have in the US. The barristers have their wigs and robes, and are generally more low key. There are also not nearly as many objections. I found it fascinating.
For us, our trip to England, Scotland and North Wales was a great experience that we get to relive reading the kids travel journals and looking at all of the pictures we took and postcards we bought. Besides London, our favorite places were Bath, North Wales, Western Scotland and York. I hope this journal has been helpful to anyone planning a trip there. Good luck and enjoy your trip.
 
Jul 20th, 2001, 07:14 AM
  #48  
chuck
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Tony,

thanks very much for your trip report. I found it extremely interesting and informative. A month traveling . . . now I have something to shoot for!
 
Jul 20th, 2001, 02:40 PM
  #49  
Going
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Tony,

Thanks for finishing report. Will be very useful on our trip. Already decided to spend more time in North Wales.
 
Jul 21st, 2001, 02:37 PM
  #50  
Sacto
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Thanks for a great report. Very informative. This is what this bulletin board should be all about.
 
Jul 25th, 2001, 07:35 AM
  #51  
Frances
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We have really enjoyed reading your travelogue. It has given us great ideas. Thanks!
 
Jul 25th, 2001, 08:46 AM
  #52  
Nottingham Canuck
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Been enjoying reading the discussion of the last couple months. For those of you who enjoyed Tony's great report and want to come to York - STAY AWAY - it's not very interesting, you won't like it, leave it alone, there's already too many people there and I have a hard enough time trying to park as it is! Only joking LOL - definitely endorse Tony's comments, York still feels like a step back to the 15th or 16th century in some parts - and if you're there go in a bookshop and look for a soft cover book called "Snickleways of York" which is a self-walking guide, very amusing and it provides you with a selection of walking tours through York, and all the history you could hope for. I'd like to add a note of caution to those who are thinking of booking the same hotels as Tony mentioned - most are on the pricey side, and for anyone who is on a budget, you could pay a lot less by staying in a B&B - for instance having stayed in Edinburgh a few times you can find a decent B&B for around 30 pp per night (which is about the most expensive place to stay in the UK except London) Other places in England have plenty of B&Bs in the 20 - 25 pp range. I would definitely recommend a visit to the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales if you are touring UK and enjoy the countryside - you can find lots of small pocketbooks in UK bookshops on short - up to 4 - mile walks, longer walks - I've done 16 along the east coast one day (but never again!) and circular drives - in fact if you drive out of York you're in the Yorkshire Dales, I can recommend walks from Helmsley, a visit to Riveaulx Abbey, Robin Hoods' Bay on the coast which is about an hour's drive from York, and lots of other seaside towns in that area are v. interesting. Castles and stately homes are also a favourite of mine, so Haddon Hall, Chatsworth Hall and Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire (near Peak District)were well worth visiting.
 
Jul 27th, 2001, 01:26 PM
  #53  
Geoff
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Thanks for the report. For our upcoming trip, we are definitely adding Wales to our itinerary.
 
Aug 2nd, 2001, 08:41 PM
  #54  
Karen
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Well, if you are planning on a trip to York, get over and visit Whitby!! It's a lovely little seaside town on the northeast coast of England. Lots and lots of things to see and do, although it does get very busy each and every Bank holiday Monday! Can't wait to move back there!!
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 09:46 AM
  #55  
sue
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Tony Thank you for your report. Its really interesting to hear about the UK from a visitors perspective. Just one thing though. Why is it that nobody seems to visit far enough south/west to visit Devon and Cornwall? You are missing out you know!!
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 01:42 PM
  #56  
Tony
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Sue
Don't worry, its on our agenda for our next trip. Why don't you tell us more about what we should see when we go there? Always interested.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 02:28 PM
  #57  
Mary
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Dear Tony, thanks so much for taking the time to share your trip - My husband and I are on the verge of a trip to Aberdeen and the highlands but we only have a week. I am more interested in seeing a few lovely things stress free than trying to see it all - your insight was most helpful - any ideas from other folks would be most welcome - anyone have an info on the Tattoo in Edinburgh in August - sounds interesting and we will be there in August - happy trails to all!
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 03:31 PM
  #58  
mimi taylor
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Hello Tony, I posted it earlier but maybe because of the weather problems here, it did not get through. Lightening struck the Boston Tea Party gift shop, but luckily the main building did not burn.I visited friends in Liverpool and was lucky to get an invitation to spend a weekend in Snowdonia. While sharing drinks conversation sitting in a comfy stuffed chair I noticed this huge , like a bat mosquitoe flying over head. I jumped up in terror and everyone started laughing. They assured me that this huge look alike doesn't bite. Do any of you from that area know what that (insect?) is called.
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 03:25 PM
  #59  
JRGrant
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Mary,
Just back from Scotland and while in Edinburgh, one of our cab drivers said in regards to August that everyone's pretty much drunk for the month! It sounds like it gets pretty crazy. Lots of visitors. But a colleague at work went last year and really enjoyed it.

Tony,
Nice reports. Thanks!
 
Aug 13th, 2001, 04:48 AM
  #60  
Sheila
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Mary
I'm Aberdeen based. If you would like to be more specific with your query I'll try to help
 

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