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railroadrider September 7th, 2017 05:41 PM

Question for you UK riders and anyone else that has a legitimate idea
Trying to put together a trip for late next spring to see the IOM TT and some other British Isles sightseeing. Any bright ideas from you locals on how best to do this?

DickPeake September 8th, 2017 04:10 AM

Re: Question for you UK riders and anyone else that has a legitimate idea
I can probably help you out with this. How long are you going to be over here for? How do you propose to get around?

A little help with geography and names:

The British Isles is a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Continental Europe. It includes Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Shetland, Orkney, and thousands of smaller islands. Great Britain is the largest island of the archipelago.

So, apart from the Isle of Man for the TT races, you are only going to be concerned with the mainland of Great Britain, namely England, Wales and Scotland. To explore properly you will be on our smaller roads and your daily mileage won't be high!


railroadrider September 8th, 2017 05:48 PM

Re: Question for you UK riders and anyone else that has a legitimate idea
The TT is/has been on my bucket list for several years. Seems like a shame to travel all that way and not see anything else. I would like to just generally tour the whole place (GB) just to see it. I guess the usual tourist attractions have a great deal of appeal, London, Ireland, etc. We could probably afford to stay three weeks but that would be pushing it. Our thought is to rent a car. Never been out of North America except with the military and one Edelweiss tour in Zimbabwe. Don't really know how to be a tourist.

chaissos September 8th, 2017 09:33 PM

Re: Question for you UK riders and anyone else that has a legitimate idea
When I went, back in the day, I had a friend who lived in Birmingham, so we all rode up, got him and then rode on to Liverpool (or maybe Blackpool), and then took the ferry over. It wasn't expensive at the time. IMO, your best solution would be to either put the IoM at the very beginning, or very end of your trip. Personally, I'd make it the end, but it's up to you.

Once on the IoM, you're going to need to figure out where you want to stay - but if you haven't made reservations long before your arrival, it'll be too late. They all fill up pretty quickly, and in the end, the only thing left is campgrounds in various house yards. Some will rent out their space, but you'll need to be respectful of that fact - it's their home. Normally, with that sort of "rental" they will include some sort of breakfast - but not always. you'll need to ask first. If you want a hotel, you'll have to have a reservation. They'll all be booked, and don't be surprised if the duration of your stay is already charged to your card before you get there.

Traveling around will take time. Even though the mainland isn't that huge, it always seemed to me none of the roads were straight and travel always seemed to take longer than you'd think it would.

On whatever end your ioM stay is, you'll need to decide what you want to visit when not on the isle. Depending on your route TO the isle, you can visit Glasgow, and Edinburgh (more or less pronounced eddin-burrow) in Scotland. Both are fairly large cities with lots of history - if you're into that.

If you decide to hit Ireland,Dublin is a favorite, and the wife and I spent a week there a few years back. Quite memorable, and if you Do hit it, you'll have to hit the Boxty house (restaurant) and the Jameson brewery. And, whether you're a dark beer fan or not, you just cannot leave the island without having some Guinness on tap - you'll remember that beer for the rest of your life - and do it at the Guinness brewery. It's still an active brewery, but it's more of a museum at this point. Their main brewery isn't on that spot anymore. The tours are excellent at both places.

If you head back to England, obviously, most people will hit London, but don't dismiss some of the other cities. Cambridge is a pretty little college town, and you'll be pleased seeing all the "talent" wandering around (pretty girls). Oxford is much the same. Bath is a neat little town virtually due West of London (just SE of Bristol). I enjoyed my visit to all of these.

We lived in England for a long time (4 years one tour, and 7 another), plus I grew up just South of London and learned to drive there (my wife says that's why I drive like I'm trying to win). For our 7 year tour we had family (both sides) visit many, many times, and all of them more than once. We never went the same place twice, and never traveled more than 1.5 hours from home. There's so much preserved history, architecture and culture you almost can't go wrong, wherever you decide to go. Be mindful of the fact that - for the most part - the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh like us Americans, but don't be overbearing and loud. Politeness will almost always get you the information you need, and hospitality when you least expect it.

Rob2m September 9th, 2017 03:56 AM

Re: Question for you UK riders and anyone else that has a legitimate idea
As has been said, If you really want to do the TT, get it booked, it may even now be too late for this year, the rest can be sorted out afterwards. The UK is just like America but smaller, big city's like London will cost a lot to park up, so you may be better using alternative transportation than car hire. If your going driving for scenery go to the North of Scotland but avoid school holidays. If your hiring a bike go to the North of Scotland but take midge repellent and be prepared to get wet.

DickPeake September 9th, 2017 04:50 AM

Re: Question for you UK riders and anyone else that has a legitimate idea
Several years ago, I escorted 2 Swiss friends on a UK tour by motorcycle. We managed nearly 3,000 miles in 2 weeks and covered the majority of the best parts of England, Scotland and Wales. They were stunned by the variation in scenery which happens in short distances. This year they came back again and we finished off the rest of England. We also,
took them for a long weekend on a narrow boat on the Grand Union Canal, and a day on a brand new Dutch Barge along the Thames to Henley Regatta.

If you have a week at the TT, then a further 2 weeks will get you a good view of a lot of the UK, provided you plan efficiently. Out of the towns and cities there aren't many hotels but you will find B&B's (bed and breakfast guest houses) just about everywhere. But again, if you are coming over in high season (June to August) you will need to think about booking early in the year.

railroadrider December 13th, 2017 12:52 PM

Re: Question for you UK riders and anyone else that has a legitimate idea
OK, so here's plan A. I figure to get to Heathrow on the 30th of May, probably rent a car and head towards the Isle of Man. (Is that supposed to have one 'N' or two? I've seen it both ways.) There are package "deals" available for the five days of the actual races. I figure to then spend approximately 10 days looking around. I would want to do it on a bike but I think my wife wouldn't enjoy that so much. She's still getting used to this motorcycling husband she got. See any immediate issues? Oh yeah. We could arrive and tour first if you think that might be wiser.

chaissos December 13th, 2017 04:46 PM

Re: Question for you UK riders and anyone else that has a legitimate idea
It's actually just one n.

If she's not comfortable on a bike here, she definitely won't be over there. Not only will it be completely new roads (and unless they're A roads or motorways, narrower), but such things as the headlights being on the other side of the road (some would say "Correct" side - and I think I agree), turning and maintaining the correct lane, all those things make for a challenging few days to begin with. Do it in the safer cage - at least in the beginning.

By all means look around. I can spend the entire two weeks on the isle - there are a bunch of little nooks to explore if you take some time and look around, including a MC museum (unless it closed - used to be right on the "track"). Interesting tidbit: the track, BTW, has special paint so when you hit the lines you don't lose traction.

Heathrow to the point of departure from England to the IoM, will take you a while. Don't expect to do it in a day, unless you want to be completely knackered at the end of it. Depending on your timeline, plan to stop at the bigger areas along the way and do some visiting on your way up. Then again, I miss England, so I might do it very differently.

Whatever path you choose, have fun! On average, the people are welcoming and enjoy sitting around the local having a chat and asking all kinds of questions. Be friendly, talk about everything you can, and find out about where you are. Every night can be fun if you want it to be.

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