Richard III discussion

Hoping to get to York...

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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin | 142 comments I am in the beginning stages of planning (and saving) for a possible trip to England in the Spring (really got my fingers and toes crossed). Since I know I won't have the money to stay for more than a week at most there are a few things I have to see that I didn't get to when I was there for a month in 01. I have to go back to Hampton Court, the Tower, and Madame Tussade's (sp??) and I'll be staying at a chain hotel while in London. The two places I have some questions about are Windsor and York.

1. I want to get to Windsor. I suppose it is a rather easy trip by public transportation to get there? Names of the stops I would need? Station I should start at in London?

2. York. I must see York. I know its a couple hour train ride up there but what station should I start at, etc? I am determined to stay in a B&B there. Any suggestions of a good one? I only plan on being there 1 day and 1 night.

3. Are there any sites connected to Richard III near York that would be very easy to get to while I am up there? Obviously I won't be renting a car or anything (being from America I'd most likely cause some fun accidents). I did see somewhere that there is a R3 museum somewhere in town (in a tower?).

message 2: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne (chatternyc) | 81 comments Windsor is very, very, very easy. It's under an hour, you could be there and back in a day. There are direct trains from Waterloo (just south of the river) and trains from Paddington that would require you to change once, I think at Slough. I think trains leave a couple of times an hour.

York is also easy. the trains are GNER, there is one every hour or two. I stayed at a decent/adequate little B&B on the river once, which was OK, and once at a place called Abbeyfields, which is very nice and only a few minutes' walk from the center of town. (Expect to pay anywhere from 30 to 45 pounds a night, including breakfast -- much cheaper than London.) But there are a lot of B&Bs there. Depending on when you go, I would think you would easily find something. Francine noted all the places to see in the city, which is very easy to walk around -- the old city is very contained geographically. The Minster & its precincts are fabulous!

My suggestion for seeing Middleham is to rent a taxi with a driver for the day. I've done this in other parts of England -- you can arrange a pickup & dropoff & return, or just hire someone to take you to a couple of different places. Frankly, the bus network outside of cities is very difficult to navigate, particularly since many buses only run on certain days, and are concentrated in early mornings and later afternoon/early evenings. If that's not financially feasible, be prepared for a complicated journey. (I say this having once been stuck waiting for a non-existent bus after a day spent hiking through the mist and drizzle along an ancient Roman road!!)

If you can only do one overnight, I'd suggest traveling up in the morning, spend the rest of the day visiting York and then devote the whole of the next day to getting to & from Middleham & visiting it. You should see if there are any footpaths & recommended walks around Middleham -- it's a great way to get a feel for the Yorkshire countryside. Just remember to pack some sandwiches & a thermos (or bottles of water) and wear good shoes. (Basically, be prepared to get stuck in the countryside without even a cellphone signal...) If you can manage a second overnight, that will make your day a bit easier & you could go see Castle Howard (OK, not a Richard site) on the morning of the second day. The other Yorkist site is Sandal Castle but (a) it's just a ruin and (b) it's the other side of Leeds, which makes it pretty much impossible to visit in your time frame.

(There's also not much more to be seen of Fotheringay, Richard's birthplace.)

message 3: by Robin (new)

Robin | 142 comments Oh my goodness! Thank you for all this info! Middleham was a spot I wanted to see but I didn't know if it was feasible without a big transportation hassle. How much would the taxi option be (I bored my hubby to tears last night showing him the spots in England I wanted to see and why and Middleham was one of them).?

message 4: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne (chatternyc) | 81 comments Robin, I really don't know... I haven't done it and I don't know what the mileage would be. One idea is to talk to the folks at the B&B when you book and ask their advice. It could be as little as 30 pounds or as much as 75 pounds. It would depend on how much time is involved, how busy the drivers are generally, etc. etc. The best way to do it is to negotiate a deal with the driver directly, and not go through any travel agency, etc. I've done this in Cornwall, and it has cost me about 60 pounds to be taken somewhere & picked up again. In Ireland, I once ended up stuck somewhere thanks to a bus that they decided to take off the run for 48 hours (!!) and it only cost me 100 Euros for a three hour run from Co. Leitrim all the way to the N. coast of Northern Ireland. If you do take the buses out there, take a couple of taxi phone numbers with you in case you get stuck.

message 5: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne (chatternyc) | 81 comments Robin, be careful trying to buy train tickets in advance from the US. Many train networks in the UK won't let you do that -- I lost out big time when I booked a trip to Cornwall & back in advance, only to find out on arrival that the tickets had never been processed because the train co. didn't accept overseas orders. (They did accept, and never returned, my money!) The further in advance you buy, the cheaper it will be, but just be sure you are actually able to buy it and don't get caught in that kind of stupid system. If you can't buy in advance from the US, go to the station on your first day in London and buy them. For Windsor it won't make a difference -- that is almost a workday commute kind of trip. For York, it might.

Re mobile phones -- definitely the network is pretty much there everywhere. But you need to have a phone that will work in the UK, which means a tri-band or quad-band. Ask your cell provider. If it won't, one option on your first day in London is to go to Cellphone Warehouse or another provider and buy a cheap phone with pay as you go access for situations like this, where you need to call a cab or something. There are also places that rent out cellphones for tourists, but that may be more expensive for the # hours you will need.

message 6: by Robin (new)

Robin | 142 comments Thank you very much for that info, Suzanne. I hadn't gotten far enough to think about getting train tickets but I'm glad I know this now!

message 7: by Brian (new)

Brian (brianwainwright) | 149 comments If you are planning to do a fair amount of rail travel you may find it worth buying a Britpass (I think that's the name) before you come. These are not available to UK residents, but allow unlimited rail travel for a period.

If you don't, bring lots of cash! For example a walk up fare, any train Manchester-London, standard (cattle)class, is *well* over £100 return (nearer £200 I think) and first class (the really tolerable one for comfort) much more. Advance booking in the UK is much cheaper but also very inflexible, tying you to particular trains, which can be a nuisance.

There are also walk-up off peak tickets, but these are never available before 9-30 Monday-Friday and usually have restrictions in the evening peak too, especially out of London. These are cheaper, but not notably cheap.

I would certainly enquire about the Britpass, anyway.

message 8: by Claire (new)

Claire | 38 comments Suzanne wrote: "Robin, I really don't know... I haven't done it and I don't know what the mileage would be. One idea is to talk to the folks at the B&B when you book and ask their advice. It could be as little as ..."

were you going to the giants causeway?

message 9: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne (chatternyc) | 81 comments The Britrail pass is currently running at $205 per person, that's for England only and for the "3 days within two months" flexible option. You just have to get it validated, and then you can use it on any train. If you're travelling in peak times, I'd recommend paying a few pounds extra to book specific seats and make sure you have a place to sit down on the London to York run & back again.

message 10: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Moody | 17 comments What a fun trip! I want to visit England so badly!
When I do, I'll be asking for advice here!

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