Please sign in to post.

Is it possible to see England and Scotland in 5 days?

If we choose just a few cities in both countries, would this be possible, or will we be spreading ourselves too thin and not enjoy any of it? My husband and I will be traveling by train (we suppose). This will be in January!
Thank you.

Posted by
389 posts

A few cities? Five days wold be barely enough for London alone. Every time you change location, you lose half a day AT LEAST. With five dad, I'd pick London OR Edinburgh or some other hub, and then maybe do a day trip if you need to get out of the city.

Posted by
6 posts

I should be more clear. Sorry about that. We are not going to be going to museums and sightseeing areas this trip. We are interested in exploring little bits of cities and towns by way of pub, charity and wool shops and tea rooms. We are more interested in smaller and local areas but hardly know where to begin. Thank you!

Posted by
231 posts

You could still do 5 days in London alone visiting pubs, charity shops, etc. Think of it this way, if you tried to visit San Francisco, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles in 5 days (they are about as far apart as Edinburgh and London) you could do it, but you'd spend a lot of time traveling and moving in and out of hotels. If, however, you spent a couple days in San Francisco, then moved down to Monterey/Carmel for a couple more, you'd have more time to explore. You should try to pick a base that appeals to you, then see what else close by might interest you.

Posted by
389 posts

Ah, specificity helps. But museum areas and the other places are not mutually exclusive. I agree you should still pick a one area, like maybe the Cotswolds. That sounds like what you are looking for, but I have never been, so others can advise you better. I loved the Lake District, too, but I doubt it would be very nice that time of year.... ditto anything near the Scottish boarder, though if you want to see some of both countries, the border area would be most logical.

Posted by
5573 posts

I was going to say go to the Lake District and then drive up to see the borders, but that requires a car. So, if you want smaller and villages, then you need to base yourself in town with good rail connections. I can make a suggestion for Scotland. I would base myself in either Inverness or down the A9 in Pitlochry. But Inverness would offer more choices. From Inverness you can take a train down to Plockton and explore that villageplus it's a spectacular train rideor you could keep going as far as Kyle of Lochalsh and Skye. No trains on Skye. You can also take the train north to Dornoch which has a small cathedral (remember Madonna) and a world renown golf course and nice little town. You can take the train to Aberdeen and towns in between. You can take the train south to Kingussie or Pitlochry or Aviemore. Inverness itself is less of a tourist town and more of place of doing business. It has lots of great restaurants and pubs where you can hear music. Not lots of museums though. :) Pam

Posted by
964 posts

Will you be spreading yourselves too thin and not enjoy any of it? I think so. Just my opinion, but with 5 days I'd choose one centre and explore the area, absorb the character. If you're arriving from the US, you'll probably be a bit jet-lagged the first day or two. London has many boroughs, all different from each other; Edinburgh is also a great city with lots of character.

Posted by
5663 posts

England and Scotland in less than a week? If some folks can "see" Europe in 21 days, the answer could be yes, but it would be more sampling than experiencing. The answer will be highly dependent on your definition and expectations of "seeing". And is "seeing" England a 32 hour tour of London NY Times style and "seeing" Scotland 32 hour blitz of Edinburgh? My holidays are more than just seeing. I also like to "do" (fill in the blank for the activities). Doing takes more time than seeing. I have heard that some Europeans consider a week visit to Orlando, FL a visit to the States. If they visit the States again they may stop for a while in New York City. So I have been told.

Posted by
2638 posts

I would suggest the Cotswold area, beautiful, small quaint villages, lots of tea shops, and much more.

Posted by
6 posts

We appreciate all of these comments. These were helpful.
We will probably end up in the Cotswolds as originally planned. Thank you.

Posted by
837 posts

The Cotswolds by train? Maybe a bit by bus, but that area is difficult by anything but car. Driving Cotswolds roads in January? Not sure I'd want to do it. Areas outside cities in Scotland, even worse. With only 5 days, I would stick entirely to London. London has so many districts, much like New York, with their owns pubs and tea rooms, etc. There are easy day trips from London such as Windsor, Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Dover. Pick one or two of those to augment London. You could also train to Cheltenham from London in 2-2.5 hours and bus to a town or two in the Cotswolds.

Posted by
1829 posts

In January the sun sets late afternoon and if it's cloudy it will get dark even earlier (more so for Scotland). That time of year is for larger towns and cities because any bad weather does not have such a big impact.

Posted by
389 posts

I think mhf only thinks they will likely travel by train; I don't know that the Cotswolds it out because it's car. The time of year really is tricky because of the light. You need to pick places with stuff to do indoors because it will be dark very early in the day.

Posted by
5663 posts

The Cotswolds look like a wonderful sample of unchanged England but five days is a significant constraint, especially given the need to get to and from. The Contours Walling Holiday itineraries may be an interesting sampler even if you don't walk the route (I.e. car or local buses etc): http://www.contours.co.uk/walking-holidays/circular-walks-cotswold.php#COTH Partial description of o week long walk: "The Cotswold Villages Trail passes through no fewer than twenty seven of the beautiful towns, villages and hamlets that make the Cotswolds so special. It visits the delightful wool towns of Stow-on-the-Wold, with its mellow stone houses, shops and inns overlooking the medieval cross and stocks in the large market square; Northleach, with its magnificent church, House of Correction, workhouse, almshouses and immaculate late-medieval cottages clustered around the central square; Winchcombe and Chipping Campden, the loveliest of all the Cotswold market towns." The website has information on train access to the start of the tour. For example: By Rail – There is a railway station at Moreton-in-Marsh within walking distance of most accommodations. From London – There are regular trains from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh. The journey takes approximately 1 hour 40 minutes). Trains run regularly between Moreton-in-Marsh and Heathrow or Gatwick airports or Birmingham (2 hours 15 minutes). It is very easy to travel to the start (and return home from the end) of the holiday using public transport. Please click here for more information.

Posted by
991 posts

I don't remember seeing very many charity shops in the Cotswolds. Nor wool shops for that matter, a few but not many. Pubs for sure and of course tea rooms.

Posted by
2788 posts

You may run into some bad weather in January, possibly; no one can say for sure. If not, I would tend to stay in London, and visit the places there that do afternoon tea, and charity shops run by the churches. You can take a trip out to Windsor for a day, neat place to walk around the town even if you do not care to visit the castle; couple of great tea shops. I agree with Robin; the Cotswolds would be a good choice.