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16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

AL
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16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

First, let me introduce ourselves, our interests & travel-style. We're a 70 yr old couple planning to travel with a 15 yr old granddaughter. Tentative plan is to arrive at a London airport from U.S. on morning of 15 April for a self-drive tour of Isle of Britain after 3 nights at a suburban London B&B.

While 2 or 3 nights at a B&B are nice, in the countryside (which we tend to prefer over cities) we often spend just one night then drive 100-175 miles down the road to where dark catches us stopping at a Budget B&B - usually without reservations. We enjoy scenery from car & dont mind driving 4-5 hrs a day.

Interests include mountains, beaches, scenery, observing everyday life, walking 2 or 3 miles a day, historic sites, some museums & castles. Tho we expect to spend 3 days in London area (& visit some other cities more briefly) we really prefer eating & sleeping in small towns/rural areas - & at places where locals do rather than in touristy places.

Our very tentative & incomplete itinerary follows - hoping for suggestions, critiques, overlooked sites, etc.. Thank You in advance for reading & especially replying!

Tues 15 Apr. - arrive at a London airport (prefer location of Heathrow if can get budget flight there) at aprox 8am, rent car & do limited sightseeing outside London (perhaps Windsor Castle) that first day, This would be the first of 3 overnites in a B&B in an outlying London suburb.

Wed 16 Apr - drive to public parking & take public transit into London for the day returning to B&B for overnite.

Thurs 17 Apr - same as above. (Due to my back problems we prefer to get a car at time of arrival to minimize my/our handling of heavy suitcases.)

Fri 18 apr - Stroll around Oxford University campus, spend midday in Stratford-on-Avon & overnite perhaps between Coventry & Nottingham.

Sat 19 apr - Motorway to Kirk Deighton (ancestral home, near Wethersby) a few miles west of Yorkshire, midday at York Cathedral, City Wall & Shambles. Drive Northeast thru Moors to Whitby area for overnite (Regret: probably will reach Moors Visitor Ctr after it closes).

Sun 20 Apr - Drive to one of the Hadrian's Wall sites, probably in Hexham area, for a stop. Cut thru to main Hiway into Cheviot Hills with stops at Scottish border & perhaps Jedburgh. On to Edinburgh area for 2 overnites (with possible detour to Dunbar & Castle - ancestral interest).

Mon 21 Apr - Spend day in Edinburgh - Castle, Knox House, Golden Mile, Holyrood & hope to have reservations for a special evening meal with musical program at a downtown location as bus tours do. Overnite same B&B.

Tues 22 Apr - Stops at Perth, Pass of Drumochler & Culloden Battlefield & on to Inverness area for overnite. (So far this covers 8 of our 16 days in Britain & I fear I may be running out of space for a post so I will stop here & continue the itinerary in a follow-up or reply post.)

AL
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1. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

Tentative Preliminary 16 Day Itinerary Continued:

Wed 23 Apr - drive down the Great Glen making several stops including Loch Ness/Urquhart Castle & at Glencoe (a slight detour) to Oban area with 2 overnites at same B&B

Thurs 24 Apr - ferry to Isle of Mull for some type of day tour there. Duarte Castle is of special interest. Return to same B&B for a 2nd nite.

Fri 25 Apr - stop at Loch Lomond then on to Motorway with stop at Carlisle. Exit at Penrith & probably overnite in Keswick area.

Sat 26 Apr - prowl around Keswick/Ambleside area perhaps lunching in Windermere & in afternoon get on Motorway to Chester then into Wales to overnite in Rhyl or Conwy area.

Sun 27 Apr - Tour Conwy & Caernarfon & drive over Pass of Lianberris for a stop at Betws-y-Coed before driving south to Aberystwyth area for overnite. Suggestions for a music/singing program that eve would be great.

Mon 28 Apr - East to Llangurig & south to Brecon Beacons Visitor Ctr & Park for midday/early afternoon. On to overnite at Cardiff area B&B - hope to have made reservations for a Welsh eve meal & music program in Cardiff - suggestions of possibilities would be appreciated!

Tues 29 Apr - With a possible detour to Bath, drive to Plymouth for its historic interest & then overnite perhaps in Exeter area. Plymouth is very much out of our way, so we're open to alternatives to it.

Wed 30 Apr - To Stonehenge, perhaps via a Salisbury stop, then to (Heathrow?) Airport for (hopefully) the 5 or 6pm flight to Dublin.

We plan to spend the following week touring the northern half of that Isle. That is the reason we will probably fly Aer Lingus from U.S. to Dublin on our way to London.

Will we need to clear customs upon first arrival in Dublin since we will fly on to London that same morning? How long it takes in Dublin AP will determine how early or late in morn we can book an outbound flight to London.

Again, your feedback, pro & con, is sincerely solicited & will be most appreciated!

Thanks Again,

Jerry

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

jerry, please reconsider hiring a car and driving after having made a long haul flight. If you have not driven in the UK before then between the unfamiliar roads and signs, jet lag and a right hand drive car you may pose a danger to yourselves as well as others.

Public transport is a far better option in London than using a car. You say 'drive to public parking and take pubic transit into London for the day' which makes little sense financially and will add headaches to what should be a holiday. Cars may be detrimental rather than beneficial in Oxford and Edinburgh as well, although driving is a very good way to see the Scottish countryside, well away from cities.

Have a look at www.athomeinlondon.co.uk for bed and breakfast accommodation. B&Bs in London are probably unlike those you have used in the States, and to that end you may prefer to book a hotel in London. Transport is plentiful, with seven choices of how to make one's way from point to point. Use a prebooked car service for transport from Heathrow to central London, spend a few days there then hire a car after you're rested and ready to motor.

You plan to travel during a school holiday and at Easter. I would not want to try to find accommodation on spec at that time when so many others will be travelling, so you may wish to book in advance, at least through 22 April.

Use www.theaa.com and www.rac.co.uk to calculate driving times and distances. https:/…highway-code You may buy a copy of the Highway Code in book form, but if you do not do so then please ensure you are knowledgeable about road signs and road markings.

'Will we need to clear customs upon first arrival in Dublin since we will fly on to London that same morning? How long it takes in Dublin AP will determine how early or late in morn we can book an outbound flight to London.' Customs agents are interested in goods one is bringing into a country; immigration are intersted in the person entering the country. If you fly to DUB then you will go through immigration there as the RoI and the UK are part of the Common Travel Area. At Heathrow you'll make the 10 second walk through the blue Arrivals from EU channel of customs.

Allow sufficient time to go through the necessary proceedings at DUB; ask on the Dublin forum what recommended times are for this at the airport.

Oakham, United...
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3. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

I think you underestimate how much time Oxford will take. You'll need to leave the car in the Park And Ride car park & take the bus service from there into Oxford.

oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decTS/Park_and_Ride… (you may be able to park in Oxford centre, but I'd take the park & ride)

You'll probably want to spend a number of hours once you're there. You aren't going to be in Stratford by lunchtime I don't think. Oxford is full of nice buildings, interesting shops ; you can walk along the river as well.

I'd suggest Stamford as a possible lovely stop on the way to Yorkshire, but on you schedule you wouldn't have time to see it. Rutland, a few miles away is full of picturesque stone & thatched villages with nice pubs - like the cotswolds, but without the tourists.

Day 19 looks incredibly rushed as well. You'll barely have time for more than an hour tor two in York I'd have thought, a City I'd want to spend much longer in. You don't seem to be allowing time for lunch stops in nice pubs on these journeys either.

If you like countryside, why not stop and see some? England is fortunate in having thousands of miles of public footpaths through fields and farmland everywhere. You can stop in the countryside and walk through it, off road.

Your trip is possible I think, but it doesn't look fun. Driving in the UK is hard work. It isn't a relaxed day on long straight open roads - you are always negotiating bends, adjusting speed with the car in front. An accident ahead may add an hour to your journey. I take your point that you don't mind driving 4-5 hours a day... but are you sure? You really want to come all this way just to sit on a motorway with thousands of other vehicles? Wouldn't it be more fun to get out and actually see the things you say you like. You can't enjoy the beaches and local life from the motorway.

Southampton
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4. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

Honestly you are going to hate the UK by lunchtime on day 1 (assuming you haven't had a car accident by then). This is not the US, Canada or Australia. These big wide empty roads with beautiful views leading to towns with car parking that you clearly imagine do not exist in the UK (give a thought to the very expensive and distant car parking options at most of your choosen locations). Your Oxford day for example, you will arrive at rush hour. By the time you have got parked and probably needed to get the park and ride bus in to town it will already be past the time you need to leave to get to Stratford by lunch time.

Your plan is barely physically possible, and even if you do make it around your proposed route, in most places you will not have time to get out of the car. Do not subject a 15 year old to this. If the most important thing is to drive long distances, the UK and Ireland are probably not great holiday destinations for you.

Oakham, United...
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5. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

Parking in York might be challenging as well ; as a foreign visitor I'd want to use the less stressful park & ride system there. But you won't have time. Actually what I'd do i n York is park a bit further out on a street, and then there;s a pleasant half hour walk along the river into the city.. but there's no way you'd have time..

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6. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

<<<< Stroll around Oxford University campus >>>>.

I think you may have a rather confused idea of the layout of Oxford and its university colleges

Manchester, United...
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7. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

Got to agree with the previous replies - I'm exhausted just thinking about what you're trying to pack in! It doesn't feel like a "holiday" to me at all.

A couple of points -Oxford University doesn't have a campus - there are separate colleges around the city, some have parts open to visitors at specific times. Just walking round the centre of the city and looking in on two or three of the colleges (gardens & chapels may be open) could take a whole morning without allowing for a breather anywhere.

Chester gets a mention as the end of the motorway - it's well worth a visit in it's own right. I'd be inclined to stay there, take the chance to walk round the city's medieval walls, see the Rows (historic timber-framed multi-storey shops), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chester_Rows

even go on a boat trip. From there you can easily continue into north Wales, but again trying to see Conway, Caernarvon and the other points you mention in one day is just too much. Ideally choose one of the castles to tour then see what else fits in.

Your itinerary is way too crowded - this seems a trip more about covering the miles than having time to see & appreciate the points along the way. I'd loose at least half your route and that would probably still leave a jam-packed itinerary!

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8. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

You will certainly rack up the miles in your hire car.

This reads like a list of things and places you can tick off to say you have seen them, you really won't experience very much at all.

If that suits you then fine but as others have said I would look at rethinking your whole schedule.

Bingley, United...
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9. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

15-17 Apr - why hire a car and spend time in the 'burbs? You'll be unfit to drive safely and if you intend visiting central London during that time all your car will do is rack up hire & parking charges - personally I have better ways to waste money. Find a hotel in central London and stay there.

Oxford & Windsor are easy day trips by train from London and with the exception of Stratford-upon-Avon you do not need a car until you reach York

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10. Re: 16 Day Preliminary Itinerary in Britain: Couple & Granddau

"We plan to spend the following week touring the northern half of that Isle. That is the reason we will probably fly Aer Lingus from U.S. to Dublin on our way to London. "

If you plan to tour Northern Ireland - which is how I interpret the sentence above - why fly via Dublin (which is in the Republic of Ireland)? Surely it would be simpler to fly direct to Heathrow from the U.S.A. to commence your tour then, on the 30th April, fly from Heathrow to Belfast (which is in the U.K.)?