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mcguyver
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« on: July 08, 2010, 08:58:20 PM »

Hi all
I am planning on shipping my bike from Australia across to the UK for a 6 week tour in May 2011. Plan is to head across for the TT for a week or so then across to the continent for 3 weeks.

I am trying to decide which way to go and am looking for advice.
Was thinking of taking a week to head across to Ireland then a week at the TT then back to London to pick up my wife (she only has 3 weeks hols)before heading across to the south of France Italy Alps KTM factory in Austria then back to the UK via the Black forest. etc

Do you guys think this is viable. Should we pass on Ireland and just spend the first week in England making our way to the IOM?
What is the best departure point for the TT from England?
Any suggested routes must sees etc.

Sorry for so many questions, but we are very excited about this trip and any info is greatly appreciated.

Was also wondering if anyone might be interested in a bike swap. I ride your bike around for 6 weeks. You come to Australia and ride one of my bikes around for 6 weeks. obviously details would need to be sorted, but would love to hear from you if you might be interested.
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Orson
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2010, 01:04:51 AM »

The big bottleneck for the TT is ferry bookings. They sell out as much as a year in advance. I don't know if ferry bookings from Ireland are more prevalent, but I'm guessing that they are also at a premium. Whether you go to Ireland or not, I would say depends on the ferry situation. Needless to say, try to book a passage NOW  Smile

The ferry departure points from England to the Isle of Man are Liverpool and Heysham (about 1 hour north of Liverpool). (http://www.steam-packet.com/SteamPacket/Book-Now/) There may be other ferries from Scotland, but I wouldn't know. I left from Heysham and it was easy to find. I don't know if the Liverpool ferry dock would be more difficult to find (big city traffic?). Both crossings take about the same amount of time.

When I attended the TT in 2002, I was fortunate to find a last minute cancelation by going to the iomtt.com message forum  Smile

Hotel accomodations are also at a premium, with hoteliers charging an arm and a leg. Many Brits choose to avoid the price gouging by camping. Just remember that it rains a fair amount in the Irish Sea  Smile

Choosing to bypass Ireland and ride in England before the TT would be no great loss, as there are some great riding areas in England. The Cotswolds, The Peak District, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales are all beautifully scenic. Wales has perhaps some of the best motorcycling roads in the UK. Both North & South Wales.

You can click on the link in my signature line for some pictures of some of the areas mentioned  Smile

Bill at Bike Tours-UK run annual trips of about 10 or 15 people. He can help sort out all the ferry and hotel bookings for you, and he's a wealth of knowledge on where to ride and where to stay.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 02:31:46 AM by Orson » Logged

mcguyver
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2010, 08:52:31 PM »

Thanks for the info Orson. Think I'll pass on Ireland and take your advice to stick to Wales etc.
Just reading your blog, which is brilliant.

If anyone has any route suggestions or must sees I would love to hear from you.
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2010, 10:56:26 PM »


 Think I'll pass on Ireland and take your advice to stick to Wales etc.


Big mistake, IMO. England has some nice small parts, but getting to them is a loser. Yes, there are some roads that aren't completely choked with traffic and speed cameras, but they're few and far between. Wales is nice, but getting to and from Wales to *anywhere* else in England is crap. And don't forget that all the English go to these same places to escape. Same with The Yorkshire Dales. The Highlands of Scotland are nice when the weather is nice, but you gotta get there somehow.

Ireland, OTOH, is a treat. Less of all the bad things (people, traffic, cops, speed cameras, etc.) and more of all the good things (friendly people, empty roads, higher speed limits, scenery, good pubs, great music, etc.) Food is a wash :-) Traveling around Ireland is actually fun, not an over-regulated Hell Ride.

I may take a trip to London with my wife, but I'll never motorcycle in England again. If I need that fix, New Jersey is closer.

Ireland is on my ride again list.
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2010, 12:12:39 AM »

I rode from Nottingham (central England) to the Lake District (Northwestern England), via the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales almost entirely on two-laned roads, and greatly enjoyed it.

If you are on the main traffic arteries, you will see traffic, but the majority of the rural roads are traffic-free, in my opinion.

That's where Bill is a great help, as he knows all the backroads. The North of England is far less populated than the South.
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2010, 10:48:40 AM »


I rode from Nottingham (central England) to the Lake District (Northwestern England), via the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales almost entirely on two-laned roads, and greatly enjoyed it.

If you are on the main traffic arteries, you will see traffic, but the majority of the rural roads are traffic-free, in my opinion.

That's where Bill is a great help, as he knows all the backroads. The North of England is far less populated than the South.


I'm sure there are plenty of very nice roads that I don't know about in England. But, if you need Bill, apparently the British version of Tenzing Norgay, to find them, then that speaks to their dearth.

I know I'm being a bit harsh on Blighty, probably because I'm a long time Anglophile and remember it when, but on the last trip I found it kind of oppressive. My point to the OP is to try not to bypass Ireland, which, to me, is what England used to be and more.




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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2010, 02:31:29 PM »

I agree that there are some terrible traffic problems in the South of England  Smile

Not saying Ireland should be avoided. Just that if the ferry connections aren't there, you'll still find good roads in England.

I'll just let the pictures of Northern England in my blog speak for themselves  Smile
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2010, 12:04:42 PM »

Riding in Wales is brilliant and Liverpool is only an hour and a bit away from Snowdonia.
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 05:37:20 PM »

Thanks for the info everyone. Have booked my ferry crossing form liverpool.
So if you had a week to get from Felixstowe to Liverpoool, which way would you go (scenic)  and what would list as your must sees?
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2010, 01:45:52 AM »


Thanks for the info everyone. Have booked my ferry crossing form liverpool.
So if you had a week to get from Felixstowe to Liverpoool, which way would you go (scenic)  and what would list as your must sees?

I'm not familiar with the Felixstowe area, so I can't help you there.

You can spend a week getting from Felixstowe to Liverpool if you avoid the Motorways. I've read good things about Cambridge, although I've never been there.

As far as scenic routes, off the top of my head, I would recommend the Cotswold Hills, then make your way to the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales. From there you can meander up through Wales to the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales.

If you're more pressed for time, another option could be to shoot up the M1 Motorway to Nottingham, then picking your way across the Peak District's back roads towards Liverpool.

As already mentioned, traffic in the South can be bad. That said, the Motorways are a good way to make time, unless it's a holiday, then they can become clogged. The more time you have to ride the backroads, the more enjoyable it will be, as the only people on the backroads are farmers and tourists.

Lane splitting, or filtering is tolerated  Smile
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2010, 01:14:24 PM »

As I recall, Felixstowe is a just a port. So get out of it quickly. You are landing in Suffolk, which has quite a few places of interest. Try here: http://www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/tourism?gclid=CMWZjozN_6ICFdWX2AodwFpFfw  Aldeburgh is highly recommended. If you go there, make sure you eat smoked salmon offcuts and chips from the chippy in the centre. There's a big arts festival there-if it's on, avoid as it will be packed out.

Above Suffolk, is Norfolk. http://www.visitnorfolk.co.uk/norfolk/default.aspx  Some fine beaches, castles, cathedrals and the mediaeval city of Norwich. West is Cambridgeshire and the university town, with all its sights, museums etc.

The above places are pretty flat but Norfolk and Suffolk have some good coastal roads.

Orson mentions the Peak District http://www.enjoyengland.com/destinations/find/east-midlands/derbyshire/peak-district.aspx. It's lovely. The lesser known Derby Dales http://www.enjoyengland.com/destinations/find/east-midlands/derbyshire/derbyshire-dales.aspx are fantastic too. That's if you go north and over the Pennines (a range of mountains down the middle of Northern England and across them to Liverpool.

If you choose to go to Wales, then you might follow Orson's suggestions. Take motorways out of Suffolk, round the M25, down the M4 and come off at Swindon and head for Cirencester http://www.enjoyengland.com/destinations/find/south-west/gloucestershire/cirencester.aspx. Avoid Swindon. From Cirencester, either go to Cheltenham or Stroud. Cross the river Severn at Gloucester and head for Raglan http://www.data-wales.co.uk/raglan.htm, Abergavenny http://www.abergavenny.org.uk/ and then Brecon http://www.brecon.co.uk/. Either go up the Brecon Beacons from Brecon, (not far) and then come back again, or just take the A470 up the centre of Wales http://www.visitwales.com/ to Snowdonia http://www.snowdonia-wales.net/ . Then to Liverpool.
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2010, 01:27:21 PM »

I could recommend a few places to stay too.

Almost forgot, Bath (south of the Cotswolds) is ace too.
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2010, 05:54:09 PM »

Thnaks for the links and info Papa. Defineatly want to stay off the motorways. If you have any accommadation reccomendations that would be great.


Still looking for anyone that might be interested in a bike swap.
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2010, 12:17:00 PM »

Places to stay.  www.TripAdvisor.co.uk/   is very good for this sort of stuff.

I rate the Clytha Arms near Raglan very highly.  http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g1474382-d270021-Reviews-The_Clytha_Arms-Clytha_Monmouthshire_Southern_Wales_Wales.html

The Harbourmaster in Aberaeron is excellent too. http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g551973-d267980-Reviews-Harbourmaster_Hotel-Aberaeron_Ceredigion_Wales.html

Bath is expensive but if you go there try here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g186370-d193292-Reviews-Athole_Guest_House-Bath_Somerset_England.html  but you will need to book

Otherwise, plan a route and use tripadvisor for places to stay.
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