Visiting the UK

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by wfwhitaker, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    The time has come to bid next year's vacation time here at work. (It's a strange system and a long story...) Been wanting for a long time to travel to the UK both for photography and simply to see the place. Primary interests are probably Wales, Lake District and Scotland, but I'm open to suggestions. I have two weeks available and would like to hear your thoughts on the best time of year to travel and any other general advice you may have to offer.

    Thanks in advance,
    Will
     
  2. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    The Peak District is good too! I have lived in the UK from 1994-1997 and from 2000-2002 and I can tell you the weather is hard to predict. The best forecast for tomorrow's weather is today's weather, if you get my drift. I would take a chance on June.

    If you see yourself further north for fun, I will host you in Stockholm, Sweden. I can bring you to a place that would empty all your holders in one day!
     
  3. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    Francesco,

    Thank you for your kind offer of hospitality. I'd like to take a rain check. Gee, if I had a whole lifetime to travel, I still wouldn't get to see all the places I'd like.

    I'm actually looking at the end of May, so pretty close to your June suggestion.

    Thanks,
    Will
     
  4. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    The end of May can be very good, it can also be terrible. Carla and I were in the UK this May for two weeks, but the 10 days in Stockholm and Uppsala were actually better - we arrived at the end of an unseasonal heatwave.

    If I had just two weeks...maybe Pembrokeshire and the Wye Valley (South Wales) and North Wales for the mountains. Cornwall can be good if you like rugged coastlines and old tin mines. It's a long way from anywhere else (by UK standards), though.

    Then again, I grew up in Surrey and found plenty to photograph there. The nice thing about the UK is the variety in an area roughly half the size of California.
     
  5. Leon

    Leon Member

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    if you are looking to do mainly "wilderness" type shots, then Scotland is the place for you. I would suggest that two weeks isnt a lot of time to take in Wales AND the Lakes AND Scotland - you'd need that at least one week to just explore one of those locations. The Snowdonia National Park in Wales is the obvious place to go but the Welsh coast can be remarkably beautiful too and is not the typically overpopulated tourist type place like Cornwall. Infact, much of the English, Welsh and Scottish Atlantic coast is pretty spectacular. And dont be put off by the weather, I think that is our strong point ... it's changeability is a photographic subject in itself.

    If you are interested in locations of prehistoric sites/ megalithic structures etc, this site is priceless as a guide ... www.themodernantiquarian.com.

    there is some interesting coastline along the south and south eastern area of england, but it is not as immediately stunning as the western areas - lots of chalk cliffs and some isolated stacks and arches carved by the sea.

    If you can to for-go one week in Britain, get yourself over to Eire - the south western/ Western corner is very photogenic, although the whole country is amazing and well worth a visit.

    whatever you do, have fun and post the resulting shots here for us to see :smile:
     
  6. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I am proud to say there are large swathes of British countryside that are well worth a look. From a totally unbiased (:wink: ) view i would have to recommend Norfolk as a beautiful county where even the towns and cities are green and lush (apart from Great Yarmouth. Never, ever go to Great Yarmouth, ever).
     
  7. Brac

    Brac Member

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    The west coast of Scotland has some of the best if not the best scenery in the mainland of the UK. The combination of lochs (lakes), hills and remote countryside plus wildlife is unrivalled in the UK. Also many of the famous islands such as Skye, Mull & Iona are relatively easily accessible. Good locations to stay are Oban & Fort William.

    The Lake District as mentioned by someone else is beautiful too but it is quite a compact area and can get very crowded - save it for a second visit!

    If you go to Scotland try to see Edinburgh the capital, a beautiful city with plenty to see, do and photograph.

    As others have said the weather is completely unpredictable which is why the countryside is so green! I was going to say October can be a lovely month but looking out of the window at the gloom and rain perhaps I won't.

    Whenever you come & wherever you go have a wonderful time but remember as well as your camera gear (& passport) you'll need stout boots, a rain-proof coat and also a pair of binocs can be useful, especially in Scotland.
     
  8. Leon

    Leon Member

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    NEVER!

    ps - Love the quote, Marcus ... Brent is one of my heros.
     
  9. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    North Wales has a lot going for it (as does the peaks, Lake District and of course Scotland. On a scale of grandeur I would rank, 1st Scotland, Snowdonia, Lakes then Peaks, but they all have their own character. The Lakes can be sensual and romantic in a way that Snowdonia can never be. Scotland has epic scale that North Wales cannot match. The old quarries of Wales are totally unique (Man VS Mountain). You will not go wrong with any. To get an idea of North Wales, look at my gallery, as a few are from there. The place has real soul! I have spent a little time in Scotland and refuse to erturn until I can devote a decent amount of time to it. Gorgeous.

    Tom
     
  10. stephen

    stephen Member

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    May I second (or third etc) the Scottish suggestions. We normally go to Scoland for a fortnight (that's 2 weeks if "fortnight" isn't American) at the beginning of June. We always find the locals saying that the weather was better the week before, so May sounds good.

    The longest day is June 21st, and in the north of Scotland you notice the long days. I have switched my car headlights on after 10 at night in the north, because of the time, not the light... Many hours to photograph in up there.

    Fort William is one of the places we stay. Glen Nevis, which is nearby, has been described as "the loveliest glen in Scotland". I won't disagree. A word of warning though: the wet weather comes in from the west, so Fort William is one of the wettest places around, not helped by the fact that Ben Nevis is there.

    The countryside changes a good deal depending on the underlying rocks. Aviemore is only two hours away by car, but the landscape in the Cairngorms is quite different.

    Otherwise, you could do a lot worse that Yorkshire, which is a good base for touring (if you have a car), as well as being the most beautiful county in England (I'm a Yorkshireman). The Peak District is just down a bit, the Pennines are wonderfully scenic, the North York Moors have a wild appearance. And there's York itself.

    If simply viewing the UK, rather than coming to photograph the scenery, a visit to Bath would be worth making, simply to see the Roman Baths. They have a good web site with photos, so you can check it out from the comfort of your own home before deciding. Fort William has a web cam, so you can always use that to see the rain <g>.
     
  11. 127

    127 Member

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    Definatly get North - Scotland and Northern England, are just so much more rugged and interesting than the South East. If you're worried about rain (and you should be!), then the East coast will be drier than the west: the NW didn't become the "Lake District" by accident!

    I currently live on the South coast (west-ish), and I can guarentee I'll get rained on every day until next spring and I don't mean light showers - torrential downpours. When I lived in York I used to walk to work every day, and got rained on only a couple of times a year - simlarly for Newcastle. The North East can be cold, but it is relativly dry.

    Ian
     
  12. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    May is a good time. Spring is well in to its stride and heading briskly for summer. Fresh leaves are on the trees and the flowers are starting to waft their scent into the air. Best of all, the kids are still in school so you don't have to put up with hoards of the little creatures and their pushy parents crowding out every space, driving at 25 MPH along country lanes and generally getting in the way of whatever it is you want to photograph - avoid mid July to the 1st week in September like the plague!

    As others have said - plan for rain, but you may well be lucky and get two weeks of glorious sunshine - or something in between. You just can't usually tell even one week ahead what it's going to do beyond "Sunny periods with scattered showers in the west, becoming windy in the south with occasional bright spells" - which is what most UK weather forecasts sound like outside of winter (that's why the UK Met. Office has some of the most powerful supercomputers outside the military - they do keep trying to forecast the weather beyond two or three days in advance, bless their little cotton socks).

    Perhaps if you said what you were interested in seeing, places to go etc we could be more specific. Thing is, it's only a small island (well, group of islands) but with 60 million or so of us, there's quite a lot going on: from the city life of London, to the Outer Hebridean islands where there's just a Neolithic stone circle, a local crofter, you, your camera, and a large number of rather nervous sheep...

    To paraphrase a well known Yorkshire gardener on TV: Whatever the weather, enjoy your visit...

    Cheers, Bob.


    P.S. Did I mention about avoiding the school holidays?....
     
  13. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    If you go to Snowdonia, have found this site to be very good. They are generally accurate, if conservative (for obvious reasons). I have always checked it and rarely been let down. However, in such regions the weather changes on a second by second basis anyway it often pays to park butt and wait for things to 'happen'................hopefully...come on...yeah....a little more...just need the sun...... no...less wind...NNOOOOOO less wind, aggh winds down, wheres the damn sun.....yeah thats it, out you come..... you beauty......back out... what, rain ! but the clouds have gone! (sideways rain from cloud miles away). You get the picture.


    www.met-office.gov.uk/loutdoor/mountainsafety/snowdonia

    Tom
     
  14. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    Thank you all for your replies and suggestions. I've actually chosen the last week of September and the first week of October as a window. There were several reasons, not the least of which is that it will allow more time to get my money together!

    I realize two weeks isn't much, but it's all I have to work with short of job abandonment. I'd gladly stay for several fortnights (fortsnight??) had I the opportunity. Weather comes with the territory, as they say, so why worry about it? Changing weather makes for beautiful light (and soggy bellows).

    Anyway, plenty of time to research the whole thing. Thanks again for your suggestions!

    Best,
    Will
     
  15. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I'm a little late coming into this thread, but I had the opportunity to travel to the UK a lot in the early '90s and have some favorite places that I believe are worth investigating.

    As mentioned in a few posts, northern Wales is gorgeous. I believe my best trip there happened in late September, as I happened upon perfect weather.

    If you're going to be in the northeast of England, Whitby is worth a visit. The abbey is beautiful, but the whole village is worth a day or two. Depending on the weather you can find some amazing "mood" shots almost anywhere in town.

    My favorite place to visit in the UK is the Peak National Park. In my opinion it's worth the time to find Arbor Low (a stone circle on top of a hill on a farm); depending on the light it can be one of the most "magical" places in the world. I suggest going early in the morning. Get a good map and be prepared to drive part way up the driveway of a farm. Then be prepared for a true surprise when you have to walk through the farm to get to the circle.

    If you can get there early in the morning, I think a visit to Castleton is worth the trouble, as is the climb up to the castle.

    My experience with the weather in the UK was generally of the "wait a few hours and it'll change" variety. I spent a day at Stonehenge in late November when it was sunny and in the mid-70's Farenheit, and a day in Castleton in early June when the temperature barely reached the 50's.

    Overall, I have to say that there were few places in the UK where I didn't find beauty. It's easy to drive out of a town for five minutes and find yourself in the middle of gorgeous countryside. (London being the obvious exception to this rule.) I think you'll find beauty almost anywhere you go. Good luck!