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Europe/UK Travel Suggestions

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by Nazgus, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. Nazgus

    Nazgus Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter DLP Gold Supporter

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm studying abroad at the University of Manchester this semester and want to ask for advice on places to go things to do around the UK and Europe. I'm taking a pretty light course load, so I plan to travel around the country on the weekends but know very little about the UK so I'd love suggestions on where to go throughout the semester.

    In terms of Europe, I have a massive break from April 5th to the 29th. Apparently it's supposed to be time for revision, but as mentioned I'm taking an easy course load so I should be able to set aside a large chunk of it for travel. In terms of what I want out of my travels, historical places and museums are the two main draws. Coming from the USA, everything in Europe seems so old that I'd love to just soak it in.

    Also a big fan of hiking, so anywhere with good places for day hikes would be appreciated as well!
     
  2. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator DLP Gold Supporter

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    I you like to hike you can get up to Edinburgh pretty easially from Manchester by train and then go hiking in the Highlands. There's lots of lochs and rolling moors and old crumbled castles and little villages to see.

    Edinburgh will definitely fill your quota for old as hell, whole place looks like Hogwarts.

    Just go towards the summer. It gets dark up there by about 3pm in the winter.
     
  3. cucio

    cucio Fourth Year

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    Too much to choose from, it depends on your preferences.

    As far as museums go, and being in the UK, the British Museum is a huge must. A few years ago I stayed a couple of weeks in London and spent there almost every afternoon, always coming out fascinated. The Scottish Highlands offer plenty of breathtaking hikes.

    If you favor the hiking side of things, maybe Southern Europe climate can provide better experiences, while not lacking in first-rate museums and gastronomy: Italy, Spain, Greece... Paris is also a nice city to walk around, plenty of old stuff everywhere.

    If you happen to want to visit Spain I could be much more specific, being my home country.
     
  4. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    As someone who lived in Manchester for around 2 years, happy to answer questions about the city.

    Places that are good for weekend trips from Manchester are the peak district (right on your doorstep) and mid-Wales.
     
  5. Otters

    Otters Squib ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    You should go to Barry Island to visit the famous World of Greggs theme park.
     
  6. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator DLP Gold Supporter

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    The Isle of Sky has some lovely hikes and Snowdonia National Park won't be too far away.

    Trips to cities in Europe are pretty damn cheap you can fly return to Amsterdam for about £60 and it'll take you about an hour to get there. Its a beautiful place, even aside from its other delights.

    Asside from that you can also get to Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Florence, Berlin etc for weekends/short stays.
     
  7. Marsupial

    Marsupial Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Eat your way down the Curry Mile.

    You're also within day-tripping distance of York. It's worth visiting anyway just to go through the Shambles and see the cathedral, but Jorvik Centre's annual viking festival runs 20th-27th February this year, with most of the major stuff on the weekend 22nd-24th. It's well worth going to. It's a little kitsch in parts, but you don't ever really get the chance in North America to see medieval pitched battle reenactments. If you're interested, book a room somewhere asap, bring a friend or two, and plan to get hammered.
     
  8. DR

    DR Secret Squirrel ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Hike the Hadrian's Wall route.
     
  9. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    Oxford is best College-town imo.
     
  10. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Supreme Mugwump

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    English Heritage membership might actually be worth looking into whilst you're over - it's about £5 per month, or about £45 for the year (I think), and gets you a discount in the shop, along with free entrance to (most) attractions.

    I second the trip to York. The Jorvik festival is brilliant, and the whole of York is great fun for the week or so the festival lasts. Make sure to check out the extra ticket options - last year had a Viking 'feast', and there's normally a longship burning at the end of the festival. I don't know any hotels in the area, but the Safestay hostel is incredibly cheap, and decent quality the last couple of times I've been up. Whilst in Yorkshire, Whitby is lovely. The Abbey has relatively intact ruins, and a self-guided tour on smartphone, which (if you're interested) can fill hours. There's also the Dracula museum, and a lot of the chippies will fry fish fresh off the boats, brought in literally over the road.

    If you get the chance, a visit to the south and Stonehenge can be interesting. However, you don't get to go too close, and it's pretty expensive to get in, and there's nothing apart from the actual ruins and a smallish visitor centre. If you're in the area, Avebury is also nice, and the largest henge in Europe. But that's the only draw to them, so YMMV.

    Manchester's got a couple of nice museums - MOSI and Natural History can each easily fill a day, more if you go through on a quiet day and spend time looking at everything. Liverpool's a train ride away, and also has some good ones to wander through, with the British Maritime Museum, and the Beatles Experience if you're into that. Chester's also pretty close, and good for Roman museums, although most are probably aimed at slightly younger than you, they should still hold some interest. The Toilet Museum at the Gladstone Pottery was memorable, as I went about 15 years ago and still smile about bumblebees in urinals.



    If you're into tabletop gaming, Warhammer World in Nottingham is free. If you're not, it remains free, but probably of no interest at all.



    Chester Zoo is the top attraction in the UK, and is regarded as amongst the top zoos of Europe. If you go on a weekday, or a rainy weekend, you have the place mostly to yourself, and I've spent the entire day there before. They've got a wide variety of animals, and aim to always be expanding and improving. However, they're a conservation garden, rather than a zoological attraction, so some of the more recent exhibits can be hard to spot the animals in, because they're designed to give the animals privacy.


    North Wales is pretty good for walks, especially if you're interested in hills. However, I don't think the UK tends to focus as much on distance hikes (we're pretty small), and I don't know anyone, apart from scouts, who'd be interested in doing a multi-day hike with a camp in the middle. Yorkshire and the Scottish Highlands are also beautiful, and will give a chance to visit olde style pubs, which remain the best drinking holes you'll find.
     
  11. Tuiz

    Tuiz Fifth Year

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    Rome - the city that makes you feel like you walk a weird alive museum, and don't forget the food (I can give you a few recs). Otherwise Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are pretty underrated but April might be a bit early for that.
    Berlin is also a nice mixture of dense history and weirdly alive city.
     
  12. Nazgus

    Nazgus Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter DLP Gold Supporter

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    Hmm... I'll be here until the start June it looks like, since I won't know my exam dates until mid-April, so I'll probably have a long weekend in May when I can head on up there. Would that be late enough in the year to get to enjoy it?

    I already spent two afternoons at the British Museum and feel like I haven't even scratched the surface! That place is insane...

    Any specific places in Scotland for hiking? I know nothing of it, so any particularly cool places to hike would be appreciated!

    I actually do plan to visit Spain! Málaga is the only place solidly on the list as of now (my dad knows some people there), so if you know more places around there (or elsewhere tbh) I'd love to check them out.

    ... So that took me a bit of googling to get, but yeah, I'll add the Barry Island Pleasure Park to places to look at for visiting. Thanks for the pointer!

    Isle of Skye looks beautiful but Google Maps can't find a way to get me there at all, will take some research lmao. Bit similar with Snowdonia National Park actually, claims that the fastest way there takes nearly 10 hours and five bus changes, there must be a faster way to get there...

    Definitely planning to hit up a lot of the big cities, but need to narrow it down somewhat unless I want to spend 2-3 days per... Rather spend a bit longer and really get to see a place than feel like I barely got there before I had to leave.

    Ooooh looking into the viking festival! I'm gonna give it another week to meet people before asking around for someone to join though... Literally started meeting people two days ago, so I don't think I'd have great luck if I tried right now. Are there any events I should make sure to book tickets for in advance? Or is it mainly the accommodation that needs to be set ASAP?

    Will add to the list!

    Definitely planning to visit Oxford over a weekend, any tips for places to check out when I'm there?

    What exactly is the English Heritage? I poked around on the site a little but aren't super clear about exactly the membership is for. Do they just control access to all of these places and then charge fees for entrance to fund the conservation work? It's cheap enough that it seems like a membership would be worth for getting, but I'm not super clear on what I'm getting access to...

    Will definitely be going to the festival, so thanks for the recommendations for other stuff to do while in the area!

    There's a trip to Stonehenge organized by the study abroad program I'm in, so I'll be hitting up the area around mid March. No control over the itinerary there though, so we'll see what they have us doing/seeing.

    Thanks for the museum recs, I'll add them to the list! Starting to feel like I'll have to be selective there because there's just so many museums around here... Toilet Museum sounds very different though, might have to check that one out just for that if nothing else lol.

    That sounds pretty interesting! My schedule is relatively light and I'm currently working on getting Mondays off, so that might be a good day trip.

    As with the other Scottish Highlands posts, any specifics would be appreciated! I'm trying to mooch from all your collected knowledge to make my research into where to go as easy as possible here...

    Rome is 100% on the list, and Estonia too actually. I played Estonia in an MUN conference once and have wanted to visit ever since... Any recommendations for where to go there? For Rome too while we're on the topic, I'd love to start a list of things to hit up/check out while there.
     
  13. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    @Nazgus If you're a LOTR Nerd, The Eagle and Child Pub is where C.S. Lewis and Tolkien had their Inkling meetings. Good food, decently priced and quaint atmosphere.

    Museum in Oxford is nice. Taking a boat down the river is fun too.
     
  14. Otters

    Otters Squib ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    LMAO don't go to Barry Island it's a shithole full of crackheads.
     
  15. Marsupial

    Marsupial Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Accommodation is the main thing to get sorted quickly. There's a full list of events here, so you can look through that as you will. Viking encampment and March to Coppergate are both free; 10th century market is ticketed (cheap, 3GBP) and I'm pretty sure I just paid at the door and was fine. The major battle re-enactment is also ticketed (15GBP), and might be worth buying in advance. No recollection of what I did on that, but I'd be more inclined to buy a ticket in advance for that.

    If you're interested in some of the crafting workshops (Nalebinding, tablet weaving, embroidery) then those definitely need advance booking. But that's sort of specialty, and tbh I doubt they're worth it unless you are already specifically interested in one of the crafts on offer.
     
  16. cucio

    cucio Fourth Year

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    Málaga (good job on getting the accent right!) is nice. If you like modern art there are good museums (for a small city): Picasso, Thyssen and Pompidou franchises... Go to the beach, sit at one of the restaurants there and ask for a "espeto de sardinas" (grilled sardines) and "tomate aliñao" (tomato salad, seasoned with garlic and olive oil.) Have some tapas and fino (sweet wine) at the quaint Bodega El Pimpi.

    Two hours on bus from Málaga will get you to Granada, which is a gorgeous city. You can visit the magnificent Alhambra (be sure to book your visit weeks in advance), listen to some of the best flamenco there is, and hike or ski on the mountains that surround it. Ask for a beer at a bar and you'll get a delicious and hearty tapa with it, two or three of those can make for a full meal if you are not a big eater.
     
  17. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator DLP Gold Supporter

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    May in Scotland should be pretty nice, at least if you're lucky with the weather. As for where to go, it depends if you want to combine it with a trip to a city like Edinburgh or Inverness.

    The Fisherfields Round is a 2 day hike with awesome views if you want to go just for that. Glen Coe has some lovely hikes around it too.

    As for Skye:
    You have the choice of two of the most scenic rail journies in UK. Either via Glasgow and the West Highland line (a fair bit was used for the HP movies) to Mallaig then by ferry to Skye or via Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh then by bus over the bridge to Skye.

    Geting to Snowdonia is far easier than that.
    Arriva Trains Wales runs from to Llandudno Junction from Manchester. The National Express also runs a bus service to Llandudno Junction.

    You can base yourself in Betws-y-Coed or Llanberis, small villages with bed and breakfasts, if you want to spend a weekend. L Betws-y-Coed has a train station.


    As for the National Trust. Basically those massive old Manor houses you see in period dramas? Most of the nobility can't actually afford to run them anymore, they're absolute money pits. So rather than getting torn down or turned into hotels, a lot get sold to the National Trust, who preserve them. If you are a member you can go look round them. They also own a lot of land, ruins and parks. If you like that sort of thing, membership is worth it.
     
  18. vlad

    vlad Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    West Highland Way, no question. Depending on how much time you have determines how much you can do. I found the days before and after Bridge of Orchy to be the best if you can only do day trips. The Devil's Staircase once crested offers some of best views of the entire hike. But really the whole things was fantastic, although day two along Loch Lomand is a bit tedious, as by then you are well acquainted with the scenary and the trail just kinda meanders up and down the coast. The ending into Fort William is brilliant, coming in alongside Ben Nevis. But the beginning has its good points too, not least being not far out of Milngavie is the Glengoyne distillery right there on the trail, timely located for a wonderfully done tour and a nice little nip just before lunch.

    Other good hikes I can recommend are coast-to-coast, which is good especially because it offers so many choices even for day hikes. If you want more strenuous hiking, stay on the west coast in the Lakes District. As you go east, you go through the vale at Richmond (Richmond is lovely but the hiking here is rather dull) and then into the Yorkshire moors and dales. All of it is gorgeous except the middle bit which as I said, is rather dull, flat hiking.

    Further south is the Pennine Way, which goes from the northern outskirts of Manchester to just over the Scottish border. Obviously the most rigorous of all the hikes I've mentioned, the absolute best bit is the middle. Morning hikes up high, then ridge walking and down to the next town. For this bit if forced to choose you'll want the segment between Malham and Tan Hill. The bit after that is also very good (Teesdale and High Cup Nick) but one must make choices... Keep going and you get to Hadrian's Wall, but after that there's a very good reason the Romans said bugger it let the Scots have everything north of it.

    In Wales you have Snowdonia which I think is generally regarded as the most picturesque hiking in Britain... when you get a view. Brecon Beacons in the south as well as Forest of Dean. Personally I've always been caught with bad weather, so the experiences have been underwhelming.

    Finally, there's the Cotswolds if you want to go to the west country (see Stone Henge, the giant chalk dick in the hill, avebury). However, the Cotswold Way is not a particularly great trail unfortunately. Rather than following any sort of natural path, it just plays connect-the-dots with the peaks (such as the west country has 'peaks'). Would have to be my least recommended are for hikes.
     
  19. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Norway remains my favorite country on the continent, and I can't recommend it enough. Oslo has the viking museum, which is amazing, but other than that I prefer Bergen if I'm down south. Tromsø is still where I'm eventually going to own my taco truck though - the town is awesome and there are great places to hike, kayak, and all that other business all over the place. Bodø is pretty gorgeous as well, and the drive between the two of them is a nice way to spend a day in the spring/summer (I don't recommend it in the Winter at all though, haha), it's an all-dayer at about 600km or so up the E6 with some ferry time thrown in for good measure.
     
  20. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator DLP Gold Supporter

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    I've only been to Tromsø for a long weekend but it damn beautiful and a great place to see the Northern Lights (they don't look how you imagine.) If you've never seen the polar night is amazingly beautiful just for that.

    One thing though, it's pretty damn expensive compared to other places you can go (do NOT take a taxi there, learn to use the bus.) There are no cheap hostels to stay at and food is on the pricy side. From Oslo to Tromsø is much more expensive than UK to Oslo.

    I mean its lovely, but you'll feel it if you're on a budget.
     
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