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Scotland And England Itinerary Critique Please!

Fly Overnight To Glasgow From New York
Glasgow
Glasgow
2 Nights Glasgow
Train to Fort William
Fort William - Tour Glencoe With Guide
Fort William - Ben Nevis
3 Nights Fort William
Noon Train To Isle Of Skye - Overnight Armadale Rent Car.

1 Night Armadale

Tour Sleat Peninsular,, Elgol, Fairy Pools To Portree.

Portree- Trotternish Peninsular & Hiking
Portree - ?
3 Nights Portree
Kyle Of Lochlash To Inverness.

Inverness Tour Town

Inverness - Cullodan, Loch Ness, Clava Cairns
Inverness - Train To Pitlochery for the day and back to Inverness
Inverness - Legendary Sunday Session At McGregors Bar

4 Nights Inverness

Train To Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
3 Nights Edinburgh
Train To York.

York
2 Nights York
Train To London For 14 Days with some day trips by train to the usual.

33 Days. With 8 hotel changes Please critique and see what if we could do this is doable or if you see flaws. Thanks!
We only want to rent a car on the Isle of Skye.

Posted by
108 posts

4 nights in Inverness is too much.
Don’t waste time on Loch Ness.

What in London are the “usual”.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you melvyn we will take a look at your recommendations.

London day trips for us are:

Moreton-in-Marsh
Cambridge
Windsor
Bath
Stonehenge
Brighton
Salisbury

Posted by
611 posts

When are you planning to do this? If this summer then you may well have difficulty renting a car on Skye. M2 Motors and Morrisons are the only places I know of on Skye renting cars and when I enquired (as a local needing an emergency rental recently) they told me they were pretty much booked out for this summer.

Accommodation on Skye will also be tight if you're aiming for this summer.

Trying to see the Sleat peninsula, Elgol and the Fairy Pools in one day will be a lot to fit in. But you don't really say what else you are doing with your time on Skye apart from Trotternish and some hiking. Skye is a really big island, with very poor roads, so it takes ages to get around, particularly if you don't know what you're doing on single track roads with passing places.

4 days Inverness seems excessive. But you will spend/waste quite a bit of time waiting for buses to get to Culloden and Loch Ness...

Are you spending 14 nights in London? That seems unusual if you're planning on visiting places that are quite far from London e.g. the Cotswolds. And the Cotswolds by public transport could be challenging.

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
931 posts

Hi

I see what you are trying to do in Inverness, but honestly, four nights is one night, maybe two nights too many in my view. There is less to Loch Ness than meets the eye. It’s a very big lake with a castle ruin and a ton of Nessie touristic stuff around Drumnadrochit, and….that’s about it! Fort Augustus at the bottom end is worth a quick look.

And you can call me biased if you like (I unashamedly am!) but you could do with another night in York! There’s a couple of other posts in recent times where the ‘what to do in and around York’ has come up and has been fairly extensively covered, but if you need more or have a specific enquiry about the area feel free to ask.

You might benefit from a couple of nights away from London to do Bath, Salisbury, Stonehenge (don’t forget Avebury!) all at the same time as they are all pretty close together.

I won’t tell you you are trying to fit too much in because, hey! - it’s your trip and you should try see as much as you want. But a tweak here and there to avoid disappointment none of us are averse to! Looks like a heck of schedule - have a great trip!

Ian

Posted by
9 posts

This trip is being planned for September 2023.

So lots of time for asking questions, tweaking and then being ready to make reservations.

Thank you everybody for all your suggestions. I will have fun taking them and
doing a revised itinerary and see if that makes more sense to us based on your insights.

Ian - I think I'm trying to fit to much in..........the problem is I don't know what to trim.

Posted by
3225 posts

I agree that it is a bit too much time spent in Inverness, it is to be honest not a very interesting town. And don't do a day trip to Pitlochry, make it a stop along the way to Edinburgh.

Posted by
2258 posts

You've gotten good advice so far. I agree you should drop a night from Inverness (though I liked it and even enjoyed Loch Ness) and add it to York.

I think your itinerary is good overall, and I would not say you are trying to cram in too many things. It seems pretty well paced to me. As for your two weeks in London, it would be nice not to have to change hotels for two weeks. There are so many great day trips from London. Come up with a list and prioritize them, then see how you feel when you are there. You don't have to do them all. Some could be combined -- for example, Stonehenge and Salisbury and even Bath if you spend a night or two away from London. I just love Bath, so I might be inclined to spend three nights there and shorten my stay in London. But your way works too.

Good that you have plenty of time to think this through. You're on the right track IMHO.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you Carroll for your insights. Yes two weeks in London to slow travel and take in the sights and day trips when we feel like is a luxury we want to experience. I think if we add an extra night in York then we are all set!

Posted by
398 posts

I note that you won't have a car.

Have a look at Rabbies tours. www.rabbies.com They do short tours, starting in Glasgow and Edinburgh. There may be options there covering some of your wish list. And it would take some of the worry of getting from place to place.

Edinburgh to York, easy rail trip. There is lots to do in York and depending on interests you could easily add a day(s), maybe see some of the surrounding area.

Also look at www.walks.com They do one day trips out of London - stopped during the pandemic, but should be starting up shortly. They go to a lot of the places on your day trip list, have blue badge guides, so can add a lot to the trip.

You don't say who is going, adults and/or children. And everyone's interests. Is it a first trip to the UK for everyone? 14 days in London, would suggest looking to rent an apartment.

Posted by
21087 posts

You have a lot of day trips planned from London. Have you looked at the rail fares on nationalrail.co.uk? It's nice to have flexibility to stay in the city or go elsewhere, but that flexibility may come at a high price. Tickets to Bath for travel tomorrow before 10:30 AM are priced at 54 to 102 GBP one way. You can avoid that sort of price by buying Advance tickets well ahead of time, but there goes your flexibility.

Don't discount the time you'll spend traveling from your London hotel to the proper train station to get started on those trips. It's not as if all the trains will be using the same station, so you can't just choose a hotel right by "the station" to simplify all the day trips.

And you'll be paying London hotel rates while you're sitting on those potentially expensive trains. I would definitely take a hard look at grouping at least some of the western destinations into a cluster that can be visited from a single base closer than London.

I assume Moreton-in-Marsh is for the Cotswolds. There are companies running one-day, small-group tours to the Cotswolds from both Bath (MadMax) and Moreton (GoCotswolds); perhaps that's why you've chosen Moreton. Moreton is easily reached by train from Oxford. Maybe for this trip Oxford could stand in for Cambridge?

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you for recommending the Rabbies Tours they sound wonderful but I don't think they will work for us. I had read on some of the reviews that they don't have time for hiking on Skye and we are planning for four days there with a car.

The walks.com in London look fantastic we will have to do several of those.

It will be just my husband and I.

We are planning on buying a Britrail pass for flexibility.

Posted by
8 posts

Hello Freedomventures.
We’ve been to Scotland and the UK quite a few times. First, I’d fly to Edinburgh rather than Glasgow and spend my time in Edinburgh. Its a marvelous city and easily seen on foot. Its worth at least 3 days or more if have them to spend.
Its easy to take a taxi from the airport in Edinburgh into the city. I’m sure Uber is also there, even though I haven’t checked.
Also, since you seem willing to drive in the UK as you plan to rent a car for Skye (which I think will be difficult), why not just rent a car in Edinburgh and drive? The highlands around the Fort William, Glencoe area are absolutely spectacular by car. The advantage over a train, is that you can stop and look around anytime you want. Get a GPS with your car, or take one with you. If you don’t want to drive in the city (which I don’t), just take a taxi back to the Edinburgh airport and rent the car there. All the major companies are at the airport. Renting at the airport is a bit more expensive, but the selection is much wider. Driving out from the airport with a GPS is easy. You can rent a GPS from the rental company if the car doesn’t come with one. I actually take my own Garmin because it is free to use, and I’m already familiar with it. I use my phone at home, but I don’t want to pay to use it overseas. On some phones, you can download maps from Google before you leave home.
While Inverness is interesting, the smaller towns around Inverness are more interesting. I’d spend 1 day around Inverness, one day at Culloden (extremely interesting), and let that be it.
For the other nights in Scotland, I’d pick some small places to stay. The choices are many.
If you want to see more lochs, look at a good map, plan a route that goes by lochs, and drive to York, and turn in your car after York. I’d also give some extra time to York if possible. Its worth several days. Marvelous city. The areas around York are also great by car, and the driving is really easy. Then train to London from York if you want.
A trip around Scotland by car is amongst the most enjoyable of holidays.
I also say the same for London. You are going to be spending a lot of time on trains going in and out of London. Spend what time you wish in London, the train to a smaller town somewhere around London or even Heathrow or Gatwick airport, and rent a car. Away from London, driving is easy. All the places you have listed could be worked into a nice loop. I’ve done it, and its marvelous. The choices are again many.
My wife and I are actually going to Scotland in July. This time we are going to explore the NC500 north of Inverness. Last time, we rented a car in Edinburgh and went to the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and that was great. This time we’re spending about 10 days in northern Scotland, taking the train from Edinburgh to London and spending a few days there. Then we’re going to Paris for about a week.
You have a lot of time to plan. In addition to this forum, take a look at the travel forum on Trip Advisor.
Best regard,
Bioboy

Posted by
9 posts

Bioboy -

Thank you for all your suggestions!!

We would LOVE to drive around Scotland but are not comfortable with driving on the left side of the road and roundabouts. We would do it in a heartbeat if they drove on the right side of the road.

The NC500 sounds fantastic ENJOY!

Posted by
27759 posts

don't want to drive in Scotland but driving on Skye? I think many people who are comfortable driving on normal roads in Scotland are daunted by the lanes in Highlands and Skye. Narrow roads with passing places and animals and you still have to drive on the left...

Posted by
9 posts

Nigel that's interesting we may have to re-think this.....

Rethinking - if I drove in 4 lanes of traffic in rush hour Phoenix Arizona - comparison??

Posted by
102 posts

Rethinking - if I drove in 4 lanes of traffic in rush hour Phoenix Arizona - comparison??

It's really incomparable tbh, virtually the total opposite! I think the only place in Scotland where there is 4 lanes of traffic each way is the M8 freeway through Glasgow.

Even the nearest freeway type dual carrigeway to Skye must be 100 miles away!

As Nigel says, if you're not generally comfortable driving in Scotland then I'd maybe consider whether you want to drive on Skye, as the roads there are arguably not that great and very twisty and narrow with single track and passing places in parts. Add to that the fact that they can have sheep wandering around on them and many of the other drivers are tourists who aren't used to driving on the LHS.

The flip side of this is that Skye is a fairly large island and public transport is very limited, so to get anything like the best out of your visit you need a car.

Overall, if you're not comfortable driving here then I'd reconsider driving on Skye - and if you are going to drive there then tbh you might was well have a car through most of your trip, because the other driving elsewhere will probably be easier than Skye, or at least not any worse!

For the rest of your itinerary I definitely agree about Inverness - Inverness is nice enough but you need to be bear in mind it's about a tenth of the size of Edinburgh and about a 20th the size of Glasgow and there's proportionally that much less to see. Most people would probably find 1 day - and in many cases half a day - is enough to see Inverness.

Wrt Pitlochry, it's a fairly long way from Inverness and it's probably just as easy to visit there by train from Glasgow to Edinburgh, as the journey time is virtually the same. Also, if you're taking the train from Inverness to Edinburgh this train passes through and stops in Pitlochry anyway. However the problem with trying to see it en-route is the fact you'll presumably have your luggage with you and I doubt there's any left luggage facility at Pitlochry station.

Either way, Pitlochry is a small town which you can see pretty quickly and most of attractions are outside Pitlochry in the countryside i.e. Blair Atholl Castle, distilleries, Dunkeld etc, so you've got to factor in how you'll travel between them without a car.

This is why tours with companies like rabbies may still be a good idea. I realise they don't fit the Skye portion of your trip, but they might fit for other visits in other parts of the country, because they will take you direct to the places and attractions you want to see - and transfer you between them - without you having to rely on infrequent or even non-existent public transport.

In the above case I'm sure Rabbies or other companies do tours going to Pitlochry and surrounding attractions from Edinburgh and Glasgow and this may well be a better option than going by train.

There is plenty to see in both Glasgow and Edinburgh and with a long trip I think you've got plenty time to visit both, so you don't need to pick between them.