Question for Club Members in England

I'm planning my first trip to England in Fall 2019 and I really want to sleep in a castle. We don't have any medieval castles here in the States, but I would love to say that I've slept in a castle. Is this possible? Are there any castles-turned-hotels and/or B & Bs that will let you rent a room? I'm trying to keep lodging at a reasonable price, but am willing to splurge for a night in a castle - not like $1000 or anything, but a reasonable splurge.

I'm still planning my itinerary, but right now the cities on my list are Brighton, Bath, Oxford, somewhere in the Cotswolds, Stratford, maybe Liverpool, somewhere in the Lake District, York, Cambridge, and London. 

Something near a train station and/or bus line would be great since I'll be relying on public transportation.

Also, question about Liverpool: the travel books I've read make it seem like Liverpool is essentially all about the Beatles and I'm not a huge fan. I did see a Titanic museum that looked cool, but I'm not sure that alone is worth a stop. And in preparation for my trip, I've been watching British reality TV, in an effort to train my ear to the different accents because I know that I will very likely not be hanging out with people who speak like they do on Downton Abbey lol, and while the Scouse accent was the most difficult for me at first (I really had to read the closed captions to understand), I've really grown to like it. So - is there anything else in Liverpool besides the Titanic museum and Scouse accent that would make it worth a stop?

Thanks!

Julie

Comments

  • There are stacks of castles which now serve as hotels.  Funnily enough, the fortification from the invading French isn't much needed now...

    One that I know (very accessible, but a bit out of your planned route), is Lumley Castle.  https://www.lumleycastle.com/ ; Checked a random day, and it's about £100 per night on a weekday.  It's not in the best town (although it's on the way from York to the Lakes), but it IS apparently haunted - http://www.espncricinfo.com/natwestseries/content/story/211645.html ; I'd probably reccommend googling Castle Hotel and a city you're planning to visit, and there's bound to be one near.

    I *LOVE* Liverpool.  I've been there twice this year.  There's a LOT of Beatles stuff going on, but it has great nightlife (Mathew Street is full of bars playing live music every night...) and I'd say it's important you visit the north of England, as it's a very different culture to the south.  I'd say a lot more relaxed, a bit more industrial, but far more friendly. Scotland is also worth a visit.  I'd try and spend some time in Edinburgh and possibly Glasgow.
    jules1398
  • OldGriswoldOldGriswold Brooklyn
    edited January 5
    jules1398 said:
    I'm planning my first trip to England in Fall 2019 and I really want to sleep in a castle. We don't have any medieval castles here in the States, but I would love to say that I've slept in a castle. Is this possible? Are there any castles-turned-hotels and/or B & Bs that will let you rent a room? I'm trying to keep lodging at a reasonable price, but am willing to splurge for a night in a castle - not like $1000 or anything, but a reasonable splurge.

    I'm still planning my itinerary, but right now the cities on my list are Brighton, Bath, Oxford, somewhere in the Cotswolds, Stratford, maybe Liverpool, somewhere in the Lake District, York, Cambridge, and London. 

    Something near a train station and/or bus line would be great since I'll be relying on public transportation.

    Also, question about Liverpool: the travel books I've read make it seem like Liverpool is essentially all about the Beatles and I'm not a huge fan. I did see a Titanic museum that looked cool, but I'm not sure that alone is worth a stop. And in preparation for my trip, I've been watching British reality TV, in an effort to train my ear to the different accents because I know that I will very likely not be hanging out with people who speak like they do on Downton Abbey lol, and while the Scouse accent was the most difficult for me at first (I really had to read the closed captions to understand), I've really grown to like it. So - is there anything else in Liverpool besides the Titanic museum and Scouse accent that would make it worth a stop?

    Thanks!

    Julie
    Interesting itinerary.

    I'm from Liverpool. Yes, the Beatles are a thing. They have to be. Liverpool is more than that, though music is a big part there's a thriving nightlife (Albert Dock if you have a bit of ££ and like a bar scene, Matthew St if you like live music and pub scene).  Museum of Liverpool Life was surprisingly nice for me having seen every museum in Liverpool about 500 times already, and we have a small Tate in Albert Dock, too.

    Shopping wise the Liverpool One is a nice walk around, too.  If shopping is your thing, that is.  There's also two huge (and very different) Cathedrals. Not sure if they still do the tours of "The Mole of Mossley Hill" or St George's Hall but if they are it's worth a look. Also theatre/Philharmonic, nice Chinatown and Georgian architecture.

    If you have ideas of something you'd like, I could probably steer you in the right direction. I've been away from home for a decade now, but always get back for family visits whenever I can.
    jules1398
  • MmmBopMmmBop United Kingdom
    Wales in the Uk is full of Castles
    jules1398OldGriswold
  • Thanks everyone! You've officially sold me on Liverpool! I was worried about feeling like a fish-out-of-water not being a Beatles fan, but I do like music and drinking, so I'll give it a go.

    Honestly, my goal for this trip is to do nerdy, historical stuff during the day - museums, tours, viewing architecture, visiting literary sites, etc. - and then finding a good pub at night for dinner and drinking with the locals.

    I'll look into the Lumley Castle for sure! I also discovered late last night that Air Bnb has a "castle" filter, which I never dreamed possible. Although I will say that some people are really stretching the meaning of "castle" with their listings... 
  • I agree with MmmBop that you should consider Wales if you want to see some real Game Of Thrones style castles. After Bath you could spend a night in Cardiff. Then see Caerphilly Castle in the morning and Cardiff Castle in the afternoon. Cardiff Castle is also shiny and restored. Caerphilly looks dark and foreboding and has a Winterfell vibe. I think it's also the biggest castle in the country. So two different styles.

    Another option is to take a day out of your Liverpool schedule to visit castles in North Wales like Caenarfon and Beaumaris. It will take about two hours to drive there from Liverpool. In the UK we would spend months planning such a drive, but as I understand it Americans will drive two hours to get a taco, so maybe not a big deal for you.

    If you take the first option of going to Cardiff after Bath, you might want to consider adding a stop in Bristol to see the SS Great Britain. There's also a cool walking tour where you can check out early Banksy street art and see the pub where the pirate Blackbeard used to hang out. 

    Personally I think a Scouse (Liverpool) accent is by far the ugliest in the UK. Welsh, Bristol and North east accents are far nicer! Even the Manchester accent is a big improvement on Scouse even though it's very close to Liverpool. The best UK accents though are in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Liverpool is worth a visit though.

    MmmBopjules1398
  • MmmBopMmmBop United Kingdom
    I am surrounding by castes, some just a few bits of wall left etc to full on Castles. Yes I live in South Wales. 
    jules1398
  • I agree with MmmBop that you should consider Wales if you want to see some real Game Of Thrones style castles. After Bath you could spend a night in Cardiff. Then see Caerphilly Castle in the morning and Cardiff Castle in the afternoon. Cardiff Castle is also shiny and restored. Caerphilly looks dark and foreboding and has a Winterfell vibe. I think it's also the biggest castle in the country. So two different styles.

    Another option is to take a day out of your Liverpool schedule to visit castles in North Wales like Caenarfon and Beaumaris. It will take about two hours to drive there from Liverpool. In the UK we would spend months planning such a drive, but as I understand it Americans will drive two hours to get a taco, so maybe not a big deal for you.

    If you take the first option of going to Cardiff after Bath, you might want to consider adding a stop in Bristol to see the SS Great Britain. There's also a cool walking tour where you can check out early Banksy street art and see the pub where the pirate Blackbeard used to hang out. 

    Personally I think a Scouse (Liverpool) accent is by far the ugliest in the UK. Welsh, Bristol and North east accents are far nicer! Even the Manchester accent is a big improvement on Scouse even though it's very close to Liverpool. The best UK accents though are in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Liverpool is worth a visit though.

    Thanks for slagging off my voice mate.

    I second castles in Wales though. Conwy castle is a good one on the way to Caernarfon from Liverpool.
    jules1398
  • My plan for this trip is to limit myself to just England and then next time I'm going to do the rest of the UK plus Ireland (because I understand now that Northern Ireland is part of the UK and the southern part is not - maybe the American school system failed me, maybe I just suck at geography/history, but I didn't understand the difference until recently :/). Part of the reason is because there's so much I want to see in just England, but also because I plan on buying the Brit Rail England Pass, which limits me to just England. I don't want to rent a car because frankly the whole sitting on the opposite side of the car and driving on the opposite side of the road freaks me out a bit. But maybe after this first visit, I'll feel more comfortable and then I'll have more options on my next trip. Wales sounds awesome though and I'm definitely going to hold on to these notes! Maybe my next trip can just be "Castles of the UK"...

    Also, I found a castle that offers what amounts to an excursion to Hadrian's Wall: Langley Castle, near Hexham. I'm e-mailing with them now to book a room and tour.

    And, OldGriswold, I'm really excited that I have a general idea what "slagging off" means. It's not a phrase we use in the US, but I watched Love Island on Hulu lol. I was only trying to train my ear to the different accents, but learning new phrases was a bonus I hadn't considered! From what I gather, "slagging off" is negative and can be done to anyone, like telling someone off, or putting someone down? But to call someone a "slag" is calling them a slut, but worse? And "pieing off" means to blow someone off, like move on from them? And I think Scouse is great, fwiw.
    MmmBopmarkgregOldGriswold
  • How long will you be here?
    Anything you need to do, like see friends in Bath etc?
    I'm pretty sure a little effort from the English bald move community we could help you map an awesome itinerary.
    Not to upset my cousins in Liverpool but to me it's a poor man's Manchester...the people are the warmest in the country once you understand them, but as a city id say visit Manchester instead of liverpool. I can't talk as I'm in Birmingham, which you'll pass in a train at somepoint but that's it. 
    You need to find a pub that does a good Sunday roast, in Yorkshire home of the pudding.
  • MichelleMichelle California
    I'm so glad this thread was created.  I'm currently planning a vacation to England and am working out which towns (aside from London, obvi) that I want to visit and how I'll get there.  My itinerary is somewhat similar to @jules1398 but without as many stops.  So, my plan right now is to fly into Heathrow and after a few days in London, take the train to Bath for a day or two - then to Stow-on-the-Wold for a day or two, then to Oxford for a day or two, then to Holmfirth for a day or two, then some little village in the Dales (not sure which yet, maybe Kettlewell although I may go further up into the Dales) - then back to London for another day or two, then fly home.   So my question to my friends here who live in England - what is the best way to travel between these towns?  I'm thinking train?  One thing I was surprised by is how budget-friendly a lot of the hotels are - you can stay in a highly rated hotel for under $100 USD.  

    I'm also curious as to whether I should carry some pounds or if my credit cards will be acceptable.  Do the taxi drivers (in London, especially) take credit cards?  I would think they do, but it never hurts to double check.

    Also, I haven't read all the way through this thread so if my questions have already been answered please forgive me asking.  :)

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