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London and Scotland in 10 Days - Reality Check

London and Scotland in 10 Days - Reality Check

Old Oct 15th, 2010, 04:56 PM
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London and Scotland in 10 Days - Reality Check

We are planning a trip for July 2011. Our family of 5 (3 kids ages 12, 10, & 8) and my inlaws.

My initial itinerary plans are as follows:

Day 1, Arrive London from Boston - 4 nights
Day 5, Drive to York - 1 night (Middlethorp Hall)
Day 6, Drive to Northumberland - 1 night (Langely Castle)
Day 7 Drive thru Edinburgh (site-see) on way to Perthshire
Days 8, 9 Gleneagles Resort - 2 nights
Day 10, Depart Edinburgh

We plan to hire a driver/tour guide.

My research indicates this is way too much for just 10 days. My family is very excited about Gleneagles, and I am very interested in Northumberland (castles).

My husband says this is like trying to do New York City, Boston and the coast of Maine in 10 days....which I think is completely doable, but I'm from New England and don't mind road tripping.

What else should I consider?
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 06:03 PM
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Sorry - you have just too much time on the road and not enough time seeing things. You really ha e only 8 days on the ground - and have listed 5 destinations.

(See Edinburgh on the way? - which thing exactly did you plan on seeing?)

IMHO if you have the money to hire a drive/guide (which will be a fortune) I would spend it instead on a longer vacation and drive yourself. If you're really limited to 8 days I would do either ALondon (with 1 or 2 day trips) or fly into Scotland and work the trip from there.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 10:45 PM
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Driving makes next to no sense in this case. Plus a driver guide will be massively expensive for a vehicle that seats 8 plus luggage.

And Northumberland w/ a short look-see in Edinburgh to Gleneagles is 'crazy making'. What do you expect to see in an hour in Edinburgh?

• London > York is about 225 miles and will take about 5 hours at the best of times (w/ no traffic and no stops). You'll basically have a couple of hours free in York and then have to press on the next morning.

• Haydon Bridge > Edinburgh > Auchterarder is about 150 miles and will take a minimum of 4.5 hours. That is w/o dealing w/ ANY traffic in Edinburgh or stops/sites. Realistically, w/ a detour into central Edinburgh you are talking a FULL/long day.

You need to step back and decide what you actually want to see/do. Each of the places you mention are worth seeing -- but 10 days is not enough time. (BTW - are you really, REALLY into golf? Gleneagles is a great hotel but VERY expensive and is very very 'golf-centric'.)

If Gleneagles is the be-all-end-all for your family -- then I'd consider:

Spend 5 nights in London (4 nights only nets you 3 full days plus your jetlagged first/recovery day)

Fly or take the train to Edinburgh and stay 2 nights. Rent 2 cars or hire a driver/guide for 2 nights and drive out to Auchterarder. Fly home from Edinburgh.

That is still a pretty full 10 days.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 10:57 PM
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meant to ask -- are you seeking specific castles in Northumberland -- or is it just castles in general? Because if you just like castles, there are more castles per square inch in Scotland than almost anywhere else on Earth. You can get your fill of castles w/ 2 days in Edinburgh and 2 days based in Perthshire.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 05:42 AM
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Thank you both very, very much for your perspectives.

I like the idea of spending more time in London. My struggle was trying to work in York (kids are studying Norse and Roman cultures in school this year) and wanting to see castles (thus Northumberland). Gleneagles had appeal for the golf (grandparents are big golfers and we loved the idea of them playing golf with their grandkids in Scotland). Also, my girls ride, so the horses worked as did they obvious relaxation and pampering.

You have confirmed what I think I knew myself. We're trying to do too much in too little time. Your perspective on the driving time is much appreciated, as Mapquest doesn't capture things like traffic and bathroom breaks. Good reminders.

Thanks again. I feel I'm going back to the drawing board, as they say.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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May I make a suggestion (and wild leap ) . . .

My guess is budget isn't a huge consideration given the ideas of a long-term driver-guide and Gleneagles (and yes -- I should have said 'golf & horse-centric').

York is fabulous and Hadrian's Wall is THE Roman site to see if possible. But you just don't have the time. If you can expand your trip to 14-16 days you could it all.

W/ a party of 7 the transport logistics would still be an issue/cost, but you could take trains to York, Northumberland and finally Edinburgh. And from there hire a driver/guide or rent two cars.

And you could also consider adding a day or two in the country - assuming you want 2 days AT Gleneagles, more time would let you visit Stirling/Doune Castles, Inchmahome Priory, Loch Tay, Loch Earn, Dunkeld, Killin, Castle Campbell and/or lots of other places.

BTW, renting two cars would be my choice if two of you can drive. The 2 or 3 days you'd need a car in Perthshire would be easy driving. But a driver-guide would also be OK.
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