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A bit o' Scotland, a tad o' York visit

We have a big trip coming up, 3 weeks of which are taking place in London, Argyll (lower Highlands) and Aviemore/upper Highlands. I'll ask details about those later. Below is what we've come up with post-Aviemore/upper Highlands. I'd appreciate some comments and concerns as to whether the timeframes sound reasonable for seeing the highlights in the area. For the time in York, I feel like we're hopping around a bit. I'd prefer to combine the nights in Alnwick/Durham but not so sure if taking day trips from one location is realistic. We'll have a car the entire time. Thank you for the help!

  • Isle of Skye - 2 nights
  • Stirling - 2 nights (drive from Skye)
  • Edinburgh - 3 nights (drive from Stirling...does it make any sense to spend 5 nights in Edinburgh and simply drive to Stirling instead of the 2 and 3 split?)
  • Alnwick (or thereabouts) - 1 night
  • Hadrian's Wall in a.m. and Durham in p.m. - 1 night in Durham
  • York - 2 nights
  • Drive to Heathrow area, overnight somewhere around there and fly out the next day.
Posted by
359 posts

Assuming you are already planning on renting a car, it makes a lot more sense to me to stay 5 nights in Edinburgh and not have to change hotels, especially since you have a few one night stands later on. Otherwise looks like a good trip to me. :) Have a great time!

Posted by
1819 posts

You might consider taking some time from Stirling / Edinburgh and adding it to the Borders area of Scotland, and Northumberland and Yorkshire. Both those areas are crammed full of ruined castles and abbeys. Lindisfarne is interesting for half a day . In Alnwick we really enjoyed the castle garden and Barter Books. Alnwick Castle is historic but the interior is more like a stately home. Whitby Abbey on the coast is also very atmospheric. The best bit of Hadrian's Wall is the area around Once Brewed where there is a nice stretch of wall available for hiking.

Posted by
1446 posts

It takes only a day to see the sights in Stirling. I would stop over somewhere else on the way from the Isle of Skye. There on many lovely locations on the Lochs of the west.

Posted by
5678 posts

I agree that it only takes a day to see Stirling I would either see it from Edinburgh, or drive from Skye arriving late in the afternoon. Have a nice evening in Stirling, tour the town the next day and then drive to Edinburgh. Either way, driving straight to Edinburgh from Skye, or with the Stirling stopover, you'll like be driving into traffic as you approach Edinburgh. But, it's not NYC or LA so even though they complain bitterly about the traffic, you won't be adding hours!

Where are you planning on visiting the wall? It seems like you should be traveling on from Alnwick and spending the night closer to the wall, so that you'll have time to explore it and Durham. I think I'm going to suggest Hexham. It has a lots of B&B's and is very convenient to the Wall and is about an hour from Alnwick. You visit Chesters of Corbridge. I've visited the former and enjoyed it. And It's barely an hour onward to Durham, which you will enjoy. The Cathedral is amazing!

How many of you are there? You might think about ditching your car in London and taking the train into the city. You can stay near Paddington and catch the Heathrow Express straight to the airport, easy peasy.


Posted by
94 posts

Thanks so much, everyone, for your input. Pam is right that we'll be coming into Stirling/Edinburgh after a full day of driving. We (the Hubbs and I) wanted to see Stirling and it seemed to make more sense to see it on our way into Edinburgh instead of backtracking by staying the entire time in Edinburgh. Rick's recommendation for Edinburgh is 2 full days so I hate to take any time away from that city in order to spend more time in the Borders area, as much as we'd like to do so. Our trip is a total of 5 weeks and the plane tickets are, we'll just have to come back for more Borders. I appreciate the suggestion of staying near Hexham. I also appreciated the suggestion following our drive from York of staying something near Paddington and training to Heathrow the next day.

Posted by
1639 posts

If you are staying five nights in Edinburgh I would suggest handing back the car and getting it again when you leave. One less thing to worry about and Edinburgh is not the easiest city to park in.