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Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

West Palm Beach...
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Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

My husband and I are planning on a trip to England the end of May for 15 days, and I have Family in Basingstoke that we will spend time with but really need help planning some tplaces to see as well as I have never been to England. Any advice would help. I knopw I would like to see those Costwold cottages,maybe a tour of a castle if they have one, or do any of the old castle act as hotels? that would be so cool.

Dunfermline, United...
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1. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

There's a heck of a lot of things to do in England and to help you best it would be a good idea if you got hold of a good guide book on England, have a look through it and pick out the things you would really like to see. Then we can help you with some ideas relevant to what you want to get out of this trip.

I would avoid anything by Rick Steeves though

East Midlands
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2. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

You say that you are here for 15 days. Assuming that some of that time will be spent with your relatives, how many days do you anticipate being able to spend on sightseeing / visiting?

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

Why not as your Family for suggestions?

Whilst Basingstoke doesn't feature on many visitors 'must-see' lists, it does have fantastic transport links - to London and the South Coast - and has tons of stuff on its doorstep (with an hour) - thatch cottages, Stonehenge, Winchester, Salisbury, New Forest, South Downs, Pilgrims Way, jane Austens house, Steam Railways, etc, etc.

West Palm Beach...
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4. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

I was pretty game for anything as I have never been, my husband has and he wants to take the train up to edinbourough/Scotland, IWhile in Basingstoke we will be staying with family so cna do day trips from there, but we could probably split the time 50/50, probably could afford mor ethan a weeks worth of hoteks,and resteraunts, maybe B+b's there cheaper here in the usa, I would imagine so there as well..I am INTO scenery, hubby likes museaum stiff buit he has been to london many times so......

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

Perhaps explore the Cotswolds and Bath, then get a flight to Edinburgh from Bristol . Plenty of scenery around there, as well as great museums and the medieval Royal Mile. Even the New Town is over 200 years old.

Then return to London by train for your flight home, or get an open-jaw return from Scotland.

Dallas, TX
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6. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

Trip Preparation

If you can find a copy of the Automobile Association’s “Hand-Picked Tours in Britain” printed in 1978 you’ll have over a hundred small circular trips from Penzance to John O’Groats. I’m took my copy with me. It’s a fantastic book and when we returned in 2009 everything in the book was still there except for a small butterfly farm (my wife’s still grousing about it).

It will take you to some out of the way location not often found in “regular” tourist books.

You can find a copy on Ebay from English sellers for less than $10 and have it mailed to your first B&B or hotel.

I always get temporary health insurance when I travel out of the country. For the 2009 trip it was $212 for my wife and I (we’re in our low 60’s).

I recommend buying some pounds before you go. I use Wells Fargo because their rates are the cheapest I could find. That way you have enough quid to get out of the range of the airport’s usurious ATMs

https://www.foreignexchangeservices.com/

I ordered Pounds on Monday afternoon and had them Wednesday morning.

You don’t need traveler’s checks, just a credit card and your ATM. If you take your ATM it’s a good idea to tell your bank that you are going to be out of the country for those days so they won’t overreact and shut your card down. I would also see if your financial institution will give you an increased daily withdrawal rate. One of mine wouldn’t and I was restricted at the Brit ATMs to withdrawing small amounts to fit under the bank’s limit. My other provider did so I could get 200 GBP at a time.

Brit debit cards and ours are, apparently, different. When I used my debit card it was treated like a credit card.

If you have a tri-band cell phone make sure it’s unlocked and buy a sim card when you get to England. If you don’t, after you arrive and get away from the big city stop in a village and see if they have a Carphone Warehouse (most do) and buy a Pay As You Go cell phone with a sim card. My phone was £5.00 GBP and I put £20 GBP on it. I still had £10 GBP or so after three weeks.

I was aware from the beginning that there weren’t, for the most part, going to be reservations on our last trip and made sure I had a computer (I bought a new “Netbook” for it’s small size and long battery life – 9 hours). Access to the Internet in Britain is generally available but can be pricey. I spent well over £100 on my last trip in 2009 for Internet connections at hotels and rest stops on the motorways. All of the B&Bs had Internet connectivity of varying degrees of quality but all were free.

My Netbook proved critical in getting places to stay the next or even the same day.

Driving/Rental Cars\

Driving in Britain involves challenges, some quite daunting but I believe it is the best way to see the very best of Britain and worth the effort.

For some reason the last three international trips involved renting cars from Avis. I have quite a love/hate relation with Avis but the service and the prices and the cars (except my last trip) have been just too good to pass up.

The cheapest rental cars are going to be manual so if you aren't used to driving a manual on the wrong side of the car with your left hand, then you need to consider paying a little more for an automatic, especially driving around on hills and grades. There are some pretty steep grades in Scotland/Wales and driving a manual there will be a challenge. Plus if you drive in the more rural areas of the UK livestock on the road will just increase the challenge!!

Since it's only my wife and I we usually get a compact (Ford Focus size) and its always been a good car for us. Unless you have more than two, stick with the compacts. They get better mileage and if you haven't filled a gas tank in Britain before you're in for a shock!!

If the agency you rent from wants to "upgrade" into a bigger car I would decline unless there's more than two traveling. They make those offers to keep the smaller, more popular compacts on hand.

Make a DETAILED inspection of the car before you leave the lot. Take photos of any, ANY scratch or nick and insist the agency puts that on your contract. A 1/2 inch scrape on the driver’s wing mirror cost me almost $200 in 2004.

After our last trip I would also make sure all the buttons and switches work as advertised. Just by accident I pushed the ESP button when I got into the car and it fell out! Needless to say, that went on the contract.

I used to always rent using my Mastercard and didn't take any insurance since Mastercard covers damages (check your card provider) but it will take awhile. Mastercard took almost a year to reimburse me my "repair" charge.

On our last trip I used a new service (to me) offered by AMEX. If you reserve (and presumably pay) with the Amex card Amex will charge your card $26 for rental insurance that’s good for forty days. They become your primary insurance and will pay for any damage with no deductible long before you even have to call you insurer. For some obscure reason the AMEX insurance isn’t good in Ireland or New Zealand so you need to check the details before signing up for the service. For me it was a matter of comfort and the $26 bought me a lot of comfort.

If that’s too steep then check your card provider. As I mentioned Mastercard paid my claim in 2004

Don’t plan to drive in Central London. You have to buy a special permit and traffic is horrendous.

While I use a GPS every day in the U.S. it really is hard to get lost in Britain (but not impossible, "I find a place to turn around" was the most spoken phrase on our last visit) with the well-marked roads and the maps. I’d strongly suggest a good map book. We finally found a very inexpensive one at Morrisons, a Wal-Mart / Asda style store. The book conveniently listed all the Morrisons in Britain, which proved beneficial since they had some of the lowest priced petrol in Britain.

Cotswolds

I lived outside Stow on the Wold and Bourton on the Water for several years, literally on top of a “Wold” and revisited in 2004. Both are lovely but crowded in the summer. B&Bs are plentiful but reservations are recommended. Use TA to find some good B&Bs.

You are spoiled for choice in the Cotswolds; almost every village is worth visiting. My personal recommendations for some slightly out of the mainstream villages would be Colne St. Aldwyns, Bibury and Fairford. If you like stain glass there is a 15th cent. church in Fairford with 28 windows telling the Bible from the Garden of Eden to the Last Judgment. The glass is from the 15 and 16th Cent.

Consider a meal at the Bibury Court Hotel, the Court Hotel is about as “typically” English country hotel as you can get. I’ve never stayed there so I can’t comment on the rooms but the trout was great.

All of these villages are pretty and worth a visit but for my money the "Duntisbournes" are the prettiest.

Duntisbourne Abbots, Duntisbourne Leer, Middle Duntisbourne and Duntisbourne Rouse are located off the A417 a few miles northwest of Cirencester and are charming. They are best suited for a summer hike and the scenery is among the best in the Cotswolds, IMHO.

My wife and I love the Cotswolds and in nearly 30 years of globe hopping was the only place my wife cried about leaving. A friend of mine retired from the USAF and after his wife died he “immigrated” to the UK and has a stone cottage in the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds hold the same attraction for me.

I'm sure you'll get loads of advice. Broadway Tower Country Park is fun in good weather.

And, no, compared to U.S. prices, B&Bs is England are NOT cheap, certainly not the better ones.

california
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7. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

It's Edinburgh. Really should know the basics for any trip.

Hampshire, United...
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8. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

Hi, I live 30 mins from Basingstoke, and worked there for many years. peterscot has given some great suggestions, and I would really encourage you to consider those whilst you're in this area. Specifically, I would you direct you to:

Jane Austen's house in Chawton and 20 mins further on to Winchester where she's buried - but it's a wonderful ancient city in its own right, even without the Austen connection. (King Alfred and the Saxon kings); lovely cathedral and interesting museums. Ditto Salisbury.

Afternoon tea at either Tylney Hall, Hook (15 mins from B'stoke) or Oakley Hall Hotel, Oakley (10 mins). Superb afternoon teas in glorious settings without the London price tags.

Stonehenge (and from Basingstoke, could be just a late afternoon jaunt, but best combined with something else). Drive through Wherwell for gorgeous thatched cottages.

And in Basingstoke, don't forget Milestones museum which is set out as streets with shops and stuff from the Victorian era and the 1940s. Quite interesting.

The New Forest has some lovely gentle scenery, and in Beaulieu, you've got a gorgeous old town with an old abbey with motorcar museum (Enough in Beaulieu and the New Forest to fill the whole day)

West Palm Beach...
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9. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

I Just got back in town and found all these great replys, thanks everyone, mu husband doesn; think we should rent a car as he is afraid we would get confused and drive on the wrong side, ha,ha, Sounds like there is plenty to do, and that two weeks will just give us a small taste of England.

10. Re: Can someone Help planning trip to Great Britain

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