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England, Wales and Scotland: 16 Day Itinerary - Advice Needed

We are a couple travelling to Europe for the first time. We will be arriving in London o the 25th of March and we will depart from Edinburgh. We have chalked out an itinerary. Other than in London and in Edinburgh, we will be using a rental car. Any advice, tips or opinion will be highly appreciated. Thank You.

  1. London - 3 Days - Day of Arrival and 2 more days.
  2. Bath - 1 Day - Looking to cover Stonehenge, Cheddar Gorge, Bath, Lacock and Castle Combe
  3. Oxford - 1 Day
  4. Snowdania - 1 Day - Heard the drive and the views are spectacular
  5. York - 2 Days - Will love to catch a Football match at either Manchester or Liverpool and if possible a county Cricket match at Headingley. Also keen to explore the moors for a bit.
  6. Lake District - 1 Day
  7. Glasgow - 1 Day
  8. Fort William - 1 Day
  9. Isle of Skye - 2 Days
  10. Lochness (Inverness) - 1 Day
  11. Edinburg - 2 Days - One day and the day of departure. Totally, this amounts to 16 days including the day of arrival and departure. Is this doable or too ambitious? Please feel free to suggest change. Any other advice is welcome as well. Thank You.
Posted by
4472 posts

Sorry, all these one night stays are crazy. You will spend all your time traveling and changing hotels and have little time for sightseeing. You will likely be too exhausted to enjoy anything. If you haven't driven in the UK, you will likely find driving on the other side of the road more difficult than you think. There is no way you can see all that in one day from Bath even if you didn't have travel time.

Posted by
7906 posts

Your trip is way too intensive. Too much travel. Too many places.
1) You haven't planned our how much time it takes to get from city to city. Have you determined how much time it will take to get from Oxford to Snowdonia? Then you have to get from there to York! Great Britain has a beautiful countryside, but it is filled with millions of cars and especially driving on two lanes highways in more remote areas. You have a fair number of remote areas to visit. Also, from Oxford to Snowdonia you might go to Manchester or Liverpool for a Cricket match! You have no idea what your plan entail. Traffic in the Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool area of the Midlands is terrible. Further, going to a Cricket match will take up X number of hours, including parking, and you are planning to stay the night in York after driving from Snowdonia to one of those cities, viewing the match then driving to York!!!
2) You have some days with activities that impossible. Going to Stonehenge, Cheddar Gorge, Bath, Lacock and Castle Combe. I see you skipped Wells Cathedral, imagine that. You have to go to Stonehenge from London, then do Stonehenge, then drive to Bath, see bath, Cheddar Gorge, which is south of Bath, then Lacock and Castle Combe. You probably couldn't do that in two full days, much less one.

3) We visited most of these places on our 28 day drive tour of South Wales and England. We did three nights in Bath and six in the Cotswolds, three in York and three in the Lake District. York is amazing, just going to the Munster, walking the walls a the National Rail Museum is one exhausting day and there is more to see in York. Slow down, eliminate some of your travel and enjoy your time in Britain.
4) You plan for Scotland is too much and it includes the Isle of Skye and Inverness in the very north. These are wonderful places, but you have too much on your plate.

We planned to see S. Wales, England and Scotland in four weeks and the more research that I did, I discovered that we needed to reduce our itinerary, so we eliminated Scotland. We are going back for another trip. We have been to Scotland before and love it, but you can't do it all in 16 days without sacrificing the quality of your time.

Here is my review of our four week trip.
28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home

Your day 2 is about four days’ worth of travel condensed in one day.

Plus you have included no travel time in your planning.

The whole thing is unworkable.

Editing this to be more helpful.

Replan your schedule so it also includes accurate driving time. You can establish this by using Google Maps but make sure you use UK time for your estimate. Then add AT LEAST 30% to estimated journey time to allow for traffic holdups, parking, getting lost.

Be aware that a lot of driving in the U.K. isn’t scenic. When looking at a road atlas, if the route takes you on a blue road, that will be on a motorway and all you’ll really see is other traffic.

This is a very densely-packed country - both with people/cars and with interesting sites to see. You could base yourself in Bath for a week and not run out of interesting things to see in the area. Ditto York.

What are YOUR absolute top priorities to see?

Posted by
6113 posts

Sorry, it’s completely unrealistic most days. Far too many one night stops and too many miles driven to be pleasurable. I wouldn’t try to cover all the places on your list in 26 days. Your schedule doesn’t make any allowance for how long it will take to drive between places.

Bath - probably the best part of 8 hours driving, plus seeing 5 places and picking up a hire car. Three days worth of visits in one. Not possible.

Oxford to Snowdon is a 5 hour drive, mostly on the motorway. Taking the scenic route is 7+ hours.

Snowdon to York is probably 5 hours of driving, so you won’t have time to see a football or cricket match. If you want to see football, aim for one of the lower leagues where getting a ticket maybe easier. Cricket matches last all day.

Skye needs at least 3 full days and if you haven’t booked any accommodation m you may struggle to find anywhere, as it’s school holiday time.

You need to plan out what your essentials are plus take a realistic look at driving times (add 30% to Google times). You need to at least halve the number of destinations.

Posted by
460 posts

Agree with what has already been said.

As you arrive in London and leave from Edinburgh, my suggestion is start with a week or so in London, take the train to York - a few days there. Then train to Edinburgh for the final days. You would not need a rental car. Trains booked in advance are not so costly, but I notice that you arrive on 25th March, so would need to sort out your itinerary pretty quickly

From London, you could do day trips (to eg Oxford or to Bath or to Salisbury & Stonehenge or any number of other options).

Posted by
401 posts

So I think you get the idea that this is not a recommended itinerary in any sense. To add some finer details it will be virtually impossible to get tickets to see Liverpool (playing Tottenham Hotspur) or Man U (Man City are away that weekend) and I'm pretty sure the county cricket season doesn't start till April. But that's fine because you didn't have time for any of these. Leave your scenery till Scotland so scratch the Lake District and Snowdonia, come back another time to do Bath and the West Country and stick to a sensible 4 days London, 2 days York, remaining time Scotland.

Posted by
1469 posts

Skip Scotland for now. Do Southern England and Wales. More things to visit; less driving. Look at National Trust UK website for itinerary ideas. Order Overseas Visitor Touring Pass for Couple for 7 days. You can get by doing free things in London. Start pass at first place you visit on their list. You will save lots on admissions and will go to genuine unique and historic places. You will be happy you are driving because you can stop and go as you please. You can probably book accommodations as you go in March except for big cities and on Bank holidays. There will be more things to do in Scotland between April and September.

Posted by
5419 posts

You appear to have missed out the bit about how you intend to travel to these places. Your proposal is completely unrealistic, in fact I'd go as far to say pretty much impossible.

You want to visit York for two days, that's fine, that's the minimum time I would suggest to devote to York yet you want to travel to Manchester or Liverpool for a football match AND explore the moors!!! Watching my own team play at home, 15 minutes drive away can take up almost half a day, making your way through heavy traffic, finding somewhere to park, grab a pre match pint or two, make the way to the ground to be seated in sufficient time before kick off (don't expect to turn up 10 minutes before kick off and be seated in time!), watch the game, slowly leave the ground with the hordes and then make your way back to the car (if you want to do this via train expect it to be just as long). Where does seeing York fit into this? You won't be back until the evening! Either devote the whole two days to York or spend two days in Manchester or Liverpool and incorporate the football.

How are you getting to Bath? Where are you picking the car up from? You want to cover Stonehenge, Cheddar Gorge, Bath, Lacock and Castle Combe? in one day!!!! Whilst it's feasible you could drive from one to the other in a day you won't actually be visiting or seeing anything which begs the question, why? Likewise the rest of your trip.

I understand that this is your first trip to Europe but you need to know the realities. Don't look at Google maps and think, "yeah that's doable" because it invariably isn't. It isn't like driving in the US where I once drove 50 miles from Lake Tahoe to Reno just to go to a cinema because it was raining that day. That's equivalent to me driving from home to London just to go to the cinema, an inconceivable idea!

Your itinerary, as it stands, would be a miserable, tiring, frustrating and wasteful experience. Par it down, incorporate more two and three night stops and concentrate on one area or two. The UK has so much to offer in a reasonably small space that you can see and experience so much without tearing around the country.

Posted by
27412 posts

Start with a realistic day count. Your arrival day doesn't count because of jetlag and probable sleep deprivation. If you're able to do something that day besides prop your eyes open, that's a bonus. Your last day doesn't count because you won't be doing much besides getting yourself to the airport. It sounds as if you are spending 15 nights in the U.K., so you have 14 days, not 16.

Now count nights at each stop, not days. If you have 2 nights somewhere, you have just one full day, plus a few extra hours on the arrival day, depending on how much driving you had to do (or how long a train ride) to get there.

Your target list requires massive cuts. I'd keep the time of year in mind. It can be distinctly chilly and quite wet in the UK in April. Having a car for rural areas will help, but I'd still tend to plan most of my time in places where I could count on indoor attractions if I didn't want to be outdoors.

Posted by
2489 posts

As others have said, you are trying to cover too much ground for the time available. The drive from Oxford to Snowdonia alone would take most of a day and leave little time for sightseeing.

Most people advise taking the train to Bath. Bath has limited parking. Look at this street view of Great Pulteney Street in Bath. Look at all the cars parked on the street. The drivers will have to have put money into a parking meter and the time limit for any might be 2 hours or even 1 hour.,-2.3549618,3a,75y,246.12h,103.45t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sdASwUTtn6xrIpx6G52L-sQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1

Now look at the next street view - it shows the M6 heading through the Midlands (M = Motorway = Interstate in American). You would use this to get from Oxford to Snowdonia. To much of your plan involves tearing around the country on major highways = not interesting!,-2.0122717,3a,75y,163.45h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4EPXkCxKNZjj7OLQWG1ShQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1

Now look at this street view of a road in the Lake District. It takes time to drive on roads like this - especially as you will want to stop in lay-bys and take photos.,-4.1211852,13.28z/data=!5m1!1e1

PS. I suggest that you click and advance on the roads in each of the views or click and drag to see in the other direction.

Posted by
6113 posts

No response from the OP. Looks like a spam post and we are all wasting our time.

Posted by
2489 posts

I can’t see anyone writing all that as a spam post. Besides, there is nothing that they would be promoting. However, too many people come onto this forum and never return. Perhaps we should stop responding!

Posted by
7906 posts

James, your advice was very helpful in our trip planning for our 28 days in Wales and England.

Don't stop. This site is all about helping others with our own experiences. This site has helped me and I try to help others.

Perhaps I came on too strong with my comments. The original poster clearly had done very little planning or research to propose what was posted. Still, I think that poster was properly warned.

Posted by
3 posts

Hello Everyone,

Firstly, apologies to everyone for not replying for so long. And secondly, thank you.

I get the message. I have been an idiot, to put it mildly and the itinerary is impossible. But hey, thanks for saving me from a miserable trip.

I haven't finalized the details but I am cutting out Scotland, Snowdania and Lake District.

Thanks again and I really appreciate all of you taking your time out and giving some really valuable pointers.

Posted by
1332 posts

As others have said, this itinerary is impossible. Cut it until it hurts, then cut it more. One thing to keep in mind with all that moving around is you’re just adding to the chances for something to go wrong. It’s one thing to leave the toothpaste behind when you’re changing hotels, but there’s also the possibility of leaving something important behind when you’re a frazzled traveler and tired. Also, hotel reservations can always get messed up. My last name has a suffix and it’s onnmy passport so I occasionally have hotels combine my last name and suffix, making it hard for them to find my reservation and impossible to use an automated kiosks

London, Manchester or Liverpool, York, and Edinburgh is as much as I’d attempt. I’d cut Edinburgh, but I assume you’ve already got a flight out of there.

I’m definitely a less is more person. The amazing race was an entertaining show, but it’s not my idea of a vacation.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for all the replies. It was a great reality check and helped me to plan my trip better. I thought that it is only fair that I update you all on the eventual itinerary. From a 16 days England, Wales and Scotland trip, it eventually materialized into a 11 days (excluding days of arrival and departure) trip of England and Wales. Any comments are welcome. So, here I go:

Summary: London - 4 Nights, Ashcott/Bath - 1 Night, Little Compton/Cotswold - 2 Nights (2 separate places), Llandudno-Conwy (North Wales/Snowdonia) - 3 Nights, Liecester (to visit a friend) - 1 Night, Stansted - 1 Night.

  1. London - 3 Days - Excluding days of arrival and departure. London was an incredible experience and the most vibrant city that I have yet visited. 3 days was obviously not enough. However, a week wouldn't be enough either and probably not a month either. So, you will have to take a call. We used only public transport with a couple of exceptions. Some of the highlights of our trip included a visit to the Lords Cricket Ground, Churchill War Rooms, Natural History Museum and Hyde Park. We missed out on National Gallery and St. Paul's Cathedral. Big Ben was under renovation. Tip 1: The public transport connectivity especially the tube network is outstanding. However, having traveled mostly during the weekends and off-peak hours, we were taken aback at the crowd on a Monday morning. We were travelling with our rucksacks and were on our way to waterloo station to catch a train to Salisbury. With that crowd, it was not possible. Long Story short, we had to catch a taxi but still managed to miss our train for which we had pre-booked tickets. Tip 2: Our London pass did not come in much use for us. So, I suggest that you make a list of the places you want to visit, add up the admission prices and then decide if the pass is worth it.
  2. London to Ashcott via Salisbury and Stonehenge - 1 Day - We took a train to Salisbury. It is a delightful town. We also picked up our car here. We visited the cathedral here and even managed to have a tour of the tower. From here, we proceeded to stonehenge before reaching Ashcott.
  3. Ashcott to Little Compton (Cotswold) via Bath and Cheddar Gorge - 1 Day
  4. Cotswold - 1 Day - Visited Oxford and Bleinhiem Palace. The palace was spectacular.
  5. Cotswold to North Wales (Llandudno-Conwy) - 1 Day
  6. North Wales - 2 Days - Some of the highlights included a tram trip to Great Orme Cliff, the ancient copper mines there, a cable car trip, a diesel engine train ride to snowdonia, abey falls walk and beautiful drives.
  7. North Wales to Liecester - 1 day - Visited Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and had a horse-drawn boat ride.
  8. Liecester to Stratford - 1 Day - Visited Warwick Castle and Shakespeare's house in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Sour Note: We booked our tickets back to Dubai via Sofia. Different airlines, different PNR's. We knew this was a risk. But a same airline ticket was costing us more than double. We called up the embassy and they confirmed that a transit visa was not required if transiting through the same terminal. TIMATIC stated that a transit without visa was possible, However, none of this was mentioned on the official embassy websites. Ryan Air, denied us boarding and there was no arguing. So, we had to book our tickets for the next day and stay an additional night near Heathrow.

Posted by
2489 posts

Many thanks for coming back. I guess you now realise why we all saying that the original itinerary was way too much.