By sometime in late November or early December, 2009, we had decided on England as a destination, but still needed to lock in a date (when to go, and how long to stay) and figure out what we wanted to see.
After browsing the web for a few days, searching for information on traveling to the UK, we visited a used bookstore and picked up a couple of out-of-date travel books, just to get a sense of the possibilities. One was for Great Britain and the other was for London. I also spotted a copy of Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island, and bought it. I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I ever read by Bill Bryson, and this was no exception. Bill Bryson is an American non-fiction writer who lived in England for much of his life. Notes From a Small Island was about him taking a final journey around Great Britain before he moved back to the United States in 1995, where he lived until 2003, when he moved back to Britain again.
The next couple of weeks was spent reading and making notes. Almost all of the travel guides agreed that (while the weather in the UK is unpredictable, and can vary widely from one region to the next), the Fall (September to November) can often have severe storms; the Winter (December to February) is usually cold and wet, and often very windy; the Spring (March to May) can start cold and snowy, but May is often the most temperate month of the year. The early summer is usually much like May, but summer is when most tourists are going to arrive. We decided to opt for less crowds, and — hopefully — a little less heat. Having lived in Houston since the 1970’s, we don’t care much for the heat. Nice, cool, mild weather was exactly what we wanted. Even a little rain would be okay. May was the month for us.
Did that work out for us? Was May a good choice? You can see in the Travel Diary entries when we start posting those, but we still had decisions to make before we left.
Next up, How Long Should We Stay?