10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (2023)

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Our time in Scotland and England last year was simply incredible. Both my husband and I have Scottish ancestry, so it isn’t surprising that visiting such a beautiful place for the first time felt more like coming home than going somewhere new. While we spent nearly a month in the United Kingdom, I wanted to create a condensed version of our itinerary to share with you, so that you can easily add a couple of days or remove a few to create your own 1-2 week travel plan. I hope this 10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary helps you fall in love with the United Kingdom in the same way that we did.

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Before Departure

Make reservations for hotels, book flights, and order an Oyster Card for transportation in London at least 2 weeks in advance to save up to 50% off transportation around London, or buy the card upon arrival to the city. Book rental car in Edinburgh for Isle of Skye travels at least 2 weeks in advance, as they book up quickly, and keep in mind they drive on the opposite side of the road as we do here in the states. Most vehicles are manuals as well.

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London, Day One

8:00 am Fly into Gatwick Airport
– Pick up a SIM card at one of the many SIM card kiosks around the airport to use Google Maps locally around the UK

9:00 am Take the Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station, transfer towards South Kensington Station, and exit at South Kensington Station
– Use Oyster Card to travel around London via the underground, trains, or buses with a single tap of the card

10:00 am Check into The Kensington Hotel in Kensington
– One of the most fashionable and exclusive neighborhood in London
– One of the nicest places to stay in the city, with the obvious exception of Buckingham Palace itself, of course.
– Complimentary, organic, fresh pressed juice upon arrival
– Change into comfortable walking shoes

11:30 am Have brunch down the street from the hotel at Dozo Japanese Restaurant or get takeaway at nearby Akira Sushi and have a picnic in Kensington Park.

1:00 pm Head to Central London via The Tube East District Line to Westminster Station

1:15 pm See Big Ben & Westminster Abbey/Palace of Westminster
– Clockface is under construction until 2021, but still visible
– Lots of iconic, red phone booths are in the vicinity

2:15 pm Ride the London Eye Ferris wheel
– Great place to take photos of the city

3:15 pm Walk Through St James Park and stroll the surrounding gardens or Check out one of London’s Prettiest Cafés

4:00 pm Walk Princess Diana Memorial Walk & Gardens

4:30 pm Visit Buckingham Palace and admire the gardens, Golden gates, changing of the guard, etc.
– Tours available late July – October

6:30 pm Head back to The Kensington Hotel(take The Tube back to South Kensington Station) to change for dinner & freshen up

7:00pm Dinner at Daquise Restaurant which serves delightfully authentic Polish food
– Five minute walk from the hotel
– London’s oldest Polish Restaurant, which was frequented by spies, and Poland’s exiled President, who made plans to overthrow Poland’s communist government inside the restaurant
– I recommend the Marinated Salmon with Potato Pancakes, and the Cheese, Potato, and Onion Dumplings

9:00 pm Have gelato or drinks across the street from the restaurant, or head back to the hotel for the evening

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London, Day Two

6:00 am Wake up & get ready for another day of walking & exploring
– Wear comfortable walking shoes and a comfortable, smart casual outfit
– Bring a sunhat or umbrella depending upon the weather
– Bring camera
– Make reservation at hotel for tomorrow’s afternoon tea experience

7:30 am Walk through Chelsea neighborhood
– Admire lovely building façades and local gardens

8:30 am Brunch at Le Pain Quotidien

10:00 am Visit Kew Royal Botanic Garden
– Buy tickets on your phone on the walk over, or wait in line upon arrival
– Explore glass houses, exotic plants from around the world, as well as native landscaping, butterflies, birds, and more
– This is the most biodiverse place on Earth
– Gift shop has incredible selection of books on the United Kingdom’s flora and fauna, as well as organic gin handcrafted from foraged herbs and plants from Kew Gardens that you can only buy at the gardens

3:00 pm Kew Garden Café for lunch
– Dine out front on the patio for an al fresco experience, or back of the café to eat in their “greenhouse”
– Rotating menu of scratch made sandwiches, quiche, and salads, as well as smoothies and mince pies

5:30 pm Walk Hyde Park
– Natural History Museum is nearby, if you fancy a visit

6:30 pm Walk Kensington Park

8:00pm Dinner at Zetland Arms Pub
– Order a pint, try the Shepphard’s Pie, and relax like the locals

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10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (5)

10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (6)

London, Day Three

8:00 am Breakfast at The Ivy Chelsea
– Ask to sit in the back inside the glasshouse area, or out back on the garden if the weather is nice
– Lots of vegan and vegetarian options
– Restaurant is covered in flowers and filled with real plants and flowers inside

10:30 am Visit Sherlock Holmes Museum
– You will have to wait in line to get tickets, and then wait in another line to get into the museum
– Visits are timed and since it is a small space, people move through quickly, so you won’t have to wait long
– There is an attached gift shop, in which you will purchase tickets to the museum

11:30am Marble Arch & return to Kensington Hotel

12:30 pm Afternoon Tea at Kensington Hotel “The Townhouse”

2:30 pm Walk South Kensington neighborhood

4:30 pm Walk Tower Bridge and surrounding parks

7:30 pm Dinner at vegan gluten-free sushi restaurant, ItadakiZen, near King’s Cross Station

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10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (8)

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London & Edinburgh, Day Four

6:00 am Wake up and pack up, we’re heading to Edinburgh today!

8:00 am Breakfast at Chuc’s Café in Kensington, around the corner from the hotel

9:30 am Check out of Kensington Hotel & head to King’s Cross Station

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10:30 am Visit Platform 9 & 3/4 from Harry Potter & the gift shop next door to it
– Have your photo taken with props from the movie
– Grab drinks and a snack from the grocery in the train station to prepare for the 4.5 hour ride

11:00 am Take the train to Edinburgh
– Enjoy the scenic English and Scottish countryside
– Keep an eye out for flocks sheep on the hillside

3:30 pm Arrive in Edinburgh and exit the train station

3:45 pm Cross the street and check into Scotsman Hotel
– Located directly across the street from the train station
– On the border of Old Town & New Town Edinburgh, making it a perfect base camp to explore the city
– Unpack and change if necessary

4:15 pm Head to Edinburgh Old Town
– Located just around the corner from hotel
– Walk Down Royal Street
– Visit Grassmarket Area, with great views of Edinburgh Castle
– Walk throughGreyfriars Kirkyard
– Pick up some Scottish Whisky or other souvenirs along Royal Mile
– Explore alleyways of Edinburgh and tiny shops along the street

8:00 pm Dinner at Devil’s Advocate Pub
– I recommend Whisky Flight, Smoked Fish Sharing Platter, and Spiced roast cauliflower & squash, tahini yogurt, slow roast garlic, Gordal olive & toasted seeds

9:30 pm Head back to hotel or explore Edinburgh’s nightlife

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Edinburgh, Day Five

7:00 am Breakfast at The Ivy on the Square

9:00 am Head toThe Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh
– Has a cafe, 10 glasshouses, and some of the plants are hundreds of years old
– Check out the Victoria Lillies, they’re massive Lilly pads from the Amazon

1:00 pmHead back to Edinburgh Old Town

1:30 pm Lunch at Angels with Bagpipes
– Rumoured to soon be receiving a Michelin Star
– Locally sourced Scottish Seafood and vegetarian food
– Ask for a table with a view of the courtyard towards the back of the restaurant, if possible

2:00 pm Visit in Old Town

5:00 pm Climb up to “Arthur’s Seat” to watch the sunset
– Photograph Firth of Forth which is a part of the North Sea
– Enjoy the incredible panoramic view of the city

8:30 pm Eat atWahaca Mexican Street Food for dinner after the long hike
– Two blocks from hotel
– Master Chef Winning chef, Thomasina Miers
– I recommend sustainably caught fish tacos, Cheese & Chilli Croquettes, Devon Crab Tostadas, Mushroom & Feta Tacos

10:30 pm Grab a pint at local pub or head back to hotel
– Upon return to hotel, arrange for a late check-out the next day

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10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (12)

10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (13)

Edinburgh, Invergarry, & Loch Ness, Day Six

6:00 am Wake up, get ready for the day & pack up

7:30 am Eat Breakfast

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9:00 am Head to Hollyrood Palace or Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

11:00 am Pick up rental car from Hertz &Drive to Glengarry Castle Hotel in Invergarry
– 3.5 Hour Drive through some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland
– Stop to enjoy the scenery, take photos, stretch, etc. as the mood strikes you
– Grab snacks or lunch en route, if necessary

4:00 pm Check into Glengarry Castle Hotel
– Drive past or walk to Glengarry Castle Ruins on the way in or after check-in
– Unpack and explore the grounds
– Ask to borrow the row boat if you’d like to explore Loch Oich a bit

5:30 pm Dinner at hotel inside dining room
– Option for 2 or 3 course meal
– Order from rotating, seasonal selection of locally sourced dishes made from scratch at the castle hotel

7:00 pm Drive to Loch Ness
– 30 minute drive
– Lots of places to stop and admire the scenery
– Watch the sunset over Loch Ness

9:30 pm Return to Hotel and Walk Castle Grounds
– Stargaze without any light pollution
– Visit castle ruins at night, it’s spooky!

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10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (15)

Isle of Skye & Portree, Day Seven

7:00 am Breakfast at hotel
– Order from rotating, seasonal menu which changes daily

8:30 am Drive to Eileen Donan Castle
– 1 hour drive
– Lots of towering waterfalls, mountains, and stop-offs along the way
Click here for seasonal hours
– Nearby rental cottages& apartments on the castle property, these book out several months in advance

10:00 am Explore castle

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11:30 am Head to city of Portree for lunch
– 1.5 Hour Drive
– Portree is the last “major” city before entering the Isle of Skye

1:00 pm Arrive in Portree
– Enjoy lunch on the water
– Explore the port city, and its colorful waterfront buildings
– Photograph the incredible mountains and loch surrounding Portree
– Pick up provisions, refuel, fill up water bottles, and use restroom before heading out, because there aren’t many places to stop for these things on the Isle of Skye

2:30 pmHead to Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint
– 30 minutes away
– Use pulloffs to give way to oncoming traffic along one-lane roads
– Stop at Old Mann of Storr Monument along the way

3:00 pm Admire Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls
– Usually bagpipe players here
– Watch for tour busses, they drive wildly and won’t stop for pedestrians
– Look for whales, dolphins, and baby dolphins along the waters, and puffins on the rock face (puffins are sadly uncommon nowadays, as a result of eel trawling, which has taken away their main source of food)

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10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (18)

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4:30 pmDrive to Fairy Glen
– 35 minute Drive

5:00 pm Explore Fairy Glen
– Climb the cone shaped hills and fern covered valleys of the Fairy Glen
– Hike the area, admiring wildflowers, and look for wild hedgehogs, and otters in rivers and streams
– Look for the waterfall in the distance and tame sheep roaming about
– Lochans (ponds) full of fish, small idyllic cottages in the distance, and beautiful views of the mountains from here
– This is one of the most gorgeous places in all of Scotland

8:00 pm Head back for Dinner in Portree
– After dinner, return to hotel

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Isle of Skye, Day Eight

8:00 am Breakfast at castle hotel

9:00 am Head to Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye
– Stop along the way to pack a picnic for the Isle of Skye
– Stop off at waterfall or mountain viewpoint you’d like along the way, there are dozens of them, all absolutely beautiful!
– Stop by Hector’s Highland Coos along the way and hang out with some highland cows and their babies! Donations help buy feed for them 🙂

11:30 am Arrive at and Hike/Swim at the Fairy Pools
– Bring midge fly bug spray and/or face net, hiking boots, lunch and a swimsuit + towel
– Seriously, bring midge fly spray. Their bites really, really hurt!
– Pay £5 to park and hike down to the falls area
– Hike all the way to the upper falls and find the swimming pools, where it will be much less crowded than the lower falls
*Be careful, the rocks are sharp but the water is crystal clear and perfectly cold as it’s snow melt from the top of the mountain mixed with rain water and spring water. Swimming here is so refreshing!
– There are dozens of waterfalls and shallow pools and a cave you can swim into! It’s absolutely breathtaking, the muddy hiking paths are covered in soft ferns and moss which make it a perfect place to hike and explore as well.
**Not safe to dive anywhere here, the water is very shallow, at most 3 feet deep

3:30 pm Leave early to play a round of golf at Isle of Skye Golf Club overlooking the loch and Cuillin Mountains, or hike nearby hiking trails
– This golf club is the only course in the world to have each hole named in Gaelic. Scotland is where golf was invented, so this is a very special golf course for those who love heritage golfing

5:30 pm Find dinner on the Isle of Skye, Portree, or head back to Loch Ness to dine atBoathouse Restaurant, which overlooks the lake
– If you dine in Loch Ness, you can take a sunset “Nessie” cruise on a glass bottom boat equipped with sonar equipment to hunt for the Loch Ness Monster

Evening Explore local area before heading back to hotel

10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (20)

10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (21)

Invergarry, and Glasgow or Glencoe, Day Nine

6:00 am Wake up, get ready, pack up

7:30 am Breakfast at Hotel

9:00 amCheck out of hotel and head to Glasgow or Glencoe
– Glencoe is one of the most beautiful places in the United Kingdom and perfect for nature lovers, but requires more driving or an additional day
– If heading to Glasgow, stop at Blair Castle & explore the grounds, walk the Hercules Garden, and explore the on-site bookstore and gift shop
– VisitStirling Castle along the way or add another day in Stirling, Scotland

7:00 pm Arrive in Glasgow and Check into Kimpton Blysthwood Square Hotel
– Get settled in room, change, and freshen up for dinner

8:00 pm Dinner & Drinks at inside hotel
– After dinner, explore the city’s nightlife, swim in the hotel’s spa/pool (if still open, hours vary by season)

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Glasgow, Day Ten

7:00 am Wake up, pack up, and have breakfast either at Bo + Birdie, or nearby restaurant
– Request late check out
– Prep travel documents

9:00 am Spa Day at Kimpton Blysthwood Square Spa
– Read more about spa’s offerings, and see my recommendations for treatments, facials, and massage, here.
– Perfect way to work out sore muscles from hiking and site seeing before heading back home
– Lunch at spa’s café

5:00 pm Freshen up,finish packing, and check-out

6:00 pm Head to Glasgow Airport and return rental car
– Check-in for flight
– Fly back home

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10 Day Scotland & England Itinerary - Annie Fairfax (23)

I hope this helps you plan the most incredible adventure in Scotland & England. Truly, Scotland is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and there is so much to see and do, particularly if you love the outdoors as much as we do. I could live in Scotland for an entire lifetime and never see and do everything I’d like to, so my advice to you when planning an adventure in the United Kingdom is to begin by doing research and prioritizing what you’d like to do on your first visit, and then finding things along the way you’d also like to see. For example, we knew we wanted to renew our vows on the Isle of Skye at the Fairy Pools, so we fit in as much as we could in the surrounding areas, and we were never once bored. In fact, I wish we could have spent more than a month exploring the UK, it’s one of my favorite places in the world!



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