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Another Request for an Itinerary Review--24 full days in Great Britain

Hi all,
We are are are arriving in London on Friday, June 2nd, and leaving from Edinburgh on Monday June 26. The latter part of our trip is scheduled so that our son can arrive in Glasgow on Saturday the 17th and be with us in Scotland . I'm just wondering if this itinerary makes sense to everyone. Hotels and flights are booked. The only things non-refundable are a few tours.

5 nights London, staying in an apartment in South Kensington: no activities booked--so much to see--haven't narrowed it down yet.
3 nights Bath: tours to Stonehenge and the Cotswolds booked. Pick up a car on leaving.
3 nights Conwy, Wales, nothing booked. Want to see Snowdonia, some castles
2 nights York: we'll probably follow RS suggestions
2 nights Keswick, Lake District: again, follow RS
3 nights Oban, Scotalnd: plan to do boat trip to Mull, Staffa and Iona one day, and Glencoe Gap and Fort William and area
another day.
3 nights Inverness: work our way to Inverness, day trip to northern Highlands, Culloden, Cairngorms National Park
3 nights Edinburgh, returning the car upon arrival.
Fly home

I know that there are some days that involve a fair amount of driving--3-4 hours according to Google maps, and I know it will take longer each time, but we want to work our way up to Scotland.

Any suggestions, tweaks? Not to miss? I know there is a lot we will pass by, i.e. I'd love to stop at Tintern Abbey on the way to Conwy, but, as we'll be just picking up the car I don't want to get too involved with back roads. We'll appreciate each place when we get there.

We generally enjoy everything, history, art, hiking, scenery. Our son is very interested in nature and will want to focus on that in Scotland. We don't want every moment planned, and I've read the RS book and several others from the library.

Thanks for any input!

Posted by
10004 posts

I think you could use one more night in Keswick and one less in Edinburgh as a counterpoint, given that your interests include hiking, nature, and scenery. Instead of Inverness, consider staying in the Cairngorms itself, in the lovely little town of Grantown on Spey. Much closer to nature, excellent hiking, great distilleries if that is of interest. You can easily visit Culloden from there.

Plan your drives to allow stops at castles and parks. It is a lovely and scenic drive with lots of potential stops from Grantown on Spey to Edinburgh.

Posted by
692 posts

Laurel,
Thanks for your response. I like your idea of staying in Granton on Spey instead of Inverness in order to be closer to nature. That's the beauty of this forum, to get real-world experience, instead of just guide books. I've checked, and there are accommodations for 3 available.We probably won't extend the Keswick stay, just so that we can be driving through Glasgow on the Saturday to pick up our son. Also, my husband is interested in spending time in Edinburgh, and my son would be happy to spend time in the Royal Botanical Gardens there. He, too, does like some history. I'll definitely plan our drive from there to Edinburgh carefully for the sights you mentioned. Can we reach the Highlands from there, is that at reach?

Posted by
10004 posts

The Cairngorms are in the Highlands. The Rossmore B&B (Grantown-on-Spey) is fantastic, and I highly recommend The Garth for dinner.

Posted by
1875 posts

BATH > CONWY. Firstly, as you have a car, no need to just consider Conwy as a base for NW Wales. (Porthmadog area would be more central and reduce your drive up from Bath but increase your drive to Lake District as Conwy is already on the A55 expressway.

I would suggest the following route from Bath to NW Wales:>
A46 N to M4- then west to M48 Severn Bridge (toll). Leave at 1st interchange on Welsh side > A466 up the Wye Valley (many bends but great scenery) stopping to see TINTERN ABBEY (ruin). Then continue towards Monmouth - left onto A40 expressway & stay on this route to RAGLAN - see Castle - but be careful when leaving as you must first turn left and then right to get back onto westbound A40 towards ABERGAVENNY.

After Abergavenny - continue on A40 via CRICKHOWELL & about 2 miles N fork R onto A479. Visit TRETOWER COURT (if time) - which is down a little lane on your left. Then, continue on A479 towards Talgarth. Now follow signs for A470 BUILTH WELLS - where the Little Chef is a good place to take a break. From here, you just keep following the A470 all the way to NW Wales. (A diversion into Llanidloes might be worth it just to see the medieval building in the centre). At DOLGELLAU (worth detour into the town - which is made of huge lumps of rock) - you may like to follow the A496 coast road via *Barmouth and HARLECH (CASTLE). However, if running late for some place further N, stick with the A470.

Bath to NW Wales is quite a distance. Throw in seeing places like Tintern Abbey en-route, you you will be pushed for time. Consider staying 1 night in mid Wales - or just getting as far as Dolgellau to Barmouth.
* http://barmouth-wales.co.uk/things-to-do/#.WM4_BhicYo8
http://www.harlech.com
http://www.castlewales.com/tintern.html
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/raglancastle/?lang=en
http://www.visitwales.com/event-search/event-search-results/event-search-details?id=680102

When going from north Wales to the Lake District, I would divert into Chester:>http://www.visitchester.com

Check your distances & timings. Remember - if you just put in for Bath to wherever, it may not show you the most scenic/interesting route.http://www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp

Posted by
692 posts

James, thanks for your detailed response and directions. Checking all the links makes me want to stop at all of them! I'll take look at plotting at least some of them on the map link and see what could work for us.

Posted by
1875 posts

This might be a better map - I have set it at the Severn Bridges. The colours on the roads refer to live traffic speeds. You can switch on satellite view if you wish to get a better idea of the landscape. You can also pull in the yellow man to take a look at the roads on street view. Note that Chepstow also has a castle but I did not include that due to time factor if you are going from Bath to NW Wales in 1 day.

Near the top of the map is St.Arvans - on route A466. If you take the next left after the village - a minor road for half a mile (Wyndcliff), you come to a parking place on R. From here, a track leads uphill through woods. After about 17 minutes of walking- turn R and you come to about 7 steps that lead to the ‘Eagles Nest’ viewpoint. (You won’t be able to do this if heading for NW Wales in 1 day).
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.6168725,-2.6750563,13z/data=!5m1!1e1

This place is near Porthmadog:http://www.portmeirion-village.com
www.festrail.co.uk