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Itinerary ideas for 9 days in England and Scotland

Hello ! I am traveling this July 2022 with my family ( older teen kids) and want to do a fun trip with varied activities but also see many of the major sites; meaning a few castles, museums, active things like a one day bike tour etc. Any advice on itinerary ideas? thanks in advance Laura

Posted by
1980 posts

More info would be helpful. Does the nine days include travel or is that nine days on the ground because that could make a difference. Are you planning to fly into London and home from Scotland as that also is a planning factor. please let us know because that is very little time to do justice to these two countries.

Posted by
1804 posts

Consider flying open jaw meaning fly in and out of London / Edinburgh. I recommend sleeping in London, York and Edinburgh.
In London you don’t want to miss the following: Churchill War Rooms (buy tickets before leaving home), British Museum and the Tower of London. You may also want to check out the Victoria and Albert Museum. A good day trip would be Windsor Castle.
Since there’ll be at least three of you consider taking taxis instead of the underground. Their spacious and you’ll get good restaurant recommendations and answers to questions. They’re actually quite affordable, at least that was my experience.
You can take a direct train from London’s King Cross station to York (2h) and sleep there a couple nights and at night take walking tours. I would also buy Rick Steves Great Britain guidebook 23rd edition: https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/britain-guidebook.
In Edinburgh visit the Edinburgh Castle and walk-up Arthur’s Seat.

Posted by
1255 posts

Look at www.nationaltrust.org.uk and www.english-heritage.org.uk and www.visitscotland.com for some ideas. Look on their Home Pages for info on Overseas Visitor Passes. Start off with looking at Rick's tours to get some great itinerary ideas. I like the walled cities of Chester and York. Edinburgh's Castle has a lot going for it. You have all the things you desire are in London, including a bike trail by the Thames. You should go to the Tower of London for sure, also Hampton Court Palace which is a short train or boat ride from the City. Don't miss Greenwich, where you can stand on both sides of the World at the same time. The Street Markets are fun.
Some of the Museums in London are Free. There is so much to choose from. Hopefully Covid will allow you to make your trip. Bon Voyage!

Posted by
34 posts

Thanks all! Wow, so impressed with all of your advice. Yes, I'm coming from the Bay area and 9 days includes travel but I could stretch that by a day. I like the idea of London at the end, great choice. I know it seems frenetic but they like to be busy.

Posted by
21317 posts

From Edinburgh to York and from York to London (or from Edinburgh straight to London), trains will be faster than driving. That's true even without considering the time required to deal with car-rental agents, the risk of being held up by traffic when driving, and the fact that you can pack a lunch and eat on the train. You have very little time here yet want to see two countries; I doubt that you'll end up taking side-trips to places you cannot reach by rail, because you simply won't have time for them.

I recommend taking a look at the walking tours run by London Walks. There's a large variety, so you shouldn't have trouble finding several that appeal to your entire family. Adults pay 15 pounds; the kids will probably all pay less than that.

Posted by
5716 posts

Unless you can add a couple of days, given your timeframe, I would just focus on London plus either York or Edinburgh, otherwise you are going to be spending longer in transit than actually seeing places. If Edinburgh, to avoid losing a day back tracking, fly open jaw. A one night stay in York doesn’t give you enough time to see the city highlights.

Day trip by train from London to Windsor.

Alternatively, just stay in Scotland if your focus is castles and outdoor activities. Edinburgh, Glencoe in the Highlands and Falkirk/Stirling for The Kelpies, the Falkirk Wheel and Stirling Castle.

Posted by
5716 posts

Glencoe to York is likely to take 7 hours plus any stops you may want to consider. All for a few hours in York? My highlights in York are the Rail Museum, walking the city walls and meandering around The Shambles. The Minster would be half an hour or so for teenagers. I didn’t care for the Jorvik Centre although I haven’t been recently.

The A1 between York and Stevenage is a road I use regularly. It’s a dull road, very prone to delays. You have to take a train into London anyway, so I would do that from York, which would be far more relaxing for the driver.

Posted by
28131 posts

Is Harry Potter out of fashion for the older teen kids these days?

If not there is the famous tour around the sets at Leavesden Studios close to Watford. Better reserve in advance, pre-covid the tickets sold like hotcakes.

I'll second that York to London on the A1 is completely not fun. The lanes are in many places narrow, there is the (in)famous Black Cat Roundabout, watch the speed cameras which average your speed south of the A14, and it is what few people would call straight.

If you do decide to stick to the A1 (and for a couple of very short stretches its abbreviated big brother the A1(M) ) a place for a break might be to see Isaac Newton's childhood home where he later discovered gravity and which contains his actual writing on the wall, and you can practically touch the actual original apple tree. Just off the A1 south of Grantham (National Trust). https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/woolsthorpe-manor

Posted by
34 posts

I agree with so much of what has been posted already: open jaw travel into Edinburgh and out of London. Don’t rent a car. Take trains. Spend 2 nights in York. 3 in Edinburgh; 4 in London. Stay in B&Bs with family rooms. Ask your kids what they want to see and build your itinerary in each city based on that. And know that you will return. They ESPECIALLY will, if you help them fall in love with the parts of the UK you see. At least, that’s how it’s been in my family.

Posted by
514 posts

I think you need to get a good guide book with lots of pictures and get the kmids involved in planning what they would like to do. DK Eyewitnes Great Britain is a really good one to start with. There are lots of pictures and reasonable m aps to get you started. It also covers many places the standard guides ignore.

You need to get planning quickly and startiung to book up accommodation too, especially if you decide to visit popular places like Isle of Skye.

Posted by
5630 posts

To see the countryside you must rent a car. British drivers are polite (more than drivers in the USA's northeast). Driving on the left is not so bad, just focus on turns when you get to an intersection.

Stick to the speed limit going through villages with 30MPH speed limit. I largely did so, but still got a ticket from a camera going 35MPH, cost 40 pounds.

Here is my review of our 4 week drive tour of S. Wales and England. 28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home
https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=599139