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?).