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10 Day Into London --> Out of Edinburgh Itinerary Advice ISO

My husband, our 9 year old son, and myself will be doing 10 days in the UK, flying into London and out of Edinburgh in June of '19. We found fantastically cheap fare last night and jumped in as we were planning this trip already and the prices couldn't be beat.

I'm looking for itinerary advice. I'll list some of the types of things we are hoping to do. We are planning on doing some train travel and renting a car for one or two parts of the journey. Currently, we are considering 4 days in London, two nights in Brighton or the area (for the beach and sea, and other interests in the area), and then will have the final 4 days open for Scotland.

Things we'd hope to see (I hope we don't seem too stereotypical here):
1. Castles, obvs, with a 9 year old boy and his history teacher dad :) (my husband and I are both teachers!)
2. Archeological sites, ruins, Hadrian's Wall, etc
3. Stonehenge and/or similar mystic/druid spaces
4. Music and Beatles stuff - Liverpool, obvs; we are also bug music lovers - we will have a 9 year old, but we do love pubs and jam sessions
5. Kid fun stuff - our kiddo is active and loves 'doing' things, so ideas on 'must do' cool kid stuff
6. Literary sites - I'm an English/Language Arts teacher
7. Museums: archeological, natural history, etc
8. Gardens, the 'countryside', the highlands, etc. I want to see cliffs and country gardens/cottages, etc
9. Geeky stuff - Dr Who, Harry Potter, etc

Other things we should do/see? We love diverse cultures, food, photographic opportunities, and just overall seeing the amazing sites and trying to balance being tourists, while also seeing actual local life.

Thanks much for any and all information!
Nicole :)

Posted by
183 posts

Your proposed itinerary and list of interests don’t cleanly marry up i.e. London-Brighton-Scotland does not lend itself to Liverpool. You’ll have to pick one or the other.

Honestly, that itinerary will cover most of your needs. I don’t think you’ll have the time to see much beyond it.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks - we are open to any beach cities, really and aren't married to doing all the things on the list - just a guide of what we typically would like to see. I'm looking for suggestions of places that may check off some boxes and suggestions of an actual itinerary, like x days in London, then go to X, etc.

We are also trying to decide if we should rent a car to drive London to Edinburgh and through Scotland, or just train it to Edinburgh and then rent a car for Scotland.

Posted by
183 posts

London and its surrounds should cover you fine then (Beatles, Castles, pubs and music, access to beaches and daytrip to Stonehenge). Then take the train to Scotland. I wouldn’t recommend driving unless there’s something very specific you want to see that absolutely requires using a car.

By the way, ‘local life’ is overrated. I’ve been to Dagenham and Leyton and can guarantee they’re not really places you want to spend what little time you have.

Posted by
1063 posts

"two nights in Brighton or the area (for the beach and sea,"

You realise that Brighton has a pebble beach, not sand??

Posted by
971 posts

Ten days is not a lot and there is plenty to see just between London and Edinburgh, whitout making detours to Brighton or Liverpool.
Here is a few suggestion based on what i did last summer.
Train from London to York. There is an intact city Wall you can walk on top for it’s full lenght, an amazing cathedral and some viking stuff. We spend two nights.
Train to Durham. Pretty old town with an impressive cathedral that was used in the Harry Potter movies. We spend one night.
Train to Hexam via Newcastle. Rented a car for two days and spend one day exploring Hadrians Wall and one day driving up to Lindisfarne and to Bamburgh and Alnwick Castle. Mind you this day was pretty rushed and I’m sure a 9 year old (and Harry Potter fans) would want to spend more time in Alnwick Castle than we did.
Thats six days spent just between London and Edinburgh and i assume you will have a few days there as well.

Posted by
135 posts

I went to London with my 10 and 13yo boys last October. Best time ever :)

This is my trip report detailing our adventures. Hope it can be of help to you:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/10-days-in-london-with-tween-boys

We were just talking about our trip in the car the other day. "What was your favorite thing you did?" Natural History Museum, Hampton Court Palace, Tower of London, Thames Rockets.

Have an amazing time. SO JEALOUS :)

Posted by
1177 posts

See if a National Trust UK Touring Pass for the Family will work for you. The 7 day pass is only 61 pounds. You'll find the kind of places you like. You can order it online and pick it up at a number of different sites in the UK. Many of the Museums are free in London but there are a few places that do require admission. Scotland is not on this pass. After London I would head north. You could take the train to York and rent a car there. Visit Hadrian's Wall and Durham. Yorkshire has many little beach towns that are very scenic. Or take train to Bath, or skip if you hate Jane Austin, stop by Salisbury and go to Cathedral and get time tickets for Stonehenge, rent car in Bath drive to Lacock (Potter) on your way to the Cotwolds. Drive on to Liverpool, drive north thru Lake District, or east to York then to Hadrian's wall, continue to Edinburgh. You might actually save money with a car rental instead of the train. Bargain train rides must be booked in advance. We drove and enjoyed the freedom. You don't want a car in London. Edinburgh is not that bad except for parking downtown.

Posted by
4825 posts

10 days for Scotland and England is not enough.

We did a four week driving tour of Wales and England and just saw the top of the iceberg.

Here is my review of our trip with details on what we saw and were we stayed.
28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home
https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=599139

Some of our favorite places were Durham, York, Stratford Upon Avon, the Cotswolds, Winchester, Bath and Tenby (Wales).

Hadrian's Wall is worth a stop if you are passing by between England and Scotland. Warning, the wall that I saw as about as high as my stomach. You can see the wall in all the walled off farms in the area with wonderful stone walls.

Posted by
1177 posts

The Eastern part of Hadrian's Wall has most of the actual Wall and the remains of the Roman Forts and Museum Exhibits. We loved Wales; especially Edward's castles, and that is where I would go back, but you would need another week to spend time there.

If you want a beach, there’s a perfectly nice one in Edinburgh itself, called Portobello.

The beach at Brighton is not great - pebbles & stones, no sand.