Please sign in to post.

Itinerary help: Cotswolds, Ironbridge, Conwy in Wales, York, Liverpool

Hello travelers,
My wife and I enjoy visiting museums, learning about the history and culture of an area, taking scenic drives and appreciating the architecture. Together we enjoy walks but not strenuous hikes.
In late September we will start our 40 day trip in London (6 nights) and Bath (4 nights) and do some day trips from each city. We will rent a car in Bath. Our current idea is to spend 3 nights in the Cotswolds (visit Blenheim Palace, Stratford-upon-Avon), 1 night in Ironbridge and 3 nights in Conwy, Wales. Then drive to York, drop the car, spend 3 nights there. Take a train to Liverpool and stay two nights before flying to Ireland for 18 days.
My question; should I take a day away from the Cotswolds to spend another day in Conwy, Wales to see the many sights in northern Wales?
I took a two night visit to the Lake District off the itinerary to slow down and spend more time in York and Liverpool. Any thoughts are welcome.

Posted by
1181 posts

4 nights in Bath seems quite a lot unless you have a number of trips you want to do. You could shorten this section as Bath is not very big and easy to see in a day.

There is a lot to see in North Wales and the sights are more impressive than the Cotswolds in my opinion. Blenheim is a huge palace but I didn’t like it that much when I went recently (first time). It’s very busy and very designed for tourism with things like a miniature railway and tacky play area. I like a bit more atmosphere in my old buildings which you will certainly get with the castles of North Wales.

However, reducing to 2 nights in the Cotswolds gives you very little time to see anything. If you took this approach I’d skip Blenheim as it’s too far (took ages to get there and back, way longer than Google maps suggested) and visit Cotswold areas closer to Bath eg, the area around Stroud, Cirencester, Nailsworth. This will also be in the right direction for your onward travel to North Wales.

Posted by
1223 posts

I agree with Helen about the scenery and castles of North Wales being more interesting and impressive than the over touristed Cotswolds. I enjoyed Blenheim Palace but last went there about 10 years ago when it was perhaps less touristy.

Personally I would forgo the Cotswolds all together and maximise my time in North Wales maybe using somewhere like Conwy as a base to explore Snowdonia and also pop across the bridge to Anglesey.

Ironbridge is well worth seeing - there's much more there than just the iron bridge. And it's kind of on the way to North Wales too. Bonus!

Posted by
1004 posts

Driving from Conwy to York you will almost drive past Liverpool and right past Chester. I would make sure that you have time to visit Chester. You could drop the car at Chester easily and take a short train ride to Liverpool. Then a direct train from Liverpool to York. That does mick up your flight to Ireland from Liverpool but you can also fly from Leeds/Bradford or Manchester - the latter is further but has a direct train from York and more flight choices.

I would also cut back on the Cotswolds (and Bath unless you have specific plans for day trips from there) in favour of more time in North Wales. Maybe even add a night in mid Wales, or two there and do a day trip to Ironbridge from there.

Posted by
229 posts

I would dump the Cotswolds entirely and spend the time in Shropshire and North Wales. I lived for several years in the Cotswolds and never could see the attraction.

Posted by
4475 posts

I would choose the Yorkshire Dales over the Cotswolds. You could get a taste of the Cotswolds on a Mad Max day tour from Bath and not rent a car until you leave Bath. Just some more options to muddy the water.

Posted by
24 posts

I’m the OP. Thanks for the help. The Mad Max tours are a good tip. I’ll need to look into their tours. I have 4 nights in Bath for day trips to Avebury/Stonehenge and Glastonbury/Wells. We have friends in the Bristol/Bath area so will spend some hours in Bristol one day. Bath seemed to be a good base and Enterprise has cars that can be dropped in downtown York (AutoEurope, Arnold Clark don’t offer that option.)
So based on your input we may eliminate the 3 nights in the Cotswolds and add more time elsewhere, north Wales, maybe Yorkshire Dales
Camborne (or others) do you have any tips for Shropshire? I see that Ironbridge is part of Shropshire.
Cala, do you have tips for the Yorkshire Dales?
Yes, we will visit Chester. I’m thinking the day we drive to York we could visit Thirsk, where All Creatures Great and Small was set. I still need to research this. It’s about 50 minutes north of York and would be a reason to drop the car in York, then take the train to Liverpool. The Aer Lingus flight to Dublin out of Liverpool is better as it is midday, whereas the flights out of Leeds are early morning and evening.
Thank you!

Posted by
4475 posts

Matt, sorry I have not been to the Dales yet. They're on my bucket list-we love All Creatures. I have seen several Yorkshire Dales tours offered from York by Mountain Goat tours. I have not used that company but think they've been mentioned favorably on this forum. York is one of my favorite places in England. I took a free tour given by a local and we walked part of the wall. I also enjoyed the Jorvk Vikng Center.

The following are some random thoughts about your proposed itnerary: We try to avoid renting a car in UK and use trains and tours. I have done a Mad Max tour to Avebury and the Cotswolds and would recommend it. Honestly, Cotswold villages are lovely to see, but they look boring as a place to stay unless you want to hike. I have been to both Blenheim Palace and Stratford and found both underwhelming. We took a multi-day Rabbies tour that included Stratford, Conwy, Ironbridge, Snowdonia, Peak district(not in that order)-you might want to look at it to get ideas of nearby destinations in that area. Our tour went to the North York Moors Park rather than to the Dales. Since you like history , you might want to take a day trip from Bath to Salisbury and see the Magna Carta at the Cathedral. I really enjoyed the Georgian House Museum in Bath. You might want to go to Brighton as a day trip from London.