Discover the perfect UK itinerary! 10 days in London, York, and Edinburgh will give you a taste of bustling city life, medieval charm, hilltop castles, and more.
The United Kingdom is one of my favorite places to visit. There’s just something about the traditions, friendly people, afternoon tea, fish n chips, and the green countryside that has me returning again and again.
One of my favorite itineraries was when I combined London, York, and Edinburgh.
This made for the perfect UK itinerary for 10 days…and could actually easily work for any trip 7 to 12 days in length.
York is perfectly situated between London and Edinburgh for travel via train. The train ride from London to York and then York to Edinburgh is easy, quick, and beautiful.
It's incredibly easy to fly into London (many cities have non-stop flights). Edinburgh is also easy to fly out of with plenty of flights schedules to choose from.
If you have 10 days in the UK and are looking for the perfect UK itinerary, continue reading for a complete guide on how to divide your time, get from place to place, and what to do!
How to plan your time for 10 Days in the UK
This 10 day UK itinerary offers a perfect sample of the thriving and historic city of London, time to slow down in charming York, and a dose of Scottish culture in Edinburgh.
All three cities are very different from each other and will offer something unique.
The fact that it’s so easy and quick to get from London to York and York to Edinburgh via train makes this UK itinerary a no brainer.
For 10 days in the United Kingdom, I recommend 4 days in London, 2 days in York, and 4 days in Edinburgh.
London - 4 nights
London is the perfect city to start your UK itinerary. It has several major airports and most cities in the US (and around Europe) have non-stop flights.
4 days in London will give you enough time to see the major sights, hit a museum or two, take a walking tour, explore outside the city with a day trip, and sample plenty of scones and clotted cream during afternoon tea.
I strongly advise a minimum of 4 nights in London if this is your first visit to the UK. If you have more than 10 days in the UK, add your extra days here.
This is a sprawling, thriving metropolis with many neighborhoods to explore and more history packed into its streets and buildings than you can imagine.
Thankfully, the Tube (London’s underground metro), makes moving around the city quick and easy…which means you can fit a lot of tourist attractions and sights into each day.
Plan on spending 3 full days in the city and leave one day open for a day trip outside of London. Some day trip ideas include:
- a day trip on your own to Bath
- a day trip on your own to Cambridge
- Oxford and Traditional Cotswolds Villages Small-Group Day Tour from London
- Leeds Castle, Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Day Trip from London with Guided Cathedral Tour
- Small-Group Complete Cotswolds Tour (From London)
The first 4 days of your UK itinerary will be the busiest. Don’t worry, you get to slow down once you arrive in York.
Just keep in mind that London is a city that deserves multiple visits, so don’t try to fit everything in your first 4 days. List out your priorities and know you will return.
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York - 2 nights
York is tiny when compared to London and will feel like the perfect city to recover after your busy sightseeing in London.
You can easily see the main sights in York in a day, but I recommend having a day and a half. Sleep in on your last morning in London, maybe even hit one last sight on your list, and then take the afternoon train to York.
York is a great city to slow down. Sip your morning espresso at some of the best coffee shops in York, take a morning jog or walk along the river, have a few leisurely meals, and enjoy the charming, medieval atmosphere.
York is small enough that you can get to the main sights by foot.
Gaze at the imposing York Minster, join an evening ghost tour (did you know York is supposedly the most haunted city in England), visit The Shop That Must Not Be Named if you’re a Harry Potter fan, and walk along The Shambles several times to get plenty of pictures and engrave this unique street in your memory.
Edinburgh - 4 nights
Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities in Europe. The architecture is stunning and beyond picturesque.
Spend three full days exploring city and save one day for a trip to the Highlands.
Visit Edinburgh Castle, climb down to the chilling underground vaults with a ghost tour, sample whiskey, try traditional Scottish cuisine like haggis and cullen skink soup, walk down Victoria Street (a Diagon Alley look-a-like for Harry Potter fans), and appreciate Georgian architecture in New Town.
Three full days in Edinburgh will give you just enough time to see the top sights and even revisit a few favorite streets or areas.
A trip to the Highlands is a must on any Scotland itinerary and will break up your time in Edinburgh.
There is also a great Harry Potter themed tour from Edinburgh where you ride the real Hogwarts Express and visit some other filming locations.
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Logistics between London, York, and Edinburgh
This UK itinerary, 10 days in London, York, and Edinburgh, is a breeze via train.
York is perfectly situated between London and Edinburgh and is a great way to break up the journey. The earlier you book your tickets the better as the cheapest tickets sell out quickly. You can book up to 3 month in advance.
Not only is traveling by train from London to York and York to Edinburgh affordable, no checked bag fees here, but it’s also extremely convenient.
Both train stations in York and Edinburgh are walking distance to the city center. Trains typically have WiFi, though it’s usually spotty. But honestly, you should put your phone away and look out the window. The views are beautiful and will give you a taste of the English countryside.
London to York Train
The London to York train takes less than 2 hours. The National Rail offers non-stop service from Kings Cross station every 30 minutes or so.
You can snag tickets for £50 or cheaper if you book early.
It’s a 10 minute walk from the station to the city center.
York to Edinburgh Train
The York to Edinburgh train take about 2.5 hours. The non-stop service, also offered by the National Rail, has departures every 15 minutes.
Tickets can be found for under £20 if booked in advance.
The Edinburgh Waverley train station is located right in the city center and perfectly situated between Old Town and New Town, so there's a good chance you'll be walking distance to your hotel.
Uber is available in Edinburgh if you booked a hotel outside the city center.
Have more or less time on your UK itinerary?
If you have more than 10 days for your UK itinerary, I recommend adding 2 nights in London. Visit another museum or two, add some walking tours, enjoy the parks, go shopping, and enjoy a few more afternoon teas.
London has a lot of wonderful day trips to choose from that are easily done via train or by joining a tour. This a big reason why I don't hesitate to recommend adding time to London. You could keep busy for a week.
If you have more than 12 days, I would recommend adding time in Scotland. You could spend a few nights in the Highlands, visit the Isle of Skye, spend a night or two in Glasgow, or add nights to Edinburgh and do some additional day trips from there.
If you have less than 10 days for your UK itinerary, I recommend spending just one day in York. It will make for a hurried visit, but you'll still be able to see the main sights.
Nix York if you need to take off more than 1 day. Combining London and Edinburgh would make for a perfect 8 UK itinerary. Save York for your next visit to the UK.
I hope this UK itinerary, 10 days in London, York, and Edinburgh gives you a head start in planning your trip.
This is one of my favorite UK itineraries as it combines the hustling metropolis of London with medieval York and breathtaking Scotland.
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UK Itinerary – 10 Days in London, York, Edinburgh
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Thank you for this fantastic information. I have a question- Is it realistic to go straight to Edinburgh from London? Since we are flying into London we will have to return back for our flight home from US
Ashley Friemel says
Will you go straight from LHR airport to Edinburgh or have a few days in London then go to Edinburgh? I’ve done the train from London to Edinburgh and it’s fine…4-5 hours. Just make sure you book a route with 0 changes. If you’re going from the airport, make sure to book a ticket that allows changes. I usually don’t do this because tickets that allow changes are more expensive and it’s usually expensive if you wait to buy the day of. Depending on how long you have, you could do 2+ days in London, then go to Edinburgh, then finish your trip in London. That way you could also stay in two different areas in London.
Shane S. says
I just wanted to say thank you for the peace of mind you have brought me with a structure guide for this trip. I’m planning my own trip and funny enough I have a friend in Harrogate (Yorkshire) that I wanted to meet up with so your itinerary was a light in the dark of how many days I should plan for each stop. I was really at a loss for how I should plan the trip, and how many days where, and this is a perfect trip outline to build off of! Thank you again for calming my nerves. It’s so much money to spend when you take a big vacation like this, so there’s a lot of pressure to not mess it up! Thanks so much! Also, I was going to check out your Instagram using the link at the bottom of the website but I get an error. Just wanted to let you know. Thanks!
Ashley Friemel says
Thank you for taking the time to let me know you found the post helpful! This truly is one of my favorite itineraries and I know you’ll have the best time! I’ll check that Instagram link out, thank you for letting me know.
Diane Cox says
What area in London, England would you advise getting accommodations if you are following your 10 days in UK itinerary?
Ashley Friemel says
One of the most convenient areas is the Pimlico neighborhood (close to Victoria tube station). I stayed at the Belgrave last time. Another area I usually stay in b/c there are a lot of hotel options at decent (for the UK) prices is Kensington. I usually find hotels within 10 minutes walking distance from Earl’s Court station, South Kensington Station, and Gloucester Road Station. St. James is also awesome and one of the best locations…which means higher prices. We stayed at St. Ermin’s (Marriott family) and LOVED it. I’ll update this post to include some recommended hotels, so stay tuned!