Scotland And/Or England

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Oct 8th, 2013, 07:32 AM
  #1
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Scotland And/Or England

I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip for Summer 2014.
Scotland and/or England are on the top of my list to consider.

We have 14 days total, including travel time from the Eastern US. Married couple, late 50's, pretty active. We like walking/hiking, love ruins and historical sites, museums and countrysides and expansive views. Big cities are fun for a few days, especially the ones that are full of history (hello London!) We prefer to stay in apartments or b&bs. We like to stay in a place a minimum of 2 nights but prefer 3. We are fine with driving on the wrong side of the road, did it in Ireland for 2 weeks a few years ago. Train travel is cool too. It sounds like I'm writing a singles ad!

So, my question.....is it possible to "do" both England and Scotland in that amount of time (I'm guessing no), or should I focus on one or the other?

If one, heck, how do I decide which? I keep going back and forth.

For a little more info, when we did Ireland we spent the same amount of time, 14 days, flew into Dublin, toured around the Southern coast, flew out of Shannon. The best times we had were when we were roaming around old castles and walking in the Aran Isles. But we loved it all.

I love researching vacations, it's part of the fun of going, but I'm going a little crazy trying to decide which one this time around. I know, pick one and do the other some other time, but honestly, money is a factor, air fare has gotten to be a big deal. Traveling off season is not an option until we are retired.

Argh. I wish I had started European travel in my 20's instead of 50's.

Thanks for listening. I'd love to hear some opinions.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 07:46 AM
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14 days is not a great deal of time, and if you want to spend time walking/hiking, it eats up more time than car touring. I would stick to Scotland or England, not both.

You may want to take a look at my trip reports, one from last summer starting in Lyme Regis, and another from a few years ago on Scotland; click on my name to find them.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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I can't make up my mind which to recommend. London is my very favorite European city, so I might recommend 5-7 days there. Maybe take a day trip by train to a couple of nearby places (Canterbury, Dover, possibilities). Then pick up a car at Heathrow and head west toward the Welsh border. Lots of castles and ruins to climb around. Plenty of hiking opportunities.

However, I can't dismiss Scotland. Edinburgh is a great city.
Maybe a few days there with a day trip by train to Glascow. Then off to the countryside by car. I loved Mull with a trip to Iona and/or Staffa. Also lots to see and do in the Loch Ness area.

Either of these options gives you car and train travel.

You could see a bit of both by flying into London and out of Glasgow or Edinburgh. Take the night sleeper train between--saves a day for sightseeing and combines travel with a night's lodging. However, I think in 14 days, I would concentrate or one or the other.

Just my opinion!
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Oct 8th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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Too much of a fish+barrel+shotgun list of wants ("walking/hiking, love ruins and historical sites, museums and countrysides and expansive views") - you'd be hard pressed to set up a trip to the UK without checking each box on that list. Start narrowing. Hit the bookstores (if such places still exist) or a fine travel website like . . . Fodors.com for itinerary hints for both England and Scotland as single destinations (that is, not England AND Scotland) for more ideas.

And if you're considering London, you need at least 5 nights there to get any kind of feel for the place. The city is the size of NYC and the historical center of the world for hundreds of years.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 07:51 AM
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I might look at Scotland and Northern England for your 14 days, that brings in Newcastle, Hadrian's wall as well as Edinburgh, maybe Stirling and some of the Isles, I like Orkney rather than Mull and you can read my notes on Orkney by following my name.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 08:05 AM
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Yes, unfortunately you will have to choose to take the maximum out of your vacation. Both England and Scotland have many historical sites but Scotland has even more specific ones and cultural difference is bigger.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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You really can;t cover both in 14 days. You could take a stab at Scotland - or do parts, but not all, of England.

Or you could do highlights of both - with the idea of coming back to see more later.

In any case - in 14 days I would do no more than 4 hotels (cities) with possible day trips from a center. You might do London, Cotswolds, York and Edinburgh for a quick taste of history and cities and also some walks.
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Oct 8th, 2013, 09:07 AM
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You can see a small part of Scotland and a small part of England in that amount of time . . . Whether you can 'do' either country depends mostly on what you mean by 'do'.

Can you 'do' California, Oregon and Washington in 14 days - no. But you could visit a small handful of sites in that amount of time.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 02:39 AM
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Lots to see and difficult choices to make. We are big fans of Scotland and have taken 3 separate trips for 4/8/7 nights. See if these reports and photos are any help.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-and-more.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-with-kids.cfm

I would highly recommend heading to the Highlands and Skye in particular if possible. Very memorable.

A good walking site here:

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/

Obviously there are plenty of wonderful things in England as well.

Good luck with your planning.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 05:00 AM
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There is no wrong answer.

I took a wonderful two week trip to Scotland in August. This is my trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...o-scotland.cfm
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Oct 9th, 2013, 06:17 AM
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Thanks so much for your input. I guess I needed to be told what I already knew. You were very patient with someone asking a pretty silly question. If only I had a Tardis......

So, I'm going to focus on England this time around, and hope I appreciate all of your comments.

I went to the library and checked out Fodors Great Britain book yesterday. Unfortunately it's from 2006 but it will get me started.

I think I will initially plan 4 locations we can work out of, as nytraveler suggested. If I split my time equally that would allow 3 nights in each location, deducting 2 days to fly in and out. Maybe I'll be able to pad the 2 weeks up with a couple extra days, but for now I'll stick with this time restriction.

Now to pick the locations!

I will probably be back to pick your brains some more.

Thank you again.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 06:17 AM
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PS. I'm reading all the trip reports this weekend. I'm afraid to read the Scotland ones, I don't want to waver from my decision. Making it once was hard enough.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 07:03 AM
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Well, if you're going to London then you do NOT split time equally. You give more time to it and then run around the rest of England that you're trying to visit.

--"I went to the library and checked out Fodors Great Britain book yesterday. Unfortunately it's from 2006 but it will get me started."

That's not a problem. Much of England has survived the past 7.5 years.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 07:11 AM
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Cpelk--because you think "a few days" in a big city are fun (and I concur with that), I'd follow your original plan but perhaps add one more nite in London. You'll leave wanting to come back, but that's O.K.

Second BigRuss on the Fodor's, however--they don't get terribly dated, but also don't rely on it for lodging. Do read the suggested itineraries, but take them as suggestions and not as "must do's." Almost all of England has plenty of things fitting your interests.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 07:56 AM
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If London stays in your mix you really don't want to divide the time equally. London is vast (largest city in Western Europe) w/ sooooooooo many wonderful things to see/do.

Of course you won't see more than a fraction in a typical visit - but 3 days is woefully inadequate to even touch on 5 or 6 major sites. Just getting acclimated/comfortable on the tube and such takes a bit of time. If you have 12 days 'on the ground' (and remember at least one full day might be a jet lagged fog) I'd stay 6 or 7 days in London and 5 or 6 days in two other locations. Or at minimum - 5 full days in London and then maybe 3 locations for the other 7 days.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 08:09 AM
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When I travel I always ask myself the question "will I ever come back"? If yes, then you can pick one country and walk your heart out. Do the other when you take your next trip. If no, then I'd see both and pick the places that sound most interesting. We took a 3 week trip to Ireland and the Uk 4 years ago. We rented a car in Dublin and traveled to the south then left the car in Belfast. Took the ferry to Glasgow then up to Edinburgh for a few days then train to London and Wales and ferry back to Dublin. We were able to spend lots of time sightseeing and having a great time..
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Oct 9th, 2013, 08:33 AM
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Yes, I know that England has survived the last 7.5 years and hopefully will survive into next summer. Time will tell.

London sounds great. In Italy I couldn't get enough of Rome. We had 5 nights there at the end of our 2 week trip. I'll have to do some serious research on what we want to do in London before we decide where else to go. I guess I was thinking of Ireland. We had 3 nights in Dublin, enjoyed the city, but were more then ready to move on. Perhaps we should plan on London for the end of the trip? Jump on a train to get out of town as soon as we arrive?
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Oct 9th, 2013, 08:52 AM
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Dublin is nothing compared to London. I've usually had my fill of Dublin after about 2 days. London -- I've been there countless times (probably 50+) from a couple of days to two weeks at a time and I still haven't seen/done everything I want.

Like comparing New York City to Santa Fe NM, both are nice but one has hundreds more things to see/do.

Whether to do London at the front or at the end - pros and cons to each. I do like to be IN London before flying home just for convenience. But it is also good to start out in London so you are recovering from the jet-lag car-less and on public transportation instead of behind the wheel of a car.

One good option is to hit London first, then head north somewhere (Yorkshire, or the Lake District etc) and then finish up back down south in maybe the Cotswolds or Bath which are both easy commutes to Heathrow.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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And that wasn't a slam on Santa Fe

But Dublin and London are simply apples and oranges . . .
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Oct 9th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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Another suggestion: Put London at the end of your trip. Upon arrival at Heathrow take the train to Bath (2 hours) and spend 2-3 nights in Bath. Then pick up the car and explore the Cotswolds for 3 nights. From there go to Oxford and drop the car. After 2 nights in Oxford, take the train to London for 4-5 nights.

Of course, one could spend a month with this itinerary, but assume you will be back.

There are several experts on this forum who can help with where to stay in the Cotswolds.

Happy planning!
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