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Best Way To See The British Isles Or Europe  
User currently offlineMcdougald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3544 times:

I'm hoping to take a short (4-7 day) trip to either the British Isles and/or Western Europe within the next year or so, and was wondering what would be the best way to go about it.

If possible, I'd prefer to stick to just one country as opposed to one of those "seven countries in seven days" package tours.

Would it be worth going in, say, November, to avoid the summertime crowds and perhaps get a deal? Or perhaps stay in a less touristy blue-collar town, such as Birmingham, England for example, and using a rail or intercity bus pass to make day trips to other cities, as opposed to staying in London or other hyper-expensive metropolises? Or any other suggestions?



12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRyanb741 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 3221 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3531 times:

IMHO, the best places to see are (in order)

1. London
2. Edinburgh
3. Cambridge

All of the UK is hyper-expensive in terms of rail transport. If I was you I would base yourself in London (it's near to many nearby towns of note such as Windsor, Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge etc). You could get a cheap flight to Edinburgh on a low cost carrier and it would be much cheaper (and quicker) than taking the train.

In general prices are about 60% higher than those in the USA



I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3524 times:

if you want to use the trains in the UK make sure you get a Brit Rail pass,you must buy it before you leave as they cannot be purchased in the UK-but you will save a fortune.

Birmingham is very centrally located and is a good place to stay if you want to go to a different place everyday.The city itself is ok,but it's in the middle of a very industrialised part of the UK.But at least it's near Stratford on Avon,the birthplace of Shakespeare.

Another good place to to is Chester-it's about 90 mins by train from Birmingham,as are Manchester and Liverpool.london is about 2 hours by train from Birmingham.

If you want to avoid the summer crowds try going in mid to late September.November can be quite cold,and it gets dark quite early aswell.


Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3520 times:

Try this...

http://www.britainontrack.com/


It might help.

Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineMls515 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3076 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3518 times:



I thought York was pretty cool. Yes, definately get a BritRail pass from your travel agent. The flexibility is priceless. You can get on any train whenever you feel like it. (Psst! Use an eraseable ink pen and use it more than you're supposed to! Shhh!)


User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3519 times:

Mmm, how keen are you on visiting Britain in particular?

My personal opinion favours France or Italy for a first-time visit.

If in the UK, and you want to cover long distances, it might just be worth checking the following sites

www.easyjet.com
www.go-fly.com
www.ryanair.com

You never know, could be cheaper than ground transport!

I live in Cambridge, yes, very nice, but 1 day is really all you need, and it can be done whilst you're in London-a 'Cambridge Cruiser' gets you here in under 1 hour-though it costs a staggering 15 pounds.

Useful sites;

www.britannia.com
www.thetrainline.com
www.gobycoach.com

Glasgow, Edinburgh & Manchester are nice cities. I don't think you'll like Birmingham-it's pretty grotty and unattractive.

London is obviously where it's at though.

Good luck
(I still think Paris or Florence are much nicer!!)


User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3510 times:

Capt. Picard is spot on with the suggestions for low cost airlines-but I don't advise you to use thetrainline.com....I sell railway tickets over the counter at a station in London and thetrainline is not good at finding the best journey or the best ticket for any given journey,also it is run by Virgin Trains and is therefore not very independent.,nationalrail.co.uk is the best place to go for unbiased information.


Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineMcdougald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3497 times:

Thanks to everyone for the excellent feedback!



User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3493 times:

Thanks for the info Qantas-interesting what you said about thetrainline.com-I'll avoid it next time!

Regards


User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3484 times:

Generally speaking the internet is a bad place to buy train tickets for the UK.Most search engines will give you the quickest way of getting from point A to point B,not taking into account the fact that on some lines there are cheaper alternatives which are sometimes only a few minutes slower.This is most prevalent with journeys in and out of London.

The other problem is that when things go wrong such as delays,cancellations,(or strikes as seems to be the fashion at the moment) you can't get refunds without doing it through the people you bought your ticket from.I would advise people not to buy over the internet as,in my experience,you end up with a ticket which is not be the best type of ticket for the journey you are making.If you put 'Cambridge to Manchester' in a lot of search engines they will try and send you via London
when you can travel directly for less even though it may take slightly longer.

When someone comes up to the ticket office and starts off by saying 'I got these times and prices from the internet' I usually end up having to give them new times and prices for their journey.


Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offline777-200 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 1020 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3484 times:

Oxford is nice to


Another Day, Another Dollar.... Young Jeezy
User currently offlineIainhol From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3481 times:

I would suggest with a beer in your hand!
Iain


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 12, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3476 times:

Since you mention "the British Isles and/or Western Europe" I´ll venture a brave advance and throw in my hat for Germany. Getting around by rail is much easier than in the UK - mind you, our rail system is far from perfect as well, but it´s certainly way better than the British one. I´m not aware of any passes, and travelling by rail is not cheap but it´s fast and efficient. Tour the Rhine with its castles and/or Neuschwanstein - in other words, the full kitsch monty every Japanese tourist lusts for.

Daniel Smile

P.S.: And if you prefer a rental car over the rail - feel like doing 130 mph on the Autobahn? Big grin


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