Experience the highlights of London and Scotland over 10 days on an itinerary perfect for the whole family. Discover London's famous palaces, enjoy a "Harry Potter" tour, and see ancient archeological sites at Bath and Stonehenge. Take an overnight train to Scotland, walk the historic streets of Edinburgh, visit countryside locales seen in the "Outlander" TV series, and even ride the "Hogwarts Express" amid Highland scenery.

Highlights

  • See the most famous sights in London on a "Harry Potter" tour
  • Visit historic palaces and enjoy High Tea at the Savoy Hotel
  • Savor a foodie tour of Edinburgh and discover new Scottish gastronomy
  • Travel to the stunning locales in the Scottish Highlands
  • Tour Loch Ness by boat and ride the famous "Hogwarts Express"

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London & City Tour via the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus London
Day 2 "Harry Potter" Walking Tour & Kensington Palace London
Day 3 Day Trip to Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge London
Day 4 Globe Theatre, Tower of London & High Tea at the Savoy London
Day 5 Ride the Caledonian Sleeper to Scotland & Edinburgh Food Tour Edinburgh
Day 6 "Outlander" Castle Tour Edinburgh
Day 7 Edinburgh Free Day Edinburgh
Day 8 Edinburgh to Inverness & Full Day Loch Ness Tour Inverness
Day 9 Ride the "Hogwarts Express" Fort William
Day 10 Transfer to Edinburgh, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in London & City Tour via the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus

See the London sights from an open-topped bus
Welcome to London, one of the most exciting and historic cities in the world! Upon arrival at the airport, a personal driver will be waiting to take you and your family to your hotel. There's no time to waste because after checking in and dropping off your bags, you'll head right back out for a sightseeing tour of London. The mode of transport for this unforgettable experience is the famous Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus.
 
These open-topped, double-decker tour buses follow a specific route around the city, hitting the key attractions. That means you and the kids can get off at any stop you like in order to walk around and snap pics. Then, when you're ready, wait for the next bus to pass by, hop on, and continue. The tours include audio commentary.
 
A few examples of iconic landmarks you'll see include Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister's residence), Piccadilly Circus, Sea Life Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, the Tower of London, Notting Hill, and more. Should you have the time and interest, you and the family can also see the city from a different perspective: on a boat ride down the River Thames. After the tours, you'll have the remainder of the day free.

Day 2: "Harry Potter" Walking Tour & Kensington Palace

Tour the stately Kensington Palace
The first of your day tours are geared to the young and the young at heart. Get ready to see the magical side of London on a 2-5-hour "Harry Potter"-themed group tour of the city. The wizarding enthusiast leading this walking tour will begin by designating which Hogwarts House you belong to, and you'll compete against other houses in an interactive quiz as you go.
 
See the places that inspired author J.K. Rowling to create her best-selling series of books, from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to the murky backstreets that inspired Knockturn Alley. You'll even stroll down Diagon Alley, visit the Leaky Cauldron, and Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Throughout the experience, your guide will keep you on your toes by testing your "Harry Potter" knowledge. 
 
This tour isn't all fantasy, as part of it includes either a boat ride down the River Thames or a trip on the world-famous London Underground (the tube). You'll also stop by London highlights like the 800-year-old Borough Market, the London Eye, and Trafalgar Square. You'll even see the real-life school where Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, once studied.

After immersing yourself in the myth and lore of wizards and witchcraft, you'll discover some of England's real-life royal history. Kensington Palace dates to the 17th century and is the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children. It's also where Queen Victoria was born in 1819 and has been home to Princess Diana, Princess Margaret, and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
 
A 2-hour tour includes access to all public areas of the palace and gardens. The route inside of the palace will take you to Queen Victoria's childhood rooms, the King's State Apartments, the King's Gallery, and the Queen's State Apartments—where Queen Mary II took her meals and entertained guests. At the end of the tour, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 3: Day Trip to Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge

Small Group Tour to Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge
Uncover the mysteries of Stonehenge
In the morning, you'll leave London for a full-day tour to explore some of the UK's most historic and unique locales. This small-group tour will take you to the 11th-century Windsor Castle, the ancient city of Bath, and the mysterious Stonehenge. The smaller nature of the tour means you'll have more personal attention from your guide and can feel free to ask as many questions as you like.
Plan your trip to England
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
 
First up is Windsor Castle, which, as it happens, is Queen Elizabeth II's favorite royal residence. In the recent past, it was the venue for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding, and the two exchanged vows in the exquisite St George's Chapel. On tour, you'll see St George's as well as the burial place for the formidable Tudor King Henry VIII. You'll also visit the luxurious State Rooms and see the spectacular dolls house built for Queen Mary in 1921 as a gift from the nation.
 
Then you'll travel west to the city of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city's name derives from its famous Roman Baths, which date to the first century. Bath is equally renowned for its breathtaking Georgian architecture. One shining example is the Circus, a ring of Georgian townhouses built in 1768. You and your family will visit this architectural marvel before touring the ancient Baths. Next door is another highlight—the Grand Pump Room—where you can sip natural spring water.
 
The third destination is the prehistoric monument Stonehenge. Situated on Salisbury Plain, this archeological site exudes mystery. How did these 5,000-year-old sarsen stones get here, and what was their purpose? See if you and your family can solve the mystery as you inspect the site with the assistance of audio commentary via headphones. Afterward, glean even more information at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre and see if you cracked the case.

Day 4: Globe Theatre, Tower of London & High Tea at the Savoy

The London Globe Theatre
Start the day with a short tour of the London Globe Theatre. This is a reconstruction of the 1599 Elizabethan theatre where William Shakespeare staged his plays. The Globe has seen a lot of history in the intervening 400 years, as it's survived plagues, fires, and political oppression. Built from oak beams, lime-plaster walls and a water-reed roof, it remains the only thatched-roof building in London.

The rustic craftsmanship is easy to admire as you walk through the galleries and theatre floor. What's harder to imagine is how thousands of Londoners once packed this snug space to see the greatest actors of the day. Shakespeare called his theatre a "wooden O," as the Globe is a 360° auditorium. It also remains an open-air theater, as it has for centuries. Like back then, audiences who attend performances and tours are told to dress for the weather. 
 
After the Globe, you and your family will enjoy a private tour of the 11th-century Tower of London. The tour is led by an expert historian who uses this landmark as a touchstone for British history and culture. Over three hours, you'll tour the grounds and unpack the many roles the Tower has played in its nearly 1,000-year history. At various times it's been a royal residence, a strategic outpost of William the Conqueror, a prison, and even an execution site where two of Henry VIII's wives lost their heads.

You may also see the Yeoman Warders, also known as the Beefeaters, who are the ceremonial guardians of the Tower. Other highlights include visiting the legendary murder (group) of ravens that have been at the Tower for over 300 years and seeing the famous Crown Jewels. This collection of royal regalia is still used in the coronation ceremony of each new monarch and symbolizes the divine right of kings. 

Then you may enter the White Tower, the oldest part of the Tower of London. You'll get to explore this Norman fortress and royal palace. Alternatively, you can visit the many other towers, such as the Beauchamp Tower, where two young princes were said to have been murdered in 1483.
 
After so much royal history, it's time you and your family got pampered as well—by enjoying high tea at the Savoy Hotel. The Savoy is one of the city's most opulent hotels, and they've been doing their famed Afternoon Tea since 1889. You and your family will love this deliciously refined 2-hour experience in the Savoy's Thames Foyer. Sit beneath a stunning glass-domed atrium while being serenaded by a classical pianist as you enjoy teas, sandwiches, pastries, and scones with clotted cream.
 
After your big day out, head back to the hotel and pack your things—because you're booked on an overnight train to Scotland.

Day 5: Ride the Caledonian Sleeper to Scotland & Edinburgh Food Tour

Enjoy the sights and flavors of Edinburgh on a walking food tour
You and the family will have boarded an overnight train bound for Scotland during the previous day's evening. But this is no ordinary railway journey—it's the historic Caledonian Sleeper, an overnight train line known for its comfort and amenities like wifi, double beds, and room service. After 12 hours of good rest and service, you'll arrive in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.
 
Edinburgh has earned a UNESCO World Heritage designation for its well-preserved Old Town and Georgian New Town. The 12th century Edinburgh Castle is an icon, looking down over the city from its perch atop a volcanic hill. Most people think of this rich history and the evocative environment when they think of Edinburgh—not the food. That's about to change as you and your family embark on a 3-hour foodie tour of the city.
 
Today, Edinburgh is home to a dynamic, forward-thinking culinary scene that combines modern ideas and imagination with long-standing culinary traditions and fresh ingredients. Led by a chef or local food writer, you'll stop at some of the city's top eateries to meet shop owners, taste artisanal products, and discover some of the best-kept secrets of Scottish culinary traditions.

You may even stop in at the first independent coffee shop in Edinburgh to savor locally roasted beans and learn about the renaissance of great coffee in the city. Perhaps have a look at this season's wild game in the window of a butcher shop and pop inside to taste some game pies. You'll sample both hot and cold smoked salmon, haddock, and trout from an award-winning smokehouse in the market.

Throughout the tour, you'll examine how all of these shops, restaurants, and produce purveyors factor into the Scottish diet. You'll also learn how poverty and wealth have influenced Scottish eating and drinking habits. The tour reveals firsthand how Edinburgh and its surrounding areas have become the epicenter of Scotland's fine dining and cutting-edge food trends. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel. 

Day 6: "Outlander" Castle Tour

Blackness Castle

You'll leave Edinburgh by car on a full-day "Outlander" excursion in the morning. This countryside tour is based on the bestselling series of historical fiction novels by Diana Gabaldon. Throughout the tour, you and your family will see the actual Highland locales mentioned in the books and used in the filming of the popular TV series.

After departing Edinburgh, you'll travel in the footsteps of the books' main characters, Jamie and Claire. Highlights include stops at Blackness Castle, a 15th-century fortress that doubled as Fort William in the TV series, plus a hike to the forest cave that served as Jamie's hiding place.

On your way to a local farm shop (convenience store/café) for lunch, you'll pass the Kelpies. These 98-foot (30-m) silver sculptures resemble horses but represent shape-shifting water creatures called kelpies. You'll get to stop and walk around the sculptures to snap photos with the kids. After lunch, you'll visit more "Outlander" TV series locales, such as the 15th-century Doune Castle and the 16th-century village of Culross. Afterward, you'll return to Edinburgh. 

Day 7: Edinburgh Free Day

Discover Edinburgh at your own pace

You'll now have an entire day to head out and see Edinburgh in all its historic splendor. Travel at your own pace and go where you want. There's a lot to see and do here, like strolling the Royal Mile (Edinburgh's main thoroughfare) and admiring the city's Gothic architecture. You'll want to head up Castlehill, a short and steep road that ends at the city's most famous landmark: Edinburgh Castle. Feel free to take a self-guided audio tour of the fortress.

Other famous sights include the 12th-century St Giles Cathedral, Holyrood Palace (home of the British monarchy in Scotland), and Princes Street Gardens, one of the loveliest green spaces in the city. You can also head to the end of the Royal Mile and hike up Arthur's Seat, a hill that rises up 823 feet (251 m) from an extinct volcano and offers stunning panoramic views of Edinburgh and the countryside.

Kids and literary fans will be interested to know that in Scotland's capital, author J.K. Rowling began plotting the adventures of a certain boy wizard. You'll notice that the city's architecture has much in common with the settings in the books and films. The café where she wrote some of the early chapters, Elephant House Café, still exists (although it's currently being remodeled after a fire) and is a good place for gourmet tea or coffee.

Day 8: Edinburgh to Inverness & Full Day Loch Ness Tour

Urquhart Castle, on the shore of Loch Ness
In the morning, your family will travel north from Edinburgh to the city of Inverness. This will be the base for your full-day tour around legendary Loch Ness, home to the mythical monster. Your big day out includes a boat cruise on the lake as well as a walk around the shore led by an expert guide.
 
After the scenic boat ride, your guide will lead you to the remains of 13th-century Urquhart Castle, which overlooks Loch Ness. Once one of Scotland's largest castles, Urquhart saw much conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress. Control of the castle passed back and forth between the Scots and English until the last government troops garrisoned here during the Jacobite uprisings blew it up.
 
The ruins remain, however, and your family can explore them. You'll certainly want to take pictures as the castle sits on a rocky promontory with views up and down Loch Ness. You can also visit structures that were once prominent rooms in the castle. These include the Great Hall, which hosted large banquets during the Middle Ages. Your kids will certainly love seeing the full-size trebuchet, a massive catapult once used to lay siege to castles.

The guide will also lead you to the less frequented but equally beautiful south roads around the loch. And even if the typically shy monster doesn't show up, we can assure you that your guide will bring this region to life with intriguing tales rich in folklore and history. Afterward, you'll return to Inverness. 

Day 9: Ride the "Hogwarts Express"

All aboard the Hogwarts Express!

Today, you and your family will transfer from Inverness to the charming fishing village of Mallaig. From here, you'll experience "the greatest railway journey in the world." The Jacobite is a steam train that passes through some of the most beautiful parts of the western Highlands. The roundtrip journey runs 84 miles (135 km) between Mallaig and the town of Fort William.
 
After leaving Mallaig, the trip passes incredible scenery as extreme as it is beautiful. It begins near Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain at 4,413 feet (1,345 m); then passes Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater loch in Britain; and it also travels alongside River Morar before, the shortest river in Britain. Other incredible sights you'll see include Loch Eil, the white beaches around the town of Arisaig, and the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
 
Glenfinnan is a railway viaduct built at the turn of the 20th century that runs 1,000 feet (304 m) amid towering peaks, violet heathlands, and the glassy waters of Loch Shiel. Because of the stunning scenery, both Glenfinnan and the Jacobite locomotive were featured in the "Harry Potter" films. 

The end of the line is the town of Fort William, which sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel and then can walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. There are shops, pubs, restaurants, and plenty of fish and chips to enjoy. Afterward, retire to your hotel for the evening. 

Day 10: Transfer to Edinburgh, Depart

Another look at Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness - Farewell, Scotland!

Unfortunately, all great adventures must eventually come to an end. In the morning, you'll return to Edinburgh and transfer to the airport for your flight home at the appropriate time. As they say in Scotland, haste ye back—you're always welcome here!  

More Great England & Scotland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to England and Scotland? Check out these other England and Scotland itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Map

Map of Family Fun in London & Highland Adventures in Scotland - 10 Days
Map of Family Fun in London & Highland Adventures in Scotland - 10 Days