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Itinerary Help

Friends,
We are headed to England, Scotland, and Ireland in April and May. I'm looking for suggestions and ideas for my proposed plan! We will not be renting a car, as we refer to our last car rental while driving on the left as the trip that almost ended our marriage. The stop in England is necessary for the race DH (dear husband) is running. We enjoy museums, history, scenery, military history, etc. Enjoy vigorous walks and hikes at home, but not necessary on vacation. We're in our late forties/early fifties and physically active.

Wed Apr 26 SLC to Heathrow (arrive Apr 27)

Thurs Apr 27: Heathrow to Windsor
Arrive 1:30 local time
Use Heathrow for cash point
Possible car service pickup
walking tour if we can find one
Dinner: Duchess of Cambridge Pub
Hotel: Sir Christopher Wren Hotel (booked)

Fri Apr 28: Windsor to Henley-on-Thames
AM Windsor Castle earliest entry, 26.50 per person, pre book
Castle 10AM-3PM
Train ~4PM to HOT (1 hr, 12 GBP per person)
Dinner: Catherine Wheel (?)
Hotel Du Vin (2 nights, booked)

Sat Apr 29: Henley-on-Thames
AM race (booked), prebook mini cab for Greg
Erica Midsomer Tour, boat tour, and/or early tea
Dinner: Three Horseshoes, Three Tons (something w/ 3 in the title)
Hotel: Hotel Du Vin

Sun Apr 30: Henley-on-Thames-London-Edinburgh
Morning train to London (arrive Paddington. Paddington to Kings Cross)
London to Edinburgh (depart ~noon)
Arrive Edinburgh after 5PM
Hotel: Premier Inn York Place (4 nights, booked)
Check into hotel (hotels?)
Dinner: Conan Doyle Pub
Evening ghost tour , see Beltane bonfires at Carlton Hill? (Mercat?)

Mon May 1: Edinburgh (bank holiday)
Holyrood Palace 9:30-1PM, 17.50 per person
National Gallery of Scotland, 10-5 daily, free
Grocery shop, explore
Dinner: Dishoom
Hotel: Premier Inn York Place

Tues May 2: Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle 9:30-1 PM, 18.00 pp, buy online, eat at castle and enjoy 1 PM gun
National Museum of Scotland, open until 5PM, free
Hotel: Premier Inn York Place
Dinner: Mums,

Wed May 3: Edinburgh
Royal Yacht Britannia, 18 pp, 9:30-6
Maybe lunch in cute town
National Museum of Scotland, open until 5PM, free
Dinner
Theater: Six (20:30, booked)
Hotel: Premier Inn York Place

Thurs May 4: Edinburgh to Inverness
AM: Train to Inverness (~4 hours)
Culloden Battlefield, 14 GBP pp, 9-4PM daily, Cava Cairns, free, daily
Check into Inverness hotel (leave luggage?)
Hotel: Hotel Mercure (booked)

Fri: May 5: Inverness to Glasgow
Fort George, 16.50 pp, 9:30-5:30, must book ahead
Evening train to Glasgow (~ 4 hrs)
Sleep Glasgow
Dinner: The Buttery, Number 16, Bloc+?
Hotel: Ibis? Premier Inn? ( 2 nights)

Sat: May 6: Glasgow (now that this is coronation day, any issues w/ this plan?)
Stirling Castle, Daily 9-5, 16.50 pp (~ 1hr)
Wallace Monument
Kelpies/Falkirk Wheel
Sleep Glasgow
Dinner:
Hotel:

Sun: May 7: Glasgow
Kelvingrove, 11-5 free (take subway)
Fly to Dublin evening (book) ; bus to Glasgow airport
Sleep Dublin (ideas for apartment hotels in Dublin?)

Posted by
33123 posts

April 28

The trip from Windsor and Eton Central to Henley on Thames at 4pm would be Off Peak Single fare of £11 rather than Anytime Single at £12. You'll make two changes, from the little shuttle to the slow train to Twyford at Slough and then to the final train at Twyford to Henley on Thames.

You might be tempted to avoid the changes by hiring another taxi but that won't save you money and very likely would only save you 5 or max 10 minutes over the train.

Good luck to the chap in the race.

Posted by
6113 posts

From Henley, it maybe quicker and cheaper to fly from Heathrow to Edinburgh. Check nearer the time for weekend engineering work on the train lines.

Posted by
75 posts

Great idea, Jennifer. I was trying to avoid airports given the mess last summer, but I'll definitely look into it!

Posted by
4230 posts

How are you getting to Culloden and Clava Cairns without a car? I believe there is a bus to Culloden but you're not leaving yourselves a lot of time. Clava Cairns is in the middle of nowhere and there is no public transportation that I know of. Both are worth seeing, but based on your schedule I have to wonder if a 4 hour train trip for a couple of hours is worth it. We didn't make it to Fort George so can't comment on that. We also had a car so not sure of bus from Inverness to there.

Same observation for May 6th. We spent about 5 hours at Stirling Castle last June. I have to wonder what kind of public transportation will be available to get you to all your sites. I think it's about an hour from Stirling to the Kelpies.

Posted by
26 posts

Consider Rabbies tours in England and Scotland. They run small (max. 16 passengers), well-organized tours in Mercedes vans, with knowledgeable, friendly drivers. You can relax and take in the scenery without trying to figure out the directions. We try a combination of public transportation and Rabbies tours.

Posted by
75 posts

I just wanted to again thank you all for your thought-provoking comments. I agreed that Inverness was too difficult and fiddly given public transit, so we decided to do a private tour to spend 2 days in that area and then drop us in Glasgow. Again, thank you!

Posted by
1961 posts

Answering Allan’s question - there are buses from Inverness to Culloden. Clava Cairns is just over a mile away and an easy walk. It may look isolated on a map but is regularly combined with Culloden.

Fort George is definitely worth visiting - it is an amazing place!

Posted by
6398 posts

This is the bus timetable to get to Culloden Battlefield- scroll down to service 27- as you can see the bus is hourly, and takes just under 30 minutes. Inverness Bus station is a very short walk from the Railway Station- you go out of the back door of the railway station, not the front door, following the signage. Note that the bus stops at Dalcross Inverness Airport station even though it is not yet open to trains.
For me I was excited at this new timetable as it now goes straight to my go to hotel in the Inverness area at Strathpeffer, the battlefield bus was formerly a City service. Ignore journey planners which take you on other services to Culloden village- that is not particularly close to the battlefield, and will lead you astray.
Yes the cairns are an easy walk from the Battlefield.
https://tiscon-maps-stagecoachbus.s3.amazonaws.com/Timetables/North%20Scotland/Highlands/Beauly%20Firth%20Black%20Isle%20%26%20Easter%20Ross%20Area%20Guide%20October%2022.pdf

For Fort George you catch the Service 11 to Ardersier Church-the timetable is below but is a bit harder to read. But basically there is a bus every hour from Inverness Bus station which takes 45 minutes and calls in at the airport terminal itself (so you can connect between the 2 buses there if you want). From Ardersier Church the fort is a 30 minute walk (my journey planner tells me it is 3180 steps!)
https://tis-kml-stagecoach.s3.amazonaws.com/PdfTimetables/XIAO011.pdf

So both can be fitted in to your schedule on May 4 and May 5 as given above.