UK or Bust 2020

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Chops
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UK or Bust 2020

Postby Chops » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:18 pm

So, I've been wanting to get back to the UK for some time now, and now that things are getting a little more even, I've kicked off a Vacation Account, depositing what I hope is a fairly healthy $800/month through July 2020 to bankroll a proper tour of one of my favorite Nations. With luck, will be traveling in the company of my wife and eldest daughter.

Much has to be decided:

1. Do I take advantage of the tourist Rail Pass and simply bounce around the UK by rail, stopping off and find lodgings at an interesting place?
2. Do I find a pleasant place, like say Brighton and the Lakes District, sort of set up my base from there and simply try to take in as much as
possible with a 50 kilometre radius.
3. A prepackaged rail tour that shuttles me too and fro to cardinal events.
4. A bike tour.
5. A walking tour.

One thing I'm keen to avoid is extensive travel by automobile. Roadways do not particularly interest me, unless they can accommodate bicycles. While I'd really like a good solid couple of days to hit some of the better London museums, such as the Transport Museum, I'm not really fascinated with big cities as I am with the countryside and coast. I hope to take in some of these amazing preservation railways, particularly that one that was a slate hauler in Wales, I think it was. Not sure where to start.
Nessie rocks!

Bigmet
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby Bigmet » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:11 pm

With that list of potential interests - depending on time available - my suggestion might be get over any travel fatigue in London doing museums (two ladies in the party, might just have a different itinerary?) as there are plenty of places to sit down and have refreshment. Then go by train to a country destination. You could do a lot worse than ride the historic ex-LNWR rails toward North Wales and visit the various preserved railways, standard and narrow gauge, en route to a country/coast destination. There will be bikes for hire in some of these locations. Depending on how B_____ has gone, your dollars will range from attractive to wildly popular.

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sparkhill
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby sparkhill » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:12 pm

You could head straight for Birmingham the "Centre of the Universe" then take train trips North, East, South and West, maybe Wales and the nearby Counties, time it right a visit to the Warley Train Show might be a highlight to that part of the UK, some of the best Preserved Railways in the area makes it particularly attractive, oh oh maybe that's what I would do :roll:
Regards
Nobby

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Mountain
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby Mountain » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:46 pm

Those rail passes. I don't know how much they cost, as I only used to check them when I worked the trains... (Naturally they were sold to passengers abroad to come into the UK to use them). They are very useful though. Typically, the ones I saw were for 8 days of use.... 4 days by rail and 4 days by bus, or something along those lines. They are well worth looking into. For example, lets say you come to South West Wales from London, this today costs a lot. I am out of touch with prices, but £400 for the two of you would probably be eaten up on the single journey in peak time these days. It may cost more! (Train journeys in and out of London are immensly expensive. Yet journeys elsewhere like South West Wales to Manchester area are more reasonably priced.. London is very expensive to prevent overcrowded trains. The extra money raised is ploughed back into the railway system).
Anyway. Check prices, and if they are not too expensive, then those travel passes will be worth it. Many places in the UK which can be visited. One area where those travel passes were useful, is that passengers used to travel to Carmarthen or further west by train, and then after exploring, come back to Carmarthen and take a bus to Aberystwyth and on from there by train again... Possibilities like this make those passes worth considering.

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SRman
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby SRman » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:43 am

The Britrailpass can be expensive, but there is a big advantage in that you don't have to pay attention to who operates the train you wish to travel on.

On my recent trip to England, we got England-only passes as we weren't planning to go into Wales or Scotland, and had (if I remember correctly) 8 separate days of travel (we were there for 11 days but had several friends and relatives to visit and stay with). In that time we used trains operated by Cross Country, Northern, Great Western, Virgin, and South Western Railway (and possibly one or two more).

As an aside, we also went briefly into Wales on an engineering diversion, allowed because we weren't travelling to a Welsh destination and because the train would not normally have gone that way - the trip was from Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth with a change at Birmingham New Street.

Dublo
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby Dublo » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:47 am

I think that you will have to have a definite itinerary and don't forget to allow yourselves some time just to relax. Travelling around can wear you down. I think that all of us on here will have a different set of must sees. There is only the one transport museum in London and that is the London Transport museum at Covent Garden it is a good museum and very hands on for children. But it restricts itself purely to the Metropolis and all forms of transport are displayed within. The original Stephensons Rocket in its modified form is in the Science museum. I'm assuming that a visit to a certain Scottish Loch would also have to be fitted in.

b308
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby b308 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:02 am

I would agree with Dublo. I'd have a chat with your fellow travellers and then decide on an itinerary. Railways are useful to get around between major places but can be very lacking in other ways. You mentioned the Lake District but there is only one line that goes into it and then only to Windermere! To travel around there you will need to use buses to see many things and bus services can be a little "lacking".

Taking the Lakes as an example, though, there are several preserved lines/places of railway interest, the Ratty, Lakeside and Haverthwaite and a quarry museum off the Penrith/Keswick road, all on different ends of the Lakes, though. By car they are reasonable easy to get to but if you are based in Windermere, Kendal or Keswick without your own transport it would take you most of the day travelling to get to the places. Much of the rest of the UK is very similar.

Have a chat with them and come back with the places you'd most like to see, in descending order and they we can help better!

4472
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby 4472 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:42 am

Don't forget the ancient city of York with it's railway museum and narrow streets
Great grandson of Peter Benjamin Spicer (LNWR retired)

Buelligan
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby Buelligan » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:17 pm

Dublo wrote: The original Stephensons Rocket in its modified form is in the Science museum.



If Stephensons Rocket is of particular interest, it's on it's way to the National Railway Museum in York from the end of September.

I'd recommend a visit to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway if possible. I think there's a mainline service to Whitby, and then can travel on the NYMR from there.

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sishades
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby sishades » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:07 pm

This place is an absolute must..........

Image
High towards the far post,Howard with a header,Hes done it!Steve Howard has scored for Leicester City,Bedlam here at the Walkers Stadium. the Leeds United players are flat out on the turf in utter despair. Leicester City are going to win again

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glencairn
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby glencairn » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:10 pm

sishades wrote:This place is an absolute must..........

Image


The lad wants to enjoy himself --- not have a nightmare. :mrgreen: :lol: :lol:

Glencairn
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Chops
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby Chops » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:39 pm

Always delightful how passionate the Brits are about their football. As a pupil at the Shiplake Grammar School in '66 I was introduced to football, and was regularly beaten to a pulp. Those tykes were quite competitive.

Thank you for the most useful information. Certainly "travel fatigue" is a very important factor, and I'm glad it got mentioned.
Being cooped up in a conveyance of any sort, much worse, from my perspective, in an automobile driving on the "wrong" side
of the road, watching beautiful scenery whiz by, or worse, beautiful scenery whiz by and never knowing it was just out of sight
beyond the copse of trees, is not a pleasant contemplation. Unless it was an AC Gray Hound Coupe, as shown in "The Avengers."
Then, maybe. If Lady Diane was to show me around.

Seriously, I am rather liking the "Center of the Universe Idea," having a headquarters, of a sort, and doing sorties to places of
interest from that hub. But then, I would want the HQ to be the kind of place that I could sit back, drink tea, and absorb the
ambiance. To wit, I've never been to Las Vegas, never wanted to go to Las Vegas. Something where they role up the proverbial
side walks at night troubles me not.

The vacation fund is going well, so far, hope nothing blow up in my face between now and next August, as happened with
almost monotonous regularity over the last few years. Again, thank you very much for all your useful and thought provoking
insights. I only have a year to plan this. Figure about 9 days in country, With four to travel round trip, about 6,000 miles as the crow
flies.

Ah, regarding the ladies, so we generally agreed that we would split up the nine days into thirds, each having the lead to say where they might
wish to visit, my daughter has the beach in mind for example, and my wife has a strong inclination towards re-enactment sites. When we lived
in Massachusetts, for example, she was quite taken with Old Sturbridge Village, which was an 1840 village populated by re-enactors in full
costume, and in character, only speaking and acting in the manner of people of early 19th century.

The question is whist there appear to be a frequent number of excellent re-enactment festivals, is there anything of this sort in the UK, that is
of a fixed base depicting some period of UK village life? Sounds like something one might Google, but nothing beats first hand information.

Have not been out of the US since '77, when we toured Wales. I've seen a lot of nice places, in this life, but I'd rather say Wales was about the
most lovely what with its rolling hills and glades and streams. I've only seen the Lake's District on the television, and it looks pretty
darn fine. Hiking through an English meadow, rain or shine, would be hard to beat.
Nessie rocks!

Buelligan
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby Buelligan » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:19 pm

Chops wrote:Ah, regarding the ladies, so we generally agreed that we would split up the nine days into thirds, each having the lead to say where they might
wish to visit, my daughter has the beach in mind for example, and my wife has a strong inclination towards re-enactment sites. When we lived
in Massachusetts, for example, she was quite taken with Old Sturbridge Village, which was an 1840 village populated by re-enactors in full
costume, and in character, only speaking and acting in the manner of people of early 19th century.

The question is whist there appear to be a frequent number of excellent re-enactment festivals, is there anything of this sort in the UK, that is
of a fixed base depicting some period of UK village life? Sounds like something one might Google, but nothing beats first hand information.

Have not been out of the US since '77, when we toured Wales. I've seen a lot of nice places, in this life, but I'd rather say Wales was about the
most lovely what with its rolling hills and glades and streams. I've only seen the Lake's District on the television, and it looks pretty
darn fine. Hiking through an English meadow, rain or shine, would be hard to beat.



Personally, for beaches, you can't beat Cornwall, problem being the best 1's are down small lanes and not within easy reach of any rail stations.

For the re-enactment type of thing, if you can figure the route into your plan, I'd suggest Blists Hill, at Ironbridge. We went out of season, so some things were closed, but there's a bakery, chip shop, sweet shop, blacksmiths, whitesmiths, carpenters, candlemakers etc. They also have a replica of Trevithicks first steam loco running on certain days.

PS. We aren't all mad about kicking a ball around. Best thing about the world cup is how quiet the roads are, great for getting out on the bike for a blast.

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Mountain
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby Mountain » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:02 am

I've never been to an official football or rugby match. I would not be concentrating on it as I'd be in a bit of a panic with the crowds and all the noise! Working trains crammed with rugby crowds was so difficult, and I sometimes had to retreat to the back cab to survive!

Something worth visiting... Porthmadog area. That us a great place to stay for a day or three as well. A good base to explore from. Take a trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog on thw Ffestiniog Railway and visit the slate caverns. Go up and visit Caernarvon Castle for another nearby trip. It maybe possible to visit using the Welsh Highland Railway from Porthmadog. Visit nearby Harlech and Cricciech castles. Also while at Porthmadog, a visit to Portmaerion is worth a visit, as is the little nearby little harbour village of Borth Y Guest along with the beach at Blackrock Sands which is also near Porthmadog. There is so much in and around Porthmadog one could easily spend the whole time there and still need to come back for more!

South West Wales (From Swansea heading west) has some gems. One of Europes best beaches is said to be Cefn Sidan near Pembrey (Taxis from Burry Port are the easiest ways to get there or it is a mile and a half of walking). There is an interesting castle at Kidwelly along with its ancient quay. The Gower (Near Swansea) is a nice area of land to explore, though it may help to have transport for the Gower, though there are local busses.

further west along the coast are Ferryside, and opposite the estuary is Llanstephan with its castle on the hill. Ferryside has the claim to fame as being the worlds first officially recognised tourist destination as a king used to visit there going back some 500 years ago.
The estuary is where three rivers meet. The first river goes through Kidwelly. The second is inbetween Ferryside and Llanstephan. The third river goes past Laugharne which has a castle and it is where the famous poet Dylan Thomas lived. It is a beautiful place. (I maybe heading there today as we have to entertain my brother and his many children for a few hours). A few miles west of Laugharne is Pendine where the world speed records were held. It also has a gem of a beach but unfortunately, access is limited to the small most westerly area these days due to the MOD weapons testing nearby. When I was younger we had access to about half of the beach. Locals are not pleased the government has now restricted most of the beach so they no longer go there which is a shame as it is a stunning tourist area and the beach is almost as long and flat as the nearby beach at Cefn Sidan, Pembrey.

Continueing on are Saundersfoot and Tenby. Saundersfoot is good, especially if one wants a meal, and Tenby? Well. Another famous tourist destination which is also easily accessed from the railway. Full of toueisty restaurants, shops etc, along with its nearby beaches and the remains of a castle (Remains.. More like glimpses of a few walls in places). But what is also worth a visit while at Tenby is to take a boat trip over to Caldey Island. Caldey Island is quite an adventure! The only place I've been abroad! It has a working monastry where the monks make delightful chocolate and other things.

Further west. Spectacular coastline witn the occasional castle mixed in. Three main castles come to mind. Manorbier, Pembroke (Pembroke is big! Has a large cave underneath as well!) and Carew. Carew also has a cross and a tidal mill to visit. Manorbier beach and castle is a two mile walk from the little train station. Pembroke castle is about three quarters of a mile walk from the station. Pembroke also has taxis, thouhh one may need to look up the phone numbers before one setting out just incase! Nearby Pembroke Dock has a Martello Tower which I believe is occasionally open to the public. I once went in it though I don't think it was open that often.

Gems further west and around the coast are plentiful. places like the little town of Fishguard where the ferries go to Ireland. (Pembroke Dock also has ferries to Ireland). I can see why Fishguard was used by the GWR as its main ferry port, though Neyland (Used to be called New Milford but not to be confused with the nearby port of Milford Haven) was the major port at one time. Gems less accessible by rail (As in many miles beyond rail access) are Parrog at Newport (Pembrokeshire), Newquay (Pembrokeshire) which both are gems... (Newquay may have better bus access), Aberaeron (Bus access). then through coastal villages like Llanon to reach Aberystwyth on the coast half way up the coast of Wales. Aberystwyth has rail access, is on major bus routes and has a beach and a cliff railway which has a camera obscura in a building at the top (Open in summer months only). I habe not see it yet as when I went to go up to see it, both the cliff railway and the obscura had closed as Princess Diana had died. All shops but for a petrol station had closed in the middle of summer and I didn't know why as I was on holiday so I was a litrle isolated from things.

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glencairn
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Re: UK or Bust 2020

Postby glencairn » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:25 pm

Well, Chops. Some excellent suggestions by the members.

As you probably will run out of time before arriving in the North East of England, here are a few suggestions for you to visit in 2022?

Wensleydale Railway
Weardale Railway
Locomotion, Shildon.
Tanfield Railway.
Bowes Railway
The Transport Museum, near Sunderland.
Stephenson Railway Museum, North Shields.
Aln Valley Railway, Alnwick.
Heatherslaw Light Railway, Cornhill on Tweed
South Tynedale Railway, Alston.
The Heritage Centre, Bellingham, Northumberland
The Border Union Railway Company; Waverley Route Heritage Association.

That should keep you busy for a couple of weeks. :)
If you make it to the last two let me know. Afternoon tea at the Heritage Centre is a must. :lol:

Glencairn
To the world you are someone. To someone you are their world.
I Cannot Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought


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