Where to next in England?

Oct 6th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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Where to next in England?

My husband and two boys (ages 11 and 10) will be traveling to London next June 5-17. Our tentative itinerary is:
5 nights London
3 nights Thornbury Castle in Gloucester
and 3 nights somewhere else.
We had thought of doing Paris, but the cost of an open-jaw ticket for 4 is a lot more expensive than a round-trip from London. Does anyone have any suggestions for our last three nights? We are looking for a family-friendly location and would love to hear recommendations for towns and hotels that you've enjoyed. Thanks in advance!
kmb is offline  
Oct 6th, 2003, 02:02 PM
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Two areas come immediately to mind. Either North Wales - the kids would LOVE the castles and the Steam Railway in Snowdonia.

Or North Yorkshire - there is another Steam Railway (through the Yorkshire Moors) plus the city of York which is VERY kid friendly with one of the best museums in the country, the Viking Center and the national Railway museum - which is terrific.
janis is offline  
Oct 6th, 2003, 02:33 PM
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I would vote for either Bath or York. You can do Bath in a day but then take day trips to Salisbury/Stonehenge and to Cardiff. Cardiff has a neat castle and a really good open air museum, the museum of Welsh Life.

York is good for about 2 full days to see everything. For the third day you could take a day excursion out somewhere around.

My kids both loved Bath and York. Edinburgh is another good option.

Have fun.
kitty is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 09:13 AM
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Warwick Castle is a great treasure for kids, you can easily spend an entire day there. What about staying in Stratford for the three days, seeing Warwick, the Shakespeare properties, brass rubbing, Shakespeare theatre, perhaps even a day in Oxford punting on the river, seeing the Hogwarts dining room at Christ Church and going to the Ashmolean Museum.

I'm assuming you are driving, but if you're not Stratford is easy to get to from London and you can easily get to Oxford and Warwick from there.

The Shakespeare properties are quite interesting, particularly Mary Arden's home where they have all kinds of birds of prey and have a presentation with a hawk and its trainer which I'm sure your kids would love (my husband and brother-in-law certainly did. When the trainer asked for volunteers to work with the hawk my brother-in-law volunteered and had one of his best travel memories).

Another choice might be to make Dover your headquarters for three days. Again, the castle is a full day with underground tunnels replicating what it would have been like during WWII with narration and real smells and even boots under the loo doors. From there you could even take a sea-cat to Calais for the day, just to get that bit of France. Canterbury would also be a great day trip from Dover with medieval streets and, of course, the Cathedral.

Or on another day trip you could head inland to Knole, a great English estate. Although a bit further in, Groomsbridge Gardens is built for kids. There's a forest walk where they walk on this boardwalk among the trees, a re-creation of the Wind in the Willows, archery demonstrations, kid-size chess game, again another full day out. Lots there for parents to, particularly the beautiful gardens and a vineyard.

I also agree with janis about North Wales. Lovely place. You can make Caenarfon your HQ. Caenarfon Castle is
wonderful for kids, lots of passageways to explore - including bats. Bodnant Gardens is a good place for kids to let go of a lot of energy. They might also enjoy Penrhyn Castle, it always reminds me of a place where Dracula might live. You can also tour the slate mines. I'm not sure if there's an age cap on going underground, but if not your kids might never see anything like it again.

Wherever you go, I'm sure your kids will fall in love with England.
rickmav is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 10:14 AM
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Okay, I know this will probably elicit howls from Les Anglais, but let me suggest somewhere around Liverpool, with a couple of day trips - castles in North Wales, Chester (a good base IMO), Liverpool itself (often overlooked by visitors, which is a shame) and... ta da .... Blackpool. Tacky waterfront amusement-land? Yes, and a blast for kids and adults, if taken in small doses.

There is a huge amount of diversity and great destinations in a very small area; I'd bet your family would love it.
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 7th, 2003, 10:24 AM
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If you're in Liverpool, don't forget the Lawn Mower Museum in Southport.
fairfax is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 11:12 AM
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I get amazed at folk who want to traverse the country for 3 nights.

Go to the West country- to Devon and/or Cornwall. A day at the Eden project would be top, and a day at the beach and something with pirates or King Arthur to top it off.
sheila is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 11:37 AM
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With respect, Sheila, from central Gloucestershire it's 3+ hours to the south Devon coast, v. 2 hours and a bit to Chester. Not a marathon in anybody's book.
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 7th, 2003, 12:24 PM
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nah...it can't be. They're only an inch or so apart on the map

Look, this is off my bailiwick, but it's 120 miles on motorway from Gloucester to Exeter; and it's 125 to Chester by the same means of travel.

OK, so I'm wrong, but so are you Gardy.. (nya,nya, nya na na!!)
sheila is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 12:25 PM
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I would suggest visiting Cardiff - it offers a wide variety of attractions, such as museams, shopping, restaurants, bars etc.

If you need any more information then go to www.cardiff.gov.uk, or post another reply on here.
Trevor is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 12:51 PM
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Peace, Sheila. But next you'll be telling them to go to Tintagel to see what Arthurian debris they can uncover. Answer: They'll be next to my favorite boozer (by name) in the UK: The Excali-Bar.

(I like that..."peace" followed by a slam. Aren't passive aggressive people fun?)
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 7th, 2003, 12:52 PM
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Gardyloo and Sheila

You're both confused.

You cannot get from cental Glocs to Liverpool in under 3.5 hours. Actually Mrs F does, early on Saturday mornings, but she collects speeding tickets and tries to persuade the system I was driving.

Now, given that, Liverpool is DYNAMITE for a family. Far more street-cred for the kids than Bath, York or some bit of rustic charm. Great centre for Snowdonia. The only drawback is the kids can't get into the pubs - at least not the truly glorious Victorian gin palaces (though, with Scouse attitudes to the law, the landlord probably will let them in to sightsee. Don't miss The Vines on Lime Street-especially the back room).

Great suggestion. Just allow enough time to drive back to London. The new toll M6 round Bham will be open by then, so it shouldn't be over 4 hours. But it's an utterly featureless drive from Lpool to Bham, and worth budgeting time to detour through Stratford and Oxford to avoid a further 2 hours of motorway tedium
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 01:06 PM
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He is chastened and retires to his crate.
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 7th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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To be fair, I did say Chester (and so did my good pot flinging friend).

I am however, unlikely ever to enter the murky waters of recommending in England again
sheila is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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But, he murmers, the loos in the Phil(harmonic) are possibly the best in Britain, and he knows loos.
Gardyloo is online now  
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