What a refreshing post! Someone who actually wants to take his time to see the proper sights of a country rather than tickbox tourism and a few big cities.
I would leave out Leeds, Manchester (and Liverpool. City of Culture, indeed!!!!) but York is worth a stroll round for an afternoon.
Have fun. I'm sure you will.
Thanks OldCynic .. going to sit down with a transplanted Englishman tomorrow and sort a route out to capture as much as I can but in a relaxing manner .. Manchester will be seeing a few people .. Liverpool I can take or leave ... Leeds, I hear it has a great castle? But I guess there are plenty other castles to see around.
Haha, you'll be disappointed if you go to Leeds expecting a great castle - Leeds castle is in Kent! (Leeds the city is in Yorkshire at the other end of the country). Leeds Castle is very good, by the way, probably the best preserved and most romantic in England. Leeds itself is a fun Northern town, but doesn't have many tourist attractions to speak of.
If you go to the Lake District, Windermere is nice, but the best lakes (I reckon) are Wastwater (stunning scenery), Derwentwater (Picturesque location, great for boating), and Ullswater (big, long and wild, less immediately 'touristy' than Windermere).
York is a tourist must for the 'Olde Worlde' thing.
Thanks everyone the route is mapped out as much as I want it to be .. leave some to chance and whim .. Heathrow to Rye (and Leeds castle :-)) ) for a few days then Stonehenge / Bath area .. off to Torbay (perhaps) ... then Penzance / St Ives .. Bideford/Clovelly ... Pembroke/Tenby .. Harlech / Portmeirion/Anglesey .. then Chester .. up to Manchester area ... up to Edinburgh ... Whitby/ Robin Hood Bay ... York then down to Cotswolds
I am thinking of staying at Bourton-on-the-water (the Venice of England they tell me !!) in the Cotswolds as the last part of my tiki-tour around England... I fly out of Heathrow at 11.15 AM Saturday morning ... is it realistic to expect to get to Heathrow drop of rental if I leave from Cotswolds in morning .. or should I stay closer ? .. I hear it is two hours drive on a Saturday ? .. two hours before check in so would leave 6.30 at latest do leave a bit of a cushion.