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Family trip London/Edinburgh mid late December

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It looks like the only time I can gather my young adult children together for a family trip is over Christmas. My husband has long wanted to visit England, so I am researching a trip. We would fly over from the US around 12/20 into Heathrow and head back maybe 1/2/16 from Edinburgh. The kids are urban and I haven't been to London in decades, so I am thinking cities rather than the country, and about a week in each city. We will rent apartments or houses in each - there will be 6 of us. I have a bunch of questions I hope you can help me with, but I'll start with these three:

1) How to break up the trip? I think we will take the train to Edinburgh (love, love trains!). But I can't get any information regarding late December from Brit Rail's site. Don't want to travel Christmas day. So, would we be able to travel 12/26, or should we stay in one city or the other a bit longer? Also, is there a particularly scenic and memorable train? We haven't been on a train since our trip from Cairo to Luxor a few years back, and that was definitely memorable.

2) There are some wonderful houses/apartments (either is ok) to rent in the Kensington/Chelsea area in London (>$700/night). Of course they have glowing descriptions, but I would like to be reasonably close to a great neighborhood for young people (I'm assuming they will go out at night). Where do the young folks like to go? I'd also like to be close to a Tube station since we won't have a car, and within walking distance of cafes and restaurants (we aren't big on shopping) and easy access to sightseeing for my husband and me.

3) Regarding our house/apartment. Does anyone have any experience with a particular agency? One called One Fine Stay has some nice places on VRBO. Any others to recommend? We are looking for 3 or 4 bedrooms, 2+ baths.

Thanks in advance for any help!

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