- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2003

The airport in Manchester, England, is less than a two-hour drive from Chester and York, and the latter is about a three-hour train ride from Edinburgh, Scotland. British Midland Airlines (800/788-0555) resumed flights from Washington Dulles International Airport to Manchester June 1. Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon are closer to London airports.

British Airways (which flies to London from Washington and Baltimore airports and operates connecting flights to Edinburgh) is offering peak-season round-trip tickets on midweek flights between Washington and London for fares as low as $578 from June 16 through Sept. 3, with even lower fares Sept. 4 through Oct. 29. These fares must be booked online only at www.britishairways.com/summersale. Special fares to cities beyond London are available, and some upgrades are possible. These sale tickets, subject to availability, must be purchased by midnight Thursday and also must be purchased seven days in advance of departure; the minimum stay is one Saturday night, and the maximum stay is nine months. Airport and other taxes are additional.

Late spring and early fall combine cool but pleasant temperatures with, for Britain, lower than average rainfall. Summer months bring warmer days but many more tourists.

The Chester Crabwell Manor is a castlelike structure that dates back to the mid-17th century. It is set amid 11 acres on the outskirts of Chester. Rates begin at about $265 for double rooms.

The Grange is a gracious town-house hotel within walking distance of York’s major attractions. Rates, beginning at $215, include a full English breakfast.

Five Edwardian town houses have been joined to create Channings on a quiet cobbled street in Edinburgh. Elegant furnishings and an intimate, clublike atmosphere have earned the hotel a number of “best city hotel” awards. Breakfast is included in rates that begin at $270 for a double room.

There are plenty of opportunities to combine the past with a repast. At Chester’s Blue Bell Inn, built around the 14th century, the fare ranges from traditional dishes such as Scotch rump steak with Guinness sauce ($24) to selections with an international touch, including goujons of salmon with penne pasta ($16).

The dining room at Chester Cathedral, where monks ate beginning in the 13th century, is open to the public for lunch. Filling traditional English entrees are priced at about $6.

Guests of the Grange hotel in York can’t do better than its sophisticated Ivy Restaurant. It offers both Continental choices and traditional English fare such as pan-fried cod with leek-and-mustard cream ($16) and roast Yorkshire pheasant ($25).

The Tower Restaurant atop the Museum of Scotland offers dramatic views of Edinburgh and the castle and an outstanding menu. A lamb combination, including braised shank, seared loin and grilled cutlet, costs about $27.

For more information, contact VisitBritain, 877/899-8391 or www.visitbritain.com.

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