Wow, is it fun to be planning itineraries again. I thought I'd invite you inside my head and post my current plan and the thoughts that went into it. My wife Carla and I both love history and get a lot of historical refences and trip ideas from historical fiction and TV/movies. I love castles, she tolerates the 8 year old boy in me when I'm in a castle. We both enjoy museums, but she can spend more time looking at everything. I'm the hyper one and bounce from display to display, but absorb everything. She loves Roman history, I love English history.
This itinerary is a work in progress, but we want to book hotels asap as neither of us are spur-of-the-moment types. Feel free to help us plan with your suggestions.
Arrive at Gatwick 10:30am. Initially we were going to take a train to Portsmouth and stay near the Historic Dockyard for 4 or 5 days and make day trips via train from there, but after looking at the cost of those trains, we decided it makes more sense to get a car from the get-go. However, I'll follow the advice of others and not drive that first day. Instead we're going to take a train to Brighton and spend the day. It wasn't on the list, but it looks like a quick and convenient train ride. Thinking of a room with a view at the Grand Brighton. It's more than I typically like to spend on a hotel, but it's a happy wife happy life compromise.
8 year old boy day. Back to Gatwick to get a car and drive to Arundel Castle (Is it aRUNdel or AIRendale?). Spend the night at the White Swan. We stayed at a Pub and Inn in the Cotswolds in 2017 and enjoyed it. Going to give it a try again.
Fishbourne Palace in Chichester-a Roman Villa. We realized it was going to be a sprint to do Arundel and Fishbourne on the same day, so Fishbourne first thing in the AM. Heading to Salisbury later in the day.
Stonehenge, Sarum, Avebury, Salisbury Cathedral. Haven't figured out an order yet, but I notice that there are special access tours at Stonehenge at 6:30 in the morning. Going to sign up for that. Salisbury has some blue badge guides that offer tours of the city for £6. We love these types of walking tours. Haven't decided on a hotel yet.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. This will be a Sunday. We decided driving into Portsmouth would be easier that day. Looking forward to HMS Victory and the Mary Rose; if I can't have a castle, give me a ship with a cannon, Carla; not so much. There seems to be plenty to see and do and I think she'll be pleasantly surprised. Heading to Winchester to stay the night.
Winchester. I'm a big fan of the Last Kingdom books and then the TV series. Carla is a big fan of the guy who plays Uhtred on the TV series. It's the book series that got me interested in the time period and so this entire trip was initially based on a visit here. But after our preliminary research, we decided Salisbury made more sense. We'll spend the day looking for signs of King Alfred. We are staying at his place; King Alfred Pub and Guesthouse.
Heading toward Sussex; Lewes Castle, Bodiam Castle, drive along the coast, Beachy Head, Hastings, Rye, Lewes. We don't really have a solid plan yet or what we will cut out, or even a home base for 2 nights. I think these will be the lazy days of the trip and we'll just drive until we see something we like. Except for the hotel, that needs to be booked.
Stay in Canterbury, the cathedral, Leeds Castle, a full day in Dover. Canterbury was inspired by my favourite sports Movie; A Knight's Tale. Geoffrey Chaucer is one of the characters-does anyone else picture Paul Bettany when they think of Chaucer? The movie doesn't take place in Canterbury but it started my interest in Chaucer and thus, Canterbury. Day 15 is a drive to Gatwick for our flight home at 1:30.
What do you think? Help us plan.