Great Britain Travel Recommendations

maybe, ha ha, busy at work. Posted those travel times for my planning. The western USA has vast open spaces and long travel times, and that is what I’m used to doing on road trips.

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Assume an overall average speed between 45-50 mph when travelling longer distances and you won’t go far wrong. The speed limits are obviously higher on the A roads and motorways but they are maximums not averages.

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yeah, those are mostly motorway point-to-point taken straight off Google and Apple Maps. We live near the Sierra Nevada and Coastal mountain ranges and I know what happens to average speeds when driving off the main road, on narrow twisty turny roads.

The times are short, not easy. Driving in England is exhausting.

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Yes, I’ve driven there. Try driving in California on the interstates where long lines of cars are doing 80+mph / 130kph and nearly bumper to bumper :rofl: My worst nightmares are the 405 from LA to Orange County, and I-5 thru the Central Valley :scream:

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Yaaay! So glad you’re going to make it to Edinburgh! That’s where I am from, and it’s still one of my favourite cities :face_holding_back_tears: :heart_hands:.

So much to choose from but Arthur’s Seat comes to mind immediately. It’s a hill in the middle of city, and gives you a wonderful 360 view of the entire city (on a clear day :upside_down_face:).

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I’m trying to explain it a bit more.
In the US, you are used to travel long distances to get to interesting places. You have to, the country is big and there is often little of interest in between. The UK, and Europe, is not like that. As your map comparison shows, the length of Britain is similar to just California. If you were driving through Europe, you can feasible drive through several countries within the same distance. You’d drive past places with different languages, food, culture, etc. Similar in the UK, while the distances seem small to American eyes, in our understanding, they are quite large, because of the amount of change that happens in between. What I’m trying to say is, you don’t need to go that far to experience a lot of different places and things. In fact, you might miss out on much if you spend lots time on the motorway blasting from one destination to the next. Don’t know if that makes sense, maybe it’s just a cultural difference. Going to “that there London” seems like a rare trip to me, but it’s only two hours on the train, lol.

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Edinburgh has a few of those; I preferred Calton Hill when I lived there, it was closer to my office and I’ve not got a head for heights :joy: Calton Hill: Edinburgh's UNESCO World Heritage Site
Although Arthur’s Seat is better for cycling :grinning:

I’m getting blasted by photos from back home (over the water in Fife) and it looks like they’ve had a lot of clear skies :+1:

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Believe it or not, it is like that here :joy: Even within a 5 mile radius I can walk into a store where everyone is speaking a different language. Our Wednesday night group ride is a great place to work on learning how to speak Tagalog and be immersed in Filipino culture!

My wife’s position is that if we are going all the way to the UK & Ireland, we might as well see and experience it all. Even if it is just a traveler’s “smorgasbord of appetizers” and not immersion into a single area. Next year we are taking our younger daughter across Europe. And I still haven’t been to Spain or Eastern Europe. We have about 7 go-go years built into our 20 year plan, and there are so many places to see (I had to pass up a chance last month to visit South America with friends).

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I was thinking that maybe the comparison to CA wasn’t so far off, because the north and south are quite different too.

I just prefer getting a feel for the local culture when going abroad, instead of having a tick list of tourist destinations to visit, because quite often they all feel a bit the same.

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Ooooh I love Calton Hill too! They are different but both great! Arthur Seat is actually where I did my first running race :face_holding_back_tears:.

My Dad always reminds me that Fife is the sunniest place in Scotland!! :joy:

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Aye, at 45,000ft :joy:

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You wouldn’t even manage that if you had a year.

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It’s an expression LOL. I’ve been in CA for almost forty years and still haven’t seen and experienced it all.

Hey, it’s her trip, she wants to see some key parts of the country and get a basic feel for the lay of the land. About all you can hope for, even if you decided to hang out in Bath for a week. Went to Costa Rica six months ago where we stayed too long in two places. And five years ago really enjoyed a 14 day Paris-Beaune-Swiss-Munich-Venice-Florence-Rome tour (24 people on a small bus).

All I can tell you is that we like moving around and getting a basic feel for the lay of the land in a handful of cities and using that info to plan trips in the future.

Let’s start critiquing my training plans too :rofl: I’ll go first… Not enough intervals, dial down the intensity and do more intervals! Too much conditioning in the gym, and endurance on the bike! WTF, you can’t seriously train outside! The horror of 3x/week with those whimpy kettlebell weights and hardly any heavy barbell work!

:rofl:

I’ll keep that in mind if its poring rain everywhere!

I get it. Look I spent 19 months on a single trip, visiting all 7 continents. Would I claim I’d seen it all, far from it!

I just think don’t go overboard on the number of places you try and visit. You’ll get a richer deeper experience of the places you do visit, rather than a superficial flying visit.

Of course it’s sounding like the road trip element is as important to you, as the actual places you stop at.

Anyway, moving on to Ireland

The next logical place from Edinburgh would be Giants Causeway, then maybe a tour of Belfast including the Titanic Musuem, mountains of Mourne, then Dublin.

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Cheddar Gorge… the caves, Wookey Hole of interest?

The Tor at Glastonbury (strange place)?

Wherever you choose to go, I’d suggest getting a good pub guide and use it whenever possible to guide your food and drink experiences. I lived in the UK for 4 years and traveled extensively the whole time. I won’t wade in on the where-to-go side, because basically you won’t really go far wrong. I had my preferences, but they are just that. I however strongly suggest a pub guide. I used the CAMRA (campaign for real ales) pub guide, but I’m sure there are other good ones. Your experience will definitely be positively enhanced by choosing your pubs, rather than just popping in somewhat randomly.

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100% agree with this - wise words useful even for those of us that live here :slight_smile:

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Not just feasible, but preferable, IMO.

Typically, I’ll either base in one central place for a full trip, or maybe take ~3 nights in each location. Driving between destinations every day just eats up time - not just the drive, but packing/unpacking, checking into accommodations, etc.

This is even more true in Scotland, where the roads are smaller and you end up stopping frequently at overlooks, castles, villages, etc. Sure, you can blast up the road from Edinburgh to Perth, but you’ll miss the coastal villages and St. Andrews. Etc. Much better to take the slower route and enjoy the drive.

Also, the speed limits tend to be enforced more stringently in the UK. You won’t be on a motorway posted 70mph but traveling 85mph as you do in the US. Speed cameras are common. And variable speed zones on urban motorways are also more common, so you’ll see speeds reduced from 70 to ~40 as you approach cities.

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Yeah, I dunno, thats debatable when you are talking about a 11 day trip. UK and Ireland are different enough to make the entire trip an experience worth having and remembering. FWIW, on the 14 day trip from Paris to Rome these are the key memories for my wife:

  • Paris is clean (vs Rome & Venice) and interesting to visit, she would go back for a couple days
  • Lauterbrunnen was the highlight, we hiked in the alps, we would go back and spend a week just exploring the Swiss mountains
  • her other highlight, after Switzerland, was leather shopping in Florence and she wants to go back with an empty suitcase
  • Rome and the Vatican, getting into the special entrance to the coliseum and then walking the nearby ruins

So of course this is when I get silly and inject humor LOL. Any spectacular mountains like the alps? Any great shopping for leather goods in UK/Ireland?

:+1: Any opinions on this one?

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