Author Topic: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer  (Read 3434 times)

gaja

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Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« on: September 25, 2017, 09:49:09 AM »
My daughters (ages 9 and 11) and I love long and slow summer holidays in the electric campervan, and have now been through all the Nordic countries (except Greenland). Next on our list is the UK. Half the fun of travelling is planning, and we would love some input on what to see and what to do. We like walking through small towns, visiting museums and art galleries. DD11 loves reading and anything Harry Potter, while DD9 is happiest when she is drawing stunning views or watching people going by. Large and crowded cities are not our thing, neither are long nature treks or mountaineering. If we go to London it would be 1-2 day trips by train to see Kew gardens, the Natural History Museum, and maybe a market or art gallery.

This will be the girls' first visit to the UK, and I've only been to London and Shetland before. On my must see list so far is York, the Orkneys, and the Hebridies. We will be coming into England by boat from the Netherlands, either to Hull or Newcastle upon Tyne. We can sleep in the car, but it is starting to be a tight fit with three people in one small van. So we would like to find some cheap B&Bs and student dorms along the way, and occasionally splurge on a reasonably priced castle or lighthouse.

Anyone have ideas or experiences to share? Is someone else here planning to visit the UK next summer?

katekat

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2017, 10:08:33 AM »
Alnwick castle is frankly not very mustachian (expensive tickets), but may be a must-see for a Harry Potter fan if you arrive through Newcastle. Personally I could skip it but maybe I'm jaded to castles at this point.

Beamish open air museum, also near Newcastle, is wonderful if you enjoy historical stuff. Also relatively expensive tickets, but ...

Durham Cathedral is my favourite building, ever. Entering the cathedral is free. It was also used in Harry Potter filming (for the earlier films) and bits of it will be recognizable. Well worth a visit. They recently opened a museum in part of it which I think was ~£7 when I went. They should have some really impressive stuff by now but I saw it before they got it all in so can't comment on that aspect as much. Durham as a city sounds right up your alley for 'walking through small towns', too.

York is beautiful and walking the walls is a nice way to see it and orient yourself. Nice for 'watching people going by' also.

For fun/interesting accommodation you might look into the Landmark Trust, although I don't know how 'reasonably priced' they are ... https://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 11:37:27 PM »
If you don't want to sleep in the van, I'd be tempted to price out not bringing it and taking public transport, then hire a car the odd time you need one, like in the Hebrides - does the van get good mileage? What are ferry prices with car, ferry prices without car vs flights?

As for an itinerary, do you want to do London this visit or not? Sounds like a northern route, say York - Yorkshire Moors - Peak District - Chester -North Wales - Fort William - Hebrides - Inverness - Orkney - Edinburgh type route would give you lots of small towns and good views.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2017, 12:46:20 AM »
My daughters (ages 9 and 11) and I love long and slow summer holidays in the electric campervan, and have now been through all the Nordic countries (except Greenland). Next on our list is the UK. Half the fun of travelling is planning, and we would love some input on what to see and what to do. We like walking through small towns, visiting museums and art galleries. DD11 loves reading and anything Harry Potter, while DD9 is happiest when she is drawing stunning views or watching people going by. Large and crowded cities are not our thing, neither are long nature treks or mountaineering. If we go to London it would be 1-2 day trips by train to see Kew gardens, the Natural History Museum, and maybe a market or art gallery.

This will be the girls' first visit to the UK, and I've only been to London and Shetland before. On my must see list so far is York, the Orkneys, and the Hebridies. We will be coming into England by boat from the Netherlands, either to Hull or Newcastle upon Tyne. We can sleep in the car, but it is starting to be a tight fit with three people in one small van. So we would like to find some cheap B&Bs and student dorms along the way, and occasionally splurge on a reasonably priced castle or lighthouse.

I mostly share your opinion of London/big cities, but I still think a walk (or boat trip) along the Thames is only a couple of hours and is a wonderful experience. Like many things in Britain, it very much depends on the weather though. I love Kew and the Natural History museum, but would suggest the British museum and particularly the Science Museum are fantastic for intelligent children.

If you want to do the Harry Potter thing properly, the Warner Bros studio tour in Elstree just north of London is expensive but everyone I know who has been has absolutely loved it. (Also surely you need to visit platform 9 and 3/4 on Kings Cross station?) Oxford also has several Harry Potter filming locations.

Orkney is great, particularly if archaeology is your thing. Half of the fun is getting there, of course. The same is true of the Hebrides - I'd suggest looking at the Caledonian McBrayne website and thinking about which islands look most appealing. You can simply drive over the bridge to Skye (which is wonderful) but my favourite would be to then take the ferry from Skye to Harris, spend some time on Harris & Lewis and then take the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool. You'll probably find more Dutch people than English people in some of those places though!

Dreams and discoveries has given a great suggestion for an itinerary. If you're near Fort William, check out the Glenfinnan viaduct (the train to Hogwarts.) From Chester, a short trip into Liverpool (beautiful UNESCO listed waterfont, but also the Tate gallery) might be interesting. I would definitely try to do North Wales - Snowdonia is beautiful, particularly where the hills meet the sea and it's interesting to see a different culture/language so close to the heart of English. You can get the train to the top of the highest "mountain" there too.

Cheap accomodation is not so easy to find. I'd suggest looking at the youth hostel association  www.yha.org.uk but not always that cheap. Cheap hotel chains like Travelodge & Premier Inn can be reasonably priced for a family room if booked in advance but the best prices tend to be in not so good locations (e.g. motorway service stations rather than the centre of York or Chester...)

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 04:23:06 AM »
It's difficult to narrow things down, but I agree that a northern/north east tour with a quick diversion down to London (National Coaches are probably the cheapest option for that, or train tickets booked in advance or for odd times of day) might suit.

Just about every market town in Britain will have a walkable centre with some historic buildings to look at; market days differ (markets around which these towns grew up usually date from medieval times and the days are probably the same they always were).  Just about every village has a church which is fifteenth century or earlier.  A slow wander up the coast of Northumberland would give you plenty of stunning views plus Harry Potter at Alnwick.   Don't miss Lindisfarne.  Newcastle is good for art these days, and the Bowes museum near Durham and Edinburgh will also do plenty of art for you.

You could theme your travels by looking for connections and differences from the Nordic cultures you have been exploring so far - for instance, in York there is Viking heritage but also Roman heritage.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2017, 06:49:05 AM »
If you want to do the Harry Potter thing properly, the Warner Bros studio tour in Elstree just north of London is expensive but everyone I know who has been has absolutely loved it. (Also surely you need to visit platform 9 and 3/4 on Kings Cross station?) Oxford also has several Harry Potter filming locations.

The train to London from York gets into Kings Cross to see Platform 9 3/4 - if you are there early in the morning there is no queue and you can take your time. Later on there is queue and a salesperson monitoring it and trying to sell you over priced photos.

It isn't worth it (IMO) to travel all the way to London to just see Kings Cross, it might be worth it to go to the studios (eye-wateringly expensive but all the HP you can handle) and see a couple of museums or buildings or art galleries. Is DD9 interested in others' art or just her own. The art side of Harry Potter studios was really impressive.

Seconding Lindisfarne with Viking links and it would be somewhat on your route. It comes highly recommended.

If the car is getting cramped, you could add a tent for the nights that the weather is good? In Scotland you may legally wild camp in unenclosed land (it is illegal in England and Wales).

gaja

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2017, 01:35:03 PM »
Thank you all for very useful input! Some questions/topics that several of you have touched upon:

Travelling and sleeping arrangements:
We are quite fond of public transport, but for long trips like this we like having the freedom of going wherever we want, and the comfort of a home base with all of our stuff.  The van is fully electric, som mpg doesn't really compute. I did try to calculate it once, it it turned out around 120 or so. But the cost per mile depends on what type of chargers we find. Some places provide free charging, other places it is more costly than petrol. Overall, the cost of the ferries is usually our largest transport related cost.
When we travelled around Iceland, we slept all nights in the van. That is no longer a comfortable option. I'm guessing we could do at least 10 % of the nights in the car, but the tent suggestion is a very good idea that could increase this. We also have a very nice hammock (Hennesey) that could function as a tent if we find a couple of nice trees.
Thank you katekat for the tip about the Landmark trust. There seems to be some affordable options too, not just luxuary ones. I’ve also tried Youth Hostels before, but I’m not sure how well suited these are for kids? I do have some hotel points from job travels, so we could also use those. I did stay at a college dorm once, that was both affordable and comfortable, and the location was excellent.

Focus:
It is getting increasingly clear that the problem will be to limit ourselves. There is just so much to see and do, and even with almost two months, we can’t do it all. The girls are easy to please, and it sounds like there will be plenty of opportunity for DD9 to both visit art galleries and draw stunning views, and for DD11 to see some of the Harry Potter related stuff. Thank you very much for the tip about the train from York getting in at King’s Cross, Playing with Fire! That would be an excellent start to a day in London. We could easily jump on the tube from there and get to South Kensington or Kew garden. Durham Cathedral and Glenfinnan viaduct also sounds like a good plans.
-Going by the Nordic/Viking angle is a very good idea. Lindisfarne is a central part of our history here in Norway, and it would do the girls good to be able to connect that with the other parts of the old history of the British Isles, like the picts, kelts and romans. The optimal route then would be to visit both Shetland and Isle of Man in additon to Orkneys and Hebridies, but that would really strain the time table. If only there still was a boat between Lerwick and Bergen (NO), but when you have to go both to and from it just eats too much time.

I tried plotting out the route on a map - does this seem ok? If there are any smaller (slower) roads or more scenic routes, not only would I appriciate a tip, but the other people on the road would surely prefer it if our slow moving vehicle stuck to the country roads instead of the motorway.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 01:40:40 PM by gaja »

Kwill

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2017, 02:00:20 PM »
This sounds like such a neat trip! I've lived in the UK for 20 months now, and I haven't been to most of these places. I need to get a local driving license, so I can do a road trip.

There might be memberships you could get to lower the cost per admission: Art Fund for museums and some others for historical properties.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 11:46:58 PM »
Cool route, it looks very doable over 8 weeks, no really long drives and all fits in a nice loop.

Also it would be amiss of me not to mention the Lake District, which is absolutely stunning and has loads of Beatrix Potter history, which might interest your daughter - it's where she bought a farm alone with the money from her art. Good role model!

I'd check out the Cal mac ferries and any hopper type ticket they may have, but usually it's cheaper to book ahead on the cheapest sailing. If you like historic places. National Trust membership may be worthwhile (and they own half the Lake District).

Youth hostels are all fine for kids and usually full of them, the only end that can have a bit of a party atmosphere are city hostels, and I'm guessing with a car you won't be hitting many of them up. On budget accommodation Travelodge might be worth checking - they have lots of really good value places, no frills at all but a clean room.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 01:07:37 AM »
Tiny caveat to  dreams_and_discoveries's point: YHA Youth Hostels (and the Scottish equivalent) are very child friendly. Other hostels aren't necessarily child friendly - some are only for adults and others accept children but aren't particularly welcoming of them. So you will find groups of adults who are there to party who won't be unkind to your children, but wouldn't necessarily mind their language, etc.

Have you confirmed that you have access to charging points in the more "out of the way" places? When I was last in Orkney there was no sign of a public charge point.

What speed does the van do? You may find the motorways a better choice, as faster vehicles can pass you more easily. If you are travelling on smaller roads it will be difficult for other vehicles to pass you and you may spend a lot of time pulling in to passing places so that they can get past. Do you have the torque for steep hills?

The National Trust has reciprocity agreements with a number of similar heritage places in other countries. Depending on your previous travel you may already have membership.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 02:22:06 AM »
When I was last in Orkney there was no sign of a public charge point.

There are several in Kirkwall now - possibly elsewhere too. Orkney has been generating >100% of its power needs from renewables for a number of years.

In terms of motorway vs non-motorway, it's probably worth saying that in England (but not large swathes of Scotland), there are always multiple ways to get from A to B, and you can pretty much decide which way to go on a whim. So while route planning is useful for booking accomodation etc. you don't necessarily need to worry about exactly which road to take.

Although Caledonian MacBrayne has hopper type tickets, if you're travelling in summer, it's still better to book ahead if possible as the ferries can be full and many of the smaller Hebrides have only one or two connections per day. I'd really suggest doing a "circular" route if you can i.e out on one ferry and back on a different route. The ferries are subsidised so that they essentially cost about the same as driving that distance would, which makes them very good value for money.

Although I think your itinerary looks fantastic, and it's very much the kind of thing I'd choose to do myself, I would say that it's maybe taking in the parts of the UK that are most similar to Norway - lots of hills, islands, sea and small, old/ touristy cities like Chester & York. Also, you need to think about the weather. It can rain a lot here. Places like Luskentyre beach on Harris can look like the most beautiful place in the world on a sunny day, but still be bitingly cold on a windy day in August, or pretty miserable when it's raining. Having a back up indoor plan is always useful when traveling with children, as I'm sure you know.

Hull is generally considered highly missable by people here, but if you need to spend time there for ferry connections, it's worth checking out "the deep" (big aquarium with sharks etc.)

Depending on the time of your visit & interests, Edinburgh may be worth visiting, or missing completely. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival with more than 50 000 performances every August - the city is swamped by visitors at this time and prices for everything go up significantly.

gaja

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2017, 02:52:04 PM »
Very useful tips here - thank you all so much! I tried sorting through the topics here, hope I got all the quotes correct.

There might be memberships you could get to lower the cost per admission: Art Fund for museums and some others for historical properties.
I'd check out the Cal mac ferries and any hopper type ticket they may have, but usually it's cheaper to book ahead on the cheapest sailing. If you like historic places. National Trust membership may be worthwhile (and they own half the Lake District).
The National Trust has reciprocity agreements with a number of similar heritage places in other countries. Depending on your previous travel you may already have membership.
The National Trust looks like a very good option, with free parking and access to a lot of places we are planning to go. They also have family membership for single parents that will suit us very well. We don’t have any memberships that can be expanded/transferred, so will have to calculate whether it makes sense. Art Fund looks a bit pricey; what does a ticket to those types of exhibitions normally cost?
For the CalMac ferries; We are not too fond of waiting in ferry lanes for hours/days, so I think we will go for the booking ahead. Last time I tried that, we had to find the home phone number of the captain, since the publicly available phone number didn’t work. Nice man, so no problem getting a spot, but maybe not the way it is normally done.

Cool route, it looks very doable over 8 weeks, no really long drives and all fits in a nice loop.
Also it would be amiss of me not to mention the Lake District, which is absolutely stunning and has loads of Beatrix Potter history, which might interest your daughter - it's where she bought a farm alone with the money from her art. Good role model!
Lake district looks like a lovely area, and not too long a detour. I added it to the map (http://bit.ly/2wW4HQ5). The Beatrix Potter «world» appears to aim at a younger audience than my kids, but I might be misinterpreting their webpage?

gaja

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2017, 03:07:14 PM »
Youth hostels are all fine for kids and usually full of them, the only end that can have a bit of a party atmosphere are city hostels, and I'm guessing with a car you won't be hitting many of them up. On budget accommodation Travelodge might be worth checking - they have lots of really good value places, no frills at all but a clean room.
Tiny caveat to  dreams_and_discoveries's point: YHA Youth Hostels (and the Scottish equivalent) are very child friendly. Other hostels aren't necessarily child friendly - some are only for adults and others accept children but aren't particularly welcoming of them. So you will find groups of adults who are there to party who won't be unkind to your children, but wouldn't necessarily mind their language, etc.
Will definitely check out YHA hostels and Travelodge! We are no wilting flowers, and can handle some swearing or a couple of friendly drunks. But we do like sleeping during the night, so places where young people go to party is not the places for us.

Have you confirmed that you have access to charging points in the more "out of the way" places? When I was last in Orkney there was no sign of a public charge point.
What speed does the van do? You may find the motorways a better choice, as faster vehicles can pass you more easily. If you are travelling on smaller roads it will be difficult for other vehicles to pass you and you may spend a lot of time pulling in to passing places so that they can get past. Do you have the torque for steep hills?
There are several in Kirkwall now - possibly elsewhere too. Orkney has been generating >100% of its power needs from renewables for a number of years.
The max speed of the van up hill is 120-130 km/h. But that eats energy, so we try to keep to roads where we can drive around 60-80 without annoying too many people. I’m quite good at keeping a good pace on bad roads, so usually the locals do not get too frustrated before we find a place to let them pass. Torque is never an issue when you drive electric.
Charging is rarely a problem. As long as there is electricity somewhere, we can always find someone willing to sell us a couple of kwh. The public charging infrastructure in the UK has improved massively, as you can see if you zoom in on this map: https://www.plugshare.com/ or look at this one: https://www.zap-map.com/live/
The plethora of companies, who all want you to pay in different ways, is a much larger issue. But it seems like most of them are willing to ship RFID tags abroad. Some of them offer free memberships or rebates on charging for the first 1-3 months, so I will start ordering them come spring.

gaja

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2017, 03:52:29 PM »
I'd really suggest doing a "circular" route if you can i.e out on one ferry and back on a different route. The ferries are subsidised so that they essentially cost about the same as driving that distance would, which makes them very good value for money.
Although I think your itinerary looks fantastic, and it's very much the kind of thing I'd choose to do myself, I would say that it's maybe taking in the parts of the UK that are most similar to Norway - lots of hills, islands, sea and small, old/ touristy cities like Chester & York. Also, you need to think about the weather. It can rain a lot here. Places like Luskentyre beach on Harris can look like the most beautiful place in the world on a sunny day, but still be bitingly cold on a windy day in August, or pretty miserable when it's raining. Having a back up indoor plan is always useful when traveling with children, as I'm sure you know.
Hull is generally considered highly missable by people here, but if you need to spend time there for ferry connections, it's worth checking out "the deep" (big aquarium with sharks etc.)
Depending on the time of your visit & interests, Edinburgh may be worth visiting, or missing completely. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival with more than 50 000 performances every August - the city is swamped by visitors at this time and prices for everything go up significantly.
Good point on the cirular routes. I did some reading on the Highlands and Islands, and the SC500 looks lovely! If we do that one east to west, we can go into the Hebridies from Ullapool, and back from Harris via Skye. Updated the google map to represent this: http://bit.ly/2wW4HQ5 Maybe we’ll even be able to fit in a daytrip to St. Kilda when we are in Harris? That would be a (expensive) dream come true.
You are probably right that we are sticking quite close to home on this one. We have tried warmer weather, and hated it. We have tried dense forests and flat terrain, and hated it. Big cities with a lot of people are not our thing. So then it is quite nice to find places where we can travel and see new things, without being too far from the types of landscapes and climates we prefer. Maybe we can try challenging ourselves to travel to more «foreign» places after an adaption period.
I hear and read people talking about bad weather in the UK, but it is a bit difficult for me to adjust the information to my reality. I grew up close to the polar circle, but moved south of Oslo a couple of years ago. One of the reasons the kids and I travel all summer, is that it gets far too warm here for us. Some days in July-August are approaching 26-27 degC, and it feels like we are melting. All of the UK is to the south of us again, and so far I have worried more about warm weather than cold and rain. So when I read and hear about the bad weather; should I view it in the perpective of a «southerner», or in the perspective of a Scandinavian? In other words; should we pack both the thin and thick woolen underwear, or is it enough to bring the waterproof jacket and a knitted hat?
We should be able to hit Edinburgh in early July, so that should keep us safe from the Fringe festival. Thanks for the warning! Hull will be only for the ferry, but I will have to check if it might be cheaper or easier to travel both ways from the same harbour.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2017, 08:52:34 PM »
The Kilmartin Valley in Scotland (Highlands, west side) has many standing stones and burial mounds that are fun and free. We happily tromped around on a damp and foggy day "discovering" the ones hiding in the mist.

Wales is pretty neat too-we particularly liked the Centre for Alternative Technology and Castell Henllys. Both are very interactive and have stuff geared toward kids and adults. The cliff walk at St. David's is divine when the heather and gorse are blooming.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2017, 01:17:29 AM »
The max speed of the van up hill is 120-130 km/h. But that eats energy, so we try to keep to roads where we can drive around 60-80 without annoying too many people. I’m quite good at keeping a good pace on bad roads, so usually the locals do not get too frustrated before we find a place to let them pass.

Great, I retract my concern!

cerat0n1a

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2017, 02:51:59 AM »

I hear and read people talking about bad weather in the UK, but it is a bit difficult for me to adjust the information to my reality. I grew up close to the polar circle, but moved south of Oslo a couple of years ago. One of the reasons the kids and I travel all summer, is that it gets far too warm here for us. Some days in July-August are approaching 26-27 degC, and it feels like we are melting. All of the UK is to the south of us again, and so far I have worried more about warm weather than cold and rain. So when I read and hear about the bad weather; should I view it in the perpective of a «southerner», or in the perspective of a Scandinavian? In other words; should we pack both the thin and thick woolen underwear, or is it enough to bring the waterproof jacket and a knitted hat?

Ha, perspective of a southerner :-)

We have a maritime climate, not so different from the west coast of Norway. You might get 26-27C in summer here, but it would be unusual (and many people would take the day off work to hit the beach...) It doesn't really get cold (probably no lower than 10C at night in July), so you certainly won't need thick woollens. However, it is certainly possible to get weeks where it rains every day, particularly on the west side of Britain. I was thinking more about having some ideas for indoor things to see as a backup plan.

I have not done the full north coast 500, but it is firmly on my to-do list. Be interesting to hear how it compares with the Atlantic Road in Norway.

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2017, 04:33:32 AM »
For maps and route planning, try Ordnance Survey (they make the official maps of the UK), which has a lot of resources for free on line

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-maps-online.html

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2017, 05:36:24 AM »
What a great trip, loads of ideas here.

For the Beatrix potter world, I was actually just meaning the National Trust places and seeing the area she lived in - I'd forgotten there was some commercial attraction about.


FI4good

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2017, 06:08:48 AM »
if you want to visit hadrians wall there is a village called greenhead on the A69,
If you look on google maps 1km ish NE of the village is a carpark ( pay & display unfortunately) a small pond and some good remains of hadrians wall .
nothing much to do there but it's interesting to see on a good day , unsure about electric hookup !

In the lake district castlerigg stone circle is a stunning and free place to visit, reasonably easy to get to.




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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2017, 06:19:32 AM »
One suggestion I have for you is to visit Rosslyn Chapel. It's small but absolutely stunning architecture and has a lot of interesting history.

Worth a stop since you will be passing very near. :)

cerat0n1a

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2017, 06:24:46 AM »
In the lake district castlerigg stone circle is a stunning and free place to visit, reasonably easy to get to.

I've been slowly working my way visiting locations from Julian Cope's book on Megalithic sites, funny that two other people on this thread have also mentioned stone circles, especially as "simple living in suffolk" has been off visiting stone age sites over the summer.

Skara Brae + Ring of Brodgar, Maeshowe, Stenness (Orkney) and Callanish (Lewis) being obvious highlights on this itinerary for those interested in such things - both well before the Vikings, of course.

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2017, 04:15:52 AM »
One little suggestion – instead of taking the same road to and from Snowdonia, you could take the A5 on the way back and drive through the pretty Dee Valley past Llangollen (good place for a cup of tea), then take the A483 (not so pretty, but quick) up to Chester and rejoin your original route. One possible place to stop on your way to Snowdonia would be Wepre Park, which is nothing astounding but has a nice gentle riverside walk (probably an hour there and back) with a ruined castle at the end of it.

worms

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2017, 04:10:48 AM »
Your map of a potential route misses out the Glenfinnan (Harry Potter) viaduct, so you would be better taking the road out to Mallaig and crossing on the Mallaig-Armadale ferry to Skye.  When passing through Glencoe stop to look for the sites used for hogwarts and Hagrid’s hut (nothing much to see, but you will recognise the vistas from the films).

Skye gets pretty busy in high season, so come early (May often gives the best weather in the west of Scotland).  Plenty of places for road-side camper van stops and wild camping, but please, please dispose of your toilet waste properly - far too many cases of roadside emptying and polluted water-courses.

Hammock in the trees sounds fun, but the midges make that an unlikely option, unless you have superhuman levels of tolerance.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2017, 04:17:40 AM »
Big +1 for the Lake District. Oxford and Cambridge (and possibly Durham?) do cheap B&B accommodation in the university colleges outside term time. Spartan, but a very real student experience! Well worth a go for a night or two, and Oxford has a lot of Harry Potter-related stuff.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2017, 04:22:00 AM »
Oh, and the weather: 21-23 degrees is a lovely British summer day. It may or may not be pissing it down at the same time. 24-27 degrees is "Phew, what a scorcher!" Everyone gets sunburnt on the beach/in the park/in their back garden. 27 degrees plus is "Public transport temperatures higher than legal cattle transport temperatures, surge of elderly deaths, global warming will kill us all." We had a week this summer of 29-33 and I did nothing but try not to die of heatstroke - I'm pretty sure everyone else was doing the same.

Be prepared for rain, certainly, but not really extremes of temperature. Wellies and an anorak and a lightweight jumper will be fine.

Free Spirit

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2017, 06:45:55 AM »
Oh, and the weather: 21-23 degrees is a lovely British summer day. It may or may not be pissing it down at the same time. 24-27 degrees is "Phew, what a scorcher!" Everyone gets sunburnt on the beach/in the park/in their back garden.

A few years back I was visiting Glasgow in early spring when the sun came out and the temperature hit 10°. I was wandering around bundled up in my scarf and hat while half of the guys in the city had their shirts off! :P

OP - If you stop off for a tour of Eilean Donan castle on your way to the Isle of Skye be aware that the tour guides mean serious business. I got caught up in looking at some artifacts and my group left me behind. I spent a few good minutes trying to locate them when our guide popped out of nowhere and told me he was prepared to kick me out (and lock the door!) for not staying with the group. I tried to explain that I was just in awe of the castle and didn't even realize they had moved on but he was not impressed and kept giving me the side eye for the rest of the tour. >_<
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 08:41:59 AM by Free Spirit »

worms

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2017, 07:59:30 AM »
A few years back I was visiting Glasgow in early spring when the sun came out and the temperature hit 10°. I was wandering around bundled up in my scarf and hat while half of the guys in the city had their shirts off! :P

OP - If you stop off for a tour of Eilean Donan castle on the Isle of Skye be aware that the tour guides mean serious business. I got caught up in looking at some artifacts and my group left me behind. I spent a few good minutes trying to locate them when our guide popped out of nowhere and told me he was prepared to kick me out (and lock the door!) for not staying with the group. I tried to explain that I was just in awe of the castle and didn't even realize they had moved on but he was not impressed and kept giving me the side eye for the rest of the tour. >_<

Sorry to hear about the Eilean Donan experience, but (to be picky) it’s not actually on Skye, it’s on the mainland.  If the OP wants to do the Harry Potter bit and visit Glenfinnan, they’d be better on the Fort William to Mallaig road and ferry to Skye, rather than going by Eilean Donan and the Skye Bridge.  Added bonus of the Mallaig route would be a chance to camp at Arisaig or Morar and catch the fantastic beach sunsets over Rum and Eigg.

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2017, 08:49:46 AM »
A few years back I was visiting Glasgow in early spring when the sun came out and the temperature hit 10°. I was wandering around bundled up in my scarf and hat while half of the guys in the city had their shirts off! :P

OP - If you stop off for a tour of Eilean Donan castle on the Isle of Skye be aware that the tour guides mean serious business. I got caught up in looking at some artifacts and my group left me behind. I spent a few good minutes trying to locate them when our guide popped out of nowhere and told me he was prepared to kick me out (and lock the door!) for not staying with the group. I tried to explain that I was just in awe of the castle and didn't even realize they had moved on but he was not impressed and kept giving me the side eye for the rest of the tour. >_<

Sorry to hear about the Eilean Donan experience, but (to be picky) it’s not actually on Skye, it’s on the mainland.  If the OP wants to do the Harry Potter bit and visit Glenfinnan, they’d be better on the Fort William to Mallaig road and ferry to Skye, rather than going by Eilean Donan and the Skye Bridge.  Added bonus of the Mallaig route would be a chance to camp at Arisaig or Morar and catch the fantastic beach sunsets over Rum and Eigg.

Woopsies, thanks for pointing out my mistake. It's close though, right? ;p

One little spot I enjoyed while on Skye was Neist Point. Dramatic sea cliffs, picturesque lighthouse, whale spotting, and it's an easy walk for all the views. The drive up to it is very nice but that's true of all of Skye, such a beautiful place.

worms

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Re: Travel the UK for 6-8 weeks next summer
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2017, 12:40:00 PM »
In comparison to the US everything in UK is close!  But, yes, you can see Skye from Eilean Donan (assuming the cloud is not right down at sea-level!).

Neist is great, definitely not to be missed if the OP gets to Skye.  Much more my sort of place than the castles at Eilean Donan or Dunvegan.