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Help with planning London/Scotland trip

Discussion in 'UK Community Board' started by Honeystar120608, May 12, 2011.

  1. Honeystar120608

    Honeystar120608 Mom, Photographer, Disney Lover, 100% Cannuck

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    I see another thread here about advice, but not really in regards to the info I'd like. So I hope it's ok that I am here asking the locals some questions.:hug:

    I am pricing out (and somewhat planning) our June 2012 trip to London/Scotland. It will be the 4 of us, DH, dd 6 and ds 7 at the time, and myself.
    We are really mostly focused on Scotland as we are tracing back our ancestoral roots which leads us to Inverness as a base point.

    So, I would love all your hidden secrets... this is the main form of the trip...

    Fly in to London, spend 3 full days with the HOHO buses doing our tourist thing. Any secret restaurants or shops are most welcomed (being along the routes of the buses.)
    Take the train to Edinburgh, do 2 nights there. Perhaps train it up to Inverness and rent a car from that point. Stay in Inverness for 5-6 nights, then return car to edinburgh and back to London for our flight out.

    This is all pretty tentative and can change. I was wondering about doing London on the last leg of our trip, and Scotland first.

    What to do in Edinburgh? We may rent the car from this point and drive up the coast to Inverness and keep the car all week.

    Inverness-I'd like to send dh off fishing for a half a day some how some way. Get some alone time and relax. Not sure how to go about this. We will be heading up into the Highlands for sure on a drive, but also that is where my roots trace back (MacBeath) and dh's trace to Elgin (east of Inverness) so we will be driving out that way. Also to see Culloden moor (McIntosh)

    So these are our main focus points, but would love love love your little secret favorite spots, or any advice.

    I love history... love love love history. I know there is much we won't get to see.

    Also, kid friendly things from time to time. I can't have them getting bored because that opens a can of worms that is NOT fun.


    On the last note, my dream stay in Inverness is on the coast in a cottage. Can be within a 15 min drive from Inverness as well, we will have a car and don't mind driving (even with the high fuel costs). It is worth it to us.


    Thanks in advance for any help, I REALLY appreciate it!!
     
  2. scottish mum

    scottish mum <font color=darkorchid>We still have 2 posties in

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    I live 40 miles north of Inverness, if you want to stay close to Inverness I owuld suggest that perhaps you look into staying near Loch Ness, if you just google cottages by Loch Ness you should get a few ideas. Its not exactly on the coast but you will be right by the Loch. Alternatively you could look for cottages in places like Fortrose, or Avoch on the Black Isle, just slightly north of Inverness, or you could go east of Inverness and stay at Nairn, it is inbetween Inverness and Elgin.

    If you were to stay In Fortrose area you can go out on a dolphin sightseeing boat trip and I think you maybe able to arrange a days fishing from here too. Here is the link for the dolphin trip http://www.dolphintripsavoch.co.uk/index.htm

    The kids may like a visit to aviemore, just south of Inverness, this is where the Cairngorms are and there are a wide range of outdoor activities here http://www.visitaviemore.co.uk/outdoor-activities/

    Of course you have the many castles around the area too, Urqhuart Castle by Loch Ness, Dunrobin Castle at Golspie, about 55 miles north of Inverness, cawdor Castle at Nairn. Also if you go really far north you could visit The Castle of Mey where the Queen mother used to live, it sin Thurso about 120 miles north of Inverness.

    Also easily accesible from Inverness is the west coast, places like Ullapool, Gairloch have amazing scenery and you really are out in the middle of nowhere.

    Hope this has given you a few ideas for your visit to the highlands, I am sure you will have a great trip, feel free to ask more questions or you can pm me if you have any specific questions
     
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  4. Honeystar120608

    Honeystar120608 Mom, Photographer, Disney Lover, 100% Cannuck

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    That is wonderful information. Thank you so much I think I was a fisherman in another life because I love being on a boat, so the dolphin tours is definitely something we'd be interested in.
    I've been researching all day (week) and found some great locations located on Loch Ness. They say they are 25 miles to Inverness....forgive my serious stupidty, but we deal with klms here in Canada. Would this be about a 30 min drive do you think?
    You say you are North of Inverness, that is the area that we will be headed to. I only really know of the area that used to be where my great great great grandfather came from. (Left like so many because they were basically kicked off their land in 1860) I will have to dig up the name of the location to see if you are anywhere near. :)
    What is the 'best' castle in your opinion. I love the stories behind them all, but we are limited in time and our focus will be exploring our ancestory. Easier said then done, so hard to find any info before the travel across the ocean.
    So in your opinion, will my husband give me mild heart attacks with his driving on the other side of the road in the Highlands?? It will be 'fun' I am sure. lol
     
  5. Honeystar120608

    Honeystar120608 Mom, Photographer, Disney Lover, 100% Cannuck

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    The area my family is from is the Kildonan area. Just map.googled it. Says about an hour and three quarters drive.. I cant wait!! Any good little ma and pop restaurants or shops...anything where we can try or visit up between Inverness and Kildonan?
    Your help means a lot to me, thank you so much!
     
  6. scottish mum

    scottish mum <font color=darkorchid>We still have 2 posties in

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    I think the Kildonan area is near helmsdale in Sutherland, very close to Dunrobin castle in Golspie that I told you about. It is about 40 miles north of where I live. The area is VERY rural and the roads are just 2 lanes, 1 for going south, 1 for north, your Husband should be fine driving as the roads will be relatively quiet.

    Between Inverness and Helmesdale you pass through many small towns, One nice town Is Dornoch, http://www.visitdornoch.com/ it has a lovely beach, home to Royal Dornoch golf course, and a lovely Cathedral, among some nice little tea shops and shops

    I'm not really into castles so can't really advise on that, Dunrobin Castle is nice and had a bird of prey display http://www.dunrobincastle.co.uk/

    Also on your way from inverness is Falls of shin, slightly of the main route but a lovely visitor attraction, where you will see the salmon leap up river if you are there at the right time of year http://www.fallsofshin.co.uk/index.php, there are many forest walks in this area as well as a childrens play area


    Loch Ness area is relatively close to Inverness, if the area you looked at says about 25 miles then it would be about 25 mins drive into inverness. A closer village on Loch ness is Drumnadrochit, http://www.drumnadrochit.co.uk/, only about 5 miles outside Inverness. Loch Ness is big so there are many villages on the edge of it. You could have a cruise on Loch Ness and it is lovely and they stop the boat and let you off to look at urqhuart castle too http://www.jacobite.co.uk/.

    Hope this helps a bit, let me know if you have any other questions
     
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  7. frenchyderry

    frenchyderry Earning My Ears

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    We got lots of great information for trips around inverness from a guide that we got from a website called secret-scotland.com

    It recommended the places listed above (e.g. Cawdor, Dunrobin, Falls of Shin, Black Isle etc) but also had some interesting ideas for places out of the way such a Croick church (where the evicted Highlanders carved their names on the church window, the Clootie Well on the Black Isle, a wee church near Nigg with a beautiful pictish carved stone, a cheese factory...) I could go on and on.

    Drop them an email for ideas.
     
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  8. MazdaUK

    MazdaUK <font color=green>Curse this time difference!<br><

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    its difficult to tell driving times as the roads can be very narrow/twisty 9and in towns, busy!) which slows things down, but I would guess a 25 mile drive could take you 45 minutes.

    In London, the Tower of London has lots for kids to see and enjoy, also the Imperial War museum (FREE), Natural history/Science museums (FREE) have good hands-on stuff. There's a lovely Turkish reataurant near Waterloo called EV, which is kid-friendly. And if you want to try out a traditional tea wihtout spending a huge amount (as you would in the Ritz) Tate Britain do a good tea in their restaurant (the gallery is free), you can reach it by river bus or the HOHO buses stop just by the Houses of Parliment so its about 10-15 minutes walk straight along by the river from there.

    Also the London Aquarium in the old County Hall building, and Duck Tours - amphibious tour of London by land and Thames - might be an alternative to one day of HOHO (you can get a combined ticket with the London Eye)
     
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  9. pigby

    pigby <font color=66CC33>This one might be a little more

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    Our DD was 6 when we visited the Inverness area of Scotland so was also on the look out for kid friendly places.

    We visited Drumnadrochit (I know Scottish mum has mentioned this) - it is 25 kms west of Inverness and right on the shores of Loch Ness- they have a kids play farm in the centre of the village - it was called Drum Farm - DD particurly enjoyed the play barn. They also have a couple of Loch Ness monster exhibitions there and the famous Urquart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness - I believe they do boat trip as well but we didnt do one of these. We actually stayed overnight in the village - it was good value and a nice place but forgot the name unfortunately.

    We also visited a place called Landmark which is great for kids with water slides, some animals etc - it was 40 kms south of Inverness in a place called Carrbridge near Aviemore.

    All these places have their own websites and you may want to check them out.

    We go to London a couple of times a year - the last time in January when we did an open bus tour (freezing!!) - it was the Original London bus tour where you have a choice of 3 routes - yellow is probably the best and longest - it passes by a pub called the Sherlock Holmes - nowhere near Baker Street - it's near the river on Northumberland Street - the your company were offering a good discount on this at the time - you bought tickets for this when you bought the tickets at their main office.

    We are going back to London and we are going on a daytime Harry Potter walk via Brit Movies Tours - they also do other tours including a Harry Potter bus tour but this was on the wrong day for us - they don't operate every day. Have done lots of other touristy things in London - if you want to know anything specifically let me know, we might have done it.
     
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  10. Honeystar120608

    Honeystar120608 Mom, Photographer, Disney Lover, 100% Cannuck

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    I had to dig a little to find this post and dust it off by re reading it. We never did get to the UK. Bought a house... and a cpl more DW trips. We also, Surprisingly, got pregnant in 2015 and now have our latest addition to the family who turns 2 in Feb.

    So! Now... we are retiring DW vacations for a few years and just told the Kids we are starting our planning for our UK trip.

    In fact, we were back and forth about bringing the now 13 and 12 (and littlest) because of cost and trouble with accommodations for 5. But at the end of it all, I do want them to have this experience even if it means working harder and saving longer.
    As of right now, we will be going in Apr of 2019. But life has shown me a lot in the last 4 years that it doesn't matter what the plan is... what will be will be. So we can plan and hope to have a very boring year this year. lol That'd be nice!

    So... the kids are very happy. I'm trying to work with cheaper accommodations... probably apartment rentals. Any recommendations welcomed!

    In a perfect world, the cheapest way to travel will be with an open jaw flights going into Glasgow, travel to Inverness for 5 nights staying in a cottage. (will be checking out above places this week!)

    With rental.car to Edinburgh for 1-2 nights.

    train to London for 4 nights (depending on cost)

    And them hopefully Eurostar to DL Paris 2 nights and Paris 2 nights

    Flying out of Paris.

    This is my whimsical wish that all of this falls into place cheaply lol
     
  11. helpmabob

    helpmabob Earning My Ears

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    There are daily flights from all London airports to Edinburgh, the train is far too long and you will be so tired after the journey. Not the best way to experience UK travellers
     
  12. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia DIS Veteran

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    We always choose to travel by rail from Edinburgh/Glasgow rather than fly. The time needed to do check-in, security and travel from/to the airport means that flying is not much quicker. The train journey time from London to Edinburgh is between 4 hours 20 and 5 hours 30 minutes. You are able to book in advance and get a table for 4. This makes the journey really pleasant.
     
  13. Vicki106

    Vicki106 Mouseketeer

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    We did a very similar trip in the summer of 2012 with our 3 kids (ages 11, 8, and 4 at that time). Did a little different order that you are planning, but very similar. We flew into Heathrow, spent 7 nights in London staying in a rental apartment, took a day trip to Paris on the Eurostar one of the days we were staying in London, then flew to Edinburgh and spent 6 nights in Edinburgh in a rental apartment and then flew back to Heathrow, overnighted at an airport hotel and flew back to the US in the morning. Kids enjoyed the trip and we had a lovely time. Not everything went smoothly, but that's part of the adventure!

    I'm envious of your plan for DL Paris. We tried to fit that in when we went back to London for Spring Break last year, but we just couldn't make it work with our plans.

    As a family we've been to UK numerous times and Scotland once. If I can help with any info, just let me know and I'll do what I can.
     
  14. londontime

    londontime DisDad #818. London. Allo Mairee Pawpins.

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    I was born and raised in London, what sort of food are you into?
     
  15. JustCallMeMommy

    JustCallMeMommy DIS Veteran

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    I took the train from Edinburgh to Inverness this summer and really enjoyed it. It was an easy trip, and it always nice to let someone else do the driving. When you pick your seats, you can get 4 around a little table so you can talk or play games during the ride.

    If you have a chance, take a day and visit Isle of Skye while you are so close. The Highlands were probably the most beautiful place I have ever visited, and everyone we met was so friendly. My ancestors are from that area as well, and it really did feel a little bit like I was visiting home. It was so peaceful.

    If you have any Harry Potter fans among you (or maybe some soon-to-be Harry Potter fans at your kids' ages), when you are in Edinburgh, there is a free tour that was amazing (http://pottertrail.com/), and you can visit the Elephant House where some of the writing for the books took place. There is also the WB studio tour near London to set the movie sets.
     
  16. scrappydew

    scrappydew l wish I were at Aulani!

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    Following this thread...we are planning our first England trip for August. My aunt and uncle live in Portishead; this is mainly a trip to see them, as they are getting on.

    I think my husband will insist on renting a car - any good advice, or sites to learn the rules of the road in England? Thanks!
     
  17. londontime

    londontime DisDad #818. London. Allo Mairee Pawpins.

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    There are a lot more roundabouts to encounter, give way to the right as you approach. You can't turn on Reds like you can back home, red means stop. Expect to pay for Parking everywhere. You should be fine, it's really not that different, apart from the whole driving on the left thing.....
     
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  18. Jon84

    Jon84 wdwaddictuk

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    In addition to the above, you'll pay alot more for an Automatic Gearbox Rental Car over here. So being used to a stick shift on the other side of the car is useful!
     

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