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Itinerary Help! 1st time to London / Scotland for Anniversary

Hello All!

I am asking for your help as my husband and I travel out of the U.S. for the first time for our 10th anniversary this May and into June. We will have 12 nights and are flying into and out of London (arrive on a Sunday around lunch and depart on a Thursday afternoon). We are in desperate need of assistance creating an itinerary! We want to stay in a Marriott chain hotel for 5 of our nights (the same hotel during that time), as we have some points to use but are flexible as to where we would do that.

My husband really wants to rent a car and drive to Scotland, but I am wondering if we should take the train and then only rent a car upon arrival? Any advise about where we should go, where to stay etc is greatly appreciated!

Rebecca

Posted by
34 posts

I've rented a car and driven to Scotland and it was no big deal. However, I wanted to head west first. Going straight from London to Scotland, I would take the train to Edinburgh, maybe stopping for an overnight in York, which was amazing and worth a stop. Then, if you want to travel around Scotland, you can rent a car there. The train is much faster.

Posted by
2125 posts

The only reason to hire a car and drive to Scotland is to stop off in England and see things on the way. But from your post you don't give any indication of doing so. In that case take the train, then hire a car in Scotland. Pity you have to return to London to fly home.

Tickets from here https://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/

Posted by
21045 posts

Train tickets bought soon are likely to be much, much cheaper than tickets bought at the last minute, so try to pin down the timing of your long, potentially costly rail trips (like London to Edinburgh and return) so you can buy the cheap (non-refundable/non-changeable) tickets soon. Don't buy till you're sure about timing and any stops you might want to make along the way.

I've never used points to pay for a hotel room, but I would guess that different Marriott hotels might have different point requirements per night. If so, London-area hotels are likely to cost the most points. Edinburgh will also probably be expensive in terms of points. If you're spending time in other places, the points might go farther there, but of course it has to be a city with a Marriott hotel.

One thing to pay attention to is the location. You know any Marriott hotel is going to be nice, but some such places cater more to businessmen, and they may not need to be in the thick of the tourist district. You don't want to be in an obscure location that subjects you to long tube rides into town, or a place that requires you to have a car you don't otherwise need for the area.

Another thing to be cautious about is the cost of breakfast at a hotel of the Marriott class. That cost can be very, very high in some business-class hotels. Verify that you don't have to take breakfast at the hotel if you don't want to.

Posted by
271 posts

Becca, we spent about the same amount of nights in England and Scotland a few years ago. We also used hotel points (Hilton) for our London and Liverpool stay. 1) How much time do you wish to spend in London? 2) How much time in Scotland? Regarding renting a car, is the driver comfortable behind the wheel in unfamiliar circumstances? Remember, they drive on the wrong side of the road over there. Some "B" roads can be narrow, even some "A" roads, so a small car is advised. Think Ford Focus or smaller. What are you interested in doing or seeing? Marriott should have hotels in a variety of London areas within their brands.

Posted by
34 posts

Marriott has a hotel in County Hall which is near the London Eye and Westminster. It's supposed to be a very nice hotel and the location is walking distance to a bunch of tourist sights and restaurants. We had considered the Premier Inn at that location (much much cheaper) before we decided on an apartment.

Posted by
5538 posts

It makes little sense to drive all the way from London to Scotland, as our roads are very busy and not a pleasure to drive. The train service is great, so take this and rent a car in Scotland. Book rail tickets 12 weeks in advance.

Posted by
76 posts

why drive? You can fly Ryan Air soooo much cheaper. And so much faster. They also have free carryon.

Posted by
34 posts

It's a lot quicker taking the train, 4 1/2 hrs from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh. High speed rail is a wonderful idea! I've already booked for our trip in May.