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Northern England to Scotland

I am planning our 25th anniversary trip for June. We have already been to London an Bath. We are city people not big drinkers. We love architecture, history (to an extent), plays, coffee, and Ice cream. We are big walkers but I would prefer city hike over hikes in large grassy fields. We have been to Europe multi times and the time frame below is the perfect amount of time for us. Below is what I came up with but we are still really flexible. I have posted before and everyone loves Hadrian's Wall. I've looked it up and it looks like it is pretty far out of the way and sorry but it just looks like a big brick wall. Will we be missing something? Should we go to it?

1 flight
Fly into Leeds and take the Transpenine train to York 38 min

2 - 3 night - York -
2 hr 22 min train to Edinburgh - cross country train
4-5-6 night- Edinburgh
1 hour train to glasgow Scotrail
7-8 Glasgow, Stirling day trip via Rabbie's
Day 9 fly home

Posted by
964 posts

It looks like a decent enough schedule to me. The only reservation I have is that you are flying into my local airport. Now despite its aspirations to be more ('Leeds Bradford International Airport') it remains a regional and fairly small airport. Worse, the transport links to and from are poor. There are bus links into Leeds Centre, a good ten miles away and taxis and then that's it. No rail links. A half thought through rail link is in the pipeline but nobody is holding their breath on that one. Local councils attitude is build more roads but even they won't go right to the airport and again they are unlikely to be built in the near future.

If it were me I would take a taxi to Guisley or Menston Railway station (aassuming you are not arriving very early or late - unlikely into LBIA) and take the train from either station straight into Leeds railway station (Guiseley is the nearer station to Leeds and both are on the same 'Wharfedale' line) direct to connect with your train to York. We pay about £15 for a taxi home from the airport which is about five miles away and you should be paying something similar to Guiseley/Menston. Price for an off peak single into Leeds by rail will be approx £5.00 per person. Do make sure you have a ticket before boarding these trains. Guiseley is a manned station with ticket office, but Menston isn't I don't think, so you'd need to buy a ticket from the machine, which only accepts credit/ debit cards. If none of your cards will word in the machine you need to ask the machine for a 'Promise to Pay' slip and buy a ticket from the conductor/guard on the train or at the station on arrival. Without ticket or Promise slip they will attempt to fine you £20 per person on top of the fare. They are trying to cut down on ticket dodgers and are currently being quite draconian about it. So forewarned is forearmed!

Other than that you will be flying into the highest airport in the country, but if you approach from the right direction you get a lovely look at the moors below!

Have a great trip! Scotland in my view, rarely disappoints although I would be tempted to try fit in a trip to Glencoe as mountains are more my thing!

Ian

Posted by
5515 posts

You are not kidding when you say you are city people!! I think you might still enjoy going to at least one place out of the city.
I would like to suggest Oban. There is enough "city" to satisfy those who find cities most comfortable, but there are also options for day trips out to the Hebrides. You could have your "hike" but be able to avoid grassy fields by walking along the roads and lanes on the Island of Iona. If you go to Oban, I suggest the Royal Hotel for its proximity to both the rail station, ferry dock, and downtown action. Make sure that you ask for the superior room as they have been refurbished and it does make a big difference at this property.

There is quite a bit more than a big brick wall at Hadrian's Wall. There is the amazing Vindolanda Roman Fort and a very interesting Roman Military Museum. However, the wall is best enjoyed on a walk through grassy fields and scrambling up and down rocky trails. You would meet your share of sheep as well. If that sort of walk doesn't appeal, I would go elsewhere.

I wouldn't spend an entire day on a Rabbie's tour to Stirling when all you would really have to do is get off the train and take a cab up to the Castle on your way to Glasgow. Leave your luggage at the train station and take a travel break. Stirling Castle was far more interesting to me than Edinburgh Castle.

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Posted by
8889 posts

I second what ianandjulie says. Leeds-Bradford is not a good choice of airport.
Manchester is a lot better, many more flights and a direct train service to York, which will probably be quicker than bus+train from Leeds-Bradford.

"2 hr 22 min train to Edinburgh - cross country train" York to Edinburgh is served mainly by East Coast and also by Cross Country. But don't get hung up on which railway company, just go to National Rail ( http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ ), enter in your route and time, and it will find you a train regardless of company.

Posted by
53 posts

How about the revised schedule below? Thank you for the airport advice I didn't know which to use except Leeds look closer and I like to cut out as much travel time as I can sometimes that doesn't always mean it is faster. Do I have to book any of the train tickets ahead of time at any of these places or can I just book at the train station when we get there and are ready to leave so we don't have to plan the exact time? How would we tour the Northern part of Scotland on a day trip? I also love one day to do a walking food or coffee tour. We try to do this to see the city in the eyes of the locals and also eat food that we may not have tried. We never spend a ton of money on these maybe $50-$75 ea

1 flight
Fly into Manchester and 1 hr 20 min train to York
2 - 3 night - York -
55 minute train to Durham
4 Night Durham -
2 hr train to Edinburgh
5-6 night- Edinburgh
On the way to glasgow stop in Stirling - 1 hour train , then 39 minute train to Glasgow
7-8 Glasgow
Day 9 fly home

Posted by
8889 posts

It is in almost all cases cheaper to buy train tickets in advance. When you buy the ticket you have to decide which train to get.
For the train from Manchester airport to York a special rule applies, see this webpage: https://www.tpexpress.co.uk/special-offers/manchester-airport

We understand that sometimes flights back to sunny Manchester are delayed and you may be concerned about missing your train; don't worry, with an Airport Advance you can catch the next available TransPennine Express train up to 3 hours after the departure time stated on the ticket.

Posted by
964 posts

I'm going to agree with Chris! You'll be able to fly direct from the USA to Manchester, whereas you won't be able to do this if using Leeds. Wherever you fly from though on arrival in Manchester you can walk off the plane, head for the station and board a train direct to York. You will pass through Leeds en route, but Manchester to York is a good deal less 'faffy' than the Leeds option.

Posted by
5515 posts

You may want to consider a discount pass on your train tickets if you find you will be traveling enough by train. The two together railcard costs 30 pounds but gives you a 30% discount on train tickets. You can buy your tickets in advance and state that you have the two together pass when purchasing. Then, when you arrive in the UK, you go to the manned train ticket office and get your two together pass. They will also print out all of your tickets for you at this time. A word of warning: You will want to print off the application and have it pre-filled out as well as have the requisite photos with you. You don't want to be looking for a passport photo shop on arrival! It took us less than 10 minutes to complete the paperwork and have our pre-purchased tickets printed off.

https://www.twotogether-railcard.co.uk/

Posted by
2949 posts

Your revised itinerary looks good to me. Durham is a jewel of a city, a nice way to break up the trip from York, and a good taste of the north of England. Stirling will give you the sense of another Scottish city in addition to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Don't let comments sway you if you're truly not interested in Hadrian's Wall. There are plenty of other great experiences and sights to see.

Posted by
122 posts

We enjoyed Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral (returned after tour for evensong which was joyful). Durham and Edinburgh are both hilly. We stayed at a B.B. near railway station in Durham and had an energetic walk to the station upon departure. B.B. proprietor recommended a taxi but the station was close, just a steep hill getting there.

Posted by
53 posts

What B&B did you stay at? I am looking for a place to stay. Is there a certain area that is best to stay in? I'm all about location and we like the old town feel.