London to Ireland or Wales?

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Jan 3rd, 2016, 07:51 AM
  #1
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London to Ireland or Wales?

I'll be in London at the end of February for business and I want to go check out another country while I'm there. I'm thinking of Ireland or Wales. I'll have about a week for vacation and my ideal scenario would be to visit a cute country town and tour old homes or castles.

Suggestions please!
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Jan 3rd, 2016, 08:10 AM
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As of this writing Wales is still the same country as England - the UK. If you want another country it will have to be Ireland - and not the North. However, Wales has some great castles: Caernarfon, Caerphilly and Conwy would probably be my picks, but you are spoiled for choice. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_castles_in_Wales.

Will you be driving? If not, you could combine Conwy with Chester or maybe Shrewsbury (both in England, though).
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Jan 3rd, 2016, 08:37 AM
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the same country? - try saying that in Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­t ysilio­gogo­goch....
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Jan 3rd, 2016, 09:05 AM
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Lol. If you're Welsh, you still get a British passport if you want to travel. But you can ask for it in Welsh - https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...h-language.pdf
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Jan 4th, 2016, 05:38 PM
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I suggest you save yourself some travel time and stay in England for castles and old homes to visit. There are countless options within an hour or 2 drive of London and probably thousands all told. Having spent some time in Ireland and lots doing just what you want to do in England, I much prefer England.

I say "drive" because old places to visit have an annoying habit of being located down country roads, away for the most part, from train stations and bus stops. So to not have to settle for those near public transport, a car is the way to do it. However, there are still loads to see if you don't want to drive, especially if you're willing to walk a bit.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk
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Jan 4th, 2016, 05:53 PM
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Many rural sites/houses are closed or have limited hours in Feb -- so I'd stick to one or two parts of England. I do know Blenheim re-opens for the season on mid-Feb. But say Chatsworth or Castle Howard -- don't re-open til mid-March.
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Jan 4th, 2016, 11:08 PM
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"Many rural sites/houses are closed or have limited hours in Feb"

Not quite. The poster wants to "tour old homes or castles". By and large, most UK castles tend to be State-owned, with limited maintenance, and can justify staying open throughout the winter - though opening hours tend to be short (Conway, for example, is open only from 10 or 11 to 4)

Most houses are privately owned or technically owned by the National Trust but still occupied partially by the former owning family. Outside the major conurbations, they typically close for most of the winter, and most rural gardens also close, though many of these properties retain access to their parkland through the winter. Changing work and travel patterns now make Blenheim almost London's most westerly suburb, and a number of the prettier towns within 100 miles of London do have a range of similar attractions from late Feb.

In those parts of the British countryside (like the Cotswolds) that don't rely on tourism, all other activities open normally throughout the winter.

The rarely stated fundamental truth about tourism to Ireland is that the country is virtually devoid of "cute" towns, and its inland countryside is dreary at the best of times and insufferable in a rainy winter.

Dublin, Belfast and Cork make for great, raucous, winter weekends, and much of Ireland's coastline is even more bracing and spectacular in winter. But my inland rural ancestors escaped to civilisation as soon as they could - and they were absolutely right.
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Jan 5th, 2016, 08:14 AM
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I didn't mean/say that all rural sites are shut -- only that many of them are. Yes -- lots of castles and places like Stonehenge are open year round. But the OP mentioned 'old homes' in his brief - and many stately homes are closed in Feb.
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Jan 5th, 2016, 03:04 PM
  #9
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Many National Trust houses in England and Wales will be open by the end of February.

North Wales has the edge when it comes to ruined castles with Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and Beaumaris all open 10-4 (11-4 on Sundays). Criccieth is open Friday-Sunday. Smaller castles where there is no charge to enter and which are open include Ewloe, Dolbadarn and Dolwyddelan.

Penrhyn Castle (National Trust) is Victorian and built to resemble a Norman castle is open - check web site as times vary. This is a magnificent example of Victorian opulence.
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/statel...hyn/index.html


There is also the delightful Penmon Priory with its priory ruins, dove cote and lovely church. Portmeirion, often described as an Italianate village, is also open.

Conwy (medieval walled town) or Llandudno (Victorian sea side town) make a good base. Another suggestion is Criccieth.
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Jan 5th, 2016, 04:12 PM
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Bedi...welcome back to the Forum? rare posts since 2007..hope all is OK for you.

This stuff will give you a feel for Wales...save Ireland for another time...you'd be too rushed. These snaps have been taken in the 80's, 90's and 2006-7-8 We particularly liked Criccieth and used it for most of our day tripping. Actually, we were on our way to Holyhead for the ferry to Dublin. Emjoy your winter vacation! Stu
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Jan 5th, 2016, 06:46 PM
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Bedi...for you

http://www.thelighthousepress.com/tower.htm
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Jan 5th, 2016, 07:03 PM
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Bedi...sorry for mix up..here's Wales:

https://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/Wales
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Jan 6th, 2016, 06:39 AM
  #13
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There are also pictures and information on my website here:
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/index.html
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Jan 7th, 2016, 01:21 PM
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I have two UK/Wales trip reports here; both have links to pictures if you're interested. We went in 2007 for our 25th anniversary, and Mr. Pickle's a capella men's choir did a two-week Wales tour in 2014.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...b-may-2007.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...yjune-2014.cfm

Lee Ann
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