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Can anyone suggest things to do/see/eat on my UK road trip?

(79 Posts)
TheWanderingUterus Mon 18-Aug-14 20:37:19

DH and I are starting in London next Monday, going up the East Coast to Fife and then back down to London via the West Coast. We have two to five hours of driving between each hotel, and can stop anywhere along the way. This is to celebrate our wedding anniversary next week!

Trouble is that this was arranged at very short notice so my usual extensive and exhaustive planning just hasn't happened. I have only booked hotels so far, but I'd love to find some wonderful things to do and places to eat and even possibly to surprise DH with something amazing. We have had a really really shit few years and he has been, quite frankly, brilliant.

We have an English Heritage membership, I like second hand book shops and am studying medical history, he is a photographer and likes scenery and beaches. We both love food, he likes poncy Masterchef stuff, I just like eating.

Anyone have any recommendations between London and Fife? We can go some way into Wales, but not too far and we won't be going further south than London.

Redtartanshoes Mon 18-Aug-14 20:39:25

Alnwick Gardens - they have a tea house restaurant.


The forbidden corner near Masham

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 18-Aug-14 20:43:38

Go to Betty's in Harrogate and if you have got time Fountains Abbey. If you like seafood Mussel Inn in Rosé Street in Edinburgh. Walk on the beach at St Andrews or if you want to be Chariots of Fire run.

CMOTDibbler Mon 18-Aug-14 20:45:46

I'd go to Malvern on the way back down and go up to British Camp on the hills. The views are spectacular, and I've taken some fab pictures up there. Theres an EH property in Worcestershire called Witley court which was burnt out in 1935 but has massive fountains which are cool, and the church is this baroque masterpiece

GalaxyInMyPants Mon 18-Aug-14 20:47:09

Going up the east coast to Fife?

Via the a1 or actually as close to the coast as possible?

I was going to say Whitby as well.

Lincoln cathedral and castle.

Some of the Northumberland beaches, Lindesfarne.

justmuddlingalong Mon 18-Aug-14 20:47:42

Walk across the Forth Road Bridge and back to collect your car, on the way to Fife.

GalaxyInMyPants Mon 18-Aug-14 20:49:51

Bamburgh castle in Northumberland.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 18-Aug-14 21:01:06

Have been frantically googling all your suggestions.

Redtartanshoes: The Treehouse restaurant at Alnwick and the forbidden corner have both gone on my list. They are both spot on, just up our street.

We are staying one night just south of Whitby, great minds! I read Dracula many many times when I was a teenager, but I sold it to DH as great for photography.

Lonecat: The restaurant in Harrogate has gone on my list (I have a special folder with everything printed out for every holiday). DH and I met in St Andrews which is why we are returning there, West Sands is definitely on our list. We took a lot of romantic walks along there, its beautiful (I also got pissed a lot at night there as a student grin ). Hopefully we can go to Fountains Abbey, it looks lovely.

CMOT: Brilliant thank you! Have added those as well, Dh will be very pleased.

Galaxy: Up the A1 if we are in a hurry, otherwise close to the coast. Have added Lincoln to the list.

We went to Lindisfarne on our honeymoon so thats on my list as well. I'm going to sit ethereally in some ruins and drink mead whilst Dh takes millions of photos.

Just: is that possible? Thats a really good idea. Added it, thank you.

chinamoon Mon 18-Aug-14 21:04:18

As Redtartan says, you must go to Alnwick in Northumberland. Not just for the gorgeous gardens and castle (which are v expensive to get in but wonderful) but for the best second hand bookshop in the world imho: Barter books. It's set in an old railway station with a miniature railway that runs round the ceiling. You walk in under the Victorian portico with vast paper lanterns bobbing overhead, pay 30p for coffee if you want one and help yourself, then settle in one of their old sofas and read. The shop is massive (the size of a small station!) If you love second hand book shops you could spend all day in there.

Also Bamburgh castle, seal and puffin watch boat from Amble from Coquet island; Holy Island, Wallington Hall (free to NT members. A stately home where you can sit on the sofas, take tea (for £6) in the dining room etc.
You can't miss a walk along Hadrian's Wall at Housesteads. It's incredibly beautiful and feels momentous.

Things to eat generally:

In Scotland: haggis, neeps and tatties, porridge, whisky, smoked haddock and poached egg for breakfast, oatcakes, shortbread, raspberries and strawberries, smoked salmon
In Northumberland: craster kippers, mead, brown ale
England: cream teas, full English breakfast, fish and chips, afternoon tea, roast beef and Yorkshires, lamb and mint sauce, chicken tikka masala in one of the Indian curry quarters of the cities along the way.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 18-Aug-14 21:06:26

Bamburgh is impressive and on our way to Lindisfarne, brilliant.

Is it very wrong that I am very excited about printing out a map and marking all of these places on? And maybe plotting routes in different coloured pens?

justmuddlingalong Mon 18-Aug-14 21:07:49

Yip, you can walk over the Road Bridge Check here for info.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 18-Aug-14 21:11:03

Ah, Chinamoon, now you are talking my language. Coffee for Dh, books for me. I have underlined Alnwick and highlighted it, with an exclamation mark.

Also Wallington Hall, seal watching and Hadrian's Wall.

Taken note of the food tips. Will endeavour to eat/drink all your suggestions.

Roseformeplease Mon 18-Aug-14 21:13:34

If you are going up via the coast, why not come down via Kelso - a gorgeous Georgian town with Melrose Abbey, Kelso Abbey and Smailholm Tower nearby. We ate really, really well in the Cobbles restaurant in Kelso (just off the main square).

My DH and nearly all our friends were at StA. I am one of the few outsiders who married into the gang.

zoobaby Mon 18-Aug-14 21:13:55

Definitely Bamburgh, if only for the beach.

Can't check geography for logistics/realistic time expectation as on phone so gonna just add random places... Hadrians Wall, the Kelpies in Falkirk, Chatsworth.

Lifestooshorttosleep Mon 18-Aug-14 21:14:52

What about a distilllery in the Scottish Borders? Lake District on your way south again? Stirling? Edinburgh, you might still catch some of the Fringe Festival, though not sure when it finishes.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 18-Aug-14 21:15:12

Thanks Just. I am really looking forward to surprising DH with all of these things.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Mon 18-Aug-14 21:15:47

I went to Witley Court last week - it is amazing!

GoringBit Mon 18-Aug-14 21:21:39

If you're doing Lincoln, you could do the good stuff in a morning or afternoon. Stick to 'uphill', which is where the cathedral and castle are - plenty of parking - both are worth a visit.

Go to York if you can, but it's very car unfriendly, if I remember correctly. There's also Betty's in York - rather expensive, but a bit of an institution.

If you like old-fashioned English seaside, Skegness and Mablethorpe have a certain charm.

chinamoon Mon 18-Aug-14 21:22:08

This thread is brilliant btw. Never heard of Forbidden Corner until now but can't wait to take DC there.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 18-Aug-14 21:23:41

Roseformeplease: Added all, thank you for the restaurant recommendation as well. I loved my time at St Andrews, not as snobby as I was led to believe when I applied and so picturesque. Plus I met Dh there of course.

zoobaby, have added the Kelpies, they look amazing. Not heard of them before. Also Chatsworth, thank you.

Life: Distilery is a good idea, would also make a good present for my mother who is sacrificial victim doing childcare whilst we are away. Yes to Lake District, I fancy floating around quoting something like Yeats whilst DH mocks remorselessly (mostly the floaty bit, I am more like peasant stock and I dont really float).

chinamoon Mon 18-Aug-14 21:26:42

Oh - more in Northumberland: Kielder reservoir has an observatory where you can star gaze at night (darkest place in UK) and apparently sometimes you see the Northern Lights from there. Not done it yet but Kielder water is amazing anyway.

Also Cragside House which is a really OTT stately home in Northumberland with six miles of stunning gardens.

shinynewname Mon 18-Aug-14 21:27:34

St Andrews in Fife.

Nice beaches, nice food.

The Seafood Restaurant for slightly poncy.

The Vine Leaf for great food and not so poncy and v friendly!

justmuddlingalong Mon 18-Aug-14 21:29:28

A take away fish supper at the award winning Anstruther chippy. Sit at the harbour and eat it with a wee wooden fork.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 18-Aug-14 21:31:29

Tondelayo: Witley Court added. I did a little skip of glee at the thought that I wouldnt have to stand around the adventure playground prominently advertised on their webpage. I can do grown up stuff without a backdrop of whining and pleas to go back to the play area. And squabbling. And overpriced kids meals.

Goring: Good tip for Lincoln, thanks. Also York. I don't think I can sell Skegness to DH but I might be able to sell Mablethorpe, I love those old Victorian resorts.

GalaxyInMyPants Mon 18-Aug-14 21:32:47

Crag side is great, my favourite NT place.

Yorkshire sculpture park if you end up on the m1 at any point is very good.

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