Our trip was well planned allowing us to see and experience a great deal in 2 weeks. Our agent had us moving along from place to place but we never felt rushed. For instance I originally thought one night in Stratford-Upon-Avon would not be enough time for us to get a full experience of the area. However, it was the perfect amount of time. We explored the town, church, river walk and had a wonderful meal before our 7:30 show. The next day we felt ready to move on to our next adventure. We felt there was a great balance between planned/scheduled events and free time to do what caught our eye while exploring with a tour guide or on our own.
The personal tour guides we had in London, York and Edinburgh were all wonderfully unique. Each of them lived in and were raised in the city they guided us through. They had great pride of the culture and history of their city and their passion came through as they provided a unique view and understanding of the area. We had ideas of sights to visit or restaurants to try and it was great to get a local's perspective with nothing to gain or lose.
The hotels we stayed in were fabulous and in excellent locations. Again our trip was well planned from someone that has experienced the area.
Traveling from the US the amount of history and culture we experienced first had was incredible. The vast difference between London city living and Bath Roman culture was an exciting contrast. As much as we loved the London architecture like St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abby, we also loved the Roman Baths and Edinburgh with the unique stone the cities are made from. Exploring the cities and learning about the history, culture and architecture was fantastic.
We certainly enjoyed the half day private walking tours in York and Edinburgh. They provided us with enough information to continue our exploration on our own and not feel we missed anything.
Sterling Castle and Windsor Castles were both memorable excursions of our trip.
The few things we would do differently are:
Don't pick up a rental car inside the city of London during rush hour morning traffic. Neither of us had driven in the UK and the rental agency just hand you the keys. I recommend paying a little more to have the cab take you to the outskirts of town to a rental lot or at least wait until 10:00 so the rush hour is clear.
We also didn't get any value from the Garmin GPS device. We had 11:00 passes for Stonehenge without directions. It couldn't get a signal in the city so it was of no use in London even walking around and it wasn't helpful once we did get a signal 5-10 miles outside the city. We found our IPhones with google maps were more helpful and provided specific directions for the roundabouts. The Garmin device hadn't been updated in over a year. Unfortunately we planned to use the Garmin so didn't think to bring a car charger for our phones so we had to be careful and only turn one on at a time as we had a lot of traveling the first day with the car.
We would not have taken the day long bus tour from Edinburgh to southern Scotland. Although the country side was beautiful and we enjoyed the visit to the ruins, we do not enjoy being stuck on a bus. More than half of the passengers had a deep continual cough / blowing their nose. The bus stopped several times so we could get off and wander about, however, we spent about 4+ of the eight hours with people coughing on us.
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