Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)

. 10 min read

Finally getting around to planning a family vacation abroad. This itinerary is a 2-week trip to England and Scotland (with kids). My children are finally old enough to do a trip like this (daughter is 11 and son is 4). We’ve done a lot of trips domestically, and I think they’re finally ready for a trip overseas.

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)

Planning Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)

It’s a bit of a tough combination of things to plan for, since I’m planning for 4 people with different interests…

  • My son is obsessed with trains, so this trip is chock-full of them. I want to take him to Thomas Land, and for a ride on the Jacobite steam train from Harry Potter. We can also do a train ride from Liverpool to Edinburgh, and an overnight train ride on the Caledonian sleeper train from the Scottish highlands back to London. Also looking at railroad museums — which he really loves.
  • My husband is a guitarist and he loves the Beatles. He’s never been to Liverpool. So we’re going there to do all the Beatles sightseeing.
  • My daughter is really into animals, so I am looking into staying at farmhouses that have sheep and chickens… and maybe doing some horseback riding tours in the Cotswolds.
Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Farm animals
  • And for me, it’s all about the food. Fish and chips. Haggis, neeps and tatties. The full English (or Scottish) breakfast. Scones with clotted cream and afternoon tea. And having a pint or two down the pub. And we can’t forget Scottish whisky and pudding.
Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Tea and scones with clotted cream and jam

How I Plan Travel Itineraries

You’ll notice that while we are hitting a lot of ground in 2 weeks, I’m not planning that many activities. We’re just trying to hit the main things we want to see, and we will skip everything else. And on driving or train days, we don’t plan activities.

I see a lot of itineraries on blogs online and they seem really aggressive to me. Like, waaaay too aggressive. Especially with kids! It’s one thing when you can just get yourself up in the morning, grab coffee and a pastry and off you go… but kids require a lot more work. Try getting a night-owl tween out of bed in the morning… oy, vey.

The bottom line is… I know my family and I’m being realistic. The kids are young and are not going to have the energy to go to a bazillion places — heck, my husband and I don’t even have the energy for all that.

Also, when I travel, I love to just go places and soak up the vibe, eat the food, meet the people. It’s not so much about checking things off a list and getting that snapshot as it is just going there and feeling what it feels like to be there.

I like to put the main things on the itinerary that we want to hit, such as specific cathedrals, castles, museums, restaurants and so forth. But other than that we keep it open.

England and Scotland 2 Week Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Arrive in London (stay 2 nights)
Day 2: London
Day 3: Rent car and drive to Cotswolds (stay 3 nights)
Day 4: Cotswolds
Day 5: Cotswolds
Day 6: Drive to Tamworth (stay 2 nights)
Day 7: Tamworth – Visit Thomas Land
Day 8: Drive to Liverpool (stay 3 nights)
Day 9: Liverpool – Beatles sightseeing
Day 10: Liverpool – Beatles sightseeing
Day 11: Train to Edinburgh (stay 2 nights)
Day 12: Edinburgh – Edinburgh Castle
Day 13: Rent car and drive or take train to Scottish Highlands/Ft. William (stay 3 nights)
Day 14: Ft. William – Go on Harry Potter Jacobite steam train
Day 15: Ft. William – Last day in Scotland – shopping, relaxing
Day 16: Ft. William – Caledonian Sleeper Train back to London
Day 17: Fly back to USA

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Map of 2-Week Trip to England and Scotland
Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
I like to plot out my itineraries on Google calendar so it’s easier to see.

England and Scotland 2 Week Itinerary: Day By Day

Day 1: London (Stay 2 Nights)

Arrive in London in the afternoon
Check into hotel, get settled, take a nap
Dinner at local pub

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)

We always plan a nap for the afternoon/evening we arrive in Europe. Just an hour or two, three at the most. It gives you the energy to get up and go to dinner, and then you sleep much better and can adjust better to the time change.

I always bring melatonin with me, too, for the flight over and for the first few nights if I have trouble getting to sleep.

Day 2: London

Go on one of the London Walks
Relax, recover from jet lag
Dinner at local pub

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
A British pub

I love London Walks! It is a must for any trip to London. I went on a few the last time I went to London and it was the best thing I did the whole trip. I learned so much. And it’s only 10 pounds — and kids are free! Highly, highly recommended.

This second night we will just take it easy and go to bed early. If we had one more night in London, I would say maybe go out to the theater. But we’ll be getting up early to rent a car and drive, and my family is not made up of morning people. The more rest we can get, the better.

Day 3: Cotswolds (Stay 3 Nights)

Rent car and drive to Cotswolds
Check into hotel and get settled
Afternoon walk
Dinner at local pub

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
The charming Cotswolds

This is one of those days we won’t do much. Just renting a car and driving on the “wrong” side of the road is an adventure in the UK! If we can get to the hotel alive and get checked in, that’s enough for the day!

Day 4: Cotswolds

Possible activities to choose from:
Bampton (Downton Abbey)
Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace)
Cathedrals
Horseback riding tour
Walking tour
Shopping

I am open to all of the above activities but it just depends on what my husband and daughter will want to do. It’s all about compromise — something for everyone!

Day 5: Cotswolds

See above ideas

The Cotswolds

Day 6: Tamworth (stay 2 nights)

Drive to Tamworth
Check into hotel, get settled, have dinner

Day 7: Tamworth

Thomas Land

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Thomas the Tank Engine at Thomas Land

My son is obsessed with trains and he’s going to outgrow Thomas the Tank Engine soon so i want to make sure we get this in.

Day 8: Liverpool (stay 3 nights)

Drive to Liverpool
Drop off car
Check into hotel and get settled

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Penny Lane in Liverpool

Another low key day… not planning to do much other than drive and check in to the hotel.

We will probably want to drop off the car on this day… I need to see what all we are doing in Liverpool to determine whether or not we will need it. No point paying for extra days if we can get around with public transportation.

Day 9: Liverpool

Beatles sightseeing

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
John Lennon’s house in Liverpool

I haven’t started researching all the Beatles sightseeing yet. I know there is a tour bus called The Magical Mystery Tour. We will definitely do that!

Day 9: Liverpool

More Beatles sightseeing

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Liverpool

Day 11: Edinburgh (stay 2 nights)

Take train to Edinburgh

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Scottish tartan kilts

Day 12: Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Day 13: Ft. William (stay 3 nights)

Take train to Scottish Highlands/Ft. William

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Scottish cows

We could drive to Scotland but I think it will be more fun to take the train. It will take a few hours, and this way we can relax, listen to music and play games on our phones and tablets.

Day 14: Ft. William

Go on Harry Potter Jacobite steam train. Did you even know this existed? Amazing, huh?

Jacobite steam train

I had read about the Jacobite steam train, and saw Youtube videos, but I didn’t know it was the one they used for the Harry Potter movies.

Here’s a good blog post about the Harry Potter train (with video).

Day 15: Ft. William

Last day in Scotland
Shopping, relaxing

I think it’s always good to leave the last day open to take photos, shop and just take it easy. Usually you will want to pick up stuff to take home.

The last time I went to Scotland, I came home with shortbreads, a few bottles of whisky and some tartan wool blankets.

Day 16: Ft. William

Caledonian Sleeper Train back to London

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Caledonian sleeper train

I’m excited to do this! I think my 4-year-old train-obsessed son will really love sleeping overnight on a train. I’ve done it once in my life, on an overnight train from Frankfurt, Germany to Prague. It was surprisingly comfortable and a lot of fun. And you eliminate a hotel night.

Here’s a good article with more information on the overnight Calendonian sleeper train.

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Inside a sleeper compartment on the Caledonian Sleeper Train

Day 17: Fly back to USA

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)

Lodging (Where We Will Stay)

When traveling with family, I tend to do a lot of AirBnB-ing. It depends on where we are going.

I like AirBnB because you get a lot more room than in a hotel, and you can cook and bring leftovers home.

Our family can fit in a hotel room with 2 double (or preferably queen) beds. So if we’re going someplace like New York City, where we won’t be cooking a lot of meals, we’ll stay in a hotel usually.

However, in the UK, if you stay at a farmhouse or bed and breakfast, they will prepare breakfast for you. This is very important when you have kids. I can do fine with coffee and a bagel but my kids need a real breakfast (my husband does, too.)

And there is nothing like a “Full English” (or “Full Scottish”) breakfast. This typically consists of eggs, toast, bacon and/or sausage and some combination of baked beans, tomato and or mushrooms. An absolute delight. And super nutritious!

The Full English Breakfast

If I can’t find a bed and breakfast or farm stay, I recommend AirBnB. It’s just more comfortable, especially for families… and it gives you an opportunity to live more like the locals live.

If you are new to AirBnB, you can use my referral link and get up to $55 off your first stay.

Meals (What We Will Eat)

As I said above, it’s better to stay in a B&B and get free breakfast.

I typically use Trip Advisor when traveling to find the best restaurants. The reviews tend to be better than Yelp (Yelp is full of stupid reviews).

When in the UK, I really, really, really love going to pubs. I can eat out at regular restaurants any day of the week in America. There is nothing like a pub. So cozy and warm and inviting.

Pubs (or public houses) in Britain are not just bars. They are restaurants and meeting houses for the community. One of my very favorite memories from my trip to Scotland was sitting in a pub at night, tasting different whiskies and listening to the local folk songs while all the neighbors from the area sang along. And they are very kid-friendly, with lots of kid-friendly foods.

Some of my favorite pub foods:

Bangers and mash
Fish and chips with malt vinegar
Shepherd’s pie or cottage pie
Bubble & squeak
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding
Ploughman’s lunch
Meat pies
Welsh rarebit

I also love the desserts like sticky toffee pudding and trifles. We had a pub dessert called “the lumpy bumpy” once — I don’t remember what it was but it was one of the best desserts I ever ate.

Two-Week Trip to England and Scotland (With Kids)
Fish and chips

One thing we will also do while in the UK is go out for Indian food. There are tons of great Indian restaurants, especially in London.

In Scotland, make sure you try the seafood — especially the salmon from the local lochs — and the haggis, neeps and tatties.

We will also hit a tea shop for afternoon tea. You have to try the scones with clotted cream and jam. (A big hit with kids as well.)

Share Your Thoughts Below

Please share any ideas below in the comments! I would love to get your suggestions.

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Photo Credits: Thomas Land


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