Help with York Edinburgh, Stirling, etc.

Old Oct 24th, 2007, 06:52 AM
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Help with York Edinburgh, Stirling, etc.

We are going to be in England for 6 weeks and want to take 7-8 days for the following trip (2 adults, 2 teenage boys) and would appreciate your advice:

Train from London to York - 2 nights in York
Train from York to Edinburgh - 2-3 nights
Stirling - 1 night (Duone Castle - Monty Python!)
Then - Glasgow?

We are very interested in York and Edinburgh and have read extensively about the sites. I would appreciate any recommended hotels, B&B's and unusual sites that you would recommend.

Specific questions:

1. Husband wants to run on the beach at St. Andrews like the movie "Chariots of Fire." How best to get there?
2. Should we rent car for St. Andrews, Stirling, Duone, Glasgow and then train back to London? Or is there a public transportation option?
3. Any specific attractions for two sons: 15 & 20?
4. Any other recommendations after Stirling besides going to Glasgow?
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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I'm not sure if I'm stating the very obvious, but the National Railway Museum should be a total must - at least for any boys age 1-99 ;-)
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 07:19 AM
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When is the trip? Makes a difference re a couple of sites that close in the off season. And what is your budget for accomodations?

If it were me for what you want to see/do - I'd do it this way:

2 nights Edinburgh, then pick up a car earlin a.m. the next day and head NE into Fife for one day/night. See St Andrews, the fishing villages, etc.

Then near Stirling for 2 nights (I wouldn't stay IN Stirling itself but nearby like in/around Callander. See Stirling an Doune castles, Inchmahome Priory (closed in winter) waterfalls, hikes in the area and so on.

Then around Loch Lomond and down into Glasgow fro 1 or 2 nights.

A few possible B&Bs:

In Crail on the east coast of Fife near St Andrews http://www.caipliehouse.com/

In/Near Callander
http://www.rosebankhouse.co.uk/
http://www.frennich-house.co.uk/
For a bit of a splurge this one is a lovely lake-side hotel looking across to the island/Inchmahome Priory http://www.lake-hotel.com/
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Out a bit from Edinburgh is the Falkirk Wheel. It is an interesting see. In Edinburgh, there is the castle of course, plus the museums. Shopping/walking down the mile and Princess St.is great fun.

In Edinburgh, we stayed at numberfive.com. self catering. It is in Portobello, but the bus stop is right outside and it only costs 2.50 pounds r/t. to go into Edinburgh. They have better prices the in town.

We did the Willow Tea Room in Glasgow. The afternoon tea, with sandwiches, etc. was delightful. It is above a jewelry store. Plus, the Glasgow art museum is a good see. Also, it seems that the downtown is very walkable. The bus from Edinburgh to Glasgow is cheaper than driving. If you rent a car to see the area, then use it to go to Glasgow along with Stirling, etc. Be careful parking in Glasgow. It can get expensive if you do decks. Look for street parking, but to do so, you must get there very early in the morning, before the workers get them all.

I would also rent a car to go to St. Andrews. I tried to find bus or train information and it was spotty at best. While in St. Andrews, do the Bellhaven Ale tour in Bellhaven, Scotland. It is not to far down the road. Call or email ahead for reservations. It it the oldest remaining beer brewery in Scotland. I live close to Belhaven, NC so it was really interesting to me. There are a couple of nice pubs around the inlet also.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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First, if you are going to do a lot of train travel you might want to check out the family Britrail pass which you purchase here prior to your trip.
To York you will take the train from Kings Cross station. Tons of things to see in York. Something I did last year was to take the bus, from the train station, to a WWII POW camp located just past Malton. The boys will enjoy it, however it will take most of the day. I stayed at St. Mary's hotel, really, a decent B&B. If you are using a rail pass, from Edinburgh you can head up to Leuchars, the station nearest to St. Andrews, then taxi or bus to town.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 07:42 AM
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jkbritt: Maybe you are confusing a couple of tours. Belhaven is nowhere near St Andrews. It is on the East Lothian coast near Dunbar.

But your suggestion of teh Falkirk Wheel is a good one.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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You are correct. They are different directions. I did drive Edinburgh-Portobello to St. Andrews to Belhaven, Scotland in one long day. That is why I remember it as being together. I did the loop to St. Andrews and on the way back to Portobello, just kept going to Belhaven. I did not spend a lot of time in St. Andrews, which is why I had enough time to do both the same day. I was just sight-seeing in the St. Andrews area. You are correct though - If they spend time in St. Andrews, then Belhaven is to far a drive for one day.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 08:13 AM
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You drove Edinburgh to St Andrews to Edinburgh to Belhaven and back to Edinburgh in 1 day?? crazy! I'd love to see the rest of the itinerary

There is a lot more to see in the area than just St Andrews - plenty enough to more than fill a day. And a lot to see in East Lothian - more than enough to fill another day.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 08:37 AM
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Edinburgh is my favorite city!

I would recommend taking in some of the night time ghost tours - I though City of the Dead Tour was particularly interesting.

Also fascinating was the Real Mary King's Close tour - I'm sure your teenagers would enjoy it too! It is great quality.

I recommend you not get pulled in to the Edinburgh "Dungeon" (or any of the other "Dungeons" in York or London" - campy, expensive and painfully loooong.

As for York.

The York Castle museum was excellent - and I was very much museumed out by that point. Very entertaining for all ages - what a surprise!

I personally think the Jorvik Viking museum was a dud - expensive and small. Attempts to recreate the smells of Jorvik were nauseating though I imagine could get a breif giggle from your teens.

If you spend any time in London - maybe take in a London Walk - perhaps the Jack the Ripper tour or something along those lines - great price and very interesting.

Have a great trip!

Molly
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 08:51 AM
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Yep, did that! Wife wanted to see some Scottish scenery, so up early and away we went. I was in Edinburgh for 7 days. We did the drive on our 3rd day there, then the next day, we took the bus into Edinburgh. It was a tad more relaxing! When you leave at 6:00 AM, it is doable. Long, but doable. By the way, the car was not a rental. I had bought it to use in UK for the month we were there, so daily rental rate did not apply. Use it or not, my only daily expense was gas and or parking fees.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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Thanks for all the great responses. To clarify, this trip will be the end of May, first of June. Our budget for accommodations for the four of us is up to $250-275 a night.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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Numberfive.com is just one of several self-catering accommodations. It allows you to cook some food, which can save some valuable cash. Also, B&B might be available in your price range.
If ok with simple surroundings, look at https://www.travelodge.co.uk/saver. They have rooms from 19-29 pounds per room at times. Booked well in advance, they might be worth it.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 11:20 AM
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 11:26 PM
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Hi
I live near York and would definitely recommend you visit - you and your sons would love it.
One thing you might want to note - w/c 26th May is half term holiday in the UK for schools. This means everything is very much busier - trains will be fuller etc.
York if full of interesting places to visit. Don't miss the Minster. The Railway Museum is free to get in and really good - even for people who think they don't like trains! You can walk along the ancient walls, take a boat down the river, go on a ghost walk etc etc.
One other tip - when you go on the train from York to Edinburgh sit on the right hand side - at first the views are quite mundane but as you get further north it becomes quite spectacular. You can see Durham Cathedral, Holy Island (Lindisfarne)and some fantastic coastal scenery as the line hugs the sea.
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Old Oct 25th, 2007, 04:19 AM
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I've reserved an apartment in Edinburgh for the period right after you are - starting June 14th for three nights. The apartments look lovely, are reasonably priced, and are very close to the castle.

http://www.aboutscotland.co.uk/edin/westbow.html

The hosts are great with communication, and the place really looks incredible. They have several apartments for different sized parties. We have 7, so are taking both at 87a.
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Old Oct 25th, 2007, 04:55 AM
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Morgana gave lots of good info - lots to fill up your 2 days. Mixed reviews for the Jorvik Viking Center - Many visitors think it is cheesy. But I personally think it is worth a visit if you have the time. I wouldn't do it instead of the Castle museum which is one of the best in the UK.

(Just in case - my original post was just for the Scotland bit. Didn't mean to imply you should skip York)
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Old Oct 25th, 2007, 05:15 AM
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If you are renting a car (I recommend it) and are travelling to Stirling castle, I would suggest you take a couple of hours to visit Falkland Palace. It is located in a small Scottish village but the tour was great (I found it similar to the Tower of London tour for insightful information). Yorkshire and Scotland were two of my favourite vacations and you will truly love the trip.
Jeff
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Old Oct 25th, 2007, 05:26 AM
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re Falkland Palace -- If you do an overnight in Fife for St Andrews, that is when you could visit Flakland. It is only about 20 miles from St Andrews.
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Old Oct 25th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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Such great information!

Morgana, thanks for the tip about where to sit on the train. And is the school holiday just for that week? We probably won't be leaving London until June 1.

The lodging recommendations all look great. Any more opinions on the Viking center in York? Viking anything sounds like a real teenage boy thing.

Has anyone been to Duone Castle and was it worth seeing, other than recognizing it from the Monty Python movie?

Falkland Palace looks like a great recommendation. Any other suggestions?
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