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Where should I go 9 days to explore the countryside of England?

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Apr 10th, 2012, 08:47 PM
  #1
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Where should I go 9 days to explore the countryside of England?

My husband and I are going to England arriving on July 5th and departing on the 21st.
We will be in London until the 7th. We have arranged a tour of CS Lewis in Oxford on the 7th. We will rent a car in Oxford begin driving on the 8th. We have to be back in London on the 17th for our friends wedding on the 18th.

We will head to East Yorkshire(Bridlington) and visiting the mother of the groom for 2 days so we will stop in York......then what do you all suggest for distance and travel time.

We like to bike/hike and I wouldnt mind seeing a few of the famous English gardens.

Any suggestions will be welcomed.

Thanks
Patti and George
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Apr 10th, 2012, 11:30 PM
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I don't do itineraries, but a few incidental suggestions:

1. England's densest concentration of publicly-accessible private gardens is Oxford's 3 dozen or so college gardens, few of which ever get visited by the "Harry Potter dining hall" coach parties. Worth thinking of an extra day there, and at least researching the college lists (such as at http://www.oxfordcityguide.com/ee2/i...versity/All39/) for gardens - but start off with Worcester College, whose (no charge for admission) garden, practically next door to the bus station and scarcely ever visited by tourists, is extraordinary.

2. Familiarise yourself with the National Gardens Scheme (www.ngs.org.uk). NOT an exhaustive list of visitable gardens, but an almost-exhaustive list of participants in a national programme when gardens open for a day or two and donate takings to charity. Many in the "garden finder" tool open other times too, so it's a good tool for finding gardens in a given area.

3. Below the NGS scheme are tens of thousands of gardens open for a weekend as part of local events. These peter out around mid-July, as the weather can get unpleasantly hot and sunny, gardens start looking blousy and lots of people go away anyway. But they'll still be on as you drive round, and are worth keeping an eye out for.

4. You CANNOT visit the Bridlington area, with a taste for countryside, without buying the catalogue for the David Hockney "A Bigger Picture" exhibition from either the Royal Academy or most better art-focused bookshops (or Amazon, though it'll double your luggage weight if you buy it before leaving home), and retracing its sources

Hockney, who's from the area, has spent virtually all springtime for most of the past decade meticulously depicting the changing seasons (above all Feb-April) of east Yorkshire, resulting in thousands of sketches, water colours, oil paintings and iPad creations. All displayed in THE most raved-over blockbuster exhibition I can remember, which is just about to finish. But half the visually literate population of London has now decided to follow the locations, catalogue (or app) in hand - and I'd get there before the school holidays, and their resultant 4x4-fulls of Islingtonians, swamp the area.

I suspect the regional tourist board will invent (and roadmark) "A Bigger Drive" sooner or later. But these things take time. See it all while you're here.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 12:55 AM
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There is more than enough to keep you occupied for a week on the east coast between the Scottish border and Hull.

Research :

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Gardens
Jervaulx Abbey
Bamburgh castle, Alnwick castle, Farne islands, Holy Islands
Newcastle shopping
The villages of the Vale of York provide a complex road network of minor roads which are usually quiet and perfect for medium demanding cycling. Good pubs for lunch. Look at the Helmsley area and around Malton
Staithes village
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Apr 11th, 2012, 02:31 AM
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Good advice from both above, especially the information about the National Gardens Scheme ("scheme" in the UK just means "plan", not "nefarious plot" as it does in the US).

You need a large scale road atlas (you can buy one from Amazon in the US is you look carefully) based on the Ordnance Survey maps. It will show you every back road, point of interest,and even walking paths.

Be aware that walking in the UK can be wet and muddy, and have a gore-tex jacket and something to keep your feet dry. Many paths are on private land over farms, so you will have to answer "yes" when you return to the US and are asked if you have been on a farm. This is important. Don't lie. They will let you back in! Close the gates behind you. Have a wonderful time.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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all terrific info above--when you get to the UK pop into any bookshop and pickup a copy of the Yellow Book. (It is too expensive to order from the US because the postage is astronomical)

it is described on the http://www.ngs.org.uk/ site flanner linked . . .
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Apr 11th, 2012, 08:48 AM
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if you follow the excellent suggestions above [extending your time in Oxford for a few days, then heading for Yorkshire,] the Peak District will be en route and would make an idea stopping off place for a few days, as it is just before the major UK school hols start.

after that, head for Yorkshire.

to get back to London, why not take the train back from York rather than drive? much faster and more restful.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 11:03 AM
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Wow, I am thrilled with all of the suggestions and for you taking the time to share your thoughts. I will go to my printer now and print this all off...and then begin!

I will check on the drop off rate for a car compared to the train?

A BIG Thank you!

p.s. I know wet and muddy and GORTEX...I live in Seattle,Washington

Patti
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Apr 11th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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Ok, to offer a startling suggest why not rent a bike and do the famous C2C. http://www.c2c-guide.co.uk/

You get to see some real countryside. If relatively unfit (like me) it will take 4 days, but if not then 3 will do it.
In July it should be warm (if wettish probably) and if you come west to east (the way the wind blows) then only one nasty hill.

If this journey is too much have a look at sustrans at
http://www.sustrans.org.uk/
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Apr 11th, 2012, 01:07 PM
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I don't know these guys but I just spotted them http://www.cycleactive.co.uk/mountain/uk/coast.html
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Apr 12th, 2012, 03:56 AM
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I'd be aware that 'Yorkshire' covers a very large swathe of Northern England so definitely recommend a good map and plan with this in mind.
For instance some of the suggestions above cover a very wide area (Jervaulx is in the North Yorkshire Dales, Fountains Abbey is between the Dales and the Moors, and Malton and Helmsley are in Ryedale (hilly!!) and not in the flat Vale of York).
Other highlights of the area you might like to research to help you build an itinerary -
1) Rievaulx Abbey (close to Helmsley)
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/d...ievaulx-abbey/
2) Castle Howard
www.castlehoward.co.uk
3) Byland Abbey
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/d.../byland-abbey/
4) North Yorks Moors Railway
www.nymr.co.uk
5) Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay (on coast)
http://www.whitby-uk.com/
www.robin-hoods-bay.co.uk
I'm a Yorkshire local (living in Wensleydale) so am more than happy to sense check an itinerary.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 07:08 AM
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Okay I have been slowly going through all of the web sites and slowly SLOWLY coming up with a plan. I don't feel I have gotten very far from London yet!

The beginning of my trip looks like taking the train from London and going to Oxford on the 7th. I am still waiting for the final approval of our CS Lewis tour on the 7th. If the rental agency is open on Sunday we will rent our car and drive 1 hour to Costwolds...I have a B&B(Bran Mill Cottage) on reserve for the 8th and 9th. I am THINKING about seeing a Shakespere play on the 10th
at Stratford(maybe on the 16 on our return) I can tell already I am running out of time to "do" this casually. We are thinking about doing a few places well and having a chance to walk or bike and to EXPERIENCE the areas. We will also book a play in London and I think go to the Wartime Museum when we return.

Do we need to reserve B&B's/pubs/hotels as we continue our travels? It would be nice not to be real tied down???

Any "have to" B&B's or Inns we should try to book? Restaurants..I love to cook!!

Here's a funny question..I MUST have a hat for the wedding on the 18th in London,will I be able to find something in a vintage store on my travels?

Thanks for everyone's help...I will take a few days and go through these new web sites!

Wish we had time to bike for 3 days!! We are 64 and 65 and we both Mtn. bike and teach adaptive skiing in Utah. Too much to do in a short period of time. I also could check on my family history..maiden name Weatherston

Patti
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Apr 12th, 2012, 07:40 AM
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How about stopping in Wales for some days after your York visit, and before returning to London? It has such breathtaking scenary and is ideal for hiking/biking.

Another region I love in England is the south-west, So an alternative you might consider is stopping in Bath and visiting this region for a few days before returning to London.

Another region with beautiful countryside that is not too far a drive from London is the Cotswolds. Do a bit of research on these regions if interested.

Musicals in London are lovely, try and make time to go to one.

Car hire in the Uk is very affordable and convenient,, some car companies like Avis offering to pick up your car. Hava a look at Avis UK.

Enjoy your trip in the UK!
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Apr 12th, 2012, 08:24 AM
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July is getting into the busy period for hotels and B&B
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Apr 12th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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"will I be able to find something in a vintage store on my travels?"

You've only told us you're visiting Oxford and London. There's a critically appraised list of Oxford vintage shops at http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/guide/sho...arityshops.htm (though, dismally, AnnaBelinda will be closed forever by July. And with it 40 years of youthful summer idylls)

But, at our age, can I strongly suggest you just go to any larger branch of Debenham's or Marks & Spencer, unless you've been specifically briefed to look eccentric. Wedding hats are serious things (I really am serious), however odd they may appear to lesser races. Unless you're the ill-advised daughter of an elegance-challenged royal, there are two rules:
- Don't look as if you're upstaging the bride
- Don't look as if you're parodying anything

You might, possibly, understand the subtleties of hats and British wedding parties' attitudes to them well enough to find an appropriate piece of millinery in a vintage shop. But it's highly unlikely.The M&S feather & mesh bow organza job at http://preview.tinyurl.com/cu6wlmv (£19.50) costs about the same as what you'll find at a vintage shop, is 100% appropriate and will offend no-one. Nor will most of the other 84 hats on the site.

Select online a few days before leaving home and tell the site to have it delivered to the nearest M&S store to your London hotel. They may be insubstantial - but the hatboxes they come in can be very bulky, especially if you're hiring a sensibly-priced car.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Definitely go to a department store for your hat. MANY more options than in the typical US department store.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 10:13 AM
  #16
 
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Here's a funny question..I MUST have a hat for the wedding on the 18th in London,will I be able to find something in a vintage store on my travels?>>

MUST you? honestly a lot of women [and most men!] don't wear hats at all now in the UK, not even for weddings, unless they are VERY smart. if you're going to do it, as it will be summer I'd have thought that a fascinator would be very apt. just please, PLEASE [and I'm sure you won't, being a woman of obvious taste] not something that resembles a pretzel!
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Apr 12th, 2012, 06:35 PM
  #17
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Oh we are heading up to Bridlington area to spend a day or two with the groom's mother BUT so far I have only figured out Oxford and Costwold..... I must figure out where to head next before arriving at Sally's.I'm working on the journey and must be back in London on the 17th. The wedding is the 18th and the Bride and JB mom's both said yes to me wearing a hat!!

The 19th I think I will get tickets for Lion King in London. Friends here say it is suppose to be great?

Dont worry no pretzels for this lady's head!

I just pulled up the web site from Flanneruk on hats.....WOW I usually wear a fedora, there were some serious hats on that site. I'm not quite that elegant for most of them.... hmm I'll bring something and have fun looking without getting stressed and maybe it will be a no hat occasion for me!

Keep the suggestions coming as I am still working out our plan and only have 10 days on the road.

Patti
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Apr 12th, 2012, 10:15 PM
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" I'm not quite that elegant for most of them."

If you really believe such nonsense, don't wear a hat.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 01:48 AM
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Charity shops are full of hats and English towns are full of charity shops, no need to buy a new one.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 07:19 AM
  #20
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O.K. I got the hat thing settled.....now down to some serious planning.

Have any of you been to the Beatrix Potter museum?

2 or 3 nights in Costwolds before heading to Bridlington?

I have ordered my large driving map of the UK so we can try some back roads too and not just the main hwy ways.
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