We are planning a trip to Northern England and Scotland.
We think we want to do something like this: fly into LONDON, drive to LIVERPOOL, DRIVE toward ISLE OF SKYE, and INNER HEBRIDES.
ISO advice re: routes, accommodations, sites. Any ideas, fellow travellers?
So..... how long are you planning to spend on your trip? What is the purpose? What sort of things do you want to see? Cities, countryside, history, culture.....? There are a lot of good places to visit in the North of England, but exactly where will depend on time and money....and what you are particularly interested in.
Skye and the Inner Hebrides are very beautiful, it's a good choice. Is there a reason for you wanting to go there? Which particular islands do you want to visit? I used to live on the Isle of Rum, Inner Hebrides, so I can definitely give you some advice on that part of the trip if you need it.
If you give us a bit more information we'll be happy to give some advice. Not from a travellers point of view so much as people who lived there.
Kate and Kris
Thanks, Kate and Kris! Reason for picking that area is an interest in the isles - friends of ours from Brighton loved the Isle of Skye. When we travel, we like to see off-the-beaten path areas, and are interested in historical sites and countryside. We are laid back and want peace and quiet.
And we would love to avoid the summer tourist crowds...
We are especially curious about accommodations - do you think it will be feasible in the summer to find reasonably priced places to stay without making advance reservations? We want to just drive and see where it takes us.
OK, then from the Isle of Skye, I would recommend taking the ferry to the Small Isles of Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna. Check out this website www.road-to-the-isles.org.uk. It describes the journey from Fort William to the Islands. You can arrange accommodation on the Small Isles, which is limited so you would need to book in advance. Have a look at the castle on Rum where you can stay: http://www.isleofrum.com/kinlochcastle-bu.html. These islands are definitely off the beaten track.
In England you are unlikely to avoid the summer crowds, but once you get onto the open road in Scotland you will find it quieter. Is there a reason for visiting Liverpool in particular? Chester is close to Liverpool, it's an old Roman town you might like to visit.
For history and countryside I would recommend passing through the Yorkshire Dales and Northumbria on your way up to Scotland. The Yorkshire Dales are beautiful, lots of little quaint villages nessled in the hills. It will be very busy however. Have a look at Skipton, Malham, Grassington......www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/
Northumbria is more wild and very beautiful. Open hillsides and lots of huge castles looking out to sea. We went to Alnwick castle www.alnwickcastle.com/ where part of Harry Potter was filmed, it was amazing. Also look at Banburgh castle and Holy Island/Lindesfarne. Really lovely. http://www.holy-island.info
I would say that in cities you may be best arranging accommodation in advance, because otherwise it might only be the expensive places that have free rooms. Check out etap hotels, Travel Lodge and Holiday Inn Express for cheap hotels in cities.
In the more remote areas you will probably be able to find bed and breakfasts to stay in. Particularly if you have a car. Bed and Breakfasts rent a room out in someone's house and provide you with breakfast. You often get your own bathroom. In tourist areas in the countryside you will find a lot of them. You can also stay in Youth Hostels which can be in some pretty amazing locations/buildings. Check out the YHA.
Hope this helps and gives you some ideas.
Kate and Kris
Thanks for the amazing advice! We are looking into you recommendations right now - great thanks.
you could do the west highland way which is a 95 mile walk through some of scotlands greatest countryside. it takes 5/6 days depending on how active you are. you seem to like your outdoors so you could take a tent and camp out after each days walk or you could stay in some of the many hostels along the way. there are also services where u can leave your bag at the start of each day and a van takes all your belongings to the end of the days walk for you. many people come from over the world come to scotland to do this famous walk so it is something worth checking out if you have time.