Visiting Great Britain Next July

Discussion in 'Community' started by Mudbug, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. Mudbug Administrator emeritus


    Jun 28, 2002
    North Central Colorado
    I'm looking for legitimate suggestions on things you all think I shouldn't miss - It will be my Mother-in-law, sister-in-law, wife and myself (we all get along really well, so don't worry about needing to lose them :D)

    I know very little about the places to go, so suggestions are encouraged. Things to see and do, as well as places to eat/what to order, and interesting things you think I can't see or do here in the U.S.A.

    thanks in advance :)
  2. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    What kind of things do you want to do?
    beaches ? (just kidding, they're too damn cold!)

    To answer the food issue, make sure you get a "pub lunch" and have a fish'n chips w/ mooshy peas :D
    BTW If your order chips in the UK, you get French fries. If you want US chips, order crisps. Maybe you knew this already...
  3. Mudbug thread starter Administrator emeritus


    Jun 28, 2002
    North Central Colorado
    In a nutshell...
  4. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Are you planning on visiting just England or the whole British Isles?

    An obvious place to start would be London with *loads* to do. Maybe some posters from the City could help you out there.

    I don't know the country that well but can suggest some of the best scenery available:
    Snowdonia Nat'l Park (in Wales)
    Lake District Nat'l Park (northern Englan) - absolutely suberp.
    Scotland looks like it's great too, but the rain a love or hate sort of thing...
    If you're keen on walking, be sure to cjeck out Walking Britain:

    I think for the rest you really wanna get a tourist guide if you want to do it in a Nutshell :cool:

    How long are you there for?
  5. caveman_uk Guest


    Feb 17, 2003
    Hitchin, Herts, UK

    London Eye,
    Museums at South Kensington(free)
    Tate Modern (free)
    Buck House etc...overrated but all tourists seem to go there.

    Otherwise citywise:
    York, Bath, Edinburgh, Glasgow

    If you've got a car go to (remember drive on the LEFT):
    Avebury NOT Stonehenge. Stonehenge, old though it is, is crap and expensive and you can't get up close 'cos it's all taped off. Avebury is nearby. MUCH bigger and you can walk all around it. Lovely cream teas too :D
    Snowdonia...mostly walking
    Peak District...mostly walking
    My fave - North West Highlands of Scotland. Remote and magnificent.

    Anywhere outside of London you will need a car. British public transport is pretty awful, unreliable and unbelievably expensive (especially the trains) Gas is $6 a gallon here BTW so don't faint when you fill up your hire car and see a bill for $50+ Always lock your car and be careful where you park it. $2 an hour parking fees are not unusual in cities. We have a high incidence of car theft in cities so lock it and don't leave any valuables on view. Particularly in London if your park where you're not supposed to they will take your car away and charge you a couple of hundred dollars to get it back. There are lots of speed cameras so keep a look out.

    British food isn't the greatest in the world but try and have an Indian Meal while your here. You can't get the style better anywhere else. We're much better at heavy puddings like spotted dick, jam rolly polly and treacle sponge.

    Try to visit a proper pub. They are all over the place but they are often outnumbered by nasty theme/sports bars. In London try to find the Anchor in Southwark (by the river) or the George in Borough - both are a bit touristy and expensive but authentic all the same. The anchor has a premier lodge at the back and is pretty cheap at £72 a night for a room. It's dead convenient and gets booked early. No parking though. Don't drive in London if you can help it - it's a nightmare. If you want a proper traditional non-poseur London pub that serves good beer try 'The Wenlock Arms' near Old Street Tube. It's well-off the beaten track but is about as authentic as you can get.

  6. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Snowdonia should definitely be on your list as others have said....

    I'd also suggest Buckden in North Yorkshire.... fantastic single track opportunities, and some of the best caving systems in the country. Great pubs, and friendly people too... and because it's really in the middle of nowwhere, it gets really dark at night and you get amazing vista's of the night sky. There's also an outdoor activities centre their, that's set in an old 'English' manor, they do accomodation I think.

    Also do check out the Eden Project in Cornwall, it'll blow your mind.... ;)

    As for London, you really can't go wrong... it's huge, with an incredible amount of things to do.

    Do experience Theatre Land in the West End, do try the Docklands Light Railway from TowerHill to Greenwich (gives you a fantastic opportunity to sense the scale of just the East End of London) down a pub lunch in Greenwich, walk to the top of the BIG hill in Greenwich Park, and then get the river ferry back from Greenwich to Westminster which gives you the opportunity to view riverside London.

    And then pretty much carry out everything caveman_uk suggested, I'd maybe suggest Little Italy in Noho as well.
  7. caveman_uk Guest


    Feb 17, 2003
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    I was in Greenwich on saturday. Found a fantastic bar called the 'Greenwich Union' It's up Royal Hill and is owned by the Meantime Brewery that does the Taste the Difference beers for Sainsburys. Had 10 brilliant European style beers on (oktoberfest, pilsner, raspberry etc) as well as a cask ale. Great bar and good atmos. I'd really recommend checking it out if your down that way...
  8. peterjhill macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    My wife and I spent ten days in London last April. It was great. I would highly recommend looking to stay in one of the fine bed and breakfast hotels in Bloomsbury. Here is where we stayed:

    Ridgemount Hotel
    work fax
    65 Gower Street
    WC1E 6HJ
    United Kingdom

    Gower Street is loaded with great places to stay. I believe we paid 65 GBP per night, or about $100 USD. Very reasonable when you add in the English Breakfast. Cereal, eggs, bacon (bacon like you have never had in the U.S. It looks strange but tastes great) baked beans, steamed tomatoes, strange sausages (look normal but have weird texture). Our room also had a toilet and a shower. You can save money by not getting a room with facilities. Since my wife was 5 months pregnant at the time, she was not looking forwards to many nightly trips out if the room. It also had a minifridge, I think, that we used to keep bottles of water, juice, and fruit.

    Anyway, back to why you should stay in Bloomsbury... It is about a five minute walk to the British Museum (which like most museums in London is free). There are a bunch of Underground stops all nearby the hotel. It is possible to walk from Piccadilly Circus to the hotels (it is still a long walk, but can be nice).

    We saw about 8 shows while we were there, including Ian McKellan in a depressing play (he was excellent) and Joseph Fiennes at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Only for the RSC did we buy advanced tickets.

    If you like music, be sure to find out who will be playing in London while you are there. Check out "Time Out"

    It will tell you everything you need to know about shows, movies, music...

    I would recommend that on your first or second day, that you take the last full trip on one of the double-decker tour buses that leave from Piccadilly Circus. You ticket is good for 24 hours, and you can also get a boat trip on the Thames that leaves from near the London Eye (which you should go on (and see if you can get tickets in advance)). The idea behind taking the last bus trip is that it will give you a nice base knowledge of the layout of the city, then the next day you can use your ticket to get on and off at the stops around the city on the same bus. Oh, to clarify, I don't mean the city buses, but the tour buses with the open tops.

    The Tower of London was fun, and I recommend following one of the free guided tours. You can walk on your own, but the guides are great. All of them have served with the British military for something like 20 years, and they love their jobs. The Tower helps in appreciating the history of London.

    The British museum is great, it is also huge. Don't try to tackle it all in one day. Don't feel bad if you don't see everything. Our motto when visiting a museum was to have fun and leave when we started losing interest.

    Wear comfortable shows. London is a great city to walk around and explore. My wife would tell you to bring at least two pairs of shoes and to alternate wearing them. My feet have never hurt so much, I think I must have walked between 100 and 200 miles in that week.

    The UK has many places to visit, we had plans to take the chunnel to Paris for a day (they have packages you can get for a one day trip to Paris including lunch), but my wife got a cold near the end of the trip. We were quite happy staying in London. We never got tired of it.

    The food is mostly good. Check out wagamama if you like asian food. It is a fun place for lunch.

    So, there is my story... I hope you have fun.
  9. mrjamin macrumors 65816


    Feb 6, 2003
    you can't beat Brighton - its the coolest city in the UK - there's loads of touristy stuff which is best avoided, but the lanes are just amazing. I used to live down there and even living there doesn't ruin the novelty. Brighton on a saturday afternoon in the summer is just incredible. Easy to get wherever you are too.

    If you're in London, make sure you check out Camden - its got a similar feel to brighton which i guess is why i love it so much.

    you could go see david blaine as the chances are he'll probably still be in that box...

    But yeah, York is great, very cheap too. Oxford's a good place to visit as well.
  10. MOFS macrumors 65816


    Feb 27, 2003
    Durham, UK
    What about the Toon?

    If you really want to impress your mates back home, avoid London! Every tourist goes to London! So why not try Newcastle/ the North East in general!? Not only does it hardly rain, it snows in the winter (but nort too hard!), and its got great sites eg

    The Angel of the North
    St James' Park
    The Baltic Art Gallery
    The Tyne and Millienium bridges (I think I've spelt that wrong...)
    The Quayside in general
    and much more!

    If you want shopping, all the major department shops (and more) are here, and to cap it all its all easily gettable on the Metro system - an underground thats far better than the one in London! The people are very friendly, and its only about 4hrs by train from London and only 40mins from Durham, a beautiful York/Cambridge/ Oxford-esque city.
  11. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    Ignore MOFS, nothing of note EVER happened in the North, (well, I was there for a while in 83, but we'll gloss over that) :D :D :D ;) ;)

    Seriously, try to get to Edinburgh in Scotland, and Cornwall, Caveman mentioned the Eden project, but the West country is beautiful, London is great for the nightlife and the culture, but is very expensive.

    Go on the London Eye, worth every penny.

    Meet the UK geekfest crew in the Bar With No Name...:p

    OK, perhaps not...
  12. arby macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2002
    Go to London's Stansted airport, and hop on a cheap flight to Belfast or Londonderry. From there you can explore the Antrim coast which has some amazing scenery, Giants Causeway, big beaches, rivers, cliffs, cows!

    Yeah, come to Ireland!!!
  13. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    we'll be part of the fixtures and fittings by then... heh-heh-heh... :p
  14. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus


    Jan 2, 2001
    Metairie, LA
    #14 that would be fun!! :D

    I wanna go to the UK... ;)
  15. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Re: What about the Toon?

    Don't forget the "Firth of Forth" if you're into bridges...
  16. Mudbug thread starter Administrator emeritus


    Jun 28, 2002
    North Central Colorado
    Now this is what I call friendly advice - thanks everyone :)

    Our trip should be around 10 days round, including flight time from the states. We've been thinking about doing this for a while, and just decided to make a go of it. I think getting a local's idea of what's fun is usually better than a travel guide, but we're also looking into a trip package type of thing.

    As you can tell, nothing's booked yet, so the world is my oyster. We were also debating a Mediterranean cruise instead - but who knows.
  17. anneleonard macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2003
    Reading, UK (a.k.a. Strongbadia)
    Good advice from people, so far, I think. If I had 10 days to see the whole of the UK here is what I'd try and do.

    Day 1-2: LONDON
    I'd try and get around london as much as possible. Some must-do things include:
    - London Eye (need to book it online, really)
    - Camden as ben said, this is a very cool part of swinging london, baby
    - Walk down whitehall, see No.10, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the thames
    - Tate Modern (free!)
    - Covent Garden / Leicester Square - for the interesting shops
    - Trafalgar Square

    Day 3: BRIGHTON
    The great british seaside- at its most traditional, wackiest, hippest, and campest!

    An amazing city full of heritage, just don't drive into the centre! Then I would go west to the tiny villages in the cotswolds for a proper B&B at night, such as the village of "Lower Slaughter" (no I'm not kidding, its a real village, and its beautiful).

    Where Shakespeare was born - you might be interested in this, you might not. Its very touristy, I warn you! Then I'd drive west into Wales for the evening, its amazing scenery and quite different from England in many ways.

    A bit of a drive but these cities are brilliant examples of the vibrant North-West, give you a very different flavour, and there's amazing musical heritage in these places, too. It depends what you're interested in, I suppose.

    The best of British scenery and tranquility. Where I'd go if I could have a weekend away anywhere in Britain.

    Day 8: DURHAM
    Head over the other side of the pennines and arrive at my favourite place in the UK (I'm lucky I lived there for 5 years, 3 of them whilst at University). Its just amazing, and slightly off the main tourist track. Its a north-eastern gem. If you don't have a car, you can always borrow Bill Bryson's, hehe.

    Day 9: YORK
    I love this city, too! Amazing historical past, and the city is very geared towards tourists so it makes it quite easy to find things, etc. The shambles and the minster are a must, and there are plenty of pubs to choose from- supposedly one for every day of the year (i.e. 365). I'd have a B&B somewhere out of York, in the yorkshire dales, as they are just lovely, rugged and beautiful.

    Day 10: GO HOME!
    If you had an extra day I might go to Cambridge, but its very like Oxford, but smaller. Canterbury is nice. You could go up to Edinburgh for the day if you were in the north of England already. You could go to France for the day if you could fit it in.

    Sorry i've blethered on a bit. I would definitely stay in Bed&Breakfasts if I was a foreign tourist, they're miles cheaper, you can book really late, and get to know some proper british people while you're here. You're also likely to get the best breakfast anywhere! Let us know what you decide. I love Britain, there's a lot to do! 10 days isn't really enough time, there's a million places I left out!
  18. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Though the Lakes are definetly the best scenery in England, they're certainly *not* the most peaceful place in July... if you don't get out into the wild. The town (Windermere, Keswick, ...) are nice but packed w/ tourists. Aim for the country side and sleep in a youth hostel; they're pretty widespread.

    If you decide to go, plan on heavy rain gear. Yes, it can chuck it down even in July. I know from experience :p
  19. peterjhill macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Think about how much you want to travel. Do you want to take a train all around? Are you planning on renting a car? Do you want to lug your baggage with you everywhere? We plan on going back to the UK, so concentrated our stay in London. This did make the trip expensive. We must have spent about 5K for the whole trip (in USD). If you wanted to save money, you could look for hostels, buy most won't let you store your baggage (or so I have heard).

    My inlaws bought a house in the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland. I am sure they will have us visit, I am waiting until they have it more habitable though. I am a city guy and was perfectly happy staying in London.

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