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Choosing a second week in England or Wales?

ive posted a separate question about the Cotswolds, but in addition to one week in the Cotswolds we plan to spend an additional week in one other location this September (we will hire a car). Similarly, we are looking for a pastoral, English country-side (or welsh) location to base out of while we take day trips to nearby locations. We are considering:

Dorsett region?

Lake District?

Yorkshire Downs?

North Wales?

Posted by
3236 posts

Consider the Yorkshire Dales, base in Grassington. There are wonderful walks. Everywhere you look is picturesque! I'm not sure what nearby locations you would choose, however. If you like to hike from village to village or village to ruin through cow fields and hills, this is a good option. I guess you could take a day trip to Hull…or Whitby? But not sure it would be worth driving to them.

Posted by
1462 posts

Wales! King Edward's Castles in spectacular locations. Mostly in Northern Wales. You can buy a castle pass for all of them. You will be much closer if you are in the Cotswolds already. I enjoyed it much more than the crowded Lake District. Yorkshire Downs has a more open spaces feel. It depends on what you are looking for. But I feel that Wales has a lot going for it that has been overlooked which makes a wonderful place to go with less people.

Posted by
239 posts

Dorset has some beautiful countryside and coast, and they're you're not too far from Dartmoor or Exmoor (though they'll be a bit of a drive). Not quite sure which bit of Yorkshire you mean--the Dales are lovely and everyone should see and walk in them, whereas the North York Moors are less beautiful but with a rugged charm. Given a choice between the two, I'd plump for the Dales.
The Lake District should be a bit calmer in September as by then the schools will have gone back after the summer holidays. The weather is often better in late summer or early autumn too. Some honeypots do get very crowded, but it isn't hard to avoid the crowds.
North Wales is the quite lovely and there are a lot of castles and other interesting things to see, but you'd need to pick your base carefully. Much of Snowdonia is fabulous to look at or walk in, but there are large parts where there is nothing much to do if you're not a walker and though everything looks close on a map, most of the roads are not that fast

Posted by
703 posts

we spent a number of days in Wales, mainly north wales. overall we found it very interesting, far less people, mainly english/welsh tourists.( eg: not bus loads of tourists) and not too many cars on the road. we enjoyed Powis castle in Welshpool ( on our way back to England) We based ourselves in Criccieth, as it was on the coast and wanted to see some different scenery. ( on a long holiday) we drove out each day, which did not take that long to reach each 'attraction'. the towns are quite small ( a lot smaller than we imagined). with the mountains the scenery was a bit more dramatic.

On our trip we also drove via dorset and cornwall, it appeared that dorset had lots of things to offer, if you did not want to drive very far.( eg: you seem to hear more about the Cotswolds) We found the scenery on the west coast of Cornwall to be very dramatic.
in fact after visiting the cottswalds we almost wondered why we did not spend more time in other areas as we found thatched roof cottages in tiny villages etc etc that were as quaint as the Cotswolds.

I hope this helps

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for the many great recommendations. this is fantastic. North Wales seems to be the direction we are leaning. However, I found your comments about Dorset very interesting. Would you in fact recommend (or at least as a suitable replacement) Dorset over the Cotswolds? I have wondered if the Cotswolds are "worth it." in other words, you hear so much about them, but are they too touristy? We are looking to base ourselves in the Cotswolds for a week and lace together day trips by car and nearby villages on foot/hiking. Would Dorset be comparable alternative? Thanks.

Posted by
2445 posts

All of the places mentioned so far are well worth a visit. However, bear in mind that Yorkshire & the Lake District will be a longer drive to the north & much of this will be on boring expressways - some passing through conurbations such as Birmingham. I would be inclined to take the train out from London to Oxford (or go by bus from Heathrow). Walk around Oxford & then hire a car and drive out to Blenheim Palace (about 7 miles NW). Find a base for about 3 nights in the northern Cotswolds & visit Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower Slaughter, Snowshill, Broadway, Chipping Campden & perhaps Stratford-upon-Avon. (A week in the Cotswolds is too long).

I would then head off west into Wales (www.visitwales.co.uk) which you can easily do by following route A40 to a second base in the Crickhowell/Brecon area for say another 3 nights. http://www.breconbeacons.org
(The M50 is an alternative route as far as Ross-on-Wye). You could from the Brecon area follow route A470 all the way up through the scenic middle of Wales to the Snowdonia National Park. From the Brecon area, you could continue to follow the A40 to SW Wales (Pembrokeshire - consider Tenby). http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com; http://www.visittenby.co.uk

Alternatively, you could drive direct from the Cotswolds to this area looking at interesting places along the way. Here is a reply I gave earlier to someone going from the Cotswolds to NW Wales:>
Leave Chipping Campden & join A44 going towards Evesham - which you loop around on the by-pass. Then B4084 towards Pershore
& pass south of Worcester to rejoin A44 going towards Bromyard. (It is very bendy). As you approach Bromyard, look out for signs directing you R to LOWER BROCKHAMPTON HALL. It is a bit of a drive but at the bottom of the hill you will find the Hall. (Everything you expected Ye Olde England to be).http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brockhampton-estate/
Return to A44 & continue W to join A49 heading N. Do not take Ludlow by-pass but drive into this small town and take a look around.
http://www.ludlow.org.uk
Now back onto A49 going N (towards Shrewsbury). About 10 minutes up the road is this:> http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stokesay-castle/
If you are running late - stay on A49 heading for Shrewsbury & then A5 going NW into Wales via Llangollen (as before). However, if you have time, you may wish to fork left just N of Craven Arms & follow A489 to Church Stoke & then A490 towards Welshpool in order to visit Powis Castle. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle/ (ALTERNATIVE IS TO HEAD WEST TO DOLGELLAU AREA FROM POWIS CASTLE via A458 & A470 or follow route below).
On leaving Powis Castle - take A483 towards Oswestry / Chirk for A5 into Wales via Llangollen (as before).
If you arrive in the Conway area early (unlikely), you could do Bodnant Gardens as it is just off your route. Otherwise - do it on the Saturday. (It is at its best in May - don't miss the Laburnum tunnel - which too the left of the entrance & will be in full bloom in May).
You really have not given yourselves enough time to 'do' north Wales. In addition to Bodnant, I would prioritise driving back to Betws-Y-Coed & then A5 to Capel Curig > A4086 > via Beddgelert & A4085 via Garreg to PORTMEIRION.http://www.portmeirion-village.com
Alternatively, if the weather is clear, you may wish to prioritise going to Llanberis and up Snowdon via the mountain railway. You can then add Caernarvon Castle to the Saturday trip before returning to Conway.
http://www.greatorme.org.uk
You might wish to fly on this zip-wire:> http://www.zipworld.co.uk
PS> When going from Conway to the Lake District, Chester is worth a look.http://www.visitchester.com

Posted by
703 posts

I tend to agree with James, we found we had looked at most things we needed to in the Cotswolds within a few days eg: less than a week. Its a very nice area, but if asked, I would have to err on the side of being 'overrated' compared to other parts of the UK that we saw. (overrated meaning that sometimes you wonder if places get too much interest/promotion etc from travel forums etc, and your expectations get inflated.)
unless you were thinking of doing walks? we didn't.

Posted by
8 posts

James, your many ideas are greatly appreciated. I am certainly sensitive the fact that things might be a bit "slower" in areas like the Cotswolds. We are intending to stay in a slower area with plenty of nature and scenery around us...and walks we can take to various villages. However, of course never being there...I find it very helpful to hear if others found this area "over rated" as stated. Thanks again.