So I'm taking a vacation for the first time in 15 years. I've decided that because I lived all over Asia, it was time to visit Europe. I'm only going to be there for 7 days, so where should I go? I was thinking of trying to find a place outside a city. I want to be away from the touristy places and check out village life... Maybe? I donno.
1) "a pub"
2) The grave of Douglas Adams.
So you want to visit a sleepy little village in the Yorkshire Dales, yet still go to the 7/11 at 2 a.m.?
It's the English countryside, not Tokyo. If you want shit to be open late, stay in a city.
And, for a first vacation in 15 years and for only seven days, it seems to me you'd be missing out not to do any touristy stuff! And touristy stuff doesn't have to mean in a city or anything that's too hectic.
Europe is very different from Asia and aah such a different history and what could you possibly pick in seven days.
Everything in England shuts at 5-6 pm, heck, even in the large cities.
It's the one thing I always forget when returning home, I'm very spoiled living in a place where you CAN go shopping after work or buy last minute ingredients for that midnight snack.
Where can one find info about this sort of thing?
I've been trying to visit England for the past couple years and logistics keep getting in the way.
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
And the British Museum is a must see. Even if you're not into the classics, it is truly stunning.
I wish I could stay more than 7 days, however, my job only allows 14 days off per year and I need to save the other 9 days in case I'm sick or can't come into work. (I'm taking 5 days, Monday though Friday, then the two weekends as a "freebee", so technically, I will be free for 9 days. (May 5th - May 13th 2012) Also, technically it's not vacation, it's "Personal Time Off" (PTO) so I'm not exactly going to get paid while I'm gone either. In a year or two I may have a less shitty vacation package though my work, but since I can afford to leave the country, I want to be somewhere other than the U.S. for about a week.
I guess I'm just naturally a social person, and being from the city I naturally gravitate toward communal activities. Personally, I would be rather lonely and creeped out on an empty street at 2AM.
Oh well, different strokes for different folks, I guess.
I am concerned you may get stabbed to death.
Transport: How do you plan to get around England? If using a train, that's fine, but it means you'll want to look for a place to stay with a train station (not a problem for most cities/towns, might be more difficult in the countryside).
What do you like? Are you at all interested in history? I mean, seeing any of the hundreds of English Heritage/National Trust properties or endless museums (nearly all free), etc., is the main draw for most English tourists (heck, I lived there for 25 years and when I visited this summer I still visited at least one national park, two castles and one cathedral!). Luckily finding a pub won't be a problem anywhere, although if you're serious about pubs you might want to look at something like The Good Pub Guide, because some pubs are very commercial/chains and you might be disappointed to find out you visited one of a hundred identikit pubs instead of the more unique and unusual ones England has to offer.
Or... countryside? If you're not interested in big cities, are you looking for somewhere you can hike/bike?
By either a gang of hooded-youths (city), angry farmers (rural) or an EDL-squad hunting down the 'Mussie' (either).
Are you going pretty much now? You know that England, never the driest of countries, is at it's coldest and wettest at this time of year? Bring rain-tolerant clothing.
If you want to look at places that aren't London than I applaud that -London is a European city, not an English one, really - but this time of year is pretty much the off-season for tourism, and you're going to find a lot of facilities in the countryside ares are simply not open. Even at the best of times, life in the English countryside goes to ground by midnight at the latest. But that's OK, drinking time starts at noon.
If you are making plans for next year, say late April/early May, which is the best time IMO, then from personal experience I can highly recommend staying at a B&B* Hawes in Wensleydale for a couple of days (make sure to buy your cheese at the local co-op not from the Wensleydale Cheese centre, only chumps pay the cheese centre prices), then you could either head north to Hexham in Northumbererland (Hadrians Wall), East to the Yorkshire coast (I advise Robin Hood's Bay as a charming and fiendly place, and maybe a day in York), or west to the Wye Valley on the border with Wales. Then finish up with a day or two in London to relieve yourself of the weight of any money you have left and to see stuff like the British Musuem.
If you're not set on confining yourself to English sights, there's also a lot to be said for Scotland. Eg: the Islands.
PS you can get train tickets a lot, LOT cheaper if you book ahead, but advance booked internal flights on Easyjet can also be very cheap, especially if you're travelling midweek. We do not have TSA thugs in Britain.
*Ask around for a good one. A good one will serve you a three course breakfast. I am not making this up.
I've used Monograms travel to visit Budapest, Vienna and Prague. Something like this. It wasn't a totally guided tour; they showed us around and were available for questions, but we got to wander around on our own. I liked that we didn't have a strict daily schedule or anything, but those are available as well.
I'm not keen on seeing "the city". For example, when I was in tokyo proper, or even local here in milwaukee/chicago, walking around the feet of skyscapers gets tiresome. In japan, I liked finding out-of-the-way karaoke bars where Americans bearly ever went. It was fun to get the initial "what are you doing way out here?" Look. As a gag I would have an American map of Chicago and claim I was lost One good natured Japanese let me know I was on the wrong side of the planet. He also gave me the year, in case that was helpful.
I don't drink or do clubs. I want to meet people, but feel more like I'm "dropping by" than hang a camera around my neck.
You might like it, too
Okay, well, first of all you're never going to attract as much attention or 'what are you doing way out here?' looks as you are in a country like Japan. The most you may get is a disbelieving, 'you chose to visit here? Really?'
I can understand not wishing to visit London (I love London, but it certainly is very distinct from the rest of the country), but there are so many villages, towns and cities that have all kinds of neat things to see.
So... can you answer our earlier questions re. transport, anything you would like to see? v1m's post is also really great.
stop telling people they smell
Janson is right.
Anywho, I have nothing else to contribute in here. I just wanted to say that.
The best thing is this applies literally anywhere in Britain you choose to visit!
To be constructive there are some nice places in the south west you might like from the sound of it, as well as seconding Quoth's Bath suggestion, there's some neat stuff there for sure.
D3 Steam #TeamTangent STO
What? PTO is "Paid Time Off". It's time off that you get paid for.
Time off from work that you don't get paid for isn't a benefit. That's just not showing up to work.
But there are PLENTY of great places in England. I've holidayed in the Lake District, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, York, Nottingham and Birmingham (both several times), Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon (so touristy, but I still loved it), Kent, the Norfolk Broads (great for losing your dog in), several farms in the south-west (Devon and Cornwall), the Cotswolds (also several times), and I've lived in both the south (which has Brighton - a fantastic city - and the Dover Cliffs and Battle and Lewes and several great castles) and the north (Sheffield, which is actually not really a place to visit but a great place to live).
I've also been several times to Wales and Scotland, sometimes in the middle of nowhere, and I've always had a lot of fun!
I too want to visit every part of the UK individually.
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
And my grandparents would make a gift of National Trust/English Heritage family season tickets, so we've seen plenty of the tourist attractions, too!
The US is particularly rough - they'll pretty much throw you in jail without so much of a say-so.
Thats what I would do. Heck I would do that now.