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England/Scotland/Brittany/Paris

New to forum. Husband and I planning a 5 week trip in late August from Virginia to London then train to Bath to start trip. Staying 3 nights in Bath. Train to Cornwall area, 3 nights, rent car to explore area. Back to Bath by train. Rent car for Cotswold/Oxford, 4 nights. At this point want to go to Lake District for 3 nights and then on to Glasgow (2 nights) Highlands (5 nights) Edinburgh (3 nights) London (3 nights) Chunnel to Calais, rent car for 6 nights in Brittany, then train to Paris for 5 nights then home. Whew!!
1) Are we embarking on too much? 2) We are thinking of keeping rental car from Cotswold all the way to Edinburgh. Drop off car when we arrive in Edinburgh and then train to London. Suggestions appreciated, especially on places in Highlands and on keeping rental til we arrive in Edinburgh. Thank you!!

Posted by
6338 posts

Waaaaaaaaay too much.

Its over 7 hours by train Bath to Cornwall. So to and
from you are “wasting” 14 hours. Basically a day.

And you are back tracking.

Do you know about midges?

You need to re evaluate your 5 week itinerary or you won’t enjoy trip as nothing will be relaxing.

Posted by
1669 posts

If you want to combine the UK with Brittany, you can go as a foot passenger on a ferry from Portsmouth to Brittany. Leave rental car one in the UK, pick up new one in France. No need to take the Eurostar, which does not go to Calais which is very far from Brittany.

Posted by
460 posts

I'm not sure where you get over 7hours by train from BAth to Cornwall from. Depending on what station you are heading to, it is 5.5 hours max.

Actually looking at your itinerary it would make sense to head to London first and then Cornwall. Then head back through Bath, Cotswolds and Lake District to Scotland. Rather than spend two nights in Glasgow on the way, head straight to the Highlands from the Lake District. You can easily 'do' Glasgow by train from Edinburgh. Fly to France from Edinburgh.

If you can get a one way rental from Cornwall to Edinburgh, that would make sense and probably make things easier.

Remember 3 nights only effectively gives you just over two days in an area. That isn't long for places like Cornwall or the Lake District.

Posted by
1669 posts

You don't have your desired sites in a logical order for an efficient itinerary. Try this: London, train to Edinburgh (maybe a one night stop in York?), Edinburgh, get car at Edinburgh airport, highlands, Glasgow (car will be a nuisance here, be sure your hotel offers parking), Lakes District, Cotswolds/ Oxford, Bath, Cornwall, return rental car at ferry port, ferry to Brittany, get rental car, tour Brittany, return rental car in either Rennes or Nantes, train to Paris, Paris, fly to LHR, fly home. No reason you can't do this in five weeks if that is what you want to do - it's your trip!

I think you need to carefully consider how many days in each spot after reading some good tour books. Rough Guides are best for UK, for France get ones specific for Brittany and Paris. Amazon has dozens. You also need the orange regional Michelin maps for planning and a road atlas is very useful for driving. Trip Advisor is useful for finalizing details of destinations and for reading reviews of accommodations.

For your ferry trip, choose your departure points and arrival points carefully. You want to be sure you can return and get rental cars. St. Malo is a very interesting town - I am not familiar with the other Brittany possibilities.

You're welcome.

Posted by
5460 posts

It is already getting late to book August in these high-traffic tourism locations. And you have too much travel time. Although you have too much car time, I think you need one for the Lake District (hard to book hotels or cottages).

I guess when you write Calais you are thinking of the TV series where the cops take their cars on the train. But you might as well take the train to a more worthwhile destination, like Lille. But Lille and Calais are both so far from civilization that you are mixing this up with a trip to, say, five American national parks. But you don't have a three-ton SUV and Interstate highways for this trip. You need to use Google Maps to get some (very rough, inaccurate) times and mileages and then organize your stops. Can you both drive a standard transmission when they don't have any automatics left?

Do you believe that you will never return in your lifetime to England or France? Just asking, because you don't have to cover so much ground if you might return. Just as an example, you might go through Paris or Lille if you go to Alsace, Provence, the Loire, Burgundy, or whatever in the future. It's way too far, but I saw Lille from Antwerp, Belgium.

Posted by
204 posts

Are we embarking on too much?

If this is your travel style you shouldn't have too much, just depends on what you want to do each day ... remember to add a few 'down days' to do laundry, unwind, etc... no sightseeing, just a leisurely day of rest and relaxation ... trying to keep up this pace for 5 weeks will wear you out real fast.

Break this plan into logical pieces (mini vacations) and work one piece at a time or else you'll get overwhelmed ... use the travel between pieces (either by car or train) as connectors.

We are thinking of keeping rental car from Cotswold all the way to Edinburgh

Compare the cost of keeping the rental car (including fuel and drop-off charges) against taking trains and renting a new car each time (e.g. train to Bath, rent car for about 10 days, train to Lake District, rent car for about 3 days, train to Glasgow, rent car for about 10 days, train to London) ... you'll spend some time picking up and dropping cars but might be more cost effective (be sure to account for vacation time lost due to all these logistics).

Keep us informed on the progress of the trip planning, there are some who love the planning part almost as much as the actual trip.