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Heading to England Soon - Suggestions for Where to Go/Stay for 2-3 days in Early April

We will be in Bournemouth for my husband's business trip soon and we have taken some vacation time off to travel a bit afterwards. Now the issue is to decide where to go before we head off to Paris.

Our current plan is to drop off the business trip's rental car in London then start our vacation:

  • April 2: Fly from London to Edinburgh
  • April 2 - April 6: Edinburgh for a 3-4 days
  • April 6 - 8/9: ?????
  • April 8/9: plane ride from a major city (undecided yet) to Paris
  • April 8/9 - 16: Paris for 6-7 days
  • April 16: plane ride from Paris to Seattle

We have no idea where to go during the 2-3 days in between. We have stayed in London and Bath (and its surrounding area) before and as much as we'd love to do more Scotland (Isle of Skye, etc.), we don't seem to have enough time... Besides, we'd like this to be a bit of a relaxing vacation and we're not very outdoorsy, so we are at a loss.

Questions:

  1. Based on your past travels, where would be a good place to visit/stay? Somewhere near Edinburgh? Or should we try to visit another area? York?

  2. Since we do have big luggage bags to travel with, how difficult will the travel between the different places be? Is it better to do a bit of driving tour around some small villages instead of trying to hit a city so that we can carry them in the car trunk?
    We have two BIG(!!) luggage bags that we need to haul around due to being on a business trip for 6 weeks, so that will definitely be a challenge. This is a part of the reason why we're choosing to fly if the cost isn't too much more expensive, since we'd rather not drag them around on buses//trains. We're open to renting a car for the mystery destination days, but only if we can return it at an airport as we head off to Paris.

Ideally, we'd be able to relax a bit, have tea often, and not worry about the luggage carrying while experiencing the British/Scottish charm. :)

Posted by
387 posts

I think you've already spotted what seems to me the easiest option - York.

Easy to take the train from Edinburgh to York. Lots to do in York and surrounds.

Then there is a regular direct train service from York to Manchester Airport, from memory takes less than 2 hours. (There is a nearer airport - Leeds-Bradford - but when I was looking at this airport last year seemed "complicated" for my trip, needing a train and bus, so with your luggage issues would discount.)

But you've left it late to book for April, so whatever you decide, you need to do it quickly.

Katy

Posted by
16883 posts

If your luggage is large enough to dictate how and where your travel, then I think it's too big. I'm sure that frequent business travelers have developed systems for packing lighter. If your husband needs to wear a jacket and tie, can just two jackets do the job in rotation? If he wears business casual, then I assume that regular laundry services will work for you. Does he have large business materials, other than just a laptop computer?

Posted by
5221 posts

Your "mystery city" could be Dublin, by air from Edinburgh and then to Paris. Or, as suggested above, you could train from Edinburgh to York and then to London, and switch to the Eurostar to Paris (but Eurostar will be expensive so soon from now). If you take this York option, you might want to move on to Paris sooner rather than later. If it were my trip, I'd go straight from Edinburgh to Paris, where you could easily spend more than a week. But maybe you've been there before and don't want to spend that long.

Another idea would be to rent a car in Edinburgh and take a few days to drive through the Scottish border country, Hadrian's Wall, Lake District, and on to Manchester for a flight to Paris. Or the eastern variant -- Edinburgh to Hadrian's Wall, Durham, and York, drop the car and train to London for Eurostar as above. If you're comfortable driving on the left and have all those bags, you might be happier driving this part of your trip.

Posted by
1238 posts

Scotland Spring is about a month later than Seattle. Remember to dress in layers. I would definitely try to downsize your luggage.
The airlines will charge extra if they can. Even on a business trip 3 outfits for each of you is more than enough with changes of sweaters or vests. Scotland tends to be more casually outdoorsy. Wool is a classic choice but nice fleece is a perfect for traveling. A nice weather resistant jacket, buy a wool scarf (tartan if you are clan) on Prince Street. A lightweight trench coat is classy anywhere. Wear hand washable undies. Have just one nice outfit if you have to be posh...otherwise dress for comfort. If your cases are for samples: why not ship them from and to home when you don't need them.

Posted by
720 posts

I agree with Keith. You have so many good options -- Salisbury, Winchester, Portsmouth. Dorset is delightful! You could visit the Bovington tank museum, or see the Jurassic Coast if the weather is decent. We loved Wimborne Minster -- non-touristy town with a very cool minster (church), ancient rings outside of town.

There is so much to see! Instead of racing around, spend some time in south central England. It's delightful!

Posted by
1868 posts

You are already in one of the nicest counties of England = Dorset - which also has on average some of the best weather. Goodness knows why you wish to go tearing off to more far flung places such as Scotland, Paris or York. http://www.visit-dorset.com

If you did want to go off to places further away by air, check out Bournemouth Airport & also Southampton Airport. You can do this at www.skyscanner.net - select April & tick 'whole month view' as this will show you who flies where & when.

Anyway, it seems to me that you are probably choosing to ignore Dorset & other nearby counties because you are simply not aware of what is in this area. In Bournemouth/Poole - I would definitely visit Compton Acres Gardens:> http://www.comptonacres.co.uk

The area of Dorset to the west has a stunning coast and quaint villages. Don't miss Durdle Dor & Lulworth Cove.http://www.lulworthonline.co.uk
http://jurassiccoast.org

Or - how about Salisbury with its stunning medieval cathedral (with Stonehenge just to the north) :> http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/salisbury

Or - Cerne Abbas Giant & Minterne Gardens: >http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cerne-giant
//www.minterne.co.uk/mjs/gardens.html

Or - Abbotsbury Sub-tropical gardens:>http://abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk

Or - further to the NW >http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/montacute-house & > http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead

So, plenty to see in this part of England in my opinion. You can keep the business car rental going to get around all of these places. You may wish to take the train back to London as roads can get congested on approaching London. www.nationalrail.co.uk

Posted by
91 posts

York so interesting , little shops , pubs , the Vikings , Roman's left their mark here. York Minster beautiful , lovely countryside. I would check out Hadrian's Wall too , I did a 6 week class from a University in England . If your going to York you could see this in a day ,
Visit Roman Vindolanda today and you will find one of the North East’s most famous and not to be missed tourist attractions lying in the beautiful landscape of Hadrian's Wall Country. Formerly a key military post on the northern frontier of Britain, Vindolanda is the home of Britain's 'Top Treasure' - the Vindolanda Writing Tablets - and is one Europe's most important Roman archaeological sites, with live excavations taking place every year.
The recently fully refurbished on site museum provides a breathtaking exploration of the Trust's ongoing discoveries and accounts of Roman life. There are no other places on earth where it is possible to experience Roman Britain, Hadrian's Wall and history coming to life before your very eyes all in one space! Come and explore it for yourself and find out why Vindolanda is treasured worldwide

Posted by
2219 posts

There are no bad choices here, although I have to admit I'm not crazy about the Dublin idea since I'm not wild about Dublin and it involves another flight. I love York so that is a great option. You could also spend the extra days in Edinburgh, which is my favorite city in Europe. There's plenty to do there and you could also day trip to Stirling or St. Andrews or even take a bus tour into the highlands (no luggage issues with day trips).

I would try really hard to pack less. You can do wash in Europe. It's less burdensome than dragging around a big suitcase.

Posted by
12 posts

I really enjoyed reading all the wonderful suggestions in this thread, thank you very much!

We decided to split the extra days in Edinburgh and Paris with the option of taking more day trips outside of the city.

We had already visited a few places during our previous stay near Bournemouth and we will have a few days to do it again, so it will be nice to have a bit more time in the two cities that we've never been before.

As for the luggage, we both absolutely agree! We have some supplies that I need to carry due to my medical condition and this 6-week trip happened to be a combination of 4-week business trip + 2-week holiday ranging in the snowy Alps (we've been working in/visiting Germany, Switzerland and Austria and it's been pretty cold with quite a bit of snow) to the more temperate weather in Paris in springtime. Oh well. Live and learn, right? :)

Thank you again, and I'll check out the individual suggestions as well. They've been immensely helpful!

Posted by
7124 posts

April 2 - London
April 4 - Fly to Amsterdam
April 7 - Train to Ghent/Bruges
April 9 - Train to Paris