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N. England & Scotland Trip - Rabbie's tour for part of it?

We will have 16 nights in May 2016 to visit N. England and Scotland. Our wish list includes York, N. Yorkshire, Northumberland, Edinburgh and beautiful Scottish scenery (vague, I know). We don't have must-see's in Scotland, but possibilities include the Trossachs and Loch Lomond, Mull and Iona or the Isle of Skye, Glen Coe, and the Border Abbeys. Basically, we are an open book when it comes to ideas for Scotland. Travelers are myself and my 76 year old mother.

We would like to hire a car for at least part of our trip and would prefer to spend 3 nights at each destination, so obviously I need to pare down our list, or... take a tour that would allow us to see more without the strain of driving ourselves for part of the trip. I have two ideas that would include a Rabbies tour out of Edinburgh to give us a break from driving. I'd appreciate feedback on which (if either) of these plans is preferable, or whether we should keep the car the whole time and devise our own driving tour. Here are my ideas:

1) Fly into Manchester, train to York for 2 nights. Pick up car and spend 3 nights in N. Yorkshire, 3 nights in Northumberland and a couple of nights in the Borders. Drop the car at the Edinburgh airport and spend several nights in Edinburgh before taking a 3-4 night tour of either Mull/Iona/W. Highlands or Skye/W. Highlands with Rabbie's small group tours.

2) Fly in/out of Edinburgh, spend 3 nights in Edinburgh, take 4 night Rabbie's tour that includes 2 nights in York and 2 in Keswick, return to Edinburgh and spend 7-8 nights driving through Scotland (need to work out this bit!).

3) Spend 3 nights in Edinburgh to see the city, pick up car and drive a loop that includes the Borders, Northumberland, N. Yorkshire, Lake District and southern Scotland (perhaps Oban for Mull and then through the Trossachs?).

Posted by
112 posts

Thanks Geochuck. I've been thinking about this more, and am considering staying in Edinburgh for 5 nights and taking two Rabbie's day trips (W. Highlands and St. Andrew's), then doing a driving tour that includes Northumberland, N. Yorkshire, the Lake District and the Borders. We would then fly out of Edinburgh. My only "concern" is that with this itinerary we may feel like we are shortchanging Scotland, but we really can't see it all and aren't interested in rushing around. I'd still welcome any suggestions on how we might best include most of the sights I've mentioned.

Posted by
244 posts

If you are interested in driving look at the website called, Secret Scotland here. They have driving itineraries that look interesting. We purchased some for our upcoming trip in September.

Posted by
48 posts

I took a 2-day Rabbies tour that spent the night in Inverness. I'm not "man enough" to drive on the wrong side of the road!!

Posted by
112 posts

Ha! Geochuck - It does take a bit of nerve, but I managed to drive a whole week in England a few years ago with only minor damage (to the front left tire and to my nerves!). I'm willing to try it again, but not sure I want to drive the entire time, which is why we considered driving one week and taking a tour out of Edinburgh during the other week.

I think I was too detailed in my original post. Bottom line is that we'd like to see a bit of Northern England and Scotland without running ourselves ragged. I'm sure it would be easier to pick one over the other, but we haven't gotten to that point, so I thought we'd either stick to southern Scotland, or just do a tour to the Highlands. I've set Mom the task of deciding what she REALLY wants to see, but that's not as easy as it sounds!