Eleven months ago, I started this thread asking for help in planning my wife’s itinerary for her first trip to the UK this coming April.
Well, her plans are becoming more finalized. She had thought to spend four weeks and maybe include a quick trip to Paris. She can now spend only three weeks and has cut out any thought of venturing outside the UK. The main reason for the trip is to visit a Thai colleague who is studying for her doctorate in Leeds, so she’ll head straight there after arriving at Heathrow on the evening of this coming April 4. She has another Thai friend who lives in London, but that lady will be in Thailand until later in my wife’s trip, so the wife will save London for last. Her colleague in Leeds will be busy with school part of the time and cannot accompany her the whole time she’s there, so she’ll be getting out and about a lot on her own.
So that’s it. Three weeks, starting in Leeds and saving London for the end. Will travel on her own a good part of the time. She has excellent English-language skills and a lot of experience internationally, so no worries on that account. She’s keen on visiting Scotland and maybe Wales. Wants to see a football match in Manchester (like most Thais, she’s a fan of Manchester United). Wants to see Beatles stuff in Liverpool. Anything to add to that and the previous thread will be much appreciated.
Can you give any more information about what she’s interested in? Art? History? Cities? Countryside? Given her time limits, I think trying to squeeze three countries into her itinerary is too much, so I’d suggest dropping Wales - not because it isn’t worth visiting (it certainly is) but it is less accessible from her starting points and would be better served with a car and a week to drive around and explore.
From Leeds, I’d certainly look to visiting York (beautiful old city) and Edinburgh (equally beautiful old city and would give her a ‘Scotland’ fix).
I’ve never seen the fascination that foreign visitors have with going out of their way to do the Beatles in Liverpool. I honestly can’t think of a single British person I know who has ever done this. It’s not as if Liverpool is a Beatles theme park - it’s an industrial, working city with nothing to offer that you can’t find elsewhere, IMO. I’d advise her to get her Beatles fix in London when she can go and walk across the crossing outside Abbey Road studios.
I’m afraid watching a Man United match is a tall ask - as the biggest club in the world they could easily fill the stadium about 5 times over for every home game, so tickets are virtually impossible to come by, unless you want to pay hundreds for some kind of corporate package. What’s more, their last home league game of the season is April 4th. I’m not sure if they’ll have any other home fixtures after this date (a champions league game perhaps?). If she’s a mega fan, perhaps she could book a tour of the ground instead. Manchester is an easy day trip from Leeds. I suggest looking on the website where you can book stadium tours.
Yes, but in the “Part 1” thread, he said that she supports Liverpool: “The wife has just chastised me, though, for saying she likes Manchester United. Looks like Liverpool is her team, and she’s definitely going to Liverpool.”
In any case, getting in to either Old Trafford or Anfield for a league game will probably be difficult. She’d have better luck with a team from one of the lower divisions. Has she considered, for instance, the mighty Rochdale?
I’d suggest York is one place to visit, and while on the way, go out to Whitby, maybe Robin Hoods bay.
A day in Scarborough migt be worthwhile, you could take in a Bronte tour starting at Haworth, and ending up in Scarborough as this family lived and moved around these towns, and it does make for an interesting contrast, from gritty windswept Penine hills to the gentell seaside resort.
There’s loads of stuff on the net about these places.
Might be worth taking a ride on the Worth Valley railway - steam trains operating from Haworth, or perhaps the North York Moors railway.
In Leeds you have the Royal Armouries, and the Henry Moore art gallery. Leeds has a huge amount to offer if you are interested in the industrial revolution but you would need to do your reading first, however its not exactly pretty, far from it.
If you’re willing to pay through the nose to a scalper (known as “touts” in the UK), you can see a match at either Liverpool or ManU. Alternatively, as Götterfunken suggests, there are lots of lower division clubs (including several in and around London) who will be playing throughout April and into May and she should have no problem getting a ticket for most of them (Leyton Orient could use her support! Or Leeds United, since she’ll be in Leeds anyway).
Aso, while I found Stonehenge itself to be kind of “meh,” the nearby town of Salisbury was a real gem. It’s about a two-hour train ride from London, IIRC.
I’ll agree with the guy who isn’t Dennis Bergkamp about Salisbury.
It was a cute little town that had a lot of interesting history to boot.
A fun thing to do in Salisbury too is go to the Red Lion Inn, it is an ADORABLE little inn/pub that my crew and I stumbled upon while we were walking around. Great food and a great garden/eating area to boot.
(In case you were wondering, we ate a steak there which was one of the best I have had. I had to eat salisbury steak right?)
Oops! Looks like I did it again. :smack: Don’t tell her! Shows you how much I pay attention to football. (Most Thais seem to support Man U, that’s all you ever hear about from them.)
Okay, Liverpool then. I’m not sure how much she’d be willing to pay to get into a match, but I do feel sure she would settle for a lower division if she had to. Will check all that when I see her later.
She likes markets and wants to take a boat ride wherever she goes. If she has to choose between Wales and Scotland, I feel certain she’ll choose Scotland but will have to ask her. History and museums are good. Mainly she wants a nice setting, like she’s seen in the movies. Historic old towns and castles and the like. No doubt the museums will follow along in those place.
Just spoke with the wife on the phone. She’s not willing to pay much more than standard for a football match, so she may cut that out. She’s thinking now, based on the comments here, that she may ditch Liverpool and Wales.
(Did not tell her I had pegged her as a Man U fan again, but she’ll see it eventually, hehehe. :D)
If you come to Leeds, I happen to know one of the tour guides in Temple Newsam House, and I can give you the best times to go there whilst he is in attendance. You will find this quite an interesting experience, perhaps you like ghosts too?
You will find such tours are best when you know someone on the inside instead of just being a regular tourist.
In others words, send me a pm and I will make the arrangements, if things happen to tie up really well, I might also be able to find someone who can arrange for you to have a tour around the less visited side of Leeds town hall - which is something of an iconic building - and again an official guide - differant person. You might need a good head for height and a camera with a wide angle lens
In fact, while we are about it, we could look at all the Grade 1 listed buildings in Leeds, there are only a few, and I have mentioned 3 of them, the few others are in easy walking distance of each other.
I can also give you more of the background of these structures than most other folk in Leeds too, which sounds a bit nerdy, I know, but I have quite a lot of information about them.
Grade 1 listed buildings in the UK are those which have special architectural and cultural merit, and it turns out that I know people who work in most of them in Leeds, or I have worked in them myself - and in the case of the Kirkgate market, just about everyone who calls themselves a Leeds ‘loiner’ pretty much grew up in there looking for bargains.
Thank you, casdave. That is some excellent information. My wife’s friend and the friend’s husband have both lived in Leeds for a couple of years now, but since she’s been busy with school, who knows how much she’s gotten around the city.
I would definitely agree with the suggestions for York and Edinburgh. Both great cities with lots of opportunities. Robin Hood’s Bay is a neat little town (Mrs Piper and I ended our walk across England there, with Scotches in the Bay Hotel overlooking the water), but I wonder how attractive it would be in early April? what’s the North Sea like at that time of year?
If you want stately homes, you can’t beat Chatsworth, the home and estate of the Dukes of Devonshire. It’s as stately as it gets. It stood in for Pemberly, Mr. Darcy’s estate, in the recent movie of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley.
When she’s in London, I would try to go to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower. Each night, the Chief Warder closes up the Tower in a short ceremony. They’ve been doing it every night, for centuries, without missing a beat - including the height of the Blitz. If you’re interested in that, you need to order the tix by mail, six to eight weeks in advance - address given in the linked page.
Thanks. We checked out the info for the ceremony of the keys, and it says to enclose “a self-addressed envelope, together with the requisite British Postage Stamps, or a minimum of two International Reply Coupons.” I’m not sure what International Reply Coupons are.
Siam Sam, if you can find a coy of “The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street” by Helene Hanff, it’s got a little account of the Keys ceremony. Hanff was an American writer and the book is her account of her first visit to London - may give Mrs Sam some ideas.
If she likes theatre, Mrs Piper and I would strongly recommend a play at the Globe, whose season opens on April 23. You can be a modern day groundling for only £5, but you must stand for the entire play. Seats are a bit more pricey, but we recommend them. We went to two plays, and had seats on the ground level for one, and the first tier for the second. Recommend the ground level - more immediate connection with the action.
The Covent Garden area is fun to wander around for an afternoon, plus there are ticket booths there where you can get tickets for most shows. Attending “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie is fun - it’s a piece of history - longest running play in history.
If she’s in the Trafalgar Square area and wants a little low-key break, there’s St Martins-in-the-Fields - they run a little cafeteria in their crypt - reasonably priced and usually not too crowded. Very refreshing.