Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Lessons learned from overzealous planning...and our final itinerary!

Lessons learned from overzealous planning...and our final itinerary!

Old Sep 7th, 2015, 01:21 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lessons learned from overzealous planning...and our final itinerary!

After initiating several threads over the past few months, each of which led to a wonderful idea for an itinerary, I am happy to say that my mother and I have arrived at the perfect itinerary for our May 2016 trip. I am also somewhat chagrined to say that we abandoned several great itineraries only to arrive full circle at our original plan, which is to visit both Cornwall and Scotland. I'll post our revised (and final) itinerary in a moment.

So, what have I learned from months of meticulous planning, only to end up where I began?
1) Follow your heart of hearts in deciding where to go - or in this case, my mother's heart of hearts. After all of my proposals for Cornwall only, Scotland only, Scotland and N. England, she finally admitted that she REALLY wanted to go to Scotland and Cornwall. And since this might be the last time we visit the UK together, my simple task is to make it happen.
2) Seek out and take heed of the advice of locals and more seasoned travelers, even if you don't use it all. All of my queries on this and other sites have given me many wonderful ideas and much practical information, not to mention hours of contented reading. I now have several fantastic itineraries for future trips.
3) Don't book accommodation until you are pretty darn sure of your plan . Thank goodness I learned this one on our last trip, and don't anticipate any cancellations for this trip unless dictated by unforeseen events.
4) And the synthesis of the above - Dream relentlessly, listen thoughtfully, and plan carefully - then do what it is you really want to do!

For anyone still reading, in case you're wondering, here is what we decided to do. It wouldn't be perfect for everyone, but for us it's simple, hits the highlights, and gives us two cozy home bases for most of it.

Arrive 13 May in Edinburgh, staying 1 week in this perfectly located apartment: http://annehouse.co.uk/ (we're renting the 1 bedroom Royal Mile apartment).

13-20 May - Spend two days on Edinburgh sightseeing, including the Castle, Palace of Holyrood and Royal Yacht Britannia, then take 2-3 Rabbie's day tours (St. Andrew's, W. Highlands and Borders) and possibly train to York for a day to visit the Minster, walk the Shambles and old city, and have tea.

20 May - Travel Day: Fly to Exeter or Newquay (Exeter flights appear to have the best arrival time, but would involve a longer drive); pick up hire car and drive to our cottage in Marazion: http://www.aspects-holidays.co.uk/co...zion/p/gwelfor

20-27 May - absolutely no set schedule. Just enjoy W. Cornwall and do whatever we feel like!

27 May - Turn in car at Penzance train station (I've already checked into this), train to Exeter (honestly, this would be more a more logical stop after our flight from Edinburgh, but our cottage dates didn't work out that way) - spend one night at Abode Exeter (http://www.abodeexeter.co.uk/), visit the Cathedral.

28 May - Train to Newbury; taxi to Carnarvon Arms (next door to Highclere Castle - http://thecarnarvonarmshotel.com) for 2 nights.

29 May - Visit Highclere Castle (date to purchase tickets is in red on my calendar!).

30 May - Private driver taking us to Heathrow for outbound flight.

Much of this is already booked, so I'm not looking for itinerary suggestions (for a change ;-) ), but I certainly welcome any tips/feedback on specific destinations, such as Cornwall (looking forward to a few more chats with AnnHig ) and Edinburgh. Thanks to all who've replied to earlier posts. Every response has mattered.
BBgt is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2015, 01:34 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hurray! Scotland and Cornwall it is. how lovely for you and your mum; she must be thrilled.

Down to practicalities: what time do the flights arrive in Newquay? - I'd say that it's about an hour from Newquay to Marazion, whereas it's close on 2 from Exeter. but if it's a late arrival, that time of year the days are pretty long so that might be a help.

Obvious [to me!] places to visit from Marazion are

St Michael's Mount and Trengwainton Gardens [both National Trust]
Penzance, for its gardens and just lovely atmosphere
Land's End [for the scenery not the "entertainment"],
St Ives,
the Minack theatre [look out for the schedule early in Jan if you are interested in getting tickets for a performance, otherwise just go for an afternoon to enjoy looking round and seeing the gardens]
Cape Cornwall, St just and the industrial scenery around Botallack [which may seem familiar if you watch Poldark]
Porthleven [a gorgeous harbour with spectacular storms]
Newlyn and Mousehole - typical fishing ports.

How's that for starters?
annhig is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2015, 01:53 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,969
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Regarding accommodations, unless one books non-refundable rooms, there are upsides and no downsides with refundable bookings. Many times, I have tentatively booked acceptable refundable rooms as place holders while working on itineraries only to find that when I came back, there were nothing else and ended up sticking with the tentative booking. This is especially true in case I travel with someone else where there can be several months between we have a rough outline and the final itinerary at which time there were nothing acceptable left at target price range.
greg is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2015, 01:59 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,019
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Great plan -- and a LOT simpler than where your plan was evolving to
janisj is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2015, 02:13 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello, Ann - Yes, she's thrilled, as am I! Right now, Flybe is only showing flights through March, but if that schedule holds for May, flying into Exeter looks much better, with a direct flight that arrives around 11:45 am. Flights into Newquay involve one change and arrive much later in the afternoon - and are more expensive, to boot - so currently the plan is to fly into Exeter. My tidy brain would really prefer to spend the night in Exeter before driving to Marazion, then drop the car and train all the way to Newbury, but accommodation dates just didn't work that way. No matter. And anyway, I believe you've just set out a great itinerary for our week in Cornwall!

Greg - Good point, and one to take into consideration when you're fussy about lodging (which I am). I've never lost money on cancelling a booking, but I've had to cancel an entire trip's worth of bookings a couple of times!

Janis - Yes, it is, isn't it? Thanks for the vote of support.
BBgt is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2015, 02:30 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
flying into Exeter looks much better, with a direct flight that arrives around 11:45 am. Flights into Newquay involve one change and arrive much later in the afternoon - and are more expensive, to boot - so currently the plan is to fly into Exeter.>>

if those are the choices, I definitely agree with you. and you would then get the chance to drive across to top of Dartmoor, with the chance to drop in for linch at one of my favourite places, the Tors Inn at Belstone:

http://www.thetors.co.uk

it's not much to look at, but the welcome is warm, the food is good, the beer/cider great, and the view out the back of the pub is fantastic. it's about a 2 miles drive off the A30 - and a whole different world to the hustle and bustle of the main road.
annhig is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2015, 02:37 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hmmm - links to Carnarvon Arms and Abode Exeter didn't work for me. In case anyone cares to check them out, let's try again:

http://thecarnarvonarmshotel.com/

http://www.abodeexeter.co.uk/
BBgt is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2015, 02:46 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh, Ann - that would be a perfect stop for lunch. It looks to be about 35-40 minutes from Exeter airport - the perfect distance to catch our breath and re-fuel (food-wise) before driving to our cottage.

Unless there is a dramatic shift in flights posted for May, we'll definitely fly into Exeter. It looks much simpler in spite of the extra drive time. And it would give us that opportunity to see a bit of scenery on the drive. I thought the drive from Exeter airport looked pretty straightforward, too - a good way to reacquaint myself with left-handed driving.
BBgt is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2015, 10:01 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Save for a bit of a strange loop to get from the road from the airport onto the end of the motorway/A30 [which may not be so bad going west as it is going east] it is indeed quite a gentle re-introduction to left handed driving and once you're on the A30 it's easy peasy.

Abode Exeter aka the Royal Clarence is in the best position in Exeter, and of course has the advantage of the Michael Caines kitchen. I haven't eaten there for a while but I would definitely suggest booking there for dinner - the table-d'hote looks a steal at £17.50 pp. for 2 courses. [don't over-eat at the Tors on the way down!]

The only down side is the parking - you can pull up outside to unload but then you have to move the car to a car park I think - I would check about this if I were you as finding your way to the off-loading place isn't easy.
annhig is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2015, 12:24 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you're a fan of the Doc Martin series on PBS, you could visit Port Isaac, the Cornish town where it is filmed.

http://www.portisaac-online.co.uk/
happytourist is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2015, 12:51 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,076
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just wanting to bring up your Highclere visit, are you certain they are open on the 29th? I know they have very limited opening dates, the website says "each of the May bank holidays" - which would be the 30th? I, of course, do not know if that means they are open for the entire weekend of the bank holiday, or if they truly mean just the Monday.
txgirlinbda is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2015, 01:30 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,142
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bbgt, you will love your trip. My sister, daughter, and I did a trip a little similar last fall to London, York, Edinburgh with day trips, and Cornwall. If you are interested in looking at it, I did a trip report called Five-Star Trip on a Three-Star Budget.
carolyn is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2015, 10:57 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Brilliant. If there's anything you'd like specific input on in Scotland, let me/us know
sheila is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2015, 05:10 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I didn't get a chance to read all of these lovely replies until this morning - thanks to all!

Ann - We will actually be staying in Exeter after Cornwall, having taken the train from Penzance, so parking won't be a concern. (That was the odd little out-of-sequence bit in our itinerary due to the cottage dates being Fri-Fri.. means we can't dilly dally in Exeter before driving to our cottage) It does look like a fantastic location, especially with only one night there. And we will be sure to try out Michael Caine's.

Happy Tourist - My mom would be a very "happy tourist" if she gets to visit Port Isaac! I'm a bit concerned that I've read how steep the village streets are and that parking is rather tight. Mom's not a great hill walker - but if she's determined, she sometimes surprises me! I know she want to visit PI, though.

txgirlinbda - Thanks for the concern on Highclere. I've already checked, and they are indeed open that Sun/Mon. I just have to be diligent in watching the website so I can secure tickets!

Carolyn - I do recall seeing your trip report, but will re-read it today! Thank you

Sheila - Thank you so much. I will take you up on your offer of input, I'm sure. I do wish we had more time in Scotland, and I'd love to do a driving tour there someday, but for this trip a home base in Edinburgh with day trips just seemed to fit the bill.

My mom and I are so excited - only 8 months!!
BBgt is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2015, 05:20 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ann - We will actually be staying in Exeter after Cornwall, having taken the train from Penzance, so parking won't be a concern.>>

of course, I should have been able to work that out.

In which case you can enjoy a nice lunch at the Tors - they usually have a very good selection of home cooked dishes which might be a good choice on your first day of self-catering so you won't feel the need to do too much shopping and can have a snack or something light for supper.
annhig is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2015, 06:26 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No worries, Ann. That bit of our itinerary is a little confusing. Your suggestion to have a good meal at the Tors is perfect, and would be a welcome break in our day. I agree that on our first evening in Marazion we'd not want to do a big shopping trip.
BBgt is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2015, 07:06 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree that on our first evening in Marazion we'd not want to do a big shopping trip>>

you'd be lucky to be able to do so! Marazion is well furnished with restaurants but lacks actual useful shops. for that, you need to go to Penzance, which if anything has too many, supermarkets at any rate. You will find no less than three on the road into PZ - a Morrisons, a Sainsbury's [which would be my choice of the three] and then Tesco. The good news is that they vie with each other to cut prices especially petrol so make sure that you sus out who is offering the best prices!

however there are some proper shops in PZ, both food and otherwise - on the quay, opposite the giant car park you will find a good fishmongers, and up in town, bakers and at the top of Chapel Street [which is a real joy to explore] a good butcher. Sadly the greengrocer that used to be nearby has closed down, but if you wander up the pedestrian street called "Causeway head" just opposite the beautifully domed building at the top of Market Jew Street you will find a greengrocer there as well as a lot of other interesting shops and the odd cafe. The building with the dome was Bolitho's Bank [now Lloyds] and was founded by the area's premier mining family - they clearly wanted everyone to know who was in charge!

on a nice day, the little Georgian streets south of that area are interesting [follow the sings to the Library] and also the Penlee Gallery with its wonderful collection of Newlyn School paintings and a great cafe, all set in the lovely garden.

PZ is highly recommended for a day's mooching about!
annhig is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2015, 09:32 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you, Ann - I really appreciate that information. I was wondering where to shop, and hadn't got around to asking the question! We'll probably be picking up our cottage keys in Hayle (where Aspects Holidays has an office, although I'm not sure of the details yet). Would there be shops in Hayle where we could get just a few supplies for that evening?
BBgt is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2015, 09:42 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
BBgt - just off the big roundabout at the southern end of the dual carriageway part of the A30, there is a Marks and Spencer's with a food hall - you turn left at the island and its the 2nd exit, and go round the back of a little shopping mall I suppose you would call it to get to the parking. Boots too if you needed one.

the exit for Hayle is the 4th exit and just there on the right is a Lidl - one of the german "pile it high, sell it cheap" discount supermarkets. Chalk and cheese - you take your choice. You ar probably guessing that I would suggest M&S!

Then you just drive down into Hayle - which is essentially one very long street - and find your agent's office.
annhig is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2015, 09:53 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Perfect - thank you! I'm printing this to take with us. You've been a tremendous help, Ann - I really appreciate it.
BBgt is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:18 PM.