Travel Traveling to Yorkshire area in May. Lots of questions! Please help!

Sep 3, 2008
1,882
3
My husband, child, and I will be traveling to Harrogate in mid-May. We plan on renting a small vacation cottage while we're there because we will be there for 2 weeks.

We want to see castles, gardens, the Bronte parsonage museum, and explore the countryside. I figure for all this we'll need to rent a car. Is there anything specific an American needs to do in order to rent a car in the UK?

Also, is renting a vacation cottage a good idea?

Since we'll be there for two weeks, we do want to explore surrounding areas (like maybe taking a train to London for a couple of days or visiting Edinburgh if we can). Should we rent a car for these things or take the train?


This will be our first trip abroad so any help and advice is appreciated. Thanks so much!
 
Sep 11, 2006
6,856
2,250
My husband, child, and I will be traveling to Harrogate in mid-May. We plan on renting a small vacation cottage while we're there because we will be there for 2 weeks.

We want to see castles, gardens, the Bronte parsonage museum, and explore the countryside. I figure for all this we'll need to rent a car. Is there anything specific an American needs to do in order to rent a car in the UK?

Also, is renting a vacation cottage a good idea?

Since we'll be there for two weeks, we do want to explore surrounding areas (like maybe taking a train to London for a couple of days or visiting Edinburgh if we can). Should we rent a car for these things or take the train?


This will be our first trip abroad so any help and advice is appreciated. Thanks so much!

Harrogate is an expensive place to live so I suspect it might be expensive renting a cottage there too. But have never looked into it as I lived only half an hour away for 30 years!

There is lots to do in York, which is nearby to Harrogate if that's your base.

Regarding car rental, not sure there is anything specific other than paperwork proving you have a driving licence. I'd have a look on the main car rental websites (Avis etc) as am sure you will probably find what you need to know on there.

I'd definitely advocate taking the train to either London or Edinburgh. Driving in London can be an absolute nuisance, parking is very expensive, etc. The tube in London will get you where you need to go (but try to avoid using it at rush hours unless you are used to using tubes at such times!) I'm afraid I don't know much about Edinburgh as have only been once.
 
Sep 3, 2008
1,882
3
Harrogate is an expensive place to live so I suspect it might be expensive renting a cottage there too. But have never looked into it as I lived only half an hour away for 30 years!

There is lots to do in York, which is nearby to Harrogate if that's your base.

Regarding car rental, not sure there is anything specific other than paperwork proving you have a driving licence. I'd have a look on the main car rental websites (Avis etc) as am sure you will probably find what you need to know on there.

I'd definitely advocate taking the train to either London or Edinburgh. Driving in London can be an absolute nuisance, parking is very expensive, etc. The tube in London will get you where you need to go (but try to avoid using it at rush hours unless you are used to using tubes at such times!) I'm afraid I don't know much about Edinburgh as have only been once.

Thanks so much for your advice! I did not know that Harrogate was pricey! Could you tell me a little bit about York? Is it very far away from Harrogate? Our staying in Harrogate isn't set in stone, so any nearby place could be an option.
 
Sep 11, 2006
6,856
2,250
Thanks so much for your advice! I did not know that Harrogate was pricey! Could you tell me a little bit about York? Is it very far away from Harrogate? Our staying in Harrogate isn't set in stone, so any nearby place could be an option.

I don't know for definite that it is expensive for holiday rentals as have never looked into it but it is an expensive place to live.

York is about 30-40 minutes away from Harrogate.

http://www.visityork.org

http://www.visitharrogate.co.uk

Hope the links help - thought you could just look at what you were interested in.
 

oggers86

Member
Dec 7, 2008
3,571
12
If you are going to Harrogate go and visit the villages of Nidderdale and then up to Wenslysale. I grew up in Nidderdale and still have ties to the area. The countryside is lovely, especially on sunny days. Go and visit Gouthwaite Reservoir and Scar House. Go up towards Pateley Bridge which is around 25 mins from Harrogate. You could find places to stay nearby.
 

dia

O.G.
Feb 12, 2006
430
3
I've been living in Bingley , Yorkshire for the past few years.
Harrogate is a lovely spa town with a lot of outdoor activities and of course the baths . It is more expensive to live in then surrounding towns and villages but I do not think that a 2 week stay is going to make such a difference .
York is only 30 min away , a beautiful fortress town with plenty of history and great shopping.
Leeds is the closest large urban area with well everything urban , I particularly enjoy the Markets with its fresh produce /meat .
Bingley with its Five Rise Locks is worth visiting as well as the Worth Valley and Bronte Parsonage .
Lake District is a must , please google it.
If you want a really nice experience you can rent a boat to go on the Leeds-Liverpool canal , amazing views!!
If you fancy sea-side , highly recommended is Withby and Scarborough , approximately 1 hour by train .
Trains to London ,Edinburgh highly recommended as driving down the M1 (highway) can be a super pain and ruin the day!!!! Book tickets in advance though as it can get quite expensive last minute . Google ' Eastcoast '
Have a lovely time!!
 

fuzzymummy

Member
Apr 30, 2013
1,154
48
There are lots of amazing places to see in Britain in the north. I live in Canada now and whenever anyone talks of going to England I always try to convince them to see the north since so many people gravitate to the south.


Castle Howard where they filmed Brideshead Revisited is in Yorkshire. You can also check out some abbeys such as Whitby Abbey. I love Whitby it has a very Victorian feel to it. I wonder if you can still buy winkles to eat! Yum! Small villages along the coast are also very picturesque such as Robin Hood's Bay and Filey. Both of these small towns are very beautiful and fun to be in. Nice to walk on the beach at low tide to look for fossils.


The Yorkshire Dales are also very beautiful. Some interesting towns are Haworth (pronounced How-ath) which is where the Bronte sisters lived.


I would rent a car and see the countryside but other posters are correct when they say taking the train may be a good idea for longer travels. On a map distances don't look that far but it can take a long time to get places.


If you still haven't settled on Harrogate there are many places that can be substituted for less money. Check out holiday rentals in Yorkshire (HouseTrip.com). I am sure you will find something. I hope you have a wonderful time.
 
Sep 3, 2008
1,882
3
Thanks everyone for the all the advice and tips!

We did settle for Harrogate, and we'll be staying in an vacation rental for about a week. Then we will take a train to Edinburgh and stay in Scotland for a week. So excited!

Kind of nervous about driving on the opposite side of the road, but we'll cross that hurdle when we get there.
 

buzzytoes

Dog Chauffeur
O.G.
Jun 7, 2008
15,910
1,127
Second the idea of taking a train to Edinburgh rather than driving. Edinburgh has very confusing streets so it is not recommended to drive there if you are unfamiliar with it. Having said that, I highly recommend visiting!! Edinburgh is my favorite city in the world. We visit every five years and never get tired of it. You can visit Edinburgh Castle or Holyrood House (the Queen's residence when in Edinburgh) as far as castles go. Edinburgh Castle is a ruin, where Holyrood House is more "modern." They are at opposite ends of the Royal Mile. The Camera Obscura is at the top of the Royal Mile and might interest your child - there are lots of interactive things for the kids to do. Mary King's Close is another tour to see. It takes you through a tour of the underground "closes" that people used to live in. Mercat Tours also does a lot of "haunted Scotland" tours. I think there are a few that are not so scary, depending how old your child is, and then some that are a little scarier or more involved.

If you haven't picked a place to stay yet I would suggest the Knight Residence. They have absolutely INCREDIBLE customer service, and it is an aparthotel so you have a full sized kitchen, including a washing machine to do laundry. It's not a sketchy part of town, but they are situated next to what they call the Golden Triangle, because there are strip clubs situation on each of the three corners. Having said that, I have never seen a dancer outside in skimpy clothing. You would never guess that's what they were unless you knew. It is within walking distance of the top of the Royal Mile (again depending how old your child is) and it is right near the Grass Market which has a few restaurants. There is also a Sainsbury right on the corner up the street so you can pop in there for groceries. This last go round we ate lunch at our own place a lot more and saved money that way. The first go round we ate out every meal even though we had a kitchen at our disposal.

Clearly I can go on and on about Edinburgh. :biggrin: PM me if you have any questions!
 
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