England 2013 Guidebook
Best and worst sights, experiences and destinations:
Best: The Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. All of Bath, all of York and Keswick and Hadrian's Wall at Housesteads Fort. Castlerigg Stone Circle were our favorite circles. Tower of London and Hampton Court.
Why: The area on the coast near Alfriston in the South Downs Way is spectacular to view and walk along. In addition to the usual Bath offerings, we spent time in the Thermae Spa in Bath and loved it. Did the twilight package with a meal and it was very good. The Undercroft exhibit at the York Minster was very interesting. Cotswolds were charming. Keswick area beautiful.
Worst: Rrenting a car.
Why: Words can not express all of our dissatisfaction with Hertz but number one was they gave us a midsize car because smaller ones were not available and it was hellish on the roads.
Dianne Walsh in West Barnstable, MA USA 09/28/2013
Best: Oxford Street and area
Why: Full of life, great to walk and enjoy
Dave Mildon in Newmarket, On Canada 09/14/2013
Best: Haytor and Haytor Rocks
Why: A climb up the carved stone stairs to the top is exhilarating in itself, but to find the hand-carved well in the top of the Tor gives it a spiritual significance. Loved standing in the wind gazing at the moor in all of its glory.
Rose Fontaine in Vancouver, WA USA 07/12/2013
Best: St. Michael's Mount, Marazion, Cornwall
Why: Starting with the exciting boat trip to the island, the interesting self-guided tour of the "castle", the fabulous terraced gardens on the "warm side" of the castle, and finishing up with the walk back on the causeway at low tide made for a fabulous day!
Rose Fontaine in Vancouver, WA USA 07/12/2013
Best: Wren Library, Trinity College
Why: Never expected to see a 1st edition Shakespeare portfolio as well as other written pieces. Library was actually being used & fun to see heavy, old books open on desks with computers & young students.
Worst: Travelcard problem mentioned above.
Why: I expected it to be easy & inexpensive to add to Travelcard to travel into other zones. Ended up costing us a lot extra.
Robin Hoffert in Akron, OH USA 05/27/2013
Best: KR Guided Walks, Keswick, English Lake District
Why: I can't say enough good things about KR Guided Walks (formerly Keswick Rambles). Their excursions are a real bargain at £20/day. On both walks I did (early April 2013), the guides were interesting and knowledgeable, and fostered a congenial group. Alison and Halle were especially engaging; they lead walks on Mondays. Check out their walk schedule and plan your trip around it! The scenery around Keswick is spectacular, and KR Guided Walks will help you see the best of it.
Trish in Germantown, MD USA 04/15/2013
Best: Too many to list.
Why: I am English and have been to so many of these places, tho I now live in Ohio, and when I go back this year I am going to have many more places to visit and much more information about them.
Carole Dee in Olmsted Falls, Oh USA 01/22/2013
Best: Luna Simone Hotel in London
Why: Wonderful staff, very nice accomodations, good location, excellent breakfast.
Roxanne Lieb in Olympia, WA USA 11/25/2012
Best: Keswick and the Lake District
Why: Everything that the Romantics said it would be. Even just sticking to Keswick and hiking Catbells, Maiden Moor and Castlerigg, it was spectacular. And it is fun to see a place that caters to dogs almost as much as it does people.
Worst: Keswick Boat Launch
Why: An all day hop-on-hop-off ticket means only that you can take the boat once around the lake, and in only one direction. All tickets are collected at Keswick regardless of what you purchased, so if you do get the round trip ticket, keep going in the same direction or you'll have to complain to the ticket office when they steal you ticket (though they did give us a partial refund for the misunderstanding). The reason I disliked this is I easily glossed over this in the guidebook and I felt it a bit annoying and cheap on the side of the boat company.
Peter Schank in Cheektowaga, NY USA 10/21/2012
Best: The cathedral in Durham
Why: Amazing building.
Marina in Washington, DC USA 09/06/2012
Best: Sheepscombe House B&B,Snowshill
Why: Jacki was a great hostess during our 2 day stay at this wonderful country B&B in Showshill near Broadway. Highlights included the wonderful visits to the small and out of the way villages ( off the tourist trail) and the high level of accomodation and delicious breakfasts. Thanks also to Jake for fetching the ring when ever we arrived and to Jacki for returning my forgotten hearing aid.
Gil Elliott in Stuart, Fl USA 08/31/2012
Best: The Family Bar at the North Pier in Blackpool
Why: Our 2 kids had a BLAST dancing and playing bingo, and we won a free pitcher of lager for answering all 20 questions right in a Disney trivia contest!
Worst: Blenheim Palace
Why: It poured rain, so the kids play area and hedge maze was a muddy mess. Walking the palace grounds was pretty miserable, so this expensive attraction should be skipped if the weather is bad.
Karen Meehan in Houston, TX USA 07/15/2012
Best: Salisbury Cathedral
Why: We walked in on a Saturday afternoon during a rehearsal for a requiem concert to be given in a few weeks — complete with full orchestra (including tympani!) choir whose music reverberated in the cathedral. AMAZING!
Tracy in San Francisco, CA USA 06/24/2012
Best: Mad Max All Day Tour of Stonehenge, Avebury
Why: A great day, nice size group, very engaging and knowledgeable guide.
Tom Hampson in Granger, IN USA 06/16/2012
Best: Docklands Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Portrait Museum
Why: Have made many trips to London and often visit the National Portrait Gallery so I'm glad to see you recommending it. This was my first visit to the Docklands and Imperial War Museum and I found them both most entertaining and made most of a day out of visiting each of those museums. My husband isn't very keen on art museums and both of us are history buffs so they were perfect.
Anne Virtue in Port Townsend, WA USA 05/08/2012
Best: Premium Tours (Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath
Why: We took the day trip from London. A lot packed into the day so not really a long time at each spot. Would have liked more time at Windsor Castle but we knew it would be limited because of the other attractions we would see. A lovely taste of 3 classic English sites. Got to see changing of the guards at Windsor - unexpected pleasure. Stonehenge was perfect; the day was gray & windy & chilly - perfect weather to imagine the human history of those amazing stones. Comfortable bus, & tour guide David was very knowledgeable. We didn't return to London with the group, but got off to spend the night in Bath - planned in advance& there was no problem storing our luggage under the bus. A nice way to combine sightseeing with transportation, instead of taking the train later.
John Reed in Alexandria, LA USA 10/02/2011
Why: Gorgeous countryside! It's oozing with quaintness and history. (It was especially interesting to us because we're fans of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth book and recent mini series.) In Stow-on-the-Wold we bought a grandfather clock from Styles of Stow, and it's being shipped now. We appreciated the background you gave about the wool industry there in the past, and the "wool churches". Other things you pointed out that were interesting: the lavender farm, the needlepointed church kneelers, the J.R.R. Tolkien door on the church and Fleece Alley in Stow-on-the-Wold.
Yousuf & Theresa Omar in Coppell, TX USA 08/04/2011
Worst: York Castle Museum
Why: We are baffled that this museum received 3 triangles and was described as one of Europe's top museums...we have visited many museums in Europe and would not include this in the top category. It was interesting but tended towards boring...one triangle at best.
Susan in Bellevue, WA USA 06/25/2011
Worst: St. Martin-In-The-Fields Church's "Cafe In The Crypt".
Why: As per our Rick Steves' "England" guidebook, we visited the St. Martin-In-The-Fields Church, which was truly a fascinating place. We ate at the Cafe ("Cafe in the Crypt") and loved the food. The second time we went to the cafe (we were in Trafalgar Square and decided to drop by for a concert and dinner) we were eating dinner when we noticed three or four rats running past us under the adjacent table. We let the management know that there were rats/mice running around the dining area, and they shrugged us off with an "mmmhmmm". Although I do understand that rats can be a common occurrence in such an old crypt, they should NOT be anywhere near the buffet area or the kitchens. WE WILL NOT BE RETURNING HERE (when we return to London next year.)
Sara in New York, NY USA 05/30/2011