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England, Wales & Scotland Itinerary

It seems that my first attempt of an itinerary was a bit too zealous , given travel times and proper time to explore. Feedback is greatly appreciated.

I arrive in London and if I planned a day to recover from travel, I'll have 16 days to explore England, Wales and Scotland (by car or train) prior to flying to Ireland for 6 days in Kinsale, Ireland. I plan to take day trips via car from Kinsale and fly out of Dublin.

I have absolutely NO idea what is realistic to expect to see. I can skip Wales (many forums suggest) if necessary. I like the idea of using a handful of spots as a base to take day trips from. What if we were to leave from London (after a few days) and make our way up to Scotland and fly from Edinburgh to Dublin?

I really don't want to spend more than 3-4 nights in London because we would like to explore other parts. We love history, landscape beauty and architecture (in that order) & would like to avoid the overrated places (Don't need to see the Downtown Abbey).

Anyone have any ideas about the following itinerary? There are two open days that can be filled in anywhere.

September 4 Arrive LONDON, sleep LONDON
September 5: LONDON
September 6: LONDON
September 7: LONDON (day trip?)
September: 8 Travel STONEHENGE/BATH, sleep BATH
September 9: Travel COTSWOLDS, sleep BATH
September 10: Travel OXFORD, sleep STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
September 11: Travel WARWICK, sleep STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
September 13: Travel YORK, sleep YORK
September 14: sleep YORK
September 15: Travel EDINBURGH, sleep EDINBURGH
September 16: Day Trip, sleep EDINBURGH
September 17: sleep EDINBURGH
September 18: Open
September 19: Open
September 20: Travel to Kinsale for 6 days & fly out from Dublin

Posted by
3580 posts

If you have no idea what you want to see, I suggest you check out a book or two or watch some of the RIck Steves DVDs.

Posted by
5828 posts

Sounds like studying the Steve's "Europe Through the Back Door" book should be your starting point. My 2001 edition has a chapter on "Planning your itinerary".

Your next stop should be a guidebook like:

Read, compare against interests and check off the must see/do and plan as instructed by Rick. An itinerary of churches and museum is far different from an itinerary of walking small villages and fells.

Posted by
7175 posts

September 4: Arrive LONDON
September 5: LONDON
September 6: LONDON
September 7: LONDON
September: 8 SALISBURY (STONEHENGE) (pick up car)
September 9: BATH
September 10: COTSWOLDS
September 11: OXFORD
September 14: PEAK DISTRICT
September 15: YORK
September 16: YORK
September 17: LAKE DISTRICT
September 18: EDINBURGH
September 19: EDINBURGH
September 20: Travel to Kinsale for 6 days & fly out from Dublin

Posted by
824 posts


My comments deal with the Scotland/Edinburgh portion of the itinerary. In my experience, you can spend almost a week in Edinburgh and only see the highlights. However, a day in Stirling, easily reached by local train, is almost a must. Stirling Castle, William Wallace Monument and Church of the Holy Rude are all worthy sites.

Also, I don't see Wales being visited... Maybe you could make a day trip detour to Conwy?


Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the suggestion Todd! I apologize in advance for the long reply...

Since posting the itinerary, I've been trying to incorporate using only a handful of cities/towns as home bases from which I can reach other desired destinations. We definitely want to see Stirling and Conwy. We enjoy experiencing the culture & history and would love to see several castles. Honestly, I'm really struggling to put the itinerary together. The more comments I receive the more difficult to narrow down the list.

We understand that we will only see a fraction of what is in Edinburgh and London because there are many places we want to see. I've also tried to select places that can be accessed with the train (and bus/taxi if not accessible by train). I'm hearing mixed messages regarding driving vs. train so I'm leaning towards the train. Already have the tockets priced out. We have 15 or 16 days to see as much as we can. From our travel to Greece, Italy and Spain, we are used to a full itinerary and can walk and be on the go for 8+ hours. We've used Viator for tours in some cities and have had positive experienced (Florence was amazing with the guide!).

The places that we're interested in visiting in Wales include Swansea, Pembroke, St. David's & Conwy
The places that we're interested in visiting in England include London, Bath, Cambridge, Cotswolds, York, Lake District
The places that we're interested in visiting in Scotland include Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth

I cannot give any great reasons why we chose the places we want to go, they just look like places we would like. I interpret some of the feedback as if we don't pick the perfect destinations or home bases then we'll miss something we shouldn't have. Forum: "Why do you want to go to both the Cotswolds and the Lake District?" Me: They both look amazing! Forum: "You want to do too much for the time you have and haven't considered travel time." Me: what would you suggest?

Of course we want to see everything, but will find joy & interest in most anything. All of this is to say, if you have any suggestions for potential home bases that lend themselves to see many of those listed above, please let me know. Perhaps I should eliminate places (to make for more time) or replace them with options that make more sense.

~ Kim

Posted by
7175 posts

The problem with finding a 'base' and making excursions is that in the UK, although the distances may not be great, the travel time on country roads can be great. Don't waste your return journey time in the afternoon, press on to your next destination.