Author Topic: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!  (Read 1106 times)

Philociraptor

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Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« on: January 07, 2019, 08:12:41 AM »
Hey there folks! Wife and I are wanting to make our first off-continent trip together and we figure the UK would be a good destination since we already speak the language. We're looking to fly out around 11/10 and come back around 11/20, so 10 days in total. We want to spend maybe half of that time in London, the other half is wide open, but the wife wants to see Stonehenge and I want to visit a Scotch distillery or two. Looking for suggestions on a second city, must-see places while we're there (it looks like you can get everywhere by train, so we don't plan on renting a car), things to do, places to eat/drink, etc. Anything you can think of. Thanks y'all!

MrSal

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 09:18:10 AM »
as a second city i would entirely advise Edinburgh in Scotland. About 4 hours train time from Kings Cross station - which is city center ... the sooner you buy the tickets the better - you can get as low as 25 quid. There are trains leaving about every 30 minutes.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 09:20:18 AM by MrSal »

Brother Esau

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 12:14:12 PM »
I'll second Edinburgh. We spent 4 days and could walk just about everywhere from a hotel close to the Royal Mile. The Isle of Skye was amazing and by far the highlight of our Scotland trip. We drove there, not sure if getting there by train is possible or not.

TinyAcorn

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 12:30:24 PM »
I'd say Edinburgh, York and/or Durham depending on how much if a contrast you're after.

Edinburgh and York are both lovely and have some beautiful architecture but Durham is something else entirely though small do may not take more than a couple of days max. Best little pancake cafe in Durham...

(Full disclosure: I went to university in Durham so may be biased by sentimental attachment)

MrSal

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 03:04:25 PM »
I'll second Edinburgh. We spent 4 days and could walk just about everywhere from a hotel close to the Royal Mile. The Isle of Skye was amazing and by far the highlight of our Scotland trip. We drove there, not sure if getting there by train is possible or not.

yup its possible. There is high speed train leaving London every 30 min or so. You can buy tickets for around 30 bucks. Trip takes around 4 hours, which is way faster than any airport and cheaper as well. You just enter the train in city center and arrived in centre Edinburgh. No security checks, no big lines, nothing :)

Brother Esau

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 05:16:33 PM »
I'll second Edinburgh. We spent 4 days and could walk just about everywhere from a hotel close to the Royal Mile. The Isle of Skye was amazing and by far the highlight of our Scotland trip. We drove there, not sure if getting there by train is possible or not.

yup its possible. There is high speed train leaving London every 30 min or so. You can buy tickets for around 30 bucks. Trip takes around 4 hours, which is way faster than any airport and cheaper as well. You just enter the train in city center and arrived in centre Edinburgh. No security checks, no big lines, nothing :)

Sorry. I meant to Skye, we drove there from Edinburgh. Can you take a train from London or Edinburgh directly to Skye?

MrSal

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 05:44:38 PM »
I'll second Edinburgh. We spent 4 days and could walk just about everywhere from a hotel close to the Royal Mile. The Isle of Skye was amazing and by far the highlight of our Scotland trip. We drove there, not sure if getting there by train is possible or not.

yup its possible. There is high speed train leaving London every 30 min or so. You can buy tickets for around 30 bucks. Trip takes around 4 hours, which is way faster than any airport and cheaper as well. You just enter the train in city center and arrived in centre Edinburgh. No security checks, no big lines, nothing :)

directly no because its an island. Its possible to go to Mallig i think from edinburgh and then take the ferry.

I hear that aking the car is better since you can enjoy the scenery much better. and stop whenever and go all the way directly
Sorry. I meant to Skye, we drove there from Edinburgh. Can you take a train from London or Edinburgh directly to Skye?

SemiChemE

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 12:18:24 AM »
If you're going to Stonehenge, you'll probably want to continue on to the Roman Ruins in Bath as well.  Since you're without a car, you may want to look into the various Guided Day trips on offer.  Some of these will do Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath, which is a lot to pack into one day, but presumably doable.  If you don't go with a tour and are really interested in exploring Stonehenge, Castles and Ruins, you may want to consider an Overseas Visitor's pass with English Heritage:

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/overseas-visitors/

This will get you free entrance to Stonehenge, Dover Castle and a hundred or so other historical sites.  There's a similar organization called National Trust, which covers a lot of smaller sites (historical houses and such):

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

Even if you don't join these organizations, the websites have some pretty good maps and descriptions of the various sites.

When I visited London, I got the London Pass:

https://www.londonpass.com/

I'd give it a mixed review.  It does give you free access to a lot of sites and often lets you skip the lines, but if you like to spend much time at any one place, you'll be hard pressed to visit enough sites to get your money's worth.  On the other hand, since you get "free" entry, it does give you the freedom to take a quick gander at a site you might not otherwise have been willing to pay for.  Do your homework, some of the listed attractions (eg. the British Museum) are already free, so make sure you don't use the pass for those, when you could be visiting someplace you would have had to pay for.

As for Transportation around London, you'll want to get an "Oyster Card", which you can load up to pay for trips on the metro.

Another relatively easy day-trip from London, is to head Northeast to Cambridge, Ely (large Cathedral) and Bury St. Edmunds (ruins of one of the most important abbeys in England prior to Henry VIII and location of the agreement of the Charter of Liberties, a precursor to the Magna Carta).  Though that area is likely more pleasant in Summer, when you can go punting around Cambridge.

I agree with others that Edinburgh would be a great choice for your second destination, quite a bit to see and do in the city itself.  Stirling Castle would be a nice day trip, if you can cram it in, but you might just want to stick to Edinburgh.  Keep in mind that you are pretty far north, so in November, the days will be short.

One last tip, you may want to look into the "Rick Steves" app.  He has a collection of narrated walking tours for various European Cities, including Edinburgh that are downloadable for free.

Have fun!

Distant dreamer

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 03:12:13 AM »
In only 10 days I would suggest sticking to one end of the country or the other. Yes we are tiny but transport is slow and if you want to see London, Stonehenge and Scotland you are going to spend most of your time (and money) on travel. For a small country we have a lot of diversity and so you could spend 10 days exploring any of those areas....but not all of them.

mbl

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 05:02:19 AM »
In only 10 days I would suggest sticking to one end of the country or the other. Yes we are tiny but transport is slow and if you want to see London, Stonehenge and Scotland you are going to spend most of your time (and money) on travel. For a small country we have a lot of diversity and so you could spend 10 days exploring any of those areas....but not all of them.

Very good advice.

If you select a reasonable AirBnB in London you will have more than enough to see and enjoy at a relaxed pace.
Traveling from city to city can eat up a lot of time.
If this is your very first trip overseas, do yourself a favor and stay in one place and explore the area.

You could do a day trip outside the city but for your first trip I would suggest keeping it simple.

Brother Esau

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 07:29:53 AM »
In only 10 days I would suggest sticking to one end of the country or the other. Yes we are tiny but transport is slow and if you want to see London, Stonehenge and Scotland you are going to spend most of your time (and money) on travel. For a small country we have a lot of diversity and so you could spend 10 days exploring any of those areas....but not all of them.

This is true.

We did 2 weeks in Scotland and stayed at hotels in 3 locations:
1. Edinburgh
2. Trossachs
3. Skye

Branched out from each location to do hikes, castles, sight seeing, etc. May seem like a small country but so much to see and do. In 2 weeks we only covered a small fraction of it.

Lincolnshire Girl

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Re: Travelling to UK, looking for suggestions!
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2019, 03:31:01 AM »
My suggestions for a 10 day visit would be approx 7 days in London and then 3 days in Edinburgh (seems the popular choice and could lead onto a distillery).

There are many free attractions in London as well as sightseeing. Museums and Art Galleries are free to enter. Recommend Natural History Museum, British Museum and V&A Museum. National Art Gallery and Tate Galleries for Art. You can ascend the Shard for free also. Other places of interest might be Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, London Eye, Madame Tussauds but these have an entry charge. Shows are generally in the West End and shopping might be Covent Garden or Oxford Street.  Food and drink tends to be expensive.

The 'oyster' card is no longer necessary, you can use a contactless chip and pin bank card to 'plip' onto the underground and buses.

Trains to Edinburgh do indeed leave from Kings Cross Station on a regular basis. This journey will take you through York and Durham if you wanted another 1 night stop off en route. Aim to book a Virgin/LNER train as they are faster and don't stop at every little station on their journey.