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Great Britain 2018 planning stage

I am in the early phase of planning for 2018 trip of Great Britain, so looking for some advice.

We will fly into London and fly out of Edinburgh/Glasgow. Total number of days 14-16 days. We love nature and nice easy scenic walks. We hate frequent hotel changes, so no more than 4 places to stay. We are open to do multiple day trip by choosing one place as base.

London 6 days

Lake district Keswick 4 days

XXX 3 days

Edinburgh/Glasgow 3 days

So we are looking for the third place XXX. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. I know it is very open ended question, but I would love to hear your choice.

Posted by
601 posts

I'm not sure if you will have a car or what you like to do, but if it were my trip, I would spend the extra time in the Highlands. That part of Scotland is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, and I believe you could base yourself in one city and make day trips to castles and Glencoe and sites that might interest you. Sounds like a great trip! I'm sure more experienced travelers will have excellent recommendations for you.

Posted by
2802 posts

Are you flying out of Edinburgh, or Glasgow -- or you haven't decided which one yet?

Personally I think the Lake District is overrated. Unless you are a serious walker or mountaineer, I think 2 nights in Keswick would be plenty.

For your xxx time, have you considered Inveraray? It's a charming town with a couple of days' worth of things to see (historic jail, castle inside & out, walk up the mountain to the monument, range of shops selling highland woolens, horseback riding at Argyll Adventure, Auchindrain Township open-air museum). From there you can take a day's drive to any of a number of scenic destinations: Oban, Kilmartin Glen, Tarbert, the Ben Cruachan "Hollow Mountain" hydropower station visitor centre, or to Glencoe.

For lodging in Inveraray I can recommend Brambles B&B (in addition to a great breakfast, their cafe serves lunch and light fare all day), and for dinner and pub the George Hotel.

If you are flying out of Glasgow, consider planning time on your return from the highlands to take a boat cruise on Loch Lomond. See https://www.cruiselochlomond.co.uk/ and https://www.sweeneyscruiseco.com/loch-lomond/

Posted by
771 posts

Hi -

Previous poster is right - if you are not a keen hiker wanting to get on the hills, then maybe it would be difficult to work out the appeal of Keswick after a couple of days. That said, I love Keswick, but I use it as a base for getting into the hills. You could shave a day off your Lake District stay, and/or use a couple of different bases. I would avoid Windermere, Bowness on Windermere, and Ambleside, which are all very busy as they are on the main road through, and to some people these places ARE the Lake District, believing Windermere is THE lake referred to. (And to be clear, these are Brits!).

Grasmere suffers from a similar problem, but is smaller and worth staying there if you are interested in Wordsworth. Personally, I like Coniston which, although it can be quite busy, is a little removed from the main roads and therefore quieter in general. And it has it's own lake, mountain (The Old Man) a wealth of history, literary and industrial, and some splendid walks.

For your XXX location you could drive east across the country via Hadrian's Wall (which is right next to the road, which uses the Roman engineered military supply road for the most part, because, yes, it is that well engineered) - stops at Housesteads and a little detour to Vindolanda maybe? - and then head north into Northumberland. More history, castles, Holy Island, lots of great beaches to walk (although the weather would need to be really good if you were to swim in the sea!) and in comparison to the Lakes, its big, and empty. Recommend a visit to Cragside near Rothbury too. Accommodation in or near Alnwick/Alnmouth or Bamburgh (huge shoreline castle) perhaps?

Heading north up the coast will take you via Berwick on Tweed across the border and ultimately into Edinburgh. I think there's a choice of routes, either via the coast or through the countryside via Jedburgh or Coldstream, via the model villages of Ford and Ital. Having driven past it on many occasions and being familiar with it only from the weather/shipping forecasts on the radio, I called in at Saint Abbs Head a couple of weeks back. Turns out I was missing a small but pleasant little fishing village (although the big fishing port nearby is Eyemouth a little further south) and a spectacular walk out to the lighthouse perched on rocky cliffs over a moody sea (it wasn't the best weather that day, but you take what you're offered on that front I'm afraid!).

Hope there's maybe some food for thought here, and that your trip is is exactly how you want it. Have a great time!

Ian

Posted by
9858 posts

North of Edinburgh and 4 + hours by car from Keswick are the Cairngorms. We stayed in Grantown-on-Spey and our B&B hosts helped us sort out good walks, plus there's a ton of info online. Nice funicular up a mountain nearby and terrific opportunities for whisky tasting.

Posted by
76 posts

I am considering renting car once I leave London. Once the places are finalized they can be reordered, so XXX not necessarily come after lake district. I have not yet decided whether to fly out of Edinburgh or Glasgow, but it will be either of them.