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2 weeks in Britain - feedback on plan

Hi!

We're planning 2 weeks in Britain in July. We includes my husband, myself & two kids ages, 10 & 7. First week will be in London w/friends, but hitting all the big tourist sites. (It will be the first international trip for our kids.) We won't get to it all, but we will get to a lot. It's the 2nd week I'm torn about. Was planning on:

2 nights Cardiff
2 nights Brecon Beacons
2 nights Warwick
And ran out of time....

Then got to thinking it might be better to do:
1 night Warwick/Stratford-upon-Avon (2 days = Mary Arden's Farm, maybe some other Shakespeare stuff & Warwick Castle)
2 nights Lake District
3 nights Edinburgh

There is a strong focus on trying to do stuff that the kids will be interested in. (If they aren't happy, no one will be right?) My husband has interest in Scotland, as it's his ancestry, but doesn't have a specific must do. And it will be the only place, so far, on this trip where I haven't been before. Lake District was recommended by friends who went last summer. They have kids the same age & said Lake District was great for all the activities w/the kids. Plus, quintessential country England. I read about Mary Arden's Farm & Warwick in ETTBD & both sound like things our kids would enjoy. Plus, we get a little history in there too. I feel like I'm trying to get too much in, am I? Of note: husband leaves at end of this 2 weeks, girls & I will continue on. We will be heading toward Paris & somewhere else. I have a post on the General Europe board about that, as I'm overwhelmed w/choices & not enough time. If the girls and I decided we wanted to go back & spend more time somewhere we totally could.

What do you think?

Jill

Posted by
3392 posts

My opinion would be to stick to two places. Remember, for every two nights you stay it's only one day there. Plus you will lose a good part of a full day in travel every time you move to a different place. I would limit it to the Lake District and Edinburgh. After the big city for a week your kids will love the open spaces of the Lake District, being able to run around and hike among the hills and the sheep. We've been there many times and it is a very family friendly place to go. You can take a boat around Derwentwater, get off on the other side and hike up the Catbells. You can go see Beatrix Potter's farm, Hilltop. So much to do with kids here!
If you are going to Edinburgh keep in mind that there is a festival that goes on for many weeks during the summer. It would be great to experience with kids as they entire city becomes a veritable piece of performance art but you'll need to make lodging arrangements way ahead of time to make sure you have some place to stay...my husband and I ended up sleeping on couches in the back of a bar once when we just showed up in town without a clue in our younger days!

Posted by
67 posts

I agree with Anita. There is a real danger in trying to see too much. Our travel plans for the summer quickly went like this:

1) Seven days in Greece and seven days in the UK

to

2) 10 days split between Scotland, London, Bath and the Cotswolds

to

3) 3 full days in Edinburgh, a travel day and 5 full days in London.

We feel so much better about our third option, and as much as I'd like to see those other places, I'd rather see my two "big ones" really well than a fly-by-night tour of too many places. It may be tough to choose between those places because they all have appeal.

If you do two geographically and logistically, the Lake District and Edinburgh are the natural two. You just have to ask yourself if spending a relaxed and wonderful time in those two places is worth giving up the third. For you, if Shakespeare history is more important, maybe it becomes Stratford and Lake District and your husband has to give up Edinburgh.

Have you considered splitting up for a couple of days? I know that may not be what you want, but what if your husband trained up to Edinburgh, spent a solid day and half there, and trained back to meet you in the Lake District? You all start in Stratford, spend some quality time there. You train to the Lake District while he trains to Edinburgh, so part of your travel time over laps. He's gone for an extra day or two and then meets you back in the Lake District. Like I said, I wouldn't be surprised if that suggestion turns you off. Part of the fun of touring is doing it with someone you love. I am just throwing it out there in case getting creative with your itinerary could help.

Posted by
13 posts

Hi Jill,

You don't mention if you will be driving or doing trains and buses. Makes a BIG difference as to what is doable.

Cheers,
Curt

Posted by
17 posts

We can do either train or car. I suspect we'll be doing car for the Northern parts of England. I'm considering a Rail-Car pass, but my husband's company give us really cheap rental car rates, so it might be cheaper to do that all around. I'd like to avoid dealing w/parking in the bigger city area, so we'll see. Basically, we're open on the travel front. :-)

Posted by
13 posts

Hi again Jill,

Now for something completely different. My wife and I have been traveling with our twin daughters in Europe since the young’ens were four years old. They are now twenty-five and we’re still at it. We found that in order to keep them happy when they were young, we really needed to seek out variety. You don’t need a big kiddy attraction every five minutes, but you need a few, so I would vote for Northumberland. First of all, it’s on the way to Scotland, if that’s where your husband wants to go. Take the train from London to Newcastle and pick up a car there. You are headed to the town of Rothbury, a small county town on the River Coquet. You will find restaurants, pubs, groceries, all of the requirements for life. On the fells above the town are some of the best farmhouse bed and breakfasts in England, including the best B&B I have every stayed in, anywhere, bar none. Make a reservation for 3-4 nights. Make a circle drive each day, seeing new, different, and exciting stuff.
Roman stuff? Hadrian’s Wall is a day trip. You can also do the wall and Belsay Hall on the way up to Rothbury. Makes a nice day if you get into Newcastle fairly early.
Castles? More than you can shake a stick at, including Bambrugh and Dunstanburgh, both situated overlooking the North Sea.
Harry Potter? Alnwick Castle (pronounced an-ick) was Hogwarts in the first two films. They do Potter character days, medieval days, etc.
Puffins? Head over to the Larne Islands to see about seventy- thousand of the little beggars, all happily raising chicks. Note: they may have finished up and shoved off by July, not really sure. Of course you get all kinds of other seabirds, seals, etc…and a boat ride!!!! Also see the ruins of Lindesfarne (Holy Island) Priory, the home of St. Cuthbert, and the place where the Lindesfarne Gospels (originals in British Museum) were written.
Upland scenery? Drive over the high country north of Rothbury, and up into the Scottish borders. Besides great views, you will find ruined abbeys, pele towers, and towns overflowing with flowers.
Costal scenery? East a few miles from Rothbury.
When you’ve seen enough, drive ahead north to Edinburgh for a few days. Turn in your car and take the train back to London.
Anyway, just something else for you to consider. Whatever you decide, have a great time!

Curt

Posted by
30 posts

Curt...I am headed to that destination and your post intrigues me; so I have to know...what is the best B&B you've stayed at "bar none" Are you allowed to name it on this forum? If so, I appreciate the lead.

Posted by
13 posts

Hi Nancy,

Tosson Tower Farm.
http://www.tossontowerfarm.com/

Great folks, great place. We haven't stayed there for several years, but I can't imagine the Foggin family have let it slide an inch. Take a look at the Trip Advisor page.

Please drop me a PM when you return and let me know how you liked the area.

Curt