London-York-Edinburgh: Too Ambitious?

May 22nd, 2003, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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London-York-Edinburgh: Too Ambitious?

DH, myself and our 2 children, ages 5 & 9 will be spending 8 nights in Britain at the end of November. Do you think our London-York-Edinburgh itinerary is too ambitious?

We were considering 4 nights in London then taking the high speed train to York for 2 nights then the train to Edinburgh for 2 nights. Our final day we would fly EDI-LHR-Home.

We got many of our ideas for this itinerary from the Rick Steves guides. Also - dh's company has offices in London and Edinburgh and he was looking forward to visiting. As for York - it just sounds too wonderful to miss with the great history and appeal to children (ancient walls to climb, Jorvic Viking Center etc...)

Our family has travelled quite a bit but we have never been overseas with the children.
CathyF is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 12:27 PM
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Seems perfectly doable to me: a nice mix of places, busy but without excessive traveling time each day. I'd recommend you shop around for the return flight to London and above all book early for the best deals.
Gordon_R is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 01:00 PM
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Very doable, but remember that nights will be long and will start at about 1600 or so at that time of year.
Re trains - Are you getting a Britrail pass, or will yuo be booking point-point tickets?
Go to for ticketing advice. FYI, London Kings Cross is the start point for York.
If you book ahead (but no longer than 3 months ahead, I think) you can get lots of bargains, even on single tickets (our name for one-way). 2nd class is fine - try to book seat of 4 with a table. Travel light as there is only a limited amount of space. All stations are easy to get to. In York, you might even be able to walk to your hotel.
Have a look at how a Britrail pass would work out. It might be worthwhile in that you can use it on the Heathrow Express as well. The Britrail pass has various options, allowing you to travel a certain number of days in a certain period of time.
nigel is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 07:55 AM
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We did London, York and Edinburgh when our kids were a bit older and they loved it. See if you can get tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London (not sure they do this in November, though) which gives you a smaller group experience with plenty of tales thrown in. Our kids loved the "Ghost Walk" in York, but it may be a little too spooky for the five year old.

I'd read about a woodcarver that worked on many of the pews in the British cathedrals and always carved a mouse into the detail work as his personal signature. I'd shared this story with my daughter and she asked the verger who led tours of York Minster. He beamed at her and immediately showed her where to look - delighted with a child who was interested. I think she found some in several of the other churches we visited - it certainly gave her something to look for!

Also, you might check out the plays in London for ones the kids would enjoy - especially if you can find one with English ties. "Oliver" was playing at the time we were there and it gave our kids another view of London.

The kids also enjoyed the train trips,since that was a new experience. I'd advise packing some extra snacks (what's available on the train can be mediocre and expensive)and some books -again something with an English setting helps!

Wren2 is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 08:39 AM
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Don't miss the National Railway Museum in York. The kids will love it. I stopped in for a quick look and took 6 hours. Didn't see it all either. Have a great holiday.
chrisp is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 09:33 AM
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Wren2, that carver was Robert Thompson.
alan64 is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 11:07 AM
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Thanks for all the great responses - and encouragement! I think we will go ahead and continue our original plan to see all 3 cities.
CathyF is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 01:16 PM
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I have a long file on London, including some suggestions for kids
If you'd like to see it,email me at
[email protected]
elaine is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 07:41 PM
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Alan64 - I was trying to remember the fellow's name and was about to dig out my old tour book to look for the story. Thanks for jogging my memory. Kids who might otherwise feel obliged to be bored by traditional sightseeing usually have fun when there are special things that they can look for - those mice got us into more cathedrals than most nine year olds would tolerate!

I also found that having "pre-immersed" my kids in plenty of good English children's literature helped them enjoy their trip. They "recognized" many things: the banks of a river where Mole & Ratty could have been "messing about in boats", a forest that could have harbored Robin Hood's men (even though it was actually in Yorkshire), the castle at Tintagel and Glastonbury Tor, which they declared as the best possible site for Camelot, etc. Even the train stations were somewhat familiar, from Paddington Bear, the Railway Children and the Narnia books. And of course there were plenty of streams for playing "Pooh sticks."

Travelling with kids can be fun, and CathyF, you've chosen some fun places to do it!

Wren2 is offline  
May 24th, 2003, 08:27 PM
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About 5 years ago, my husband and I did 3 nights in London, took the train to York, spent 2 nights there, and then spent 2 nights in Sterling and 3 in Edinburgh. We rented a car in York because we wanted to spend some time in the countryside and we used it in the Sterling area and to drive to Edinburgh. But you definitely do not need a car in York or Edinburgh and they are both wonderful cities to visit. You might prefer to spend 3 nights each in London and Edinburgh. You will never see all of London, and you might want two full days in Edinburgh. The Jorvic Center in York will charm your children. And the wonderful little streets with old buidings cantileveered over the streets - almost touching each other across the street. And the city walls that you can walk. York is amazing.

You will have a wonderful time.

axelrod6 is offline  
May 25th, 2003, 07:57 AM
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Once again thank you so much for all the great feed back!

Elaine - I just sent you an email. Thanks for your generosity!

Wren2 - I love the mouse story - it is sure to keep my husband and myself entertained as well!
CathyF is offline  
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