If you were given just two months to live and in that time had just two weeks to see the United Kingdom of Great Britain, as a middle-income middle-aged couple, how would you plan your road trip (England, Wales and Scotland) ?
Would your plans be anywhere near the one I have in mind: London, Cumbria, Edinburgh, Isle of Skye, and then down to Dover, and finally Devon (and, if possible, Cornwall)? Am I missing something here, or being over ambitious?
We arrive in London on August 2 - and Depart on August 19, 2015.
Desperately seeking guidance.
Skip Dover anyway.
Skip Devon and Cornwall because of time.
London, Cumbria, West coast of Scotland, is doable in two weeks. In Cumbria I suggest Keswick as a base. Linger in Scotland, don't try to zip up from Edinburgh to Skye and back quickly - go via Glencoe, return a different way (Loch Lomond and Glasgow for instance, and if you like architecture visit the Hill House). If you have a spare day go via Oban and do the 3 Isles daytrip to Mull, Iona, and Staffa. Or if you like a short hillwalk a trip on the Small Isles ferry from Mallaig to Eigg lets you (certain days, certain timings) daytrip and climb the Sgurr of Eigg. Those are the best two days out in Scotland. The Orkney daytrip is the third, but you don't have time.
Andy, many thanks. Will certainly do Scotland the way you've suggested. We have the flexibility to extend our stay by a couple of days, say, till Aug 21, so Orkney is in, as you recommend (Scotland gets 5 out of the 16 days we have in the UK). And do you think it would be worthwhile to consider one day/night for the white cliffs of Dover from London (wife's wish). Of course, on our way to Cumbria and onward to Scotland, we plan to cover Windsor, and on the way back drive through Oxford and Stratford upon Avon.
Any other town in England you'd recommend for a short visit en route? Chester?
Really appreciate your help.
Chester is nice and it falls on your route; York is similar but better, I think, and makes a good stop en route from London to Edinburgh. Either one is a good choice. Durham is also pretty.
Scotland in 5 days sounds a lot of ground to cover. Have you an itinerary prepared which you could post?
Maybe someone else has something good to say about Dover. :-)
Here's a tentative travel Itinerary for the UK trip (have included Portmeirion after looking at your Best list):
Drive from To Drive time Route Stay
Aug-01 Sat London 5 nights
Aug-06 Thu London Oxford 1 hr 45 m M4 few hours
Oxford Cheltenham 1 hr 10 m A40 I night
Aug-07 Fri Cheltenham Coventry 1 hr 15 m A46 2 night
Aug-08 Sat Day trip to Stratford few hours
Aug-09 Sun Coventry Portmeirion 3 hrs 30 m M54 1 night
Aug-10 Mon Portmeirion Chester 2 hrs A4212,A5104 few hours
Chester Keswick 2 hrs M6 1 night
Aug-12 Wed Keswick Glasgow 2 hrs A74 (M) 3 nights
Aug-13 Thu Glasgow City
Aug-14 Fri Glasgow Edinburgh 1 hr 15 m M8 Day trip
Aug-15 Sat Glasgow Skye 6 hrs A82, A87 1 night
Aug-16 Sun Skye Oban 4 hrs 30 m A87 2 nights
Aug-17 Mon Oban 3 Isles: Mull, day trip
Aug-18 Tue Oban L lomond 2 hrs A85, A82 day trip
L Lomond Glasgow 1 hr A82, M8 1 night
Aug-19 wed Glasgow London 6 hrs 30 m M6 1 night
Aug-20 Thu London Dover 2 hrs/way M20 Day trip
Aug-21 Fri Departure from London back to Bangkok
Do you think it's doable?
That schedule is certainly doable, in some places it is a very leisurely pace. :-)
My thoughts in detail. ..
London to Oxford make sure to take M40 not M4. :-)
The Oxford -Cheltenham -Coventry stretch seems to have lots of time allowed. I guess you plan to see the Cotswolds villages. Coventry is not a bad choice.
Portmeirion is lovely if you like architecture. The surrounding areas in Snowdonia national park contain a lot to see, as well as Caernarfon which to me is the essence of Wales. Personally I'd sooner linger here to explore more than the extra time spent seeing Cheltenham but we are all different.
Approaching Keswick if you have time the drive in from M6J36 through the Lakes is very scenic (next to Lake Windermere, through Ambleside and Grasmere, over Dunmail Raise and beside Thirlmere).
In Keswick take an evening stroll down to the lake, sunset here can be one of England's finest views.
From Keswick if you have a couple of hours to tour, drive down into Borrowdale, over Honister Pass to Buttermere, back via the Newlands Pass - very pretty.
What happened to August 11th?
On your return from Oban you're repeating the same ground as on the way up. You could see the Loch Lomond viewpoints on the way up and for your southward journey look at going from Crianlarich over to Stirling and south from there. From the road you can easily see the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle even if you don't drive in to the city.
Glasgow to London via York is a long day. Perhaps, having already seen Glasgow, you could make more progress south this day and make the next day easier. Myself I would stay near Penrith which is a pretty market town. I've stayed at an old coaching inn called the George Hotel, which was lovely, or there are Travelodges etc. That would get you to York before lunchtime to enjoy the place before your onward drive to London.
Anyway I think you have a lovely holiday planned. :-)
[ Edit: Edited on 24-Jul-2015, at 14:04 by Andyf ]
Can't thank you enough Andy. Really excited. Actually, we have friends and relations in Cheltenham, Coventry, and Glasgow, so were planning to use those places as main stop points and go out from there for day trips etc.
Will ingest your recommendations and pass the revised plan by you soon.