UK Return, Retired and Ready

Old Jul 13th, 2023, 12:52 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
UK Return, Retired and Ready

Our almost annual trips overseas have been stymied of course by the pandemic, but my husband and I will both be retired by next April and our dream has always been to come back to the UK for a month and visit some places that are new to both of us and maybe some familiar spots. We have been sustaining ourselves with every Brit television show for the last three years; but now itís time for our own ďEscape to the Country.Ē Husband is 68 and I will be 70 soon so not as young as we used to be, but still mobile and husband is willing to drive, but I love the train system and would like to give him a break sometime. We will be arriving around 4/13/24.
Hereís where we would like to go. Not set in stone, but who the heck knows when we may get back again and some items are on my bucket list.
Norfolk: We thought to fly into Heathrow and take a bus to Cambridge. Weíve done this before and will stay a couple of nights. Still havenít taken the punt on the river and we can pick a car up in Cambridge to drive to Norfolk. Would like to be in Norfolk 5 days. I like being near the sea and love the abundance of medieval churches and country pubs.
We havenít bought our tickets yet, but I have been doing some pre planning and my biggest obstacle has strangely been renting a car. We always rent through AutoEurope and have never had a problem picking up a car in one place and dropping it off in another. I thought we might take the car to our next destination and drop it off somewhere else and take a train to our next place and pick up a car, and so on. We love York and and wanted to possibly pick up a car there after 3 or 4 days or drive there from Norfolk but AE is not letting me drop the car in York or pick one up. No cars in York. So I have been trying to come up with another plan or two to get to the places we want to visit and need your expert help. Also tried direct to Europcar.
Leicester: We are fascinated by the finding of Richard 111 and would like to see the Cathedral and Bosworth Field. If you have a similar interest you should see ďThe Lost King,Ē with Sally Hawkins.
Kenilworth: Years ago I was on a trip to Warwick and Stratford and passed the ruins in a bus and vowed to come back and see. I have a lifelong interest in John of Gaunt and read ďKatherineĒ by Anya Seton when an impressionable young girl and have been to Lincoln to see her tomb.
North Wales: The castles fascinate me and we hope to rent a cottage in the area and take our time driving and enjoying the countryside. We are looking at 5 to 7 days here. Hopefully a peek in at Chester.
Lake District: I was there in the 80s and am not a hiker but my husband has a hankering to visit. I would like to see Hill Top Farm. I am a rabbit fan.I realize that the Lake District is a far piece up the road from Wales but as I said having a hard time finding rental cars that can be dropped off at different places.
London: ĎNuff said. Would like to stay at least a week.
We are willing to extend our trip a few days. I have also experimented in picking up the car in Cambridge and dropping off in Oxford, keeping the car for the straight 3 weeks. For this Iíve been able to get a quote and then taking a train to London.I feel that I have looked at every permutation of rail and auto possible and as I said, now I need help. Any suggestions?
BTW, for the first time in years I have been visiting the forum and reading posts and trip reports and have enjoyed them so much. You know who you are janisj and maitaitom! Itís so lovely to be retired and be up late at night reading Fodors and not have to worry about going to work in the morning. Thank you.

idesofmarch is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 01:29 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,670
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I donít often need to hire a car, as I live near Cambridge and have a car of my own, but have had good luck with Enterprise, both here in England and when I visit relatives back in the US. Not sure what their policy is re drop off in a different location, but itís worth checking them out.

Kudos to you for planning to visit Norfolk, which is overlooked by most overseas visitors, but a very popular county for summer holidays with those who live in other parts of England. Norwich is a beautiful small city, and the North Norfolk coast has miles of sandy beaches. There are several large stately homes in Norfolk, including Sandringham, owned by the king. The house is open to the public unless a member of the royal family is there, and the grounds with its miles of footpaths are always open.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 10:20 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Heimdall, thank you for your reply. I am checking out Enterprise now. Good to hear you’ve been satisfied with their service. We have had such success with AE that I was reluctant to go with another company. Yes, we have wanted to visit Norfolk for awhile, not least because of the ties with Nelson. We will visit the church where his father was rector and the pub in Burnham Thorpe. We will try and get to Sandringham, but will definitely visit Holkham Hall and Castle Rising. I am fascinated by Isabella of France, the “She-Wolf” and the castle ruins look amazing.
idesofmarch is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 10:46 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,625
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Youíve got the makings of a fantastic holiday.
Donít miss Houghton Hall in Norfolk. The house is fine but the gardens are amazing and they often host really innovative exhibitions.
Felbrigg and Blicking Hall are both well worth a visit too.
Donít miss Suffolk out when going to Norfolk. I was born and brought up there so possibly a touch biased but it has some of the most magnificent Ďwoolí churches in particular at Lavenham and Long Melford.
Iím going back a few years now but a lot of Lovejoy was filmed in Lavenham. Itís a beautiful small town full of pink half timbered medieval houses.
Morgana is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 11:52 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,992
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
I find it odd AE has no options for collecting/dropping a car in York since Enterprise, Thrifty, EuropCar and Arnold Clark all have sites there.

edit: . . . I just did a dummy AE booking with a York pick up/drop off and it came back with EuropCar so maybe you clicked 'York Station' instead of 'York, all locations' or something?? Maybe try again??
janisj is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 11:58 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Morgana, thx for your suggestions. It is such a privilege to be able to visit GB for so long. Never enough of course. We based ourselves in Huntington a few years ago and made a day trip to Suffolk, including Lavenham. Just lovely! Lovejoy and I are old friends. I have loved Ian McShane since “If It’s Tuesday it Must Be Belgium.” Now that’s going back! Naturally we would like to spend our whole month in Yorkshire and I have always loved reading your comments. Maybe next time.
idesofmarch is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 12:32 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
janisj. I used pick up Cambridge, drop off York, all locations for a week, 4/15/24 to 4/23/24, figuring we could stay carless in York for a few days, then train somewhere new, but am getting nothing. I did try a few dummy searches earlier in March and got results, but not in my timeframe. I called AE and got the same answer. I will keep trying, but am getting reasonable results going directly to Enterprise. Thx.
idesofmarch is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 12:41 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,625
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh yes, who didn't have a major crush on Mr McShane?
By the way, I could very easily do you a lovely North Yorkshire itinerary that would take your entire month up, just say the word!!!
Morgana is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 01:03 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,992
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Originally Posted by idesofmarch
janisj. I used pick up Cambridge, drop off York, all locations for a week, 4/15/24 to 4/23/24, figuring we could stay carless in York for a few days, then train somewhere new, but am getting nothing. I did try a few dummy searches earlier in March and got results, but not in my timeframe. I called AE and got the same answer. I will keep trying, but am getting reasonable results going directly to Enterprise. Thx.

That still seems odd since there is a EuropCar location in Cambridge. I didn't know your exact dates so just plugged in random dates to see which agency(s) was offered. Maybe there is some major event on your dates but this far out it would be strange to be totally booked up. I would want a car for the Dales for sure but not in York itself. Maybe try Peterborough or Norwich or even Leicester as a pick up location?? OR take the train to York and pick up a car there??
janisj is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 01:22 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,623
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A good job you are planning this trip for next year as I think Leicester Cathedral is closed until Autumn this year.
Leicester itself is a dismal place in my opinion and a pig of a place to drive into and around and to park.
Bosworth Field visitor centre on the other hand is very good. The actual battle site is around a mile away. At weekends they do guided walks. You need to book them.
It makes sense to visit Leicester after Norfolk and before York. I would look at villages to stay rather than in the city.

Loughborough just up the road (not really worth a visit) was the destination of the world's first ever package trip, from Leicester by train, organised by Thomas Cook in 1841. It cost a days wages for the day trip and it took him three years to turn a profit. A few years later he was sending tourists around the world.

Given your wish list I think I'd hang on to the car for the bulk of the trip.
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 01:36 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,670
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wrote that I live near Cambridge, but actually in Suffolk, between Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds. Bury is a beautiful market town, with ruins of an Abbey, and many independent shops in town.
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/...abbey/history/

I enjoy visiting Lavenham now and then, sometimes having afternoon tea in the Swan Hotel. The Airmen’s Bar in the Swan has graffiti on the walls preserved from WWII when RAF and USAAF squadrons flew out of a nearby airfield. There were many scenes in the Lovejoy series from villages around that area. More recently, Harry Potter scenes were filmed in Lavenham.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 02:02 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hetismij2, yes I had read that the Cathedral was closed. We thought to base ourselves in Market Bosworth, visit the Battlefield on the way from Norfolk and then do a park and ride the next day into Leicester, if there is one.
Morgana, our original one month plan was to stay somewhere like Masham, Helmsley, and York for a month, the National Trust flat in York is a must. We decided there were too many places we hadn’t seen and to go further afield. If we can go back to the original plan we will call on you.
janisj, yes it is odd, we have done this before, no problem. As I said before Enterprise is looking good and the search is allowing different drop off places. Maybe we should just keep the car and drop off before London. We would the still visit York, but park in a lot we discovered last time, and just take the car to a couple of day trips like Castle Howard. We love York so much and it would be lovely to relax and walk around and while an afternoon away in our favorite pub, The House of the Trembling Madness. I am going to add a couple of days to London as I would like to get to Portsmouth to see the Victory and the Mary Rose. Or not. I was thinking keep the car for 3 weeks from Cambridge to Stratford-upon-Avon. We could go to Kenilworth and also see a play, something I haven’t done in over 40 years. Do you think this would work?
Thank you all!
idesofmarch is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 02:20 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 229
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Not on your list and a bit out of the way but Cornwall!!! you have to go to Cornwall! I too live in Cambridge. Out of Norfolk, York, Lake District, I would def do York (very unique), I'm not a Lake District or Norfolk lover (not trying to start WW3 but Cornwall, especially St. Ives has my heart...
travellerwannabe is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 10:30 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Heimdall, when we were in Lavenham I wanted to have tea at the Black Swan, but it was closed for an event. I was disappointed.
travellerwanabee, great suggestion. A few years ago we based ourselves outside of Truro and visited Cornwall. I loved it, especially Fowey. I was raised on du Maurier, loved Frenchmanís Creek and the Kingís General. This trip itís a bit of a reach. We also toured some of Devon, staying in Totnes, a family favorite. To be honest my husband was traumatized by driving in Devon and Cornwell. We were on the way to the pub on the moor in the movie, An American Werewolf in London, and the high hedges and narrow lanes spooked him so that he refused to go on. We turned into the sweetest village and had tea. I will get back there someday, I hope.
idesofmarch is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2023, 11:46 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 24,808
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
don't forget Ely
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2023, 01:24 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,670
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Heimdall, when we were in Lavenham I wanted to have tea at the Black Swan, but it was closed for an event.”

I believe you mean The Swan (white, not black):

https://theswanatlavenham.co.uk/
Heimdall is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2023, 10:50 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bilboburgler, we loved Ely when we there a few years ago. Didn’t stay long, but so glad we made it to there and Lincoln.
idesofmarch is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2023, 10:54 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you, Heimdall. That’s what I get for not checking the actual name. Hopefully we will get a second chance to visit. We are very interested in the WW11 ties of that area so would love to see the Airmen’s Bar.
idesofmarch is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2023, 02:28 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Originally Posted by idesofmarch
Heimdall, when we were in Lavenham I wanted to have tea at the Black Swan, but it was closed for an event. I was disappointed.
travellerwanabee, great suggestion. A few years ago we based ourselves outside of Truro and visited Cornwall. I loved it, especially Fowey. I was raised on du Maurier, loved Frenchmanís Creek and the Kingís General. This trip itís a bit of a reach. We also toured some of Devon, staying in Totnes, a family favorite. To be honest my husband was traumatized by driving in Devon and Cornwell. We were on the way to the pub on the moor in the movie, An American Werewolf in London, and the high hedges and narrow lanes spooked him so that he refused to go on. We turned into the sweetest village and had tea. I will get back there someday, I hope.
As I live in Cornwall, I should love to help you with a Cornwall part of your itinerary [if you needed any help that is] but IMHO you already have more than enough to fill a month without adding anything else. In fact given that you don't have any of the West Country in your plans you could probably spend a whole month here another time.

However if you change your mind, just shout!
annhig is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2023, 02:42 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 99
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, Annhig. Have always loved reading your posts. When we head back to the West Country I will call on you. I’m glad we made it even once!
idesofmarch is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -