UK with kids- One Week

May 28th, 2007, 06:52 PM
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UK with kids- One Week

I'm holding tickets to Manchester for April '08 for my family of four. My kids and I have never been to the UK whereas my wife spent a summer at Oxford during college.
If take the trip to Manchester, any recommendations on the best way to spend 8 days? Should we just head to London? Split time between Edinburgh and London? Flying into Manchester and taking trains from there worthwhile or too much of a headache? Any general guidance would be appreciated.
ninermike is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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the UK is a big place -- what sorts of things do you want to see/do???

Sure, you can spend the entire time in London - or not step foot in the place. For instance - you coud spend the entire time in York/Yorkshire and the Peak District never being more than 75 miles from Manchester.

Or you could spend the entire time in Edinburgh/central Scotland.

Or in/near Oxford/the Cotswolds

Or just about anywhere else.

So what research have you done and what kinds of things do you want to see? Cities, castles, countryside, or . . . .
janisj is online now  
May 28th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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I've spent alot of time in England, taking my son..before that neices and nephews. Went to school there, worked there in theatre.
These are the highlights the kids really enjoyed.
1. York
walled city, walking the wall is cool
Viking museum/ride underground
The Shambles....I believe the narrowest street in used in the Harry Potter Movies as the town they shop in for school stuff.
2. Ruins outside of York..abbeys and such, are fun. You'll need a car. Also north of York is the settings for all the "All Creatures Great and Small" series (BBC..just books here)
The express takes you to London in a little over 2 hours.
London: London Dungeon is a kick.
A boat ride (basically a water taxi)down the Thames can be done from the London Eye...also great...which is close to Westminster Abbey...down to SOuthwark where London Dungeon is). I think the Cuttysark is down there also? Its a ship of some type..anyone know which one? From the Dungeon it's not far to the Tower of London, which I have always found painfully boring, and so do most of the people we take there..especially kids. You can see the crown jewels...which most kids sort of ho hum at. Although I appreciate the beauty, probably looks fake to kids!
At the other end of town...The Victoria and Albert Museum is super! Lots of royal clothes on models, carriages, suits of armor. Very very close(waling) to that is the Natural History Museum which is awesome! It has a life size robotic T-rex! You have to have a "time" ticket for that...keeps it from getting over crowded. Also note...the museum is not Airconditioned, but in April that shouldn"t be a problem. There is also a science museum next door, but we've never been there. From there you can walk (a bit long but nice) down to Harrods. The have the BEST toy section (I know they say Hamleys, but we have been to both..often...and Harrods is cleaner and quieter and has about the same stuff), GREAT book section...and a chocolate cafe where you can have chocolate fondue! They also have a Starbucks in the basement.
The clothes there are over-prices and lousy, so don't bother. Good Home section, fun Pet store.
Across the street and down a little to the left is resturant called RICHOUX..
reasonably priced, good food. Very English. They have another one right down the road from THE Ritz Hotel on Piccadilly. High Tea at Harrods is not all that great, and VERY expensive. We usually do it at Richoux's. The have a good breakfast also.
In Leischester Sq. there is a hugh video arcade/bowling alley. Can't think of the name of the place at the moment, sure someone can. They have a 31 flavor ice cream inside. But warning...where are games are $1 there are one pound each...which is nearly $2! Fantastic bowling alley.
Behind this square is Chinatown. Very fun to look around at the produce and stuff. Another warning...inside the magazines can be pretty blantant and pretty easy to see for little ones...or worse yet..teenagers!!
Good food in most of the resturants.
Theater is wonderful there...definetly get seats for what ever strikes your fancy.
Trafalger square is fun...tons of pigeons! Piccadilly circus attracts punkers and such, but great fun to watch them to! Not as much in April because it's cold.
Outside of London..
Hever Castle...Anne Boylens home. Has a moat. Has a maze. Beatiful gardens. Very very ancient looking, so it's fun for the kids.
Leeds castle is OK...a bit more for adults. Travis was pretty bored...except for the white peacocks and the beautiful grounds.
Brighton is OK...nothing special if you're limited on time.
Windsor Castle/city is fun.
Stonehenge is fun. Salsibury is very old and such. BRITISH CONNECTIONS I Believe offer private showings of stonehenge where you can get in past the ropes.
In Edinburgh. "Hogwarts" is a school there that Travis did a soccer course in. Can't think of the name at the moment. Fun to visit. They use the outside for filming Hogwart scenes.
The Edinburgh dungeon is fun.
Edinburh Caste is wonderful. Then walk down High street. Things to see and do along that mile. It's downhill one mile. Stop at Mary's Close to visit the underground area people use to live in. VERY interesting..and Haunted! The Royal Mile Pub is good for lunch...if it's still there.. The obscura...a place to climb up for illusions....St Andrews Church...great shopping. There is also a new "earth" thing they did for the millenium...does anyone remember the name? That was OK. Long walk to get there, taxis hard to find in that area.
The express train from London goes through York and on to Edinburgh doing it in 4 1/2 hours. We take trains that have dining cars and eat on the trains. Food is fine...that is served. The "snack" bar stuff is just that, snack bar stuff. That way we don't waste alot of time in resturants.
Also in London...we did the Military museum...I thought it would be dumb, but it was really great! But, hard to find a taxi from there. But we all really loved it.
I hope this wasn't too long. And I hope you have a great time!
May 28th, 2007, 08:25 PM
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How old are the kids? Boys/Girls? I took my grandsons, ages 13 and 10 to London in April and I'd be happy to post their likes and dislikes from the trip if it appears to be relevant.
MelJ is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 09:08 PM
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When in York, I'd also suggest the National Railway Museum.
Their website looks a bit dull, but it's the world's largest (and finest IMHO). And it's free.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 09:12 PM
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To be kind I'll only say there is quite a bit of very fuzzy info in trsmom's post.

Just a few:

- There are no carriages in the V&A
-There is no St Andrews Church on the Royal Mile - Probably means St Giles Cathedral
- Several places around the UK served as parts of Hogwarts - but none in Edinburgh. If you are interested in HP film locations, here is a site that lists them by film
and so on

janisj is online now  
May 29th, 2007, 12:05 AM
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mike, if you're looking into the Harry Potter angle, a vote here for Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. If the kids are younger, they have great open fields to run in, some nice hands-on activities, and of course the Harry Potter tour.

Between Manchester and York is Sherwood Forest Country Park if they're nature lovers and/or Robin Hood fans.

There are so many options, so much depends on your interests. More than likely, whatever you're interested in, there's something for you.
djman102 is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:43 AM
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Sherwood Forest Country Park is in Nottinghamshire and NOT between Manchester and York. Depending on how old your kids are and what they like I would vote for York and Alnwick, if you are flying into Manchester. Or maybe North Wales.
hetismij is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for all the input! Especially from trsmom.

I suspect seeing London will be a requirement of the trip. I'm just wondering how much time we should spend there vs. the rest of the country. I've heard many tell me that Scotland is one of their favorite destinations anywhere, but I'm wondering if that should be saved for another trip. My kids will be 9 and 10 at the time we take the trip.

I'm thinking at this time we might spend 3-4 days in London and the remaining time elsewhere.
ninermike is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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If taking trains you may consider an BritRail England pass simply because kids under 16 all get a free Child's pass to match the pass the adults buy. see for current prices - ask for their free European Planning & Rail Guide that has an excellent chapter on British trains so you can get a feel for rail travel there, which is very good - trains go everywhere all the time.
PalenQ is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Manchester had a lot to offer. The Imperial War Museum North in Salford is in a Daniel Leibskind building which is very cool and the museum is fascinating. There's two excellent football teams- Manchester City and that other one. The Peak District, the Lake District and wonderful Snowdonia (North Wales) are within easy reach. You'd have no trouble fillinf 8 days.
bellini is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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is ninermike for the SF 49ers? (My license plate is Go9ers)

Anyway - trsmom is definitely enthusiastic and has given you some good info, but a lot of misinformation too. Just be selective on which of her recs you follow.

You have a very short time in the country. If you are going to London then you only have time for at most one other area. The UK is about the same size as California - but there is no I-5 running down the middle and it takes a long time to get places. W/ only 1 week, 5 days in London and 2 in Edinburgh (flying or taking the train in between) would be one option. Or 4 days in London and about 3 in Yorkshire. That sort of plan. You will not have time to see London and Oxford and Alnwick and York and Brighton and Edinburgh and, and, and . . .
janisj is online now  
May 29th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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OH - and Bellini's suggestion of spending the whole time w/i about 75/100 miles of Manchester is also good.
janisj is online now  
May 29th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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I'm very tempted to suggest you use Center Parc in the lake District as a base. Kids that age love it and it gives god R&R for parents too
sheila is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 01:37 PM
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You could have a day out in Alton Towers. It's one of the best theme parks in the UK and a family ticket will only set you back about £50. It has a hotel also and some good shows etc in the evenings
weelynnie is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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Our kids enjoyed Windsor (castle and Legoland).
Vttraveler is online now  
May 30th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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If in the Lake District area you can also pop over to Blackpool, Britain's most popular and thriving seaside resorts but also with Pleasure Beach, featuring the Pepsi Max, until recently the world's highest roller-coaster and other adventure rides. Trains will take you to Blackpool
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 1st, 2007, 08:40 PM
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Yes, true I was a bit "fuzzy" Fettes College on the outskirts of Edinburgh we were told was used for some outside shots of Hogwarts..and we do recognize them when we say the film again. The "attraction" built in Edinburgh for the millineum is "Dynamic Earth" North yorkshire dales is the setting for "All Creatures Great and Small".
When I went to the Vict. Albert Museum many years ago there WAS a carriage..just one. Perhaps it has been moved to another museum. Your right about St is St Giles. And very nice.
I totally stand by my five visits to the Tower of London, with ages 7-19 year olds. None of them cared for it, and its a long way to get there (or so it seems. My comments are directly for children's interest.
We've not gone to Sherwood Forest County Park that hetisnij mentioned. Is it something fun? We're leaving in a week for Italy/Britain and would love to see something new! My son is big on outdoors, animals, hawking, etc.
And PalenQ...I like your suggestion and plan to look into it!
As for all the other stuff I mentioned, which I just reread..I stand behind it all (especially visiting the Chocolate Cafe in Harrods..if it's still there..we haven't been back for 3 years).
So..ninermike...have a great time!!
Don't rush anything, kids grow up too fast!
have fun
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