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Driving from Edinburgh (yes, I know it's not in England;) to Salisbury, England


In August we will be traveling (with tween and teen) from Edinburgh down to Salisbury. We have 5 days/nights to work with. Where would you go/stay? What would you do?

This is after a couple of weeks in Edinburgh. If we leave there on Day 1, we need to arrive in Salisbury early on Day 6.

Thank you for any and all ideas!

Posted by
221 posts

I can only really tell you your options as what you'd do isn't necessarily what I would do.

Things to visit between Edinburgh and Salisbury depend on which route you take: if you go down the east coast there's Hadrian's Wall, Alnwick, Bamburgh/Holy Island, Durham, York, Peak District, Nottingham, Stratford upon Avon and Oxford.

Down the west coast there's Glasgow, Dumfries, Carlisle, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, Manchester, Liverpool, Cheltenham, Gloucester and the Cotswolds.

Have a research of some of these places to see if they suit you and your family's interests, and then start drawing up a route from there.

Posted by
2310 posts

Surely, nothing much in Dumfries or Carlisle? Gloucester is a bit of a dump as well. I would also not visit Manchester.

Posted by
409 posts

There is some amazing views along this route. I did most of it in reverse last summer. There is amazing hillwalking (that's how you'd find some of the parks on line - as they don't call it "hiking" like Americans. It is HIKING!) on that route, beautiful villages, parks, etc.

I'd start with the teen and say "google it" to see what walks are nearby.

Do these kids like castles and ruins? Check out the Heritage pass. I bought it even though I was only in England for 2 months. It was easier (and psychologically better) for me to just walk in each place as I stumbled upon it, rather than pay at the door each time....

A bit of info on what you LIKE to do might help with suggestions!

Waterville, Ireland

Posted by
6113 posts

I would have 2 nights in Northumberland, exploring Hadrian's Wall, Holy Island, Bamburgh Castle, Alnwick (Harry Potter) or Beamish Open Air Museum for a day.

Drive to Rutland and have 2 nights, taking a boat trip on Rutland Water and hiring bikes to cycle around. Visit Stamford and Oakham, both pretty Georgian towns and drive around the chocolate box villages (like the Cotswolds, but without the tourist hoards, so getting around isn't a problem).

If you need to be back early in Salisbury, stay night 5 around the Oxford area. If you can manage a 3 hour drive day 6, then add a night to Northumberland.

Posted by
3111 posts

Salisbury is the nearest sizeable city to Stonehenge. If I were you I'd make sure to go via Avebury, stop and walk the mile-long stone circle there, and then drive south through the Savernake Forest to Durrington (Woodhenge and Durrington Walls) before making a stop of at least a couple of hours at Stonehenge itself. There's much more to do than just stand there looking at the stones -- an audio guide, shuttle bus, indoor & outdoor visitor centre, cafeteria, etc.

Where to stay the night before this day of stone circle visits? I'd consider Oxford. Otherwise Bath -- the Roman archaeological ruins are really interesting for youngsters, I think -- but Bath is somewhat out of the way, and it has become so popular with tourists it might be kind of tiresome.

On your way out of Scotland, I'd plan a few hours' stop at Hadrian's Wall, long enough to do some actual walking on the wall.

Posted by
3564 posts

I can only tell you what my preference would be. There is no right or wrong answer here, only different choices. If you ask ten different Forum posters this question, you will get ten different answers!

My preference would be:
Day 1--Leaving Edinburgh, go to Bamburgh Castle. An impressive medieval castle overlooking the beach and sea. Go from there to York, a walled medieval city. You can walk ontop the ancient city walls here. The city was occupied by the Romans, the Vikings, and York has museums to explain their long and fascinating history. Walk through the streets of The Shambles, a section of the city unchanged since medieval times. See York Minster, one of the greatest cathedrals in England. You will want to stay in York the night you arrive here, sightsee the next day, and possible stay a second night after your long day of sightseeing. So my preference would be to make a hotel reservation for two nights.

Day 2--Leave York early, head south down the M1 roadway. When you get closer to Leicester, take the M69 motorway toward Coventry. Go to Warwick and park in the Warwick Castle parking lot. Warwick Castle is an interesting medieval castle. Walk around the town of Warwick; lots of interesting buildings.
Continue on to Stratford-Upon-Avon for the night. Stay here one night.

Day 3--Walk around Stratford-Upon-Avon, see Shakespeare buildings. It is on the River Avon which is connected to a canal. Lots of canal boats here. Take a boat ride. Drive from here south into the Cotswolds and spend the night.

Day 4--Drive around the Cotswolds. You could spend two nights in the Cotswolds.
Option: Drive to Oxford and spend one night there. Walk around Oxford and take in the sights.

Day 5--Drive from Oxford (or the Cotswolds, if you have chosen to stay there longer and have skipped Oxford)
to Salisbury.

I think your teens will like the castles, York and its Viking history and walking York's walls.
If you choose to stay two nights in the Cotswolds, there are plenty of villages to explore and walking trails.
One village that may be of interest to your teens is Bourton-On-The-Water. It has a small river running through its center, plus good cafes, a shop to get ice cream, and a good bakery.