An impromptu English road trip
December 27, 2012 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Driving north from Bath - what should we see?

We have a week to get from Bath to the Scottish border. So far, the only definite thing on our agenda is the Lake district. Please tell me everything you love about central/west England and Wales - particularly interesting hotels, museums/galleries, restaurants/cafes, day walks, shopping stops... Thank you!
posted by superfish to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd recommend staying in Great Malvern and climbing to the top of the Worcestershire Beacon - amazing views on a clear day. Further north you will go through the beautiful Peak District, which is well worth spending a couple of days in.
posted by kenchie at 11:52 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you going now or later in the year when the weather will be better? Can we assume west coast rather than east coast?

I like Llangollen in eastern Wales for a day trip, nice landscape and some good walks, this would also set you up for a back door entry into Liverpool, should you feel the urge, that has a good amount of history, shops etc. You could preface both with a trip to Ironbridge, which is now a UNESCO world heritage site. This would also fit with a day in Birmingham, which has shops aplenty as well as food and history.
posted by biffa at 1:15 PM on December 27, 2012

You could start by going either into Wales via the M4 or up through the Cotswolds.

If the former, I recommend driving the Wye valley from Chepstow to Monmouth and stopping at Tintern Abbey. Sticking with that, Hereford has the Mappa Mundi and the chained books. The Mappa Mundi is really impressive. You could keep going up that way to Chester and Liverpool.

If going through the Cotswolds, you could head East toward Lacock - a village owned by the National Trust - and up towards Castle Combe too. After that, you could head to Cirencester and check out the Corinium museum there - a great museum full of British Roman stuff. If you still haven't head enough you can head north up to Chedworth Roman villa (though, personally I think the museum is much better!) Also in this direction is one of my favorite museums - the one inside Compton Verney.
The setting is dramatic and the museum is interesting.

On either route you have Birmingham which has two great galleries: The Birmingham Art Gallery and the Barber Institute.
posted by vacapinta at 1:57 PM on December 27, 2012

Setting out from Bath, I would definitely take a day or two in the Cotswolds. There are some wonderful gardens to visit there, including Hidcote.

Gloucester Cathedral and Hereford Cathedral are both impressive. There are a lot of very pretty villages with old half-timbered houses around Hereford, the most striking of which are covered by the Balck and White Village Trail.

Just across the Welsh border near Hereford is Hay on Wye, which is my main reason for visiting that part of Britain because of its collection of second-hand bookshops.
posted by Azara at 1:58 PM on December 27, 2012

I really like the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley for a look at how people used to live in early industrial England. If you have any interest in fossils then Dudley Museum gives good context and a walk to Wren's Nest , which is a pretty important geological site and still has quite a few fossils.

I know I sound all about Dudley and I'm really not - I wouldn't stay there, but it's got some interesting bits and it's right on your way.
posted by kadia_a at 2:04 PM on December 27, 2012

Brum also has the Ikon Gallery if modern art is your thing, Walsall's excellent New Art Gallery isn't too far away either.

There's a wealth of good restaurants, cafes and pubs in Birmingham, happy to give some recommendations if you need some further info, there aren't too many great hotels though. Shopping is dominated by the big chains but Selfridges is still kinda iconic and worth a visit.
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2012

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