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11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

Melaka
Level Contributor
59 posts
12 reviews
11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

I made an earlier post here at the beginning of the year. This is the link : tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186216-i15-k33608…

Unfortunately a few things cropped up and we shall be staying in UK for only 11 days (Inclu. day of arrival and departure). Most of us were keen on tour packages and therefore we were going to book one with a local tour operator which met our budget. However, its fully booked and we've scouted around for others but are not quite happy with what we have found. So it appears that we may have to tailor our own private tour and submit it to the smaller/specialised tour companies in the UK!

Personally I like this because its like an adventure compared to the tour packages which bundle you off in a coach and you spend several hours in the bus just travelling and ' seeing' sights rather than visiting them.However,all of us want to see as much as we can out of this tour and cover lots of ground. We are looking at a sample itinerary prepared by one of the big tour companies in the UK.

Theirs is a 8 day trip covering (Day 1 )Stratford-Coventry-York-Harrogate (Day 2) Harrogate-Durham-Edinburgh (Day 3) Edinburgh, (Day 4) Edinburgh-St. Andrews-Scottish Highlands, (Day 5) Scottish Highlands-Culloden-Loch Ness-Glasgow (Day 6) Glasgow-Gretna Green-Grasmere-Lake District, (Day 7) Lake District-Chester-Tintern/ Wye Valley,Wales-Bristol(Day 8) Bristol-Bath-Stonehenge-Salisbury-London.

We are planning to use this itinerary as a guide and therefore would be grateful for the feedback on this itinerary as it seems to cover a lot of ground.

On a side note , all of us have agreed that we must include a trip to the lake District and also Edinburgh.

London, United...
Level Contributor
33,482 posts
78 reviews
1. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

"all of us want to see as much as we can out of this tour and cover lots of ground".

I think those aims might be contradictory. That 8 day tour does cover a lot of ground. I can't see how you will see very much, except major roads, as you speed from place to place.

I'd stick to England,and spend more time in York, the Lakes and the Cotswolds around Bath. Even then, its a whirlwind.

Cardiff, Wales
Level Contributor
3,617 posts
48 reviews
2. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

Hi there

Sorry your earlier plans fell through. It will be a great adventure doing your own trip. However, that 8 day plan you are basing your thoughts on is way too ambitious to manage by yourself - there will be so much hard work moving around and little time to enjoy the places - and you will simply not be able to get to all the places you list AND stop and see them. If you have all agreed that the Lake District and Edinburgh are must sees then I think you should think seriously about just concentrating on the north of England and Scotland and leave the rest out for this trip - Scotland alone could easily take two weeks.

UK
Level Contributor
49,560 posts
91 reviews
3. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

That itinerary would only work if you drove through all those places, never stopping.

Cardiff, Wales
Level Contributor
3,617 posts
48 reviews
4. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

"That itinerary would only work if you drove through all those places, never stopping."

Ah yes! Just like "Lightning Coach Tours" - remember them? For those who forget here is the Lightning Coach Tours trip to Margate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7CpkzJU9kA

Edited: 15 May 2010, 03:30
Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Southport, Connemara, County Clare, Portumna
Level Contributor
20,171 posts
73 reviews
5. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

It is almost a copy of the 80's National express tour that used to call into the Prospect (as was) in Harrogate at 7pm after the trip up from Stratford then off to Edinburgh 7am the following morning. Coach loads of mainly Americans too tired to walk the town or even stop off in the bar.

Do yourselfs a favour, cut down and slow down.

Edited: 15 May 2010, 04:06
Melaka
Level Contributor
59 posts
12 reviews
6. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

Thanks guys for the input.As I suspected the itinerary was pretty packed and if we had taken it we would be dog tired at the end of the day.

That itinerary is taken from Trafalgar Tours - Amazing Britain 2010. It covered visiting Shakespeare's birthplace ' Haddrien's Walls, The Cathedrals in Coventry, York Minster and Shambles etc. What about this itinerary which I am planning at the top of my head :-

Day 1 (Arrival 4pm –ish) Friday- London sights probably- will do more search on sights in the evening.

Day 2 – Saturday - London

Day 3 – Sunday London- Stonehenge, Bath

Day 4- Monday Lake District

Day 5- Tuesday Lake District

Day 6-Wednesday Glasgow

Day 7 –Thursday Edinburgh

Day 8-Friday Scottish Highlands

Day 9 Saturday York

Day 10- Sunday Coventry- Stratford-upon-Avon

Day 11 Monday (Departure) Home – Flight in the evening 5 p.m ish

I’m thinking of using London as a base to go to Bath, Stonehenge, Lake District. There are a lot of public transports to go to these places.

Taking the public bus to Lake District would be great right as the country scenes are lovely. What do you guys think about this? On transportation we are still undecided whether to chart a private bus or get on those tour guides from London which can bring you to Bath, Stonehenge.

Another concern is this : Highways (Public Bus) v Trains. Our days of travel do not coincide with the mad Friday rush in London so I’m keeping my fingers crossed if we take the bus to Lake District/Scotland.

About Stratford-Upon-Avon. I dont know whether we should visit it. Due to our limited time over in the UK I 'd rather stick to the essential places of the UK which could possibly fit in our itinerary. However, at the same time I'd like to experience a holiday trip which doesn't feel like a hop and off tour. I'm pretty sure my other colleagues agree on this.

Sorry to be rambling on the same issue but the bottom line i this : To make the trip worthwhile and see as many visits as possible but without making us dog tired at the end of each trip. And also to fit all of this within our budget

We do not have the luxury of time so we need to make the best of whatever time we have. Please feel free to critique this proposed itinerary and would be grateful for further suggestions on other places to visit or perhaps exclude.

Please critique this suggested itinerary.

Southampton
Level Contributor
4,876 posts
25 reviews
7. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

The only way to do either of your suggested itinaries would be to hire and car and drive, drive, drive without stopping for day on end. These itinaries are just not possible unless you want an rally driving holiday. The second itinary is slightly better, but only marginally. For example, driving from the Highlands to York will take most of the day. All you will see will be the backs of lorries on the motorway, some service stations and road kill.

Melaka
Level Contributor
59 posts
12 reviews
8. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

Hiring a car to get around the UK is also one of our options.

Getting around the UK via coaches and trains is quite attractive though. Am considering taking the Caledonian sleeper train from London to Fort William which will take us to the Scottish Highlands!

Fares are quite reasonable considering that our 'lodgings' are on the train itself.

We are definitely going to tweak the 2nd itinerary if we are squeezing too much.

Any other comments on the 2nd itinerary would be appreciated.

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London, Windsor
Level Contributor
8,030 posts
62 reviews
9. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

Hi,

Just a thought - How many of you are there going on this trip? I'm just wondering how much the train fares will cost you, compared to hiring a car. Which of course you then need to compare being able to rest on trains vs the stress of driving... Decisions, decisions!

There's no problem getting to Bath by train (or coach), but for Stonehenge, you'd need to take an organised tour eg Mad Max or Scarpers, as there isn't public transport to Stonehenge (if not going by car). Don't forget - things tend to close earlier on a Sunday.

I've done the London-Inverness sleeper before now; a good use of time and a way to save on hotels, but do take ear plugs, because you'll hear every squeal of train brake! Do you need to stay in Glasgow? You could stay an extra night in Edinburgh and visit Glasgow if you have to. Nothing against Glasgow, but it's still a busy schedule, and would at least give you two nights in one place.

UK
Level Contributor
112 posts
74 reviews
10. Re: 11 days in UK : Help with itinerary

Hi,

You may want to prioritise what is most important to all of you i.e. the sights / time / budget since you only have 11 days.

If you are really keen on public transport on your tight schedule, I would suggest that you take the train rather than the coach / bus from London to the Lake District. A train from London to Windermere takes about 3.5 hours whilst a bus/coach takes almost 8 hours. However, the train may cost you more than the coach.

You can get an idea of the train times and fares on

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

For coach times and fares, see

www.nationalexpress.com/coach/index.cfm

Not sure how old all of you are, but check out the railcards / coach cards/offers on the websites for possible discounts.

Another option would be to fly from London to Edinburgh / Glasgow and work your way back down to London via the Lake District (though it may be a bit risky at the moment as airports seem to be intermittenly closed due to the ash cloud) on one of the budget airlines e.g. Easyjet / Ryanair / etc.

Good luck!