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Itinerary help needed

Hello, I have gained so much helpful information from this forum and trying to make a decision and would like some input please.
Husband and I (60's) traveling to Europe 1st time. Will most probably not be back in this lifetime. Arriving Edinburgh early a.m. 9/30. Departing London 10/7.

We are well aware that is a limited time. We also don't plan on running constantly so are trying to see what we can and keep our expectations reasonable.
That said.... I am thinking 3 nights Edinburgh. So Sunday, Monday tour city, and Tuesday possible 1 day Rabbies tour to the Highlands.

My plan was then to take the train to York for an overnight Wednesday (thanks for that idea on this forum) and then train to London early Thursday, seeing what we can until Sunday.

I still like this plan, but husband threw me a curve when he said he might like to rent a car for a short while on this trip. He enjoys trying new things and I really think it is about experiencing driving on the left though it also has to do with the difference when touring by car.

So, if we were to substitute the train to York with a car rental what should our expectations for that journey be? What route would you recommend with a few stops on the way or would we really need to overnight on the way?I see it is about 6 hrs to York with no stops versus the 2 hr train ride. I suppose we could arrive in London late on Thursday to accommodate some stops.

Thanks for any and all thoughts.

Posted by
5483 posts

With such a tight timescale, I would be tempted to drop York and just focus on Scotland and London. If you were to drive from Edinburgh to York, you could see the Northumberland coast including castles such as Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh and visit Holy Island. I wouldn't recommend driving the tedious route from York to London.

Posted by
556 posts

I think I would agree with Jennifer on this one. With only eight days, including arrival and departure, you should really just focus on Edinburgh and London. It’s a long trek between the two so it’s probably best to take the train so you can get right into the city quickly and easily. Given the number of things to see and do in London your time there is going to be quite short as it is.

Posted by
278 posts

If you are city people, then stick with Edinburgh and London. But if you are more into natural beauty, definitely consider skipping Edinburgh for the Highlands instead, especially if your husband is interested in driving. My mom and I are the latter, and while we thought Edinburgh was just fine for the two days we were there in 2012, we are not really interested in seeing it again on our next trip, and Glasgow doesn’t appeal at all. We’ll probably only use Edinburgh as our airport location for our flights in and out of the country.

Posted by
2926 posts

Is there any other new experience that might satisfy your husband instead of the car rental idea? If you're spending most of your time in cities (Edinburgh, York, and London) there is no need for a car. To rent one just to drive from Edinburgh to York will be relatively expensive. You will experience being on the left side of the roadway when you ride around in taxis and buses.

OTOH, if you want to make this a week-long driving vacation, that's a different story. Just like travel in the US, when you have a car for several days it begins to feel like home, and it gives you the flexibility to proceed at your own pace and pull off at unanticipated spots that look intriguing. Rent the car in Edinburgh and head for the countryside immediately. At the end of the trip you could return the car in York, spend a night in York, and take the train to London.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for your responses. You have given me succinct points and alternatives to discuss with my husband.
My husband's father immigrated from Leith so that is a definite point of interest for sentimental reasons. Beyond that we really just need to decide what is most appealing to us. We enjoy both cities and countryside. My feeling is no matter which we choose we will be content. Every place will be an experience and somewhere we have never seen before.
There are no bad choices just different.