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Looking for ideas for 3 or 4 nights in August

Well, we've just rebooked our April itinerary to August due to... you know... that situation...... Originally, we (family of 5: me, husband, mom-in-law, 15-yo daughter, 14-yo son) were going to spend a week in London and then fly to Granada and hang there for 4 days, mostly to chill out and eat our heads off (it wouldn't have been our first trip to Granada; we just love being there). But now that we are rescheduling to August, we'd rather stay in England with the cooler temps.

So.... We will fly in to LHR on a Monday in August, arriving late evening. We'll crash at the Premier Inn at the airport that night. We then have 3 or 4 nights that are totally unscheduled, and we would plan on being back in London either Friday or Saturday to spend a week there before our flight home.

We don't want to drive. We like trains. We like eating. We don't like crowds. We love history. We travel slow. We like seeing maybe one or two "sights" a day and then spending the rest of our time wandering. My son is special needs and mobility-challenged, and he is in a stroller when we cover distances. So, no hiking or really bumpy terrain (we did bring him to Switzerland last year and hiked the wanderwegs; nearly killed the stroller, but we had a great time). The kids don't love art museums, but they are game for most everything else.

Where would you go in August? Some ideas I have: York, heading southwest (Avebury or Stonehenge, Tintagel, ponies in Dartmoor, is Cornwall too far? I think so), southern Wales, loop along the south coast (Portsmouth, Brighton, Dover), head up to Liverpool (or Chester?).

Feedback?

Posted by
669 posts

Too bad you don't like crowds, because The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh [most of the month of August ] is just SO much fun- for all ages!
Have a great trip with whatever you decide.

Posted by
274 posts

Yep, I had thought about Edinburgh and then remembered the festival and decided Edinburgh in August is NOT for us 😊

Posted by
16560 posts

I think York would be great, but unless travel to northern England becomes much more dangerous, you have to expect really major crowds there.

Posted by
2562 posts

Since you sound fairly wide open to ideas, I'll suggest Norfolk. The terrain tends to be flat, it's not a thronged with tourists in August as some of Britain's more trendy destinations are, and there are beautiful places to visit.

Posted by
128 posts

August is prime holiday time and most places are going to be VERY busy. Norfolk or Suffolk are great suggestions as they tend not to feature on the usual tourist itineraries. There's lots to do and see from Sandringham (the Queen's country estate) to splendid stately homes, some superb gardens, ruined castles, fantastic coastline , lovely old churches, cute small towns plus preserved steam railways!

Posted by
274 posts

Thanks, guys — these are great ideas. Will check into Norfolk/Suffolk area. Sounds like right up our alley.

Posted by
5817 posts

The issue with Norfolk and Suffolk is that you will almost certainly need to drive to get to most of the places worth visiting. Both areas are lovely and worth a visit but the public transport infrastructure there isn’t brilliant.

August is peak holiday season so where ever you go you are going to have to expect crowds. I would also suggest choosing an area that isn’t weather dependent. Whilst August is peak summer it can also be wet. Going somewhere with a range of indoor and outdoor options would be a good idea.

Chester isn’t a bad idea for a base. I know I always recommend it, I am biased, but I do think it would work for you.
They have invested a lot of money in making the city ‘disabled friendly’ so for somewhere that historic the access for strollers and wheelchairs etc really isn’t too bad.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/sep/20/chester-europes-most-accessible-city

It has very good train links to lots of interesting places. If the weather is good you can head up the coast into North Wales, either under your own steam or as part of an organised trip.
Liverpool is less than hour away on the train. The MerseyRail train network covers a really wide area with lots of interesting places to stop off. Port Sunlight is a nice place for a wander and won’t be crowded on even the busiest tourist days. Chester Zoo is world class and a short hop on a bus, or by cab, from the city, but it will be busy.

The food scene in the city has really started to take off. There are some excellent restaurants and the pop up restaurants in the ( very ugly) market hall are really thriving especially on Friday/Saturday nights.
Just along from the market is the Storyhouse, a old cinema that has been converted into a library and theatre complex. They have done a brilliant job and it’s worth a visit for the design alone.

The city is just over 2 hours from London Euston on the through train so it’s surprisingly quick and easy to get to from the south.

Posted by
274 posts

Thank you, Emma. Chester sounds like a good choice as well. I will dive into some research.

Posted by
506 posts

If you wind up in Suffolk, I can recommend a small museum/historic site, Parham Airfield, where my father was stationed during WWII. There are stairs to half the exhibits, though, but you can go out at the top of the control tower and imagine those B-17s taking off and assembling in their formations. It's sort of do-able by train. You take a two-car train from Cambridge and arrange transportation from the small town that goes to (perhaps not Parham, will have to look this up). I think the museum staff walked me through this.

Rick Steves totally ignores Suffolk so use another guidebook.

Posted by
1024 posts

I love Liverpool, been there 7 times and a day trip to Chester is quite easy. Plenty to do as it’s a great city to just walk around the city centre. More museums than any U.K. city outside of London. Beatles stuff if you want it. Football (soccer) stuff if you want it. Two cathedrals, the river Mersey.

A day trip to Manchester is also easy to do.

Posted by
4048 posts

York is wonderful, we spent three nights there.
Cornwall, you need a car, unless you take a tour. There are five day tours from Viator.
You can find tours that will take you to Avebury and Stonehenge. Have you done Windsor Castle, it is great?

Posted by
274 posts

Thank you for all the great suggestions. Based on Emma's recommendation, and also the fact that the train travel to/from will be super easy for us, we are going to plan to spend 3 nights in Chester before we head off to London for the rest of our trip. I'll keep notes of the other ideas for a future vacation; I am especially intrigued by the idea of heading in the Norfolk/Suffolk direction.

Thank you once again, and we are looking forward to our trip in August!

Posted by
128 posts

Chester is a great city and less busy than York. You can walk all round the walls (well worth doing.) visit the castle and cathedral. There is the remains of a Roman amphitheatre too. Don't miss the Town crier! The Rows in the centre of Chester are unique. You can also go for a boat trip on the river.

https://www.visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/town-crier-proclamation-at-the-cross-p21291

Have a look here for lots of ideas.

https://www.sloweurope.com/community/resources/chester.42/

Either Llandudno (lovely Victorian seaside town) or Conwy (medieval walled town with a ruined castle) are an easy train ride from Chester. Trains go to Llandudno. If you are wanting to visit Conwy, get off at Llandudno Junction and its a 20 minute walk from the station to the town centre. You could easily spend a full day at either. Do catch the Victorian tramway up the Great Orme in Llandudno.

Ideas for Llandudno.

https://www.sloweurope.com/community/resources/llandudno-north-wales.79/

Ideas for Conwy

https://www.sloweurope.com/community/resources/conwy-north-wales.80/

Posted by
274 posts

@wasleys, thank you so much for the additional information!