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England in Four (five?) days?? - How to go about it...

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Murdoch, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Murdoch

    Murdoch New Member

    Howdy folks! Well, awhile back I had asked for advice about a honeymoon location and that is now set. Ireland/England.

    We will be spending eight in Ireland and then hope to cover a chunk of England in four days (maybe five). FH wants to see London - though he wants to see the surface - the things London is famous for... so that *should* only take us a day (as in he is willing to hop on a double decker tour). What we will need here is a reasonably priced hotel - any to recommend?

    He also wants to go to Liverpool... I have family in Manchester, Sheffield and Wigan - so that is not a problem! There will be a family gathering in Wigan to celebrate our wedding (or there is a *slight* chance it could be in Eastborne in the South).

    So, my question is - what should I cover in the North if I only have two or three days to do it? Advice?
  2. JumpinBug

    JumpinBug New Member

    London in a day is just wrong. Speaking as someone who spent over a month in London last summer... :)

    Is there a reason he wants to go to Liverpool? In four days, I wouldn't do more than London, unless you've been before. Really, it depends on what your interests are. If Liverpool is for sure, then I'd suggest northern Wales. I was there for 5 days last summer, and loved it. Beautiful scenery, wonderful people, and fabulous castles. But, if you're not into that... I also spent a few days in and around Carlisle, doing day trips to walk along Hadrian's Wall. I would suggest focusing on a small area, as in 2 to 3 days it's really not worth it to spend most of your time driving. Are you driving? Or taking trains? Or...?

    What appeals to you, what interests you?

    What also matters is time of year...
  3. orientalplane

    orientalplane Mad for mangelwurzels

    I'm just off to bed so won't go into detail now, but look up the Lake District, the Yorkshire moors and the Yorkshire dales if you're looking for wonderful scenery. In summer though, the Lake District gets very crowded and it's difficult to find accommodation there. York is a fascinating ancient city with its Minster and the Viking Museum, and Durham is also a beautiful city with a spectacular 12th century Romanesque cathedral on a hill. If you're into literature, you might like to visit the home of the Bronte sisters in Haworth in West Yorkshire.

    There are all sorts of other things, but of course it depends on what you want to do and see on your honeymoon. :)
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
    falling_dance likes this.

    MOIJTO Banned Member

    FAST! :D
  5. C_T_T_

    C_T_T_ Well-Known Member

    Where abouts in Ireland are you going?
  6. altai_rose

    altai_rose Well-Known Member

    I completely agree. I personally think it's ridiculous to go to London if you only spend a day there (unless this isn't your first time there). Honestly, do you want to spend most of your time in England traveling between place to place?
  7. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    I so agree, London needs days, weeks. So if you have only 4-5 days, spend it all in London or do another area as others suggest.

    I did spend a day in Liverpool a couple of years ago, and that was not enough time.
    #1 recommendation if the Beatles interest you. To see the inside of John and Paul's boyhood homes (not drivebys) go through the National Trust and book that tour. A small tour bus picks you up downtown and takes you there, only a few tours a day. The other tours only do drivebys.

    York - Castle Howard is cool.
  8. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    As for the Beatles in Liverpool--the "driveby" bus tours are quite entertaining. My friend and I did the "Magical Mystery Tour Bus" and found it hilarious in its somewhat intentional cheesiness.

    I agree that London in a day is impossible. We had four and just hit the surface. You need at least a half day for the Tower and at least a half day for the British Museum. And there is so much more to see.
  9. nalgene

    nalgene New Member

    Where are you flying in/out of?
  10. cygnus

    cygnus Well-Known Member


    Half day for the British Museum? I think you need at least a week!

    (Although if you really do have only half a day there, I would recommend taking the London Walks tour of the museum- they give you some some really interesting and detailed info on some key exhibits (Rosetta Stone, Assyrian Marbles, Sutton Hoo, and a few other things),then you go off and see the other bits you are really interested in seeing.


    And for the Tower, take a tour with one of the Beefeater guides. They have a lot of interesting stories. We got the ravenmaster on our tour- he was really interesting and had a dry sense of humour.
  11. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily. If you know exactly what you want to see, get in there, see it and then get out. There's absolutely no need to see the entire museum from foot to toe unless that's what you really, really, really want to do. When I was in the British Museum, the only thing I wanted to see was the Parthenon friezes and statues since I had been in Greece several years earlier. That was enough for me.
  12. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

    That's true if you only want to see one particular area. But if you want to see some of the most well-known items, you have to go to several the different parts of the museum. The Rosetta Stone is in the Egyptian area, the Sutton Hoo is with Anglo Saxon area, the Parthenon friezes are in the Greek area, etc. Just walking between wings will take awhile. When I was studying in London, we had to go to the museum for at least an hour each week to walk through and study a different area, and even those 10-12 trips barely cracked the surface of the museum.

    To just see the "major" items, I would plan at least three hours, but expect to spend most of the day, because it is hard not to get caught up in looking around each of the wings you go to. It is hard to even suggest what to skip. I would definitely see the wings with the above items, as well as the Assyrian and Babylonian artifacts. I guess, if I were to skip anything, it would be the rooms for Asia (though not the Middle East), the Americas, and Africa.
  13. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    Reckless - totally agree. I can spend hours and hours in just one section of the museum.....

    However...London in a day...........great way to see the stuff and then figure out what you want to really see.....kind of like a preview. Unless you have oodles of time, or know what you want to target, I think an overall tour is best.

    We lived in London for a spell....and then in Ascot for a while longer. Lots of friends visited. For the people for whom it was a first visit...a day or so was plenty. In that amount of time, I don't think you can really take anything in.

    Now, I do make an exception. No matter what....see the crown jewels. Will make you want to reinstate the monarchy.

    If you have family over there, I would assume you will be going back lots. I like to read up before I spend time in an area or a subject...so after you know what you like................

    Windsor castle (45 minutes west of London) is pretty dang cool...btw.
  14. Bogie

    Bogie Active Member

    As is Hampton Court!
  15. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Seconded. ;)

    Can't really help with the north of England part as I've only ever been to Nottingham.

    My impression from Murdoch's post is that future husband isn't particularly bothered about spending hours in a museum. That's not everybody's idea of fun. Just walking around London can be really enjoyable (providing it's not raining :yikes: ).

    Murdoch, would your FH and you like to go on the London Eye? Otherwise, the hop-on hop-off bus tour sounds like a good idea and if there is somewhere you'd like to further explore you can get off at that stop.

    Hotels - London is expensive. There's no two ways about it. It might help your search if you narrow it down to what area (or as close to which area as possible) you want to stay in.

    Which airport are you flying into from Ireland? If it's Heathrow, I'd recommend the Heathrow Connect train. It's a bit more expensive than the Tube, but it's a shorter (about 25 minutes as opposed to an hour) and more comfortable journey. It's departs from the same platform at the airport as the Heathrow Express (which is about 10 minutes quicker to Paddington, but twice the cost of the Connect).
  16. Hanna

    Hanna Politicking for more stationary lifts

    That was my first thought too. :p
    But then again, I only had HALF a day to spend in Paris :shuffle: and still managed to see the main sights - it was just "go there, check it out, photo, next" though. So I guess it's possible in London too. You just have to narrow the sights down a lot and only choose a couple of things of interest (that you mainly want to see from the outside).

    Those are the ones at the Tower of London? If yes, then it is the ONLY part of Tower of London that I skipped because I just couldn't bother with the 100 meter queue. :drama: Should I regret?

    Anyway for Murdoch, I hope that you'll have a great time on your trip! :cheer: I took the train from Glasgow to London last fall and the sights are pretty - typical English countryside. Lots of sheep. :p But pretty.
    AxelAnnie and (deleted member) like this.
  17. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    With just 4-5 days for England, with a goal of hitting only the highlights, and a desire to spend time with family in Wigan, I'd have you only try to hit two cities; and if that's London and Liverpool, then that's London and Liverpool. To try to do more cities, you'd be spending too much time in the travel/waiting for travel.

    It is entirely possible to hit the highlights of London in one day, if all you do is stay outside. I did that on my first trip there. I only had a day, so a day was all it took me! You're just getting a flavor of the place, no more.

    Since time will be short, and you just want an overview, I'd do a bus tour or, if you'd prefer, just walk around the Westminster area, and do the London Eye, plus perhaps walk around the interiors of maybe 1-2 places, max. My pick, if you're at all into museums, would be either the British Museum or the Victoria and Albert. If you're into WWII, then it *has* to be the Cabinet War Rooms.

    If it's a nice day, get takeout from a Tesco or something, and eat on the grass in a park or etc - saves time and money.

    As for inexpensive hotels - London is one of the more expensive cities in the world, so... what, exactly, do you require in a hotel re: facilities/location/amenities? What do you mean by "inexpensive" re: dollars/GBP?
  18. Murdoch

    Murdoch New Member

    Ok, I will try to respond to all the questions...

    1) We have not decided which city we are flying into or out of... and we even talked about the ferry at one point. We can either come into London and leave from Manchester, or vice versa.

    2) We are taking the below tour through Ireland:http://www.authenticireland.com/tours/view/153/Irish+Opulence

    3) For me, the goal of this trip is two fold. a) see family as they are not able to fly (all of them) to Canada for the wedding and b) give my FH a taste of Britain... I want him to see how much there is (as in HE thinks London is a day trip - I however totally disagree!) to see and do and then trek back there in a few years time.

    So - it is ALL about enticing him!

    As for the London hotel - CLEAN - convenient would be nice and SAFE would be essential. Beyond that, not sure how much time we would spend in our room, so I don't need a work out facility, pool, etc.
  19. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    Eight years ago (granted that is a long time), my friend and I found a relatively affordable B&B in Bayswater. There are several there. Check out a travel guide like Let's Go for cheaper lodging recommendations. You don't even have to buy it; take a trip to a mega bookstore with a pen and paper in your purse!
  20. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    That's how I found Vancouver Studios, in Bayswater:

    What I like most about that place, other than its location, is that each room comes with a tiny kitchenette, so I save money by eating b-fast and lunches in.
  21. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    Check out www.tripadvisor.com. Put in the name of a hotel and city and you can see reviews. Very helpful.
  22. Erica Lee

    Erica Lee New Member

    I swear by trip advisor! I have used it to book many trips and have found the recommendations and reviews to be a very accurate picture of what you will actually get. I try to remember to contribute to the site whenever I return from a trip as my way to "pay it forward". They've sent me freebies like luggage tags and a little backpack for submitting reviews.. nice surprise :)

    Thanks for the thread! I'm heading off on my own UK adventure on Monday... 15 day trip to Northern parts of England and Scotland (Scarborough, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries, Liverpool being our main bases). Used trip advisor as my main planning tool for this one, too!
  23. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Just had a look at your tour itinerary in Ireland and as your trip ends in the Shannon region it might be more convenient for you to fly to the UK from there. Shannon Airport has flights to London (Stansted and Gatwick) and Liverpool with Ryanair and to London Heathrow and Manchester with Aer Lingus.

    Just be aware that both airlines charge extra for luggage and Ryanair's checked luggage limit is 15kg and not 20kg as is standard on most other airlines.

    Both airlines fly from Dublin Airport to the UK with greater frequency and the fare will probably be cheaper. As time seems to be a limiting factor, I would say you can probably rule out the ferry.

    I am fairly familiar with everywhere on your itinerary, except Waterford. Do you have an idea on what you would like to see in Ireland or would you like suggestions? Would you like some info on restaurants. pubs and cafes?
  24. Murdoch

    Murdoch New Member

    WOW! Thanks for that info! It will help immensely and the flights are considerably cheaper than I have been finding!

    We know very little about Ireland - just that we have hotels and transport! LOL! Suggestions are more than welcome and very much appreciated. We are road trip people and seem to explore quite well... alas, suggestions for our honeymoon and making the most out of the vacation would be fantastic!
  25. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    Thanks............that is the name of the place I couldn't remember. My all time favorite picture of my sister and myself was take (with our backs turned to the camera) at a fountain there!
  26. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Just be aware that, especially with Ryanair, you need to be careful about the weight and how many pieces of luggage (hand and checked) you have. In addition, Ryanair only have online check-in so you need to do that and print out your boarding pass before you go to the airport. You can do it 14 days in advance of your flight though, so you could take care of it even before you arrive in Ireland

    From the link that you posted, I see that you'll be staying in the Ballsbridge area of Dublin or D4 as it's sometimes called after the postcode. It's the poshest part of Dublin with most of the embassies located here (although the Canadian is in D2 in the city centre ;) ).

    I don't know if tour includes transfers from the airport, but if it doesn't you can take the Aircoach from Dublin Airport to Ballsbridge. It stops at Pembroke Road and Merrion Road (RDS). Find out from your hotel which is nearer. Single fare is €8. A taxi will cost around €30 and perhaps more, depending on time of day and traffic.

    There are a few restaurants and pubs in the area, but it's busier during the daytime than at night, unless there is a concert at the RDS or a football or rugby match at Lansdowne Road stadium. My pick of restaurants in the Ballsbridge area would be:

    Roly's Bistro - Bit of a local institution. Can be hit and miss. Like so many mid to high end restaurants in Dublin, lunch can be better value than dinner. They've also opened up a more casual dining cafe and deli downstairs. Bread and cakes a highlight.

    Bella Cuba - Next door to Roly's. Cuban cuisine, surprisingly enough. :lol:

    The French Paradox - French wine bar serving cheeses, meats, pates, etc.

    Also quite a couple of Indian, Chinese and a Japanese restaurant in the area if that's what you fancy. There are plenty of pubs in the area, all pretty standard and they all should also serve food during the daytime.

    Having said all of the above and as you'll be doing your sightseeing in the city centre (about 10 minutes by bus or 20-30 minutes depending on how quickly you walk), I'd recommend you do most of your dining there. I'd describe most of the food in the better restaurants in Dublin as French/Irish. Most are located in D2 (south city centre) with the odd one or two in D1 (north city centre). Dublin city centre is separated by the River Liffey, so it's fairly easy to get your bearings.

    The Exchequer - Gastropub. Ate there again on Tuesday and it was fairly busy. You can reserve a table or just show up and eat at the bar.

    Queen of Tarts - Tiny original branch opposite Dublin Castle or newer and bigger branch on Cow Lane about 50 metres away. For lunch or afternoon tea. Cakes and pastries are fab.

    Chez Max - French cafe at gates to Dublin Castle.

    Silk Road Cafe - Located in Chester Beatty Library (more of which later) behind Dublin Castle. North African, Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food.

    Green 19 - Wexford Street/Camden Street area is the happening part of Dublin at the moment. Mains are all €10.

    The Winding Stair - Just over the Halfpenny Bridge in D1 in what used to be a bohemian bookshop/cafe. There's still a bookshop downstairs. Try to get a seat by the window for some quintessentially Dublin views.

    La Maison - French bistro behind Powerscourt Townhouse shopping centre

    L'Gueuleton - French again. They don't take reservations, but I've never had to wait.

    101 Talbot - One of my favourites. It's quite lively and generally frequented by theatregoers attending plays at either the Abbey or the Gate. Casual, but great food.

    Thornton's - One Michelin star. Lunch is incredibly good value. Best to reserve ahead. Just don't ask for chips. :lol:

    Chapter One - One Michelin star. Next to the Dublin Writers Museum on Parnell Square in D1 hence the name.

    Pearl Brasserie - Across the road from Government buildings. French/Irish.

    Patrick Guilbaud - Two Michelin stars. Next door to Pearl. Expensive and possibly the only restaurant in Ireland that could be described as somewhat stuffy. Incredible food though.

    OK, that's the restaurants out of the way. Next is pubs and bars. Where do I even begin? :lol:

    The Brazen Head - Ireland's oldest pub. Near Christchurch

    The Church - In D1 in a, yes you've guessed it, deconsecrated church.

    The Library Bar - Inside the Central Hotel on Exchequer Street. Always reminds me of Blake Carrington's study from Dynasty.

    The Dawson Lounge - Probably the smallest pub in Ireland, but plenty of character. Not for the claustrophobic though.

    Cafe En Seine - Near the Dawson Lounge, but worlds apart in atmosphere and size.

    The Long Hall - Victorian era pub. One of the best pints of Guinness in Dublin.

    The Market Bar - A converted sausage factory. They also do tapas.

    Just across the road from the Market Bar and above L'Gueuleton, there's a bar with no name that's frequently referred to as the Secret :sekret: bar.

    That's just scratched the surface as far as pubs and bars go, so hopefully they'll be something there that you fancy. :)

    Sightseeing in Dublin:

    Guinness Storehouse - I suppose if you come to Dublin, it has to be done. Booking online gives you a 10% discount on the (expensive) admission and you don't need to queue for your ticket. You can just pick it up at the information desk. Entry includes one drink (Guinness or otherwise) at the Gravity bar

    Trinity College - Ireland's oldest university and home to the Page Book of Kells. The Old Library is worth the price of admission alone. Small discount for booking online. Student guided tours over the summer months are apparently quite good, although I've never been on one. :shuffle:

    Christchurch Cathedral - Ye olde ancient church.

    St. Patrick's Cathedral - Ye another olde ancient church.

    Dublin Castle - Seat of British rule when Ireland was still a colony of the UK. Entry only by guided tour.

    Chester Beatty Library - One of the largest collections of Oriental and Islamic art in Europe. European Museum of the Year 2002.

    The National Museum - There are actually three separate museums within Dublin that come under the banner of the National Museum. The National Museum on Kildare Street (next to Leinster House, the Irish Houses of Parliament) displays archaelogical artifacts (mainly Celtic and early Christian). The Natural History Museum on Merrion Square has recently reopened (it was closed a few years ago when a marble staircase collapsed :yikes:). It's frequently referred to as "The Dead Zoo". Further away and across the river from Guinness is Collins Barracks which is the Decorative Arts and History branch of the museum. Admission to all the museums is free.

    National Gallery - Lots of paintings. ;)

    The Hugh Lane - The modern contemporary Irish art can be ho-hum, but the reconstruction of Francis Bacon's studio is fascinating. Admission free.

    Dublin Writers Museum - Next to the Hugh Lane. No shortage of material for display.

    Besides the above places, I'd recommend just walking around Grafton Street, St. Stephen's Green, check out the Georgian Houses around Fitzwilliam Square.

    Other tips:

    Butlers Chocolate Cafe - Several branches in Dublin and around Ireland (there's even shops in Karachi and New Jersey :eek: ). With your coffee, tea or whatever you get to choose a chocolate truffle or praline.

    Penneys - Irish retailers do affordable fashion really well and this is the king of them all. The mens selection can be a bit meh, but the womens and childrens are bang on trend and inexpensive.

    Carrolls - For cheap and tacky souvenirs! :cheer2:

    Avoca - On Suffolk Street in D2. Cute and stylish clothes, home furnishings and food. Deli downstairs and restaurant on top floor.

    Kilkenny Design - On Nassau Street in D2. Full range of top quality Irish souvenirs.

    While there places worth visiting, in general I would give Temple Bar(f) a wide berth unless you want to spend your whole time in Dublin with other tourists eating overpriced, substandard food and dodging hen and stag parties.
  27. Murdoch

    Murdoch New Member

    allezfred, my word I want to pay my membership ASAP JUST to rep you - WOW! I cannot thank you enough! I am sending my FH the link to this so he can do some searching!! YOU ARE AMAZING - THANK YOU!
  28. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    You're welcome. I'll try and add some more info over the weekend. What time of year are you going to be here? There might be some seasonal stuff you can catch (or avoid :scream: ).
  29. poths

    poths Well-Known Member

    Allezfred is a LEGEND> Seriously! That is uber nice of you.....:respec:
  30. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Having said the above, there are three reasons to go to Temple Bar:

    1. Get a photo of Wall of Fame

    2. Get a photo of the Temple Bar

    3. Get gelato at Botticelli :swoon: