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Scotland-England family trip- Questions !

Hi !
We plan to make 24-28 days family trip in England and Scotland nest summer ( somewhere between july 8 and august 20). And we got some questions.

basic nfo: flight From Montreal, 2 kids (7 and 11).

1) Cost: what would be daily cost for airbnb, some restaurants and activities and travel (still have to decide decide car or train). Can we get away with it with a daily budget of 250-275 pounds ?

2) Car vs train: Of course we wont need a car in London but since we want a mix of cities, villages and nature what would be the best option. Is there a cost for renting in England and droping in Scotland ?

3) Best base ? We like to have 5-6 base for 4 to 6 days each and daytrip from there. We want to see:
London, Bath, York, Hadrian's wall, Northtumberland, Edingburg, Higlhands and Skye.
Is it feasible ? what would be good base to see them and throw in some fun for kids (theme park, museum, playground, pools)

4) Flight from Montreal is to London and Glasgow. If we travel with Icelandair we also got the option to Aberdeen. We could also add a layover for 3-4 nights in Iceland (of course that would mean to cut some places in UK).

Thanks in advance !

Posted by
1469 posts

Since you are traveling with active children I would look into Campgrounds. These are quite popular with young families.There are some with cabins or caravans for accommodations. Some have pools or boating available. You might consider renting a van so you can rough it on the same Campground. There are Bathrooms and Laundry Rooms available. Many of the National Parks have Camping nearby. Hadrian's Wall has a lot of lodging available and buses that can pick up hikers from various locations on the Wall. The little Beach Towns in Yorkshire are spectacular. It is fun to walk the Wall in York and Chester. London has lots of free things to do: Museums and Street Markets, you do not want a car there because you have easy to use Public Transportation. Edinburgh is very walkable and the Castle is great. The Highlands are not the "only" scenic part of Scotland. You should make reservations early for Skye (even the open field camp grounds). Farm B&Bs can be fun for kids with Sheep and Horses. Bon Voyage

Posted by
137 posts

I'll let those who are the most familiar talk about Scotland and I'll follow as I'm still planning our trip.

As to Iceland - it's an absolutely amazing country. Definitely worth a visit! We loved it!

Posted by
8651 posts

For the Hadrian's Wall area I can recommend the Ashcroft Guest House in Haltwhistle.

They have a choice of a 2 bedroom apartment with kitchen available or a two room suite which has a king size bed in the main room and a set of twin beds in the second bedroom. The location and hospitality were excellent.

I would also suggest considering hiring Peter Carney as a guide one day. This retired history teacher will make the entire area come alive for you and your children and it is money well spent.

Posted by
3122 posts

If you're weighing whether to include Aberdeen, I'd say to choose either Skye and the western highlands or else Aberdeen and the eastern highlands. The latter would include Deeside.


You might also have time for a day trip south to Dundee, where a new design museum recently opened.

In Edinburgh, the National Museum of Scotland is huge, providing a nice indoor open space to get out of the weather, with exhibits of interest to all ages. There's also the tour of Real Mary King's Close, which is very popular with school groups (not connected with the museum at all).


Posted by
503 posts

Even with 28 days, you can't spend 4 - 6 days in each place you listed - the distances between the areas you've listed are fairly long so you'll need to make some adjustments. I would skip Aberdeen for this trip. My recommendation: Fly to London spend 4 - 5 days there and do Bath as a day trip. Train to York spend 2 nights. To make the most of your time, I'd pick up a car in York and head to Housesteads for Hadrians's wall. Spend the night around there and then head up to Edinburgh. Depending upon what you want to see/do you could do Edinburgh in two full days - a more relaxed pace would be 3. From there drive to Glasgow. Spend a day or so there. Drive to Oban for 2 nights - you could work in a day trip out to Iona, Mull and Staffa. Then drive up to Skye for a few days and then return and fly home out of Glasgow.
The only part of this itinerary that you really need a car for is the trek to Skye. You can do the train and then ferry to Skye, but once on Skye you will need a car. (Hadrians Wall can be done as a day trip from York). Dropping off the car in Scotland is not a problem. Depending upon the rental agency there is sometimes a fee, but generally it isn't huge. Travel is all about weighing cost versus time!

As for costs, it's hard to estimate - whether or not you rent a car, if you get your train tickets in advance and what type of lodging you are comfortable with. The best way to estimate, is to go online and look at the type of accomodations you'd like and check the pricing. Entrance fees can also be checked at the various sites as well.

Tips: Easy to do picnic style lunches - on our last trip we got a small soft-sided cooler picked up sandwiches, cheese, fruit, etc. etc. for lunch during the day - we stayed in Airbnbs so freezing the cold pack wasn't an issue.
The time of year you are traveling is peak season so I'd make reservations early to have the best selection of accommodations.

Posted by
27435 posts

I'm currently researching Scotland for my own trip next July. Edinburgh lodging costs go up a lot in August because of the festivals. Scotland has a shorter peak season than you find in many places, and earlier posts on this forum have convinced me that accommodations need to be booked quite early for the best choice. I think this will be especially important for you since you have an entire family to house and are on a budget. If I had to guess, I'd say Skye and Edinburgh are going to be the tightest, but that is only a guess.

Posted by
908 posts

There's a lot to see in London, and you could easily spend two weeks, but you probably only want to see the highlights and could probably get away with five days, but if you want to do a couple of day trips from there then maybe add a couple more. I think you might be able to get away without the car until you leave Edinburgh (York is easy to get to by train and will have day trips available to sights you want to see) You don't really want to have a car in Edinburgh as parking can be very difficult to find, and the city is quite walkable and also has the hop-on hop-off bus so you just won't need the car. From Edinburgh you can easily get a guided day trip to see Hadrian's wall (and other sights). If you can do without the car until Edinburgh, then I suggest that once you leave Edinburgh you do a loop tour that would take you up through the highlands to Inverness, across to Skye, then back down to Oban and then finish in Glasgow where you can turn in the car, see the city, maybe do another day trip or two and fly home from there. I would skip Aberdeen in favour other places. With the ground you want to cover I would not suggest cutting days to spend time in Iceland. I spent three weeks just in Scotland. Since you will be travelling in peak season you need to figure out your route in the next couple of months so you can start booking accommodation in early spring. I began booking in April for my trip in September and still had some trouble finding places up north. Take a look at the Secret Scotland web site to help with some ideas for your itinerary. Also do google searches for guided day trips from places like York, Edinburgh, and Glasgow to get a better idea of how long you will need the car. Read some tour itineraries to get an idea how long it will take you to cover the same ground and see some of the same sights.

Posted by
3122 posts

Here's another vote for the Secret Scotland website to give you ideas about driving and realistic travel times.

Posted by
1469 posts

Visit Scotland is another great interactive web site. There are many videos and you can preview by region. I think that many people are into the Highlands Mystic and miss a lot of other beautiful and historical locations in Scotland. Most of the Middle Ages with a lot of the Castles and Cathedrals happen south of Edinburgh.

Posted by
366 posts

Hi again everyone,

Thanks for those answers but plans have changed.

After looking carefully we have decided to go in Slovenia and Croatia. Cost will be lower....