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August 20-25: Six Days to get from Heathrow to Edinburgh

Fort Worth
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August 20-25: Six Days to get from Heathrow to Edinburgh

We will be arriving at Heathrow late the evening of the 18th and need to be in Edinburgh by noon-ish to early afternoon on the 25th to allow plenty of time to get to a performance at the Edinburgh Playhouse that evening. Our B&B in Edinburgh is within easy walking distance and has free parking!

We will be picking up a rental car on the morning of the 20th. The only requirement is that, at some point, we would like to be in the vicinity of Whitby (York seems the best bet) to meet friends for a meal.

I recognize this is very open ended, but would love any recommendations for possible routes. I have not driven in the UK before, but have driven on St. John (left side in American cars), much of the mainland of Greece and Santorini and Manhattan on several occasions so am fairly comfortable in my ability to adapt and enjoy the journey.

Of course, the choice of route is dependent on the sites to be visited.

We are definitely not shoppers nor interested in high end meals. You couldn't see everything in 50 trips so I'm just looking for a few things that we can really enjoy and a balance between history and castles, churches and architecture, short walks (5K or less - our hiking days are past) or village strolls. The extras would be the scenery of the drive itself.

Thanks!

Surrey UK
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1. Re: August 20-25: Six Days to get from Heathrow to Edinburgh

Since no one else has offered any suggestions (yet), I'd say it depends a bit where you're picking up the hire car. If it's LHR, you might want to head west or north-west to start with (Oxford, then Cotswolds?). If it's central London, it might make more sense to head north or north-east (Cambridge?). Either way, it would be worth considering a detour through the Peak district (Buxton is the main town). York is certainly worth a visit, but Google maps reckons it's a 2-and-a-half hour round trip to Whitby. That might not be much in Texas terms but it's a bit tiresome for just over 40 miles each way on single carriageway UK secondary main roads. Might it be better to see York en route to Whitby and overnight in Whitby before driving on to Scotland?

I've too have driven in St John. It's a bit wierd being in US territory on the left hand side of the road in a left-hand-drive car. At least in the UK the steering wheel's on the right side (literally as well as metaphorically). I've also driven in Manhattan. I'd say London is harder, if only because the roads aren't straight. The usual advice is to pick up a hire car outside the central area (eg at an airport). This is particularly important if you are having to cope with a manual gearbox and aren't used to it. If you want to go up the East side of the country, Stansted airport might be a good place to start. There are direct trains and buses from central London.

Gothenburg, Sweden
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2. Re: August 20-25: Six Days to get from Heathrow to Edinburgh

Do you really need a car? York and Edinburgh are not car friendly, even if you have free parking in Edinburgh. I know you want to see the scenery while driving, but some cities and towns are just not car friendly at all.

You could easily visit Oxford and York first. Even make a couple of day trips if you wanted. Like Cotswolds, although this could be done the day you leave Oxford and head up north.

Don't know if you want to make day trips, or prefer to just spend a night at every place before you leave and head to next destination. So little difficult to come with suggestions.

Fort Worth
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3. Re: August 20-25: Six Days to get from Heathrow to Edinburgh

Thanks both of you for the input. I know it's more difficult to request some free thinking rather than ask for something specific.

We're really committed to driving. I think you miss a lot anywhere if you're just going city to city. For us, the journey is a significant part of the pleasure. The overall trip stretches from August 18 - September 10. We've got most of the post-Edinburgh portion planned. We will be picking up and returning the car to Heathrow. So we do want to concentrate on at least the routes between locations being scenic yet driveable.

papluviose - My friend had actually suggested meeting in York instead of having us travel to Whitby. Now, I know why ;-) Perhaps a compromise would be to stay on the outskirts of York and use public transportation for visiting the city and meeting them.

Do you have a recommendation for a base for visiting the Cotswolds?

Akcent - The car won't move the four days we're in Edinburgh. We'll be there at the end of the Fringe Festival to see our youngest son dance at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Our location will be very walkable once we're there.

Good question about preferences. It's not a requirement to spend a night in each place. There might be something in route that would be worth a half day between places. Or we could drive from A to B to C and spend two nights at B going out during the day and one night at C.

Finally - for anyone, is there someplace between York and Edinburgh that would make sense to stay the night before we go to Edinburgh? I think it would be cutting it close or require a very early morning start to get to Edinburgh just after noon.

Sheffield
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4. Re: August 20-25: Six Days to get from Heathrow to Edinburgh

Just to add to the confusion...if you are going to Cambridge, consider looking at Stamford. It is a lovely, stone built town and Burghley House is next door.

And also consider looking around Rutland - a sort of East Cotswolds..thatched cottages, olde worlde pubs and so on. Exton is a good example. Both Stamford and Exton are close to the A1.

Dallas, Texas
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5. Re: August 20-25: Six Days to get from Heathrow to Edinburgh

I will chime in here, since we just spent most of a week in Northumberland, which is between York and Edinburgh. It truly is lovely country. Durham is worth visiting, with it's famous cathedral. Heading west from Newcastle is Hadrians Wall. There are some Roman ruins and museums about life along the frontiers of the Roman Empire. Also some very good hiking along the wall.

Alnwick might be a good town to spend the night in. It has a castle and gardens. North of Alnwick, watch for the signs for Seahouses, and take the road that goes over to the coast there. You can take a boat trip out to the Farne Islands and see more birds in one place than you ever thought possible. Then enjoy fish and chips while sitting on the benches overlooking the harbor in Seahouses. Unless its raining, of course.

There's a road that runs north along the coast and gives you good views of the beach. Lots of places to get out and take a walk and enjoy the views. Bamburgh is a lovely place, and has its own castle. Further north you come to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, with yet another castle and a ruined abbey that is very picturesque. This is the place where the famous Lindisfarne Gospels (now in the British Library in London) were made.

You will see much more of the countryside by having a car and driving yourself. It's a beautiful part of England that is less frequently visited. So not as crowded. Enjoy your trip!

6. Re: August 20-25: Six Days to get from Heathrow to Edinburgh

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