Hi, my husband and I have most of our 2.5 week itinerary outlined. Where we are stuck is between Mallaig and Exeter. We're leaving Maillaig on July 10th, and want to be in Exeter on the 12th. I've looked at the options in-between, but nothing is really standing out as interesting. Our interests lean heavily towards history, rather than city scenes. Also, we're travelling via rails Any suggestions and ideas?
What else are you seeing on your 2.5 week itinerary? I don't want to recommend things you're already seeing. I'm not a fan of tanks but my sons are, so we went to the Tank Museum in Bovington Camp (by train and taxi as a day from London, just don't attempt on a Sunday when there are fewer trains). I was surprised at how easy it was to spend five hours there. Also the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth is opening this week but that may be too far out of your way. Maybe you just want to break your journey in Glasgow?
Have you tried mapping it out on via michelin and choosing the Sight Seeing option? It looks like Blackpool might be close to half way. Rick suggests it as a bit of an off the wall place to go. Top Gear went there a few years ago. : ) It's not really city, but I would say it's more contemporary history. : ) You also just might take a break in the Lake District. Or if you've not done, stop at Hadrian's Wall for a few hours. Pam
That is a lot of distance to cover in a couple of days by train. I would stop in Bath or perhaps even dip into southern Wales. My wife and I were in both both just a few weeks ago. Too little time in South Wales, but Chepstow seemed like a nice town with a great castle that unfortunately was closing just as we arrived.
Wow. Mallaig to Glasgow alone takes over 5 hours and there are 24 stops on route. The earliest you can get to Glasgow Queen Street is 15.30 (or 11.30 if you can make the 06.03 out of Mallaig) - you can see why from the timetable here: http://www.scotrail.co.uk/timetables-routes/1801/1821/2012/winter Assuming you got the 10.10 from Mallaig, the only practical onward journey to arrive in Exeter the same day would be to transfer from Glasgow Queen Street to Glasgow Central, catch the 16.00 Virgin Trains service to Birmingham New Street, arriving 19.55, then the 20.12 Crosscountry service from Birmingham New Street to Exeter, arriving 22.45. So, where to break the journey. Most of the stops between Glasgow and Birmingham are industrial cities, but Oxenholme might be an alternative. It's a couple of miles from the Lake District town of Kendal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxenholme_Lake_District_railway_station Between Birmingham and Exeter there are more possibilities. Cheltenham, on the edge of the Cotswolds and a historic city in its own right. You could be there by 20.51 on the 10th, spend the 11th there and continue to Exeter on the morning of the 12th. For example, depart Cheltenham 10.00 and arrive Exeter St. Davids at 11.44. There are several different train operating companies involved here, so use www.nationalrail.co.uk for general planning, identify which company's train you will use for which leg of the journey, then check that company's own website in case you can get a better deal than on National Rail.
Will you already have spent some time in Edinburgh or Glasgow? If not, then Flybe have flights from both places to Exeter, with flying times of around an hour and a half.
I'm slightly stunned that nothing stands out as interesting between the West Coast of Scotland and the South West of England! Place that you might find interesting, as you are into history, are Carlisle, Hadrian's Wall, the Lake District, Lancaster, Chester, Diversion into North Wales to see the castles there, Ludlow on the Welsh Borders, Ironbridge (one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution), the towns of Worcester (with its mappa mundi and the burial place of Henry VIII's older brother), Gloucester and the Cotswolds, Chepstow, Bath, Bristol (and the SS Great Britain) Wells, Glastonbury and Cheddar. Lots of castles, and stately homes, and battlefields, and museums and places of historic interest. Try having a look at the Historic England, National Trust and the Historic Houses Association website. You'll find avoiding cities a lot easier if you have a car - but the West Highland Line from Mallaig to Glasgow, though slow, is stunningly beautiful. Or, if you want to cop out, fly from Glasgow to Exeter, or get the overnight sleeper from Fort William to London, and then get the train from London to Exeter. And there's tons of historic stuff in Devon itself.