Dancing Lessons

Well, as Bokonon said, “Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God”. So as a result of the usual mix of misconceptions and coincidences, we’ve got the house-sitter to stay in the house when we’re gone, and the ladies and I are going to England. The ladies, in this case, are my gorgeous ex-fiancée and our daughter, she’s 21. They’ve been to England before, but I’ve always travelled in the third world, never made it to the land of my ancestors, or at least some of them.

In any case, here’s the current travel plan, subject as always to time, as in “time yet for a hundred indecisions. And for a hundred visions and revisions. Before the taking of a toast and tea.”

We arrive in London on Monday the second of September, and we’ll be there for four days, ’til Thursday. Then a week or so to drive up the west coast of the island, and another week or so to go across and drive down the east coast.

Anyhow, that’s the scheme. If you happen to live along that route and wanted to say hi, post your town and where it’s near, maybe a few words about yourself. If we happen to go by there, all I can say is we MAY get in touch … or not. Heck, once I get to London, I may never make it out of the city much, who knows? I just attempt to follow the dancing lessons, but it’s generally not as simple as when you have the dance steps painted on the floor …

Best to all,


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August 31, 2013 4:22 pm

Good luck and have fun! 🙂

August 31, 2013 4:28 pm

If you are stuck in London, then you must do all the “touristy” things, like famous squares, museums, and a play or two. But to really enjoy England, get to the countryside–at least 40 miles from a major city.
(Don’t forget to drive on the wrong side of the road!)

August 31, 2013 4:51 pm

I was in England once. The two biggest problems I had driving were
1) Getting into the proper lane after a turn
2) I kept driving too far left, e.g. off the pavement, into the curb, etc.
Rotaries were not a problem – the international road signs have a gap where you shouldn’t turn, and that was an appreciated first reminder.

Robert of Ottawa
August 31, 2013 4:57 pm

Everyone says go to Stonehenge. Yes, famous, but try Avebury, more off the beaten path but larger.
While in London, just down the road from where Karl Marx lived, is a pub locally known as Frenchy’s. It is the only pub in England that doesn’t serve beer. Well, it will if you absolutely insist, but wine is the preferred beverage. Across the road is an 18th century Huguenot church which maybe provides a clue. During WWII, it was home to the Free French armed forces. Be prepared for photos and speeches of Charles de Gaul on the walls. Also remember that Voltaire was exiled in London around the 18th century; his “Letters from London” are an essential read.

August 31, 2013 5:00 pm

I live and work in London. Will try to send an email.

Luther Wu
August 31, 2013 5:01 pm

Remember those books by that English veterinarian, James Herriot? Not that I’d presume to offer any suggestions about the Yorkshire dales, or anything.
London, they say, still has fab music stores with all the latest…
See you when you get back! (more or less)

August 31, 2013 5:02 pm

Well what a shame. I am on the west coast, in a place called Manchester. I have a spare room or two, but I fly out to SA on Wednesday for a month.
As a British ex soldier I would have enjoyed teaching a yank ex-sailor how to drink 🙂

August 31, 2013 5:03 pm

Nor does the Autumn leaf.
Yet it must.

Lord Galleywood
August 31, 2013 5:03 pm

Geran is right, come to Galleywood south of Chelmsford Essex, I’m a middle Englander and moved down here last year and didn’t know anyone, the people here are the friendliest folk in the London area – P.S. Thank you for all your posts on WUWT over the years and keep them going – Our pub is good too 😀

Robert of Ottawa
August 31, 2013 5:03 pm

About driving in the UK. It’s not so difficult as the driver position is also on the opposite side. There are two problems:
1: On leaving the airport car rental, you have to consciously think where you need to go at the lights. “I need to go OVER THERE”
2: If you are accustomed to driving a manual in North America, then occasionally, you will accidently open the right-side door. Do NOT PANIC.

August 31, 2013 5:05 pm

Enjoy your holiday, Willis!!

August 31, 2013 5:14 pm

…and please report back to us after doing some super sleuthing around the University of East Anglia…

Dodgy Geezer
August 31, 2013 5:16 pm

Like any country, there are many different things to see and do, depending on what interests you. Museums, shows, historical buildings, scenery – there are far too many topics you could cover. What is it you want to get out of the visit?
By the way, if you drive up the west coast from London, and then drive back down the east coast, you will miss out on the entire West Country – Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Quite a distinctively different part of the country, and well worth a visit…

August 31, 2013 5:17 pm

If you want real country, come to Scotland. I’ll be in Edinburgh till 19 September.

August 31, 2013 5:28 pm

I would think that a sailor, you would appreciate visiting Flamsteed House which houses the works of John Harrison, a fellow yorkshireman of humble stock, who solved the problem of longtitude.
Some details above.
If you drive up thw west coast far enough, you will come to the lake district and you may well not want to leave, EVER.
Enjoy your travels.

Charlie A
August 31, 2013 5:31 pm

@Ric Werme, my problem when jumping back and forth between USA, Japan and Malaysia wasn’t staying in the correct lane (at last if the road wasn’t empty).
My problem for the 1st week was signalling with the windshield wipers. I found this problem of activating windshield wipers instead of turn signal was very common with other USA expats living in Japan.

Steamboat Jon
August 31, 2013 5:32 pm

History around every corner.
If you plan on doing some of the heritage sites, it may be worth getting an annual pass (you end up saving a great deal if you do several sites). Driving is pricey (petrol is expensive) but most things are not that far apart. Recommend Snowdonia and Conwy Castle in Wales, the Lake District in West England (especially for Beatrix Potter fans). If you drop down through Yorkshire, the Yorkshire dales, visit the Bronte Parsonage and have some fish and chips (Harry Ramsdens is good, otherwise most any corner “chippy” will do). York Minster and the wall of York (nice walk if you have the time for some or all).
Enjoy and keep safe!

Duke C.
August 31, 2013 5:49 pm

Looks like you’ll be passing through Norwich (via the A47 Motorway) on the east coast leg of your journey. If you get a chance, please stop by the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit and say Hi from all of us at WUWT to Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, and Tim Osborn.

August 31, 2013 5:49 pm

Driving is indeed pricey in our green and pleasant land, but don’t forget our gallons are much bigger than yours 😉
Do drop in to Piccadilly Circus – I’m easy to spot!

August 31, 2013 6:02 pm

@Lord Galleywood. It wouldn’t happen to be the Groom, would it?

David L. Hagen
August 31, 2013 6:07 pm
August 31, 2013 6:09 pm

I lived in Scotland for a few years and getting used to the driving was easy. I rode a motorcycle at the time, but even without the driver offset hint getting used to driving on the right was no problem. I did save my Dad’s life about a dozen times when my parents came to visit. Always stepping out into the road and looking to the right!

John another
August 31, 2013 6:16 pm

Don’t let Evil Big Oil cancel your return flight.

August 31, 2013 6:34 pm

Be careful crossing the road. Look the OTHER way. Be especially careful crossing the road at intersections where cars may come at you from directions you did not expect. And when you make eye contact with the driver of a car to look for intentions watch out. You are probably staring strangely at the front seat passenger instead.

Julian in Wales
August 31, 2013 6:41 pm

West Wales
Also just done a piece about my area – Dylan Thomas country – http://drawingandillusion.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/young-families-at-wisemans-bridge.html
You are welcome to stay as we have a largish country house with plenty of room or guests. I cannot talk about science but I can about art, if you are passing this way – I have engagements this coming week Friday to Monday from Tuesday onwards it would be a pleasure to see you if you are coming in this direction.

August 31, 2013 6:49 pm

If I can drive on the wrong side of the road, so can you. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Have a grand time.

Philip Bradley
August 31, 2013 7:25 pm

East Anglia has many rarely visited places that are still typically English. Try Hedingham Castle, Ely for its cathedral, Cambridge for the University buildings, Kings Lynn for its old market square, and Wisbech a small rural riverside town in the Fens that hasn’t changed much.
Wisbech was where I first tried to learn to drive. A hill start is a mandatory part of the UK driving test. Problem is that the land around Wisbech is dead flat for 30 or 40 miles as the Fens are a large drained marsh. The only place there was any kind of incline was where a road went up the side of one of the large canals that drain the Fens and the road terminated at the edge of the canal. After a couple of attempts that nearly resulted in me driving into the canal, I decided I’d learn to drive somewhere else.

August 31, 2013 7:33 pm

I highly recommend the Imperial War Museum.

Mike Ozanne
August 31, 2013 7:35 pm

There’s all the museums and shows and shops etc but for at least a couple of hours, get on the northern line to Camden Town exit the station to Camden High Street, turn right and walk over the canal to the Stables Market, some of the sixties is still swinging just a little bit. HMS Belfast is worth a visit if the womenfolk can stand a cruiser that helped sink the Scharnhorst.
Outside London, ifyou are anywhere near Cambridge and you are keen on aviation, make sure you visit the Imperial War Museum site at Duxford just south of the city off the M11. Got lots of your second rate Yankee crap there as well…. 🙂 There’s the 8th Air Force cemetery and battle monument west of the city if you have any obligations there.
Please consider the south-west, Bristol Docks, Exeter Maritime Museum, The Bovingdon Tank Museum, the national motor museum at Beaulieu, the new forest national park, and maybe Portsmouth dockyard if you can get that far east. If you do the Royal Armouries artillery museum at fort Nelson is free..
Try some decent barrel kept ale (warm beer as some ignorant Shermans label it) and some Fisn and Chips out of the paper. above all have fun….

August 31, 2013 7:35 pm

First, look up James Delingpole the author of “Watermelons”, UK Telegraph blogger and Ricochet “Radio Free Delingpole” podcaster. He lives in Corby 23 miles north-east of Northampton in the county of Northamptonshire. It would be most awesome if you were podcast interviewed by James Delingpole either before/after visiting the windfarms encroaching upon his home.
Second, visit Pevensey Castle, mentioned by Dr Soon during his July-2103 Doctors for Disaster Preparedness conference in Houston. Recall he described it as a Roman-fort/medieval-castle in the English county of East Sussex. A thousand years ago it was described as being on the sea-shore. Today, not so much.

August 31, 2013 7:50 pm

Ah! Thank you, Willis, for another great post. As Bokonon says: “Nice. Nice. Very nice!”.

August 31, 2013 7:54 pm

James Herriot, the writer of the rightfully beloved books, lived as Alf Wight in Thirsk, Yorkshire. I dragged several friends there once but if you weren’t a fan the village was probably anticlimactic. The area is dropdead gorgeous, though. The traffic can be difficult. We sat in a traffic jam in the middle of Yorkshire for hours, probably waiting for some old lady in London to make a right turn.
If anyone is in London forget the tube and get tickets on the “Big Red Bus” or the “Big Brown bus.” They both run double decker buses on circular routes and provide a running commentary. One uses a recording and the other is live commentary by a trained human. You can get off and back on at many stops. In a few hours you can most of the main attractions in London. The tube is easy to use but you spend a lot of time running up and down non-working escalators and the trip down underground tunnels misses a lot of the magic of London that you see from the back of a bus.
The British Museum should be required. The Natural History museum over by Harrods is fabulous.
The village, Stratford-Upon-Avon, is a charming place to spend an afternoon. I’d skip the Shakespeare stuff and go for a canal boat; but that’s just me.
If you only have time to see only one castle the one at Warwick is the best. Expensive but the castle is arranged to display the several lives of the original castles. There is the dinnerparty with Churchill (with wax figurines by Mdm Tussaud’s) and the “King Maker” display as the original castle. The grounds are wonderful and in the summer they have jousting and other attractions. Purists would probably rather see the more historic, but ruined, castles scattered about.
Have a great time, see what you see well and don’t try to see it all. The British people are great hosts. It should be an honor to be a descendent in this troubled time for Western Civilization.
Brad Ervin

August 31, 2013 7:54 pm

My thanks to all who replied. I am looking forward to the fun. After 17 years in Fiji and the Solomon Islands, driving on the other side of the road isn’t too much trouble. If I’m country-hopping, I move my wristwatch to the arm on the side I should be driving on, right or left …
All the best, keep the travel ideas coming, I’m a total noob when it comes to Old Blighty and environs.

August 31, 2013 8:00 pm

Luke Mullen says:
August 31, 2013 at 7:35 pm

First, look up James Delingpole the author of “Watermelons”, UK Telegraph blogger and Ricochet “Radio Free Delingpole” podcaster.

Thanks for the reminder, I’ve met James but he totally slipped my mind. I’ll send him a note.
All the best,

Michael Larkin
August 31, 2013 8:10 pm

Personally, I find London to be soulless. Not worth more than a day or two to check out the famous bits, but YMMV. The further north you go, the more earthy and friendly the people are, and the more incomprehensible you might find the accents. Wales to the mid-west and Scotland to the north are breathtakingly beautiful in places, but almost all counties have their attractive areas and places of interest. You’d be surprised: within a thirty-minute drive of many towns you will find yourself in glorious countryside.
You will probably find most roads other than motorways narrow, and take special care on foot when crossing busy roads; look *both* ways at least twice. Be specially careful in London: cars can seem to come from nowhere. Also in London, be sure to get an Oyster travel card (you may be able to get one at the airport): it’ll save you a lot of money on the Tube. Much easier to get around by tube/bus than to drive. Not so in other areas of the UK.

david moon
August 31, 2013 9:04 pm

of Ottowa
While on a business trip in the UK I was in the back set, right hand side, and the person in the LH front seat was constantly turning around to talk to me. My brain was reeling because he should be driving, not talking.
Didn’t Winston Churchill get injured in a visit to America by not looking in the right direction and was hit by a car?

August 31, 2013 9:21 pm

Go to the Salisbury Cathedral and see one of the four copies of the Magna Carta,,,,saw it in May this year. The cathedral is awesome.

August 31, 2013 9:36 pm

Eschenbach is a German name.

Stephen Rasey
August 31, 2013 10:15 pm

The Churchill War Rooms of the Imperial War Museum has a FANTASTIC interactive15-meter projected display timeline table.
This technology and visualization technique could be used for so many things, yet this is the only place I’ve seen it done. A great visit for anyone interested in history and human-computer interaction.

August 31, 2013 10:28 pm

I work at Stonehenge, and live near by on a farm, and would be very happy to show you round a pile of rocks (Avebury, as suggested, is also good). http;//www.sarsen.org has my work, archaeology is great, the experts welcome the intelligent amateur who challenges the consensus.

Stephen Wilde
August 31, 2013 10:28 pm

Neston, Wirral Cheshire.
Picturesque coastal market town about 30 minutes by car away from both Chester (ancient Roman walled city) and Liverpool (Lots of historical exhibitions and lots to do) both being major tourist magnets.on the west coast.
Contact me on 0152 353 1899 or 0151 336 4884 if you get the chance but enjoy the trip regardless.

August 31, 2013 10:31 pm

Alexander Feht says:
August 31, 2013 at 9:36 pm
Eschenbach is a German name.
So are Hanover, Saxe-Coburg Gotha & Battenberg.
Willis, like the royal family, might have a Scot, Englishman or Welshman in the German woodpile.

Crispin in Waterloo
August 31, 2013 10:41 pm

Tickled to see Beatrix Potter get a mention. Lake District is lovely. You can get a room in summer next door at my Aunt Miranda’s. Her daughter Cressida (now Fletcher-Vane) took the photos for the 100th anniversary book honouring Potter’s literary creations. It includes each spot where Potter sat to make the sketches for Peter Rabbit – the hollow tree, the stump, etc. All good girls deserve a trip to see where childhood memories were created!
Travel safe!

August 31, 2013 11:12 pm

Enjoy your Trip! My wife and I spent 4 years in the UK and we were very sad to leave. My favourite spots:
– Glastonbury (Make sure to have a pint of hecks cider at the pub)
– The rooftop pool of the Thermae Spa in Bath.
– The Bookshops of Hay-on-Wye.
And for a laugh, here’s our take on navigating roundabouts: http://www.braevitae.com/content/comics/england/10

Geoff Sherrington
August 31, 2013 11:20 pm

Highly recommend you pick up a Nikon 1 V2 camera at airport shop. Light, small, very versatile, highly automatic for fleeting shots and makes beautiful HD movie. Unless, of course, you are a Canon fan.
Travel safely, Geoff.

August 31, 2013 11:21 pm

Willis says:
We arrive in London on Monday the second of September, and we’ll be there for four days, ’til Thursday. Then a week or so to drive up the west coast of the island, and another week or so to go across and drive down the east coast.
You have had so many good suggestions from natives & visitors alike that I feel my tuppence worth can’t add much.
I lived in Merrie Olde for two years as a grad student. During each holiday not spent on the Continent, I organized tours for my fellow North American Oxonians. The fave by far was the Celtic Fringe Tour, which took in Cornwall, Wales & Scotland, via the formerly Celtic Cumbria. This seems to jibe with your itinerary, returning through the Danelaw on the east coast. The North, especially Yorkshire, might well have remained the independent kingdom it wanted to be for so long, but for the Norman Conquest & subsequent expeditions & suppressions by the Crown, whoever wore it.
I appreciate country, but if you can swing it, at least en route to the West, drive through Oxford to view the dreaming spires, checking out the Bodleian Library, Ashmolean Museum & History of Science Museum, then on the return view the Backs at Cambridge. Go punting on the Charwell (tributary to the Thames at Oxford) or Cam, should you have time & the inclination.
The Bear in Oxford may be the oldest bar in the world, in business since 1242.
To paraphrase Monty Python, “‘Nuff said, word to the wise, elbow, elbow, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, nod, nod”, but that referred to New York, not Britain.

August 31, 2013 11:21 pm

There’s a major US air museum at Duxford, just off the M11 motorway by Cambridge & near where I live. It also has many British and other civilian & military aircraft, plus some restoration workshops.

August 31, 2013 11:22 pm

Hi Willis
I’m in South Devon which if you drive up the west coast you will miss out on as its in the South West.
If so you will miss out on Exeter-home of the Met office but also a very pleasant cathedral town and also nearby Dartmoor, an upland area where climate change evidence is obvious and admitted to by the Govt run Dartmoor authority.
You can see there the Bronze age remains of Grimspound-abandoned when the climate cooled- and also Hound tor where ruins from the MWP can be seen. Again they were abandoned when the climate cooled.. Your 21 year old daughter and the ex fiancée might be interested in this as ‘The hound of the Baskervilles’ was filmed here for the popular TV series ‘Sherlock.’
All the best

August 31, 2013 11:23 pm

PS: An American once asked the Warden of Rhodes House (aka Rodent of Ward’s House) how Oxford got its greens so smooth. He replied without missing a beat, “Roll them for 400 years.”

August 31, 2013 11:30 pm

Tony B’s mention of Devon, famous for its cider, the Moor & Exeter Cathedral, reminds me that before you enter Cornwall on the Celtic Fringe Tour, if visiting Dorset & Devon en route you would not go amiss.
If in Dorset, I’d recommend Lyme Regis for its Jurassic fossils, quaint town & the ghost of Mary Anning, amateuse paleontologist who convinced the world that Cuvier was right about extinction. Also the inspiration for “she sells sea shells down by the sea shore”. Then as now, the amateurs helped to rescue science from the authorities (I won’t call them professionals).

August 31, 2013 11:33 pm

I don’t think UFO band is doing anything while you’re over there. That would be THE REASON to go, for me anyway.

August 31, 2013 11:34 pm

PS: And if in Dorset, you may wish to do homage to the esteemed Courtneys’ proto-Socialist Tolpuddle Martyrs in their eponymous village in that county, located in the Piddle valley, eight miles east of Dorchester & twelve miles west of Poole.
You can’t make this stuff up.

August 31, 2013 11:51 pm

If you do choose to visit Tony Brown and Exeter, then I would be honoured if you and yours were then to continue down the A30 into Cornwall and ‘look me up’ in Falmouth.
We have fabulous scenery, amazingly good beaches (the best surfing in the world), much history, real pasties, and much, much more.
A trip down ‘Poldark Mine’ is an educative and fun adventure. A play at the Minack Theatre in the rain is a memorable experience. You can visit Trebah Gardens and – having walked down through the gardens – stand on the beach to pay homage to the American troops who departed to D-Day from there. etc.

Roy UK
September 1, 2013 12:02 am

If you happen to be coming near to Chester in the North West, about half way up on the west coast, come over and we can all go and have a pint or two.
Chester was a Roman town so we have lots of history from that time. The City is small but full of lots of interesting things to see and do. The Roman wall around the city, Tudor Black and White buildings (now mostly shops), a Cathedral, a River, Canals, and lots of nice pubs. If you want a tour guide let me know it would be great to meet you!

September 1, 2013 12:15 am

If you’re visiting Oxford feel free to get in touch – I’m around for some of the time you mention.

September 1, 2013 12:28 am

this is better than wikitravel 🙂

September 1, 2013 12:33 am

Tim Daw says:
August 31, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I work at Stonehenge, and live near by on a farm, and would be very happy to show you round a pile of rocks (Avebury, as suggested, is also good). http://www.sarsen.org has my work, archaeology is great, the experts welcome the intelligent amateur who challenges the consensus.

Tim, that sounds fascinating. I like your website (you had a semicolon instead of a colon, so WordPress didn’t recognize it), and would like to learn more. I’ll drop you an email if we’re coming that way.

Dr Chuck
September 1, 2013 12:38 am

While you are crossing from the North West to the North East, try and drop in on Fountains Abbey, which is near Ripon. It was one of the largest monasteries in the country, and is now a picturesque ruin in an enchanting valley. After that you could head for Whitby (where Dracula landed) which is a pretty town with interesting geology and a terrific harbour. From there it’s not far to York, which has so many things to commend it, including the Minster (cathedral) and the medieval walls.

September 1, 2013 12:43 am

You already have an invitation from Christopher Monckton to meet him in Edinburgh (a more impressive capital city than London in my view). A little further north across the Forth Bridge near the M90 motorway is the home of Bishop Hill. On your way back south you’ll drive through Yorkshire, where I guess you won’t be seeking out Roger Tallbloke. However another Yorkshire resident who shares your interest in real climate data is Paul Homewood of Notalot. But maybe you should make it a real holiday for yourself and your family and steer clear of climate freaks.
One more sight to look out for during your drive? Overlooking the A1(M) motorway just south of Newcastle-on-Tyne is Anthony Gormley’s giant sculpture Angel of the North. Have a great trip anyway.

Steve C
September 1, 2013 12:58 am

1. Bring (or buy) an umbrella; (I’m surprised no-one else has mentioned it …)
2. The Peak District is gorgeous, too. But so are lots of places that are off the beaten track, so yes, don’t forget the camera.
3. Try not to be put off by the infestation of cctv cameras in all public places, and be aware that there are lots more waiting for the most trifling driving infringement. We used to be a free country, but that was then.

Jo Beaumont
September 1, 2013 1:12 am

I’m a lurker on this wonderful site, and have enjoyed your articles. My tip, from having run a guest house in Somerset (place everyone just drives through, and misses so much) and having welcomed many American and Canadian guests is, everyone underestimates how long it takes to get from A to B in Britain. The mileage is short in American terms, but off the motorways it is full of interest round every corner. So grand plans quickly get quashed, as you realise that you can only see so much in one day. Take it easier, and plan to come back again.
Jo B.

D. J. Hawkins
September 1, 2013 1:17 am

Charlie A says:
August 31, 2013 at 5:31 pm
@Ric Werme, my problem when jumping back and forth between USA, Japan and Malaysia wasn’t staying in the correct lane (at last if the road wasn’t empty).
My problem for the 1st week was signalling with the windshield wipers. I found this problem of activating windshield wipers instead of turn signal was very common with other USA expats living in Japan.

ROTFLMAO!! It was the same for me when I spent 2 weeks in Ireland! I wonder how many natives were puzzled by the daft fellow running around with his wipers on and no rain.

Dodgy Geezer
September 1, 2013 1:22 am

The government body responsible for looking after old buildings/battlegrounds/monuments/etc is called English Heritage. You can google them to see what they have.
There is also a charity called the National Trust – they look after many of the smaller houses, woodlands, etc. And of course, some places like Blenheim Palace are still owned by the original families….

martin brumby
September 1, 2013 1:40 am

As a resident of York, once the Capital of the North
and the city with perhaps the greatest gothic cathedral, (a Medieval Warm Period masterpiece of artful architecture and innovative engineering in stone and timber), I must make the case for you to visit this fair city (before they surround it with wind turbines).
I would be delighted and proud to give you any guidance or assistance you might require.
And I know where they sell some of the very best beer in the world. And would love to buy you one (or three)…

TFN Johnson
September 1, 2013 1:46 am

It’s safe to drive any vehicle in the UK, as we drive on the left. Which means that even two passing large lorries cannot set off a tornado.

September 1, 2013 1:53 am

Ironbridge Gorge Museum http://www.ironbridge.org.uk/ in now mostly-rural Shropshire in the west of England is one of many industrial museums in Britain. All of them are well worth a visit and they give a great insight into the Industrial Revolution which gave a huge boost to civilisation – largely by the burning of carbon!

View from the Solent
September 1, 2013 2:03 am

East coast, west coast – what about the bottom bit, south coast? OK, 2 weeks isn’t very long, but I’d have thought that a day of Big Sail* might interest you.
* http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/hmsvictory/

The Ol' Seadog.
September 1, 2013 2:10 am

Try North Wales. Superb scenery, coast, waterfalls etc. Here’s a few- http://www.betws-y-coed.co.uk/feature_pages/item/1067/Swallow_Falls_Betws_y_Coed.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aber_Fallshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistyll_Rhaeadr ( The name of this place means Parish or Church of the Waterfall in Valley of the Pigs)
Then there’s Anglesey.The Menai Strait is beautiful and you can go to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
A narrow gauge train pulled by Beyer Garret / Beyer Peacock steam engines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Welsh_Highland_Railway_rolling_stock) from Caernarfon to Porthmadog -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_Highland_Railway – is well worth the trip.
Give us a call in Llandudno-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llandudno.

September 1, 2013 2:12 am

Thanks Willis, yes it should be http://www.sarsen.org – memo to self “you need glasses now, don’t try to type without them.”. You will be made very welcome, drop me a line. For many years I used to blog under a pseudonym, with a lot about climate change – but we don’t mention that now, Willis will know me under that guise.

The Ol' Seadog.
September 1, 2013 2:13 am
September 1, 2013 2:26 am

Willis, like Omnologos I live and work in London. Would be fantastic to meet you (and I somehow haven’t managed to meet Omnologos in person yet despite meeting many other Old Blighty sceptics…). Would be happy to show you around too; if we don’t have the opportunity to meet up though and you’re wanting to maximise the use of your time the bulk of the major London museums are all on top of eachother near the South Kensington tube stop.
I’d be especially pleased to wander into the Science Museum with you as yours truly is quoted on a new exhibit there. 😉
Drop me a line if you have time:

Mark Fawcett
September 1, 2013 2:35 am

Hi Willis
As a northerner I’d say the Lake District and North Yorkshire (moors and dales) are a must (also Whitby on the east coast)
I’m living in Northampton now so may well be on your route in / out of London. Be more than glad to buy you and tours a pint or two in my local (the queen Adelaide) – very old pub with top beer.

September 1, 2013 2:50 am

Been living on the (north) Devon coast for a few years now – lovely part of the country if your coastal route takes you there.

Stephen Richards
September 1, 2013 2:50 am

That is hell of a schedule Willis, particularly on the UK roads. If a cyclist falls off his bike they shut the road for 8 hours to pick him up.
I’ve done the West coast. It’s much more scenic than the east and the people appear friendlier.
Enjoy. The weather/climate is usually very ggod in september.

Philip Bradley
September 1, 2013 2:53 am

Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire was the home of Isaac Newton and where he supposedly had his apple insight and the (claimed) apple tree is still there.
In the year 1666 he retired again from Cambridge to his mother in Lincolnshire. Whilst he was pensively meandering in a garden it came into his thought that the power of gravity (which brought an apple from a tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from earth, but that this power must extend much further than was usually thought. Why not as high as the Moon said he to himself & if so, that must influence her motion & perhaps retain her in her orbit, whereupon he fell a calculating what would be the effect of that supposition.

Henry Galt
September 1, 2013 3:12 am

As you are visiting outside of term-time you will be welcomed wherever you go and could probably just lodge where you like, when you like.
You are going to be busy but, if I may be so bold….
Visit Lands End if you must 😉 and Tintagel. Then skip the rest of the English southwest coast (let brimstone rain down on me for suggesting that) in lieu of a visit to Wiltshire and Somerset – spend the day at ‘The Stones’ and Avebury before meeting up with myself, Ulric Lyons, Lucy Skywalker and anyone else who so wishes for a stroll up Glastonbury Tor for a sunset picnic. This would provide an experience of neolithic Britain and the Isle of Avalon, your company many opportunities to gasp at the scenery, and allow Ulric time to astonish by revealing his discoveries (in depth, inside 10 minutes) while we quaff and scoff at one of our country’s greatest natural vantage points.
My biases are showing, yet I believe your family would be enriched and we could return a little for the experience of ‘knowing’ you.
Wells would be a great place to spend the night and in the morning you could skip the southern Welsh seaboard (here’s that brimstone again) and continue your bliss by driving to, and dropping in and out of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park before continuing up St George’s Channel toward ‘the English’ once more.
Disclaimer:I spent nearly 10 years in marine salvage. Our area of interest stretched from Kyle of Lochalsh to Plymouth. I don’t dislike (far from it) the Cornish, Devonian or Somerset coast or the industrial parts of Wales. It’s just that someone pushed for time could do smarter ‘joined up tourism’ IMHO. Just sayin’.
Let the firestorm commence …

Julian in Wales
September 1, 2013 3:17 am

Stonehenge followed by nearby Salisbury Cathedral sounds awesome – and then you could go to Gloucester Cathedral (next day) – because it is a really lovely or Wells (in the West country) which I have not been inside of. Salisbury to Stratford and Warwick would be an easy drive – where the wood timbered houses are exquisite and absolutely English – If you were in Stratford the Royal Shakespeare Company is really worth seeing (In London they perform at the Barbican, but there is the Globe in London which would be a more interesting Shakespeare experience. Also in London the National Theatre is the place to go for threatre)
In London – it must be the British Museum (Greek Sculpture, Biggest Egyptian and Assyrian collection in Europe), Tower of London (Crown jewels and armory) , Hampton Court with gardens and Michaelangelo’s drawings) but (Kenwood House if you want somewhere less crowded). The London Parks are very special places, with St James being the most central and prettiest (St James is between Trafalgar Sq (National Gallery) , Westminster and Buck Palace (the Queens Collection -she has the biggest collection of Michelangelo drawings – but they are often displayed at Hampton Court). I love St Pauls cathedral, must be one of the very great buildings of the world. As a seaman you would love Greenwich and the Royal Observatory.
On your travels get a National trust guide – this organization looks after many of he thistoric houses which are all over the country. They are almost always very well looked after with guided tours that are almost always fascinating.
I think you will find friends wanting to look after you where ever you go, but if at a loose end book bed and breakfasts by an organization called Wolsey Lodge – they are always very special places run by people with nice houses – you will get far better service than any hotel with private dinners with English silverware on the table – cheaper too.

September 1, 2013 3:22 am

Driving in the UK—we drive on the correct side of the road, the left ie the side from which you mount and dismount a horse.
Rotaries are ROUNDABOUTS since they do not rotate you do.
Do NOT turn left at a red light to feed into cross traffic. This move, legal in the States, is illegal here UNLESS the traffic lights tell you to do so with a green filter arrow.
All the best. If you have any interest in mining then Cornwall is the place, way down in the SW.

Julian in Wales
September 1, 2013 3:40 am

I should have mentioned Bath (Roman remains and Georgian Architecture) as the ideal stop after Salisbury
Another option would be to do London for a few days then take a cheap flight to Italy – because that country is simply swamped with beautiful places, culture and food. Everyone must visit Italy

Nick Luke
September 1, 2013 3:45 am

Welcome to England, the Family Eschenbach! Can I tempt you to a stopover in the fair City of Bath? As bait, I own one of the most traditional pubs in the UK, as recognized by CAMRA who have it on their National Register of Historic Pubs. We sell only locally brewed beers, simple food and have no Muzac, no machines, no screens in the building; the only entertainment is the richly diverse clientèle and it would be an honour to add you to that august gathering.
Another advantage is that it is bang in the middle of this lovely City!

September 1, 2013 3:54 am

Bletchley Park and Milton Keynes.
The Tower of London.
Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Castle
As much of Wales as you can work in.
(I’m mot sure about the names of the castle and the cathedral–I’m sure they both start with “W”.)

Mr Green Genes
September 1, 2013 4:06 am

I endorse and repeat the various suggestions of visiting the West Country. If you head west, don’t use the M4 which is just a bog-standard boring motorway. If you do, you’ll miss all the good bits of the fabulous county of Wiltshire – Stonehenge, Avebury, Silbury Hill, Marlborough etc. – and, instead see Swindon. I recommend using other roads such as the A4, A361 etc. If you happen to pass a signpost for the village of Chilton Foliat, just outside Hungerford, come along to The Wheatsheaf to sample Old Rosie. Btw, that is a cider and not an elderly resident ;-).
If you do visit HMS Belfast while you’re in London, I have an interesting piece of trivia for you. The guns in the forward facing turrets are said to be aimed at Scratchwood Services, the first service station on the M1 heading north out of London.
Enjoy your trip.

September 1, 2013 4:13 am

If you’re going to Edinburgh, you’ll have to pass through the Borders, one of the most beautiful and least known areas of Scotland – everyone goes straight through on the way to Edinburgh ….
The 4 Borders abbeys are worth a visit; Dryburgh is my personal favourite and the spectacular (Sir Walter) Scott’s View is very close to it. His house at Abbotsford is only a few miles off and full of history and collected memorabilia, especially of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Nice gardens too. My local abbey is Melrose, which is beautifully built in red sandstone, and has a unique bagpipe-playing pig gargoyle. Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried there. The English burned it down a couple of times but there’s still plenty left 🙂

September 1, 2013 4:20 am

Bugger! I won’t be back in Dorset until December but if you ever hit Greece let me know.

September 1, 2013 4:24 am

Pick and choose, Willis. Don’t make your ladies crazy by trying to see everything. Happy Trails 🙂

September 1, 2013 4:25 am

Well, if you get stuck for a couple of nights accommodation anywhere near Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales, you would be most welcome. Milford Haven history owes much to the whalers of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. My house overlooks the harbour and I built it on what was left of the quarry which provided the stone to build the original harbour. Beautiful countryside in Pembrokeshire. We are as far west as Truro in Cornwall so much driving which is a pain.
Looking forward to reading about your adventures during your visit to this Island in due course.

September 1, 2013 4:43 am

As everybody is mentioning interesting buildings, I’d recommend visiting the one that is voted year after year as England’s favourite – Durham Cathedral. I spent four years at the University in Durham and my most poignant memories are my visits to the Cathedral – it is unaccountably, staggeringly beautiful. To my mind it’s more impressive even than the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (and it’s free to visit)
And in September Durham is quiet and free from the hordes of students. An afternoon walking by (or rowing on) the river – passing under the gaze of the 900 year old castle – is one you’ll never forget.
On the topic of driving, the little yellow boxes on stalks that flash at you from the side of the road are speed cameras. Ignore them – you’ll be back stateside long before the summons arrives! 😉

September 1, 2013 4:52 am

I’m English, so please take some words of advice:
GET OUT OF LONDON AS SOON AS POSSIBLE – it is NOT indicative of England.
Try the Cotswolds, Devon, Cornwall, etc.

Julian in Wales
September 1, 2013 4:54 am

Richard 111 we are nearish Neighbours – Narberth – everyone knows everyone knows everyone in Pembs – what is your real name? Someone local who read WUWT – my email is julianathisprivatemaildotcom

Dodgy Geezer
September 1, 2013 5:33 am

milodonharlani says:
…The Bear in Oxford may be the oldest bar in the world, in business since 1242….
According to the Guiness Book of Records, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks on Abbey Mill Lane in St Albans (just north of London) is recorded as being an 11th century structure on an 8th century site. So the monks have been drinking there since the 700s. They had problems with redevelopment in those days too…
Pokey little place (people were smaller and fewer in those days), but the town is well worth a visit. You will find that many English towns (leaving apart the major cities) grew from market centres serving the local villages during the Middle Ages, so they will all have a ‘market-place’ somewhere, usually in the oldest part. Then there was a big influx to the towns during the Enclosures in the 1700 and 1800s, often centred on the new railway station built in the early part of the Industrial Revolution. So most towns will also have a ‘Station Road’ and a Victorian station building with hundreds of terraced cottages. Those two items are usually key to understanding the development of most English towns.
An unusual town in the West Country is Devizes, which never had a railway station. I haven’t been there for some time, but when I went there last it still had Elizabethan housing, since the railway revolution passed it by. The town is built around Wadworth’s brewery…. try the 6X….

September 1, 2013 5:40 am

Julian, check your mail. 🙂

September 1, 2013 5:53 am

Henry Galt:
I am at a loss to understand your suggesting

Visit Lands End if you must 😉 and Tintagel.

Lands End is merely a theme park about 5 miles from the most westerly point of the British mainland (i.e. Cape Cornwall) is near to the the most southerly point (i.e. the Lizard Point). All three have similar Atlantic coastline and Lands End is visible from Cape Cornwall.
Tintagel is a ruin which is only of interest to people interested in Arthurian legends. Several better castles exist – I notice that the much better Warwick Castle was commended to Willis – and Pendenis Castle here in Falmouth is a much better day out in Cornwall than Tintagel.

September 1, 2013 5:55 am

Poole in Dorset is a lovely place that a man like you (and your ladies) would appreciate

September 1, 2013 6:14 am

Driving on the ‘wrong’ side is genuinely dangerous, especially when in jet lag. Around Mildenhall US Air Base there are quite often tragic accidents which new servicepeople get into because their instincts are the other way.
Tell whoever is driving with you to watch carefully. And be very aware at entering or turning into divided highways. Well, rght or left turns, and entering new roads in general whether divided or not.
I have had two experiences along these lines. In one of them a US driver entered a divided highway from a single lane road at a T junction. I was a passenger. He carefully went across the divider and started to turn left – going the wrong way! We shouted in time, there was a traffic light anyway, and it was OK. Alone he would have ended up driving straight into oncoming traffic.
The other happened to me. I was about to turn into a divided highway and after looking carefully the wrong way, saw that it was completely clear, but by the Grace of God for some reason glanced in the other direction and saw a wall of cars bearing down at 50 miles an hour no more than 50 yards away.
You need constant vigilance, because your reflexes are all wrong. And never drive on the wrong side when tired.

Henry Galt
September 1, 2013 6:25 am

Richard – if I had experience of John ‘O Groats I would suggest that also to an American abroad. For the bragging rights.
I have visited almost every castle in southern England, and many in Wales, over the last 40 odd years as my sons, young and old, cannot pass one by 😉
Tintagel is in my top 5. Atmosphere alone would put it in my top 3. Corfe is a ruin as well, as is Old Wardour, but the imagination sends chills if picturing an attack at any of them.
Warwick is simply amazing, granted, but remote ruined fortification holds a fascination for me. Not everyone’s cup of nettle soup, I grant.

Leo Norekens
September 1, 2013 6:50 am

Willis, you might want to cross the Channel (by ferry or through the Eurotunnel) to visit the old “Askoy II”.
Judging from this picture http://www.askoyii.be/index.htm , I would say it’s in [the] NSW shipyard in Hemiksem (Antwerp) now, in an advanced stage of [restoration].
[It it were under full restauration, then the ship would not need its next lunch date from the shipyard. Mod].

September 1, 2013 6:55 am

The George Inn, Norton St Philip, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_George_Inn,_Norton_St_Philip is well worth stopping at near Bath. The open courtyard with balcony would have been old in Shakespeare’s time and the sort of place a travelling band of actors would have performed in.
And Devizes is lovely, but it did have a railway at the bottom of the hill, leaving the main town unscarred.

John Whitman
September 1, 2013 6:57 am

I’ve visited England several times on business and for educational purposes.
My recommendation is each day get to where you are planning to spend the night by late afternoon then spend significant time in old pubs listening and chatting with locals. Amazing times with wonderful people to be had in that.

Tony McGough
September 1, 2013 7:03 am

Welcome to the British Isles.
Don’t try to see everything – you can’t in the time.
While the ladies are shopping at Harrods in London, go to the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum in Kensington. That’s the only way you will want them to shop for a little longer.
Do spend three hours in one of the ancient cathedrals – Durham is my favourite (look for the burial place of the Venerable Bede), but Ely or Salisbury or Bath or ….. lots of others are good too. If you get there for Evensong, the experience might stay with you for a long time.
And try to see some victorian technology – railway viaducts are two a penny, but the Anderton boat lift or Ironbridge or the Menai straits bridge are deeply impressive.

September 1, 2013 7:09 am

Will you be visiting the University of East Anglia? 🙂

September 1, 2013 7:29 am

If you get to the far SE, just north of Dover is a town called Sandwich, ancient medieval town. I could show you the house where Tom Paine lived (and introduce you to his great, great, great, great, great grandson if he’s sober). Paine I seem to recall had something to do with the USA Constitution which while now obsolete seemed to me to be a useful idea.
I am a global coolist and believe the GHGs which are useful at turning thermal energy into radiation actually make the planet a little cooler. I also believe that water vapour and clouds are abolutely dominant in regulating global temperatures and themselves are unaffected by CO2 levels. I do not believe that the current cooling of the planet is significantly impacted by CO2 but I do believe that solar effects and the outer planets in turn regulate temperatures and I also believe that a little iceage is very likely to happen more or less now and the current cooling will massively accelerate over the coming decade and longer.
I used to have a good brain but ill health makes me stupid much of the time these days. Still I believe I could put up some challenging ideas which remain qualitative but potent.
I am however aware that most skeptics are closet warmists differing often only over something called climate sensitivity from their brethren holding the extremist positions. This has lead to a debate by two groups who fundamentally believe in the same hog wash.
However WUWT will allow me to post this whereas the skeptic sites will not. Only the DAGW views are allowed with them and the idea that they are actually in bed with the skeptics would give them a collective seizure. The skeptics therefore hold much power over the warmists but their fundamental luke-warmism prevents them from administering the coup-de-grace.

John Whitman
September 1, 2013 7:31 am

While in England please “Beware the Jabberwock, my son”.
{Apologies to the legacy of Lewis Carroll}

September 1, 2013 8:04 am

Some possible ideas: if you have the time and inclination our historic Naval Dockyard at Portsmouth has the Mary Rose restoration and what to me is the most fascinating transitional iron-hulled, steam-driven, breach loading bow gunned ship: the Warrior (built 1860) – see http://www.hmswarrior.org/
And on the way along the South Coast there’s the Jurassic coast at Dorset (with a few of our home-grown oil nodding donkeys at Wytch Farm near Corfe Castle) – and you could visit the Balcombe fracking protesters camp in West Sussex to enlighten them on what is actually needed to keep the UK’s lights on!
Watch out very carefully for (pedal) cyclists on our roads – since the Olympics last year they have taken to thinking they own the roads and often do the silliest things which I wouldn’t dream of doing on my motorbike (which you actually have to be qualified to drive).
And if you need assistance at any time you are in the Surrey area, Anthony always has my email address…

Cold Englishman
September 1, 2013 8:08 am

Two places for every American to visit, when in England.
1. Runnymede, sight of the signing of Magna Carta. There is a small area deeded in perpetuity to the USA, and contains a small building dedicated by the American Bar Association in recognition of Magna Carta, and also a small area dedicated to the memory of JFK.
2. The east end of our National Cathedral in London, St Pauls, and I quote:- “At the east end of the cathedral behind the High Altar is the American Memorial Chapel. This part of the building was destroyed during the Blitz and, when rebuilt in the 1950s, formed a chapel funded by the British people to commemorate the members of the United States forces based in Britain who gave their lives defending liberty during World War II.”
Both of these places are our way of saying thanks to all Americans for the enormous sacrifices they made for us. We are truly grateful.
Enjoy your visit.

G P Hanner
September 1, 2013 8:35 am

Remember: You drive clockwise in roundabouts and yield to anyone already in them, as is befitting a system where you drive on the left hand side of the road. I forget the rules about zebra crossings.

September 1, 2013 9:16 am

Hi Willis
I live near and work in Henley on Thames (home of the Henley Royal Rowing Regatta) so a good place to be a tourist.. if you come that way, say hi.. and I’ll buy you lunch
or Paddington Station in London, is only a 25 minute train ride away for me
Anthony has my email address

September 1, 2013 9:58 am

Luther Wu on 1st Aug @ 5:01 pm:
Seconded! The Yorkshire Dales are wonderful. However, the choice is huge in England, despite the fact it is such a small island. There is so much history and varied landscape.
The Herriot Museum in Thirsk is very good and the church attractive. The country immediately around there is a bit ordinary but it is surrounded by the North Yorkshire Moors to the East and the Yorkshire Dales to the West. Further west over the Pennines is the Lake District. You really are spoilt for choice for a short visit!
Whatever you do I really hope you enjoy it very much and hope that you see our beautiful country at its best! Best wishes, Annie.

September 1, 2013 10:01 am

Our son is over from a LHD country. I have written a sign for him to leave in the hire car…”Drive on the Left!”

September 1, 2013 10:02 am

Here’s a (first of seven) radio episode to a Modern Science history that mentions The Monument in London, built by Hooke. A lab in the basement, and the whole tower a telescope! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b037tsw4
On board with you 100%. Fight on!

September 1, 2013 10:03 am

London? Aargh! Overpriced, completely atypical of the UK itself, and a nest of politicians and civil servants. Head west young man, God’s counties are the South West, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Gloucestershire. Avoid Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, in the west, and Newcastle, Leeds, Bradford etc in the east! Cumbria, Northumberland, Co Durham, Yorkshire are fabulous.

September 1, 2013 10:17 am

Further North but not as far as Scotland you have the wonderful Northumbrian coast with Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle. Bamburgh Castle is nearby. There is also (but not for much longer) an amazing exhibition of The Lindisfarne Gospels at Durham, in the library next door to Durham Cathedral. The Cathedral alone is worth visiting Durham for. However, you won’t have time for much, so these are only ideas, just in case you find yourself there.

Keith Sketchley
September 1, 2013 10:20 am

Be careful that once you get comfortable driving there’s a risk you’ll revert to the worng side.
Some of the roundabouts are troubled – the one at the west end of an old town SW of Cheltenham has too may side roads and lanes. Fortunately no snow now so arrows on the pavement are visible.

September 1, 2013 10:23 am

Alice and I peddled our bikes through Germany, England, Ireland, and Wales for four months in 1998. Everywhere we went people remarked about the wonderful warm weather. “You Yanks must have brought it with you from California. We’ve never seen the like.” Later we learned of the Great 1997-1998 El Nino, and of our fortune in choosing our vacation of a lifetime to coincide with it. I doubt your weather will be as nice, Willis, but here’s hoping it is.
I lived in Suffolk near Ipswich for five years courtesy of the US Air Force, and it is a marvelous part of England. So while there, do what i never got around to doing, and rent a houseboat and cruise the Norfolk Broads. I envy my many friends who did and never tire of telling me how relaxing and enjoyable it was.
This could be too much like a “sailor’s holiday” for you, Willis, but I bet you would love it.

September 1, 2013 10:39 am

We had friends from Australia visit us a few years back. Their son and DIL said they should visit here, there and everywhere. They were exhausted by the time they reached us. We sat them down with a gin and tonic and told them to rest and the relief in their faces when they were given ‘permission’ not to do any more sightseeing for a while was quite a picture.
I wonder if this will post as it’s the 4th one I’ve written this afternoon?

J Martin
September 1, 2013 10:44 am

and as previously mentioned, Stonehenge. Both are only 35 miles apart and you can comfortably do both in a day and still have time left over.
Both are deeply impressive and cover two very different periods in time.
Occasionally I show various relatives / friends from Oz and the US around, as I live 40 miles west of London, I am usually asked to guide them around London, but I invariably take a day of their time, jump in a car and go do Stonehenge and then on to the Roman Baths in Bath.
If in London then I also like to subject my guests to the changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. The British do military pomp and circumstance in a way that other countries can only dream of and will never match. Buckingham Palace is also fairly impressive, I feel.
Jonathan Martin

M Courtney
September 1, 2013 11:13 am

-The museums of Oxford – not just the Ashmoleon but also pop in the others. They are all free and full of wonders.
-The British Museum is the museum of the world.
-If you or your ladies like Western art then Google the galleries in London. There are more than are obvious that contain great works. And they are free.
-The cathedrals of England are all magnificent. Gloucester has the oldest fan vaulting in the world, the bombed out Coventry is moving, York Minster has the Roman catacombs where Constantine was crowned (of historical importance). Any is worth stopping at to investigate the architecture from before (supposedly) we had a vector theory of force. If in Somerset try Wells for a very clever example.
-Try the traditional pubs but be willing to move on of they look like they have no atmosphere.
-If you have time, wander off the beaten track and follow the brown signs (tourist attractions) to see the history of the British Isles.
-Picnic at Ironbridge for the birth of the Industrial Revolution.
Whitby has a spectacular ruined Abbey and is the epitome of Gothic. Bram Stoker noticed that.
-The south west is beautiful; Cornwall for mining history, Devon for naval history, Dorset for geology (it was invented there). Somerset and Wiltshire are lovely and full of interest but so is the rest of the country.
You won’t see it all. Just take time to slow down and explore.

M Courtney
September 1, 2013 11:22 am

Keith Sketchley says at September 1, 2013 at 10:20 am

an old town SW of Cheltenham

If that means that you won’t even name the Gloucester slums then I can only assume that you are also from Cheltenham, as I am.
How come we’ve never met?

September 1, 2013 11:48 am

and w. beware the ghost of Samuel Pepys. that’s all I am prepared to say on the matter

Gary Pearse
September 1, 2013 11:59 am

I married in London in 1965 and after the budget reception in a quaint pub on the north bank of the Thames east of downtown (name forgotten) we accepted an invite for Christmas dinner a month or so later from one of our friends who lived in the country just outside of Diss, Norfolk, near the border with Suffolk. Because I was a Canuck, they opted for Turkey, the first our hosts had ever eaten and, at the time, this bird was hardly established as a part of British cuisine. I was asked to serve as advisor on its cooking. I cautioned that all I really knew was more or less how it was supposed to look after it was cooked. It turned out terrifically good, making converts to this goofy bird as a fine dinner. The highlights of the couple of days was the Christmas Day service in a small stone church built by G. Chaucer’s grandson (or was it great grandson?) and a walk across frosty fields with walking sticks to what must be the tiniest pub in the world with room for no more than about 6 to 8 customers at a time. If I could recall exactly were it was, I would direct you there for a wonderful pause. I’m sure you will enjoy your journey very much. Cheers

Keith Sketchley
September 1, 2013 12:01 pm

“I did save my Dad’s life about a dozen times when my parents came to visit. Always stepping out into the road and looking to the right!”
Need to look both ways.
A jogger died in White Rock BC because she only looked one direction, the train was coming from the other.

J Martin
September 1, 2013 12:01 pm

Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship which looks as if it could be taken to sea with no preparation at all.
Given your interest in things nautical.
But then as you are a minority in the party of three what sort of things might your wife and daughter like to see ?
Westminster Abbey just across the road from the Houses of Parliament is extraordinary, since it is the last resting place of so many kings and queens and some of histories other great names. A reminder of all those history lessons we had at school. The cathedral of St Paul’s is impressive for it’s shear size alone.
At the National gallery there are some remarkable paintings even if you thought you didn’t like such things, it’s the sort of place that can change ones views sometimes.
I sometimes feel though that London could be better geared up to suit tourists than it is.

September 1, 2013 12:17 pm

Willis, if you come to Somerset do come and see us!

Robin Hewitt
September 1, 2013 12:23 pm

Beware staying at ancient public houses. Those old blackened timbers have wonderful history but if anyone gets up in the night to answer the call of nature the creaking wakes everyone in the place up. Stonehenge used to be good when they allowed you to get up close and personal with the stones, but you might find it a disappointment nowadays, unless you get permission to leave the tourist paths. If you want a piece of blue stone for luck, best to go to the Neolithic quarry where they cut them. I was born and raised Oxford and if you do go there I can tell you where to look for medieval decorated floor tiles, in the days before computers we used to find that kind of stuff amusing, maybe you do to.

Keith Sketchley
September 1, 2013 12:31 pm

FTR in the unlikely event anyone is interested, the troubled roundabout is in Gloucester, close to the A40 westbound and the M5 which runs north-south. Try getting to the hotel you can see to the northwest.
Willis, you’ll have a busy trip regardless.

September 1, 2013 1:23 pm

If you have time to get to Seil Island (Argyll and Bute) on Scotland’s left coast just do it.
On the way back visit Norfolk’s “Broads” – waterways: if you’re here (Norfolk) before the 12th a beer awaits.

Mike Singleton
September 1, 2013 1:28 pm

Have fun over there. I spent the first 26 years of my life there, Yorkshire, and I have spent many months back there on vacation, family visits and business. You have more than enough ideas above to fill a whole year in the country never mind a few weeks.
My advice would be to stay off the motorways unless you need to get from point A to point B in a relative hurry. Be aware that drivers in the UK can be quite “aggressive”, certainly compared to Canada where I live now.
Not sure if it has been mentioned but a drive alongside the remains of Hadrians wall is very scenic and has a lot of roman ruins/museums to visit. We spent a week in Northumberland a couple of years ago and it seems relatively untouched by “progress” and reminded me of the England I remember of my youth in the 60’s, One strong recommendation is to drive the west coast of Scotland, absolutely beautiful. I see someone above mentioned Fountains Abbey as a very special site and I concur. I don’t know if they still do it but in the fall evenings at one time the ruins used to be flood lit and gregorian chants were played at a suitable volume level, the overall effect always made the hair on my arms stand on end.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 1, 2013 1:54 pm

If Willis Eschenbach were to meet Christopher Monckton in Edinburgh, would that not be an explosive combination as together they become a critical mass of critical thought?
I see the prospect of meeting Willis has caused several here to be as giddy as schoolgirls, as there are displays of rational intellect here worthy of an episode of Gidget.
Please stop posting your email addresses out on the open internet, unless you really want the pr0n spam. Willis is on good terms with the management, just leave a note that Willis can use the valid email address you supply for posting and he can get it.
And you people aren’t even using the old-timey obfuscation measures like giddy-@t-heartcrush=dotted=net? *sigh* There needs to be a name for this surging stupidity at the prospect of meeting their science idol, perhaps the EschenRush?

September 1, 2013 2:21 pm

How does one go about getting a drivers license quickly enough to drive in another country?

Reply to  eyesonu
September 1, 2013 3:32 pm

You can get an International Drivers Permit at AAA (Before you travel the world, travel to any AAA office for your International Driving Permit. Bring your valid U.S. driver’s license, $15USD , and two ORIGINAL passport-type photos (also available at AAA offices). You may also wish to fill out our International Driving Permit application in advance http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html.) It’s cheap and easy, and you can get expedited service if you are in a hurry.

September 1, 2013 2:28 pm

“Please stop posting your email addresses out on the open internet, unless you really want the pr0n spam. Willis is on good terms with the management, just leave a note that Willis can use the valid email address you supply for posting and he can get it”
– Get a grip. My email address is freely given on “the public internet” elsewhere. What I lack in trust of personal confidentiality in gmail I gain in trust of google’s spam filter.

September 1, 2013 2:42 pm

May you and your family have a terrific trip!
Wherever you end up; ask directions to the local favorite pub. The real places, with low ceilings and friendly patrons and bar tenders.
(My preferences, do as you will) Order the house’s favorite porter(s) or stout(s). Order a roast beef sandwich (they go great with the dark beers and ales), chat with anyone and everyone, play darts and don’t mind when they joke with you a little.
Order the fish and chips during the day or supper times (less late night stomach burn/burps for us more experienced guys); get fish and chips wrapped in paper, sprinkle with vinegar and walk around nibbling, listening and chatting.
Drink tea, (milk or cream goes in the cup first or without if preferred), enjoy walking to shops and pubs, enjoy bangers and rashers with your morning eggs. Breakfast may be the only meal where pints and half pints are not common. On the other side of the channel, wine can be common at every meal.
British have a remarkable tendency towards rally car driving on narrow twisty country roads. They will pass you, going uphill, around a blind curve on these same narrow roads; enjoy the freedom of their driving. Given your third world experiences, you’ll no doubt consider British driving very civilized. On the other side of the channel, driving habits are a more interesting.
I’m sure you will love the place(s) and I hope your family loves them just as much. Enjoy the many British sports cars and drive every one you’re allowed to. Hopefully, the British sports car era will revitalize.
The closest I ever got to owning a British sports car was when I bought a Triumph Herald in 1971 for $150. My friends bought TR4As, MGs, Sunbeams, Spitfires and one friend even had a Jag; a Triumph Herald is basically a neutered Spitfire with a bread box body design.

George Steiner
September 1, 2013 3:22 pm

Not enough time Mr. Eschenbach, but do the best you can.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 1, 2013 3:57 pm

From katabasis1 on September 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm:

– Get a grip. My email address is freely given on “the public internet” elsewhere. What I lack in trust of personal confidentiality in gmail I gain in trust of google’s spam filter.

You did publicly reveal your email to help a compatriot. Yet you obfuscated your email on your revolutionary blog. Which is quite an amazing site. You rally for internet freedom. You decry the actions of government intelligence thugs, and such as the PRISM program revealed by Snowden.
You place your trust in Google, which gives up their information to those governmental mini-tyrants and their programs, even after confirmation that Google has been snooping on emails, examining their contents.
You set up a site to draw in the would-be revolutionaries, using fiery rhetoric. “Katabasis: Take up my sword if I fall”, “The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many.”
You then direct others to use that proven complicit with the “tyrants”. Those who could readily be classified as possible terrorists by the intelligence services, are directed to an email service that will readily provide emails with all their contents to the intelligence services.
So despite the harassment potential from merely having someone else’s email address, for example I could post messages here under your name verified by your email address (and was tempted to do so as an example), you’re fine with public posting due to a mere spam filter. Got it.

September 1, 2013 7:07 pm

A visit to the New Forest (est.1079 by William I) or even Sherwood Forest might be a nice change of pace.

September 1, 2013 8:30 pm

Damn, I’m so late to the party here, and this would have been my forte (fort-ay) – (how do you do French accents again?). I’ve been an ad hoc tour guide for so many of my American friends.
For the last three days, I’ve actually been on a whirlwind tour – based in Paris, I’ve managed to visit Monte Carlo for a show, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and even got to see the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel, if you get my drift.
I haven’t read all the comments but Willis, if you’re still tuning in, when you head out west and if you have Stonehenge on your itinerary, try to find time to visit a better (IMO) stone circle – Avebury. It’s pretty close to the M4 (easier to get to than Stonehenge) and is so big, there’s a village, complete with village pub …. in the middle of the stone circle. It’s so real that not only can you walk up to and touch the stones (unlike Stonehenge), you can tread in sheep s**t, before having a pint in the Red Lion pub.
Lost memories of warmer times abound for true non-d****rs of climate change. Have a great trip.
…… and PS, my Mom told me they were expecting better weather.

September 1, 2013 9:26 pm

I may have to save this post for ideas. I spent a month in England in 1975, while on a post-US Navy “Grand Tour”, then a couple of weeks in 2009, mostly at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Mini in Longbridge, but I did get to Warwick Castle, the Gaydon Motor Museum, The RAF museum in Cosford, and Coventry (stayed at Coombe Abbey – fabulous!). I keep thinking hard about spending a year in the UK when I retire in a few years, just to see everything there is to see.

September 1, 2013 11:00 pm

Warwick! That was the Castle name I could not remember! Go down to the river level and the eel trap and power house.
Also check out the Royal Chelsea Hospital and surrounding gardens–and the little museum at the Hospital.
check out the pubs around it.
I did mention Bletchley, I think.
Did I mention the British Museum?

Robin Michaels
September 1, 2013 11:25 pm

Welcome to London, Willis + family!
Robin, London, sceptic, amateur mathematician and scientist, increasingly enthusiastic reader and thinker about history, philosophy and patterns of human behaviour. Reluctant ‘finance professional’.
Much enjoyed reading your posts, Willis, if you plan to spend a relaxing evening in a pub in London, can recommend:
1. The Southampton Arms which is near Gospel Oak station; or
2. The Wenlock Arms which is near Angel.
I would regard it as a privilege to be able to buy you a pint.
Best, R

Steve R in UK
September 2, 2013 2:51 am

Willis – welcome to the UK.
If your travels were to include the South West (fyi the further West you go the more beautiful the South becomes!) then my family and I would gladly say hi from the town of Poole in Dorset.
We could even put you all up for a night or two and I’m in and around home for the next couple of weeks…
The “fee” would simply be the sharing of stories over a beer / wine or two 🙂

September 2, 2013 3:06 am

I write to offer two suggestions in the event that you decide to accept the invitation from ‘Steve R in UK’ to stay at Poole.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Tank Museum at Bovington.
If you can get a boat trip along the Jurassic Coast in the presence of a geologist then take it. The Jurassic Coast is one of the greatest wonders in the world, and it certainly deserves its World Heritage status. I think a journey Eastward from Exemouth is best because you start from the past and travel to the present (but that is a preference). And there are several places on shore for finding fossils. If you have someone to teach you which stones to break then you are sure to find some (several decorate my fireplace). Fossil hunting with a near certainty of success is fun for all the family: it is like opening presents at Christmas when you don’t know which parcels contain something.

September 2, 2013 4:55 am

Willis – I can save you a bit of time on the East Coast journey.
After you drop down from North Yorkshire, you’ll probably end up in York which is a beautiful city. From there, the engineer in you will most likely want to see (and cross) the Humber Bridge which was, when built around 1979, the largest single span suspension bridge in the world. Now listen carefully – on the north bank of the Humber is the city of Hull and to the south lies the TATA steel town of Scunthorpe and the fishing/food town of Grimsby. All three are fugly beyond belief and have no redeeming features – don’t even stop if you’re busting for one! If you can, just plough on straight through to Lincoln which has, at least, a beautiful cathedral and a bit of history.
Now if you need a place to kip before you get to Lincoln, (no frills mind) I can offer a bit of grub, lots of whisky and a half decent acoustic guitar for the night. Not sure how I’ll explain it to the missus, but I’m sure I can come up with something.

September 2, 2013 5:09 am

I’m wondering (oddly) if you’ve got the sense of scale of Britain correct – basically, if you’ve got a couple of weeks, you can go just about anywhere and have time to spare, so long as you don’t mind travelling. Whilst hardly small, if you are in a hurry our transport network is (just – which seems to have been the case for all recorded history) good enough to get to one place to another quickly. Unless one or the other place is one of the really outlying bits – Cornwall, West Wales, Argyll, northern Scotland, and the east side of East Anglia – which may take half a day to get to from the main transport network (although unsurprisingly all are worth it). And then you have the rest of the British Isles as well…

UK Marcus
September 2, 2013 6:07 am

Welcome to the Britain, Willis. Even the jet-stream is cooperating to provide you with some spectacular late summer weather. I do hope you will be able to do a write-up your impressions of England, Scotland and Wales on WUWT, (‘The UK’ includes Northern Ireland). Something along the lines of your great story of ‘hitch-hiking to a wedding’, maybe.
We drive on the correct, or left hand, side of the road, because most people are right handed. Before police appeared we had to defend ourselves – using a sword or some weapon in our right hand, so we walked or rode on the left with the many hedges you will see, protecting our left. That also applied to horse drawn carriages. When cars first appeared they just had to fit in, so the steering wheel was on the right and the shift stick (gear lever) operated with the left hand.
Early gear boxes were very hard to work, so when cars were first used in America someone probably said, ‘why dont we use our right hand (usually stronger) to shift the gears, and put the steering wheel on the left’?.
Very early film shot in San Francisco, before the earthquake, show many cars with the steering wheel on the right.
Enjoy your visit here.

September 2, 2013 8:22 am

Too late to warn him now but to “warn” others, here’s an olde drive report that I did last century on driving in England and Wales.
I returned again in 1999, which included a couple of trips through London and the area subseqeuntly converted into a Congestion Charge Zone. When the zone was defined, I was puzzled as I couldn’t remember any excessive congestion. Very little “congestion” even during the middle of the day. It was much worse in the outer suburbs as the roads were clogged by Chelsea Tractors (faux wheel drives) collecting school children.
Locals informed me the “Red Ken”, then the mayor of the city, had completely screwed up the traffic flow, de-synchonising traffic lights and turning most lanes into bus lanes. Not surprisingly, reducing the available road space by 500% to 66%, led to substantial congestion. The charge to drive through inner London isn’t what I would consider to be “affordable”. Businesses operating in the zone simply raise their prices to pay for the increased operating expense or move out of the zone.
Bonkers Boris on a Bike (I think it’s from practicing headers with a medicine ball) was elected as mayor but simply left the lucrative business of collecting the charge and didn’t fix the congestion by fixing the causes of congestion.
The Congestion Charge is so popular with Londoners, that it’s administrated out of an office block in a business park outside of Coventry, some 90 miles away.

September 2, 2013 8:25 am

“How does one go about getting a drivers license quickly enough to drive in another country?”
You can legally drive on a USA licence for 12 months in the UK, After that you need to get a provisional (learners permit) and take a driving test. An IDL does not exempt you from this, save your cash.

September 2, 2013 8:58 am

majormike1 says:

You can get an International Drivers Permit at AAA

Probably not worth it as the IDP is only a translation of the licence details into multiple languages. It’s only valid in conjunction with a real licence.
The only time that I could have used one (and I did have one in the car), was when I got caught in a speed trap in Germany (popular for local fund-raising). I presented my Western Australian licence, which didn’t have a picture.
The local cops of Neubrandenburg were (still in 1997), more likely to be able to read Polish or Russian than English. But there were no difficulties with having my licence accepted. The cop who interviewed me asked for my Personalausweis (personal ID papers, which we don’t have in Australia because we don’t get so drunk as to forget who we are) but I handed them him passport. We cordially discussed the ethical aspects of setting a trap at the end of what was effectively 2 km of open road, just before it turns at 90 degrees into a suburb and that 70 km/h was most certainly not an excessive speed for those conditions by themselves.
There are lots of areas in Germany where towns aren’t more than a couple of kilometres apart, but the speed limit is the default 100 km/h so I was feeling a bit guilty about holding up the traffic behind me. The default speed limit is 50 km/h within localities whose bounds are marked by signs. If you think you missed a sign because it looks like a country road, it’s “safest” to continue at no more than 50 km/h. Especially in regions where the local government is short of cash.
I agreed to pay the 75 DM local toll for falling into the trap. Meanwhile, there was a constant flow of vehicles into the trap while I was sitting comfortably in the van, dotting the t’s and crossing the i’s.
P.S.: If you plan to travel to Germany for fun, first change your name to Max Mustermann. Still wreaks havoc with systems that use it as a traditonal placeholder.

September 2, 2013 9:13 am

Willis, if you do manage to get north of the border and perhaps see Edinburgh, I’d like to suggest a stop on the way back down the east coast, where you can get out and enjoy just a few tranquil moments, away from the noise: Cove harbour, just off the A1 at Cockburnspath. Usually deserted as it’s no longer in use. Small car park at the top, short path down to cave through the hillside, and there it is…
Just has an archetypal sort of feel.
Abandon in case of bad weather (couldn’t possibly happen here in September – oh wait…)

September 2, 2013 10:35 am

From the look of things, you could stay half a year free of charge. Cornwall and the Lake District are distinct pleasures.

Roger Tolson
September 2, 2013 12:37 pm

While in London go on a guided walking tour, they cover everything from the Law Courts to Jack the Ripper, go and look at a canal preferably where there is a flight of locks ( and usually a Pub)
Coming from a country with a big flat bit in the middle you will delighted how our landscape and geology changes every 25 miles or so.

September 2, 2013 1:25 pm

Lots of good recommendations and I’ll need to get around to see some of them now!
I would recommend Stratford-on-Avon. Get a walking tour if you can. If you go for some culture, make sure you read the details. My dearly beloved treated me to Othello in German to a Jazz theme on our last trip! (it was surprisingly understandable).
Cumbria/Lake District is lovely and there is good beer (Jennings Cumberland Ale is my favorite). If you want someplace quiet for a restful break, The Wasdale Head Inn on the west side of the Lake District is very quiet although the decor is ‘national park functional.’ There is a microbrewery there. Nearby is Ravenglass and Muncaster Castle which has lovely gardens and the view is magnificent.
Other places: Hadrian’s wall is excellent if you like history. Edinburgh is fantastic. I loved Cornwall (if you like sculpture there is a small Barbara Hepworth(?) museum in St Ives so you can some culture. Tintagel was beautiful and it was a cold misty day when we were there. I really liked Warwick Castle. Fountains Abbey is beautiful but Bolton Abbey is almost as good (if it is more convenient).
Bon Voyage!

September 2, 2013 1:44 pm

“the ladies and I are going to England….. Then a week or so to drive up the west coast of the island,”
Is Florida an island? No. And neither is England. Have a look at a map. Data, dear boy, data.
And Luther Wu, James Herriot was a Scotsman.

colin artus
September 2, 2013 1:47 pm

On matters nautical it’s worth adding, to those ships altready mentioned (Victory,Belfast, Mary Rose), the Cutty Sark in Greenwhich (London) and the Great Britain in Bristol ( another great place for fans of engineering). Have a great trip.

September 2, 2013 1:48 pm

And when you are driving up the west coast of ‘England’ you will find that an awkward bump gets in your way. it’s called Wales.

September 2, 2013 2:19 pm

For me:
In the South, Stonehenge is great and world famous, but Avebury is better becuase you can touch the stones. And one of our greatest cathedrals is at Salisbury – still the tallest spire in England at over 400 ft, foundations laid in 1220 AD. Everything here is old – the church in my village was built in 1465, at Breamore up the road it was 980 Ad. And there are others older.
West Country fantastic – Maybe Tintagel for history, Cornwall.
Don’t forget Dorest – Thomas Hardy Country, but also famous Geology of Jurassic Coast. Lyme Regis was mentioned, but also look out for Lulworth Cove with famous geology. And near Dorchester try a walk up Maiden Castle, 4,000 year old hill fort fortifed from the chalk downland.
Going North, Yorkshire Dales are beautiful, Lake District is beyond comparison – check out Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter. Our mountains are small, but perfectly formed.
An that’s just England, you have Wales, Scotland.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 2, 2013 2:59 pm

From Bernd Felsche on September 2, 2013 at 8:58 am:

There are lots of areas in Germany where towns aren’t more than a couple of kilometres apart, but the speed limit is the default 100 km/h so I was feeling a bit guilty about holding up the traffic behind me. The default speed limit is 50 km/h within localities whose bounds are marked by signs.

This should be of interest to drivers in the EU:

EU plans to fit all cars with speed limiters
All cars could be fitted with devices that stop them going over 70mph, under new EU road safety measures which aim to cut deaths from road accidents by a third.
By Claire Carter
8:49AM BST 01 Sep 2013
Under the proposals new cars would be fitted with cameras that could read road speed limit signs and automatically apply the brakes when this is exceeded.
Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, is said to be opposed to the plans, which could also mean existing cars are sent to garages to be fitted with the speed limiters, preventing them from going over 70mph.

The scheme would work either using satellites, which would communicate limits to cars automatically, or using cameras to read road signs. Drivers can be given a warning of the speed limit, or their speed could be controlled automatically under the new measures.

70 mph = 113 kph
Just wait until they start doing “regional carbon emission limits”, and a model determines a roadway may soon exceed its allotment so it forces all vehicles to slow down to the calculated speed limit.
The satellite (GPS) option will likely be favored, because then they can automatically know if you are breaking any traffic laws. Are you speeding, making an illegal turn, not making a full stop, even without knowing it? The ticket is in the mail. To beat it, just prove you weren’t driving your own vehicle. Good luck with that.
As found in the Northeast US where they have the EZ-Pass vehicle transponder system for automatic tool road payments, the authorities love when they can automatically make money. (Between entering and leaving road was this amount of time, distance was that, average speed above limit, pay up sucker.)
We all make technical mistakes, above limit going down a hill, forgot to signal a turn, etc. The authorities will have to exercise some restraint or they’ll penalize practically all drivers off the road.
But if you speak out against the EU bureaucracy, don’t be surprised when several months of “deferred” tickets show up, you are rightfully penalized out of driving for life, and they justifiably seize all your assets to pay down your mountain of fines. Why were you such a careless driver?

September 2, 2013 3:29 pm

Enjoy! Have a few Taliskers in the bar JRR Tolkein frequented (Oxford, Cambridge, whatever – I had a few too when I visited). Also St. James Park in London has a fantastic bunch of exotic waterfowl in unconfined areas.
Looking forward to return. Maybe we can find another topic to argue about beyond “models”.

Phil's Dad
September 2, 2013 4:20 pm

Someone already mentioned Hampton Court ( http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace ) which is a walk across Bushy Park ( http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/bushy-park/map-of-bushy-park ) from where I live. (35 minutes by train from Waterloo Station in the heart of London.) I endorse the advice given above to get an Oyster Card while in London to pre-pay for all busses, trains and tubes (underground trains) ( https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do. ) I would also endorse the view that you not spend too long there if you want a “true and fair view” of this sceptred isle.
If you do visit Warwick Castle (North of Oxford on the M40) ( http://www.warwick-castle.com ) you are next door to Stratford ( http://www.stratford-upon-avon.co.uk ) home of all things Shakespeare. You can easily do both in a day especially as the kids are now back at school.
Off motorways you will average 30mph. On motorways the limit is 70mph and the median speed is nearer 80mph! Now I’m not suggesting…just be aware.

Phil's Dad
September 2, 2013 4:43 pm

conrad says: (September 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm)
“the bar JRR Tolkein frequented (Oxford, Cambridge, whatever”
Oxford – JRR was a Professor at Merton where TS Eliot (quoted above by Wills) studied 30 years earlier. (and by coincidence JRR was married in Warwick which I mention above – I like it when that happens.)

September 2, 2013 4:54 pm

Late adds: Bath, The Greenwich Observatory, The Cotswolds, Swindon (home of the Magic Roundabout), …..

Dale McIntyre
September 2, 2013 7:51 pm

Dear Willis,
You can’t go wrong touring in England. Everywhere you look is something worth seeing.
I would be interested in your comments on the wind farms covering the countryside.
May I suggest that on your east coast touring, you get up past York and have a look at Castle Howard, and Whitby? Whitby is where Captain James Cook did his apprenticeship, so every blue-water sailor should have a look at Whitby and the Captain Cook Museum there.
I know you will enjoy yourself; all best wishes.

September 2, 2013 9:06 pm

And remember to keep you perspective on things–we have people here (USA) who get all up in arms about saving some old wreck of a building because it is 200 years old.
There are, I think, people there living in houses that have not been painted in 200 years.

M Courtney
September 3, 2013 12:01 am

Many recurrent themes here:
-Cornwall, The Lake District and the Peak District are rightly lauded for being beautiful. As is Yorkshire and the Cotswolds; but not Hull.
-Warwick Castle and Straford-upon Avon are near each other and essential for the history buffs.
-The museums of London are great and the British Muesum has been highlighted by me and numerous others.
-Surprising amount of love for Whitby.
-Avebury is worth the visit (As is all the other neolithic stuff in the area) – it’s bigger and more accessable than Stonehenge.
-Bath (although very expensive imho) has many praises for being worth visiting.
-Lots of recommendations saying go to a pub. Just be wary, the speed limit on motorways is not rigourously enforced but the drink and drive limits are.

Mr Green Genes
September 3, 2013 1:11 am

Larry Sheldon says:
September 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm
Late adds: Bath, The Greenwich Observatory, The Cotswolds, Swindon (home of the Magic Roundabout), …..

No, no and thrice no!! The first three are fine but Swindon???
Trust me, I lived there for 10 years and it’s not worth visiting just for the Magic Roundabout. The best things about Swindon are the plentiful roads leading away from it, into the glorious Wiltshire (and Gloucestershire) countryside.

September 3, 2013 1:17 am

Well, you see the problem is, you see, roundabouts are rare and well beyond the ability of people here to cope, so places like Milton Keynes are amazing and I didn’t learn of the existence of Swindon until I returned home and now it must reside for the rest of time as a place I wish I had seen but never will.

September 3, 2013 1:39 am

“conrad says: (September 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm)
“the bar JRR Tolkein frequented (Oxford, Cambridge, whatever””
The Eagle and Child (Bird and Baby) and The Lamb are both in St Giles Road Oxford. Stand right at the corner of Magdalene Street (“maudlin'” if you need to ask) and Beaumont Street where the Randolph hotel is. Right down Magdalene St goes to the shops, lefy down Beaumont is the Ashmolean Museum St Giles is Across the road and along…

Gunga Din
September 3, 2013 7:05 am

janets says:
September 1, 2013 at 4:13 am
My local abbey is Melrose, which is beautifully built in red sandstone, and has a unique bagpipe-playing pig gargoyle.

My uncle used to say that the Irish gave the Scots the bagpipe……………………
And they haven’t gotten the joke yet.

September 3, 2013 8:32 am

Ice-Nine describes the perfect tipping point

September 3, 2013 10:03 am

Hi Willis:
Last August my wife and I joined our son in the UK for 10 days when he finished his summer internship in London. Some of our highlights:
British Museum (in London)–Rosetta stone, Egyptology, fascinating room dedicated to Money.
Boat trip from London to the Greenwich observatory
Cambridge: Explore the colleges including lots of small topical museums. Guided tour “punting on the Cam”
Ely Cathedral–For a fee you can take a guided tour climbing up one of the towers. Incredible architecture, artwork, and winding stone stairways not for the claustrophobic.
Edinburgh–we were there at festival time (August) but we also enjoyed exploring the “Royal Mile” with the Castle at one end and Holyrood Palace at the other, The history is so thick you can cut it with a knife. We were fortunate to see the Royal Military Tattoo, but I think that only runs through August.
Enjoy your trip!

September 3, 2013 10:10 am

If you are a fan of the 60’s TV series “The Prisoner”, check out Portmeirion Village in Wales, where the series was filmed. If we had had a few more days in the UK, I would have dragged my wife and son there.

J Martin
September 3, 2013 10:49 am

Willis, you’d obviously better extend your stay to 3 months at least.
If you do enough miles in the UK you will soon come across one of our modern tourist attractions, the average speed camera.

September 3, 2013 7:25 pm

Apparently the alba troll did not survive the filters, but while I was checking to see, I saw mention as if surprised at Germanic names–I thought there was some agreement that the Angles and the Saxons where descendants of Germanic tribes and that a lot of the various royals spoke German,
And the folks here in the flatlands of the US of A have solved the turn-signals-windshield wipers thing–they use neither. Ever.
The best way to get around and avoid the various road and parking revenue operations is to use the trains, although if you are a claustrophobe or taller than a horse that can be a bother.

September 4, 2013 12:28 am

Quinn gives good advice – Portmeirion is well worth visiting. It’s an eccentrics vision of a perfect (fake) village in a perfect location and has a magical quality. It’s a challenge to take a photograph from any location (looking in any direction) that doesn’t look designed to please the eye. Somehow the place looks as though nature has spawned it – as though it had grown out of the landscape.

Leo Norekens
September 4, 2013 1:30 am

@Mod. : “[If it were under full restauration, then the ship would not need its next lunch date from the shipyard. Mod]. ”
Not my fault that the English can’t spell. 🙂
You see, both the verb “to restore” and the words “restaurant/restauration” derive from the French verb “restaurer” (to mend). Restore (which of course has nothing to do with “re-store”) is simply misspelled. 😉
Oh, but thanks anyway.

Gary Pearse
September 4, 2013 5:27 am

“The Museum is based at 48 Doughty Street in the heart of Bloomsbury in Charles Dickens’s only surviving London house”
I visited it in the 1960s. Its quaint, quiet, has his desk, etc. quill pens…

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