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UK trip - 12 days!

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1. Posted by kibakichi (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

Hello!

We are a couple in our 30's who are planning a trip to the UK for the first two weeks in October, 2011.

We are flying in to Edinburgh on the 2nd and flying out of London on the 13th.

Right now I am thinking of the following hotels:

First 4 nights: Dalmahoy Marriott in Edinburgh
Next 3 nights: St. Pierre Marriott in Chepstow
Final 3 nights: London Marriott Hotel County Hall in London

We plan on renting a car for the whole trip, and driving ourselves around, with a GPS. We're both familiar to driving in Ireland, and can both drive manuals, so I think we'll be fine driving.

I've found these things that sound really neat in and around Edinburgh:
Edinburgh Castle
Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center
Edinburgh Dungeons
The Mercat Tour of Gothic Spooks in Medieval Nooks
The Royal Observatory (at night)

Wales:
??? I'd really love for us to do something very cultural here, as much as possible.

London: I'd like to spend one to two days driving around outside of the city, and one exploring the city.
Parliament
Changing of the guard
Westminster Abbey
??

We both drink, primarily beer (him but I do too) plus I love ice wine. We drink mixed drinks as well, so if there are any distilleries, breweries, anything like that which you recommend would be great.

My questions are:
Do you think this is a good itenerary? We are restricted to Marriotts because I'm using points to pay for everything. I want to stay in nice hotels, but want them to be as un-cookie cutter as they can be, if that makes sense. I want it to look really neat when we pull up :)

Should we turn in the rental car and take the train instead, and get a new one when we get to Wales?

Would you change the days somehow?

What would you see?

We are NOT into shopping, eating super fancy dinners, or the night life. We are both physically fit, and like to walk around places, we love to be outdoors but also want to see architecture, castles, the types of things you just can't see in America.

I don't want us to be totally stressed out at the end of it, but I want us to see what we can, and still enjoy ourselves.

Thank you so much for any advice, insight, guidance, etc. that you can provide!!

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 5y

London: I'd like to spend one to two days driving around outside of the city, and one exploring the city.

I would spend more time inside London if possible. With 3 days there you are barely scratching at the surface.

I would also suggest doing a short turn around England between London and Chepstow, visiting the following places as minimum:

Bath, Salisbury (Stonehenge), Oxford

3. Posted by Gem0709 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y

St Pierre is a BEAUTIFUL hotel - you will certainly get that special feeling when driving the tree lined driveway!

Locally there is lots to see and do. Tintern is a small village approximately 15 minutes from the hotel, with enough to keep you occupied for half a day or so, especially if you're into history the Abbey is a must see. This area is beautiful, and great for walking. If you are into history, I suggest a trip to nearby Caldicot Castle. It houses many period features, and is set in a good few acres of parkland, so is also great for walking!!

I hope this helps

4. Posted by kibakichi (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

How could I have forgot Stonehenge! :) Thanks for the reminder, that's something we both had wanted to see but it slipped my mind.

Tintern sounds really interesting also, so I'll add that.

Do you think the 4 nights Scotland, 3 nights Wales and 3 nights London is a good set?

Perhaps you are right, spending the three London days actually IN London, instead of trying to drive in and out of the city to see things. I had wanted to visit a couple small English villages, perhaps see the sea shore for an hour (I know it will be cold!)

Would you recommend keeping a car for the entire time, taking a train from location to location, or a mix of the two?

5. Posted by kibakichi (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

a follow-up question, do we need an international driver's license to drive in the UK? We both have drivers licenses from the US, and were able to drive in Ireland (not Northern Ireland,) but what about UK?

6. Posted by kibakichi (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

First 4 nights: Dalmahoy Marriott in Edinburgh
Next 3 nights: St. Pierre Marriott in Chepstow
Final 3 nights: London Marriott Hotel County Hall in London

Fly in to Edinburgh

• Scotland:
o Edinburgh Castle
o Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center
o Edinburgh Dungeons
o The Mercat Tour of Gothic Spooks in Medieval Nooks
o The Royal Observatory (at night)
o Drive into country side and see what we find

Drive to Chepstow

• Wales/West:
o Salisbury
 Stonehenge
o Bath
 Pulteney Bridge
 Royal Crescent
 Roman Baths
o Oxford
 Blenheim Palace
 Carfax Tower
 Saxon Tower of St. Michael at North Gate
o Chepstow/Area:
 Tintern Village
 Abbey
 Caldicot Castle in Caldicot

Drive to London

• London:
o Parliament
o Changing of the guard
o Westminster Abbey
o Local Pubs
o Drive south to Brighton, Eastbourne, and Hastings (in my favorite books)

Fly back to Atlanta

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Jan-2011, at 05:02 by kibakichi ]

7. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 5y

Hi there! Welcome to the UK!

your time is short and your travels long! maybe cut down on some places...

Id suggest first skip Edinburgh Castle. Its nothing much from the inside and very overpriced.
The outside is stunning, especially from Arthurs seat and Calton Hill (eat end of Princes street)

If you have 4 nights in Socltand spend 2 in Edinburgh, and 2 outside, maybe head south as thats the best way to Wales.

Go thru Dumfries and see some castles. Heading in direction of Edinburgh to Carlisle. Stop at Caerlaverock castle

http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_047&PropName=Caerlaverock%20Castle

Its one the best sites in the UK, I think.

Spend a night or two in this area. Kirkcudbright is not a bad stop over or Mofat is even better. Then drive thru the lake district and head towards Chester, England. From there you can get to Wales, and see the Castles of Edward the first. See my gallery for photos.

But the roads are small and you have to be in London for atleast 3 days!

You really dont have time to stop at Bath and Oxford if you wish to see Wales.

Stonehenge is nice but Averbury is much better (photo gallery). Its also near Salsbury.

If you cut down and choose a certain region, ask me. I can help a bit more but with 11 days and 3 for london, you dont have much time.

Theres also a eastern route you can do to save time
Edinburgh - Yorkshire - London. That might be a bit more suitable.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jan-2011, at 02:47 by coldwarspy ]

8. Posted by samiejayne (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

Hi,

Although I have children and our focus when we go out is primarily them, I had a few ideas you might like to think about anyway. I'm from the East of England so can't comment really on Edinburgh. What I would suggest is taking a look at the English Heritage website. From here you can see a whole catalogue of wonderful castles, picturesque parks and some other pretty wonderful places. If this is what you like to look at becoming a member may work out cheaper than the admission prices individually. London is a busy place, I have always travelled by train when visiting, I wouldn't attempt driving there. There are tour agencies that take you to certain places in London which may or may not be of help to you. There are some well known attractions in England but there are also the smaller attraction like the little castles set in historical towns which I'm sure, like you said, you wouldn't see in the US. The East is full of historical interests, lovely walks and picturesque. I'm bias, I live there but its also true to say that I have seen first hand and can recommend them.
With reference to the car and train question. I would recommend the car any time as the trains are unreliable and in the the car you get the opportunity to stop off at various towns along the way. England is obviously so much smaller than the US, there's a lot crammed into a little space, so the distance between towns and villages is so much smaller I guess than in the US. In saying that it its a long ride and the more direct route is by train its probably advisable to get to your destination quicker.

Hope some of this helps
Sam

9. Posted by kibakichi (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

Thank you for the information and advice!

We are pretty set on the hotels as they are, but I was able to extend our trip one day, so we now have 5 nights in scotland, 4 in wales, and 3 in London. He's left it all up to me, and I am more interested in the country side than the big city of London. Neither of us are city people.

Our plan right now is to spend a couple days in and around Edinburgh itself, have a long day with a drive up to Loch Ness, pass through Inverness, and come back down a different route. Then we'll have another day of more close-in things around the mid area of Scotland, before heading to Wales.

On the drive to Wales we plan on seeing things that peak our interest during our drive down the west side on M6.

Then we'll spend four nights in Wales, with a drive through Cardiff and up through Brecon Beacons National Park, then swinging back to the hotel. We've got another day to see Tintern/Caldicot. Another day doing random driving in Wales I reckon.

Then we'll leave early in the morning, drive through Bath to see the Roman Baths, then head to Avebury, then to Stonehenge, then to London to turn in our car and take the underground to our hotel.

maybe? haha.

I don't think we'll be able to get to eastern England :( Perhaps one day I can afford to go back, I surely hope so. My main point of interest was seeing Scotland and Wales, as that's my heritage... and thought that we should really like to see a few of the big touristy things of London, so that's why the short days. Our hotel is directly next to the London Eye, and across the river Thames from Parliament, so I think we should be able to see the few things we want to really see there prior to leaving to fly back home (sad!)

10. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 5y

Quote Kibakichi....

Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center..........

Scotch 'Whisky' Heritage 'Centre'

The 'Center' bit isn't that important, but it's 'Whiskey' in Ireland - and 'Whisky' in Scotland.