Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Scotland and England-Need Help With Itinerary!

Scotland and England-Need Help With Itinerary!

Jun 7th, 2012, 10:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 19
Scotland and England-Need Help With Itinerary!


I had posted on here back in April about a tentative trip to the UK+ another country. Since then, I have decided to just visit the UK.
I will be there for 12 days in early July, arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland and leaving out of London, England. Since I am going for a wedding in Edinburgh, I will have to stay in that area until July 6th. Our plan is to make our way toward London and hopefully visit most of the top cities.
It's obvious that there is SO MUCH to see and not enough time so I was wondering if any UK experts can assist me in building an itinerary. We are traveling on a budget but are able to splurge in moderation. We love art, architecture, history, nightlife, music, nature...we are a young eccentric couple and are very open-minded.
I would also like to know what the best mode of transportation is (time efficient and economicly friendly)...
What about accommodations? Are hostels the way to go? bed and breakfasts?
Thanks in advance for your input!
travelsteph02 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2012, 10:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,672
How many full days exactly will you have to tour excluding your departure day?

Give us your nightly budget for accommodations.

Do you prefer to spend more than one night in each location or do you want to cover as much territory as possible?

Will you have a car or are you using public transport?
MmePerdu is online now  
Jun 7th, 2012, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Please be direct and clear because your intentions are indecipherable.


This applies to everyone. Be specific as to dollars.


This varies based on where you want to go. Usually, however, the train would work best.


What does this mean? If you have 12 days (11 nights), you should have about 5+ in London and 4-5 in Edinburgh and can do day trips as you like. Without knowing what the top cities are, planning your itinerary for you is impossible.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 7th, 2012, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,627
So you need to research the train system. Probably best on http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ to understand how the whole thing works and buy tickets from one of the franchises (more on Nationalrail) you cna buy tickets in the US and they hold the ticket at your pick up point/station. Buying early gets you better deals. You may also want to look at www.seat61.com

You might also look at internal flights via skyscanner.

You should get to Glasgow (easy train ride from Edinburgh) and see Charles Rennie Mackintosh http://www.78derngate.org.uk/

Accomodation, the best deals are at http://www.yha.org.uk/ in England and in Scotland use http://www.syha.org.uk/

Coming south you may like Leeds or Manchester for a break before you hit London. http://www.visitmanchester.com/ and http://www.visitleeds.co.uk/
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 7th, 2012, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 793
From recent, first-hand experience, it is a LONG drive from Edinburgh to London. I second the idea of the train. You might look at the stops and see if any tickle your fancy. York is one that comes to mind...
eastenderusvi is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 10:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 19
Apologies for being so vague. We get in on July 4th (9am) in Edinburgh and leave London on July 15th at 5pm.
We have to be in Queensferry on July 5th for the wedding and plan to stay in Scotland until July 6th or 7th. We want to attend the music festival, T at the Park but that would take up a whole day so that is pending.
We have decided to stay in London from July 12th-15th so in between here are the places we would IDEALLY like to visit:
Lakes District

While in London, we are hoping to do day trips to Stonehenge, Cambridge, Oxford, Windsor...

I know there is NO WAY we can visit every place I have listed but those are just places of interest. We are trying to create an itinerary where we can cover a good amount of territory but nothing excessive-a night or two per place besides London.
As of right now, we are planning to use public transportation to get around. I was looking into purchasing the unlimited train rides pass.
Our budget is $250 per night for accommodations (thanks to those that have posted links above for budget stays.

Since we don't have enough time to see everything-what cities listed above would you weave out of the itinerary? I definitely have to narrow the list down!!!
Has anyone else done a similar trip like this?
travelsteph02 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,134
Glasgow you can do as a daytrip from Edinburgh. York is a good stop; allow at least a full day. The Lake are a bit tedious to get around using public transportation so I'd leave them until you can rent a car or until you have more time. Bath I loved; again allow at least a full day. Brighton kinda left me cold though the Royal Pavilion is worth seeing. And Brighton is easy to get to by train from London so you could add a day to London and drop down south. (I like minimizing the number of places one stays.)

I don't know much about either Manchester or Liverpool. Is there a special reason you want to visit these cities? You've already got 3 cities on your itinerary. If it was me, I'd try to spend the rest of the time in smaller places, seeing the beautiful British countryside.
Mimar is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 11:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 19
Mimar, great point! I think a day in the British countryside would be a nice addition to our itinerary-any specific suggestions?
We chose Manchester and Liverpool based off rock bands that originated from there. Haha, a bit silly but we thought it would be a good start. So if Manchester and Liverpool are similar-which is the best choice? In other words, which city offers more sites to see/is easier to travel to?
travelsteph02 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Liverpool is Beatlesville.


Good luck with that. Each one is a DAY trip and doing all four means no time for London in your four-night plan above. London could occupy you as long as you want it to. A better move is to stretch your stay in London (get an apartment if you stay a week - it's likely ultimately less expensive and more convenient than an equivalent-quality hotel). No car in London or Edinburgh.

Both Cambridge and Oxford would be overkill.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 516
OK, I will say it - of course it's your trip, but choosing an overseas travel destination with extremely limited time just because of the origin of a band is an odd idea. Would you visit New Jersey just because Bruce Springsteen is from there?

I would enjoy Edinburgh and the wedding and take a day trip out to Stirling. Then south to York. York is really interesting. Then maybe the train from York to Oxford. Then to London, with a day trip to Windsor or even Bath. That's plenty.
robertino is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,627
Liverpool has some very fine architecture due to a wealthy past (based on industry, cotton and slavery), the Beatles tours are a bit of a scam but if you do it open eyed it might be fun. Some fine art but a lot of people have left Liverpool over the years.

Manchester is a more vibrant city, with part of the BBC now based here. One of the few China towns outside a capital city in Europe, some pleasant brick buildings and two wonderful art galleries. Music and theatre is also well represented.

York, ancient walls, medievel shopping area, cathedral, and other fine buildings
Liverpool, see above
Manchester. see above
Lakes District, well I'd drop this one
Bath, architecture and a hidden canal system. But could be dropped as could
Brighton, which apart from the Royal Pavillion is just trendy with a beach.

So Edinburgh, day trip to Glasgow, Manchester, York, Cambridge, Stonehenge, London might be enough
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,918
You need to start over and cut WAY back on your wish list!

If I understand things this is what you have:

July 4 Edinburgh (jetlagged and time to see just a small bit)
July 5 wedding Edinburgh/Queensferry. (No sightseeing this day)
July 6 Edinburgh or maybe a day trip to Glasgow
July 7
July 8
July 9
July 10
July 11
July 12 London (but really a day trip to Oxford)
July 13 London (but really a day trip to Windsor)
July 14 London (but really a day trip to Cambridge)
July 15 (fly out in the afternoon so only time for a walk in the morning or some such)

So you have almost no free time in Edinburgh, NO free time in London, no time for Stonehenge, and five days for the 6 other places on your list - some of which are most of a day's travel apart.

You are talking about a month's worth - not a twelve day trip.

Do Edinburgh for about 4 days (to allow for a day trip to Glasgow and the wedding), York OR Liverpool for 1day/2 nights, and 6 days in London. But one is your departure day so really only 5 days. Take ONE day trip - Oxford OR Bath OR Windsor.

that is still an extremely rushed itinerary - but doable.
janisj is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 793
Listen to janisj!;-) Focus on just a few places and see them in depth.
eastenderusvi is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
You itinerary sounds wonderful - but it will take at last 30 days - way more time than you have.

You are going to have to make some very difficult choices - or you will have nothing but a lengthy tour of the train stations of the UK.

And I'm afraid you're counting some days 3 times - as a day in the city you're departing from, as a travel day, and as a day in the city you are going to. You can count each day only once - and it should be credited either to travel (if you're on a train for 6 or 7 hours) or the place where you will spend the night.

And agree you need to provide a lodging budget per night - plus what you expect (private bath, etc). Also, since you will be leaving in less than a month you need to move very quickly - since most of the best deals were probably reserved months ago,
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,134
Bracing good sense from janisj. You must decide what you really want to see and do in your limited time. (I always have to cut some desired spots every trip I take.)

To answer your question above, a good way to see some of Britain's most beautiful countryside is to take a tour bus daytrip to the Cotswolds. (This area is hard to see by public transportation.) But there are bus trips from Bath (Mad Max tours) or from London. Here's a link to one of the latter, which also includes Oxford, Stratford, and Warwick Castle: http://www.evanevanstours.co.uk/warw...ord-oxford.htm. But google for more such tour offers. And everybody's favorite, London Walks, also offers day trips to Oxford and the Cotswolds:http://www.walks.com/Standalone/Oxfo...ult.aspx#22964.

Looks like you'll have to make another trip or maybe more!
Mimar is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Try this:

July 4 Edinburgh (jetlagged and time to see just a small bit)
July 5 wedding Edinburgh/Queensferry. (No sightseeing this day)
July 6 Edinburgh - Royal Mile from Castle to Palace
July 7 Day trip - Glasgow, Stirling, Perth or other place of interest
July 8 Edinburgh - Calton Hill, Princes Street, New Town OR day trip to other desired destination (Stirling/Perth/Lowlands)
July 9 Travel to York/Liverpool on early train, wander about, night in York/Liverpool
July 10 Travel to London on early train, area near abode for sightseeing
July 11 London
July 12 London (day trip to Oxford OR Cambridge)
July 13 London
July 14 London (day trip to Windsor)
July 15 (fly out in the afternoon so only time for a walk in the morning or some such)

That's a more reasonable plan even though it STILL shortchanges London.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 12:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 19
You all are so helpful. Thank you for your replies!I agree, my itinerary was too jam-packed.
I think it is safe to use July 4th as a full travel day. We planned our flight into the UK right as we will be leaving in the evening from Chicago and arriving in Edinburgh in the AM. We will do our best to get enough rest on the flight over
I have narrowed it down to the following but am still having difficulty:

July 4 Edinburgh (I am tempted to do a day trip that leaves at noon to Stirling or another day trip-I am obviously too ambitious!)
July 5 Edinburgh sight seeing in AM. Wedding in Queensferry in the PM
July 6 Edinburgh during the day. After 3pm we will be going to the music festival, T In The Park
July 7 Early train to Glasgow. Spend the day sightseeing
July 8 Morning train to York. Spend the day sightseeing
July 9 Mid-day train to Liverpool
July 10 Liverpool
July 11 Early train to London-spend the remainder of the day sightseeing
July 12 London- Day trip to Stonehenge
July 13 London
July 14 London (Day Trip ???)
July 15 London-sightseeing in the morning before 5pm flight

What do you think?
Is 1 day in Glasgow sufficient?
I'm wondering if going to the concert is hurting our itinerary. We are big music fans but I'm afraid it may be too similar to Lollapalooza in Chicago which I have been to several times...
Should we cut back on the half day in Liverpool/Manchester?
I'm having a hard time deciding between Liverpool and Manchester so I would appreciate your opinions on this.
I'm still contemplating if a second day trip should be done while in London. Stonehenge is 100% staying as a day trip-I am up in the air about the 2nd day trip. What is the best option for a 2nd day trip? I'm stuck between Bath, Windsor, Oxford and Cambridge.

In regards to accommodations-our budget is around $250/night. We would love to stay in a bed and breakfast at least once. We have booked our hotel in London already in the SOHO area.
travelsteph02 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,830
we loved Number 34 B&B in York. Right outside city walls so not AT trainstation. But nice.

Is your day trip to Stonehenge booked already? Are you going to Salisbury, too? A train to Salisbury, catch the Stonehenge Tour bus right outside the station, spend as long as you want, bus back, see Salisbury (Cathedral for sure), train back. Nice day.

But 1.you won't run out of things to do IN London and 2.if I only made one day trip, it would be to Oxford. Just IMO!
texasbookworm is online now  
Jun 13th, 2012, 08:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 19
Thank you! I like the suggestion you made about Stonehenge, will do that for sure!

So we decided to not attend the concert but at the same time have realized that the wedding will take up our evening on July 4th and we really won't have time to sight see on July 5th since the wedding begins at 1pm.

With that being said, we are trying to figure out if we should spend the whole day of July 6th in Edinburgh, sight seeing and then head to Glasgow on the 7th-8th but take the morning train to York from there.
The other option is to got to Glasgow July 6th-8th OR reduce our stay in Liverpool to one day and push back the itinerary so we stay in Glasgow from July 7th-9th and head to York on a morning train on the 9th.

Also, any other suggestions for a second day trip while in London?
travelsteph02 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2012, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,918
just a quick comment -- you barely have time for one day trip out of London.I wouldn't try to squeeze in a 2nd. You can forget about the 15th for much meaningful sightseeing. You'll need to be at the airport by 2 PM ( 2:30 PM at the latest). LHR is about an hour from central London. Even using the fast/15 minute, expensive Heathrow Express it will still take an hour when you factor in getting to Paddington and wait time. Meaning leaving your hotel by 1PM. If you go somewhere, you'd have to return to the hotel to get your bags -- leaving a just few hours free in the morning.
janisj is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:14 PM.