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UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

Carlsbad, California
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UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

My Mum and I are flying to London on August 28th for a couple of weeks holiday in England. We fly out of Heathrow on September 15th. We are staying in London until Tuesday September 2nd (at Luna & Simone) and I dont have any worries about finding something to amuse us for 4 days. We may even head back to London for a couple of days on the end of our trip.

Our trip from there is VERY unplanned at this time. I'm flat out at work and havent got a lot of time to do my usual research (i'm a planner!). I've managed a few hours researching on TA but still feel very unprepared. I've been bugging mum to do the planning but to no avail (she's in Australia and I am in the US at the mo).

I've (rather illogically) decided that the Cotswolds and the York area sound good. Here's where I make my nerdy confession - I really would like to see the kind of English countryside you see in Midsomer Murders etc.

Mum doesnt like the mad hectic pace I usually prefer on a holiday (I like to sqeeze everything I can in). Hence my decision to limit this trip to London plus two areas we can base ourselves in and explore. Unfortuantely those areas are a long distance apart. We plan to catch a train out of London and to hire a car for the rest of the trip, dropping it back at that location on our return to the London area (this will either be Guildford or Oxford I think).

We have friends in Guildford and Hull that we will try to fit into our trip.

So I am looking for advice on:

1. a town that makes a good base in the Cotswolds - we will hire a car so it can be a small town

2. Must see areas in the Cotswolds (cos the area is BIG!)

3. How many days is enough to enjoy the Cotswolds?

4. Travel to York - just do a driving day and get it over with or break it up, and if so, where?

5. Must see stuff in the York area

6. Am I insane to plan to drive York to London in a day (I see its over 300 km!).

Would you swap either of these areas for another area?

Mum and I are both interested in seeing green (since we see a lot of brown all the time), smaller villages rather than cities, old stuff (the older the better) - castles and ruins and generally anywhere that we can soak up some nice English atmosphere.

Advise away!

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1. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

It sounds like a lovely trip. I'd love to help, but both the Cotswolds and York are on my "maybe next time" list. There have been a couple of recent trip reports from the Cotswolds that might give you insights about places to base yourself. With a car and no hurry, it probably isn't as critical exactly where you stay. You can figure out what you want to do once you get there.

For York, the problem that I recall hearing is finding parking. You might use that as a criterion for choosing a place, or plan to return the rental car in York and take the train back to London (definitely doable in a day). It depends on whether you want the car to look farther afield in Yorkshire (maybe not return the car right away?).

In any case, have a great time.

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Kent
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2. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

It's a great plan and if you are used to driving around California surely the 300km will not put you off - I would suggest a base somewhere like Cirrencester in the Cotswolds, nice size town with Roman history with good road links from M4 motorway from Heathrow - 3 or 4 days will be good hear but you may want to travel further afield - you could include Glocester or what about Hereford Cathedral and the map-amundi -all towns and villages in area are very nice, but avoid places like Swindon which are modern and industrialised.

What about a drive olong an ancient Roman Road (yes 2000 years ago when the Romans invaded Britain thay built a road network many of which can still be traced - they are easy to spot as they are VERY straight and many routes now are convenient but overlooked by travellers preferring to follow Motorways .... from Cirrencester there is a Roman Road known as the Foss Way - this travels North East via Coventry to Liecester, from here you could pick up the A47 to Peterborough and the A1 (The Great North Road) to York (between Coventry & Liecester you will cross the M1 motorway so if you prefer you can follow this and then the M18 towards York - from York you can then travel out (an hour or so drive) to Thirsk, Leyburn, Bedale and then onto the Yorkshire Dales (see TA posts elswhere for more info)

Have a great time

G

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3. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

Where you have the car, my advice would be just to hop in and explore, stopping in those villages you want to see more of. Even better, if you Mum is able, try to do a bit of walking - that's where you will really get to see the best of the Cotswolds.

Don't swap for another area! I hope you'll pardon my bias ;)

Try the Romantic Road. Here is the link. Will give you a good overview as to some of the main villages.

www.visitcheltenham.info/Content.aspx…

I would say a minimum of 3 days for the Cotswolds. IMO the highlights are The Slaughters - postcard picture villages, Broadway - lovely shops and walks/historic upper high street, Campden - good pubs and historic high street, Bibury (beautiful drive from Stow via Coln, Stanton - charming small village. All are lovely and there are plenty more to choose from.

Good luck

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4. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

Azz - I just returned from a trip to London and would suggest that you take advantage of your timing to tour Buckingham Palace. It is open to the public for only 6 weeks starting August 1 each year. We checked with the Concierge desk at our hotel and signed up with a day bus trip through Golden Tours. They picked us up at our hotel about 7:30 a.m., and after joining people from other hotels, we had a quick bus tour of London and then went to Buckingham Palace. We first saw the changing of the Guard, then went directly into the Palace. If you sign up for the tour, you don't have to wait in the public line, and there is no waiting. It was amazing. The only negative is that the tour ends there and you have to get your own way back to your hotel, but that really is not bad because then you can spend as much time as you want in the Palace without worrying about having to catch the bus. We just hailed a taxi back to the hotel. It was one of the best things we did on our 2 week trip. Most people do not catch the short window when the Palace is open. Have a great time!

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5. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

So many places to see in Cotwolds. I think Woodstock is a beautiful place - just north of Oxford so not too far from London. Must see - Blenheim Palace which is very close. Moreton on Marsh is another place. You can then go northwards towards York. Bourton on Water, Stowe on the Wold, Broadway or Chipping Camden are all nice & quite small, but a little more to the west & longer journey - not a huge amount though. www.cotswoldwebsite.com has lots of uselinks to town information, and interactive map.

YOu need to head north towards Birmingham for onward motorway to York so this map is handy.

I would spend 2-3days in Cotswolds area. En route to York you could stop off at Warwick Castle, or Stratford upon Avon to break up journey. It can be done in a day, but start early to mnake the most of it.

York needs a good few days. York Minster, and Railway Museum are stunning, amongst many places of interest. The city is waaled, and a walk around these walls gives some great views.

I love both places & am sure you will enjoy.

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6. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

Sorry link is www.cotswoldswebsite.com

Carlsbad, California
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7. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

Thanks to everyone for their input - it is much appreciated.

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8. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

I live on the edge of the Cotswolds - very lucky - you will love all the villages that have been mentioned. Cirencester is a nice town but in my opinion too far south for you at this time. Burford has lots of accom; and is then handy for Blenheim Palace. the birth place of Winston Churchill.

My daughter went to University in York and I'm sure you will love the old world feel of the city. Lots to see and do, parking is a problem but I'm sure you will solve that one. The Castle Museum is interesting, it is not full of antiquated objects but more general life-time down the years stuff. There is also a replica street with old time shops.

Have a great time in UK, we are off to the USA at the beginning of September doing the American Historic Tour through Virginia, a fair swap I think. By the way it is very, very, green here.

I would also drive the Fosseway making for the M1 motorway to York.

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9. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

My family spent a few days in the Cotswolds in March. We also stayed in Bath for 2 nights and then started our drive through the area. Castle Combe was beautiful. The Slaughters were unforgettable. We stayed in Broadway, it was okay. Hotel overpriced. Blenheim was great. Have fun!

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10. Re: UK Trip - September 2008 - Advice Needed (Cotswolds & York)

My favourite Cotswold villages are Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold and Burford. All chocolate box-pretty and surrounded by 'Midsomer Murders' countryside!

If you are in Burford for Sunday lunch, I'd highly recommend the Bay Tree Hotel for lunch - they have a 3 course meal for £15.95 per person and the food is always superb quality. Here is a link:

cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk/bay_tree/sunday_l…

Avoid cities/towns like Hereford and Gloucester - really not that interesting or exciting. Stick to the villages!

Happy travels! :)

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