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Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

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Seattle
posts: 81
reviews: 16
Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

We plan to visit England for the last two weeks in July and would love suggestions on the best areas to visit in that time frame. Two adults and three kids ages: 13, 10, & 8. London, Cotswolds, Lake District? I would love suggestions for a few must see areas that can be experienced in a two week time period.

Many thanks!

Kent
posts: 2,050
reviews: 12
1. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

If you are looking at the Lake District and are thinking of hiring a car then how about working your way Eastward from there towards the beautiful and historic Northumberland, County Durham and North Yorkshire, including Moors and Dales. Your children would probably love to spend a day at the Beamish Living Museum and a trip to a traditional English seaside town like Scarborough, plus you may also want to factor in a trip to the City of York as well for the adults.

www.beamish.org.uk/areas-of-beamish

www.thisisdurham.com

www.visitnorthumberland.com

www.northyorks.com

www.northyorkmoors.org.uk

www.yorkshiredales.org.uk

www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com/index.asp

By the time you get to the end of these links you will probably be very confused and I am not suggesting that you try to take in all of these places as you really would not do them justice in the time you have, but if you can get hold of a good map of England you will see that geographically they make sense and that there is more to England that many visitors do not get to see.

Good luck with your planning.

Solihull
posts: 2,454
reviews: 8
2. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

I am afraid your question is a bit too vague.

For example, is this your first visit to the UK / Europe or have you been before?

We need some sort of idea of what you like - towns, countryside, seaside, theme parks, country houses, museums etc.

Also with 3 children of 13, 10 and 8 you need to think carefully of where you go as they could bore easily. You mention Lake District and Cotswolds, and while they are lovely places they are hardly going to excite three young children.

We also need some idea of where you arrive (airport) and where you leave (airport).

Also how you plan to get around when you are here (car, train, coach etc)

Also where you plan to stay while you are here (which city or cities) or is that still open?

There are literally thousands and thousands of things to do in the UK (as you would expect) so it is hard to give advice when we know so little about your interests and plans.

Solihull
posts: 2,454
reviews: 8
3. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

Following on from my append above, I do have some general comments.

If you are coming the last 2 weeks of July that is when all of our children are off school (I guess it is when your kids are off too).

So of course many parents also take the time off as well, and go on holiday with their children.

So all tourist attractions and tourist areas will be busy during this time.

Which means booking ahead for accomodation will be a good idea.

The UK is surrounded by coastline, and many seaside towns, so a visit to one or more seaside towns during you stay may be a nice idea (the kids will love it).

Every bit of coast has a seaside town or two, but all along the south coast is packed with them (Brighton, Bournmouth, Torquay etc).

But of course being the holiday period they will be busy.

But I think you should certainly include a seaside town in your visit (or more than one)

Solihull
posts: 2,454
reviews: 8
4. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

One more update.

I note you mention visiting "England" in your update, but Wales and Scotland are joined on to England and also easy to visit.

These 3 countries (England, Scotland, Wales) combined are called "Great Britain". If you add Northern Ireland to the set that is called the "United Kingdom". Confusing eh!.

You mention the Lake District or Cotswolds, so I assume you love the countryside.

We do have a number of National Parks in the UK, so you may want to see where they are. Here is their web site

http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/

We also have smaller area of nature called "Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty" (AONB) and there are about 46 of these.

Here is the web site

http://www.aonb.org.uk/

Finally, while I love the Lake District I would never visit it during July and August as it gets unpleasantly crowded.

Toronto
posts: 572
reviews: 39
5. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

Cotswolds might be good for a first time visit...a few good sights:

Slimbridge Wetland Waterfowl trust. Kids can feed and mingle with the birds.

Avebury - while not conventional when on thinks of child friendly activities- you can get right up to the stones. Your children will enjoy it.

Cotswold Water park - lots to do here.

Consider renting a "self-catering" type accomodation...then you will have your own kitchen etc...I used English Country Cottages - very good agency to deal with.

Seattle
posts: 81
reviews: 16
6. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

Thank you for the thoughtful responses. I truly appreciate all input. To be more specific:

I mention England because with just two weeks time, I thought it would be too much to include the entire UK (although I would love to visit the other areas mentioned on another trip.)

We fly in and out of London and are happy to rent a car if needed (

I expect we will need one when we venture out of London).

Even though we are traveling with children, we are not interested in theme parks. Our children are well traveled and are interested in visiting sites we do not have in the US such as castles, historical sites, and we do appreciate natural beauty. My daughter loves Shakespeare. Is his birthplace worth a visit? What about the home of Beatrix Potter? What about Stonehenge?

I have been to England twice but my last visit was in 1991. My children have never been to England. When I was a child we stayed on a farm in the Cotswolds. Is that a possibility? I remember the Cotwolds and Lake District as especially beautiful but wondering if I am missing another great area and/or if late July is a good time to visit those areas.

Thank you!

Cardiff, Wales
posts: 3,529
reviews: 35
7. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

It sounds as if you have to visit North Wales: the best group of medieval castles in the UK (if not Europe), the highest and most dramatic mountain range south of the highlands of Scotland, lovely coastal and inland scenery, a region where English is for most people their second language, and where the Druids were once the leaders - before they were wiped out by the Romans:

www.visitllandudno.org.uk/content.php…

http://www.castlewales.com/caernarf.html

http://www.visitnorthwales.co.uk/

Solihull
posts: 2,454
reviews: 8
8. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

Personal opinions follow:

>My daughter loves Shakespeare. Is his birthplace worth a visit?

Shakespeare was born in Stratford Upon Avon, about 90 miles North of London. It is a nice town, with many lovely old buildings, and a number of houses related to Shakespeare are open (his birthplace, his mothers house and his wifes house).

However it is very "touristy" and can be full of Japanese and Americans :-)

London does have quite a few things related to Shakepeare (like the Globe theatre, a recreation of an Elizabethan "open" theatre).

>What about the home of Beatrix Potter?

This is in the Lake District, and is a farm, It is owned by the National Trust.

As I said earlier, the Lake District can be very busy so may be best to avoid it. It is also about 300 miles North of London, and not a pleasant drive.

>What about Stonehenge?

While an amazing historical site, I have known many people be disappointed with Stonehenge and say "is that it" when visiting it.

If you can combine it with a visit to say Bath that is a good idea.

East Sussex, United...
Destination Expert
for West Sussex, East Sussex
posts: 3,582
reviews: 16
9. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

I'm hugely tempted (as ever) to suggest the beautiful county of Sussex - but I have to say that I think you got it right first time. The Cotswolds and the Lake District are great places and not as hugely touristy as, say Stratford Upon Avon and Edinburgh. You could do an awful lot worse.

Avoid the obvious tourist traps- Bourton-on-the-Water and Grasmere spring to mind, perhaps replace with Chipping Campden and Buttermere - and I think you'll have a great time.

One other tip - Shropshire and Herefordshire on the Welsh Borders are hidden secrets - beautiful hills, historic castles, deserted roads. Great pony trekking country if your kids like horses ?

Mike

Solihull
posts: 2,454
reviews: 8
10. Re: Best places to visit - 2 weeks in England

More personal opinion.

As you fly in and out of London I would base most of the holiday around the South and not venture too far North, no further North than say Stratford Upon Avon (Although I agree North Wales is well worth a visit for the scenery and the castles)

(Note I would say the reverse if you were flying in and out of say Manchester, in that case you should base a holiday in the North and not venture too far South)

Saying stay in the South may upset many Northerners, but I always feel it is a shame if people are based in London and spend one whole day GETTING to say the Lake District and another day getting back FROM the Lake District, out of only a 2 week stay.

(While the Lake District is lovely we have many other beautiful areas in the UK that dont require a 300 miles drive from London).

There is plenty of beautiful areas in the South of the UK, such as the Pembrokeshire Coastal Park in South Wales (see the National Parks web site for others).

As I said above, the South Coast of England has some lovely seaside towns, and the South has National Parks like the South Downs, the New Forest, Dartmoor, Exmoor and Brecon Beacons.

If you do want to go to North Wales then this area has the Snowdonia National Park.

So to save too much driving around I would not venture more than say 150 miles from London, for if you do your travel time will increase as a ratio of "holiday" time.

You will easily find enough to do in the South of the UK, and as I said, I would base most of your holiday round London and the South.

Stand by from "flak" from the Northerners.

Edited: 3:20 pm, December 30, 2010