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Is this doable?

Culver, Indiana
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Is this doable?

My husband, teenage son, and I will be flying into Manchester from Ireland. We will be there in July and have a few specific places we want to visit. We are not interested in the big cities but instead want to see the country and get a feel for the people and history of Scotland.

Please look at my itinerary and let me know what flaws you see. I know that it is ambitious but is it doable? Second, I would appreciate suggestions on accommodations. Since we won't be staying in one place long and our arrival times will vary, we would prefer a hotel. In the USA we've traveled without reservations. Can that be done where we are going?

Day 1: Arrive in Manchester in the afternoon after spending six days in Ireland. Rent a vehicle and head out of town. Possibly to Carlisle?

Day 2: Visit Hadrian's Wall, then quick stop in Newcastle to see the soccer stadium, then on to Rosslyn Chapel before ending in (or near) Edinburgh for the night.

Day 3: Spend the day visiting Edinburgh Castle and doing genealogical research at ScotlandsPeopleCentre. Spend a second night in Edinburgh.

Day 4: Head to Inverness, stopping along the way to see Sterling Castle and/or Doune Castle (Monte Python fans). Spend the night in (or near) Inverness or Tain?

Day 5: Head to Tain to visit the Glenmorangie Distillery, then see Loch Ness on our way south back towards the Carlisle area to spend the night before heading south to Cornwall.

Day 6: Travel towards Cornwall stopping at the Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield for an underground tour. Spend the night somewhere along the way. Possibly Bristol?

Day 7: Arrive at our destination in Cornwall.

Day 8, 9, 10: Relax and enjoy the Cornwall area.

Day 11: Drive back to Manchester. Return car rental. Spend the night.

Day 12: Catch a morning flight back to Ireland and the US.

I know we've crammed a lot into Scotland, but we've tried to balance it by taking is slower in Ireland and in Cornwall. This will be our first and probably only chance to visit. If I've missed anything we should see or have misjudged the distance and travel time please advice me. All suggestions are appreciated.

London, United...
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1. Re: Is this doable?

I have gone through the whole plan, I liked it, its good but i found just one flaw in it, that is this kind of quick routine will spoil the joy g=factor in the tour, increase the tour for a day or two and keep the relaxation factor in it. so that you can enjoy the trip with out geting tired. Its my suggestion. dont mind please.

Fife, Scotland
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2. Re: Is this doable?

It’s doable but rushed, at least the driver gets a rest on day 3.

I do wonder why you could not do your family history research online and cut out the visitor centre.

Day 3 again and make sure your Edinburgh accommodation has car parking

Oakham, United...
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3. Re: Is this doable?

It's a long drive down to Cornwall and then back north again. Why not save lots of hours of tedious motorway driving and spend those few days somewhere further north? Maybe York & the Yorkshire Dales say, or the Peak district.

Since there are 3 of you travelling, I'd suggest it's a good idea to book hotels/B&Bs ahead. Do you plan on using 1 or 2 rooms? Family rooms for more than 2 are relatively thinly spread, and can get completely booked up (some hotel chains have strict rules about the maximum permitted age of a child in a family room too). School holidays start around the 3rd week of July, and I'd *definitely* book then. Earlier, certainly book at weekends. Do you really want to spend an hour each day trying to find somewhere with rooms, only to end up with the most dilapidated and expensive places that nobody else wants to stay in?

Destination Expert
for Oban
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4. Re: Is this doable?

I would question why you are going all the way up to Inverness. You mention Loch Ness and the Glenmorangie Distillery - there are much more picturesque lochs nearer the central belt, and the tour of one distillery is very much like another. The Glenkinchie Distillery is near Edinburgh. Doune Castle is highly recommended, but you could just do a loop up from Edinburgh via Stirling and Doune over towards the Trossachs and Loch Lomond and back.

Dundee, United...
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5. Re: Is this doable?

You're trying to cram way too much in imo, you'll never stop driving and have very little time to see anything. Trying to combine Cornwall with Scotland isn't great because they are a long, long way apart. For instance I would say Carlisle to Bristol is pretty much a long days drive with minimal stops - You have to pass through/around Manchester and Birmingham which will likely introduce traffic jams and delays. Inverness-Carlisle is getting on for 5 hours on the quickest route with no stops, you'll have a job fitting in a distillery tour and Loch Ness into the same day. Tbh I would look at dropping a fair few things. For instance, I'm as big a sports fan as anyone, but I wouldn't detour to Newcastle purely to see St James Pk - It's a stadium like dozens of others across the country. Loch Ness is also overrated and a bit of a tourist trap imo, there are other places just as nice to visit on the way South.

One simple alteration would be to change the airports you fly in and out of - You don't seem to be spending any time visiting Manchester itself, so I'm not sure why you've chosen to specifically arrive and depart from there? Why don't you fly into Scotland (Edinburgh or Glasgow) and then out of Bristol or perhaps Exeter? This would cut out several hours of driving straight away without really missing anything major. You could also take domestic flights - Instead of driving from Inverness to Bristol you could fly - easyjet offer decent fares on this route, or you could drive to Glasgow/Edinburgh and then fly with flybe to Exeter.

In terms of a place to stop north and southbound, I wouldn't personally pick Carlisle, it's not really a tourist destination. You could go a little bit further and stop somewhere in the Lake district.

Elgin, United...
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6. Re: Is this doable?

I've driven from the south coast to near Inverness a couple of years back,it took me 2 days of 9 hours a day driving,and we didn't get stuck in any jams. You have to think that the motorway basically stops at Exeter and it will take you anything up to another couple of hours on the roads. Similarly on the scottish ends there are no dual carriageways passed Perth and Perth to Inverness in 3.5 hours up the A9 on a good day.

I'm not saying it's not doable but you will spend all of your time in the car, you could cut a few things out and spend some time enjoying the highlands.when you come out of Edinburgh go to Stirling castle and then make your way towards Braemar/Aviemore, spend the evening walking around a Loch with the mountains in the background, the next day you could head to Dufftown and go on the free tour of Glenfiddich before heading down onto the Moray coast and heading towards Inverness and then go dolphin spotting at Channory point, the next day head down to Loch Ness and go on the boat trip, then head over towards Skye or down towards Fort William,it would be a shame to be up in Scotland and not go the west coast, head through Glen Shiel and over the bridge onto Skye for some truly dramatic scenery. Then head towards Oban go to Iona from where Christian missonaries spread the faith to the Pictish Scots.

I think you need to decide whether you want to head north or south. I'm from the south coast but live in Northern Scotland, Cornwall is nice but heaving with tourists during the summer and accommodation is expensive, and it seems a bit pointless heading all the way to Cornwall just to head half way back to Manchester

Edinburgh, Scotland
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7. Re: Is this doable?

My reaction is similar to those above. I frequently travel between Edinburgh and South Wales, quite often by car, and I can tell you that just the part from central Scotland to Bristol is a tiring day's drive, much of it on busy urban freeways. From Inverness to Cornwall is 5 or 6 hours longer, some of that on more attractive roads, but almost all of it on slower ones. You won't be doing a lot except motorway driving on days 4, 5 and 6, especially if you try to add in a detour via Wakefield.

It would make far more sense to fly and there are inexpensive flights from Inverness direct to Bristol. Doing that would give you two more days to spend exploring the highlands (or whatever else takes your fancy). And as others have said, why fly into Manchester when you can fly direct from most of the main airports in Ireland to most of the main airports in Scotland?

Cardiff, United...
Destination Expert
for Cardiff
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8. Re: Is this doable?

It's fine apart from the part where you appear to be trying to fulfill a wager to go to the furthest possible apart places in the UK within a couple of days.

Not sure why you need to go right to the North of Scotland. There are nicer lochs than Loch Ness with equal numbers of monsters in. There are other distillery tours.

Instead of Cornwall, the Lake District, Northumberland Coast or North Yorks Moors are equally beautiful areas that you won't spend two days driving on congested roads to get to. Also closer to Wakefield which is not by any stretch of the imagination en route from Carlisle to Cornwall.

Oakham, United...
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9. Re: Is this doable?

From another thread by the OP, it looks as though there are family connections in both Scotland and Cornwall. If both must be visited, revise the Scottish leg to avoid Nessie gift shops, and then try to fly south would be my suggestion.

Edited: 12 March 2014, 22:45
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10. Re: Is this doable?

There's a small airport at Newquay which could cut some tedious miles of driving.

There's a Manchester to Newquay flight. Likewise Newquay-Edinburgh. Or a few other locations.

Apply the same logic to Inverness. Manchester-Inverness.



At the very least you could turn all these double journeys into single ones. It's only money. No, it releases a day or two of driving, and preserves the driver's sanity. It's money well spent.