Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   5 days in Edinburgh and then? (

socialworker Mar 12th, 2013 06:54 AM

5 days in Edinburgh and then?
We will be in Edinburgh for 5 days in May. We will then have ~ 1 week before needing to arrive at Heathrow for our trip back to Boston. We are pretty well set on the fact that we will go south from Edinburgh, and not explore farther north into Scotland.

DH had the idea that we would spend time in and around York, then Cambridge and back to Heathrow from there.

As I look at the map, I see that the Lake District and the Cotswalds/Bath are as logical of an itinerary as his plan. We have gone to Salisbury and Stonehenge in the past so that would not be our plan this time.

Anyone have ideas/suggestions? This may be our last trip to the UK if we move out to the west coast. We just spent 3 wonderful nights in London in October, so that also would not be a destination this time. We need to start making train and hotel plans soon---actually we already should have, but we have not. My fault, not his. I have dragged my feet.

Thanks to any and all who might have suggestions, opinions, input!

PS Exact time frame-checking out of Edinburgh hotel on May 13th late morning---departing Heathrow for Boston May 20th at 5:00 PM, which means we do not need to be in London on the night before our departure from LHR.

Mimar Mar 12th, 2013 07:29 AM

Are you willing to drive in England? Both the Lake District and the Cotswolds are better seen by car (and on foot). Bath and Oxford don't require a car. (In fact you're better off without one.) However there's a lot of interesting stuff near Bath for which a car would help: Wells, Glastonbury, Longleat House, Stourhead Garden, SW Wales and assorted cute little towns like Castle Combe and Lacock.

You could do York and Cambridge without a car, though we liked having a car for exploring around York: Castle Howard, Fountains Abbey, the dales. We spent a day in Durham, which place I really liked. That can be done by train.

We live on the west coast in Seattle. Doesn't stop us from going to England and points east. It's a 9-hour flight to Heathrow.

BigRuss Mar 12th, 2013 07:53 AM

I don't understand why you wouldn't go north to see Scotland. Given your departure time from Heathrow, you could tour Scotland, drop the car in Glasgow or Edinburgh and take a train to London the night before to say goodbye to the city given that you have the strange notion that you'll never be back (why? London from the West Coast is only another 3 hours, not 5, further due to how the planes are routed over the North Pole to minimize travel distance; it's not like Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong or Sydney is just a quick jump away from LAX or SFO).

socialworker Mar 12th, 2013 09:54 AM

Well, 1st of all thanks for the responses. The info on flt times is illuminating. I assumed--apparently incorrectly--that we had to add the time it takes to fly LAX to BOS to the time it takes BOS to Europe.

Thanks also for your input, Mimar. Since we will not be driving and relying on public transport, your points are well-taken.

One of the reasons that we will move to LA is that we have come to dread our regular stints on the cross-country flt and it is hard for me to want to augment it even more by going to Europe. Also we have assumed that once out there, our travels will be to places more accessible to the west coast that we have skipped all these years while living on the east coast. For example, DH has always wanted to go to Hawaii, and I have always declined b/c of the length of the flt from Boston..

Our reason for not going north, Russ, is that we prefer not to backtrack, and just to make steady progress in the direction of London while seeing some places we have always wanted to visit.

I guess that I thought that in the Lake District and Cotwsalds that there would be options for people w/o cars. Of course, I knew that a car is best for those who can drive in the UK, but perhaps my idea of non-driving alternatives are not readily available to tourists....

sofarsogood Mar 12th, 2013 10:17 AM

You can get around the Lake District by bus - not as flexible as a car but then you don't have the hassle of trying to find a parking place.

Lots of info here

socialworker Mar 12th, 2013 10:24 AM

Thanks, sofar. That is a great resource!

janisj Mar 12th, 2013 10:39 AM

I'd do a 4-day Scotland tour w/ either Rabbies or Timberbush

There is MUCH more to Scotland than Edinburgh and these two companies do terrific small group tours (usually fewer than 12 passengers)

Then fly EDI to LHR the morning of your flight out (or fly or train down the evening before if your flight is very early AM)

BTW - there are nonstop flights to the UK from LA, SF, Seattle, even Las Vegas - moving to the west coast should have essentially no bearing on your future travel plans.

socialworker Mar 12th, 2013 10:49 AM

I know that you are correct, janis and it is not w/o ambivalence that we made our decision. (We are only in Edinburgh for 5 days b/c DH has a meeting/conference there that lasts that long. He will be free on parts of every day, but not enough to travel out of the city during those 5 days.) However, I am going to carefully review your sites above. I always appreciate your great knowledge of all things Scotland!

I am not sure if you know that we settled on 53 Frederick as the place where we will stay in Edinburgh. Your input about the city helped us to reach that decision, so thank you again.

BigRuss Mar 12th, 2013 11:09 AM

It's not backtracking: do a loop in Scotland of the places you want to see and dump the car; catch a train to London.

There's no place completely across an ocean from LA that's not a 10+ hour flight.

socialworker Apr 5th, 2013 07:14 AM

I just thought I would update on the plan we made for the time following our 5 nights in Edinburgh. We do not drive in the UK, so we will be relying on trains and tours.

We do have a full free day in Edinburgh before we leave there and we are looking into the tours you mentioned, janis.

When we leave Edinburgh, we will go to the Lake District and stay for 3 nights in Bowness-on-Windermere at a guest house named Field House where we have booked a room overlooking the lake. We will book some tours there that we found on the website that sofar shared above.

Then we will spend 3 nights in the Cotswolds in Chipping Campden at the Kings Hotel. Also tours to be arranged.....

Finally 1 night in Oxford at The Old Bank Hotel, before departing the next day at mid-day for a 5:40 PM flt back to Boston.

Neither of the hotels we chose was our 1st choice, altho to be honest, I cannot remember what our 1st choices were or why we wanted them but both of these are in the center of their respective towns, an impt point when one is car-less! Both are well-regarded on Trip Advisor and seemed to be charming from the photos online.

I would love to get any more input that anyone might have on bus tours in the Lake District and Cotswolds and maybe I will start another thread asking about that.

Thanks to all who offered input!

bilboburgler Apr 5th, 2013 09:46 AM

Look out fodorite flanneruk and his threads on the cotswolds which are very useful.

I'd also put "lake district" in the search engine above on the right which will give you bags of stuff

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:47 PM.