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Trip to Scotland in June

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Last year, my husband and I had planned a trip to Scotland and northern England, but had to cancel it at the last minute because of a family emergency. I'm hoping to go this year in June, with a slightly modified itinerary.

We'll be flying from Italy to London by Ryanair. We have a maximum of two weeks; my husband would prefer to make it a bit shorter, as he begins longing for home after being away for more than a week.

My father grew up in Glasgow, and I've always wanted to visit there. Also a childhood friend of my husband is now a monk stationed (is that the right word for a monk?) in Glasgow, so we want to spend a little time with him, and be there on a Sunday to go to mass with him. I also have a first cousin in Edinburgh, but we've been out of touch, and now I can't remember her surname nor can I find her address, so visiting her may not be a possibility.

Here is my tentative itinerary:

Upon arrival, we'll take a train to York from Stansted, without passing through London. We'll spend one night there, just to break the journey. I'd also like to see a bit of the city in the short time we have.

The next two nights I thought of spending in Edinburgh, which would give us about a a day and a half there.

I thought of spending the next two nights on Mull; last year I had planned one night but realized that the time was really short. One thing I'd like to do there is visit Iona, and perhaps take some walks and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Then, we would arrive in Glasgow on a Saturday evening and spend four nights. On one day, I'd like to look up my father's old neighborhood and his school. The two streets on which he lived no longer exist, but I know where they were, because I have an old map.

On another day, I thought of taking a bus tour in the highlands using Rabbie's Tours, which seem to have good reviews. My one worry is that my husband's English is not very good, and it seems that all of the tours include a constant patter. This is the one I considered:

http://www.rabbies.com/tours_scotland_edinburgh/west_highland_lochs_castles_1_day_tour.asp

This tour departs from and returns to Edinburgh, and we wouldn't be in Edinburgh that day, although if y. I could extend our time in Edinburgh to include this tour, but that would mean leaving a day earlier or missing the Sunday in Glasgow. There are tours departing from Glasgow, but none that appeals to me as much as this one. We have no interest in whisky, nor in the Loch Ness monster. This tour of the highlands from Glasgow would interest me, but it would somewhat cover the same ground as the trip to Mull.

http://www.rabbies.com/tours_scotland_glasgow/oban_glencoe_west_highland_lochs_castles1_day_tour.asp?lng=en

Another possibility would be to forget the tour altogether and spend a day visiting Loch Lomond by train and bus, and maybe also the Falkirk wheel. (My husband is an engineer, and that would probably interest him.) Or we could rent a car for a day, although after doing this in Ireland, neither of us is keen on driving on the left. The first possibility would allow us to plan the trip based on a weather forecast, which is perhaps a big advantage.

That leaves parts of two days for seeing the beauties of Glasgow.

After leaving Glasgow, we would head to Durham. I thought of spending four nights here as well. There are lots of things I'd like to see in the vicinity, including the Roman wall and some Anglo-Saxon remains. I thought of visiting Bede's World, in Newcastle and Escomb Church, and maybe a church or two near Newcastle. Since we'd have three full days, we should have time on some of the days to see a fair number of things in Durham itself, including the cathedral.

I have a fairly serious interest in Anglo Saxon history. I studied Old English (just one year) at the university level, and have read many works in Old and Middle English, some in the original, and some in translation. I've also read a biography of Bede and am rather an admirer of the Venerable monk. Does anyone know if Bede's World is something that would interest a person like me? Or is it just a tourist trap?

I'd welcome any suggestions or advice. I may just reserve the same hotels I reserved last year, although I seem to remember that I hadn't found anything in or near Durham that I was enthusiastic about. Our hotel budget tends to be on the low side, as we'd rather spend our money on other things. In Italy we usually spend a little under €100 a night in cities, less in small towns. We're not, I suppose, "foodies", whatever that is, but we do enjoy at least one nice meal a day, preferably at lunch, which is our main meal in Italy.

Thanks in advance for any and all help.

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