Where to drive on the other side of the road?
February 21, 2007 7:44 AM   Subscribe

{UK Travel Filter} - My girlfriend and I will be visiting the UK for 10 days next month....

We are flying into London, and then taking an easyjet up to Edinburgh. We plan on staying in Edinburgh for two days and then renting a car so we can drive around Southern Scotland and Northern England. Ultimately we will be taking a megabus from somewhere like Leeds or Newcastle back to London and then spending the rest of the trip there.

Which towns/cities/places of interest should we be sure not to miss?

Already on the list is the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Carlisle and Hadrian's Wall.

We had wanted to see the Isle of Skye, but google maps tells me that its a bit of a haul from Edinburgh and we should probably save it for a later trip.

posted by o0dano0o to Travel & Transportation around United Kingdom (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Quick tip for the Edinburgh castle. Tickets are expensive. Here's how to get in for free:

Request the free tickets to only see the war memorial. They will give you tickets for free that look just like the normally priced tickets. The guards are supposed to escort you to the war memorial, but since they don't look at the tickets very closely, they will simply let you in. FOR FREE.

If this plan fails (it won't), pretend that you thought that it was free for veterans of all countries or something and go buy the proper tickets.
posted by redteam at 7:56 AM on February 21, 2007 [4 favorites]

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne - not-very-attractive website - is quite a unique experience, even for the non-religious. The mead is well worth tasting.

The village of Bamburgh and its castle were also quite enjoyable to visit, though it was 15 years or more since I was last there.

Yorkshire Dales - Grassington is a good base with lots of accommodation. Hikes along Wharfedale and around Malham Cove are fabulous.
posted by valleys at 8:10 AM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't bother with Carlisle. Southern Scotland is not super interesting - I'd say spend a couple of days in Skye, a couple in the Lakes, a couple in the Dales.
posted by creeky at 8:12 AM on February 21, 2007

ednburgh to skye , while skye is lovely , is prob tooo much of a time suck to bother with given ur time allocated
posted by burr1545 at 8:20 AM on February 21, 2007

Best answer: re: my comment above ,, what Creeky said .... dump southern scotland and go west ,,,
posted by burr1545 at 8:21 AM on February 21, 2007

Agreed with creeky - skip Carlisle. What about Glasgow? It's very different from Edimburgh even though it is not far away. Trains between the two run at least every hour IIRC.
posted by stereo at 8:23 AM on February 21, 2007

Cambridge university is probably one of the most beautiful places in the UK (though over touristed) and not just because i went there :). Easy to get to from london, 45mins by train.

If you get a nice day, punting is a fairly unique experience.
posted by mrbump at 8:27 AM on February 21, 2007

edin--> portree .,.. roughly 5 hours , and one of the nicest drives in the UK ,, if u route west then up,,,,
posted by burr1545 at 8:29 AM on February 21, 2007

Skye is beautiful but it is a long drive. Worth it though, as long as it's not snowing.

As a weegie, I'd stay away from Edinburgh so jump on a train (every 15 minutes from Edinburgh Waverley) and come through to Glasgow for a day - easier than driving. Or go to Falkirk and visit the Falkirk Wheel.

In the south, you could go to Gretna Green (cheesy tourist tat), but avoid Carlisle at all costs.

North of England: Durham (where I am at the moment), can be done in half a day and there's the Angel of the North. Touristy again though..

Take a look at the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland sites for ideas in the Borders. Plenty of castles, monuments and abbeys to keep most people interested.

Or just get a good map, stay off the main roads and explore!
posted by Nugget at 8:44 AM on February 21, 2007

Best answer: In the north of England, York has more sights than you can shake a stick at, far too many to list here. The Minster, the city walls, Clifford's Tower, the Shambles, Whipmawhopmagate just for starters. A major urban centre for the ancient Britons, Romans, Vikings, Saxons, and Normans and everyone since then.

A personal favourite, also in Yorkshire, is the village of Howarth, home of the Brontë sisters. See their house. Walk a few miles over the moors to Top Withins, the "real" Wuthering Heights.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 8:45 AM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Go to York and walk the snickelways.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:47 AM on February 21, 2007

If you happen to think shipbuilding or engineering history is interesting, Glasgow is utterly fascinating. The locals don't make nearly enough of it: most of the old renowned shipbuilders' buildings are simply rotting away. There is a water taxi that goes up and down the Clyde and that is a terrific way to see what was once the world's busiest and most renowned concentration of shipbuilding factories.
posted by jet_silver at 9:23 AM on February 21, 2007

Best answer: I third York, and have to add, hopefully redundantly, that you MUST walk up a mountain if going to the Lake District. It's a beautiful part of the world but doubly so while eating a packed lunch by the cairn on a peak. Bring a good waterproof!

Similarly, the Scottish highlands aren't too far from Edinburgh, if you could spare a night to go north but don't want to go as far as Skye.

And I couldn't hear of someone driving through the North Yorkshire area without recommending an overnight stay at the stupendously remote Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge - it's best when it snows, but nevertheless, seeing how early the following morning they reluctantly stop pouring the Old Peculier is always a joyous investigation. And it's a marvellously intimate music venue too. Just don't expect an early start the following day ...
posted by thoughtless at 9:35 AM on February 21, 2007

Another vote for York, it's only about 20 miles from Leeds and far prettier/historic/nicer shops/cleaner/museums like Yorvik and the Dungeons, etc. If it's a choice between Leeds or York, go to York.
posted by cardamine at 11:19 AM on February 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for all of the suggestions thus far!

I think a visit to the Lion Inn will be in order, and York definitely. I think we will catch a train back to London from there.

Skye is still up in the air, but 5 hours sounds better than the 7 hours google told me. Oh and we'll be sure to miss Carlisle.

This is a lot of info to digest, but I thank you all. It's making planning this trip a lot easier!
posted by o0dano0o at 11:20 AM on February 21, 2007

museums like Yorvik and the Dungeons, etc.
Go to the dungeons in Edinburgh too, excellent fun!

And avoid Jorvik in York - it'll bore you senseless! Everything else in the city's worth a visit though.
posted by Nugget at 11:50 AM on February 21, 2007

Response by poster: When you say "dump southern scotland and go west " - how far west is west? Which names should I look for on the map?

posted by o0dano0o at 1:13 PM on February 21, 2007

If you want to go to Skye, here's how in three easy steps:

Travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow in the early morning, suck up the city for an hour or so, grab lunch and then drive to Fort William via Loch Lomond (3 hours) and stay at the Lime Tree and be sure to have dinner there. Next day drive through Glencoe and the eye-boggling mountains then on over the bridge to Skye (2 hours). Plenty places to stay but perhaps The Bosville for a night. Then reverse. It may eat into your holiday time a little but it's utterly worth it.
posted by brautigan at 1:20 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

And you'll see this too!
posted by brautigan at 1:22 PM on February 21, 2007

An alternative is to drive or get on a train to Inverness (3.5 hours) capital of the Highlands. Great food, pubs and hotels as well as perfect for exploring Loch Ness and around.
posted by brautigan at 1:29 PM on February 21, 2007

o0d, if you like the sound of the Lion inn, perhaps the Three Chimneys in Dunvegan on Skye might be up your street. I'm not sure how to post links, but a simple google search gets you to the homepage. Sights to see on the way from Edinburgh include Glencoe, Plockton, and Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most picturesque scenes you're likely to see in the country.
In Edinburgh, the Castle is a must, as is Mary King's Close, an old street which was walled off in the plague years. A pint of Deuchar's IPA is also a must when in the city.
In Glasgow, the newly refurbished Kelvingrove museum has Dali's Christ of St. John of the Cross, and the nearby Transport Museum has a ton of beautiful scale models of ships, which were used an sales tools for the shipyards in the days before CAD. The Museum of Modern Art can also be worth a visit, but as they change the exhibits frequently it's a bit hit-and-miss.
Risking castle overload, Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument are also worth a visit, as easy train ride from Edinburgh.
Hope you have a great time.
posted by Jakey at 1:34 PM on February 21, 2007

My north of England highlights would include a visit to Fountains Abbey, climbing Scafell Pike, and a trip to Levens Hall.
posted by roofus at 5:07 AM on February 22, 2007

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