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Hosts in UK - England, Scotland, Ireland - and Iceland - that takes 5

Hi Everyone!

Boy, we’ve had a lot of new hosts join this forum lately and it’s been great.

My family of 5 - husband, me, 16 yo boy 16 yo girl (not twins) and a 12 yo girl will be, we think, coming your way next May. Very rough plan - land in London @flaxhigh? for a few days, drive up through to Scotland? @imo we’ll see if your still renting out your place then, hopefully a hop to Ireland, and my son wants to see Iceland, but I don’t know how challenging it is to get from the UK to Iceland - and we aren’t made of money anyway.

If you’d like to send me your listing, pm or public, I’d appreciate it. We have to schedule my daughter’s high school graduation first. We hope to drop her off at a wwofing location when we’re done.

All just thoughts, you know.


Airfare on Icelandic Air is quite affordable, and they have great package deals for flights to Europe and if you spend a few days in Rejiviak, the price goes down! My daughter did that last year, and they spent five fabulous days in Iceland at minimal cost.

In Scotland, your children are the perfect age for Edinburgh. A safe city to roam, filled with some amazing things. My siblings spent a summer there [I was older] and they still tell stories from that magical time. If you go too far north in Scotland, you will have to rent a car.

And London, be prepared to pay quite a bit for all life’s needs, though the recent decline in the pound helps a bunch.

Just a few thoughts.

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One more thing… the overnight train from London to Edinburgh was one of the best experiences ever! We got a sleeper car. Porters help us. They brought tea in the morning, along with warm towels to wash our faces. It was a moment from another time and it was a great way to get up to Scotland.


Thanks for the tips!!!

Yeah, London - yikes. The first two trips (my husband got business trips, and we lived as cheap as possible on his per diem and took our young daughter) we rented an apartment and I cooked a lot to save money. The third trip I said “forget it” and just didn’t look at the prices. I always say I’ve never regretted a dollar I’ve spent traveling. The only traveling event I regret is the one I didn’t go on. We were prepping for a trip to China to adopt our daughter, so my other daughter and I stayed home while my husband went to Germany.

I love the British Museum, get a kick out of the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the buses, etc.

The British Museum is amazing, isn’t it? And free! I also love the Tate, and going to the Globe Theatre. Well, what don’t I love about visiting London?

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Get same day tickets for the shows when the vendors open at 10 am in Leicster Square. Seems touristy but you can get good deals. We got two great same day seats to Phantom, always sold out. Even the locals we stayed with couldn’t believe we got into Phantom. Just go with no expectations and be ready to see it that day or night.

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Hey :slight_smile:

Oh yay that’s exciting. There is an airline and I believe its Icelandic air that gives you a free stop over in Iceland. I’ve been to Iceland - I went there last year. You won’t see the northern lights in May and the days are already quite long - I would recommend hiring a car and driving to the main sites along the southern coast if you don’t mind driving long distances. Otherwise there are quite a few good tour companies that take you to the main sites - let me know. I would recommend the blue lagoon but definitely book in advance online don’t be complete travel rookies like us and just turn up - they have time slots and they sell out. You’ll need a car to get out to it or tour - its out near the airport. Iceland will still be cold then. We did a wee boat coast in the habour to see the puffins as well.

London - have you been before?? There is so much to do and see after living in and near London for almost the past 4 years we are still trying to do things. London is expensive but the pound is weak against the dollar at the moment so it may be a good idea to buy pounds at the moment. I don’t find tripadvisor the best for London activities - it’s all the little food markets and all the museums have different things on and different times that is the best. For example, at Buckingham palace at the moment there is display of some the Queens dresses :slight_smile:

Scotland - albeit the overnight train is cool and a neat experience its expensive and with 5 of you it maybe a bit of a faff. I’m going up to Edinburgh for the long week in August a return flight brought in March cost we £50 return and that’s out of Bristol. London ariports are cheaper. Look at skyscanner. Driving would possibly be the cheapest but its quite a distance and unless you want to stop at certain places along the way (Would recommend York, avoid Birmingham) and quite a bit of time - fly or train. I would recommend haggis tours in Scotland :slight_smile: I’ve been on two tours love them. St Andrews is cool - would recommend there. Loads to see!

Also another point - there are two bank holidays / public holidays in May so you want to look FAR in advance for airfares and trains. Trains - thetrainline.com but buy on cosscountrytrains.co.uk to avoid the fee thetrainline charges.


Wow! Thanks, @Kirsty_Jane!! That is some great advice!

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If you’re driving up from London to Scotland, I highly recommend a stop off at York - brilliant place!

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I’ve found a wonderful apartment in the area! This is in a little market town that I know well. It’s convenient for York, the North Yorkshire Moors and a wonderful little fishing village that I love, Robin Hood’s Bay.

Here’s the listing.

Amazing place - saved to our wish list! Thanks!!

Did you happen to notice that one review said the sink in the bathroom was to small? Aurgh!!! What a doofus!!!

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Hi Nancy,

I’d love to accommodate you but we can only put up 2 adults and one kid - sorry!
However, do pass any places by me that you’re looking at, as some places look good value but are in rubbish areas. May is a good time for Scotland - it’s our summer!

Your schedule to visit different parts of the UK plus Iceland seems a little ambitious to me if you want to really see stuff - how long are you going for? We are absolutely stuffed with architecture and historic sites etc: there is literally masses to see. I would choose very carefully and spend at least a couple of days in each place, preferably more. Forget Iceland unless you are very outdoorsy. It’s pretty dreich (rainy and grey) and you can get a similar experience in the Highlands since you’ll be in Scotland (drive from Edinburgh to Skye for example is about 6 hours with a stop on the way.)

London: the young, hip area is now Spitalfields/Shoreditch. Well worth a visit for your teens. We stay at the wonderful stayinspitalfields.com which for London, considering she can give you 3 double rooms in a listed building is great value.

Other places to see in London, I think, are the galleries in South Kensington (the V and A, Science Museum and Natural History Museum) and take a walk around Mayfair, then up to the British Museum if you want to revisit. I wouldn’t personally go to Covent Garden - extremely touristy now. Soho you could go to at a push, but Shoreditch has now taken over as the arty place.

I’d take a light railway to Greenwich and visit the fan museum https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/: really worth a visit for the museum and for Greenwich generally.

I like to walk around places like Cheyne Walk/Chelsea and go visit places like: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carlyles-house

Another must is a visit - nice in May - to Holland Park and www.leightonhouse.co.uk/

Go to Trafalgar Square and walk around (you can then pop into Soho and go to www.gelupo.com/) and go and visit the National Gallery. Another must is to walk along the river and visit Tate Modern.

These are the things we do and keep going back to do.

So far as UK places: Bath is a must, York MInster is amazing though one could say the same about stopping off at Durham Cathedral - both cities are quite nice but unless you have loads of time I’d stick to Bath and Edinburgh.

In Edinbugh, try to stay near where we are in the New Town. Drive up straight to the Highlands through Perthshire - you can stop on the way several places for a bit but don’t bother staying the night. Skye is a must (again, can’t accommodate you, I’m afraid, as we only have space for 4 - sorry!) and if you want more Highlands take a boat over to Harris/Lewis. These are our favourite places. Skye, however, will occupy a good few days. You can get a train up to Skye, it is possible on public transport but hiring a car obviously gives you more flexibility.

I wouldn’t overnight on the train from London to Edinburgh personally. It’s a 4hr 40 min fast train during the day and about 11 hours during the night. But book in advance - 2 months preferably - for best prices and buy a ‘family/friends’ railcard: that makes it much cheaper.

That’s all I can think of for now!



I am so jealous. Iceland is one of my favorite places. I even inquired about immigrating but they looked at me like I had two heads.

Maybe they have no need for garden gnomes :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


All good advice, Nancy, and the only thing I can add is NOT to try and fly into or out of London the last week in May/first week in June. It’s schools’ half term holiday and air fares are sky-high, if you’ll excuse the pun …

Oh, another suggestion: when you’re looking for somewhere to stay in London, don’t try all the well-known areas: chelsea, Holland Islington etc - way too expensive. I can reccomend the area where my daughter lives - Finsbury Park. It’s a very mixed area, lots of different cultures but safe - very family-oriented. The what we used to call Yuppies who are moving there are opening interesting restaurants, coffee bars and shops and above all it has excellent transport links. It’s only about 10-15 minutes by tube (sorry, metro?) from Central London.

I spotted a bargain 2-bedroomed flat sleeping 5, but he doesn’t seem to have his calendar open for next year - worth a try though?

2-bedroom Finsbury Park

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How much time have you planned for this? To me it seems a bit too much for one trip.
I received many guests from the US and most have one thing in common: “A full agenda, with most time wasted on traveling, rushing around and actually seeing very little”.

Most of my US guests regret that they did not plan a slower pace and took more time to enjoy their trip.

I am on a mission to help visitors from other countries to realise that there’s more to the UK than London :slight_smile:

Yorkshire is wonderful and York (the capital, naturally enough) is only two hours away from London by train. Don’t miss the best area of England!

See more at this site.

Looks great! Saved it to the wish list! Thanks!

Gorgeous! Thanks! …

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Great words of advice, @Chris. Yes, it does seem like to much - especially trying to get to Iceland. Once we start planning we’ll see what makes sense.

And yes, we see the same thing, guests come home and we say “oh, what did you see today” and they will rattle off a list of 5 museums and 10 monuments. We think to ourselves “oh, you didn’t see anything, you rushed in an out snapping photos”. But they were happy…

I once had the chance while in Africa to go on Safari. It was kind of horrible - we rushed about - as soon as we saw something we stopped for mere moments for a few snaps and then rushed off to the next thing. I was quite literally heart broken. I could stayed and looked at the Zebras for hours…

So, thanks for the reminder!

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