Can anyone suggest an appropriate itinerary for 12 days in England & Scotland? We will be there at the end of March, flying into London & out of Manchester. We already have 5 nights in London "carved in stone". From there, we plan to take the train to Edinburgh, but are considering a 1 night stopover in York on the way. From Edinburgh, we're thinking of renting a car, then driving to the Lakes district, staying somewhere in the Lakes District, then driving from there to Manchester for our flight home. Is all of this doable? Could we at least get a decent snapshot of York w/ a one night stayover, and also be able to see enough of Edinburgh and the Lakes District? We like to be busy, but dont want to drive ourselves crazy racing to the next destination.
Sure. Three or four hours is enough for the highlighs of York (Minster, Shambles, walls, etc). Two days will do the same for Edinburgh. An afternoon, a night, and a morning will get the best of the Lakes District. If you don't like that idea, it's only about seven hours of driving from Edinburg to Manchester going through the Lakes District and cutting over to York before heading back to Manchester. Lobbing off the York detour only saves a couple of hours.
I have to diagree with Cynthia. I've driven those roads eighty gazillion times, the last being just before Thanksgiving. I'd stopped for coffee on the south side of Fort William (about fifteen minutes north of Glen Coe) and called home to confess what I was about. It took me three more hours of hard pushing to get just as far as Turnhouse - -Waverly Steps would have been a half hour further if traffic didn't snarl. From where I'd stopped, the Skye Bridge was a good two hours north of me - - it's been a long time since I've been to Portree, but it's about an hour from the bridge, I think. I'd pick Cynthia's area over the Lake District in a heartbeat, but not if I had to squish it into your amount of time. You certainly can't do both unless something else gives..... a lot.
It's about 2 hours from London to York by rail. You can do York justice in a single full day. Catch an evening train from King's Cross to York. Try very hard to stay at a place within the city walls. Spend the next day hoofing all around the place, then, after an early dinner, catch the train up to Edinburgh. About 2-1/2 hours. You'll arrive at Waverly Station, in the center of town. Stay somewhere near there and you can spend two days, on foot, exploring Edinburgh. Both York and Edinburgh are very walkable and very un-drivable. Edinburgh, of course, is considerably larger. The Castle at Edinburgh is very much worth a visit, for at least a few hours. The walk up can be strenuous if you aren't in good shape, so consider taking a cab up and walking down. York Minster is also very impressive and worth the admission fee. Check the weather before you leave. It is March, after all.
I have areas of agreement and disagreement with the above postings. I would agree that an afternoon and morning is enough for York, although a full day would not be wasted. I also agree that two days in Edinburgh is ample. I think I would disagree with going further into Scotland. The Glencoe area is very nice, but time consuming. I would definitely not recommend Isle of Skye. If you like brown landscape, you will love Scotland. I also disagree that a day in the Lake District is sufficient. There is a drive in the Steves book, out of Keswick that is very reminiscent of the Scottish highlands. Having mentioned Keswick, I would not recommend staying there. The town itself has none of the charm of other areas of the Lake District.
Thanks all, for your responses! That definitely helps alot.