Help with Bath and Scotland plans

Old Jun 8th, 2001, 10:14 AM
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Help with Bath and Scotland plans

This forum has been so helpful in planning our upcoming first trip to the UK! We(54 year old and 14 year old) have 3 weeks (Bath 2-3 days, Cotswolds 3-4 days, Keswick in Lakes District 2-3 days, Scotland 3-6 days, Durham 1 day, York 2-3 days, London 3 days). We are especially interested in history, castles, stone circles, walking, Celtic music & lochs in Scotland. Here are some areas I'd like some advice & imput about: Do Bath and York each warrent 3 days or should I steal more time for Scotland? What activities, sights would folks recommend for 3 days (each) in Bath & York? We are still trying to decide what to see in Scotland-coming from the Lakes District we're planning on taking a train to either Glasgow or Glen Coe then picking up a car to tour for 2-3 days (but where given the roads and driving times). I don't want to be spending much more than 4 hours a day driving while in Scotland and am confused by all the possibilities. I'm not particularily attached to having a car but though we might be able to make better use of our short time with one. We will have 3 nights in Edinburgh at the end of our Scotland time(having turned in the car). All suggestions are appreciated!

Old Jun 8th, 2001, 10:42 AM
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I would only spend one\two days in Bath and definitely put the extra days toward Scotland. Bath is a beautiful city but not that big. If you start early you can easily do a hop on hop off bus tour and see the whole city in a day. And the Roman Baths are o.k. but in my mind overpriced and over-rated. There is so much to see in Scotland that you will want the extra days there. I agree with you about only driving 4 hours a day but also sugguest you do that driving early in the morning planning to be at your destination no later than noon so you have all afternoon to look around. Things close earlier in the UK than they do in the states. One mistake we made on our trip was getting to our destination at 3 in the afternoon when most things close at 5 or 6. Scotland is loaded with castles. The one at Stirling is really nice and of course the one at Edinburgh. I think a car is really the best way to see Scotland. It gives you alot of freedom and the roads aren't as crowded as they are in England so the driving isn't bad. It does take longer to get places than you'd think though. Many roads while nice are just 2 lanes and winding. Once you get behind a slow lorie (truck) you are stuck doing 45mph forever. It's difficult to pass.
We loved our trip to the UK and if it's your first everything you see will be new and wonderful. Have fun I wish I could go with you.
Old Jun 8th, 2001, 10:48 AM
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2 days for Bath is ample, although it is a great place. Mind you , you could go the Cheddar Gorge from there-unmissable!!!The area is dramatic and the caves are huge!
York- I've already replied on this one recently-look for the post as others gave suggestions there too- but anyway - you must go to the Castle Museum,Yorvik
viking Centre , walk the wall and go to Eden camp which is outside of York.
In Scotland I strongly advise the West Coast- the scenery is breathtaking and there is so much to do-Oban is where to stay.You certainly have made a good choice of destinations. Enjoy it!!!
Old Jun 8th, 2001, 11:49 AM
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Hi Christy -

More time for Scotland, by all means! York only needs 2 days, and that includes a morning at Castle Howard (about 20 minutes northeast). We stopped in Durham for a few hours on our way to Melrose in the Borders. I would say give Durham 3 hours.

Renting a car is by far the most efficient way to do this trip. Driving on the right is not a problem at all, and the roundabouts, while a bit tricky at first, are actually very effective. One lifesaver, though - rent an automatic. That way you don't have to relearn shifting.

Oban is an excellent base, especially for Mull and Iona, Inverary Castle, and Glen Coe. We stayed at the Barriemore and thought it was great. About $90-$100 a night. Super hostess called Ina.

Farther up toward Loch Ness, we stayed at the Glengarry Castle Hotel in Invergarry on Loch Oich. Gorgeous and elegant without being the least bit stuffy. Superb service and very beautiful place, inside and out. Cost about $180 a night, but that was for a deluxe room with windows overlooking the loch and the gardens, and included a terrific 4 course dinner. Invergarry makes an excellent base for Loch Ness, Glen Coe, Skye, and Inverness. One special treat was a trip up past Inverness to Golspie, to see Dunrobin Castle. It was exactly 2 hours from Invergarry.

Here's what we did in 2 weeks - Flew to Glasgow, rented car, drove to our hotel near Kendal - a great place called Temple Sowerby House. Next day - get this - drove a circuit around the lake District - don't miss the Silverstone Pass and Derwentwater - and THEN on to York. You could certainlty slow that down a bit, but it's doable. 2 nights in York. Then to Galashiels in the Borders for 1 night, with a stop in Durham. Then to Oban for 2 nights. From Oban to Skye, with an overnight in Portree. I would do Skye from Invergarry instead. Then to Invergarry for 2 glorious nights. Then to Perth, which I would skip, and then to Edinburgh with a detour to St. Andrews. Dropped off the car in Edinburgh. 3 nights in Edinburgh, and 1 night in Glasgow before flying home.

Have a great trip!
Old Jun 8th, 2001, 01:06 PM
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I second those opinions of a shorter stay in Bath. I realy loved Bath and the area but found that we could "see it all" in a shorter time frame. We started off as soon as we flew in from USA, drove to Stonehenge where we did an audio tour and then onto Bath. We loved the Roman Baths and my kids got a kick out of drinking the awful water! Ate at Sally Lunn's Buns. (oldest tea house in Bath)My husband is still recovering from sticker shock 2 yearsvlater. I thought it was worth the experience. Good buns. Saw everything we wanted to in Bath. Left the next morning and went to The Cheddar Gorge. Loved that too. Could not go to the cheese factory as it was the wrong time of year. there is also a famous house near there but I can't remember its name. We then moved on to the Cotswolds.

So even though we were somewhat jetlagged and were traveling with kids, a day and a half was plenty. Although I would have liked to see Salisbury cathedral.
Old Jun 8th, 2001, 03:37 PM
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It seems like everyone agrees that Scotland is worth a little more time. My wife and I stayed near Humbie, southeast of Edinburgh about two weeks ago. One of the things we did was to take a day to see some castle ruins.
We got to the A1 towards Dunbar and Hailes castle is about midway between Haddington and Dunbar. I think the exit is near East Linton. Watch for the signs. There is nobody home at the castle, but there is a little box asking for donations. The last part of the road is one of those one lane roads where someone will have to back up to let the other pass. We really liked exploring this old castle. Next we went to Dunbar. You can't really get in the castle. It's been taken over by birds and not suitable for touring but you can walk around some of the battery(?) areas and there are some nice little shops and restaurants. Then we went to Tantallon castle, near North Berwick off the A198. This was the best. In fact, we liked it better than Edinburgh Castle. You can take the winding, narrow stairs all the way to the top (about five or six stories high.) The last castle we saw this day was Dirleton which is also near N Berwick. It had beautful formal gardens. We want to go back to Scotland and just find castles to tour!
If you're driving to London you might want to stop at Avebury, about 20 miles north and a little west of Stonehenge.
Have a great trip! You'll love Scotland!
Old Jun 9th, 2001, 05:45 AM
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definitely see Avebury. It is a huge stone circle. But also see the West Kennet Passage grave just down the road. You park by the sign along the road, then go thru the farmers field up the hill (not very well signed at all). Then you are at the grave - probably all by yourself. Very interesting.

In Scotland, be sure to visit my favorite castle - Threave. You drive down a small country road and then up a long driveway and park in a small parking lot in a farmer's front yard. You then walk for 1/2 mile or so on a path between the field fences. You come to a river, the ring the bell. A boat comes over from the island to take you to the island castle. It is truly unique. Also nearby is Caeverlock castle, Scotland's only triangular castle. It has a life size model of a catapult which gives you a good idea of how big they were.

Two other smaller castles I liked are Doune Castle and Castle Campbell, both just outside of Stirling which of course has a nice big castle.

Driving in Scotland is very slow except on the biggest roads. If you are like me, you probably drive a little slower the first time you drive on a smaller road. I found it hard to go more than 45 on any roads other than the very best roads.
Old Jun 9th, 2001, 09:24 AM
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Don't know if you're into antiquing or not--but Bath is great and also head to Devon--but 2 days in Bath is good.
We just got back from the UK- went to CHester( a great city-lots of antiquing-largest zoo in Europe-and it WAS open-river around city with boat rides etc)-also we went to Lakes District-to Grasmere--our weather was typically british-rains,overcast,rain,drizzle--bring lite raincoat and couple of sweater-don't know when you're going---
Have a great trip--the UK IS WONDERFUL-can't wait to go back.

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