Question for the Americans....

Nov 21st, 2001, 07:04 AM
  #1  
In the UK
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Question for the Americans....

Hi

As a Brit, I'm curious to know what those of you visiting from the USA/Canada think of the "historical" sites in the UK? Do they live up to your expectations? Or are they tourist traps - over priced and too crowded?

Typically I'm thinking of Stratford On Avon, the famous "locations" of London, Stonehenge, Oxford? etc etc etc

I'd be really interested to have your opinions - it would also be good to know the bits you REALLY enjoyed!

 
Nov 21st, 2001, 08:01 AM
  #2  
T.M.
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I can't believe nobody's jumped on this yet. I imagine they'll move it to the Europe board as soon as it is discovered.

I've only been to the U.K. twice but I really enjoyed it. Let me share my thoughts about what I visited:

Warwick Castle: I really enjoyed it, despite the wax figures that I didn't think were needed. But since Madame Toussaud's owns it, I wasn't surprised. It's a wonderfully preserved place and I liked that you got to learn about several historical eras, not just the Medieval. I think it's one of the best castles I've ever been to.

Tower of London: I think many will agree with me that visiting the Crown Jewels is a very cheezy experience. The moving sidewalk has to be the worst. I did enjoy the rest of it, however. Especially all that armor!

Jorvik Center in York: Totally overhyped and cheezy. I had a much better time walking the city walls.

Edinburgh Castle: Well worth the price. My only complaint was my audio tour thingy died at the top of the hill! Still, I much preferred seeing their Crown Jewels than the English ones.

York Minster: Wonderful place and a treasure trove of history.

Glasgow Cathedral: One of my favorite places! Our guide was so knowledgable and patient. I also enjoyed poking around the graveyard afterward.

The Roman Baths in Bath: A very unique experience. I learned a great deal there and it's nicely laid out. The only truly cheezy part was the guy selling "Bath water" in period costume. Could have done without that.

Chatsworth: HUGE. And with all the stuff they've added on (the farm tour for the kids), it feels like they market it a bit too much. But the house truly is worth seeing and the guides were great. I'd love to return. I even caught a glimpse of the Duchess coming home from church.

I'd list others but I can't remember them all. The National Trust seems to do a pretty good job with their properties although some of the ladies look like they would kill you if you stepped on the corner of the Aubusson carpets.

I can't wait to go back!
 
Nov 21st, 2001, 08:04 AM
  #3  
xxx
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London was actually a disappointment to me. I walked up to Buckingham Palace and it seemed so small and ungrand in comparison to what it seems on tv and in the magazines. And the city seemed dirty.

Edinburgh on the other hand was fabulous. It was more than I had imagined. The castle was grand.

 
Nov 21st, 2001, 08:47 AM
  #4  
Sarah
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Lived in London, a semester in school then 10 months as a Nanny, also have hopped over several times over the years

Startford upon Avon = trap, Oxford = great worth a few days stay, Cambridge love even more (father use to weekend during WWII so perhaps this is personal for me), London = love all over, I particularly like theatre but not West End musicals… more drama or productions with important actors like Patricia Rutledge, Juliet Stevenson, Judy Dench if you could actually score those tickets. Also loved the fringe theatre in younger days.

Favorite haunts: Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art). I think I like looking at the history of design/art, National Gallery, Westminster Abbey of course.

Stonehenge I have always avoided, I have friends in Bristol who tell me seedy types hang out there.

I am one for staying off the beaten trap, so much beauty outside of London. Historical sites outside of London have left greater impressions on me. Cantetbury Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral, Cambridge loved looking at the panels Henry VIII gave to Anne Boleyn, Hampton Court ….ok so I do like some of the beaten path stuff. Also love hops up to Edinburgh…could go on. Of course we love British History it probably for most of us is the reason we come to Britain. Your theatre is far superior to American Theatre but I don’t think infrequent visitors to the UK know this. Shopping ?…our dollar fares better at home.
 
Nov 21st, 2001, 09:03 AM
  #5  
Parrot Mom
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Well being a tourist is fun.. We were in Stratford more than 15 years ago and even in "off" season found it touristy. Warwick Castle at the same time and I don't know if Madame Toussard owned it all, but we were absolutely thrilled with it, the suite of rooms for a "weekend in the country"..and if the truth be known, my husband took pictures and we think there is a ghost in the pictures..inside and outside the sane area. Esmeraldas Tomb..the history blows my mind. Recently we have been to London several times and my favorite place is definetely Westminister Abbey. Each inch of the back is crammed full of history, St. Paul's Cathederal I must go back again. We did get out to Derby to visit the Royal Crown Derby factory and our friend took us to Bakewell and we went through the grounds of Chatsworth which is a must on our next visit. Bakewell and the shop we went to, Sinclair's, is so charming, so english I could stay there for days and days just wandering around. What can you say about London...the charming streets, places from history, the tube and the people willing to help a tourist staring at a map, Covent Gardens is touristy, but who cares, the street performers and the flower ladies who all seem to be named Liza.. The Tower is a big disappointment now that they have moved most of the items from the Armory Museum, but chills go up and down my spine when I walk through the Chapel. London in many ways for obvious reasons reminds us of Boston. Rather than give the name of the author I must say again that it would be sad for any man/woman to tire of London, especially us Yanks. Towns named here in N.E. after name sakes in the UK..I love London and hope to go back this summer
 
Nov 21st, 2001, 11:34 AM
  #6  
Kristina
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I was stationed at Upper Heyford RAF in the late eighties and tried to see everything I could. I don't know what these attractions are like now, but back then (http://members.home.net/madcow67/scenics.html):

Edinburgh - Well, it was hard to get to because of the crash at Lockerbie (it had just happened the month prior to our New Year's trip) but boy was it worth it!!!

Stonehenge - I drove past it twice before I realized THAT was Stonehenge. There was no marker, just a big long fence as far as you could see along the side of the road and a tiny parking lot across from it. There were a few people standing at the fence looking at it from afar. I wish I could have gotten up close but it was still impressive.

Warwick Castle - Absolutely beautiful. The countryside, the river, the castle itself, everything.

Hever Castle - closed to the public but you could see it from the road.

Salisbury Spire - I thought it would be, uh, taller.

Stratford-upon-Avon - Boring to me.

Oxford - Party Central! Great clubs within reach without having to go all the way to London.

River Thames - Brown & murky.

Double-decker bus tour in London - was alot of fun, even if it was freezing cold. Saw more stuff that way & it helped me decide what I wanted to see up close.

Tower of London - There was a short reenactment of Anne Boleyn's beheading with the guillotine which was interesting, then the tour. I don't recall seeing much of the outside grounds, only the inside, and not the cathedral. I hadn't expected to see the crown jewels there so it was a nice surprise. The view of the Tower Bridge at the end of the tour was super.

Buckingham Palace - I expected it to be much more grandiose, I guess Disney ruined it for me.

Changing of the Guard - Very impressive seeing the parade & all the beautiful uniforms.

Westminster Abbey & St. Paul's Cathedral - In a word, breathtaking.

Trafalgar Square - I think I had it confused with Piccadiily Circus. Boring.

Piccadilly Circus - Everything I had dreamed of and more. I've never been to New York City, and this is about as close as I think I've gotten to what I envision it to be.

Victoria Station - A little less dramatic than I thought it would be, but still neat.

Cliffs of Dover - Beautiful, well worth the drive!

Dover to Calais - Before the Chunnel, there was ferry service. Took us right by the shore where you could see the bullet holes in the buildings. Very impressive ferry ride.

Calais, France - Wasn't as pretty once I got there. The port is commercialized as are the shopping areas.



 
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