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Rougly 20 days in Eng., Wales, Scotland

Below is our first stab at an itinerary for me, my wife and 10-year old son. We'd like to depart during the third or fourth week of July 2009. We each have our own "must-dos". My wife wants us to have ample time in the bigger cities (Edinburgh and London) to untether ourselves from an itinerary to "wander deep". Right now she doesn't think we do. I'm into plants and gardens and want to see, at the very least, Kew and Sissinghurst. My son is all about castles and knights and military history. If we went to Warwick and that was all, he'd probably be happy. But we do have Blackpool as a stop because we heard it might make for a kid-friendly break.

Anyway, is this itinerary based in reality? My main concern are the drivetimes that get rather long as we head north into Scotland. I would welcome and much appreciate all comments, suggestions and general feedback.

Thanks,
Tony

Day 1: Arrive at Heathrow and take 90-min bus to Bath. (sleep in Bath)
Day 2: Tour Bath (sleep in Bath)
Day 3: Pick up rental car in Bath. Day trip to Glastonbury and Wells (sleep in Bath)
Day 4: Stourhead, Stonehenge, Avebury, Cotswolds (sleep in Cotswolds)
Day 5: Cotswolds, hike or bike (sleep in Cotswolds)
Day 6: Cotswolds, Warwick (sleep in Warwick or Coventry)
Day 7: Ironbridge, Conwy (Sleep in Conwy)
Day 8: Conwy, Bodnant (sleep in Blackpool – 2hrs from Conwy)
Day 9: Blackpool (sleep in Blackpool)
Day 10: Drive to Oban (5hrs) (Sleep in Oban)
Day 11: Loch Ness, Culloden (Sleep in Inverness – 2hrs from Oban)
Day 12: Edinburgh, turn in car (sleep in Edinburgh – 3.5hrs from Inverness)
Day 13: Edinburgh, Mary King’s Close, Stirling Castle
Day 14: Edinburgh, fly (90 min.) or train (4 hrs.) to London
Day 15: London
Day 16: London (Kew)
Day 17: London (Sissinghurst)
Day 18: London (Tower, Eye)
Day 19: Fly home

Posted by
3428 posts

We never found a need to drive! We've always used trains. Other than the Cotswold, trains are easy and very convient to use in the UK. I am not certain your drive times are accurate. Double check them. Also have you considered the VERY high price of gas (petrol)?!? Parking is also expensive and pain in most towns and cities. That said- You will LOVE Kew gardens. While in Scotland consider visiting some of the marvelous gardent there. I'd also suggest you consider Inverness as a base and do day tirps out from there. Your son might also like to see Winsor castle and/or the Tower of London. Both have wonder military displays- the tower has a marvelous small museum that is run by a certain regiment of the army- we went in and about half-way through realized they were the "Red Coats" of our Revolution! You might also want to check out Chelsea Physic garden in London.

Posted by
12172 posts

Driving for three in UK will probably be cheaper than training. Another choice is using buses except for the long hauls.

I liked Salisbury Cathedral as a stop.

Be sure to make time for at least Edinburgh Castle while there. I also really liked the Art Museum (essentially a smaller version of the Art Museum in London) and some time in the park.

Posted by
12 posts

To be honest I hadn't seriously considered alternatives to driving. But I do think certain segments of the itinerary could be changed to buses or trains, to at least shorten the length of the car rental. Thanks for the input.

Posted by
1265 posts

Tony - You may want to look at turning your car in in Inverness and taking the train to Edinburgh. You should be able to take advantage of discount fares on www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com.

You may also want to look at the Travel Card vs. Oyster Card vs. London Pass with Travel thread. As I understand it if you pick up a Travel card at one of the London train stations you are able to take advance of the 2for1 attractions. I don't know the cost savings of 2for1 vs family admission.

Posted by
2725 posts

I think this is a pretty good itinerary. It's a lot of driving, some of the driving times seem a little optimistic to me, but if you are okay with the driving, I think you will enjoy this trip.

The castle in Edinburgh is fantastic, so you might want to skip Stirling, which has a similar castle. Edinburgh is a beautiful city with a lot to do, so you might want to maximize your time there, which would please your wife. I think your son will really like it too.