Author Topic: Where do I want to go in England with two kids? Update post 52 - We went!  (Read 3170 times)

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mechtilde

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Beamish is amazing- just pick a reasonably nice day as you will be popping in and out all the time and it won't be much fun if the rain is really hammering down! The fish and chip shop in the Pit Village is wonderful, but I usually queue up whilst my DH goes of with the children because you can easily be waiting over half an hour. Well worth the wait though- and they can't produce it any faster because they use real coal fired ranges!

Drop into Durham if possible too- it isn't that far away.
NE England

Sharnita

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Abbotsford. Sir Walter Scott was an interesting guy and his house is full of stuff he collected from other interesting guys.

Ezmerelda

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Okay, so I've done some research and run some of the places you all suggested past my husband and kids, and these are some of the ones we're thinking off.  Wondering if you could render opinions on any you're familiar with:

Alnwick Castle
Trowbridge Museum
Treasure Trail through Lacock
Blaise Castle House Museum
Jorvic Viking Center
Beamish Open Air Museum
Ironbridge Gorge - Blist Hills Historic Town

I'm still looking into what we might like to do in Cornwall, as well, but I found a great website that I've been going through to get ideas.

I live in York and can recommend many things! The Jorvic Viking Centre is definitely a place to visit, especially as you have children. The Vikings are all lovely! Jorvic also own 'Dig' (http://digyork.com) which is just around the corner and the kids can get some hands on experience with archaeology. There are also guided tours by archaeologists. You can buy a family pass that gets you into both of these :) You also have to visit York Minster; it is on of the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe and still blows my mine, even though I get to see it on a weekly basis.

If you are here for more than one day you should also try to 'walk the walls', which surround the entire city. They are about 3.5 km, totally free and you will see many of the best sights in York. There are also small plaques at each bar (gate) that are raised, so that children (and adults; I've done it!) can use paper to create rubbings of an entire map of York from it :) There are also small museums at the bars but these cost a little for entry.

Ah, all of this has reminded me why I moved here! I think I'll go and watch the sunset from the walls in a little bit :)

Also, I spend a bit of time in Alnwick. The town is lovely and the castle is a fantastic day out. The gardens are also magnificent and well worth the money. If you are treating yourself whilst on holiday can I recommend somewhere to eat in Alnwick? The Treehouse (http://www.alnwickgarden.com/explore/whats-here/the-treehouse/restaurant). It is a little pricey but it is magical. You eat in a restaurant in the trees, accessed by a little bridge, surrounded by fairy lights eating some of the best locally produced and caught food I have ever eaten. So magical that my entire family are travelling up to it next September for my father's 60th (and 3 hours is a big deal to my family!)

If you are visiting both look up Henry 'Hotspur' Percy. He was born at Alnwick Castle in 1364, had a very interesting life, and died in 1403. His head was stuck on a spike at Micklegate Bar (you will find it on the walls if you walk them) and the rest of him buried in the Minster here in York. Wonderful history around here :)

Sorry for rambling! I get all enthusiastic about this little part of the world!

Peregrine

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Oh, I see that you have updated!  I visited England with my family when I was 14 and my sister was 11.  I was and still am a huge history buff. 

My top sites in London were The Tower of London (I was a hugely into the Tudors even back then, and my Mom had me read about the Princes in the White Tower) and the British Museum.  At 14 the Egyptian wing was the most fascinating to me, along with the Elgin Marbles.  However, looking back on it and seeing the pictures, standing next to the Rosetta Stone and the Magna Carta mean far more to me now.  So much so, that I still kind of choke up at knowing that I was that close to some very pivotal historical artifacts.  I know my Dad loved seeing some Beatles memorabilia.

Outside of London, I very much enjoyed Bath, the Roman ruins were amazing!  I also toured Avebury (we just stopped on the side of the road and took pictures through the fence of Stonehenge)  It was completely overrun with tour buses when we went past.  Many of the castles were fascinating and fun.  We spent a bit of time studying the castle styles and stuff like that.  We toured the Jorvick Viking Museum, and I found that quite interesting as well, especially since we are Scandinavian on my Mom's side (the piped in smells that were in the museum were quite strong and gave me a headache though, although this may have changed since 20 years since I visited).  I enjoyed the Cotswolds, although at the age of 14 it was just a pretty drive, there wasn't much beyond that to hold my interest, and the countryside very much resembled where I grew up, just without the hedgerows.

Have a wonderful time with your kiddos!  International travel is something I very much hope to take my 2 boys on as they get a little older. 

Another Sarah

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Just had another thought if you're heading to Yorkshire - Eureka is a museum specifically aimed at children, everything in it is interactive and it's a great day out

Margo

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Just posting to ask whether you've booked your trip now, and how it went / is going?

MommyPenguin

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We're hoping to fly out today!  :)  Looks like the weather should be decent.  We're thinking about possibly heading up to York first (after London), then save Bath for last, since it's going to be getting cooler as time goes on.

MommyPenguin

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Hey, just thought I'd update with the final results!

Long version:

We arrived, very jet-lagged, on a Tuesday.  :)  We drove from Germany through Belgium, where we went to the Mini Europe exhibit, then to a house on the Belgium/France border where we spent the night, which was a fantastic place (took a picture of the kids right outside our front door, one in France and one in Belgium).  We did a little day trip to the maritime museum in Dunkirk (Dunkuerque).  Then we woke up super early the next morning to head to Calais and the ferry to Dover.

We went from Dover to London first, and we did one of those hop on, hop off bus tours, so we saw a lot of London stuff that way.  We stopped at the Tower of London and did the tour there (and got fish and chips, which I am now addicted to), and we went to the London Eye and on a short little boat cruise on the Thames.  We got stranded one evening because the bus driver told us there would be another bus behind him and there wasn't, so we got to take the underground back.  Very exciting, that.  :P  We also got library books at a library near London (I have a friend in that area and she checked with a librarian acquaintance and discovered that we would be able to), and then we took them with us around on our travels and returned them to London at the end.

After London we stayed a night in Birmingham and went to Blists Hill Victorian living museum, which was a lot of fun.  Then we went up to York and did the National Rail Museum and Jorvic Viking Centre.  We moved up to an awesome place to stay in Seahouses (on the North Sea) and went to Beamish outdoor museum, Alnwick Castle, then went west to the Roman Army Museum so we could see Hadrian's Wall.  We got some pictures at Alnwick Castle that show us having a "broomstick lesson" on the same lawn where they filmed the first Harry Potter movie with the broomstick flying lesson.  :)  We spent the night in Scotland in Gretna Green, which was fun because I used to read a lot of Regency novels.  :)

We went through the Lake District (wow, it really is beautiful!) and went to Aira Force (the waterfall and hiking spot) and to the Beatrix Potter Museum.  We thought about going to a coal mining tour but ran out of time, so we just walked a bit around Bowness-on-Windermere and the kids bought their souvenirs there (they got a bunch of Sylvanian family sets).

We went to Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, and then up to Symonds Yat to see the fantastic view of the Wye Valley, and saw the hill fort.  Then we spent the night in Wales.  (The Welsh signs were fun.)

After that was Bath, and we went to the Jane Austen Centre and the Roman Baths.  We drove past Stonehenge on our way back to London.  We went back through London and returned our library books, then to the Roman Villa somewhere east of London, and then to Dover.  We walked around the top of the cliffs a bit before getting our ferry back to Calais (and I had the best Kentucky Fried Chicken of my life--I am *so* jealous of you all now).  On our way back to Germany we went through Luxembourg city and found the playground that the kids have rated the best playground of all time, and we walked around the city for a few hours.

So, I guess the short version is:

Mini Europe (Belgium)
Maritime Museum (France)
London tour, including London Eye and Tower of London, boat cruise
Blists Hill Victorian town
National Rail Museum
Jorvic Viking Center
Beamish Outdoor Museum
Alnwick Castle
Roman Army Museum/Hadrian's Wall
Brief stop in Scotland
Aira Force
World of Beatrix Potter
Bowness-on-Windermere (walked around the town)
Puzzlewood
Symonds Yat
Brief stop in Wales
Jane Austen Centre
Roman Baths
Stonehenge
Roman Villa
Luxembourg with awesome playground

We had a great time, but it's good to be home and settled again, without moving house every 3 days and running out of laundry constantly.  :)  I will miss the fish and chips, though!  I think I had it 4 times.  I'm trying to make a grocery list, and my oldest daughter asked me to get fish and chips when I go shopping.  Heh.

I think our favorites were Beamish, Jorvic Viking Centre, Hadrian's Wall, the World of Beatrix Potter, Puzzlewood, and the playground in Luxembourg. 

PastryGoddess

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Re: Where do I want to go in England with two kids? Update post 52 - We went!
« Reply #53 on: October 09, 2014, 05:30:00 PM »
Yay,

That sounds like a great trip

faithlessone

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Re: Where do I want to go in England with two kids? Update post 52 - We went!
« Reply #54 on: October 10, 2014, 07:07:47 AM »
Glad you enjoyed it!!!! Particularly Beamish. :D

Margo

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Re: Where do I want to go in England with two kids? Update post 52 - We went!
« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2014, 10:16:45 AM »
glad you had a good time!