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England/Scotland- Sept 2014

I now have both directions of our flights booked for trip next September. Since we are using United miles on Saver fares, options were limited, so for now, it's in and out of London.

Here are my thoughts for Version 1 of the itinerary. I really want to stay in a couple of castles so I've noted where I've found Castle hotels, so let me know if you've stayed or heard anything on the ones I've listed. Looking for your thoughts on things to do in the destinations below, or enroute to destinations, places to eat, other ideas, alternative destinations.

Day 1- arrive Heathrow 10am/ Go directly to Bath

Day 2- Bath

Day 3- am-Train to York- rent car- Hazelwood castle

Day 4- York- Hazelwood castle

Day 5- York to Edinburgh (considering driving? or maybe train)

Day 6/7/8-Edinburgh (Ryder cup)

Day 9- Drive to Stirling then to Inverness?

Day 10- Inverness or ??

Day 11- Drive to near Oban- Barcaldine Castle

Day 11- Oban- Barcaldine Castle

Day 12- Drive to Glasgow-Train to London

Day 13- 3pm flight out of London

Posted by
143 posts

York has a lot to see, including the Minster, the Shambles, the rail museum. I'd recommend taking the train from York--Edinburgh. Inverness doesn't have much to see unless you go out to Cullodan. The drive from Inverness to Oban along Loch Ness is just spectacular. Be sure to stop at Urquhart Castle.

Posted by
14 posts

I agree that York is a must stop. We did a great walking tour with a volunteer guide as mentioned in Rick's book. York Castle Museum has great displays although part of the museum was closed for remodeling when we were there in late September. Walking the walls is a highlight, too.

Posted by
484 posts

First, ask yourself what you want to see. Then, find lodging in those places. I know you want to sleep in a couple of castles. That's fine. But, what are you going to do during the day? Don't get too fixed on Castle lodging. Maybe plan on one or two. I have been to Scotland once and England once. The places you list in Scotland can be accessed by train or bus if you don't want to rent a car. The train from Oban to Glasgow is a beautiful ride.
INVERNESS: Loch Ness boat ride, Culloden Battlefield and Museum, nice small city for shopping and restaurants.
OBAN: Day-trips by Boat to MULL, IONA, STAFFA. Wildlife Boat Trips (Gordon Grant Tours), Distillery Tour
EDINBURGH: Edinburgh Castle, Holy Rood Palace, St. Giles, Britannia
Stirling: The Castle
London: Packed with things to do. Nat.l Gallery of Art, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, Tower of London, pubs

Posted by
792 posts

I think Bath is a great place to start the trip because 1)it is easy to get to from Heathrow 2) it is small and easy to navigate and 3)it is a laidback atmosphere. I LOVED the city. In Bath, I would recommend the Roman Baths (obviously- but go at night, less crowded and very pretty). MY favorite restaurant was Tilley's Bistro and request a table downstairs, better atmosphere. If you want to do Stonehenge, I would recommend adding another day in Bath. If you do opt for Stonehenge, I highly recommend the Mad Max tour that Rick Steve talks about in the book. It was small and out guide was awesome. And it was one of the only bus tours I have been on where I felt like I actually got to see and experience things, rather than getting shuttled on and off a bus.

The last 4 days of your trip seem like they would be a lot of driving. That part of the country is small but the roads are winding. If you are looking to just enjoy a nice car ride during the day and hang out at night, than I think it would be fine. But if you want to spend more time relaxing in the cities, maybe cut it down to two of those destinations? Jealous about the Ryder Cup! What a great trip!

Have fun!

Posted by
1626 posts

Thanks for the input, still a work in progress, so I'm sure I will have more questions to come.

Posted by
970 posts
  1. Spend a day in York. You'll regret it, otherwise.

  2. Train from York-Edinburgh is faster than driving. Sit on the right to get the occasional sea view. You can visit the Castle and dabble in Old Town in a single very rushed day. Better to spend at least one night, though.

  3. Ditto Edinburgh-Inverness: Take the train unless there is some place specific where you want to linger.

  4. I've stayed at Inverness at the beginning and end of a driving tour. It's a nice place, but I can't say I'd make it a destination on its own. You might use your time more wisely by going directly from Edinburgh to Oban. On the other hand, the drive south along Loch Ness from Inverness is very much worth it. (See Urguhart Castle ruins.) Decisions, decisions.

  5. The day trip from Oban by ferry to Mull and then by bus and ferry to Iona is well worth it, but it does consume one full day.

  6. Rent a car, drive through Glencoe. Repeat: Rent a car, drive through Glencoe.

Posted by
1626 posts

Based on feedback, thinking about dropping Bath and adding two more nights to the Highlands. Bath is just too out of the way. We'll have to visit the English Countryside on a future trip.