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Travel notes - York to Edinburgh
Old 06-11-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
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Travel notes - York to Edinburgh

We went to the UK for a few weeks. I thought I'd put down some brief notes to perhaps help others in designing a trip. Our main source of info was Rick Steves (Britain and also the London book) with some consultation of TripAdvisor.

The main cities on our trip were London, Edinburgh, and York. The part I'll mention is the center part not really covered entirely by Rick Steves. After London and a train to York we rented a car. Then we did:
1) Travel towards Pickering with a stop for Castle Howard. I won't detail this site as you can find it online but it's very photogenic and worth a stop.
2) Overnight and then traveled to Ripon with a stop at the fantastic Rievaulx Abbey ruins. Well worth the stop plus their is a set of quaint village houses just around there -- probably expensive ones.
3) Stayed at the Old Coach Inn in Ripon for 2 nights. Great inn at a reasonable rate plus the restaurant across the street was really nice. You can have a beer and not worry about driving back.
4) Next day visited Fountains Abbey. This is a sister abbey of Rievaulx but more intact and there are large grounds to walk around with a water garden.
5) Headed to Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. Nice town to stay the night and the local pub was authentic feeling. Lots of locals there. The Yorkshire Dales are beautiful green rolling hill farm country with streams, cows, and lots of sheep with lambs (lambing in spring).
6) Went on to Keswick in the Lake District. Rick Steves does a good job of describing this area. We stayed at the Hazeldene and it was very nice. Did a lot of hiking in the area with great views and lots of sheep, horses, and beautiful lakes.

If we went again I'd go in September rather then May. The last 4 years or so have been cooler then normal springs so don't trust the averages. When the weather goes cool off a normally cool average -- it's cold. We should have known from past experience ... oh well we still enjoyed the trip a lot.

Regarding the car rental, we used AutoEurope with a Visa credit card that included insurance. Everything on that transaction went amazingly smooth with Hertz the auto renter. I took our GPS with a Europe chip plus some backup maps. Turned out the GPS did not acquire the satellite and no GPS rental available. So we used a road atlas plus the Google directions I printed out.

DW was a bit of a car wreck by Edinburgh. I thought I was going to loose the passenger for sure. She had a bit of a problem helping with navigation as the street signage is different and often inadequate. Driving on the opposite side is not for the faint of heart. Small narrow roads and different rules of etiquette. Then there are the multi-lane roundabouts (hint: stay in the center lane until you are ready to hit your exit). We only had a few mild arguments with no knock down drag out fights. Definitely will get a GPS setup somehow if doing this again.

Edinburgh was a nice end point. The city has fascinating architecture for me. One could spend several days there. The reason we went in May was because Edinburgh is impacted by tourists during the August festival season and somewhat into September. Then there are the midges which I understand can be pesky if you do a Highlands tour as we did (left the driving to them).

From Edinburgh we returned to London. As I mentioned the Rick Steves London book does a great job. If you have a week that would be great as we did out of towns including Windsor, Cambridge, and Hampton Court. Steves does not feature Hampton Court but we thought it was fantastic and well worth a full day, especially if you enjoy gardens along with your history -- and especially if you have seen the old Henry VIII Masterpiece series from decades ago.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:55 AM   #2
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Here is one pic of Rievaulx Abbey. There was a good little museum on site plus an audio guide for the ruins.


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Old 06-11-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting. I probably will never make this trip but I enjoy the trip vicariously.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:14 AM   #4
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Did you happen to visit any of the distilleries? I want to do a similar trip some day (and I love scotch).
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:27 PM   #5
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Did you happen to visit any of the distilleries? I want to do a similar trip some day (and I love scotch).
Didn't get to any distilleries but we passed by a few in our 3 day Highland tour. I'm sure some tours focus on them. If they are like our wineries a tour would be fun.

BTW, we were told the whiskey prices were not very good because of taxes. Maybe better to buy back in the US? Traveling with that weight might be an issue too.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:09 PM   #6
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Ahhhh, went through my old stomping grounds. Spent 7 years in/around Harrogate which is just south of Ripon. Might still go back to that area to live....but you are right...the last few years have been terrible for weather, especially in the north. Just this last week they have been getting semi-decent weather. North Yorkshire is a lovely place if you like scenery.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:22 PM   #7
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Alan and I will get all misty eyed at the mention of all these North Yorkshire hot spots. But you seem to have missed the Jarvik Center in York and Hadrian's Wall, they're both fantastic if you like some history.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:13 PM   #8
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Castle Howard was the setting for the TV-film version of Brideshead Revisited. It is on my bucket list!
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:31 PM   #9
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Alan and I will get all misty eyed at the mention of all these North Yorkshire hot spots. But you seem to have missed the Jarvik Center in York and Hadrian's Wall, they're both fantastic if you like some history.
Op does an excellent write up, great descriptions of your trip.

Not too misty eyed just yet as we have been back in that area this last couple of weeks including taking our son to Northumberland for a few days to see Hadrian's Wall. We are currently spending time in Cornwall, DD has arrived today from Seattle to spend a couple of weeks with us at the place we are renting in Newquay.

Next we get the train over to Kent to meet up with SIL and spouse to got to France. They live in Edinburgh and we'll drive back to their place after 3 weeks with them before taking off to the Highlands and then back to Yorkshire.

I've attached a photo of DW and DS on our walk along part of the Wall.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #10
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Alan.....that picture has to be a fake.....there's some blue sky....not raining at all....and the wind doesn't seem to be howling (they are standing straight up!).... My wife misses the green scenery, but after 50+ years in Harrogate she sure doesn't miss the wind.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:13 PM   #11
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Alan and I will get all misty eyed at the mention of all these North Yorkshire hot spots. But you seem to have missed the Jarvik Center in York and Hadrian's Wall, they're both fantastic if you like some history.
We did hit up several sites in York but since those are covered in Rick Steves I thought I'd pass on discussing the York, Edinburgh, London stuff we did. Steves has done a great job on this stuff.

We did see Hadrian's Wall on a car trip in 1996 with our son. It's a great site and well worth the stop off.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:17 PM   #12
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...(snip)...
Next we get the train over to Kent to meet up with SIL and spouse to got to France. They live in Edinburgh and we'll drive back to their place after 3 weeks with them before taking off to the Highlands and then back to Yorkshire.

...
I was just talking to a Brit from Kent today and she said there are lovely gardens in that area. When you get the chance tell us more about your trip Alan. I think we could all learn a lot from your travel knowledge.
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:49 AM   #13
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Alan.....that picture has to be a fake.....there's some blue sky....not raining at all....and the wind doesn't seem to be howling (they are standing straight up!).... My wife misses the green scenery, but after 50+ years in Harrogate she sure doesn't miss the wind.
We had unbelievably good weather for the few days we were there, and all the locals were quick to point out that it is rarely like this. Coming from the next County south, Durham, I was well aware of our good fortune with the weather.



Quote:
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I was just talking to a Brit from Kent today and she said there are lovely gardens in that area. When you get the chance tell us more about your trip Alan. I think we could all learn a lot from your travel knowledge.
This will be our first visit to Kent so I will try and remember to give y'all some feedback. We meet up with our relatives from Edinburgh and next day leave for 2 weeks in France. We'll be staying in Kent on the white cliffs close to Dover for a week on our way back and we have no internet at that house and then we'll be travelling from B&B to B&B in Scotland for about 10 days immediately after - so, advance apologies in any delays in writing a report on Kent
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