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14 days in England. Explore the country or branch out?

I'm going to be going back to England for about 14 days later this year. This will be my 2nd trip to England. I wanted to see some sites I missed the first time and possibly explore some new areas such as the Lake District and/or Portsmouth.

That got me thinking if that would be best. I know it's all personal preference and everything but considering the time (14 days) would I be better sticking to areas inside England or branching out and going to Amsterdam maybe? I don't want to try to do so much that I'm running all over the place but I don't want to miss something that is really quite amazing.

For those who have seen the Lake District and/or Amsterdam, which would be a better choice to spend a few days of my trip in? Both look interesting to me but watching a video is a little different than actually going there. What's the general consensus? Lake District or Amsterdam or maybe a third option I haven't thought of?

I will be spending the majority of my time in London but I will go up to York for two days. Loved York last time and want to see it again. I already saw Bath so I don't think I'll go back there on this trip.

I will be going in August of this year if that matters.

Thanks.

Posted by
401 posts

As you say, it's up to personal preference, but I'm scratching my head a little bit because the Lake District and Amsterdam are quite different travel experiences -- Amsterdam is a big city with beautiful museums and canals among many other varied urban spots, whereas the Lake District is a gorgeous rural area where the natural landscapes are the main attraction.

I think the question you (and only you) can answer is, do you want an all-city type of vacation or do you want to split up your time between the city and the country? If you love cities (and there's many on this board who do, and many who don't), I can assure you that, having been to both London and Amsterdam multiple times, you won't find them to be repetitive experiences of each other. Intercity rail service in the Netherlands is also very good, and it's not a very large country, so day trips to places like Utrecht, Rotterdam or the Hague are very easy.

I will say that August is more or less during the peak season for both of these places, though of course what that looks like is different between Amsterdam and the Lakes District.

Posted by
16852 posts

Based on your posting history, it looks like your earlier trip to England was in 2017. I do caution people against repeating anything "too soon," when there's so much new to see, but that still doesn't necessitate leaving England or the UK. You could probably spend all two weeks in London alone with little repeat, but the Lake District and Portsmouth are both very worthwhile ways to add variety, in my opinion. If you're not including other south coast sights, Portsmouth can be done as a day-trip from London. Trains taking 1.5 hours each way departing every half hour from Waterloo station during most of the day.

Posted by
2732 posts

Personally I think the Lake District is a bit overrated unless you're (a) a big fan of the literary figures associated with it such as Wordsworth, or (b) a serious walker/hiker. It is scenic, yes, but so are many other areas of the countryside in Great Britain.

With 14 days to work with, and having been in England on a fairly recent trip, you might want to branch out to Wales (as mentioned by another comment) and/or Scotland.

OTOH, if there's something about Amsterdam that really attracts you, then shorten your "running around" in England and take a flight over there for a 3- or 4-day stay.

Posted by
11261 posts

Lake District or Amsterdam? Allow me to throw out a third option. As long as you're going north to York, consider other UK destinations, such as Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, and/or Chester. They're all VERY different from London and from each other, and as a bonus they're much cheaper than London too.

If you want to see how I spent a fabulous 10 nights in these cities (and didn't run out of things to do), here's my trip report from a few years ago: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/uk-trip-report-glasgow-manchester-liverpool-in-september-2016

I agree with everyone else - there's no right or wrong answer to your original question. My sister likes to say that with such travel quandaries, "follow your heart." Which one calls more to you right now?

Posted by
4834 posts

The Lake District is beautiful and a great place for outdoor stuff like hiking. However, I would not want to spend 14 days there.

Also, Amsterdam is great, but 3-4 days are enough there.

We did a great four week drive tour of S. Wales and England (didn't stay in London at all).

Here is my detailed review of our trip. https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=599139

Some of our favorite places in England are Bath, Windsor Castle, Oxford, the Cotswolds, Stratford Upon Avon, Winchester, Salisbury, York and Durham.

Posted by
1128 posts

My opinion, which I know won’t be shared by all, is that if you’re in the USA or Canada is that there’s plenty of wonderful places for outside exploring right at home and you should focus on things which make Europe different than the USA. You’re spending decent money just to get to Europe in the first place. The Lake District is a wonderful place for a getaway for those who live in the U.K. but I’m not sure I’d devote my limited time to it on a 14 day trip.

I’d either do an open jaw trip with London and Amsterdam or stay in the U.K. and see more. If you’re already going to York, you might look at nearby Durham and Newcastle. Liverpool and
Manchester are also not too far, you can fly out of Manchester to avoid backtracking to London.

Posted by
2769 posts

I would add Edinburgh and Durham(both are easy train rides from York) and/or Wales.