England 2013 Guidebook
Favorite discoveries or tips:
Frank Evans in GE-1214 Vernier, Switzerland 04/02/2013
Frank Evans in Vernier, Switzerland 04/02/2013
Think this is a great travel guide, and it certainly helps when you give the pronounciation of peculiar names.
Carole Dee in Olmsted Falls, Oh USA 01/22/2013
While the AD 122 bus can be very useful to getting to places you want to see, it only comes by every hour and a half (which wasn't specified in the guidebook). So if you happen to miss it you are in for a bit of a wait with no other good means of transportation since none of the sites are any less than 2 miles from each other. As a result I would advise this route for handling Hadrian's Wall:
Go from east to west (preferably having left Keswick and a few days in the Lake District) and head right to the Roman Army Museum. While it may not be huge on artifacts it is great to get a sense of life on the Wall and the 3D video (20 minutes long) orients you to the sights that are nearby such as Vindolandia and Housesteads Fort so you have an idea of what things used to look like before you go and see all the ruins. It is also good for getting into the mood of the Roman Empire. There is also a very good section of the Wall nearby that is only a ten minute walk away at Walltown (ask at the Roman Army Museum front desk, they can even provide a map but again not mentioned in the guidebook).
After the Roman Army Museum you should try to check in to Once or Twice Brewed for sleeping that night, as it is a great central location to the best parts of the wall and full of friendly through-hikers. If you have time Vindolandia is only a mile down the road and without a pack on a nice day is easily reachable if you happen to have missed the bus. Vindolandia has the most artifacts from daily life in Roman Britain and you will hear several times about the famous birthday invitation writing tablet. But the museum is very good and the ruins of the fort and town are in constant excavation.
After overnighting, if you haven't gone to Vindolandia go there, otherwise you can take a quick walk to the Sycamore Gap (aka-The Robin Hood Tree) which is near Once Brewed and worth the walk, but if you are tight on time you can skip it since you'll be able to see it from the road. Then move on to Housesteads Roman Fort. While ruins can be a bit repetitive (all Roman Forts were built on the same plan, so if you see one, you really have seen them all) they are in different stages of excavation and the Commanding Officer's House, Hospital, and Grainary are better exposed at Housesteads than at Vindolandia, which had more of the town exposed than the fort. There is more wall to walk along here and one part even forms the back wall of the fort. Feel free to stand at the wall and look out over the edge of the Roman world.
Any site will gladly store your bags since there are so many people doing hikes of the wall it is common to drop luggage or packs off. Off-Season, if you aren't hiking the entire Wall, have a strong back for hiking between points of interest, or have a car of your own, you may want to reconsider if this is a stop.
Peter Schank in Cheektowaga, NY USA 10/21/2012
I would like to add St. Ann's House B&B in Salisbury to the list of places to stay (http://stannshouse.co.uk/). They are a 5 minute walk from Salisbury Cathedral. The owner was delightful to chat with, and the (included) breakfast was top-notch and very filling--perfect for starting off a long day of sight-seeing!
Barbara Martin in Des Moines, Wa USA 09/18/2012
B&B Accomodation in the Cotswalds
Gil Elliott in Stuart, Fl USA 08/31/2012
A resounding applause for Alan Price of Celtic Horizons. A group of friends and I recently went with Alan on a tour of Salisbury, Sarem and Stonehenge. I can honestly say I've never learned for much while having so much fun in all my days of travel. Alan's knowledge of history and his Celtic wit will keep you thoroughly engaged. If you're in the Bath area, consider using Alan for your sightseeing!
Judy O'Neill in Georgetown, TX USA 08/30/2012
Bletchley Park should be included in the England book. It is where the secret codes were de-crypted during the war, and is now a museum.
Wayne in Toronto, ON 08/23/2012
Since you cover NE England, i.e. Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle, I think you should add Alnwick as a great place to visit. It is a lovely town, close to both Holy Island and the Bamburgh Castle. We stayed in the Queens Head Hotel - it has a friendly pub. Alnwick has the Alnwick Castle and the associated Alnwick Gardens. We only had time for the castle - lived in by the Duke of Northhumberland. The castle tour was great! The information on the award-winning gardens looked very attractive and we very sorry not to have planned enough time to see them. In the same area we did a lovely walk from Craster along the coast to Dunstanburgh castle. Also highly recommended.
William Campbell in Ottawa, ON Canada 07/18/2012
We were big fans of Blackpool. We found the people working there to be some of the friendliest we met. The North Pier Family Bar entertainment staff (Danny and David) were amazing and even got my "cool" tween daughter dancing. Definitely the most fun night of our 2-week trip!
Karen Meehan in Houston, TX USA 07/15/2012
The 2012 England guidebook only marks a "farmers market" near the Canterbury West Train Station (map, p 246), which is a serious understatement, to say the least. The Good Shed (Station Road West, Canterbury) is a locally-sourced, food-lovers paradise with prices below what you'd expect to find at shops in town. Breads baked throughout the day, local raw-milk cheeses, the freshest veggies and fruit, a melt-in-your mouth parma-style ham that won a gold medal in France last year, and hundreds of beers and wines you can purchase by the glass make for an amazing meal at the tables inside the shed or a take-away for the train. Those who would rather just order off a menu than forage can take advantage of the restaurant. (Tues.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Mon. and bank holidays.) www.thegoodsshed.co.uk
Tracy in San Francisco, CA USA 07/15/2012
When traveling to Salisbury by car, consider parking in the Wilton Park and Ride lot (look for signs on the A36 and the A360 outside Wilton) and taking the bus with the locals into town — especially on Market Days when the traffic is terrible. The bus (£2/person; £3.50 per car — pay one way only) drops you into the middle of town. Pick up for the 502 bus is in front of Marks and Spencer. (Don't try and get on where you got off as it's the middle of the route.) The lot also have a depot with clean, free WCs — just what many travelers need before or after a car ride.
Tracy in San Francisco, CA USA 06/24/2012
Corus Hotel at Lancaster Gate has excellent lighting, very comfortable beds, tubs, helpful staff in really excellent location next to Tube and buses, close to Paddington train station and across the street from Kensington Gardens. Rooms very small but extremely well fitted.
Anne Virtue in Port Townsend, WA USA 05/08/2012
Two for Portsmouth:
First is the George Hotel. I've stayed both at the Duke of Buckingham and the George and the rates are comparable but the George is far better! It also has rooms attached to a pub but the single I stayed in at the George was larger and had a nicer bathroom, plus MUCH more historic charm (lots of wood timber beams everywhere): http://www.flickr.com/photos/cag2012/5776876628/. And it is a stone's throw from the Historic Dockyard and a very short walk from the train station.
Second is the Ship Anson pub on The Hard. It's a great stop for lunch if you're at the Historic Dockyard or dinner before heading back on the train if day-tripping. Some of the best fish and chips I've ever had: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cag2012/5776427961/
Carrie in Silver Spring, MD USA 02/20/2012
Louise Tracey-Hosa in Las Cruces , NM USA 11/13/2011
Tour guide Martin, an informed and friendly guide of www.sortyork.com took us all over the Yorkshire Moors from Thirsk, James Herriot country to Whitby on the coast. Together we planned the itinerary for one of our best days out.
Sherry Holt in Harpswell, ME USA 11/04/2011
try a Pimm's and lemonade when it is hot out, during the recent heatwave a very friendly pub waiter suggested this, yummy!
Wendy in Chatham, Ma USA 10/15/2011
We had an especially lovely experience in the Lake District.
Jacqui Lichtenstein in Eugene, OR USA 10/01/2011
When you comment on a Best/Worst feedback section, please say where the hotel or restaurant is located. Most of us look for feedback about these places in specific areas such as the Cotswolds, London, etc., not the whole country.
Roy in Auburn, AL USA 09/05/2011
First, we used the England 2010, since we started planning last year--soon after we happened to meet you in Vienna one evening at Restaurant Ofenloch. Our big discovery was a newly opened B&B in Broadway in the Cotswolds: Abbots Grange (www.abbotsgrange.com). (We didn't use one of your recommendations here because we were working to get a buy-in from our 15-year-old. We let her surf the net, and she found it within 5 minutes.) It was filled with history, had nice accommodations, an outstanding breakfast, and a bountiful tea served in the great hall. The extensive grounds were SO beautiful that our two teenage daughters were up, dressed and outside taking pictures before breakfast on both mornings.
Yousuf & Theresa Omar in Coppell, TX USA 08/04/2011
Jane Martin and Tours of the Realm www.toursoftherealm.com or email@example.com Jane took us on a personalized tour of Dover, Canterbury, and the Kent countryside that was tailored to our exact preferences (castles, cobblestoned cities, cathedrals, and gardens). It was great! She took us to places we would never have found by ourselves and she shared her great wealth of information about each place. Jane picked us up at Heathrow and made our entire stay in Dover and Kent a delight. We felt we got to see the "real Britain" and would definitely work with Jane again. We usually travel by ourselves with Rick as our guide, but working with Jane was wonderful! Highly recommended!
A. Klowden in Moscow, ID USA 07/03/2011
If you would like a customized tour of the lovely Kent countryside (or of any other region in Britain), then Jane Martin and Tours of the Realm will not disappoint. Jane plans customized itineraries based on your interests and preferences and is happy to provide spot-on suggestions that will make your travel meaningful and personal.
On a tour of Kent and West Sussex before our recent Baltic cruise, Jane planned a wonderful itinerary for us that included charming castles, classic cathedrals, cute cobblestoned villages, and delicious pub cuisine. She was professional and personable, and our time together was enhanced by the wealth of interesting historical information and fascinating tidbits that she shared.
Jane met us at Heathrow Airport after our flight from the U.S. and drove us to Dover, stopping enroute to explore Canterbury Cathedral and have a "we're-in-England" Cream Tea. We made our own B&B arrangements, but Jane can handle that as well if you wish. We also had plenty of time to explore Dover Castle in the afternoon. The next morning, Jane picked us up to begin a delightful day of touring Kent. Highlights included driving down Lewd Lane to the little village of Smarden, the glorious colors of Sissinghurst Gardens, romantic and impressive Bodiam Castle, a wonderful lunch at The Queen's Head pub complete with sticky toffee pudding, and the picturesque medieval towns of Rye and Winchelsea. Jane planned every stop with our interests and preferences in mind.
Jane was at all times a knowledgeable tour guide whose main concern was that we enjoy ourselves and gain an appreciation of the Kent area that she loves and knows so well. Her goal is to give people a “taste of the real Britain” and facilitate travel to parts of the country they wouldn’t see with a regular bus tour. She wants her clients to feel reassured and looked after and to take them off the beaten track to places they aren’t aware of or couldn’t find by themselves. Jane also speaks fluent French and can arrange Battlefield tours to Normandy and to other parts of Britain. We enthusiastically recommend booking a tour and transfer with Jane Martin and Tours of the Realm. It is worth every pound, pence, and penny!
Contact information for Jane Martin and Tours of the Realm: www.toursoftherealm.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Klowden in Moscow, ID USA 07/03/2011
Add Accommodation: Twelfth Night Guest House, Stratford-upon-Avon. If you are going to stay in Stratford, then Twelfth Night is a MUST. To begin with, the location is within easy walking of ALL the sights and offers free parking out back. The Victorian era house is accented by a wonderfully luscious frontal garden, with tastefully furnished and decorated rooms. Annie is the ultimate host, constantly ready to serve her customers, with a gracious smile and vivacious nature. Our stay was truly a treasure of Olde England!
Keith Ciarlariello in Fort Worth, Tx USA 02/11/2011
My daughter and I spent two weeks in England this past summer and used your book to make most of our arrangements. We were very sad, though, that there wasn't any information on the Peak District. We got very lucky and picked a wonderful hotel in Baslow, from which we created our own amazing experience. The hotel directed us to a private driver for our few days there and we highly recommend him as well. Please include more info on the Peak District for future travelers. We count that segment of our trip as our most memorable!
Peak Premier Travel Keith Humphries http://www.peakpremiertravel.co.uk/index.html Mr. Humphries was very attentive and made valuable contributions to our itinerary. From what he told him of our hopes, he was able to provide us with even more options. We just can't say enough about how "key" his services were to the enjoyment of our stay in the Peak District.
The Cavendish Hotel Baslow, Derbyshire, England http://www.cavendish-hotel.net/
This hotel was more than we could have hoped for! Clean, comfortable, quiet, and, best of all, you can walk through the fields to Chatsworth House - the home used for "Pemberley" in the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice." Chatsworth House kept us busy for an entire day.
Janice in West Richland, WA USA 01/11/2011