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England (Scotland) April-May itinerary 2018

Looking for feedback, suggestions on the following itinerary. Is it possible without a car? If not, when would we most likely need one? Also, would there be enough to see in the York area for a little more than 3 days or would we better off with another day in the Cotswolds or Edinburgh? Thanks.

April 25-26 flight Minneapolis to Heathrow

Thursday April 26

Heathrow to Cotswolds (train), pick up rental car?

Friday April 27

Cotswolds area, Blenheim Palace

Saturday April 28

Cotswolds area

Sunday April 29

Cotswolds to York (5-hour bus/train trip)

Monday April 30

York area

Tuesday May 1

York area

Wednesday May 2

York to Durham?, then Edinburgh (2 ¾ hour train trip)

Thursday May 3


Friday May 4

Glasgow, Stirling? Or St. Andrews?

Saturday May 5

Edinburgh to London (7:30 a.m.) (4.5 hour train trip)

Check in at apartment in Notting Hill

Sunday May 6

London area

Day trip to Cambridge or Oxford? Or Salisbury, Stonehenge & Avebury (found a tour for these)?

Monday May 7

London area

Tuesday May 8

London area – Windsor?

Wednesday May 9

London to Dublin flight (one-way)

Posted by
10526 posts

It looks like a sensible enough plan, if a fast pace. My only question is why go to Scotland for only two full days/3 nights split across two locations? Either spend all three nights in one location (Edinburgh makes sense) or skip the excursion to Scotland and spend more time in London. Once you get to London you'll wish you had more time there.

Posted by
26 posts

Too much to see, not enough time. I think we'll forego one of the days in York and add on a day in Edinburgh. Thanks for the reply.

Posted by
3017 posts

I would say to simplify your plan by either renting a car or using public transport, not switching back & forth between the two. For example, if you want to see places outside London (Cambridge, Oxford, Saisbury, Stonehenge, Avebury) why not keep your rental car and use it to visit some of them as well as the Cotswolds? Renting a car for just a few days probably won't be cost effective, and driving around on your own is a different kind of travel experience from taking trains & buses & tours.

Apart from that, it will help to eliminate York, but you're still traipsing to places that are not near each other and allowing very little time to soak up what each destination has to offer.

On the plus side, you've chosen a lovely time of year when the days are long and many gardens and wildflowers will be in bloom.

Posted by
26 posts

Part of my initial post was the question of whether this itinerary was possible without renting a car, which, the more I read, I think will be possible. I wasn't planning on having a rental car in London, York or Edinburgh, mainly relying on trains and buses.

We're hoping to find a tour from the Cotswolds over to Blenheim, but if we can't then we might just rent a car for that day only, unless a taxi would be cheaper. It looks to be just 27 miles from Stow-on-the-Wold, where we're staying. Might it be possible to combine some time in Oxford with our trip to Blenheim?

My wife is an avid gardener and will be thrilled to see anything in bloom. I'm just hoping to be able to see rugby and football matches along the way if possible.

Thanks again.

Posted by
3995 posts

The Delta nonstops are lovely but if you haven't bought a ticket yet consider Icelandair to Glasgow, it's slick and fast (about 10 hours including the Reykjavik stopover) and eliminates backtracking.

Posted by
703 posts

The Delta nonstops are lovely but if you haven't bought a ticket yet
consider Icelandair to Glasgow, it's slick and fast (about 10 hours
including the Reykjavik stopover) and eliminates backtracking.

Yep. What if you start in Scotland and then work your way South from there? I flew Icelandair into Glasgow two years ago. Spent one night there, saw a bit of Glasgow - which I liked a LOT more than I'd expected! - and then took the train to Edinburgh. You could stay in Glasgow, or just go straight from Glasgow airport and hop the train to Edinburgh. It's a relatively cheap fare with frequent service, and Edinburgh Waverly train station is right in the middle of town. I had a couple of days in Edinburgh - also loved Edinburgh a lot more than I expected, and want to go back and see more of it.

Then you can take the train South to York - or somewhere else if you're scrubbing York. The train journey between Edinburgh and London (the East coast route which goes through York) has lots to see from the windows - it's detailed in Britain From the Rails, A Window Gazer's Guide. Once you're down into the territory where a car makes sense - Cotswolds, etc. - then you can rent one.

But anyway, I agree with Tom-MN, that if you really want to see Edinburgh or anything else in Scotland, it makes sense to fly into Scotland and head south.

On my 2015 trip where I flew into Glasgow, I flew home on Icelandair out of Gatwick. All Icelandair flights connect through Reykjavik. I was impressed at how well-run that airport is. It's Icelandair's hub, and they will hold your connecting flight home if your flight into Reykjavik is delayed, so you don't miss it.

Happy trails!

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks to the most recent posts, we have switched our itinerary so that we'll be flying into Glasgow to begin our trip, which will allow us an extra day in London later. Also, the airfare is about $600 less. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

Any thoughts on the best time to buy airline tickets for travel in late April? The flight we're looking at is just over $1,000 and I'd hate to wait too long to book.

Posted by
3995 posts

I'm glad the Icelandair idea is agreeable, really every Scotland/England combination should include one leg in Scotland. Note that you will not get free food or booze on Icelandair. You can buy expensive food at Keflavik airport but the connections are short (but everyone makes their flight). We bring Chipotle or Jimmy John's.

It's really hard to predict fares, but you should be able to get $375 each way for spring travel. 2 years ago $500 each way was a good price.

Note that you will be buying separate one way tickets for going and coming-- that's OK.