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full 8 days to see York/Hadrian's Wall/ Lake District

If a mid-day stop in at Cambridge makes sense that would be really great. We can depart London with a rental car AM of day 1, ( will have been there, so no jet-lag worries) and return to London Heathrow area evening of Day 8 . ( will be in May) We fly out of Heathrow mid day, on Day 9. there are 4 ( including an 11 yr old and 13 yr old) of us so a rental car seems cheaper than 4 train tickets., but if it's not TOO much more money, happy to take train to York then rent car in York after we are finished with York. but then won't droping it at Heathrow cost a premium ? my questions are getting confused. so... question 1, Is 7 days enough to see York/ hike part of Hadrian's Wall and stay a bit in Lake District? reverse order fine. Suggestions anyone? Thank yu very much.
~chris in alabama

Posted by
1586 posts

You have lots of time for the sites on your list and could probably add a bit more unless you crave a very leisurely pace. York and Northumberland are full of ruined castles and abbeys. If your children like "spooky," they might enjoy a detour to Whitby Abbey where they can walk up the 199 steps that Dracula ascended. The abbey is especially evocative on a windy overcast day and the old part of Whitby is fun to walk through. In Yorkshire, the dales are beautiful (IMHO much nicer than the lakes district), Fountains Abbey is fascinating, and there are several other abbeys in the area....The best section of Hadrian's Wall is the area around Once Brewed....Northumberland has several ruined castles on the coast, Lindisfarne Island is interesting, and the poison garden at Alnwick Castle is intriguing...Our last trip we took the train to York, spent the night there, then picked up our rental car at the train station. This was less hassle then driving from London, but you might want to see which is more cost effective for both money and time...Car drop fees usually don't matter much within a country - they are often close to a wash when you factor in time wasted, gasoline, possibly an extra night's lodging.

Posted by
9110 posts

Easy. Three nights in York. Two in Keswick or something. The wall is either a stop-by or a one-nighter somewhere. You've got room to pad or add.

Posted by
29 posts

yay !!!! Thanks. it is hard to know travel times. and I think it's more 7 days than 8. would you " car it" all the way, or train to York and rent car from there??
~chris

Posted by
9110 posts

I always drive. See what others think. Work the bottom line with train tickets plus the increased daily average of a shorter term car rental. There's no tolls, you should get about forty miles per gallon, and gas has been running about eight and a quarter bucks per.

Posted by
26025 posts

It has been my experience that parking in Cambridge takes a fair chunk of luck, a degree of skill and local knowledge, and fairly deep pockets. Some of my previously favourite free places are no longer free. You might consider using the Park-and-Ride facilities on the periphery. If you had taken the train it would have been reasonably easy. Watch out for the several miles of speed averaging yellow cameras around Cambridge. You are driving from London? Where in London? What time of day? What day of the week? Beware the very expensive Congestion Charge.

Posted by
1986 posts

Unless there was something very specific you wanted to see in these areas that will take time, i usually prefer to drive up- there are a number of interesting areas on the way from london to York (Derby, the old Rutland) and other interesting spots. Then I would be tempted to abandon the car after seeing the lake District and train back from there- "escape mode'.
Of course pottering around the ruined abbeys and howard castle could take up your spare time- if that is more interesting to you

Posted by
1190 posts

I like Cynthia's recommendations...I would add Durham Cathedral (on the way from York to Hadrian's Wall)....It's a real mideval church with the coolest columns ever...really spooky too. Renting a car gives you so much freedom to stop wherever you want and stay at B & Bs Farms which I think the kids would enjoy. I think that you can do the town of York in a Day staying one night. I think that
-Yorvick (A history of York Museum) unless they have greatly improved it is too corny. Walking the Wall around the city is really fun. York Minster has the most beautiful stained glass windows. The Train Museum is kind of overwhelming unless you are really into trains. Fountains Abbey is a great place for kids to run around. I found that a day was enough in the Lake District...we stayed on a farm there. I would go to Liverpool and Chester and maybe Conwy Castle if you have time.

Posted by
4765 posts

Drive, for economy and flexibility. You have time to do justice to York, Wall, and Lake District. Durham Cathedral is well worth a stop if you like cathedrals, in the same league as York Minster. There's also an open-air museum near Newcastle that the kids (and adults) might like. Keswick is a good Lake District base. Try to pick just a few bases and fan out from them rather than staying in a different place every night.

Places like Lindisfarne and Alnwick are also fine but you might be spreading yourself thin if you go that far north. Maybe more prudent to stop at the wall, like the Romans did! ;)

Posted by
26 posts

Just a quick suggestion for some kid-friendly stops. Hexham Cathedral is small but fascinating, with the Bishop's seat from Saxon days and even incorporating Roman stones in the crypt. We stayed near there at the Boatside Inn in Warden that is pretty central to the Wall. The children may find the easy access of Chesters Roman Fort a fun ramble with clearly identifiable stables and bath house. And save time for the Roman Army Museum which has modern media based exhibits with kid-appeal.