I’m planning a two week trip thru England,Scotland,and Wales for June 2022.. I plan on flying into London and immediately taking the train to Bath or somewhere like that that where I will rent a car for the rest of the trip. Then most likely finish in Edinburg or Glasgow, which ever one has the best price for my return flight home. I’m looking for suggestions as far as the best itinerary to get the most out of our two weeks. We plan on staying in inns and b&b’s along the way. Thanks
The Rick Steves Great Britain guidebook gives a sample 3 week itinerary which can be tailored to your needs and wants. You can add and subtract places on the itinerary to make it fit your time frame. RS guidebooks are an excellent resource and always my go to for travel. My suggestion is to start there. For me, planning is half the fun of the trip.
Two weeks is not enough to do justice to the entire island.
We planned a four week drive tour of England, Wales and Scotland in 2017 and the more planning that I did, the more I could see that we needed to cut back, so we eliminated Scotland as well as staying in London or anything east of London.
We did the four week self-drive tour in 2017 and it was fantastic. We visited Bath, Cardiff, Tenby, St. Davids, the Cotswolds, Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwick, York, the Yorkshire Moors, Whitby, Durham, Hadrian's Wall, The Lake District, Winchester, ending in Southampton for our cruise back to the USA.
28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home
After visiting London, take the train to Oxford, spend a full day there, and a night, then rent a car and go to Bath. From there, drive to the Cotswolds (we stayed in Chipping CAmpden at the Volunteer Inn, I highly recommend it), Don't miss Stratford Upon Avon. York is fantastic, don't miss it.
If you do go to Scotland, Edinburg is far more interesting than Glasgow. Also, see St. Andrews and the area just north of Edinburg, as well as Inverness and Loch Ness in the north.
What are your interests? It'll be easier to provide suggestions for an itinerary if we know what you're interested in, it'd be a waste of time recommending a wealth of castles and country estates if you have no interest in them.
Two weeks isn't much time to visit all three countries so you'll need to be quite strict about what you want to see and how much time to devote to each site. A good example was I recently took a trip to Liverpool which should have been a 4 1/2 hour drive but due to a combiination of heavy traffic, roadworks and a couple of accidents it took 6 1/2 hours with only a brief stop at the services. Once we'd checked into the hotel we only had a few hours for a walk around the vicinity and have dinner. The following day was spent seeing the highlights and the day after was a similar tiring drive home so it's easy to see how much time can be taken up with travel between destinations.
This post is a refinement of a recent one in July which was similar but included Ireland.
For previous guidance https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/10-12-day-trip-thru-great-britain this may help seeing the progression..
Is your London arrival your transatlantic flight or are you arriving from Dublin?
I did this trip (although it was 2.5 weeks) in 2016. Really AMAZING time. LOVED IT--- I did do it in reverse order from you though:
Edinburgh - 3 nights- rented car on day of arrival, 1 day spent in Stirlingshire to see the castles (which are a MUST see)
Alnwick - 1 night- cute little town with massive castle (Alnwick castle- many movies were filmed here) - visited Hadrians wall along the way to the Lake District.
Lake District - 2 nights --- you HAVE TO see this. Beatrix Potters home, the standing stones, stunning scenery everywhere you look, took a boat out on the lake, also amazing meat pies at Huddleston's butchers--- I mean, I still think of them fondly and its been 5 years- they won some pastry competition.... ..ugh ok now I want one. If I had to do it over I'd spend more time here.
North Wales- 3 nights (stayed in Llandudano and somewhere near Llanwyst) - saw all the major castles and Bodnant gardens (really lovely), amazing fish and chips everywhere..
Cotswolds - 2 days (alright, but I had a better time the second time around stopping in Gloucester to see the cathedral
Bath- 2 days (stayed at Brindley/Brindlays--- really nice place) --- Bath is NOT a fun place to drive around the downtown in.. the parking sucks quite a bit and using a taxi IN bath proper is much easier. Do spend some time at the thermae and go in the pools and whatnot at a spa..
London- 4 days
Since you're not visiting London why fly into Heathrow. Unless Bath is one of the places you want to see particularly, why not fly into Manchester for example and get your car there. Don't get me wrong I love England and I love driving there but there is a lot of it before you get to Wales or Scotland. By flying into Manchester there is still a lot of beautiful England to see as you work your way north.
England – London, Bath and York.
Scotland – Edinburgh
Wales – Conwy
I have been to Great Britain more times than I can count without looking things up and still haven't scratched the surface. You are asking a lot for two weeks.
Knowing what kinds of things you are interested in will really help? Do you want to visit historical places and museums? Do you want to focus on nature? Do you like cathedral and churches? Art? Knowing where your interests lie will help up come up with ideas?
Have you ever been to the UK?
With the limited time you have, if you do essentially begin in Bath, I’d stick to eastern Wales: Cardiff, Tintern, Monmouth, Chepstow, etc. That would give you a slight taste of Wales, but one could easily spend 3 weeks in Wales alone. If you start further north, then go to Conwy, Caernarfon, and along the north. Anglesey Island alone is worth a very full day. Chester, England is a nice place to stop. As others have mentioned, knowing what you like to see and do would help.
I agree with Mary. Start with the RS Great Britain Guidebook's 3-week drive around GB then tailor it to your preferences. We did that in 2019. But we were especially interested in Scotland so we spent nights in Eton (Windsor), Conwy, Liverpool, Oban, Inverness, Sterling, Edinburgh (where we ran into Rick), and York. We've been to England a few times so we passed on London, Bath, and the Cotswolds but if you haven't been there, those are pretty special places. (In fact, our trip next year trip revisits those three and adds on Cornwall.) We love the planning, too.
Just a thought, but you might consider using trains instead of driving. I enjoy the convenience of trips by car, but I also like to relax on the train between destinations. Driving on the left on unfamiliar roads using a standard transmission requires a lot of concentration and becomes tiring. The Brits have a very extensive rail system and you can probably find some sort of discount for 2 people or a family traveling together.
I'd recommend with the suggestion above of taking the train. The UK traffic notoriously bad and so, speaking from personal experience, I've found that my own roadtrips have severely been impacted in terms of itinerary due to traffic. Google maps would definitely be your friend if driving and national rail if you go the train option.