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Short UK break for a young couple that don't drive

34 replies 4.5K views
xxdeebeexxxxdeebeexx Forumite
2K posts
Hi my Sons girlfriend is visiting from USA at the end of November for 10 days. This is her 2nd visit and wants to see a bit more of England.
They are both 21

My son doesn't drive so the hotel/accommodation needs to be fairly close to the train station.
She would like to see :-
Countryside, something cultural, historic, different.
We live very close to London so anything other than London would be ideal.
She did suggest the Isle of Skye - how doable is that?
Oh and they're on a budget.

any suggestions would be brilliant.



  • cuddlymarmcuddlymarm Forumite
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    York is very nice and easy to get to on the train.
    January NST 2/16
  • edited 4 November 2019 at 1:26AM
    p00hsticksp00hsticks Forumite
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    edited 4 November 2019 at 1:26AM
    cuddlymarm wrote: »
    York is very nice and easy to get to on the train.

    I'll second York, and also mention Bath. Both direct trains from London, with central train stations and historic, compact cities that are easy to walk around. Bath might be a bit of a scrum/more expensive at the end of November as they have a Christmas market. Not sure about York.

    There are Travelodges in both cities close to the main stations, and probably Premier Inns as well.

    I think the Isle of Skye might be a bit too much of a trek, and at the wrong time of year - not much daylight in November.
  • D_M_ED_M_E Forumite
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    Chester or Lincoln.

    Skye is a bit off the beaten track if she only has 10 days, better to fix going there when she's over for longer than 10 days.

    Could go to Edinburgh for a couple of days, though.

    Cardiff is also possible - early train there, explore the city and late train back, or overnight stay, think the Travelodge is about 10 minutes' walk from the station, either that or Premier Inn, or there's one or other (could be both now) near Cardiff Bay and that's about 20 minutes walk from the station.
  • fred246fred246 Forumite
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    Could take her to the Travelodge York Central. Impress her with a free day out at the National Railway Museum or pay for the Castle Museum and then fine dining at The Postern Gate.
  • SystemSystem
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    Cornwall is quick to get to from London and there are plenty of branch lines to explore too. Truro has a Travelodge type establishment about 10 minutes uphill from station, Penzance is awash with guest houses, Falmouth also has hotels and guest houses near the stations (there are three - Falmouth Town is probably most convenient for accommodation!!) For a real treat, if budget allows, save time by going on the Night Riviera sleeper train.

    If it was do-able in the time allowed I would add Bath, Bristol and Exeter to the above ……. and York, although that would probably be pushing it.

    It probably goes without saying, as if your son is a non-driver he probably already has some kind of rail card, but get a TwoTogether railcard as the savings will mount up. There are often offers included with the railcard (theatre discounts, and that kind of thing) and also if you hunt around on the internet you can probably get the railcard cheaply too (Tesco Clubcard used to have them on their list of things which can be bought with points - hopefully still do) - and also the likes of Quidco and TopCashback feature them too. And don't forget the PlusBus tickets if they are exploring the larger towns and cities anywhere.
  • martindowmartindow Forumite
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    The lake district is accessible by train to Windermere.

    In some areas you can get rail rover tickets -

    The Cornwall one could be a good bet if you take up the suggestion of exploring some branch lines.
  • p00hsticksp00hsticks Forumite
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    Also worth pointing out - if they're going to go by train, getting discount cards and rail tickets sorted out for the rail trip beforehand will probably be worth buying to save on the fares for just the one trip.

    As an overseas visitor, the girlfriend will be eligible to buy a Britrail pass

    or they can each get a £30 16-25 railcard which gives a third off fares

    Alternatively, a single £30 'two together' railcard for the pair of them to use together can be ordered online beforehand if you supply digital photos and gives a third off fares

    You can also purchase the last two using Tesco Clubcard points
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    Just to reiterate that Skye is really not do-able. The train journey from Glasgow takes the best part of a day, and once you are on the island you depend on infrequent buses. As others have mentioned, there will not be much daylight there in winter. If she REALLY wants to see it then perhaps they could fly to Inverness or take the Fort William sleeper train.

    Rather than travelling long distances, they might consider places like Oxford, Canterbury or Norwich. The train journey between Reading and Oxford, through the Thames Valley, is one of my favourite journeys because of the countryside. Perhaps they could take a slow train and get off at Goring and Streatley, in the heart of the glorious landscape. There is a pleasant rural youth hostel within reasonable walking distance of the station:

    Oxford itself is full of attractions, including the university parks and botanical gardens, as well as Christchurch Meadow.
  • xxdeebeexxxxdeebeexx Forumite
    2K posts
    Thank you so much for your suggestions.
    Sadly she has her mind set on Skye.
    I've checked on Google to see what times it gets dark and the days are so short.

    At least I have a lot of alternative suggestions if they (hopefully) change their minds.

    The hints and tips and details are brilliant, thank you. I might take a couple of trips myself once I've bought my rail pass with my Tesco points.

    thanks again

  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    xxdeebeexx wrote: »
    Sadly she has her mind set on Skye.
    I've checked on Google to see what times it gets dark and the days are so short.

    In which case see if you can encourage her to choose which places on Skye she wants to see. Skye is actually rather large: getting from one end to the other by bus would take about four hours.And since on most routes there are only a couple of journeys per day she really needs to plan in detail. Unless she has a valid driving license and could hire a car somewhere like Inverness.

    An additional point is that accommodation there is fairly limited, so advance bookings are a very good idea.
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