Driving Tour of Scotland/England

Oct 13th, 2003, 10:13 AM
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Driving Tour of Scotland/England

My wife and I are in the beginning phases of planning a quick trip to Scotland/UK next June. We fly into London on May 30 and spend two nights there. We then will either rent a car there and drive to Edinburgh, or what is probably more sensible, fly to Edinburgh and drive around Scotland. I need some itnerary suggestions and "must sees". We fly home from London on June 5. We are looking to stay in romantic B&B's or inns.
jdsprod is offline  
Oct 13th, 2003, 10:59 AM
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Well, as much as I love Scotland (we're planning a trip there next May), it wll be hard for you to see much in just a few days, especially when you factor in the extra time needed to get to Edinburgh and back to London.

Have you been to the London or the UK before? If not, I suggest you spend more time in London than just 2 days, especially if you will be coming off an international flight.

I'd say spend 3 days (at least) in London and then spend 3 days in Edinburgh. You could rent a car in Edinburgh and do a day trip into the Highlands or you could take the train.

It would be much better if you could arrange to fly into London and out of Edinburgh or Glasgow.
bettyk is offline  
Oct 13th, 2003, 12:21 PM
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We did something similar. Flew into London, spent the weekend there and then took the train to Edinburgh. It is an express train with quick service. Spent a day and a half in Edinburgh--lovely city. Rented a car and then drove to Oban and stayed in a very cute B&B close to Oban (Ronebahl b&b). From there, that was a good base for some day trips--took the Road to Mallaig, went out to one of the islands another day (forgot which one but it was a pretty trip). Spent 4 nights in Scotland and then back to London. It was a quick trip but fun--Edinburgh was a nice city and then Oban gave us the scenic side of Scotland.
mary80 is offline  
Oct 15th, 2003, 08:28 AM
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Your query appears to have been misread. And, FWIW, if the purpose of hiring a car in London is to get to Edinburgh (as opposed to enjoying the journey up) then I would definitely fly or (preferably) take the train to Edinburgh. The journey can be nice too, if you bother to get off the motorway.

Otherwise take the train up and hire a car when you want to get out of Edinburgh.

I've got a "to do" document for Edinburgh which I'll easily send to you, if you email me. I can do the same for day trips. If you want more than that, then tell us more about your priorities, and we'll chip in siome suggestions.
sheila is offline  
Oct 18th, 2003, 10:22 AM
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I liked the drive from London to Scotland -- it was very scenic. We got off the motorway a bit to see the Cotswalds, but then mostly stayed on the motorway, and were enchanted by the hedgerows and the fields of rape seed (July). I would question how long it would take to fly to Edinburgh, check in time, etc. being what it is, as opposed to driving or taking the train.

We stayed at Castle Venlaw the first night, in Peebles south of Edinburgh (small, charming, great food). We also stayed at Barcaldine Castle north of Oban (even smaller) one night and LOVED it. Both of those have websites. I like the idea of going to Oban, not because Oban is so wonderful (though we enjoyed it), but because you can visit Mull and Iona from there, and that IS wonderful. Also, you can spend an afternoon at Stirling Castle on the way back to Edinburgh if you're going back. And by way, Edinburgh isn't "a nice city." Edinburgh is one of the most AMAZING cities I've ever seen! Everyone had said, "Oh, Edinburgh, hum, that's nice." But I was blown away by it! I LOVED it!

We stayed in London three nights and while there was still a ton more to see, I felt like we saw a lot. I think that two nights is enough, especially since you want to spend time in Scotland.
CindyJean is offline  
Oct 18th, 2003, 11:32 AM
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A great trip my husband & still talked about took us from London to Inverness, with stops in Lancaster, Glasgow, and Fort William, loop back to Edinburgh, thru the Cumbria Region (Hadrian's Wall Route), on to Manchester (departure Airport). A dream trip, taken during early May 1998, we made a point of making no hotel reservations whatsoever; ended up getting great deals that way (we showed up at 6-7pm and many times were able to bargain rates/type of room). The only thing I would change is that I would try to make it to Stirling.

I recommend a visit to Lancaster Castle and a stay at the Royal Kings Arms Hotel, just across the street. In the Cumbria region, we stayed at The Abbey Bridge Inn (http://www.abbeybridge.co.uk/index.htm), a B&B located next to the Irthing River (trout) and with many nature trails, it was the perfect break we needed. It is also located across the street (literally) from the Naworth Castle and the Lanercost Priory (raided by William Wallace; impressive sight). If being surrounded by all these historic sights weren't enough, the B&B is located on the route that borders Hadrian's Wall, with some of the best stops along the Wall (Roman sites Birdoswald and Housesteads) very close by. Edinburgh was most certainly worth a stop, we stayed at The Coach House Hotel, a hotel with no character whatsoever, but with car parking nearby (there is a HERTZ counter there as well in case you'll like to pick up your car in Edinburgh), mid-point the Royal Mile (some blocks to the east), and very close to the Weaverly Train Station. Please keep posting, your trip idea is full of wonderful possibilities!!
Oct 19th, 2003, 06:19 AM
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We head towards the unexpected when we travel. You don't normally find surprises close to the maddening crowds. Glencoe is a spectacular Scottishish drive. Get there before it becomes too popular. I understand the other worldly mountains will be the setting for a near future Potter movie.

Next, the ferries to the Hebrides provide a spectacular visit to little seen history. Isles like Isaly provide some of the oldest culture and relics available in Scotland. Well worth the time spent if you want to see the real heart of this beautiful land.

One tip: get the smallest car possible. Narrow roads and hgih curbs are punishing and nerve racking to large wheel base cars. We were upgraded to a Volvo touring car and man were we sorry.
kvf is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Thank you for all your great ideas. We've currently booked the following: Fly to London May 29 (arrive May 30). Spend the rest of the 30th and the 31st in London. We were there 7 years ago. June 1 fly London-Edinburgh. Rent a car (a small one) at EDI and leave town. Now this is the part where I still need advice. We're thinking a three night loop. Don't know yet whether to go clockwise or counter-clockwise. Here's what I need: I need THE NICEST, MOST ROMANTIC (money not an issue) HIGHEST QUALITY B&B for the night of June 2 (the middle night of the trip). That's our 20th anniversary and I want it to be REALLY SPECIAL. So that's June 1, June 2 and June 3 at romantic B&B's in the countryside. June 4 we return to EDI and return the car. Take either a taxi or train (what's available???) into town and spend the day touring Edinburgh. Have nice dinner in Edinburgh. Take train or taxi back to EDI for night at Airport Hilton (free stay). Early morning flight from EDI to Gatwick and 11am flight back to US from Gatwick. Please let me know your ideas or problems with this itinerary. ESPECIALLY THE ROMANTIC B&B FOR JUNE 2.
jdsprod is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 10:54 AM
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We drove around Scotland in 1997, and it was wonderful.
We did a loop, but found that the west coast of Scotland was the most dramatic and more beautiful than we had envisioned.

Our special place was the Airds Hotel, in Port Appin. This sounds like what you are looking for. They have a website; I think it is Airds-hotel.com. I still remember the lovely room, the incredible dinner (you choose the menu earlier in the day) and the lovely surroundings. It is called a hotel, but it is charming, with personal service. Not cheap, but worth it. It's a Relais & Chateaux property. You definitely need advance reservations; they fill up.

Another very beautiful spot was Sheldaig, near Loch Torridon. I can't find the name of our B&B, but it was a great experience.

Edinburgh is delightful in a different way - very friendly, much to see.

Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy it!

saglassman is offline  
Oct 20th, 2003, 11:03 AM
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Agree w/saglassman, the Western Scottish Highlands are absolutely breathtaking! We saw beautiful B&B's near the Loch Lommond Area. Also recommend the followng website for great conrent planning a route and getting feedback from customers who have stayed at various castles, inns around Scotland: http://www.clansandcastles.com/
Oct 20th, 2003, 05:54 PM
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For the trip from edinburgh airport into the city center after you drop your car - just hop on the airport shuttle bus. It is fast, cheap, frequent and goes right up Princes Street.

A lot depends on how much driving you want to do on the 3-day loop. Port Appin is a long ways from Edinburgh - but it is a gorgeous area.

For closer in, a great place would be Culcreuch Castle. This is a 700 year-old castle in a 1600 acre parkland. Antiques, four posters, log fires, etc. between Stirling and Loch Lomond. www.culcreuch.com/
janis is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 09:37 AM
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Okay, we're thinking of changing things up a bit. Here's the new idea for itinerary: Fly into Gatwick May 30 and immediately fly from Gatwick to EDI. Rent a car at EDI and head west. Still looking for nice B & Bs or inns for nights of May 30, 31 and June 1. June 2 (our actual 20th anniversary) drop car early at EDI, shuttle into Edinburgh. Drop bags at hotel and sightsee Edinburgh. Stay at REALLY NICE hotel in Edinburgh and have a REALLY NICE dinner (our anniversary night). Then on the 3rd, a noon-ish flight to London for the rest of the day and all day the 4th in London. Then on the 5th, we have an 11am flight out of Gatwick back to the states. Now I still need suggestions for May 30-June1 in the countryside of Scotland, but I need a GREAT suggestion for the FINEST HOTEL and DINNER in Edinburgh. Thanks to all who've helped already.
jdsprod is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 10:16 AM
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I would do it by property, since the time scale is so tight.

I would do the Trossachs on the first night, and I would stay at the Monachyle Mhor.


On the second night I would go over to Loch Awe and stay at the Ardanaiseig.


On the 3rd night I would come over to the east (which perhaps is less romantic, since I'm struggling to come up with the same number of options in this neck of the woods) and I would suggest the Rufflets just outside St Andrew's.

Take the bus or a taxi back into the town centre. There are lots of super restaurants. My present favourite is Rogue in Morrison Street.
sheila is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 11:49 AM
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Anyone have thoughts on The Witchery Hotel and Restaurant for our anniversary night in Edinburgh? It looks pretty nice on the website.
jdsprod is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 12:22 PM
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FYI: The Airlds Hotel in Port Appin is no longer part of the Relais & Chateaux family of hotels.
virgo839 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 12:53 PM
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Soory, I started that last post some hours before I finished it. The recommendations maybe stand anyway.

Best hotel in Edinburgh is the Balmoral. Without question.

I am not a fan of the Witchery. I know others are.

The most highly rated restuarants are Rogue; Martin Wishart; and the Atrium.

Any one of those would be pretty good.

Rogue is pretty much next door to the Sheraton, and a few steps on from the Caledonian. Either would be a good complement to it as an eating place.
sheila is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 02:05 PM
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Why aren't you a fan of the Witchery?
jdsprod is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 02:30 PM
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jdsprod: Sheila has suggested the Ardanaiseig Hotel on Loch Awe for a romantic overnite...we just returned from a 3 night stay there 9-30/10-3 and I can confirm that it is romantic, secluded, beautiful, and has a very, very good dining room. The website is pretty accurate for photos, we stayed in the Inishall room. It is more on the shabby chic side than the sleek and luxurious, but it's a great place for romance. Also, there were no children there so it was very quiet. I don't believe they allow children under 12 in the dining room. The Loch and surrounding area is lovely too.
tubby is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2003, 03:13 PM
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I've posted about it before. I went for dinner espeially, with my husband, because so many of you went on about it. I think the decor is horribly overdone; the food was OK but not fantastic; the dining room was overcrowded- we were in the Secret Garden; and the price was ridiculous for the experience.

To give it its due, I thought the wine list was to die for.

There's nothing WRONG with it exactly; I just don't think it's what it's cracked up to be. Sorry.
sheila is offline  
Oct 27th, 2003, 09:26 AM
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Okay things keep morphing. I just visited over the weekend with a Scottish friend of mine. He suggests the following itinerary based on our time. We arrive London Gatwick morning of May 30. He suggests flying to Glasgow rather than Edinburgh. Drive to Loch Lomond area and overnight at the Cameron House Hotel. May 31 drive to Isle of Skye and overnight in Kyle of Lochalsh. Need an accomodation suggestion for there or nearby. June 1 long drive across to St. Andrews area and overnight at Rufflets. June 2 drive to Stirling and see castle then into EDI to return the rental car and shuttle into Edinburgh for walking tour. Balmoral or Caledonian hotels for our anniversary evening. Anniversary dinner at either Rogue, Atrium or Witchery. June 3, shuttle back to EDI for mid-morning flight to London City airport and two nights in London before June 5 return flight to states. How does this look? Is that June 1 day do-able? How many hours will we drive from Kyle of Lochalsh to St. Andrews? Thanks for all your help.
jdsprod is offline  

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