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Last Minute Planning for -Wales, area around Manchester & perhaps Dublin

Last Minute Planning for -Wales, area around Manchester & perhaps Dublin

Old Jun 9th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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Last Minute Planning for -Wales, area around Manchester & perhaps Dublin

Hi everyone-- I have found such help here before and now I am desperate for a bit of encouragement and assistance.

I am flying out to Manchester on July 4th and arrive on the 5th. I was meeting a friend who has totally bailed-- now there is no place to stay and not sure where to go.

I do have a b & b in Llandudno, Conwy, Wales for the middle part of the trip (5 days) but need some good suggestions for where to go, where to stay and what to do for the rest of the trip-- 3 days at the beginning & 4 days at the end.

I like cities and countryside, museums, castles, pubs, walking, shopping, tea, meeting people, etc.

My budget is on the low side so looking for inexpensive lodging (around 30 pounds or less per night for a single)-- the b & b I have booked is 25 pounds a night-- but would be willing to splurge for a few nights in a really great place.

Plan on taking the train from place to place and busses where necessary-- and of course walking lots too. Will be packing light I hope this is good enough insight to help me out.

Thanks in advance!!
susan
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 08:31 PM
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ttt
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 08:58 PM
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I had saved the following link because I am mad for PreRaphaelite art. If you will stay over in Manchester, do go for a look. I wish I were going!

http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/museu.../NW000008.html
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 09:05 PM
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That's too bad about the flaky friend.

You have all sorts of choices. For a couple of days in a city you couldn't go wrong w/ Liverpool. Lots of great shopping, museums, Beatles connections, etc. Or for more of a traditional sightseeing city - you could go over to York for a couple of days/nights.

Your countryside choices are nearly limitless. You could go to the Lake district for a few days - but book ASAP since it is a popular area. Or the Peak District is close to Manchester. Or you could spend all the time in Wales.

A reasonable itinerary might be = Manchester to York for 2 days/nights. Then to Chester for one night before heading to Llandudno. Then for the final 4 days you could do either the Lakes/Liverpool, or more of Wales/Manchester. Or you could even go to London for a couple of days.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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Janis has given you some excellent suggestions. For B&B's try www.visitbritain.com

Have a good trip.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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I am feeling so much better thanks to all the good ideas-- anyone else out there with any other ideas?

Art museums are a favorite place stop on all of my trips, so thanks for the idea about the Pre-Raphaelite art in Manchester.

Thanks Janisj for the good suggestions. I had not thought about Liverpool-- so I will check out those possibilities. I had considered York, but wasn't sure and yes of course there is always London-- I love London!! I'll also check out the Peak district & the Lake district. I have a bunch of reading to do today

Have you used the train much in this area? I have only taken the train from London to Paris and from Paddington to Windsor & of course from the airports into London-- so I just need a bit of encouragement that I will do fine on my own with all the transferring and figuring out all the different train stations.

The couple from the B & B sound wonderful-- so they will certainly make up for my flaky friend

Thanks History traveler-- I'll check out visitbritan for more B & B options.

kind regards,
susan
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Just checked my Brit Rail map and there is frequent,high-speed and regular rail service Liverpool/Manchester/York. There are trains to Preston (Lake District)from both Liverpool and Manchester as well as service to Llandudno via Chester/Manchester. You should have no problem getting to any of the places suggested.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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My wife and I visited the North Wales and Chester in 2003. In Chester we stayed at http://www.holdinglodge.co.uk/

Cheap rates at under 25 GBP per person. We enjoyed the place, Mark was a very good host.
Chester is a lovely city. We also took a day trip to North Wales with Busybus in Chester (http://www.busybus.co.uk/).

The trip we took with Busybus was one of the highlights of our holiday in Britain. We had Peter Rosenfeld as tour guide and he was one of the managing partners of the company. The trip was very entertaining, we had a lot of fun. Visit their website, they have many trips now. Moreover, they are very good value for money.

If you do decide to visit Chester, check out the horse race schedule. They have the oldest race track in the UK and it is one of the most famous of all. We even placed a few bets and won enough to cover our beers and the tickets. It was a lot of fun. We were in Chester in the first half of July, between 9th and 11th... Check it out. You don't have to be a race fan to have the time of your life, we had never even watched a race before.

Good luck!
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 03:29 PM
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everyone here has been such a help--

Historytraveler thanks for the train information-- what web site should I use & should I book in advance? I am thinking that I should book in advance to get the best price, but am not sure.

Chester was a possibility but where to stay was a big question so thanks Gabrieltraian and the races sound fun--my dates are almost the same as yours were July 5-18-- How did you find the weather? I am from the Pacific Northwest, so I figure it is much like our weather-- so pack for layers- sun, rain, wind and lots of others, is my guess.

thanks again--
susan
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 03:41 PM
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susie...Chester is a wonderful town, rather than nearby Liverpool...in fact the Town Crier comes out to the main square every day in full regalia..a sight to behold. While staying in Conwy, you might consider going over to Dublin for two days or more. Merely bus it from Conwy to the tip of the Welsh peninsula at Holyhead..frequent 3 hour voyages to Dublin...over the Irish Sea. 1000's of B and B's in Dublin..try Johnny and Betty Egan's

http://www.irelandseye.com/aarticles...ganshouse.shtm

Stu T.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 05:19 PM
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Susieq22, I'm from the Pacific Northwest as well, so you will find the weather quite familiar. I'll second janisj's suggestion of Liverpool! If you like art, you might enjoy the Tate Museum at Albert Dock. It's a branch of the Tate Museum in London. Chester is also a wonderful town. You can take a day trip from Liverpool there, or see it overnight. I've been through the Manchester Airport just once, and the train station is directly linked to the airport--you just walk across the concourse, and you're there. Are you returning from Manchester as well? Since I'm from Portland, I'm curious as to which airline/route you're taking.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:26 PM
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Merseyheart thanks for the info on the Tate at Albert Dock-- I am flying American Airlines via San Francisco & Boston -- it will be a long day-- I usually just fly into Gatwick or Heathrow when traveling to London and fly through Dallas or Chicago-- so this changing planes twice will be a new thing. I am hoping to get some sleep on the flight and I am so glad that the Manchester airport seems so easy to navigate. I will be staying my first night in Manchester before moving on elsewhere-- I want to start on my jouney with my brain working its best and feeling refreshed.

Tower-- thanks for the encouragement to go to Dublin-- I was thinking that it might be quite fun and the exchange rate with Euros is also a bit cheaper too-- every bit helps

susan
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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Whatever you decide, <i>don't make your decision based on the exchange rates.</i> Even though it takes more $ to buy a &pound; than it does to buy a &euro; - that doesn't mean you get more for your money in &euro;

Measuerd in US$, the costs in the UK and in Ireland are are almost exactly the same.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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Meant to add - Dublin is a very expensive city - &quot;London-type&quot; expensive. Things will cost less in the countryside (just as they do in the UK) but Dublin will eat up a budget really fast.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 07:26 PM
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I'd probably save Dublin for a future trip. There are so many good options without worrying about woking your way across the Irish Sea. It'll take a couple of hours to get to Holyhead from Llandudno and the ferry will also consume several(3) hours. If you go you'll also have to reurn. So you will have invested almost 12 hours in the trip and with your brief schedule it just doesn't seem to be a wise use of travel time.

Don't fall into the usual tourist trap of trying to do too much and trying to incorporate too many places.
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 07:14 AM
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I am really starting to get this trip put togehter with the help of all of you who have posted. Thank you all so very much. I hope to soon have my schedule together and will put it up for your inspection.

Thanks historytraveler for the Dublin travel time information-- really puts a 2 day trip into perspective and janisj -- I guess I shoud have realized that Dublin would be similar to London in expense. I still have not completely ruled out Dublin-- but will need to evalulate things carefully.

kind regards,
susan
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 07:36 AM
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Susieq,

While in Llandudno there is lots to see in the area. Conway Castle, Caernarvon, Beaumaris, Harlech are all within an easy train or bus ride. If you go to Harlech, combine it with a stop in Blenau Festiniog where you can visit the slate mines. The trip also includes a leg on an old steam train. Bodnant Gardens are beautiful and a peaceful trip.

I would like to second (or third or fourth) the suggestion of Chester. In addition to the already mentioned sights, they have a zoo which I thoroughly enjoyed.

It has been a few years since I have been here so pub, cafe, and B&amp;B rec. would not be relevant.

Have a great trip!
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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Thanks everyone!!

here is the plan so far
July 5--Land in Manchester and Stay overnight--visit museum and waterfront area

July 6--leave by train the next afternoon for Llandudno

July 7-11--Visit Conwy Castle, Snowdonia, and lots of relaxing and exploring around the area

July 11- train to Chester-- exploring city, castle, and maybe some time at the races

July 12-train to Birmingham or Manchester and then onto another destination-- I love London and I know it is expensive-- but I may just go anyway -- may just visit Stoke-on-Trent or York and Liverpool is a good idea too-- We'll see.

July 17-- train back to Manchester &amp; maybe stay near the airport for 10 am flight the next day


July 18 -- fly the long way home to Oregon

What do you all think??

Regards,
susan
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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Here's what we did for 4 days in Chester.

This was one of the places that we liked best all over Britain. We spent 36 days around UK and Northern Ireland, so we visited quite a bit of the country. Chester has its own charm among the British cities. The houses and buildings have different architecture, different colours, the streets, pubs, shops, all have a different character. In the morning of 10th July we had a day trip to North Wales scheduled with Busybus. We were picked up from our B&amp;B by a happy looking minibus. We were welcomed by Peter Rosenfeld, manager of the company, who was both driver and guide that day. Immediately we were swept away by the happy atmosphere within our group of tourists. Peter had a great influence in making this trip one of our nicest memories in Britain. He was very sociable, good sense of humour, he kept us entertained all through the trip with his stories and contests. Our itinerary included the Cape of Great Orme near Llandudno. It was a clouded cold morning, the wind was blowing strongly, a mist was floating over the sea and the hilly country. The sea was stretching endlessly in front of us, guarded by the two capes, The Great and the Small Orme. From there we went a little up north to the 12th century St. Tudno church. We continued to Llandudno, where we stopped at the Grand Hotel for a coffee and a cake. There was a contest organized there, about British proverbs and phrases. It was good fun. We had a walk through this resort and we left for Conwy to visit the castle, built by King Edward I between 1283-1289. This is one of the most impressive castles in Wales.
Our next stop was the shores of Ogwen Lake, where we had a superb view. The lake is not that big and is surrounded by hills over which fog was floating. It was a deafening mysterious silence. Nobody else was there, except our small group of 10-12 people. From there we went to Conwy Falls, hidden in a forest. We continued our journey through the mountains and reached a quiet village, Pentrefoelas, surrounded by mountains. We went to the Chocolate House, open by a Swiss in 2001. All the products there are prepared by the owner himself, who is a master in preparation of chocolate. As we entered we saw him bent over a big bowl, hand-mixing a chocolate cream. The cream looked very well and it brought back childhood memories
when my mom used to prepare the cream for some cake and I was waiting eagerly for her to finish and give me the empty bowl to lick the cream from its walls. I made an effort not to make this request to the chocolate maker there. We bought a few cakes, liquor filled chocolates and a mug of hot chocolate. Eeexcellent! The cakes and chocolates were melting in our eyes, not to say in our mouths. The hot chocolate was extremely delicious and thick. The fairly high prices made us stop regretfully from buying any more of that good stuff. We then went to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, built in 1795. It is 35 metres high and 1km long. We walked over it admiring a large valley and hills covered with forests. This day trip was not rushed at all and we had enough time to enjoy the places.
We arranged with Peter to meet him next day to go to the races.
During the day, on 11th July, we explored the city. We visited the Roman fortress, walking on ancient Roman streets at 3 metres under the city pavement. After this visit we wakled through the long galleries in the city centre, a shopping mall called The Rows. This is the most distinct medieval feature of Chester. The Rows are some corridors on two levels, with a continuous row of balconies and shops at ground floor and first floor. The shops are inside the traditional old black &amp; white houses. The Rows give Chester a unique character. Not far from the Rows we saw the medieval East Gate, the most important gate of the city at the time. We knew that at 12 o'clock the Town Crier would make his appearance in the centre, at the High Cross, where King Charles I was declared a traitor in 1646. The mayor of Chester named David and Julie Mitchell the first husband and wife town criers pair in the world. A few minutes before 12, David Mitchell came. He was dressed in his traditional Town Crier red costume, with his roll and bell, a red mantle, black collar, tight knee low pants, white stockings and black buckled shoes. He wore a traditional curly white wig and a black double horned hat. He came to me and my wife and asked us about our names and where we came from. We spoke for a few minutes and asked us how to say &quot;Welcome&quot; in our language (Romanian). At 12 o'clock sharp he took his place in the middle of the square. He shook his big bell once and cried out loud: &quot;Ooooooooyeeeeeeez!!!”, after which he kept silent for a few seconds. He repeated the call two more times, each time ringing his bell: “Ooooooooyeeeeeeez!!!”
Indeed, a lot of people gathered there in the meantime. Some knew already what was about to happen, ourselves among them, some just happened to be there at that time. Then the town crier started to make his announcements: “Today we have important news to give! There are guests in our city from many countries of the world, among which Gabriel and Maria from Romaniaaa!! ‘Bine ati venit!’ (Romanian for &quot;Welcome&quot to Chester!!! Let's give a big hand to Gabriel and Maria!” We heard cheers from the crowd and the people applauded and we waved hands. Then he continued: “Is there anyone from our colony, America?” This was funny and people laughed and clapped their hands. There were two American ladies right there in front. Then he made a quiz, asking a few questions and giving away postcards with him and his wife as Chester Town Criers. When all this finished, we went to visit the Chester Military Museum. We found out about the military history of the Chester Regiment. Really interesting. This regiment saw major battles at Waterloo, Crimea, the two World Wars. We then went to Grosvenor Museum, which shows the history of Chester as a city and the life of people there. Later that afternoon we met Peter to go to the races. The Chester horse races is a special event and is of great interest throughout England. We were told that the race track in Chester is the oldest in the world. The dress code was elegant for those who had the high end tickets, and casual for the likes of us, poor(-ly paid) tourists. It was like a holiday. People gave all their respect to this event. We bought the cheap tickets that gave us access on the field. Lots of people were there, ready for the picnic. The stands were full as well. It was as if all the population of the city came to that event. There were specially arranged stalls where we could buy food and drinks. Some other stalls were there for betting. Everyone was happy, it was an incredible atmosphere. Blankets were laid all over the place, people enjoying their time already. Peter explained to us the &quot;how to&quot; of the betting. He gave us a tip or two and there we went to place our bets. I bet a few pounds and had the beginners luck. I won at a rate of over 6 to 1!! After that I won a few more very small amounts, but it was enough to have the beers and tickets covered for both my wife and myself. At the end of the day I even found a few more coins in my pockets! The race itself ends up very fast. It's a series of six 1 or 2 minutes runs and then half an hour break. You just have to have fun and enjoy your time there. But when the horses were racing by us it was really exciting, marvellous. We had a great time at the races in Chester.
On 12th July we took a train to Buxton in the Peak District. This is a quiet little town in the hills. We visited Poole's Cave, 5000 years old. Then we walked on the hills and through a small forest nearby. We went to the top of a hill where there's a 3-4 meters high tower: Solomon's Temple. We had a superb view from there: all around us were only green hills, distant groups of houses scattered here and there. We were surrounded by grass and wild flowers. There was a carnival starting at 2pm, so we went back to town to watch it. Big colourful crowds, all waiting for the parade. People and kids were even in the trees, trying to get the best viewing spot. It was a nice parade, music, orchestras, characters, vehicles, just about everything parading happily in front of us.
On 13th July early morning we took a train to Liverpool. Right near the station is the Walker Art Museum. A very good collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts: Rubens, Rembrandt, Poussin, Degas, Cezanne, Matisse, Degas, Monet, Gainsborough, Turner, etc. From here we went to Albert Dock to visit the Beatles Museum. The moment we entered we felt the vibes of the sixties, the Beatles, the city of Liverpool, the rhythm. This was one of the most enjoyable experiences we had in Liverpool and Great Britain in general. We had some difficulties in finding the Cavern pub, where the Beatles were discovered. We finally found it. We descended two levels under ground: dim light, air hard to breath, even though there were only a few people inside at that time of the day. We felt like in a cellar. Well, that's what it was. We had a beer and left for the airport. We had an Easy Jet plane to catch for Belfast.

Well, Susie, I hope my report is useful in planning your trip (and maybe others' as well).
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Old Jun 11th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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Oh, Susan! You must have posted your itinerary while I was writing my long message.

You might also consider a trip in the beautiful countryside of Cotswolds, or visit Bath, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Gloucester...
Try the Lake District, the William Wordsworth country. It's beautiful. Take a day trip to York. Visit one ofthe most impressive cathedrals around - The Minster. See the old town. It's beautiful. The Railway museum there is very good.
London is much too big for only 2-3 days. There's so much to see and do there. Unless you have a few fixed priorities.
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