England or Ireland trip with Mom
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Apr 10, 2012 12:27 PM Last Post By: Boss_Hogg1
Mar 31, 2012 12:16 PM
At the risk of this coming off as a naive question, can anyone suggest an area of either Ireland or England that we should consider traveling to? Thanks in advance!
Mar 31, 2012 12:19 PM
1Forgot to mention, we're planning this trip for the beginning of August 2012. Knowing that the olympics will still be going on in London, I don't know if that means we'd want to steer clear of there or not...
Mar 31, 2012 3:13 PM
2I am about the same age as your mother and if I had never been to the UK I would certainly want to see London. Being there during the Olympics probably makes accommodation expensive but Olympic cities are exciting places to be in, if you can afford it.
Mar 31, 2012 4:39 PM
3At the risk of sounding pedantic, I should point out that Ireland is not part of the UK (with the exception, at the moment, of Northern Ireland), so if your mother really wants to see the UK, she will be disappointed if you just bring her to Ireland!
If you want natural landscapes, there is not that much to be seen around London. But I'm inclined to go with #2 and say that someone who had never been to the UK but wanted to go there, would surely like to see London.
You could try something like 3-4 days in London and the rest of the period in Ireland or in some scenic part of the UK? For example, in western England and Wales you have some very interesting historic cities like Bath and Chester (although these are quite a distance apart), as well as the magnificent landscapes of the Welsh mountains and various major Norman castles at Conwy and Caernarfon.
Mar 31, 2012 11:13 PM
4Hi adfrelin - welcome to TT.
Suppose the question is, whether you want to ´tour´ the UK or Ireland in a hire car (but you really don´t have time to do that), or base yourself in one place and look around from there.
Suggest you see London; take public transport to ´somewhere´ , and pick up a rental car there.
Old buildings ? Just about every town and city in the country has those !
As for nature and pastoral landscapes - how about the Lake District?
Chances are you´ll get an ´information overload´, but have a look at the Enjoy England site.
(And I would certainly avoid an organized tour group like the plague !)
Apr 1, 2012 12:07 AM
5Agree with the others; do not hire a car in London. Use public transport. That said, the tube (underground) has a fair few stairs in the network where there's no alternative escalator or lift; if your ma tires easily (at 70 odd that wouldn't be that unusual) consider sticking with the buses and taxis. You can see more with them too - there's not too much to see when underground.
So what to see - Windsor Castle is an easy day trip from Waterloo station. Consider also once you have a hire car visiting Blenheim Palace - birthplace of Winston Churchill - which is near Oxford and has appeared in the odd period drama/film over the years. From there you could easily drop into the Cotswold - Stow on the Wold is very nice indeed although the festival is on mid September not August.
Other places of interest - pick a direction. If you want dramatic coastline, head down into Cornwall - and given she likes nature include the lost gardens of Heligan (helpfully signposted these days - see http://www.heligan.com) and the Eden project (in the same area, see http://www.edenproject.com). If you want sweeping vistas of the stereotypical english landscape, go hit the Yorkshire Dales or Pennines. For rugged mountain scenery the best is in the Cairngorms but that's a long long way to go, so consider visiting Snowdonia (NW Wales) or the Lake District (which has already been rightly cited).
For old buildings you are spoilt for choice. It depends on what she means by old. Old for me tends to be anything over about 400 years. The good pub guide (http://www.thegoodpubguide.co.uk) has lots of good pubs which often do good food, including some pubs that are several hundred years old. Westminster Abbey in the centre of London dates back to 1090, so that's over 900 years old. New College in Oxford (one of the colleges belong to the university) dates back to 1379 - which doesn't really make it new anymore, but that's what they called it at the time.
You can fit in the old buildings around the nature.
As already cited, I also agree with the suggestion that you do not hire a car in London. Once you've done that, transport yourself out to a hire car location not near the city (Heathrow airport for instance is easy to get at) and pick the car up there. Far less hassle. I'd seriously think about getting a sat nav included.
Apr 1, 2012 5:06 AM
6Shropshire and the Welsh borders, my neck of the woods. Historic Chester and (to a lesser extent) Shrewsbury, lots of castles, National Trust places and the requested pastoral landscapes.
always pleasantly uncrowded and 200 miles away from the Olympics. If you do a few days in London, get a train to Chester (2 hours from Euston) and the hire car from there.
Apr 1, 2012 5:44 AM
7Or, of course - well you know you're spoilt for choice in Great Britain - train to York for a historic city and use it as a base with a hire car to visit the Yorkshire Dales to the west, the Yorkshire Moors to the north, and the Yorkshire coast to the east. Given the time of year, I would be inclined to book at least some accommodation a few days ahead.
Apr 1, 2012 6:46 AM
8What mike9 said. A few days in London - it is worth seeing - and then onto York, which is extremely historic, with trips out to the countryside and other old buildings. You can combine historic and pastoral beautifully in places like Bolton Abbey (nowhere near Bolton) and Fountains Abbey, plus lots of nature and other old buildings, from castles to stately homes to pubs and entire villages, all over the place.
Apr 1, 2012 3:28 PM
9Good lord, you all are so helpful! This is great. How about this for an itinerary:
Fly into London, spend 4 days in the city getting around via public transport. Get a rental car at Heathrow or take a public transportation to a town in the direction of Wales where we can rent a car. While in that direction maybe see Windsor Castle, (Oxford?). Then onto Cornwall and the coast which I think she'll love (also the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden project).
Can anyone make some suggestions of places along the southwestern coast to visit/stay at? It would be great if we could find a base near some dramatic coastline that we could do a few day trips from, if possible.
Chester, York, Yorkshire Dales, the Lakes Region, etc. all look amazing, but will we be spreading ourselves too thin in terms of time (10 days-ish total) by driving up north? I just want to be sure that I don't max out my mom.
Apr 1, 2012 3:41 PM
10If you've decided to stay in the south and head towards Cornwall, then a couple of suggestions for your route - I'm sure you'll find plenty on google
1. The New Forest - roughly the area between Southampton and Bournemouth. If you are hiring a car at Heathrow, then follow the M3 and A35 roads.
2. The A 35 goes all the way to Devon, just a few miles north of the coast. Worth visitng are (a) Corfe Castle, Swanage, Kimmeridge and Lulworth Cove, and (b) the "Jurassic coast" the main parts of which are on the Dorset / Devon border around Lyme Regis.
Incidentally, Windsor is an easy day trip from London - Green Line bus 701 about every half hour or by train from London's Waterloo station. Personally I wouldn't make a special effort to go to Oxford, though I might call if passing.
Have you started planning your next trip here yet???
Apr 1, 2012 4:22 PM
11My next trip?! Am I starting to plan too much? I can see that maybe I am...
The route you included sounds great, esp. Devon and Dorset, as well as the New Forest (keep in mind this is all new to me, and very exciting). Here are a few other possible places that also sound great, though it might only be doable for us to stay in the south part of the country:
-Polperro: seaside village near Cornwall
-dramatic coastal cliffs bt. Dorset and East Devon: near Cornwall
-St. Ives: coast village at end of peninsula from Cornwall
-Sussex: town and white cliffs on sea south of London
-Cambridge: north of London one hour
-Cotswolds: charming area in several counties north and west of London
-Shropshire: beautiful rolling landscape in west central England
Still trying to think of a good base for a few days in the West Country/Cornwall area.
Apr 2, 2012 2:52 AM
12Polperro is a village IN Cornwall and very nice, but there are lots like Polperro - Fowey, Polruan, Mevagissey, Cadgwith, Mousehole - the list is endless.
St Ives is a decent size town and famous for its artists, who were attracted there by the incredible light. There are lots of galleries and the Tate St Ives - great beaches, cafes and restaurants - can recommend Portminster Cafe, right on the beach.
Getting around Cornwall takes time, there are no motorways and lots of narrow roads, which get congested at peak holiday time. There is no one perfect place to base yourself here - but Padstow is a good start, for the north and St Ives for the south - or Falmouth. I'd do a day or two near/in Padstow then move south for a day or two.
Apr 2, 2012 3:01 AM
13Sussex isn't really en route to the west country, and isn't that fascinating. I'd count it out. And Shropshire is north, again not on the way. Cambridge is an easy-ish day trip from London, but with only four days in London, probably not worth the trip.
I think, in your shoes, if I wanted to get to Cornwall and had less than a week, I'd just take the train to somewhere like Plymouth, pick up a car from there, and then, as bell says, pick a place in the north to stay for a few days, and then one in the south for another couple of days, return the car and take the train back.
Don't choose Newquay, though!
Apr 2, 2012 4:29 AM
14All good suggestions. For a trip with slightly more variety, I'd be tempted to leave Cornwall in favour of Wales and points between London and Wales, so you could do something like this:
London - 4 days
hire a car and make your way slowly over to Wales via places like Oxford, Warwick, Herefordshire, Shropshire - rolling countryside and historic towns aplenty - 2 days
Wales - 3 days for castles, mountains and coastline
back to London - 1 day
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