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3 months England, Scotland & Wales. Ideas for local activities from Great Britain folks

We are traveling from mid-August to mid-November 2022. Traveling by bus and train and our accommodations are reserved. It is easy to find all the big sights (and we will see them), but I am hoping for smaller, local sights as well. We are willing to try anything!

That said, I am looking for ideas from Great Britain folks and travelers regarding any not-so-famous, but worthwhile local activities in the towns below. Just throw them out there and I will see if we can access them during the week we are there.

A week each in Bridge of Allan/Stirling/Edinburgh, Glencoe, Portree, Inverness, Stromness

4 days in Haltwhistle, a week in Keswick

Overnight in Conwy. Week each in Caernarfon, Aberystwyth

Walking through the Cotswolds (Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow on the Wold, Lower Slaughter, Winchcombe, Broadway, Chipping Campden).

A day in Oxford. A week in Yeovil (a good base for access to many towns in that area). Day trip to Taunton (ancestor married in the cathedral in 1800s). A week in York, 2 days in Thornton-le-Dale. A week in Whitby, 4 days in Hathersage (Hope Valley)

Thank you in advance for your kind suggestions.

Posted by
1029 posts

There's good local buses from Hathersage to Castleton
Check the Devil's Arse ,they have a series of music events there
Blue John mine tour is well worth doing
Good food at the Castle pub ( Castleton) or Cheshire Cheese down in Hope.
If around in September there's a fell race and beer festival in Edale often a band on too till late.
Beer Barrel Race

Posted by
18 posts

Excellent. That's exactly the type of information I was hoping to learn. You rock, Richard!

Posted by
3107 posts

For Stromness ideas, you may want to join the Facebook group "ORKNEY PAST &PRESENT" (spacing as shown). It's a private group so you have to request to join, but AFAIK anyone who is interested in Orkney can join if they agree to the group rules. No selling is allowed, so you can't directly arrange booking a B&B (for example), but you can get all kinds of local info from people who live there and in many cases have lived there all their lives.

Posted by
18 posts

I put in a request for the group, @epltd. One thing Facebook is really good for is connecting with local people, also businesses without websites. Thank you for the recommendation. :-)

Posted by
7011 posts

Wonderful, three months is great. We love the British countryside which is very scenic and historical. We have traveled quite a bit in England, Wales and Scotland.

We did a great four week drive tour of England and South Wales, with no time in London or large cities.
Here is my detailed review of our trip with lodging, dining and tour information.
28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home

We spent the night at a farm near Haltwhistle to visit Hadrian's Wall, the name of the B&B is included in the link. Also, we spent three nights in Keswick. Not sure why you would spend four days in Haltwhistle?
I suggest that you do research for everywhere you visit and at least have an outline for what you plan to see. Consider renting a car, at least for some areas. Driving on the left is doable, but just be careful and take it easy.

Travel between each place, driving or taking the train or bus will probably take longer than you might think. For our four weeks, we only drove more than two hours on three days.

For England, I recommend Cambridge and Canterbury on the east side of London. Salisbury, Winchester, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge on the SW side. We haven't done Cornwall, but had a trip planned for that area, but cancelled due to COVID. We had planned to stay in Truro. You need at least a week there.

Bath and the Cotswolds, we loved, we stayed in Bath three nights and Chipping Campden for 6 (we used it as a base to visit the Cotswolds, Oxford, Blenheim Palace and Stratford Upon Avon). Don't miss Stratford Upon Avon, the Shakespeare history is special.

South Wales was special, we spend two days in Cardiff and two in Tenby. Also, we visited St. David's at the SW tip of Wales. We had visited North Wales earlier and loved Conwy. You might wish to visit Chester in England, not far from Conwy and Liverpool.

York and Yorkshire is special. We did three nights in York and also went through the Yorkshire Moors. Highly recommend Whitby.

Durham is worth a couple of days.

As far as Scotland is concerned, Edinburgh and the area north of the city is worth several day. St. Andrews is a must see. Also, don't miss the church where Robert the Bruce's tomb is located. Inverness in the north is great. We haven't done the highlands, but that is a must.

One thing, being gone for so long you will need to wash clothes several times. In the USA we call them Laundromats, but in the Uk they are called Launderettes. There you can get change and even have someone wash your clothes for you for a fee.

Since you plan to stay into November, I suggest that you consider starting your tour in Scotland and moving south. We did our four weeks in October and toward the end of the month we were in the Lake District and found it very chilly discouraging being outside a lot.

Posted by
6113 posts

I have visited most of the places that you mention, but I have always had a car, so I don’t know how easy places will be travelling by public transport. Most villages have websites that will indicate what’s on.

I was in Stirling a few weeks ago and visited the Kelpies in Falkirk which was a pleasant walk from the car park about a mile away. The Falkirk Wheel was closed for major refurbishment (no indication online about this), so we didn’t get to see this working.

A drive from Glencoe onto the Ardnamurchan peninsula is a fantastic drive, but I would imagine that the bus service would be infrequent.

In the Lake District, the ratty railway (its actual name is the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway) is a great day out on this heritage line. Eskdale is my favourite part of the Lake District.

From Yeovil, an excellent day out if the weather is inclement is the Fleet Air Arm Museum in nearby Yeovilton. There’s a cafe there that does good value food, but it’s nothing flash. Sherborne has a castle and abbey plus there’s a great cafe called Olivers in a wonderful building on the high street.

I stopped for coffee and cake in Thornton le Dale a couple of weeks ago. It’s nothing but cafes and a bit touristy.

Whitby - walk to Robin Hood’s Bay, see the Captain Cook Museum, walk up the 199 steps, eat fish and chips, visit nearby Museum of Victorian Science and the abbey.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you for the link and info, @geovagriffith. You saw many sights on your 4 week trip.

Yes, I have extensively researched all areas, which is why we chose the specific locations and are now looking for offbeat, local suggestions such as that provided by @richard and @epltd

The towns I listed are in order of visit, so you see we are beginning in Scotland and north, then moving south.

Best wishes to you for fun future travels.

Posted by
18 posts

@Jennifer, we were planning a visit to the Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel. I emailed to check the Wheel's refurbishment status. Thank you for that tip.

The ratty railway :-D is possible by transit from Keswick; it would make a full day trip. I see they previously had a through ticket with Northern Rail and hope to reinstate it in 2022. Could be a fun day if we begin early. Last Lake District trip we wanted to go to the coast, but ran out of time.

Sherborne is a fast bus ride from Yeovil. Have you been to Lyme Regis? Yeovil has a football team and we hope to grab tickets.

Yeah, Thornton le Dale. It is touristy, but it's just 2 nights because of the Goth festival in Whitby. We couldn't find a week long flat in Whitby until after the Goths were finished with their revels. It would have been fun to be in Whitby with the Goths! They probably book a full year in advance.

We hope the weather cooperates for a walk to Robin Hood's Bay. I added all your suggestions to my list.

Looking forward to hearing any other suggestions you may have.

Posted by
31079 posts

Have you been to Lyme Regis?

I spent a pleasant afternoon there a few years ago. Claudia from the Land of La, a regular poster on the England Forum, went there for part of her holiday a few years ago and posted about it a few times.

One of the threads she contributed to was last year, the last post in the thread, which also has good stuff from others about the area.

Posted by
6113 posts

I have been to Lyme Regis - it’s good for half a day. There are plenty of independent shops and cafes, although national chains are creeping in. It’s very hilly. The fantastic vintage cafe where I had lunch pre pandemic has unfortunately closed.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you both, @Nigel and @Jennifer. I added the info to my notes, also visited Nigel's suggested link and messaged with Claudia. I think we will have a full day there, especially at the museum and hopefully, on the beach for fossils. O'Donnell's Bar at The Volunteer Inn looks like my kind of spot for lunch. Always on the hunt for local food and local beers and real ales.

Posted by
1176 posts

Hi V Saxongirl -

Do you intend to walk a fair bit? I ask because places like Glencoe (for instance) are relatively poorly served by public transport. For my money Glencoe is a stunning place, super to look at and brilliant for tough hiking, but after that, if you are not into pulling your boots on and exploring, you may feel a bit stranded there. However, do visit the Clachaig Inn, especially the Hikers Bar (beer, food, live music some nights) which is accessed by an unpromising passage at the rear of the hotel. Tables/seating can be at a premium!

You can access the Ardnamurchan Peninsula via the Corran ferry between Glencoe and Fort William, but without your own transport how you’d get to the ferry and what you’d do once on the peninsula, I’m unsure. We went over and climbed, via the Clan McLean graveyard, the prominent peak that translates from the Gaelic as ‘Peak of the Brains’. None of much were on display that day as it was a very wet slog into knee deep snow at the top with high winds and windchill temperatures down to minus 17 degrees C - my cagoule and rucksack straps froze solid!

Haltwhistle - claim to fame ‘The Exact Centre of Great Britain’ (disputed!) - is handy for Hadrians Wall, which is indeed within a walkable distance, but if you are not planning to walk, here you can probably make use of the AD122 bus which serves the wall and some of the related sites (check timetables in advance!). The best bit of the wall is from Housesteads through to around Greenhead. Excellent pub/hotel, The Twice Brewed has its own brewery attached (near Steel Rigg). Vindolanda is off-wall but not to be missed.

Keswick has excellent walking options, some detailed by Rick Steves. If you want to get out and explore on foot, DM me and I could suggest some options beyond the usual ferry/Catbells/ferry choice. The famed pub in Keswick is The Dog and Gun (speciality du maison - goulash!) and I rather liked The Bank at the bottom of the Main Street when we were last in.

York, I live within easy distance of, so if you wanted to DM me with what you have planned there I could advise if there’s anything else there you should consider or add. Thornton Le Dale is very near to Pickering and if you can make Pickering, say, via taxi then you can get to Whitby via the North York’s Moors Railway, a privately run service (some steam hauled - check timetables) a scenic trip through the moors. This is a full sized railway, unlike La’al Ratty which is a miniature railway which uses the narrow gauge tracks of the old mining railway (‘Owd Ratty’). Roman ruins at Ravenglass at the terminus and Muncaster Castle a mile from there. Other end at Dalegarth in Eskdale as Jennifer says is beautiful and further up the valley at the Hardknott Pass are more Roman Fort remains.

Ask if you need more!


Posted by
18 posts


the Falkirk Wheel was closed for major refurbishment

It is open and waiting for us to visit!

Posted by
18 posts

Hi Ian,

You've given me a lot of great information. I'll sift through it and PM with questions

Yes, we plan to be walking a lot and that's okay. It's a good way to meet people and slow down, see the countryside.

Thank you!

Posted by
60 posts

You might want to consider purchasing an Historic Houses and/or National Trust memberships if you are visiting any of those sights. We love visiting grand historic houses and NT properties. But we are also driving a car which helps to reach these places.

Posted by
31079 posts

whilst every National Trust property has bus/train/walking/bicycle directions and links, it is true that the vast bulk of all of our properties are easier to reach by car... unfortunately for V Saxongirl