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Seeking help with trip to Isle of Skye, Lake District and Cotswolds

Seeking help with trip to Isle of Skye, Lake District and Cotswolds

Old Feb 16th, 2023, 11:30 AM
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Seeking help with trip to Isle of Skye, Lake District and Cotswolds

We are hoping to get some help with our trip to Scotland and England in June 2023. We had planned to take a trip with our children and grandchildren in July 2020, followed by a week with my sister on the Isle of Skye and the Lake District. We had to put it off because of Covid, but are going to do the part with my sister this summer. My husband and I have been to the Lake District many times and want to share its beauty with my sister who retired in June. She would also like to visit the Isle of Skye and the Cotswolds, and we have tried to arrange those portions on weekdays. (We have our reservations for hotel stays on the Isle of Skye and in Grasmere.)

(Note: We are hoping to do the trip with our children and grandchildren next summer but a new grandchild is on the way, so we'll see. The family trip will include Edinburgh, the whisky trail, Aberdeenshire, perhaps the Dunnottar castle, etc. The family trip was initiated by our kids as a retirement gift for my husband.)

Our rough itinerary
1 Sat-Sun Fly to Glasgow via LHR
2 Sun Spend the night in Glasgow area (may go to Stirling castle or Edinburgh castle?)
3 Mon Drive through the highlands to Sligachan on the Isle of Skye (we have hotel reservations)
4 Tues Tour the northern part of Isle of Skye, drive to Sleat (we have hotel reservations)
5 Wed Explore the area a bit more, then drive to Glencoe area and spend the night
6 Thur Explore Glencoe highlands before driving to the Lake District
7 Fri Lake District
8 Sat Lake District
9 Sun Lake District
10 Mon Lake District one more day (or head to Cotswolds)
11 Tues Cotswolds
12 Wed Cotswolds
13 Thur Cotswolds, then spend night near LHR
14 Fri Fly home from LHR

Specific questions
1) Glasgow Airport seems preferable to Edinburgh given that we will be heading up to the Isle of Skye. Any reason to choose one over the other apart from geographic location?
2) Any suggestions of where to stay in the Glencoe area?
3) We are also looking for suggestions on where to stay in the Cotswolds? My husband and I stayed in Lower Slaughter the last time we were there.

Any other input that might help us plan this trip? We are somewhat locked into our dates but might be able to extend a day or two if needed.

I will also add that my husband is happy to drive in the UK and has experience driving on the left side of the road both there and in South Africa. We typically drive through several passes when we are in the Lake District (Kirkstone, Honister, Wrynose and Hardknott), and he is fine with driving on those roads. And we are okay with a few longish drives here and there. (We drove from Betws-y-Coed in Wales to Bocastle near Tintagel Castle just prior to the pandemic.)

I have been combing through the previous posts and appreciate all of the helpful questions and comments there!

Thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 16th, 2023, 11:57 AM
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1) Glasgow Airport seems preferable to Edinburgh given that we will be heading up to the Isle of Skye. Any reason to choose one over the other apart from geographic location?

Essentially makes no difference at all. Maybe 25 miles farther but only 10 or 15 minutes longer drive time from EDI to Sligachan than from GLA so pick which ever has the best schedule/fares

2) Any suggestions of where to stay in the Glencoe area?

If they have availability - here https://clachaig.com. You were lucky to get rooms at Sligachan -- it books up far ahead due to be the most central location on the entire island.


3) We are also looking for suggestions on where to stay in the Cotswolds? My husband and I stayed in Lower Slaughter the last time we were there.

I'd stay just about anywhere in the central-ish area. Burford, Stow-o-t-W, Chipping Campden, the Slaughters, etc.

Do I understand correctly that you are staying 1 night at Sligachan and 1 night somewhere on Sleat? Your Mon/Tues will be pretty hectic. Using GLA (though as I said EDI is about the same) - GLA > Sligachan is about a 5 hour drive, then the next morning, you'll check out, explore the Trotternish, etc, and drive down to Armadale or wherever you are staying on the Sleat Peninsula. Sligachan, around the Trotternish and down to Sleat is a 3+hour drive plus all the (many) stops.
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Old Feb 16th, 2023, 01:53 PM
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janisj Thank you for your prompt response! My reply just disappeared so I will try again. Glad to hear that it really doesn't matter whether we arrive in Glasgow or Edinburgh. And thank you for your suggestions as to where to stay in Glencoe and in the Cotswolds.

As for our time on the Isle of Skye.... Originally, we were going to head to Glencoe after arriving at the airport to make the trip to the Isle of Skye shorter that next day. But we decided to stay near the airport that first night, so the trip to the Isle of Skye will be long. It would have been ideal to stay 3 nights on the Isle of Skye, but it was difficult to find availability. I'm not sure we could add a night but we might be able to come to Scotland a day earlier and spend a night in the highlands closer to the bridge to Skye. Something to think about.

We were hoping to visit the Fairy Glen, Quiraing (view from the car park), Kilt Rock and Mealt Fall, and the Old Man of Storr on the Trotternish Peninsula. I'm sure that other places will beckon to us along the way, but we are trying to limit ourselves to what seems manageable. And we were thinking that we could visit the Fairy Pools later that day or the next morning. (One of our sons wants our family trip next summer to include the Isle of Skye so we may get another chance to visit.)

Our Isle of Skye hotels are Hotel Sligachan and Hotel Eilean Iarmain. I saw that your recommendation for Hotel Sligachan and was glad to find availability. And Hotel Eilean Iarmain is kindly honoring a voucher from our cancelled trip in 2020. Both hotels have restaurants that offer dinner (as well as breakfast) so I am hoping that makes our evenings a bit more relaxing. (And one of us has celiac disease, so we appreciate that both restaurants offer gluten free items on their menus.)

Thank you again for your help!

Last edited by Sapphire; Feb 16th, 2023 at 01:57 PM.
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Old Feb 16th, 2023, 03:19 PM
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More a race than a holiday, but at least it is June
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Old Feb 16th, 2023, 03:20 PM
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Hotel Eilean Iarmain is in a beautiful setting. If you have to move hotels that's a god choice

Maybe don't have your hearts set on the Fairy Pools There is a car park about half a mile from the pools but it tends to fill up and stay filled up all day. The road is single track so there is no parking other than in the actual lot.
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Old Feb 17th, 2023, 09:14 AM
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Hoping this revised itinerary gives us a little more "quality" time in Scotland - in spite of changing hotels each night! We will be spending 5 nights at a hotel in Grasmere, so that will be nice. The Lake District may be less crowded in June than during our previous visits but still wanted to have a couple of week days there, since it is quite popular on the weekends.

1 Fri Fly to Glasgow via LHR (arriving Sat morning)
2 Sat Arrive in Glasgow late morning, try to visit Stirling Castle, spend the night in Stirling

3 Sun Drive to Glencoe and spend the night there
4 Mon Drive to Isle of Skye and spend night at Hotel Sligachan
5 Tues Tour the Trotternish Peninsula, spend night at Hotel Eilean Iarmain
6 Wed Explore the area a bit more, then drive to Glencoe area and spend the night
7 Thur Explore Glencoe area a bit more, then drive to Grasmere
8 Fri Lake District
9 Sat Lake District
10 Sun Lake District
11 Mon Lake District
12 Tues Drive to Cotswolds
13 Wed Cotswolds
14 Thur Cotswolds, afternoon in Windsor, then spend night near LHR
15 Fri Fly home from LHR

janisj Great to hear that Hotel Eilean Iarmain is in a beautiful setting and is a good choice (given that we have to move hotels). And thank you for the heads up on the Fairy Pools. Would it make sense to go straight there from Hotel Sligachan and then proceed around the Trotternish Peninsula? Our other option might be for my husband to drop off my sister and myself and return at a designated time as he may not want to go walking with us there.

Does anyone have recommendations as to where to stay in Stirling? Or should we stay in Glasgow that first night?


Thanks again for the input!

Last edited by Sapphire; Feb 17th, 2023 at 09:33 AM.
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Old Feb 17th, 2023, 12:22 PM
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Just quick - It isn't advisable to drive on your arrival day after a long haul flight. Stirling isn't that far but still not a great idea. If you do decide to drive -- I wouldn't stay in Stirling. Getting up to the castle from the west is straightforward enough since one is at the bottom of the escarpment in pretty much open countryside with only a short distance up the hill and on to city streets. Driving in the city itself can be difficult. I'd stay in Callander or Doune or Aberfoyle or at the Lake of Menteth.

Maybe somewhere like one of these if there is availability https://www.romancamphotel.co.uk or https://karmagroup.com/find-destinat...e-of-menteith/ Each is about 15 miles from the Castle.
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Old Feb 17th, 2023, 12:23 PM
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ps: Staying in Glasgow would be a better idea and collecting a car the next morning back out at GLA.
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Old Feb 18th, 2023, 07:53 AM
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If your first destination, so to speak, is Skye, then personally I'd fly from London to Inverness rather than Glasgow. There are okay hotels near INV airport (I've stayed at the Holiday Inn just off the A96, typical and comfortable, and the Snow Goose pub across the street is actually pretty good.) That would make the drive to Skye a lot shorter and less trafficky when you take off the next day or whenever. Going from Glasgow airport into town for a night, then back to the airport to collect the car the next day, is certainly feasible, but it might be more of a hassle than the Inverness option.
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Old Feb 18th, 2023, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo
If your first destination, so to speak, is Skye, then personally I'd fly from London to Inverness rather than Glasgow. There are okay hotels near INV airport (I've stayed at the Holiday Inn just off the A96, typical and comfortable, and the Snow Goose pub across the street is actually pretty good.) That would make the drive to Skye a lot shorter and less trafficky when you take off the next day or whenever. Going from Glasgow airport into town for a night, then back to the airport to collect the car the next day, is certainly feasible, but it might be more of a hassle than the Inverness option.
ditto. The drive from INV to Skye would save a lot of hassle. INV to Sligachan is a little less than 115 miles - and maybe just under 3 hours - via Loch Ness/Urquhart Castle. From GLA is 200 miles and nearly 5 hours w/o stops. Since you are connecting through LHR anyway, fly to Inverness.
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Old Feb 18th, 2023, 12:59 PM
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Just coming back to this thread after booking flights yesterday from Philadelphia (thru LHR) to Glasgow. We will arrive in Glasgow around 11 am on Saturday morning. We will look for a place to stay near the airport or within a very short driving distance. (My husband grew up in Detroit, is a very skilled driver, and handles jet lag very well. And we have flown to every continent multiple times except for Antarctica. *But* we are going to follow the advice given here and drive a very short distance if at all on the first day.)

Ironically, former posts from Gardyloo and janisj have me very interested in spending some time in the Glencoe highlands, so I am looking forward to going there the second day of our trip (see adjusted itinerary.) But I did look for flights to Inverness and found that we would have an 8.5 hour layover at Heathrow which is untenable even though we'll have access to the British Airways lounges. Much prefer leaving PHL at 6:40 pm, arriving LHR at 6:50 am, 2.5 hr layover, and then arriving in Glasgow at 10:50 am. We always try to drop off our luggage at our hotel and explore a bit to help us adjust to the local time. So getting transportation to Stirling Castle or just walking around Glasgow a bit might be perfect for us.

My husband's Allan, Gardiner, Marshall and Speirs ancestors were all from the Glasgow area so there is also something appealing about spending at least a little time here. The last time we were in Scotland, we drove past Paisley and Glasgow on the way to Edinburgh. (The trip we are planning with our children and grandchildren for another year will gravitate toward the areas where the Keiths lived.)

Gardyloo did I see an earlier recommendation from you for the Dakota Edinburgh for a hotel near the Edinburgh airport? (That's where we were going to spend a night during the 2020 trip we had to cancel.) I saw that there is a Dakota Glasgow hotel said to be 7 miles from the Glasgow airport....

Thanks again everyone!

Our Updated Itinerary
1 Fri Fly to LHR
2 Sat Fly to Glasgow, arrive 11 am, spend night in or near Glasgow

3 Sun Drive to Glencoe and spend the night at the Glencoe Inn
4 Mon Drive to Isle of Skye and spend night at Hotel Sligachan
5 Tues Tour the Trotternish Peninsula, spend night at Hotel Eilean Iarmain
6 Wed Explore the area a bit more, then drive to Glencoe area and spend another night there
7 Thur Drive to Grasmere (stay at Moss Grove Organic)
8 Fri Explore Lake District
9 Sat Explore Lake District
10 Sun Explore Lake District
11 Mon Explore Lake District
12 Tues Drive to the Cotswolds
13 Wed Explore the Cotswolds
14 Thur Cotswolds, afternoon in Windsor, spend night near LHR
15 Fri Fly home from LHR
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Old Feb 18th, 2023, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
If you do decide to drive -- I wouldn't stay in Stirling. Getting up to the castle from the west is straightforward enough since one is at the bottom of the escarpment in pretty much open countryside with only a short distance up the hill and on to city streets. Driving in the city itself can be difficult. I'd stay in Callander or Doune or Aberfoyle or at the Lake of Menteth.

Maybe somewhere like one of these if there is availability https://www.romancamphotel.co.uk or https://karmagroup.com/find-destinat...e-of-menteith/ Each is about 15 miles from the Castle.
janisj I looked at the both hotels (linked above), and they look gorgeous and fully booked. But I'll keep them in mind if my husband and I come back on our own.
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 10:28 AM
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One of the reasons for getting a relatively early arrival time in Glasgow is because my sister - a newly retired teacher - would really like to see Stirling Castle. So we are going to work on facilitating that while driving a minimal amount on our arrival day. We have given up the idea of spending the night in Glasgow in favor of staying a little north of Stirling. We have booked rooms at a hotel in Doune.

It looks like a fairly straightforward drive from the Glasgow Airport to the Castleview Park and Ride to the west of Stirling. The Castle is open until 6 pm in the summer (with the last entry at 5 pm) so we shouldn't have difficulty getting there even if our arrival is later than the 10:40 am scheduled arrival. And the hotel in Doune will be a very short drive from the Castleview Park and Ride. This will also put us in a good location to set off on our trip to Glen Coe the next morning. Many thanks to janisj for suggesting Doune rather than trying to stay in Stirling (if we opted to drive a short distance).

This seems like much less hassle than dropping off luggage at a hotel in Glasgow, then taking the train or taxi to Stirling Castle and back, and then picking up our rental car the next morning. (And for those who may have missed this info earlier, my husband is adept at driving on the left side of the road and navigating roundabouts and he handles jet lag well. But I am glad this is a relatively short trip on M8, M80, and then A84 after Stirling.)

This morning, I managed to find Peter Irvine's book, Scotland the Best, that I purchased in 2020 to help us plan the trip we had to cancel due to the pandemic. So much information there! It affirms our hotel choices on the Isle of Skye and is suggesting some places on Skye that aren't on the typical tours. So I am going to spend some time doing more research there.

Still need to book a B&B or hotel in the Cotswolds, but making progress!


Last edited by Sapphire; Feb 19th, 2023 at 10:32 AM.
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 11:22 AM
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I might not bother with the park and ride lot. The castle/car park is well signposted and being on the extreme western edge of the city, doesn't involve much city driving. The only Issue might be the castle car park could be totally full when you arrive. The buses from Castleview P&R do stop 'walking distance' from the Castle. Well -- they are walking 'distance' but it is up a very steep hill so driving in is much easier . . . IF there is space in the Castle car park. It is a dilemma knowing which to use

Yes, Scotland the Best is, well . . . the best!

Do you have any preferences re staying in particular town(s) in the Cotswolds? Or are you just looking for suggestions in general?
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 11:28 AM
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Oh - meant to add, I might drive straight to the Doune B&B and drop the bags, then drive over to Stirling. Its only about a 20 minute drive and it would be best to not have all your luggage out in view for 3+ hours.
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Do you have any preferences re staying in particular town(s) in the Cotswolds? Or are you just looking for suggestions in general?
I would be happy to have suggestions as to places to stay in the Cotswolds. You suggested that Chipping Campden, Stow on the Wold, Lower Slaughter, or Burford might be a good base of our two night stay. After looking at the availability, I was thinking of booking rooms in Burford or Stow on the Wold but could go back to the place we stayed in Lower Slaughter. I know that my sister will want to "stretch her legs" with some walking as well as seeing the sights, and I know there are some lovely walks in the Cotswolds. And my husband is happy to go anywhere but is very appreciative of a good meal and a comfortable place to sleep. (One place looked promising until I saw that the area of the rooms averaged 65 sq ft.)

Originally Posted by janisj
Oh - meant to add, I might drive straight to the Doune B&B and drop the bags, then drive over to Stirling. Its only about a 20 minute drive and it would be best to not have all your luggage out in view for 3+ hours.
Yes, I was thinking that might be a good idea since Doune isn't too much further. Appreciate your suggesting it, confirming that this might be a good way to go!

Originally Posted by janisj
I might not bother with the park and ride lot. The castle/car park is well signposted and being on the extreme western edge of the city, doesn't involve much city driving. The only Issue might be the castle car park could be totally full when you arrive. The buses from Castleview P&R do stop 'walking distance' from the Castle. Well -- they are walking 'distance' but it is up a very steep hill so driving in is much easier . . . IF there is space in the Castle car park. It is a dilemma knowing which to use
Good to know, thank you. I would be happy to avoid a steep climb! We will be going there on a Saturday afternoon, so the castle car park could be full or the number of tourists starting to taper off. We'll want to get lunch somewhere before heading to the castle so we might arrive mid-afternoon.

janisj Thank you so much for your help! This will be my fifth trip to the UK, and I look forward to paying it forward.
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 06:30 PM
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"We'll want to get lunch somewhere before heading to the castle so we might arrive mid-afternoon."

There is quite a nice cafe right at the Castle. Even has seating up on the roof terrace with wonderful views . . . IF the weather is cooperating This is their current/ winter menu -- will likely be different when you are there but some of the same dishes should be available along with more 'summery' fare. hes_unicorn_sample_menu.pdf. It is just to the right as you walk in from the car park.

As for the Cotswolds - I have a soft spot for Burford. A real town with pubs/restaurants/shops and wonderful 'Wool church'. But Stow/the Slaughters would be great too. Lower Slaughter is so lovely.
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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 10:58 AM
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I am by no means that experienced regarding the Cotswolds, but late last year adored the "Kings Arms" in Stow on the Wold. The rooms are on two levels with a downstairs lounge and shower and upstairs is the bedroom. Its not expensive, incredibly friendly and the food is fab. It is surrounded by good restaurants as well. Burford looked lovely but we didn't have time to visit the Slaughters.
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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by stevelyon
I am by no means that experienced regarding the Cotswolds, but late last year adored the "Kings Arms" in Stow on the Wold. The rooms are on two levels with a downstairs lounge and shower and upstairs is the bedroom. Its not expensive, incredibly friendly and the food is fab. It is surrounded by good restaurants as well. Burford looked lovely but we didn't have time to visit the Slaughters.
stevelyon Just looked at the reviews, and the "Kings Arms" sounds lovely. I think a room on one level might work better for us. Would you recommend the King's Arms for a place to have lunch or dinner if we are in the area at meal time? Thanks for your input!

We stayed in Lower Slaughter a few years ago and will definitely stop by there again this summer even if we don't end up staying there. Our first visit to the Cotswolds was almost 30 years ago, and we took a lovely walk that went from Lower Slaughter to Upper Slaughter with some friends. When we came to the Lord of the Manor hotel, one of our group asked whether we might be able to have a beverage there. We ended up having some lovely drinks outside while appreciating the view, then walked back again. (My first time sipping a Pimm's Cup.) One of our friends was living in Colchester at the time, and he did the driving on that visit.

Last edited by Sapphire; Feb 21st, 2023 at 01:30 PM.
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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 11:35 PM
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Thanks Saphire, the other hotel in Stow that looked impressive, was Stow Lodge. From the outside, it looks very atmospheric and located near the lovely church in Stow. Needless to say (although I say it anyway), we didn't stay there but their reviews also look excellent. Good luck whatever you choose.
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