Touring Trip Around UK

Aug 29th, 2011, 12:41 AM
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Touring Trip Around UK

DH & I (both active mid-60s) are in the process of planning our travels through Europe for July - Sept 2012.

In UK we would like to hire a car at Heathrow, then spend around 2 weeks from mid August touring. For us, this is quite a different approach to travel; usually we stay put for at least a week, then move on.

There are some 'have-tos' en route, then we are looking for suggestions of interesting places in between. We enjoy learning about the history and natural sites, more than gourmet food venues.

Here is our rough outline:
Kew (family history research)
Drive up the east coast finishing at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (family history)
Liverpool (DH wants to visit here)
Portsmouth (more family history research)

On previous trips we have covered London, Cornwall, Cotswolds, Lakes District, Oxford, Stratford - so don't wish to include these places this time around. We also have no wish to travel any further north for this trip.

We would appreciate your suggestions for any interesting spots along the way.
Many thanks, Di
di2315 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2011, 02:22 AM
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I'd do Kew & Portsmouth from central London by public transport - no need for a car for either.

You also pass through York on your way to Newcastle - so you could travel by train to York then pick up a car when you leave, though Liverpool could be done as a day trip from York as there are direct trains.

As to what to see - too many places to name but from York I'd suggest going up the spine of England through the Yorkshire Dales, Teesdale (check out Bowes Museum), Weardale before hitting Hadrian's Wall and places like Durham & Beamish open air Museum
alanRow is offline  
Aug 29th, 2011, 02:39 AM
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Bear in mind that the National Archives have been pursuing a policy of migrating digitised copies of a great deal of archive material that deals with individuals so that they will only be available online, via the Ancestry or FindMyPast websites. Check their catalogues and research enquiry services: the last thing you want to do is turn up, go through the registration process and then find you could have seen exactly the same material "in the comfort of your own home".
PatrickLondon is online now  
Aug 29th, 2011, 03:39 AM
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Thanks for your quick responses!

Alan - we don't plan to be in London at all - hence staying near Kew makes more sense this time around. Will check out your other suggestions, ta.

Patrick - I have done extensive on-line research from home in Australia, but the information I'm seeking from NA isn't available, so a visit is my final fling on this little bit of the puzzle.

We would prefer to travel by car, so we can see some of the out of the way places and easily stop along the way.
We're considering travelling part of the east coast, if that has interesting scenery? Di
di2315 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2011, 06:05 AM
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car at kew and york will be a pain, york has park and ride on the outskirts or ensure any hotel has parking
bilboburgler is online now  
Aug 29th, 2011, 06:14 AM
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Yes, you won't want a car IN York, but there are a plethora of accomodations very near, within walking distance, which provide parking permits. We stayed at a wonderful B&B, Number 34, on Bootham Crescent and the owner met us with a permit for our car which we parked right outside the door and enjoyed our walks to and from York. If you decide to do something like this, I would confirm the parking arrangements, of course.
texasbookworm is offline  
Aug 29th, 2011, 08:07 PM
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Thanks for the parking hints - we have used park and ride in other areas most successfully.

Still looking for ideas for little 'don't miss' spots along the east coast, if anyone has any? Di
di2315 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2011, 12:18 AM
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Car parking at the Kew National Archive is very limited (it's supremely accessible by foot, bike, bus, train or tube, using Kew Gardens station), and parking elsewhere in Kew is rarer (and costlier) than hen's teeth. Kew's got next to no hotels anyway.

Public transport from Heathrow (the biggest hotel complex in West London) is tricky (there's a direct, half-hourly, 15 min, train from Feltham on the airport edge to Kew Bridge, at least a 20 min walk from the Archive, but getting to Feltham station from most Heathrow area hotels is messy, usually involving a bus to a terminal, then another bus to Feltham station)

No idea what the solution is (probably find a Heathrow area hotel close to a direct bus to Feltham). But it's likely to be as unrelaxing and expensive as staying in central London, but without the decent food and interesting surroundings.
flanneruk is online now  
Aug 30th, 2011, 03:59 AM
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By 'East Coast' I am assuming the stretch of coast between York and Newcastle (agree that train to York makes sense).
Therefore my 'don't miss' spots would be -
1) Whitby
2) Robin Hood's Bay (very steep, twisting lane leads down to the sea via picturesque cottages and tiny alleys).
3) Staithes
However, the most stunning east coast scenery is north of Newcastle (Holy Island, Bamburgh etc) but you have indicated you don't wish to travel north of that city.
I also agree that you don't need a car in York city itself, but you definitely do if you want to explore some of the absolutely stunning countryside. Public transport does exist but can be slow and patchy. North Yorkshire is a very beautiful area - you have two National Parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors. And there are other wonderful places such as Fountains Abbey and Castle Howard.
Personally I think I would stay in York a few days, explore the city itself on foot and then maybe hire a car for a couple of days to explore the wider area.
Morgana is offline  
Aug 31st, 2011, 03:31 AM
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Thanks, Morgana for your detailed reply and suggestions. If time permits, then we'll definitely consider the coast to the north of Newcastle.

Perhaps I should clarify 'east coast'- we plan to drive to Cambridge, then head east to the coast, working our way up to Hull, then inland to York & on to Newcastle. I guess the amount of time we spend doing this will depend on recommendations of what's worth stopping for.

We will arrive in UK at Heathrow, so plan to pick up the car there and then, rather than back-tracking once we have done the research at Kew. Kew Travelodge offers very reasonably priced parking; I realise Travelodge isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for us the clean bathrooms and comfortable beds that Travelodge consistently provide are more important than luxuries for this particular trip.

So any further suggestions, anyone? Di
di2315 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2011, 05:42 AM
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I heartily endorse Cambridge! In the vicinity is a small town called Saffron Walden which is worth a few hours of walking about. It has been a few years since I was there, but I found it picturesque and pleasant.

Ely Cathedral is about my favorite English cathedral. A climb up into the tower will give you wonderful views over the flat countryside thereabouts.

I think your idea of a trip up the east coast is wonderful. I have enjoyed greatly my times around there.
irishface is offline  
Aug 31st, 2011, 11:40 PM
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Thanks irishface - we're doing well now for places along the coast up to around Adleburgh!

Still have the section from there to York to cover - is the coast around Norwich up to Hull worthwhile, or should we travel a more inland route?

Many thanks, Di
di2315 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2011, 04:48 AM
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Would definitely take a more inland route between Norwich and Hull unless you have LOTS of time. That's not to say there aren't some seaside places worth visiting on the Norfolk/Lincolnshire coast but I'd save myself for Yorkshire coast- Morgana's suggestions are spot-on.
bellini is offline  
Sep 1st, 2011, 05:58 AM
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If your heading East from Cambridge to the coast then Aldeburgh would be an ideal starting point. Then you can head North to any of the following places which I think are worth stopping at: Thorpeness, Dunwich, Walberswick and Southwold. From there you can head up to Norwich and then up to the North Norfolk coast. Anywhere from Sheringham to Hunstanton is worth a look. But I will say that going to the Suffolk and Norfolk coasts from Cambridge is definitely going to be quite a long detour if your then going to head up to York. I would only consider this detour if you have at least 4 days to spare. Otherwise I would save the days for the North Yorkshire Moors and coast and the Yorkshire Dales.
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Sep 2nd, 2011, 05:17 AM
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Thanks, jimmybog - added to the detail from previous postings, that gives us a great overview of the best spots to head for.

I guess that from Hunstanton we're best to head across to Nottingham, then take the M1 up to York (no one has mentioned any particular spots along the coast north of Hunstanton).

Once we leave York - including the Moors - we'll head along the coast again, then visit the Dales on our way back south after Newcastle.

Thanks everyone for helping sort this out! Di
di2315 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2011, 03:37 PM
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I recommend Elliots Guest House in York. We drove there with our hire car, parked in their guest parking and walked through the museum gardens (beautiful, and my sis in law swears she saw a ghost)to get to all the must-sees of York. It is very close also to the Railway Museum which IMO is a must see. If you are interested in family history, you may love Beamish Open Air Museum just near Durham. Don't miss Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby. Captain Cook's lodgings by the harbour is a great little museum and so is the walk up the million steps to view the whole of Whitby harbour and a free look at the Abby ruins. Whitby is wonderful and you must experience fish and chips from one of the famous eateries there. Enjoy your hol. and good luck with researching.
lifetrip is offline  
Dec 17th, 2011, 01:46 PM
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Thanks, lifetrip - I'll add your suggestions to my growing list.
The walk up the million steps may be just what we need!

Elliots Guest House looks very inviting on their website - not sure how much we'll need to book ahead for this touring trip; having the Olympic Games just before our arrival date makes me wonder if there'll be more tourists travelling than usual this year. Or will the effects of the GFC change people's travel plans?
di2315 is offline  
Dec 20th, 2011, 09:30 AM
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The North Yorkshire coast is wonderful. For some ideas on individual places, see
Vpicks is offline  
Dec 20th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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Liverpool is a very impressive city and much improved over the last few years. I has such a rich and varied history with so many impressive sights (and sounds) within very easy walking distance of each other - another great place that is much underated on this forum. I hope you have more than a single night there and compliments to DH for his excellent choice. Please don't try and do it in a day trip. Let me know if you needed more information.
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Dec 20th, 2011, 02:14 PM
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Vpicks, your recommendations are excellent - very informative blogspot, thanks!

Tim - you are the first to give some positive feedback on Liverpool; we recently saw a TV travel program that was also most impressive - so that city stays on our 'must see' list for this trip!
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