Hey, now, of course I'll come back. Thanks for your great information! That's a lot to consider, but I probably should have said, I have already booked accommodations all through this itinerary. You've got me thinking about changing Edinburgh, though.
Cotswolds, I'm sort of set on. That's our de-stress, jet lag, "Whew we're finally here" breather (we're coming from the Seattle area). I'm an English lit geek, more medieval/renaissance than 19th century. Also, we have to go through Oxford and check on Tolkien's haunts-- Bird and Baby, the colleges, his grave. We have a B&B booked that's outside of Stow-on-the Wold, so not in the tourist crush in town, and we plan to spend those 3 days relaxing and maybe visiting Stratford. (we'll see a play at the Globe in London, so skipping the more expensive show in Stratford).
I wasn't going to spend 2 days in North Wales, at Conwy. But we booked a B&B that's actually south of there, nearer to Betws-y-Coed-- Pentre Felin, a converted grain mill. It looked so perfect that we decided to do two nights there. The first day we'll do Mt. Snowdon, etc., but leave very early the second morning to head south through Wales. I realize that's a long drive... my rationale is that I'd rather get to a place with an occasional long drive, then use it as a base for a couple days, than stay in a different place every night. I have a mix of those throughout the trip-- longer stays in the big cities, and a few one-nighters.
Sorry, gotta do Glastonbury Tor. Arthurian legend geek, also. The reason we're going to Amesbury is because we have Stonehenge stone circle access booked early Sunday morning, July 6th. It was one of the few times available after the access reopens in July, and that's the one thing on my husband's MUST SEE list.
So: Edinburgh. I feel like I'm neglecting the highlands, but I can't see how to fit it all in. Our plan is to rent a car for our trip through England/Scotland. We were going to keep it for the first day or two of Edinburgh, for day trips, then turn it in before we fly to Dublin. I've a nice B&B off Dalkeith road booked for 4 nights. However, I'm wondering if we could leave from our exploration of Hadrian's Wall and head up more directly toward... what? Loch Lomond? Fort William? Stay there a night or two? Again, a long drive, but I will say that coming from Washington State, that's not that long a drive for us. I would love to go to Oban and take a day trip to Mull and Iona. But I just don't feel like I could do it justice. I don't know. My reasoning for 4 nights in Edinburgh was; well, we'll do a day trip nearby, maybe a whisky tour or trip to St. Andrews. My husband feels that we should maybe pick our spots and just hope to come back and do just Scotland, or just Ireland, on a subsequent trip.
So now I'm on the fence. Cancel a couple of nights in Edinburgh and head north instead, come back to Edinburgh for two days before flying out? Hmmm...
Anyway, I really appreciate your input! Thanks!