tweaking the UK itinerary

Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 09:10 AM
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tweaking the UK itinerary

Itís hard to believe departure is almost here. We leave Wednesday. Yeehaw! I have a few last minute itinerary questions. We're traveling by rail pass.

1) We thought about stopping in Carlisle on our way from Edinburgh to Windermere., but the station has no left luggage place. Does anyone know if the bus station or anywhere else has a place to leave luggage? We donít want to have to haul it with us while sightseeing. Or we could go on to Windermere and return on a day trip to Carlisle. Which would be better? Are the Cathedral and Castle close to the rail station?

2) In order to see more of the Welsh countryside, weíre taking the Heart of Wales rail line from Shrewsbury to Swansea. At first I thought to spend two nights in Swansea and two in Cardiff, but since Swansea appears so nice, and not to move so often, I thought it might work to stay three nights in Swansea and make day trips to see Cardiff Castle, Cearphilly Castle, and the Welsh National Museum. Then we could spend the afternoons/evenings enjoying Swansea. Comments?

3) Some of the rail options require us to get from one train to another in about 7-8 minutes. Is this feasible or should I make backup plans for a missed connection?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 10:04 AM
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Hi sallyky,
There is not much point in staying in Swansea and daytripping to Cardiff to see those places.

There is not much to see in Swansea city unless your using it as a base to see the Gower or West Wales which are both beautiful and without a car you might struggle to do that.
In my humble opinion Swansea is not quite so nice as you might think.
It is currently undergoing a facelift around the docks area.

What are you looking for in Swansea that you consider to be nice?
I'm at a loss, the beach might look ok on a post card but believe me not many people go there for swimming apart from the cold hardened University surfers.
There are areas around Swansea that are great but difficult without transport.

I suggest that you arrive in Swansea have a look around then get the next train to Cardiff, stay there for the three nights. visit the Castle and the museum which are a few hundred meters from the train station,then get the bus or train to Caerphilly. While your here you must visit Cardiff bay too.
Take a day to visit Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans and do an open top bus tour.

Not sure what your interests are but let us know and we can point you in the right direction.

7 or 8 mins for train transfers. I would make back up plans, the railways are not very reliable maybe you should consider National express coaches too.

Good Luck
Muck



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Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 10:23 AM
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Mucky covered the Welsh bit very well so I will only make a comment on Carlisle. I have spent a few nights, but mostly for just passing through. The Castle and the over-priced Tully museum can be seen in a very short time, actually I would suggest a pass and rather take the train to Haltwhistle for a visit to the Wall, Roman fort and Museums. For me, Carlisle is a bit boring.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 10:26 AM
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Forgot to add... When I took the train from Swansea to Shrewsbury a couple of years ago they did NOT have any drink or food service. You might want to pick up something before you depart.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 11:47 AM
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I knew the fodorites would come through!

Mucky, thanks for your insights about Swansea. On the web it looked like lots of nice countryside right by the city and a sandy beach to walk on, plus water activities in the docks area.

Checking on the National Couch is a great idea. I hadn't thought of that.

rogeruktm -- We are going to Haltwhistle. It may have been you who suggested the Ashcroft when I was asking about the Hadrian's Wall area. We'll be staying there.

Thanks for the recommendation about taking food on the train. That is really good to know.

Sally
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Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 12:57 PM
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The Ashcroft looks nice. We are planning a stop near Hadrian's Wall next Spring.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 03:46 PM
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I haven't been in/near Swansea in several years - but I was scratching my head what part(s) would be "nice".

Mucky cleared that up - my experience seems to be accurate.

The SW/west coast of Wales is simply amazing - but really difficult to tour w/o a car.

If it was me - I'd skip Swansea altogether.

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Old Aug 24th, 2008, 04:56 AM
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janisj "If it was me - I'd skip Swansea altogether."

Originally, Swansea was just a stop on the way to Cardiff, going that way because I wanted to see more of Wales than the train from Shrewsbury to Cardiff would give me. You all have convinced me to go back to that plan.

Is the ride through the center of the country worth the longer train journey? It looks like we'd get close to mountains.
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Old Aug 24th, 2008, 05:31 AM
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Hi sallyky,
The route from Shrewsbury looks like it takes you through Llandrindod and right through the center of Wales, which is beautiful. I have not done the journey, but I suspect the route will be very picturesque. If you want to see the mountains I am sure it passes by Sugarloaf and some similar mountains, get your camera ready !

So to answer your question, I think it is worthwhile taking this journey, if you want to see these beautiful areas it is probably a good method.

Is there no way you can hire a car?
You can cover some gorgeous areas if you did.

Muck
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Old Aug 24th, 2008, 06:49 PM
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"Is there no way you can hire a car?
You can cover some gorgeous areas if you did."

Unfortunately, my DH didn't want to drive in the other side, even before he heard the horror stories from our friends who have done it. In any case, I don't think we have time enough this trip. We're thinking we'll get a notion of places this time and come back for more specialized visits another time.
Sally
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Old Aug 24th, 2008, 07:40 PM
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sallyky, it's great that you can draw on Mucky's local expertise! Here's a link to my trip report that includes a few nights in Cardiff via public transportation. There might be something useful for you there:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=35016109

Have a great trip and say "hi" to the UK for me!
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Old Aug 25th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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noe847 thanks so much for telling me about your trip report. It was great! I read it all, not just the Cardiff part. I really enjoyed it. I wasn't on Fodor's yet when you wrote it, so I needed the reference. Thanks.

Sally
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