UK places to see ?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by mmomega, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    My wife has never crossed the ocean and we've planned a trip to the UK and Ireland in a few months.

    At the moment the plan is to fly into London and stay there a few days, hop a flight to Shannon, Ireland and we have 6 days until we end in Dublin, then another flight to Edinburgh, Scotland for 5-6 days.

    Even with all the reading and researching online I still like hearing from people that have been there, live there and what to do and see. We aren't really touristy people, we enjoy more of the 'where the locals go' scene.

    If anyone has or knows of any must go to eating spots or places most tourists don't go or don't know about I'd love to hear any and all comments.
    We're going to have 17 non-travel days. Renting a car in Ireland and Scotland to just be able to do and go wherever.

    I appreciate any info and tips.
  2. Zenithal macrumors 603

    Sep 10, 2009
    London is a huge city. Hard to recommend a place to visit. It's akin to saying what's the best brisket joint in Texas's west half.
  3. Scepticalscribe, Mar 21, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    In London, do the tourist things - take a bus tour and plan what you would like to see. It is well worth doing so, as this is what makes London famous.

    Do your homework now if you wish to see a play in the West End, and book the tickets well in advance. Try to stay in a central location - it will cut down on the time needed to get to places.

    London is a financial capital, and it is not a 'beautiful' city, but it is a very much alive one. Thus, frankly, some of the tourist things are what make it worth seeing. The art galleries and museums are stunning; the Tower of London is amazing, and is well worth a visit - I spent a full day there the first time I visited it.

    Before embarking on such a trip, ask yourself what it is that you are interested in. Personally, I love history, and so anything with a historical or culture aspect will interest me.

    Moreover, London is shopping heaven, if you like shopping. Bring plenty of money, or a well loaded credit card, as you will buy stuff - some of it excellent quality - even if you think you won't.

    Re Ireland, hope for good weather; the entire west coat is stunning - but is an awful lot nicer if it is not pouring with rain.

    Edinburgh is extraordinarily atmospheric, and historic, and well worth exploring.
  4. entropyfl macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2009
    Agree with all the above points, except the shopping! London is incredibly expensive and most things will be more expensive than America.

    Maybe try and catch a couple of West End Plays if your wife is into that but you might need to book now as some do sell out.

    How about renting a car from London and doing a drive up to Scotland and stopping along the way.. See, stone henge, Cotswolds, the lake district and then finish in ireland.

    This is meant to be one of the top driving routes in the world.
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Agreed that London is very expensive for shopping; however, there are stores there that you all find nowhere else in the world, and the service is excellent. Actually, it is the sort of place to buy yourself one or two treats of the sort that you would not normally buy.
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Take a boat trip on the Thames. A great way to see lots of the tourist bits. St Pauls Cathedral is also stunning. I like the buzz and street performers of places like Covent Garden (at night).
    Personally I love castles. Both Edinburgh and London have a good one.
    I've never been to Ireland, but again I here it's beautiful. Lots of great food and drink.
  7. mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Good ideas, I'll have to check it out for sure and hopefully like you mentioned get in any reservations ASAP.

    The way the trip has been planned out so far was originally we were just going with some friends to Scotland for about a week. Then we decided to add in London and Ireland. Since the least expensive option is to fly into London 1st we just decided to do that, figuring we could sight see enough within 2 days or so then hop a flight to Ireland and rent an AudiA5 starting in Shannon on the Western side and 5-6 days later ending in Dublin (I'm definitely doing Guinness) then meeting up with our friends in Scotland to finish out the next week.
    Only thing planned for sure is some golfing in Scotland along with a Balvenie and Glenlivet tour and a lot of relaxing. I'm more of the 'get out and explore' one in the group. I enjoy just seeing new sights or places most people don't care for and filming.

    I really appreciate the good advice.
  8. Scepticalscribe, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Agree about the boat trip on the Thames (I took it down to Greenwich) - it is really excellent.

    In common with @Apple fanboy, I also love castles, - Edinburgh castle (where I spent a full day) is amazing - and I also love old cathedrals - London has both.

    Hampton Court, Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London - there is a very good reason why these are on the tourist trail and are regarded so highly - it is because they are so well worth visiting.
  9. wordsworth macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    If you're in Edinburgh you aren't that far from the Scotland/England border. It's a couple of hours by car to the county of Northumberland in England. (Last year saw the commemoration of the Battle of Flodden between England and Scotland 500 years ago. It took place on the English side of the border not far from Berwick. Serious history took place! Scotland as a nation was never the same.)

    Starting at Berwick and heading south to Bamburgh, Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Dunstanburgh, Alnwick, and Warkworth, you'll find wonderful beaches and lots of castles. Wide, open spaces and good air. Plenty of golf courses, too.

    It's usually missed by Americans who do the standard London/Stratford/Edinburgh itinerary but it's well worth exploring. Northumberland is a beautiful county. Check out some of those places I mentioned earlier online and see if it grabs you.
  10. Limey77 macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2010
    There really is much more than you can possibly hope to see in the time you have. So think hard about what you actually want to see.

    London is enormous and you could easily spend you're entire 16 days in our museums and still not see them all. But it's worth remembering that out museums are free - so make a great rainy day option. One museum that is often overlooked but is great is the Sir John Soane's museum - home to Hogarth's the Rake's Progress and an architectural marvel. But the Natural History Museum, British Museum, V&A, Science and the Tates are all world class.

    The Tower of London, St Pauls, Westminster Abbey and Cathedral are beautiful. It's also worth considering a visit to the Houses of Parliament- it's very informative and you can actually listen in on debates.

    London is one of the best cities in world for food, whether it's Michelin star or much cheaper. Just stay away from tourist traps like Camden and Covent Garden.

    I would say it is not worth driving out to see Stonehenge - yes it's impressive but a 7 or 8 hour round trip is just a waste of time.

    Instead of heading up the Shard for the views, consider the Sky Garden - not as high, but free.

    Download Citymapper and use it to take public transport, especially buses. You'll see the city and if you use an Oyster card, after 4 or 5 rides the rest of the day is free. Take the river bus from embankment to Greenwich. You'll see everything along the Thames.

    There's really so much to see in London, Ireland and Scotland that it's too much to go into. I do live in London and work for a luxury travel company here, so if you'd like any more info feel free to pm me.
  11. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Ireland- pretty countryside Killarney area, very pretty.
    England- London, Dover, Canterbury, Hastings, Cambridge, Stonehenge, just about anywhere. Castles and beautiful countryside all over the place. ;)
  12. bigchrisfgb macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2010
    Don't fly up to Edinburgh, get on a train instead and stop at one or two places on the way. London is good for tourist stuff, but you can make passing stops on most landmarks in a day, certainly over a weekend. Get yourself out and see the real UK, there is a saying we have here in England. If you get on the train to Edinburgh then try stopping at York and Newcastle for a day each. York is a fantastic city, it was the capital of Northumbria which was one of the countries that merged to great England. It is a fantastic city to walk around in, plenty of things to do there. Further north is Newcastle (where I'm from). This is another great city, we have a bridge that is the same as the Sydney harbour bridge (It was designed for us first and the two bridges were built at about the same time). We also have a street that was named the UK's best street. If you come during the football season (soccer) then maybe catch a Newcastle United game, we are renowned for having some of the most passionate support in Football (soccer).

    Edinburgh is a city you should rightly visit, other cities worth mentioning are Bath, and Harrogate, you could also add Manchester in there as well. The point is when your over here don't just do the typical thing and stay in London and think you have seen England/UK.
  13. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I'd agree with the sentiment of not bothering to go to stone henge, you can't walk up to the stones etc anymore, so unless you're really interested in that history, then its not worth it.

    However it may be worth going out to Bath which is a town nearby, which has roman ruins and doing stonehenge at the same time..... that said St Albans also is roman and is much nearer, but theres plenty of roman ruins in London too.

    As far as things to do in london, there's so many things. But I've got a couple of suggestions

    1. A walking tour - it may be nice sitting on a bus, but its expensive, and you get whizzed past landmarks, walking tours are normally on a donation basis.

    2. Go to the sky garden rather than the shard, the shard is £25 to go up, the sky garden is free ;)

    3. Highgate Cemetery is a Victorian cemetery, the West cemetery is free and open all the time, but the east is tour only, so check when you can get in there. If you know about Victorian morbidity, this is interesting.

    4. Our Museums are great, most are free too..... I noticed someone mentioned the John Soanes museum (this one is personal preference, personally I just didn't get it), but on the other side of the square to this is the Hunterian, which charges a nominal amount to get in, but its full to the brim of specimens in Thamaldohide (sp?), i found this morbid, but fascinating.

    5. If you're into Shakespeare and coming in the Summer time, you can watch productions in the evenings in Regents park.... West end shows etc the same as you'd get anywhere, but if you do want to go, you can get really cheap tickets from the box office just before the shows start. Alternatively you could look at places like the Young Vic, which do minimal productions, I saw King Lear with Pete Postlethwaite there and though it was great.

    6. Afternoon tea is a very english thing, and one of my faves..... The ritz is great, but expensive, and you have to book yonks in advance, but there's other places like the Connaught Hotel, or Fortnum and Mason's which may be easier.

    7. Brick Lane - what I think is a really interesting part of London (Historically speaking), its been an area of Asian (as in Asian Indian) predominance for some time, but is starting to get gentrified now..... There's art Galleries, markets (selling vintage stuff etc), and you can get a cracking curry there........ Although some curry houses are not licensed, so you have to take your own beers to those if you want a beer.

    8. I really like the 2 war museums, the main IWM is between Lambeth and Elephant & Castle, but there's also the Cabinet War Rooms just next to the Houses of Parliament, and there's also a Battleship on the Thames you can go on (HMS Belfast).

    9. There's more Art Galleries than you will ever be able to visit in the time, but the best modern one is probably the tate modern, its free, unless you want to go to specific exhibitions.
  14. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I won't add much more re London / Edinburgh and I agree re the Stonehenge thing. But, if you want non touristy history of that time and are thinking of heading West (Bath/ Oxford etc) then I'm a great lover of hillforts and long barrows. I'm amazed that they're not more popular and remarked on.

    Long barrows are some of the oldest structures we have (4,000 BC etc) and are wonderfully atmospheric particularly if you visit early in the morning or evening when the shadows are long. (They often all have their own local legends which are worth reading up on). West Kennet is generally popular as its close to Avebury* - where you can touch the stones and Silbury hill but there's plenty of others. Visit Oxford its just a short hop to Uffington where on the same walk you can take in Waylands Smithy, the famous white horse and also Uffington castle hillfort. If you fancy hillforts - Liddington castle is fantastic one (reputedly a great victory was had by King Arthur there ;) ) and hardly visited.

    * A far better stone circle to visit than Stonehenge

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