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Please help with the last 11 days of my holiday

I can’t figure out how to spend the last 11 or so days of my first holiday in Great Britain and would appreciate suggestions.
I turn 60 on 14 April and decided I wanted to finally explore Great Britain. I will be traveling solo for the first time during part of my trip, from 17 April to 17 May.

10 April arrive Edinburgh early morning
11 April Edinburgh- touristy stuff
Dinner reservations? Open to suggestions
12-16 April : Rabbies 5 Day Iona, Mull & Isle of Skye
16-17 April : Edinburgh
17-19 April : Keswick
19-22 April HF Holidays Northern Lake District
22-26 April HF Holidays Western Yorkshire Dales
26-30 April : Grassington
30 April -3 May : York
3-6 May HF Holidays North York Moors
6-7 May Bristol
7-10 May. Rabbies - South Wales, Cotswolds, Oxford (thinking of staying in Oxford for the night instead of driving back to Bristol)

** tentative plans **
11-13 May : Bath and maybe Mad Max Tour of Stonehenge, Castle Combe, Avebury?

I have from 11-21 May to figure out. My flight leaves the morning of 22 May from Heathrow so I am staying at Hilton Garden Heathrow the night before.

Cornwall and Devon? Norwich? Wales?
I’m open to all suggestions.

Posted by
3122 posts

EDITED

11 April, for dinner in Edinburgh I can recommend the Tower Restaurant, located above the National Museum with a beautiful view of the castle. If you time it right, you can photograph the sunset over the cityscape. It's an upscale restaurant (white linen tablecloths, nice menu, very attentive service in my experience), but we did see some customers wearing jeans and sneakers.

11-13 May, I guess you're not really interested in spending time in London? Because it is of course a fascinating city with endless things to see and do. Otherwise, you could combine Bath with Stonehenge. Adding Avebury would be a bit rushed, IMO, but it is humanly possible, especially if you have your own rental car. There are tours out of Bath that visit all of these, I believe.

I just realized I misread the dates at the end of your stay. You have 10 days, not just 2! In that case, choosing between Cornwall & Devon, Norwich, or more of Wales (you will have already seen southern Wales) is really a personal choice. If you have your own rental car, Cornwall & Devon could be fun. Public transportation there is not the most convenient, and I haven't looked into tours of that region. OTOH, if you're particularly interested in Norwich and the East Anglia region, that could be nice.

Hope this helps!

Posted by
122 posts

We like The Witchery in Edinburgh. The atmosphere is wonderful!

I would spend the last 5 of those 11 days in London, but you have likely considered that already. Sounds like an amazing trip- have a fun!

Posted by
86 posts

I suppose London is the obvious city to spend my last few days..
I’d be there from 13-21 May and I could take a day trip or two from there.

Posted by
86 posts

I just looked up the Tower restaurant and it’s permanently closed!
I’ll try the Witchery.

I have made hotel reservations in London for 15-21 May.

Posted by
3823 posts

I do realize that the last post on this thread was in March; however; I wanted to make a few suggestions, as you are still on your trip, and hopefully checking back to see posts on your thread.

In order to make some suggestions, I did look at your itinerary for your Rabbies tour.
https://www.rabbies.com/en/england-tours/from-bristol/south-wales-cotswolds-and-oxford-4-day-tour

It also answered the question for me as to why you were going to Bristol.....That's where the Rabbies tour begins.

You could go to many of the destinations on this tour yourself. That way, you could stay longer if you wanted, for example, in Stratford-Upon-Avon and Oxford. These are both interesting and pleasant for a 2-3 nights stay.

About this (after the Rabbies tour) you said: "thinking of staying in Oxford for the night instead of driving back to Bristol."
Absolutely yes to this.
I don't know if you've already booked the Rabbies tour or not.
However, you couldn't go wrong staying 2 to 3 nights in Oxford at the end.

Posted by
3823 posts

** tentative plans **
11-13 May : Bath and maybe Mad Max Tour of Stonehenge, Castle Combe, Avebury?
I have from 11-21 May to figure out. My flight leaves the morning of 22 May from Heathrow so I am staying at Hilton Garden Heathrow >the night before.
Cornwall and Devon? Norwich? Wales?
I’m open to all suggestions.

To comment on this....
The idea of Bath and Mad Max Tour is a good idea.
Bath is lovely. You mention giving yourself 2 nights there--staying there the night of May 11, and May 12, leaving May 13th? Or will you plan on spending that night in Bath? You will need that 3rd night if your previous full day is taken up by the tour to Stonehenge, Castle Combe and Avebury. You will want the extra day to walk around Bath, see the Roman Baths, Abbey, and perhaps the Holburne Museum.

As an alternative, you could skip the tour and take the (short train ride) train from Bath to Salisbury. Check into a hotel in Salisbury for 2 to 3 nights, enjoy walking around this medieval town, see Salisbury Cathedral, take the bus out to Stonehenge for the afternoon. This way, you would have as much time as you like at Stonehenge.

Next, you could easily take the train to London, spend several days there doing day trips out to various places.

Or, you could hit the south coast which includes castles and beaches. Hever Castle, Leeds Castle, Brighton, Canterbury, Dover.

For some of the places you asked about...

Cornwall and Devon? Norwich? Wales?

For Norwich, the time to go there would have been right after York. You would have traveled by train down to Peterborough and changed trains to go east to Norwich.

About Wales....I thought you would be seeing some of Wales on your Rabbies tour? Would you want more?
The Rabbies tour I might suggest for Wales would be of northern Wales in which you see two castles, Caernarfon and Conwy. They are amazing.
About Cornwall....without a car, you would want a tour....maybe another Rabbies.

I hope this has helped somewhat, as you may still be making plans "on the fly" as you are traveling.

Posted by
3823 posts

For day trips with a guide out of London:
https://www.walks.com/day-trips-from-london/

Many destinations you can do out and back by yourself by train:
Hever Castle: https://www.hevercastle.co.uk/

Click the arrow to the right of "By rail" for directions/how to get there:
https://www.hevercastle.co.uk/visit/opening-times-directions/https://www.hevercastle.co.uk/visit/opening-times-directions/

Map for the walk from Hever Station to Hever Castle:
https://www.hevercastle.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Walk-station-map.pdf

Posted by
6 posts

I'm 64, and since you mentioned Norwich, I have to say that my sister and I loved it. It has charm and a lot of historical buildings, some of which haven't made it onto the tourist maps. It isn't very touristy compared to most places in England. We made a day trip from there to a town called Great Yarmouth, and if you haven't experienced the British seaside, that's a great place to experience it. There is beautiful garden that parallels the shoreline, and my sister dug around on Google and found some ruins, so we went back a second day.

We're making our first visit to Bristol (although we've been to Bath), Cornwall, Exeter, and Portsmouth in about a month! We'll just miss you! I'd love to know what towns/cities you liked the most.

Karen

Posted by
2494 posts

It is a long journey over to East Anglia (Norwich) from Bristol. I liked Norwich but thought Great Yarmouth was awful. There are far better coastal towns in Britain than GY.

Anyone in the Bristol / Bath area who needs somewhere else to go, I would suggest south Wales. This earlier thread has some info.

Posted by
6742 posts

Bristol to Norwich is not that bad a journey- 4 hours including the cross London connection. Just over 1:30 to Paddington and 1:45 from Liverpool Street to Norwich.

Norwich would be a nice base from which to explore Norfolk, and even down into Suffolk. Explore the broads, along the North Norfolk Coast (easy on the train to Cromer and Sheringham) then the coastal buses.

And the coastal towns as well.

Posted by
86 posts

After my HF Holiday at Whitby 3-6 May my schedule is completely open until 6 June when I’ll be in London. I extended my trip.

Now I can explore more. I’m in Carlisle now, so I will find a pub and hash out a plan after reading everyone’s suggestions.

Posted by
320 posts

Abbeygurl4

Did you end up cancelling your second Rabbies tour?

Posted by
86 posts

KB … yes I did, the trips are too rushed. I actually extended my time here in the UK for another few weeks. I’ve actually left my return date open.
After Whitby I have no plans as of yet.

Posted by
6742 posts

Hi,

I saw this much earlier, just as I was about to go out of the house to, you've guessed it- Carlisle!! As it happens I had a very eventful afternoon indeed. If the afternoon had gone according to plan our paths could have unknowingly crossed.

I was surprised to see that you were in Carlisle, as I thought you were in Grassington this weekend.

Are you still in York from 30 April to 3 May, indeed are you still in Carlisle tonight. If so you are essentially at the moment looking to fill the next 2 days. I would suggest going to the central part of Hadrian's Wall- Hexham, Haltwhistle area and using the Hadrian's Wall buses AD122 and 681 to explore supplemented with the main road 685 bus. Equally you could do the wall by staying in Carlisle and using the train/bus to the above places.

Then train to Newcastle, change for train to York. Even at this late stage there should be short notice advance fares (book it in two halves) so that should be able to be done very economically.

It's kind of hard to suggest an itinerary when we don't know your budget or your likes/dislikes.

I think if you still wanted to do the places on the Rabbies Bristol trip, but on your own it should be possible to piece something together. Are you willing to have a rental car for part of the time if that makes it easier. Did you also let the Mad Max Tour go?

Those are the kind of things which makes it easier for people to make suggestions for you.

Posted by
86 posts

Hello isn31c!
I am staying in Grassington through Monday night. I had a 7-8 mile hike yesterday and slipped on a rock while crossing a stream. Yes I fell in.
I walked through the lead mill area and then the by the river. Very peaceful and scenic. Today I took the 72 Dales bus to Skipton to ride the Settle-Carlisle-Leeds scenic train. I got off in Carlisle to see the Cathedral. Very beautiful.

Yes, I’m still going to York after Grassington and taking the Mountain Goat tour because it drops me off in Whitby for my HF holiday.

I like hikes, but I’m not hardcore by any means. I like cathedrals, villages, castles (we stopped at Bolton Castle on the way here from Sedbergh), I also like cities, I’m looking forward to York and walking the walls and seeing York Minster. I like history and scenery, meeting new people. I loved Sedbergh and met a couple very nice people that I’ve kept in touch with.
As far as budget goes it’s fairly generous. Larger cities like York, London, Bath I use hotel points and stay free. But im not opposed to B&Bs. I also fly free on points so it makes it easier to spend more since the two largest expenses are taken care of.
So budget isn’t much of a concern.
I’m trying to chose places that I can do a lot of sightseeing by walking and public transportation.
Oxford, Bath, Salisbury, Wales, maybe Norwich, Cornwall? I will end with 5 days in London. I’m really up for anything as long as I don’t have to drive.

PS, I extended my trip until 19 June at the very least.
PPS the conductor saw that I was taking pictures and let me go in the very back of the train with him to get Ribblehead viaduct shots! He even opened the window for me to lean out!!

Posted by
6742 posts

Right, so what we want to look at is a sequential plan from York to Cornwall.

Then return from Cornwall to London either on the Riviera Sleeper Train from Penzance or a flight from Newquay- the Sleeper would be the natural crescendo to end your time here concluding in the Royal Waiting Room at London Paddington. But that is getting ahead of ourselves.

Sorry to hear of your dip in the Yorkshire Water- I managed to do something similar a few years ago on stepping stones near Ikley.

So you came through Wensleydale then down dale to Grassington.

So for today, Sunday, I would suggest using the Sunday special 822 bus at 12 noon from Grassington.

That will give you afternoon options at Stump Cross Cavern, or a once a week chance to visit Fountains Abbey , or Ripon Cathedral

Then as you have been to Bolton Castle, tomorrow I would suggest taking the 74 bus down to Bolton Abbey and the Strid (a totally different place).

From there you could drop down to Ilkley, and the newly restored hourly bus to Skipton, and thus back to Grassington on the 72.

Posted by
86 posts

Sounds like a great plan. I’m off to Fountains Abbey today and Bolton Abbey tomorrow. Thank you.
I’ll look into your other suggestions more thoughtfully when I get back to my room after dinner tonight.

Posted by
86 posts

Is there a difference between the 11:40 bus and the 12:00 bus? I notice the 12:00 is 822c.

Posted by
6742 posts

The 1140 is the terminating arrival into Grassington from Pocklington and York

The bus then sits in Grassington for 20 minutes before going back to Ripon at 12 noon,

Just looking, they've put a double decker on this week- this is what the bus looks like- https://www.flickr.com/photos/marktriumphman/51598862794/in/photolist-2pySiAt-2pyXZC4-2pySs3j-2pwNEKM-2pvC1nY-2pLRphv-2ooxwmJ-2odTaqs-2pghwpk-2nREiWH-2mVtfnx-2mM3Zmh-2mBBEeq-2mrwU3Y-2mkgWCP-2m66yYf-2kRC7Ki-2kPrwLZ-2kB24ak-2kwgRht-2kvSCeK-2kitFaT-2jUTGjS-2jHubHk-2jw154e-2jRvtGV-2jP5TzB-2jrSvaJ-2jnedL2-2isSV8K-2iGF9X3-2gquz8a-2go3X7e-S2Gdgf-NiJdLA-NiJdTu-2amNcqQ-2ar4PDX-2aKcQUi-Ksj1Ug-26psscs-HxWa5E-25C4Mrf-YHdcbG-2hgVJ1n-VgCKyZ-U5QYoF-SDySTs-R55ntF-QXtpZE

The bus has just left York heading for Grassington.

The 'c' at the end means it waits for up to 10 minutes (to 1210) if the Leeds to Hawes bus is running late. Apart from anything else it allows long distance passengers to use the toilets!!

It will just be showing 822 on the front of the bus.

Grassington is a marvellous Sunday hub for buses on a Summer Sunday, going far into the Dales and beyond.

PS- I've just seen that there is a new offer- show your £2 bus ticket at Fountains Abbey cafe and get a free cup of tea or coffee.

Posted by
3823 posts

I’m trying to chose places that I can do a lot of sightseeing by walking and public transportation.
Oxford, Bath, Salisbury, Wales, maybe Norwich, Cornwall? I will end with 5 days in London. I’m really up for anything as long as I don’t have to drive.

Right, so what we want to look at is a sequential plan from York to Cornwall.

If you're going from York to Cornwall, there's a LOT to see along the way that I think would interest you.

Oxford, Bath, and Salisbury I would put on your itinerary for sure!
2 to 3 nights in each.

From Oxford, you can take the train a short distance to Moreton-In-Marsh which is in the Cotswolds. From there, take buses or a tour into the Cotswolds. Good walking/hiking trails in the Cotswolds.

Posted by
86 posts

Rebecca - thank you for so many excellent suggestions. I’ve taken screenshots of posts and I’m going to put down on paper a rough itinerary and check to see what lodgings are available.
The hard part is figuring out how much time to spend in each place. I don’t want to have to keep packing and moving on so I’m trying to spend at least 2-3 nights at a time.
I am on my last day in Grassington and will visit Bolton Abbey and maybe IIkley, as suggested by isn31c.

I joined the National Trust yesterday and got my senior railcard.