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Chicago_Heather Mar 22nd, 2004 10:56 AM

Scotland & England - Need Help Planning an Itinerary
I was just asked to help plan a trip for my mother's best friend (her first trip to Europe) and her two daughters (both professionals in their 30s). It isn't a task I mind, however, I'm not familiar with Scotland as I haven't traveled there (yet). Would sincerely appreciate any input on ideas for an itinerary based on the following parameters that I was given:

May 14 - Arrive London, stay in London 2 nights
May 15 - London
May 16 - depart by train for Edinburgh, stay for 3 nights
May 17 - Edinburgh
May 18 - Edinburgh
May 19 - Open
May 20 - Open
May 21 - Open
May 22 - Open
May 23 - Open
May 24 - Open
May 25 - London
May 26 - London
May 27 - London
May 28 - Fly home

Based on their feedback, they prefer not to rent a car, which would be my first suggestion after not splitting nights/days in London, and are not enormously interested in villages - more urban destinations (York? and I was thinking Bath). It's difficult as things I would love - driving around the countryside, visiting islands and lakes, seem not to be their preferences.

I would love to read what you would suggest if you have been to/live in either of these lovely countries.

They can afford nice locations but prefer not to spend more than US$60-70 per person per night for a room. I'm certain that they would splurge for special accomodations.

sheila Mar 22nd, 2004 11:05 AM

I can easily do them a recommendation on a week in Scotland without a car:) But you are struggling to go many places that are nice and urban without a car.

Stay an extra day in Edinburgha nd then pick up a day in Glasgow and move on.

Also that's not much for hotel rooms- fine for B&B but cheap for a hotel.

janis Mar 22nd, 2004 11:27 AM

In agree w/ you that splitting up the London stay doesn't make much sense.

If it were me and wanted to see mainly cities/towns, I would do something like this:

Arrive at LHR (or LGW) and immedaitely fly up to Edinburgh w/o stopping in London.

Three nights in Edinburgh (see city and maybe one organized day trip out of the city), May 14, 15, 16

Train to Stirling - stay one night May 17

Train to Glasgow - stay 2 nights May 18, 19.

Train to York - stay 2 nights - see city and some of the countryside. May 20, 21

Train to London May 21 - 28 w/ one day trip to Bath during London stay.

$60 pp (about £35) is very doable if they stick to B&Bs. In London they could rent a nice 1-bedroom apartment for about £700+ per week and that would be within their budget.

Chicago_Heather Mar 22nd, 2004 11:35 AM

I was unclear and apologize - meant US$180 (3x60) as a benchmark for accomodations per night. Sheila, I was hoping to hear from you with suggestions. Janis, you're thinking much as I was about their initial plans, so I will work harder to push them to fly on to Edinburgh upon their arrival in London. Thank you for such a jumpstart and I really like your ideas.

janis Mar 22nd, 2004 11:45 AM

oops - the London dates would be May 22 - 28 - but I guess that was pretty obvious, huh?

try to explain to them that London is so vast it takes a few days just to get your bearings, learn the way around the tube/buses, and feel comfortable. Leaving London after just 2 days (the first day a sort of jet lagged fog) will not let them learn their way around. They'd just have to start over again when they returned to London. Edinburgh is a MUCH more managelable city and a good place to start their trip.

sheila Mar 22nd, 2004 11:03 PM


I wouldn't stay in Stirling. If you want to visit, do it as a day trip from one of the other cities

Chicago_Heather Mar 23rd, 2004 10:14 AM

Sheila, with a semi-revised schedule of:

May 14 - Arrive London fly to Edinburgh (4 nights)
May 15 - Edinburgh
May 16 - Edinburgh
May 17 - Edinburgh
May 18 - Glasgow for 3 nights?
May 19 - Glasgow
May 20 - Glasgow
May 21 - York for 2 nights?
May 22 - York
May 23 - London
May 24 - London
May 25 - London
May 26 - London
May 27 - London
May 28 - Fly home

Now, with 4 nights in Edinburgh, where would you suggest splitting the other 5 nights? Please don't limit places due to the size of towns/cities ... they're warming up to the idea of smaller locales but still not receptive to driving.

sheila Mar 23rd, 2004 11:20 AM

Please help the hard of thinking...what other 5 nights?

jay Mar 23rd, 2004 11:48 AM

i would recommend york also or cambridge. renting a car and doing some driving is not at all difficult. a drive from edinburgh up to loch ness and then to glasgow is fun. maybe even st. andrews.

ron Mar 23rd, 2004 12:10 PM

Heather, can I suggest that it may be time for you to start looking in guide books and thinking about what you want to do and see in each of these places. For me, a day and a half in York, as you have now, would be hopelessly inadequate, especially if you wanted to spend one day touring out from York to such places as Castle Howard or Ripon/Fountains Abbey.

Your 2 and a half days in Glasgow seems good to me (I just came back from 4 and a half days there last week), but if you are not interested in art and architecture, it may be too long. But again, there are interesting day trips from Glasgow (New Lanark/Falls of Clyde, West Highland train to Mallaig, Robert Burns park near Ayr, train and ferry to Arran).

obxgirl Mar 23rd, 2004 02:03 PM

sheila, I believe the "other 5 nights" are May 18 thru 22, Glascow and York with ?'s by them, i.e., how to split the time between Edinburgh and London. The basic instruction from the trip takers appears to be 5 nights in London, 3 in Edinburgh and then some TBS stuff in between.

Chicago_Heather Mar 23rd, 2004 02:08 PM

Sheila, sorry ... sometimes I underthink what I'm conveying in my posts: the 5 nights that are marked Glasgow and York - should I divide for them elsewhere? Nip a day, which would seem a shame, off of Edinburgh or London?

Ron, I'm already looking through guidebooks but am planning for others in an area not yet visited. So, this feedback really is helping me jumpstart where to narrow it down for researching. Unfortunately, I'm swamped with other things but am in a position where I can't say "no" to helping out. Plus, now I'm gathering ideas for (hopefully) a future visit for myself, and your ideas are going in my notes (for me) ... love the daytrip suggestions from Glasgow.

Jay, in my mind, your route by car is something that really appealed to me and I love the idea of seeing more of the Highlands (but, again, more my speed than theirs).

Many, many thanks for all of the feedback ... you have no idea how helpful it is. :-)

Chicago_Heather Mar 23rd, 2004 02:17 PM

obxgirl, exactly correct ... thanks for translating!

jay Mar 23rd, 2004 02:21 PM

actually i agree with some of the other suggestions on going to paris. an itinerary would be to fly in and out of london, train to paris and train back see the rest of london etc. personaly i like paris much better than scotland although we did have fun in scotland.

Chicago_Heather Mar 23rd, 2004 02:34 PM

Jay, another "reading my mind" post ... exactly what I was thinking, but Edinburgh is non-negotiable (should've put that in the original post). Personally, I thought London (with day or overnight trip to Bath)/Paris/Bruges sounded like a lovely, relaxing, non-driving trip for that amount of time, but they're intent upon Edinburgh at the minimum for Scotland.

jay Mar 23rd, 2004 03:07 PM

what do we know. not renting a car i think is a mistake. good luck.

sheila Mar 23rd, 2004 09:49 PM

OK. I'll get to this, this evening or tomorrow.

Chicago_Heather Mar 24th, 2004 01:23 PM

Jay, thank you so much for the feedback ... yes, I agree that not renting a car is limiting and hope that they won't be sorry once they arrive.

Sheila, thanks - whenever you can provide some of your wonderful ideas is fine with me. I really am grateful for any help.

leonberger Apr 12th, 2004 04:59 PM

Do have them squeeze in a visit to Stirling (either while they're in Edinburgh or somehow "on the way" to Glasgow). We were fascinated on our last trip by the magnificent tapestries that are being created right in the Castle (you can watch the work in progress) - so much so that we're planning to pay the admission price again this fall just to see the one finished tapestry and watch the progress on the next one!

Also, Hill House (north of Glasgow) was a beautiful place, but there is a lot of Macintosh architecture and history right in Glasgow, too.

I really think they'll be sorry not to have a car, though, even just for a few days in Scotland. Driving on the small roads, seeing the sheep along the drive, stopping at tiny village pubs, and finding the "perfect" B&B along the road are half the fun of Scotland and England!

Good luck!


Danna Apr 12th, 2004 05:33 PM

We have gotten around without a car in Scotland. It limits your time lines but not necessarily the places you can see. The only reason we plan to rent a car on our next trip is to make train connections on a Sunday. Other than that we would probably take public transport, or just take a car in a local area. You get to meet and chat with on the bus. Have a grand time!

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