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Subject: UK Board Games and Travel rss

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Bianca Summers
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My husband and I are off on an adventure! We are headed to the UK in April. I would love a couple recommendations.

-We would love to buy some "UK exclusive" board games (if that's a thing?). I don't really want to buy a game over there that I could just get at home in America. How would I look this up or go about finding such games?

-Board game shops? I would love to know some great board game stores in the area. I have looked them up online, but I would like to hear from someone who has visited them. Can someone point me in the right direction?

-Any travel tips? Places to see, things to eat, activiites to do?
I would really love any UK related recommendations.

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Richie Freeman
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Re: UK Board Games and Tr
Firstly, I hope you have a great time here in April!

Where abouts are you heading? Not sure on UK specific games, but may be able to recommend a few places if you’re in/around the south of England.
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Laura Stephen
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I can only echo what cardboard conundrum has said

Where in the UK are you going?

I am not sure there are many games which are only available in the UK or are specifically UK themed, always worth a check on boardgameprices.co.uk and you might find things which are good deals
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Jim F
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You might find this book useful if you are visiting London.

https://www.amazon.com/Cockney-Rhyming-Slang-Language-London...

People can sometimes struggle to understand American accents in the UK. Learning a few apt phrases will really help.
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Laurence Parsons
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Again, whereabouts are you going/based? Many people say "UK" and mean London, but if you're heading around the country, then tell us where and we can help. Also, what are your (non-boardgaming) interests?
For example, if you're heading south-west, then Bath has a lot to offer (culturally) and you could do the mandatory stop at Stonehenge. There are games shops and clubs in the area, depending on what night(s) you're here. There's plenty to see and do in Bristol, too.
We have our fair share of castles and stuff, if you like history.
Are you hiring a car, or getting about by train/coach?

I wouldn't get too hung up on getting a 'local' boardgame, as it's pretty much a global hobby these days, but if you really want to, then there may be some locally published games in some FLGS's. Perhaps something like Canal Mania may fit the bill, or Brass: Lancashire. Globally available, but with a locally-themed map.

I think what I'm trying to say is, the more you tell us, the more we can help.

Cheers,
Fred
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Bianca Summers
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Hi Everyone,
Sorry I should have been a bit more specific. We have no set plans yet. I am currently making a list of anything that looks interesting over there and I will slowly narrow down a route and itinerary. We are spending two weeks there. I want to explore as much of England as we can by traveling and sightseeing everywhere, rather than just hang out at the main tourist attractions in London.
The only things that are concrete, is that we will spend a couple days in and around London. A couple days in Sheffield, visiting my sister.
I was thinking maybe go to Ireland for 2 days and Scotland for 2 days?
We really want to see old castles, learn about the history, and experience new food. We want to visit the country side and see the beatutiful landscapes.
The nerd in me would like to visit the Harry Potter studios and different movie locations.
I know this doesn't clear too much up but thank you for the suggestions! I would love to hear more!
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Andrew J
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If you come to Edinburgh (and you should), you could see the cafe where J K Rowling wrote Harry Potter, as well as the private school on which Hogwarts is said to be based. In 2010 I was in an almost empty cafe (a different one) and was surprised to see J K working on her laptop at the table next to mine! And to get to Edinburgh you can take the train from Kings Cross station, the home of platform 9 3/4

As for games, I can only think of the usual UK versions of Monopoly. There's even one based on London
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WD Yoga
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On the way to Scotland, do stop at Durham.

There are Durham Castle, the Cathedral, lovely city centre and museums to visit. Harry Potter has several scenes in the Cathedral so you might find it double interesting.
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Jim F
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The Harry Potter studios are excellent and def8nitely worth a visit but best to book well in advance.
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Paul C
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I suggest taking the approach of considering aspects of the UK and its history are the most "unique"- at least in comparison with the USA. Then a little research should identify for each of those things the best places to visit and the most relevant games in the genres you enjoy- these probably won't be games that are only locally available, but even with a game that's commonly available back home, you'll hopefully find it more interesting and enjoyable if you've explored some of its locations and history during your visit.

Example categories:
Pre-History
The Romans
The Vikings
Tudor
Global Colonisation & Empire Building
Industrial Revolution & Victorian

(BTW I'd say that all the places people have suggested are definitely worth visiting).
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Richie Freeman
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I’d recommend dropping into Draughts board game cafe in London for a drink and a game after a day’s sightseeing in London - but wouldn’t spend too much time for gaming stuff in London tbh. However, if you’re interested in history I’m sure you’ve already got the Natural History Museum and British Museum on your to-do list; I’d recommend doing these on a weekday if you can (especially Natural History) as they’re absolutely rammed on weekends. You can even do late night viewings some days which are really cool. I’d also recommend visiting Camden, just to see one of my favourite parts of London - but also for a great variety of street food that’s delicious, and pretty well priced (just avoid the food stalls inside the actual Horse Stable Market itself). There’s a few places around there to get some really nice British beers, if you drink too.

If you go further south before Sheffield, I’d have to recommend my home county of Kent though. A plethora of castles (Leeds Castle and Dover Castle are my two favourite in England), but it’s also got lovely countryside and coastal towns and much, much better pubs, beer, cider and fish and chips etc than you’ll find in London. That said, you’ll get your beautiful views and countryside in the north and in Scotland as well, so depends how you allocate your time, as Kent will probably be a little out of your way. One final recommendation would be York, whilst you’re in the north; it’s a lovely place, lots of lovely food and a very picturesque town centre steeped in history.
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Neil McIntyre
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Bsiler0825 wrote:
Hi Everyone,
Sorry I should have been a bit more specific. We have no set plans yet. I am currently making a list of anything that looks interesting over there and I will slowly narrow down a route and itinerary. We are spending two weeks there. I want to explore as much of England as we can by traveling and sightseeing everywhere, rather than just hang out at the main tourist attractions in London.
The only things that are concrete, is that we will spend a couple days in and around London. A couple days in Sheffield, visiting my sister.
I was thinking maybe go to Ireland for 2 days and Scotland for 2 days?
We really want to see old castles, learn about the history, and experience new food. We want to visit the country side and see the beatutiful landscapes.
The nerd in me would like to visit the Harry Potter studios and different movie locations.
I know this doesn't clear too much up but thank you for the suggestions! I would love to hear more!


In Sheffield we have Patriot Games & The Treehouse gaming cafe.

You should also try to head into the Peak District for walking and hearty food.

Kelham Island is home to several breweries and lovely pubs.

Worth checking out http://www.ourfaveplaces.co.uk for events/cultural highlights (there are many).

Oh, and the first weekend of every month we have the Peddler Market, a street food market. Get down early to avoid disappointment!

Enjoy - Sheffield is lovely.

And go to Liverpool! the train ride from Sheff to Liverpool is phenomenally beautiful.
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Arlyn Janssen
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Cardboard Conundrum wrote:
I’d recommend dropping into Draughts board game cafe in London for a drink and a game after a day’s sightseeing in London - but wouldn’t spend too much time for gaming stuff in London tbh. However, if you’re interested in history I’m sure you’ve already got the Natural History Museum and British Museum on your to-do list; I’d recommend doing these on a weekday if you can (especially Natural History) as they’re absolutely rammed on weekends. You can even do late night viewings some days which are really cool. I’d also recommend visiting Camden, just to see one of my favourite parts of London - but also for a great variety of street food that’s delicious, and pretty well priced (just avoid the food stalls inside the actual Horse Stable Market itself). There’s a few places around there to get some really nice British beers, if you drink too.

If you go further south before Sheffield, I’d have to recommend my home county of Kent though. A plethora of castles (Leeds Castle and Dover Castle are my two favourite in England), but it’s also got lovely countryside and coastal towns and much, much better pubs, beer, cider and fish and chips etc than you’ll find in London. That said, you’ll get your beautiful views and countryside in the north and in Scotland as well, so depends how you allocate your time, as Kent will probably be a little out of your way. One final recommendation would be York, whilst you’re in the north; it’s a lovely place, lots of lovely food and a very picturesque town centre steeped in history.


As an American staying in the East Midlands (not far South of where you'll be), I can also highly recommend York as a very easy daytrip from Sheffield. Nice shopping and restaurants, city wall walk gives you nice views out of crowds and traffic, there are plenty of fun and interesting things to see and it's quite easy to get in and out.

I would potentially caution against the "1-day here, 1-day there" approach. We just spent 4 days in Dublin, didn't really see everything we wanted to see and really didn't feel like we had our bearings until the 3rd day. It takes time to adjust to the pace and flow of each city, so you might feel a bit rushed and constantly exhausted if you take that approach. Maybe take advantage of your Northerly location and choose to explore Scotland a bit more, saving Ireland for another trip?

The U.K. is remarkable for its ease of travel and density of interesting sites. But you can easily overdo it. We're here 4 months and feel a bit rushed to see what we want to see.

(I appreciate the Kent recommendation. We're still choosing what we should do for our last long-weekend excursion in April, and Broadstairs/Dover/Brighton is on the shortlist.)

A game I'd recommend is The Cousins' War. It's not easy to find in the US. It's cheap here. It's small. It has a local topic. It's a good game. It's playable while you travel with your husband (it's 2-player only). The Orc's Nest near Covent Garden in London had a few copies when I was in there recently.
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James Parker
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enemyoftheworld wrote:
(I appreciate the Kent recommendation. We're still choosing what we should do for our last long-weekend excursion in April, and Broadstairs/Dover/Brighton is on the shortlist.)


Broadstairs has a fantastic very picturesque beach/harbour and high st/clifftops overlooking it but there's not a huge amount extra to see there. If you do go then make sure to visit Morelli's Ice Cream shop on the cliff top (half way along). If you're driving then the small, free spitfire and hurricane museum at Manston is worth a 30-60 minute visit as it'll be on your way. You're also next door to Ramsgate (not a huge amount to see) and Margate (nice beach, Turner arts centre - which is not a patch on the London art galleries though).

Dover castle and the white cliffs are very interesting in particular the wartime tunnels under the castle in the cliffs themselves.

Brighton's also a nice day out but less so for historical reasons and more for the atmosphere; the sea front, pier and boutique style shopping in the lanes area for example.

In Kent Canterbury cathedral, Leeds castle (confusingly nowhere near Leeds!) and Chartwell (home of Winston Churchill) are also all worth a visit.
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Chris Geggus
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The National Trust is the big overseer of most (not all) historical locations within the U.K. I am a member and have a fantastic handbook for wherever we are visiting in the U.K. I don't know what they have on-line, but it is worth seeing if you can find, at the very least, a listing of their attractions, if not a downloadable copy of their membership book. You will be spoilt for choice.

Enjoy our country, it's both unique and wonderful.
 
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John
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If you are thinking of travelling by train when you are here then you can get rail passes from http://britrail.eurail.com/ - you can either get a pass which allows you to travel every day, or a pass which allows you to on a certain number of days in a 1 month period.

Bsiler0825 wrote:
We want to visit the country side and see the beatutiful landscapes.


There's lots of nice countryside. The national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty are the obvious places to go, but wherever you are you are likely to be able to find somewhere you can go for a walk in countryside nearby. Look at ordnance survey mapping (bing maps has an OS layer) or open street map and you can often find somewhere nice to walk wherever you are, even in cites. You can also search for country parks, or nature reserves (e.g. on The Wildlife Trusts website, RSPB). The National Trust look after various nice bits of countryside as well as various historical sites. English Heritage also look after historical sites.

Enjoy!
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Andy Leighton
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liencam wrote:
And go to Liverpool! the train ride from Sheff to Liverpool is phenomenally beautiful.


That's the Hope Valley line that runs through the Peak District isn't it? Do all the trains to Manchester and Liverpool use that?
 
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Neil McIntyre
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andyl wrote:
liencam wrote:
And go to Liverpool! the train ride from Sheff to Liverpool is phenomenally beautiful.


That's the Hope Valley line that runs through the Peak District isn't it? Do all the trains to Manchester and Liverpool use that?


They do indeed; Liverpool-Manchester-Sheffield.

I use it a lot to head home to my parents, for work and getting to Anfield.
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Phil Fenerty
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If you want film locations, Liverpool should really be on your list: lots of Hollywood blockbusters have had scenes shot in and around the town. There have even been sequences from the Harry Potter franchise shot in the area (a good internet search should show up some examples!).

The Albert Dock down on the Mersey waterfront is home to the Beatles Story - a museum dedicated to four lads who rocked the world. And the World Museum in the city centre is currently host to some of China's famous Terracotta Warriors, along with some artefacts not seen outside Asia.
 
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myrmex wrote:
If you come to Edinburgh (and you should), you could see the cafe where J K Rowling wrote Harry Potter, as well as the private school on which Hogwarts is said to be based.


I second the recommendation for Edinburgh, it's gorgeous and there's loads of history! There's a free Harry Potter walking tour that goes to the places mentioned above and more Also other free historical tours going on all the time.
 
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Laurence Parsons
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I’m a Bristol lad myself, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I second the comment that you shouldn’t spread yourself too thinly. Pick a few places and spend a few days in each. Ireland is great, but I think you’d struggle to do anything of interest in a day or two, so keep that for another time.
It looks like London and Sheffield are nailed on, and I’m going to assume you are flying to/from London, so how about:
Day 1-4 London
Day 5-7 City 2
Day 8-11 Sheffield/York area
Day 12-14 Edinburgh and back to London for flight. The best way to get from EDI to LON is by plane.

London should probably include the British Museum, maybe the Nat Hist museum; Tower of London (possibly the single best thing to do) with a Beefeater tour; Camden food market is good; Trip to the Harry Potter studios. Open-top tour bus for a general view. London has just too much to see, so you’ll have to be picky about what you actually do.

Sheffield/York I’ll leave to the northerners to recommend (York Minster and the Shambles are worth a visit). Your sister will probably have a lot to say here too!

Edinburgh – Must do the Castle, maybe also a day trip around the Highlands and a Distillery visit.

This leaves City 2 up for grabs.
Should you want to head West, then stop off at Stonehenge on the way, before arriving in Bath. The city is well know for both its Roman heritage (check out the Roman Baths) and its Georgian architecture (Royal Crescent). Bath Abbey is also worth a visit. It’s a compact city, so easy enough to do everything on foot. Then hop over to Bristol for a day or so, and visit the S.S. Great Britain, the Cathedral, St Mary Redcliffe, Cabot Tower and the Suspension Bridge; or stroll through Clifton village and the Downs. Maybe take a day trip up into the Cotswolds (a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and where I live) and admire the scenery and picturesque villages.
If you do think you’d like to come my way, please do drop me a PM.

Of course, you could go somewhere completely different, but I wouldn’t recommend it…

Cheers,
Fred
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Ringo Stalin
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First and foremost - don't get a hotel room in the middle of London, unless you've got money to burn. I recommend going for an AirBnB just on the fringe, as close to a train station as possible. Personally, I think east London is great (I live in Hackney, so I might be a bit biased).

One of the big bonuses of the Overground line is that the same train line will take you to Hampstead Heath, and onward to Kew Gardens and Richmond, all of which are remarkably picturesque.

If you want something game-specific in London and you're around Shaftesbury Ave, Drury Lane, Covent Garden et al, definitely pop in to the iconic Orc's Nest. It's small but it's absolutely packed to the rafters with games. There's a small selection of paint and minis available too. Down the road is Forbidden Planet, which is considered by some to be a geek 'must-see' but I think its golden days are over. That area also has a wide range of fashion shops, boutiques and great places to eat. Over on Regent St is Hamleys Toy Store, but I wouldn't consider it a destination for board game lovers.

If you're in east London (Hackney, Shoreditch, Dalston), I would recommend checking out Draughts, the board game cafe. It costs £5 for a gaming session, there's drinks and food available, and the library is huge. There's also a handful of games available for sale. They only take bookings on weekdays though - weekends are first come, first served, and if you want to wait for a table to open up, you have to stay in-house (which can be frustrating).

If you want more of a pub atmosphere, there's also Loading Bar, which is up the road from Draughts. They also have bars in Stratford, Shepherds Bush and Brighton.

While you're east, check out Broadway Market on Saturday - personally, I find the crowd a bit too overwhelming, but it's only a short wander over to London Fields, and Violet Cakes, where you can get some delicious treats. There's also the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, which is interesting and, if memory serves, contains some pieces of board game history.

The website Atlas Obscura can also provide you with some out-of-left-field ideas - I always check it out before I go somewhere new.

Finally, if you happen to be in London on the first Wednesday of the month, around 5.30pm or so, please feel free to drop in to the City Pride Farringdon - this is where my gaming group meet and we'd be happy to have you join us! (that goes for anyone else reading this too!)

EDIT: Bath and Edinburgh are absolutely worth your time. If you go to Bath, be sure to drop into Chapter One pub - they've got a decent selection of board games and beer. Tell them Ringo sent you!
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