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1. Posted by S.rowe (Budding Member 3 posts) 44w

Hi,
I'm looking at travelling to London & Scotland from Australia with my mum next year for 8-10 days. Can anyone please give me an estimate amount of $$$ I'd need to save, including flights, accom, train to Scotland, food, sights etc? How long would you recommend staying in London & Scotland?
Thanks

2. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 640 posts) 44w

Hi

Cost of living in the UK is a little cheaper than Australia generally.

London's in England; Scotland's the next country over. Do you plan to see anything of England as you pass through or literally just London then Scotland?

Same sort of question re Scotland really - it's a whole country, what is it which appeals? Do you want a hiking trip, see the landscape from behind a car windscreen? Cities, architecture? Will you stay in fancy hotels or hostels or somewhere in between these extremes?

But a general reply...

Return flights from Australia to London may be on the order of A$1500 per person depending on the season. Skyscanner will give you quotes.

For Scotland the big choice is how to travel around - hire a car, or by public transport. Car gives you the most flexibility to choose the pace and attractions, and navigation isn't really hard, plus the roads are mostly quiet. Getting to the outdoorsy highlights in Scotland by public transport could be challenging, and if doing it by train / bus / tour then this will alter entirely what you can hope to see.

I'd say 3 days London then 6 days Scotland. There's only so much big city you can do before getting tired, and the day on the train up to Scotland lets you relax a bit before going exploring. You could get a train from London to either Glasgow or Edinburgh equally easily, and tour by car from either of them. Edinburgh has more touristy sights, Glasgow has more architecture to see.

If you're doing something like a 5 day car tour I'd head via Loch Lomond (from Glasgow) or the Trossachs (from Edinburgh), over Rannoch Moor and through Glencoe to get to Fort William.
If you want a taste of the islands you can do a day trip from here, it's about 45mins drive to the port of Mallaig where you can do ridiculously cheap day tours on the boat to the islands of Rum, Eigg, Canna or Muck (the ferries are government subsidised, day trips from £4 ~ A$8). Look at the Caledonian MacBrayne website for details - http://www.calmac.co.uk and look for Small Isles Ferry.
From Fort William lots of people feel the need to climb Ben Nevis, which is a 7hr hike.
From Fort William head up the Great Glen past Loch Ness towards Inverness. You could then route through Speyside if whisky is your thing, or to Balmoral Castle if royalty is of interest to you. Then the A9 brings you back south via the Grampian mountains (train trip up Cairngorm maybe) through Pitlochry (pretty and touristy), Perth (not much to see), and Stirling (great castle).

Possible add-ons to this include:

  • After Loch Lomond go via Oban, another ferry port where you can do the 3 Isles Daytrip (again with Calmac ferries) which takes you across the isle of Mull (mountain views) to visit the small islands of Staffa and Iona. Staffa is volcanic blockwork, like the Giant's Causeway but 20 times better, and with Fingal's Cave. Iona is an early Christian site. See http://www.staffatours.com
  • A long drive up to John O'Groat's (3hrs from Inverness) to then do a daytrip tour of Orkney. Highlights of this are the neolithic sites - the Ring of Brodgar (better than Stonehenge), Maeshowe (chambered burial tomb), and Skara Brae (preserved buried village). There's also the wartime Churchill Barriers and Italian Chapel plus time in the capital Kirkwall. http://www.jogferry.co.uk

Other ideas include seeing the Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings across Glasgow - famous architect in the early 20th century, some weird freaky buildings. South of Oban you can ride the Corryvreckan whirlpool (the world's 2nd largest maelstrom) with a company called Seafari if the dates fall right for the tides. Edinburgh has the Royal Yacht Britannia.

If travelling by train I'd try to route from Glasgow to Mallaig, ferry to Skye, across Skye by bus, then train again from Kyle of Lochalsh via Inverness and back south via Perth/Stirling to Edinburgh. The west highland line from Glasgow to Mallaig is fantastic, but without a car you're then very limited where you can go to explore.

Re budget. Motels (travelodge, premier inn) can be had from £40 to £50 per room. Hostel beds from £15. Food can be cheap - eat at a chippy from £2, pub food from £5 for dinner (Wetherspoon are a major chain who drive the budget prices), supermarket cafes are cheap too (Asda, Tesco, Morrisons). Fuel is around £1/litre. Train fares can be crazy prices and it seems to depend on booking early.

Personally I'd budget around £60 per person per day for Scotland, covering food, car hire, fuel, ferries, accom and sightseeing. More if you're a shopper or a foodie or prone to going in many visitor attractions and tours. London will be more expensive. So overall maybe Aus$3000 per person - but that is very variable. Maybe you could do it for half that, or double, depending how you travel and what you do.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Nov-2015, at 05:25 by Andyf ]

3. Posted by S.rowe (Budding Member 3 posts) 44w

Hi,
Thanks for your tips. I want to see London and my mum wants to go to Scotland, no hiking or too much walking as she couldn't handle it. She wants to see castles and learn the history.

I was quoted $8385 for both of us, flights, accom, tours, 4 nights in London and 4 nights in Edinburgh. Not sure if that is expensive or not as I haven't travelled except for a honeymoon. It didn't include the train from London to Edinburgh & back.

We want to see as much as possible without the stress, which will probably be hard with little time we have

4. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 640 posts) 44w

Ah. Seeing Edinburgh isn't seeing Scotland. All that way for a couple of city breaks, from Oz, I really wouldn't bother. Can't you travel for longer? You aren't even going to get over the jetlag before you're going home again, so you're making it a miserable trip.

Stay longer, travel slower, see more, and you will enjoy it.

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Nov-2015, at 03:15 by Andyf ]

5. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member 602 posts) 44w

Quoting S.rowe

Hi,
I'm looking at travelling to London & Scotland from Australia with my mum next year for 8-10 days. Can anyone please give me an estimate amount of $$$ I'd need to save, including flights, accom, train to Scotland, food, sights etc? How long would you recommend staying in London & Scotland?
Thanks

THE CEREMONY OF THE KEYS at the Tower of London is something both you & Mother might enjoy while there. It's free but you have to apply for tickets. Get your application in well in advance of your trip.

Steve

6. Posted by S.rowe (Budding Member 3 posts) 44w

I wish it could be longer but I have 3 kids under 7 & my mum wouldn't be able to travel in 5 plus years when I could have more time away...
Thanks tho

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