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London and Scotland with 10&12 year old boys

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Jul 18th, 2012, 07:10 AM
  #1
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London and Scotland with 10&12 year old boys

Late November US to London for 3-4 days. Travel with two boys ages 10 and 12. The boys are into armour, castles, knights etc... Tower of London, London Eye. Then (possibley by train) to Edinburgh for 4-5 more days. Is a train during daylight better or the sleeper. I figure daytime so we can see the countryside but maybe not. I think we will see a lot of countryside on foot. In Scotland, of coarse, Edinburgh castle and I would love to do The Real Mary King's close. Deep Sea World shark dive. A train ride from Ft William to Malig would be cool. I also would love to climb or at least see Ben Nevis. A farmstay maybe in the Highlands. I need advice on where to stay, what is the best way to experience the area and culture. What the best attractions for the family are. I need an itinerary.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 07:21 AM
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Please clarify--are you talking about 4 or 5 days in Edinburgh followed by more time for the train/Ben Nevis/farm stay (doubt you will be climbing Ben Nevis in Nov) . . . OR . . . 4 or 5 days for the Edinburgh and everything else too?

Advantages and disadvantages to the day vs sleeper trains. The Day train is faster, costs less, - but the only decent scenery really is during the final 25% of the journey. Sleeper costs more (but saves a night's hotel cost). Could be a big adventure for the kids - or they/you might not sleep at all and make the next day difficult.

Taking the day train, you could break the journey for a few hours in York (or better yet an overnight) and see the Railway museum, the wonderful York Castle Museum, and the Jorvik Viking centre (kinda cheesey for adults but great for kids)
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Jul 18th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Your days will be REALLY short and getting shorter. Edinburgh is farther north than any major city in North America (closer to the North Pole than Edmonton); London is about on a line with Calgary. Don't get it? Think of it like this: Rome is considered Southern Europe, it's on a line with New York City, which to Americans is the "Northeast."

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This is fish in a barrel stuff: in London they'll like the Tower, Imperial War Museum, Cabinet War Rooms. In Edinburgh and nearby there's Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyrood House, Stirling Castle (day trip from Edinburgh), Scone Palace (also can be day trip from Edinburgh) and more. Travel distances in Scotland by car are effectively longer than in the US or Canada because Scots think a four-lane highway (two per direction) is a big deal but in the US that can be a side street.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 09:16 AM
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. A train ride from Ft William to Malig would be cool.>

Especially if you want to take the special steam-hauled trains with antique train carriages - some scenes from Harry Potter were shot on the train line I believe. Normal trains run the route too of course but the old steam trains may be nicer for kiddos.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 09:19 AM
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"Especially if you want to take the special steam-hauled trains with antique train carriages "

Not in November, they can't.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 04:38 PM
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Janisj- 4-5 days in Scotland. OK so climbing Ben Nevis is out, no problem. Are there any rail or gondolas that go to the summit in Nov? We are very flexable in our plans. Might be that we save Ben Nevis and the Highlands for a return trip. The possibility of only doing England or only Scotland could work as well. Husband wants England and I Scotland but we can compromise. I was planning the whole vacation for 8-10 days. We'll get our Harry Potter fix outside London in the studio museum there so nevermind the Ft William-Malig.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 05:31 PM
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If you are taking the train from London to Edinburgh, do stop in York. Your sons will love it. My son age 12 loved York. His favorite things were walking the ramparts of the walls and the railroad museum.

In Edinburgh, see the Castle and Camera Obscura. Also, Stirling is a day trip from Edinburgh.

Two years ago when we visited London for the first time, son's favorites were the Tower of London--spent five hours there and Hampton Court Palace--try to time your visit when and if they do live kitchen demonstrations. Not sure if they do that in November.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 04:30 AM
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OK so climbing Ben Nevis is out, no problem. Are there any rail or gondolas that go to the summit in Nov

There's no railway - serious walkers/climbers only, especially at that time of year.

Another possibility if you really want to get up a Scottish mountain easily is Cairn Gorm which has a funicular railway up to the top. http://www.cairngormmountain.org/
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Jul 19th, 2012, 04:51 AM
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>There's no railway - serious walkers/climbers only, especially at that time of year.<

Actually there is a gondola in the Nevis range up Aonach Mor. Great views of Ben Nevis and the whole region weather permitting. It's open all year round.

http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/index.asp
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Jul 19th, 2012, 05:56 AM
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BUT, you could only do that in 4-5 days with some difficulty. Save the Highlands for another trip, I would.

It might be worth a car hire or tour excursion to Doune with the boys? "Life of Brian" and all that.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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It might be worth a car hire or tour excursion to Doune with the boys? "Life of Brian" and all that.

Holy Grail, I believe . . .
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