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Northern England/Southern Scotland Itinerary - Mai Tai Tom Requests Your Help Please.

Northern England/Southern Scotland Itinerary - Mai Tai Tom Requests Your Help Please.

Old Aug 15th, 2021, 04:25 PM
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Northern England/Southern Scotland Itinerary - Mai Tai Tom Requests Your Help Please.

I have finally finished my initial planning for our late spring trip to Northern England and Southern Scotland that will be probably be canceled by a 10th wave of Covid. Sadly, not enough time for the Lake District on this one. Now it’s time for Janis, Gardyloo plus other experts of the area and past travelers to tell me what I’ve done wrong in my planning, which actually I look forward to for some masochistic reason … “Tom, you idiot!” Below is my tentative schedule, and I've added some of the things we want to see along the way (I know I have way too much, but easier to scale down than add at last minute).

Day 1 - Fly to London
Day 2 - 4 London (might cut a day in London)
Day 5 - 7 Train to York (stay York)
Day 8 - 9 Rent car and drive Durham by way of RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Fountains Abbey, Ripon Cathedral, Aysgarth Falls, Bolton Castle (we will choose among the four of us our priorities of those)
Day 10 - 11 Rothbury (by way of Hadrians Wall stuff) Spend a quiet second day in Rothbury drinking beer and seeing local sights and drinking more beer.
Day 12 Abbotsford (by way of Floors Castle & Gardens, Melrose Abbey & other stuff) … I deviated from going to Ainwick and seeing southeast coast because too much driving and wanted to spend more time in Oban and Mull.
Day 13 - 15 Glasgow (stop at a couple of places along the way including Rosslyn Chapel)
Day 16 Kilmartin by way of Kilchurn and Inveraray Castles.
The next four days and how to allot time confuse me. I have given up and left it to you to guide me down this Scottish path.
Day 17 and 18 Oban (see Dunstaffnage Castle and Ardchattan Priory near Oban and other Oban stuff. Drink lots of whisky, maybe even before noon on Day 2).
Day 19 - 20 Isle of Mull (trying to figure out the best way to incorporate these two days with Oban … on our list are Duart Castle, Tobermory, Staffa and Iona Abbey. Where to stay and ferries to Staffa and Iona are among the conundrum I am facing.
Day 21 Killin (via Castle Stalker (look for Monty Python), Ballachulish, Glen Etive and Falls of Dochart) I could be talked into another day in this area to relax before last destination since there are other spots in the area I wouldn’t mind checking out.
Day 20 -24 Edinburgh (on way, yes, I know too many here, too, although we could do a few as an Edinburgh day trip … Bracklinn Falls, Culross, Falkirk Wheel, Linlithgow Palace, Blackness Castle, Hopetoun House, Dalmeny Kirk, Lauriston Castle. Explore more of Edinburgh.
Day 25 - Collapse on plane and Fly Home

I’m exhausted just posting this so hopefully we can accomplish this itinerary without any hospitalizations. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. I have been known to be navigationally challenged, so route help is very much appreciated. Any misspellings in this post are due to inept typing and lack of my renowned editor, who is busily at work with a salmon recipe at the moment.
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Old Aug 15th, 2021, 08:04 PM
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Can't help with the Scottish section, but in the Durham area I would suggest investigating the Beamish Open Air Museum. It's been a long time since I was there, and it looks like they've jazzed it up a bit, but I spent several hours enjoying it. Gives you a good idea of life in a mining village and nearby town in the Edwardian era.

https://www.beamish.org.uk/explore-discover/

And I'm assuming you already plan to visit Durham cathedral?
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Old Aug 15th, 2021, 09:35 PM
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OK -- Too late to absorb it all sensibly - will look over the plan again tomorrow AM. But just a couple of 'off the top of my head' comments:

• BIG ditto to Beamish. Plan on several hours -- it is huge.

• I'd consider cutting one night from Oban and adding it to Mull. Mull is quite large, the scenery is glorious, Staffa and Iona are time eaters, and the driving is slow to VERY slow. I'd stay in Fionnphort to be convenient to Iona foot ferry, and boats to Staffa. (there is no 'ferry' to Staffa -- local tour boats take you out there). IF they have availability I strongly recommend Seaview Guest House https://www.iona-bed-breakfast-mull.com (book very early because they book up far ahead)

Bracklinn Falls are pretty but can be cut if you have a time crunch.

• Rothbury s a good base but not much to see/do IN the town. Craigside gardens are very nice.



One of my TRs covers several of the Northumberland/North Yorksire/Beamish/Rothbury/Killin/etc etc bits. Warning -- it is loooong Saddest, weirdest, 'funnest', trip ever


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Old Aug 15th, 2021, 11:30 PM
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Tom, depending on you level of fitness you might enjoy the walk from Fountains to Ripon along footpaths. Parking in York can be tricky so choose a hotel in the centre with parking. Or at least near one of the gates if outside the medieval centre.
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 05:15 AM
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While I can't help with most of Scotland, I was in Glasgow a couple of years back.

Start here: An eccentric trip around the UK

BTW, don't be seduced by the new V&A outpost in Dundee, I was very, very disappointed.
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 06:38 AM
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https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fou...ins-abbey-walk

only 4 miles
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 06:51 AM
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If interested in early 19th century industrial reform, what about New Lanark?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Lanark

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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 07:22 AM
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Happy to try and help with the North Yorkshire section. I live near and work at Fountains Abbey. Needs at least half a day.
The V&A at Dundee was a huge disappointment.
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 09:06 AM
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No expert here by any stretch of the imagination but here are my comments:

We loved York--make sure to include the great National Railway Museum while there. We spent a few hours there if I recall correctly.

I also recommend Stirling Castle as a daytrip while in Edinburgh. And Doune Castle if you are a Monty Python fan. Definitely try to see the Falkirk Wheel--interesting engineering marvel.

In Edinburgh I highly recommend both The Real Mary's King Close and Gladstone Land--a merchant house as "must sees".
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 09:48 AM
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I confess I haven't spent much time (really, any?) in Rothbury, but while I agree that Alnwick can be skipped I would suggest you give consideration to spending the Rothbury night in Bamburgh instead. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/v5qBTobAHoTKNNSo8

Bamburgh is ridiculously scenic - see the castle from both the village and ocean sides, and in "late spring" you're going to have enough daylight (lots) that the day from Durham up to Bamburgh (via Rothbury if you like) won't be at all tiring. Note I assume that by "Hadrian's Wall" you mean the Housesteads fort area.) Bamburgh Castle was CGId into Wentworth Prison in Outlander, by the way.

Pictures (not mine) - from the village -



... and from the beach -



The next day, you could (tides willing - the causeway is only open at low water times) pay a visit to the very historic and atmospheric Holy Island before heading up the Tweed to Coldstream, Melrose Abbey et al - a pleasant and not very difficult drive.

I'll comment on other parts of the trip later. I'd personally be inclined to add some time to the Edinburgh days and add Glasgow as a day trip by train, rather than earlier as a stopover point with a car.
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 09:50 AM
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Just another quick comment -- on Day 12 definitely try to fit in Dryburgh Abbey. Its near Melrose and even more evocative / atmospheric IMO. Robert the Bruce's heart is buried at Dryburgh (yep - just the heart). At Melrose look for the Bagpiping pig gargoyle.

One suggestion -- Abbotsford is very interesting but IME/IMO Traquair House would be a must (its about 15 miles west of Abbotsford).
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 09:51 AM
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Didn't see Gardyloo's post -- I didn't suggest adding time to Edinburgh because I think they saw quite a bit of it on their last visit.
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 11:17 AM
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If you go to Bamburgh there’s a lovely seafood restaurant in the village called the Lobster Pot. Needs to be booked well in advance.
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 11:38 AM
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Afraid I was underwhelmed by Stirling castle, plenty of better castles around.

An eccentric trip around the UK
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 11:58 AM
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Lots of great ideas you guys have given me to ponder here. I did have Bamburgh, not Ainwick, as a place to stay. I mixed up my towns.

Off the top of my head, we could spend a night in Rothbury after all the Hadrian Wall stuff (yes, Housesteads Fort area) and walking. Then visit Craigside Gardens in Rothbury the next morning and drive short distance to Bamburgh (or skip Rothbury and stay in Bamburgh for two nights, and see coastal sights). Might skip the Holy Island, so you don't read about four Americans being drowned in their car. The next day we'd do the things on way to Abbotsford and Sir Walter Scott. If I delete a day in Glasgow, I might add it to Killin near the end, since we won't get there until late in day. Looks like it is a pretty area with enough to do, and the crew would not hate me if they could relax for a day and do some hiking. Janis is right that we have seen a lot in Edinburgh, so three full days and a four nights should suffice on this visit.

Most confusing still is Isle of Mull. Three days seem like a lot. Fionnphort is a great place for a boat ride to Staffa and see the puffins we missed in Oregon, and also visit the abbey on Isle of Iona. I'm sure I'm missing something here, but where else do you recommend for two more days visiting Mull? Duart Castle and Tobermory and ... ?

Beamish Open Air Museum looks cool earlier in the trip.

Thanks everyone for the tips and restaurant ideas. All ideas are welcome.


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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
Afraid I was underwhelmed by Stirling castle, plenty of better castles around.
Just different strokes - of the many people I've traveled with/taken to Scotland over the years nearly half have actually preferred Stirling Castle to Edinburgh Castle (not sure if the maitai's visited Stirling before - I seem to remember they did hit Doune and because they stayed at Roman Camp its a good possibility they've been--there-done-that)
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Old Aug 16th, 2021, 12:49 PM
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We visited Stirling (had a funny guide, at least the parts we understood ... had a great time), and then ran around banging coconuts at Doune. Never figured out the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, however, whether it be an African or a European Swallow.
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Old Aug 17th, 2021, 08:11 AM
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Today my assignment for myself is scouting out scenic Mull drives.
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Old Aug 17th, 2021, 09:29 AM
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It would be a huge shame to miss Holy Island. Absolutely magical and beautiful place. I love driving across the Causeway and it always feels special. Just check the tides!
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Old Aug 17th, 2021, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by maitaitom View Post
Today my assignment for myself is scouting out scenic Mull drives.
Well the road from Craignure to Tobermory is OK and the road from Loch Na Keal to Salen is very bland.

The rest is jaw dropping stunning.

The route you are suggesting involves (probably) in and out of Oban. I'd take the Oban to Craignure route and then drive down to Iona spend a night there. then drive up Loch Scridain left into Loch na Keal, past Ulva over to Calgary and then to Tobermory. Great bakery in Tobermory. From there take the 20 minute car ferry to Kilchoan and go over to Ardnamuchan point/ Sanna Beach (one of the best in the UK). From there drive down loch Sunart take the 10 minute ferry at Corran ferry and then down Glencoe for Glen Etive. (don't let Janis tell you that you can't drive it in a day ....I cycled it in a day last August :-0

I hope this isn't too personal a question but ....how fit are you. From Tobermory you can take a trip to swim with seals and basking sharks (25ft long) but I think that they only appear in summer not sure.

There's one spot, driving into Loch Sunart where you can look across to Rum, Muck, Eigg and Skye it is one of my favourite views in Britain on a sunny day. There's also lots of small corners in this area which are much quieter than the rest of The Highhlands.

Glen Etive isn't what it used to be , it was my secret, special place 25 years ago. very quiet and very special place. Then 007 parked his Aston Martin there and that was that. Usually it is ruined and mobbed, to compound the problem the Forestry Commission closed the road down Loch Etive to Bonawe. This now means the glen is a dead end and even worse for traffic.

Be very careful with accommodation in The Highland even in late Spring it is busy.

Of the rest - I love Bamburgh - magical place
Beamish - oh hum, its OK for tourists
Falkirk Wheel is stunning and I agree Rothbury isn't really worth a side trip.
Definitely agree Holy Island is magical but we haven't been for a few years and so goodness knows what Staycation has done to it.

Where have you been in Scotland to date?

Last edited by BritishCaicos; Aug 17th, 2021 at 09:53 AM.
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