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Old 04-28-2010, 05:09 PM
 
Location: London, KY
718 posts, read 1,453,621 times
Reputation: 538

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooseketeer View Post
I think rail is better for travel to cities ( most cities in the UK nowadays are very anti-car and make it very hard and expensive to park). So if you are reasonably fit and healthy, yes I would recommend that. Have a look at all the different options in terms of passes etc.. ask about any discounts available. The longer in advance you book it and usually the best deal you can get. If you are on a small budget you could often do worse ( but compare prices with trains) than take National Express ( coaches).

However if you do want to get into the countryside ( and I would strongly recommend the Cotswolds where I live for example) then a car would be very useful so you could do London, take a train/coach to Oxford do the city, then hire a car and then maybe on to Bath via the Cotswolds.

Tipping is a maximum of 10% usually for restaurants ( no need to leave money in hotels as in the US either) apart from London where 15% is more common but unlike American tipping is not something "forced" upon you so you could argue that the costs of eating out and staying in hotels are narrowed down by at least 10% already.

When you eat out have a look at "www.lastminute.com" and "www.5pm.co.uk" and "www.toptable.co.uk" as many , many restaurants offer superb discounts and all you need is to register with the sites. We save ourselves a lot of money that way and have treated ourselves to some quite fancy restaurant at great discounts through those. Also try Premier Travel Inns which often have cheap deals on rooms if you book long enough in advance.

Too late for you this year ( but maybe not) but if you love travelling and have not got the biggest budget ( like us) , I would also recommend home swaps ( especially popular between America and the UK but all over the world really). You swap your homes and often your car and then all you have left to spend is your flights and spending money. We love it and have done over 50 home exchanges in the last 20 years. Allows us freedom, having a proper house rather than a hotel room , and allows you to get to know the country a little more like a visitor than a tourist.

Best sites :
HomeLink - home exchange house swap - subdomain: www
Intervac-International Home Exchange Holiday Service

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask, I know many parts of the Uk pretty well though my "speciality" is Oxford, Cotswolds, Bath , Stratford Upon Avon etc...

Again, thank you for the great advice-especially the websites offering dining discounts.

Home swapping is something we would like to do, the problem for us is location. We live in a fairly rural area in Kentucky, so the main attractions would probably be horse farms in Lexington and a two hour trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg. In other words, no large east coast cities and nothing close to Florida,unless one jumps on I-75 south for seven or eight hours.

Another thing I should have mentioned-we love to walk or hike. That's why I would love to spend a couple of days near a park such as Northumberland and after doing some research on the Internet, the Cotswolds looks great for hiking. We'll definitely keep in touch, as most of your areas are the same ones that would be of interest. LOL-it may be five or six years down the road, but we'll get there eventually!
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:14 PM
 
Location: London, KY
718 posts, read 1,453,621 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
If you like military history then you should also visit the Imperial War museum in London.

Look into buying a rail pass from Rail Europe. An England pass will cost you $285 for 8 days which is pretty reasonable and gives good flexibility.

I agree with those who advise avoiding cities. There are plenty of smaller towns which are well worth visiting. Oxford, Canterbury, York, Cambridge and Bath come to mind. These towns are usually served by rail.
Ah, forgot about the Imperial War Museum. Jot another one on the to do list. No interest in the cities with the exception of London. Would still like to take a quick day trip to Edinburgh-more than anything just to say we were there.
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:55 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,324,963 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryant View Post
Ah, forgot about the Imperial War Museum. Jot another one on the to do list. No interest in the cities with the exception of London. Would still like to take a quick day trip to Edinburgh-more than anything just to say we were there.
If you plan to visit Edinburgh then i suggest you do it as a day trip from York which is much closer than London. It would be quite hard to do as a day trip from London. Both are on the main Edinburgh to London train line so very well served (but Edinburgh will not be covered by just the England pass). York is well worth visiting in its own right as is Edinburgh. Also en-route between Edinburgh and York is Holy Isle which is also well worth visiting. Not sure how easy it is by train .... perhaps train to Berwick and then a bus.
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,012,684 times
Reputation: 19908
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryant View Post
Again, thank you for the great advice-especially the websites offering dining discounts.

Home swapping is something we would like to do, the problem for us is location. We live in a fairly rural area in Kentucky, so the main attractions would probably be horse farms in Lexington and a two hour trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg. In other words, no large east coast cities and nothing close to Florida,unless one jumps on I-75 south for seven or eight hours.

Another thing I should have mentioned-we love to walk or hike. That's why I would love to spend a couple of days near a park such as Northumberland and after doing some research on the Internet, the Cotswolds looks great for hiking. We'll definitely keep in touch, as most of your areas are the same ones that would be of interest. LOL-it may be five or six years down the road, but we'll get there eventually!

I think you'd be surprised at how many people would enjoy Kentucky, it is a beautiful part of the US, the countryside is lovely and I am sure many people would enjoy the peace and quiet and not a bad place if you enjoy horse riding, walking etc...

You might have to be more pro-active in terms of contacting people perhaps but I think you could pull it off. There's only one member of Homelink at the moment in Kentucky , in Louisville ( making you more in demand) so maybe you could contact her and ask her experiences ?

What appeals to many home exchange members is a new experience and you would be surprised how flexible people are often.

We live in a very prized part of the UK and as such I literally have to beat people back with sticks ( especially Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders) but our house is very small and nonetheless people don't mind at all . All they want is a nice clean base and something "typical" .

We have exchanged with very grand huge houses for example and never had a negative feedback. As long as you are honest about your house and area then people can make an informed choice...

If you like hiking the best areas would probably be the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland ( maybe a little too rugged) and the Cotswolds in England and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and Snowdonia in Wales. I would also strongly recommend the West Coast of Scotland from Lochgilphead up to Ullapool and of course the Western Highlands and Islands . We lived there for 5 years so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.
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