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3 week itinerary England Scotland Ireland please critique

I'm super grateful for the advice I've received thus far for my very last minute 3 week trip to England Scotland and Ireland!
I'm 52 yo female traveling solo overseas for the first time. I will not be renting a car I have decided.
I'm amazed how quickly a 3 week itinerary can fill up! I'd really appreciate some critique on this rough itinerary. I wanted to "wing it" but also feel I need a little structure. Any reservations I've made can be canceled last minute..any airfare is refundable in the event I change my mind at any time.

I'd also like to preface this with my intention for this trip is to relax and just "be". Historically I exhaust myself with planning, moving from place to place, tours etc. I've had some health issues recently so my stamina is low on top of simply needing to get away and have "space". SO.

ETA: I’m wondering if I should skip Scotland for this trip and go back to England so I can see more English countryside.

Day 1 Fly to London arrive early evening. I have a nice hotel in London for 3 nights.

Day 2 London

Day 3 Day trip to Stonehenge for Inner Circle viewing...this was the ONLY Inner Circle I could get in the entire month so I grabbed it!

Day 4 Fly to Dublin nonstop. Overnight Dublin

Day 5-9 I'll be on a 5 day Southwest Ireland tour with Rabbies ending back in Dublin, overnight there

Day 10 Fly to Edinburgh. Got a nice hotel there for 3 nights. **I'm going Aer Lingus and I'm nervous!! I have only carryon with me and my expensive Tumi bag! I think, because this flight is regional, I'll have to check my Tumi. Regional Aer Lingus carryon limits are super small. Can anyone confirm this for me?

Day 11 Edinburgh REST
Day 12 Edinburgh day tour with Rabbies

Day 13 Train to York. 3 nights in York

Day 14 York

Day 15 York: ? thinking of a private day tour to Yorkshire countryside

Day 16-19 I THINK train to Bristol? I'll be spending the next 3 nights in Glastonbury at a little guest house. From my travel day and over the next few days I intend to see rest, spend time in Glastonbury, visit Wells and Avebury. **I'm planning on getting a private driver from Bristol and for anything else while I'm in this area.

Day 20-22 to London for final 3 nights. I'm planning on seeing a couple of plays, perhaps day trip to Oxford and another to Brighton?

HOME.

I don't have any tickets for anything else..haven't booked any private tours. When I set out to do this I felt like 3 weeks was SO long...now it doesn't seem that way! So many places I won't see. I know I could fit in more but I just know myself.

That said, I'm very open to critique and other suggestions!!

Posted by
4293 posts

I know I could fit in more but I just know myself.

For me, that's an important statement. You know yourself better than we do and if you're happy, then run with it. You'll likely come home wishing you had a do-over on a couple of things, but you won't know what those do-overs are until after the fact. The Rick Steves advice to plan with the expectation that you'll be back is wise. I find when I do a trip with multiple destinations like this that I'll discover some hidden gems that go back on my list for a longer visit at another time. A day trip off a cruise ship to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii 10 years ago resulted in a 2 week stay to the region last year. In October of this year I'll be spending a week in the Dordogne Region in France after falling in love with Beynac during a brief visit there in 2019 on a Rick Steves tour.

One thing about your Day 3 visit for the inner circle tour to Stonehenge; I assume since you are coming from London that you are taking the afternoon inner circle tour and not the early morning one? If not, an overnight stay in Salisbury would be recommended. We did the early morning tour in September 2022 and loved it. It was well worth the extra cost to stand among the stones.

Posted by
629 posts

I like your plan.

As for Aer Lingus, we spent extra last year for "Advantage" fares when we flew Dublin to Aberdeen so we could check our rollaboards gratis, get fast-track security and lounge access. I think we also got better seats, but I may be mistaken. In any event, it was a very pleasant experience. Luggage arrived with no adverse impacts. But as you suggested, I think checking our rollaboards was pretty much unavoidable.

Posted by
6698 posts

ETA: I’m wondering if I should skip Scotland for this trip and go back to England so I can see more English countryside.

That is an agonisingly difficult question for anyone but you to answer. If Edinburgh and York suit you and your interests then go for them and this itinerary.

What is on my mind is your introduction-

I'd also like to preface this with my intention for this trip is to relax and just "be". Historically I exhaust myself with planning, moving from place to place, tours etc. I've had some health issues recently so my stamina is low on top of simply needing to get away and have "space". You will have done a 5 day tour in Ireland- fine with that.

Do 2 city stays match that introduction?? I don't know you so simply can't answer that question. BUT reverting back to your 1st thread of a week ago my instinct is that Days 11 to 15 would be better in a nice cosy guest house in the English countryside somewhere- Northumbria, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District- maybe split as 3+2 where you had a short transfer time between the two places. Per that 1st thread, if there was one still available in one of those 4 areas, I really do think a HF Holiday would suit you. Neither @Lola or I are HF sales people (even if it feels like it to some people)- it is trying to match you to the best place to be.

Of course you now have an Aer Lingus flight to Edinburgh where one to Newcastle, Leeds or Manchester would have been better for the above. But that could be worked round.

Days 16 to 22 are fine.

Posted by
855 posts

I see a minor disconnect between your desire to take it easy and the number of moves/flights you're making.

Is it too late to change your transatlantic flights to multi-city - fly into Dublin and then continue your circuit from there?

Posted by
17 posts

I see a minor disconnect between your desire to take it easy and the number of moves/flights you're making.
Is it too late to change your transatlantic flights to multi-city - fly into Dublin and then continue your circuit from there?

Yes, unfortunately it is. I fly tomorrow morning.

It's not too late to change Edinburgh and beyond.

Posted by
435 posts

I love Edinburgh, and I love York, but I think your intuition to drop Scotland this time to slow things down is good. Maybe drop York, too, as Stuart suggests, or just find a lovely place nearby for 4 days (borrowing the Edinburgh + 1 York day).

Have fun!

Posted by
6698 posts

Going back to your original budget of $500 USD (£420) a night-
In the Lake District Armathwaite Hotel and Spa (which I think suits your requirements to a T) for 10-14 June (they are full 15 to 16) has a DBB Deluxe Lake View Double for £1476- includes full use of the Spa. [Dinner £40 allowance per night, £200 deposit].

For the other 2 nights (15 and 16 June) you could then transfer to Simonstone Hall, near Hawes (Yorkshire Dales)- DBB £676 for the 2 nights. Either by train to Garsdale or a 90 minute journey by taxi/private car.

Armathwaite Hall is 30 minutes by taxi from Penrith Railway Station- in turn Penrith is a straight shot by train from Edinburgh or Manchester.

On the Northumberland Coast at Bamburgh or Seahouses (train Edinburgh to Berwick then taxi) they are several self catering houses on booking.com for around £250 to £300 a night, or houses at Haltwhistle on Hadrian's Wall for half that price.

The Black Horse Hotel at Grassington, Yorkshire about £180 a night.

All sorts of countryside option- these are mere examples.

Posted by
1215 posts

I'm just going to comment on the Glastonbury section of your trip as this is close to where I lived before I moved to Scotland.

If you are taking the train from York south then you might do better to get the train through to Taunton (or Highbridge & Burnham) rather than Bristol. A taxi from Taunton to Glastonbury is likely to be a lot cheaper than from Bristol. I'm not sure about the availability of private drivers in that part of the country, but Glastonbury is a closer to Taunton than Bristol.

Also to visit Wells from Glastonbury should be possible by bus (timetable here)as they are pretty close together.

Avebury will be more challenging as it's at least 50 miles from Glastonbury and could easily take 1 hour 45 to get there by car on fairly minor roads. I wonder whether it would be possible to combine Avebury and Stonehenge on the same day as they are fairly close together?

Posted by
38 posts

If you go to York I recommend the Bloody History of York with Mad Alice walking tour and Best of Britain tour to Whitby. The abbey is totally worth your time. The Star Inn the City was one of our top places to eat the whole trip.

Bristol was a highlight of my recent trip. We did the Banksy to Blackbeard walking tour and the guide was really good at waiting for slower walkers and avoiding big hills. Roots was my favorite place to eat the whole trip. Wake the Tiger is a really cool interactive art place if you have ever been to Meow Wolf or if you just like funky storytelling.

If you skip Scotland you can take a ferry from Dublin to Wales. Conwy is such a lovely town and a great castle. There are a lot of attractions reachable by bus or train.

Day 10 Ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, (Consider side trips on Anglesey train to Conwy.) Dinner at The Erskine Arms
Day 11 Bus to Llandudno/ Bodnant Gardens/ Betws-y-Coed /Castle Tour Harlech Criccieth Caernafon (reachable by bus or train)
Day 12 Conwy Castle, walk city walls/ Porthmadog and Harlech Beach and castle (reachable by train)
Day 13 Train to York. 3 nights in York Mad Alice Walking Tour
Day 14 York Dinner at Star Inn The City
Day 15 York: Best of Britain tour to either Whitby or Yorkshire Dales
Day 16 Train from York to Bristol then bus or car to Glastonbury, stay in a little guest house.
Day 17 Wells, stay in Glastonbury
Day 18 Avebury, stay in Glastonbury
Day 19 bus/car to Bristol Uber to Wake the Tiger/ M Shed
Day 20 Bristol Walking tour/ Dinner at Roots
Day 21 Bristol
Day 22 Train to London
Day 22 London
HOME.

Posted by
17 posts

I’ve gotten some good food for thought. I’ll likely drop Scotland. I’m going to wait till I get there. .

Thank you to everyone who’s been so thoughtfully generous with suggestions!

I’m in flight now :) This last minute unplanned thing is SO outside my comfort zone…and probably exactly what I need :)

One thing I LOVE and can count on are Rick Steves walks. I always look forward to them getting myself acclimated to a new place .

Posted by
7012 posts

Bon voyage, Julie Beth! I think you're right about skipping Edinburgh. I enjoyed it but I had 3 weeks just in Scotland so there was plenty of time (well, maybe not in hindsight—I will definitely be going back). :-)

But overall, I don't think Edinburgh is worth making a special trip for. It's a lovely city with a lot of history, but you'd be better off coming back and just focusing on Scotland, so you can see more of the gorgeous countryside.

Posted by
6698 posts

Well you should be landing around now. So hope you have a good couple of days in London before transferring to Dublin on Tuesday

Posted by
252 posts

I throughly recommend time in the Yorkshire countryside. It’s just lovely and soul recharging IMO.