Northern England in December

Jun 16th, 2014, 04:05 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 23
Northern England in December

My husband and I plus our two best friends are going to England November 28. We will be three days in Chester, three in York and a week in Corbridge, Northumberland. My questions are: what are some good places to go when the weather is bad and has anyone walked Hadrians Wall in December and can you offer advice. Any suggestions about proper gear for the weather or places to see, etc. Thanks.
cwguy is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 05:53 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 280
Most of England is geared up for rain, Chester has a lot of old buildings, Liverpool is well worth a visit. for at least one day.York is a very interest city Do not miss
"The Kirk Museum."allow plenty of time, there is a lot to see there. Hadrians wall is a long wall. & would not be good in the rain.
jean253 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 06:02 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,041
>>Hadrians wall is a long wall. & would not be good in the rain.<<

Hadrian's wall is especially problematic in the rain - the major forts like Housesteads and Chesters are in large fields and even in dry-ish weather the walks can be sloppy. You'll need sturdy footwear.
janisj is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 06:03 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,041
meant -- especially at Chesters -- there are paths to Housesteads but it is quite a hike.
janisj is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 01:39 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,705
You might be very lucky and get one of those clear, crisp, winter days with sun. However, the odds are that you won't! If you're out walking across country, you'll need full waterproofs and good boots. Also bear in mind that as the days are short, you won't want to be caught on moorland once it's gone dark, so make sure that any walk you start can be completed in the daylight.

Three days in Chester might be one too many and whilst Corbridge is an interesting little place, it's charms might wane in a week. I assume therefore that you are using it only as a base?

I do have to say that late November/early December would not be my choice for country pursuits.
Rubicund is online now  
Jun 17th, 2014, 02:08 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,866
mmm - I know that many of us here are advocates of the road less travelled but some might think that this is taking it a little far.

with this amount of time available, and Edinburgh not that far from Corbridge, there must be some VERY good reason why you are choosing to spend a whole week [7 days?] there.

for that time of year, 3 nights in Chester, 2 in Corbridge 5 in Edinburgh, and 3 in York might make for a more enjoyable trip, and almost certainly, a drier one.

but of course there may be a back story which makes your itinerary perfectly understandable.
annhig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 05:16 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 23
We are going to use corbridge as just a base and we are taking side trips to The Wall, Lindisfarne, Ailnick, durham, etc. we have decided that if the weather is particularly awful we will go on to Edinburgh since that is our destination anyway. The cottage was inexpensive so no worries leaving it early.
cwguy is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 06:40 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,548
I live in North Yorkshire so can speak from experience.
As I am sure you realise, no one can predict the weather. Last winter we had no snow whatsoever in our part of the Dales - and if we do have heavy snow it tends to be in January or February. But who knows what next winter will bring.
I personally wouldn't walk the Wall as such but I'd certainly visit some of it, wearing suitable clothing as Janis sensibly suggests. It can be bitterly cold up there in the middle of summer!
If I was you I'd have Plan A (decent weather) and Plan B (poor weather) and play it by ear once you get here. Keep a check on the BBC weather each day and heed any weather warnings.
Absolutely don't miss Lindisfarne (Holy Island) which will be wonderful without the crowds. Check tide times though as you might find your stay on the island is a bit longer than you'd planned!
I'd also recommend Bamburgh Castle which opens weekends during the winter. If you can't get there when it is open it is worth it to view from the outside.
Barter Books in Alnwick is also a good place for a rainy day - a wonderful, huge second hand bookshop in the old station building, with a very good café too.
Morgana is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 06:44 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,935
If you are particularly interested in Hadrian's Wall and the history surrounding it, then depending on the weather you could also get a lot of value out of time at Vindolanda. Though a short distance away from the wall at Housesteads and part of an early military settlement rather than of the wall itself, it does have a pretty comprehensive (indoor and heated!) set of displays on Roman life on the wall. Again, depending on the weather, you can get a fair (and in winter, more than fair) idea of it all with a relatively short time at Housesteads - ruins of a fort, a small museum on site and s short walk away from one of the more spectacular views of the wall, without having to walk along it for any distance. But you will need good footwear for muddy fields and slippery paths, as well as proper wind- and rain-proofing.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 02:57 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,866
But you will need good footwear for muddy fields and slippery paths, as well as proper wind- and rain-proofing.>>

and a hip flask or two.
annhig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 04:13 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Remember also that you'll be far north from a latitude perspective - means it will get dark early.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 06:37 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Yes - as in dark before 4 pm - and light very late in the morning. Overall your touring days will be very short.

And the day we visited Hadrian's Wall - in July (and 85 w hen we left London 5 days before) it was pouring rain, very windy and temp in the upper 40s. Luckily I prefer cold to heat. But a bunch of people who arrived when we did - went back to their cars and left.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 19th, 2014, 02:34 PM
  #13  
ESW
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 760
Don't be put off by the replies. We used to regularly holiday in Northumberland at Christmas, stopping at Haltwhistle, just a bit further west from Corbridge. We've had some cracking holidays. There has been rain and even snow, but we've also had some lovely sunny days. There have been times when I've been down to shirt sleeves in sunny sheltered spots!

Days are short and by 2pm it can be getting quite chilly. Plan your days so you are not trying to cram too much into them.

Make sure you have a decent pair of hiking boots that are well broken in. Buy a good set of waterproofs - we swear by Paramo which is a waterproof breathable cotton and very comfortable to wear all the time. Think layers and make sure you always carry an extra sweater in the pack as well as gloves, hat and scarves. Also make sure you have a good map too as there is some superb walking in the surrounding countryside too.

Along Hadrians Wall in winter, you will find the area around stiles can get very muddy. Also if there has been a prolonged hard frost, parts of the wall on the bare rock can be very slippery and are best avoided. On a positive note, if there has been hard frost you'll find that mud is frozen and you won't be ankle deep in claggy mud. Snow can also cause problems, especaially if it has been drifting. Use you common sense when deciding on walks.

There are also some good walks in Keilder forest. Forest roads make easy walking but you do need the OS 1:50,000 map for this.
ESW is online now  
Jun 20th, 2014, 12:59 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 280
I agree. On a crisp sunny day, with the low sun casting shadows which highlight the contours of the landscape, the English countryside can be beautiful in winter. Each year we have a week in the Dales in either November or February, and if you get some good weather days, it's breathtaking. Just make sure you have the waterproof boots and clothes to cope with the wet days too, and if it's forecast to drizzle all day, you can't beat a few hours in a pub, cosied up to a roaring fire.
anicecupoftea is offline  
Jun 20th, 2014, 06:31 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,866
On a crisp sunny day, with the low sun casting shadows which highlight the contours of the landscape, the English countryside can be beautiful in winter.>>

unfortunately you could just as easily have a week of misery in the rain. crisp sunny days are not guaranteed in December in the North of England.
annhig is offline  
Jun 20th, 2014, 07:15 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,935
>>unfortunately you could just as easily have a week of misery in the rain <<

Or a week of perfect excuses for "a few hours in a pub, cosied up to a roaring fire"...!
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jun 20th, 2014, 07:31 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,281
and don't forget the thick fog...............!
chapla is offline  
Jun 20th, 2014, 08:14 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,866
Patrick - even the pub can pall after a couple of days. [well, it can for me, i wouldn't dream of speaking for you!]
annhig is offline  
Jun 20th, 2014, 12:18 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 280
Each to their own. Personally, a week of wet weather at leisure beats a sunny week at work.

But I've never had a full week of unrelenting rain. Some days are dry all day, occasionally wet all day, mostly a cross between the two. If you're expecting a bit of bad weather, you won't be disappointed and you may be pleasantly surprised instead. Check the forecast the night before, plan accordingly and be flexible rather than sticking rigidly to a plan.
anicecupoftea is offline  
Jun 20th, 2014, 12:20 PM
  #20  
ESW
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 760
Don't forget you can also get a week of pouring rain in summer....
ESW is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:50 AM.