Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
Your chance to tell me where to go.
Dorinda and I are planning a trip to the UK and Europe, probably late in 2008. She wants to follow up on her family's genealogical research, and I want to do some worldbuilding research and just look around at stuff. We'll spend most of our time in the UK, but will try to get about. We'll only have about four weeks - not nearly long enough, but all we can spare.
So. Do any of you have opinions on where we should go? What we should see? How we should travel? People we should meet? As this thread unfolds I'll tell you what I've come up with so far, but I'm interested in what you think first of all.
Then there's this one, established by William the Conqueror: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server.php?show=conProperty.374
and if you've read the Brother Cadfael myterys, you might want to look at this castle: http://www.shrewsburymuseums.com/
If you must follow the artur legends surely this would be on the list: http://www.britainexpress.com/counties/cornwall/castles/tintagel.htm
as would this one with the fake Arthur's round table: http://www.britainexpress.com/counties/hampshire/winchester/castle.htm
One of my favourite historical figures, William Marshall, is the reason I'd love to visit here: http://www.pembroke-castle.co.uk/
But of all the places in England I'd like to visit, this one possibly takes the cake: http://www.bettysandtaylors.co.uk/home.asp?storyid=%7B4901A29E%2DDB7A%2D485A%2D9596%2DA856D06C1FDB%7D
(why yes, I do know that is a terrible pun)
And Jo, I sispect Gilgamesh might predate Arthur as extant fantasy - but you're right, Glastonbury has to be seen.
Yep, been there a couple of times - not to the town but just to the Tor *grin*
Stonehenge is on the way there, Avebury Ring, lots of good fantastical stuff - oooh, and that's the area where they get ooodles of crop circles!
Also, don't miss York.
I also suggest you suggest to us what you're *most* interested in. Give us periods or favourite people or dreams, otherwise suggestions will range from Tintern Abbey to the Devil's Bridge.
Historical sites of ANY period
Churches and castles
St Andrews golf course
watching a game of football
Going to a concert - rock, or opera, or a play perhaps
Tea shops of all descriptions
Moors, fens and fells
and lots more ... let the suggestions range wide. I don't mind what the experience is, as long as it's interesting and not too obviously fake.
Cornwall, and Mont St Michel.
The Lake District
For theatre, you've got the West End. I walked into a theatre and got a seat for that night's performance of Jacobi in Voyage Round My Father. It was great.
And if you can swing it, Edinburgh. The castle and the old section are phenomenal.
Quirky places: Cornwall is a must, the cornish people see themselves as a separate country to England and have a different culture, similar to that of Brittany in France. Also the home of the original and best cornish pasty. Some of the smaller Yorkshire villages have some colourful characters and if you want to try some of the best traditional beer visit the Black Sheep brewery.
Dramatic scenery: The Jurassic Coast (south Dorset coast)from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is stunning, chalk cliffs, limestone arches, quiet bays, a fossil forest *sigh* it really needs to be seen via the cliff path. The Highlands of Scotland are very dramatic with mini mountains and lakes, Loch Ness is well worth being seen and if possible travel right around it as there are other bits worth seeing in the surrounding area. I recommend visiting one of the whiskey distilleries but maybe only one as the tours get very repetetive.
Churches and castles: Durham and York are well worth seeing for their cathedrals and castles and also Edinburgh castle. The cities themselves have plenty else to offer.
watching a game of football: the best for atmosphere would have to be a Glasgow Rangers vs Celtic match but tickets can be difficult to get hold of and the aftermath can be nasty
Going to a concert - rock, or opera, or a play perhaps: Glasgow Barrowlands has a great atmosphere if you want to see a band.
Moors, fens and fells: Yorkshire Moors are a must and if you're interested there are mines from days gone by that have been opened as tourist attraction that are very insightful and interesting to visit. So does Cornwall for that matter. Nothing like standing under afew million tons of barely supported rock in the pitch black *grin*
If you want a humorous insight into travelling the country I recommend you read Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island
Good luck fitting everything into 4 weeks, we may be small but there's lots crammed into out tiny island.
The most dramatic scenery? Well I loved Scotland, especially the drive to the Isle of Skye, loch and mountain and sunshine. I have to second Trudi's Orkney bid...but not sure you can make it up there with so short a time. I guess what is fascinating about the Orkneys is the complete lack of trees...
York, of course, London because it's London. Bath because there is so much Regency architecture there and you can visit Stonehenge and Avesbery on the way. Hadrian's wall was also fascinating. Didn't get to Wales, but would like to myself. And I hear Ireland is pretty cool. There are walking tours, from village to village in Ireland (I think your luggage is bussed). That looked good but it was pricey.
The thing about the UK is that everywhere there is history. There are plenty of musuems and galleries. Both Bath and York have free historical tours run by volunteers. The Museum of Scotland is one of my favourites and so is the Museum of London along with the British Museum.
There is also the Museum of Costume in Bath and the Victoria and Albert (which I haven't seen).
A month is not nearly long enough Russ. Tell Dorinda she needs to work on you more.
Because if you are in the UK it is not far to Paris.
In a month we went from heathrow as far as Skye and included wales, and the south coast - all the major places like Bath, York, Durham, Oxford, climbed a mtn in the lake district, hadrian's wall, stonehenge, included stone age stuff - fabulous trip. I wonder if I still have a copy of the itinerary. I'll look. The last week we gave up the car and wandered London.
We never felt rushed, ambled and walked a lot. Mind you, in those days it cost 5 pounds a night per person for a B&B...
Trudi's suggestion of Orkney is also very good. Most of the Hebridean islands are also beautiful, and have lots of historical sights.
I can give you a list of good tea/cake shops on the west coast :D
Donna, it's not me who can only spare a month. Dorinda's concerned about the animals. I'd be away for three months if I could!
Rebecca, Dorinda's ancestors are mostly Cornish miners (explains a lot really), so I'm picking we'll end up spending a week in Cornwall.
Thanks Ailsa, I'm very keen to get to Scotland.
And Glenda, that's the sort of thing we intend to do. Hire car, back roads, B&B, walking etc.