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Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

Manchester, United...
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Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

I wonder if anyone could offer advice on whether to rent a car or take the trains for a 2 week tour of the Lake District and Scotland?

I am an American currently based in Manchester, England, and am planning a holiday for my visiting family (brother, sister-in-law, and 4 year old niece) in late May/early June. We were planning to take the train from Manchester to Keswick (thanks to a previous forum on discussion on this site, I now know how to do that!), spend 3 nights or so in Keswick (if we can find a place to stay that is child- friendly), and then we wanted to spend the majority of our time in Scotland (where none of us have ever been before). We heard that the Ayr is lovely, but could use more practical suggestions on where to go in Scotland from the Lake District, as well as how to get from point A to point B.

I imagine that a car might give us more freedom to see the countryside, but I am a bit nervous about driving on the left side of the road. (I'm driving here now my US license and taking lessons for the UK test). I'd welcome suggestions on whether renting a car is a better option that taking the trains. Do you need a car in Keswick? In Scotland?

Thanks so much for your help!

Karen

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1. Re: Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

You would need a car in the Borders [Scotland], less so in Keswick. The train from Keswick (Penrith) to Edinburgh is fine - fairly regular bus to Penrith and fairly regular trains to Edinburgh via Locherbie and a few other places. Buses from Keswick to Borrowdale, Buttermere etc which I think are nice places to stay than Keswick if you want to see the countryside and hike (although Keswick is nice too and has more bad weather options).

Not familiar with Ayr but If you have 2 weeks in total you could combine a couple of days in Edinburgh with a trip to the Highlands, although there are plenty of nice areas in the borders, the Highlands are more spectacular in terms of scenery.

Chester
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2. Re: Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

Hi,

as you have time to plan this trip I would suggest the west coast of Scotland, Oban, Fort William, Ullapool and on to Strath Halladale returning to Inverness via the A897 road. Then head south to Pitlochry, Sterling and Edinburgh.

Hope this gives you something to think about.

Keith.

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

Thanks for these great suggestions, Mark and Keith. You have inspired me to take my UK driver's license test before the trip! ;)

united kingdom
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4. Re: Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

Hi, Agree with Keith E @ (2)

If you have got the time go by car you will see some beautiful country, you will not get the the train to pullover

when you want a closer look!.(you will not be disappointed).

London
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5. Re: Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

I wouldn't worry about driving on the "wrong" side of the road. I find that when I drive to France, I adapt to driving on the wrong side incredibly quickly. Just feels perfectly natural after a matter of minutes.

Newcastle, United...
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6. Re: Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

They do say that the west coast railway line is one of the most beautiful in the uk mind you

Bingley, United...
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7. Re: Keswick to Scotland: Train or Car? + General Suggestions

< They do say that the west coast railway line is one of the most beautiful in the uk mind you >

No they don't - it's the West Highland line, the west coast line is beautiful only for the few minutes it passes through the borders of the Lakes

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