Feedback on Great Britain 14 day Itinerary

Here's the itinerary my husband and I have planned for our June 2014 trip to Great Britain. I'd appreciate feedback/recommendations about our itinerary. I'd also like to know recommendations about exchanging US dollars to pounds and best method of obtaining/securing cash as many of the B&Bs prefer being paid in cash. Ideally, we would not want to travel with much cash on us at any one time.

Also, I noted a few more specific questions below where we could use some ideas/help. We are using Rick Steve's Great Britain, Ireland, and England Guidebooks 2013 to select, contact, and reserve B&Bs in most of these locations. Thank you.

Wed.- Flight from NC, USA to Dublin; flight from Dublin to Glasgow arriving late morning; pick-up rental car; lunch and bus/walking tour of Glasgow in the afternoon; travel to Dunoon, Scotland (via Gourock ferry) for 1st night - Any suggestions on the best tour company to get a good overview of the top sites in Glasgow? We only plan to spend a few hours at most because we had some time to spare in the afternoon.

Thurs, Fri, Sat nights in Dunoon, Scotland (visiting friends)

Sun, Mon nights in Edinburgh, Scotland - We will leave Edinburgh on Tuesday AM and visit Hadrian's wall/ Housestead,s For) on the way to Keswick...should we take a side trip to Durham to see the Cathedral too? Or would this be too much for one day?? Otherwise, we won't visit Durham and head to Keswick.

Tues, Wed nights in Lake District, England -hoping to stay at one of the Farms just outside of Keswick, England in Neulands Valley - looking into Keskadale; does anyone have experience staying here or at others in this area?)

Thurs, Fri nights - York, England (Many B&Bs to choose from in Rick's guide book...having trouble deciding. We want something that is within walking distance of the main sites. Any suggestions?)

Sat, Sun, Mon nights - Conwy, Wales

Tues, Wed nights - Dun Laoghaire, Ireland (20 minutes from Dublin - plan to visit Dublin but stay in Dun Laoghaire to avoid higher lodging rates)

Thurs - Flight from Dublin airport to USA

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

Overview:

  1. Great Britain is an island on which are located England, Scotland, and Wales. These are three components of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - - the fourth is obviously . . . .
    Britain/British can also apply to the entirety of the UK.
    The Republic of Ireland is not in the mix.

  2. Flying into Dublin to catch a flight to Glasgow seems odd, and maybe not cost effective. Why not fly from Charlotte(?) to Glasgow and then from Dublin back home?

  3. Don't exchange money. Get your cash from atms.

Schedule:

Pretty good.
Edinburgh to Keswick via Durham is five hours of road time. Three if you go direct and don't get tangled up on the freeway south of Carlisle.

Cowy's not so hot, read up on Caernarvon. You can pause at Conwy on the way.
Where are you getting rid of the car - - Holyhead? Make sure there's a drop point there from where ever you picked it up. If you're not taking the car that far, Conwy has train service onto Anglesey, Caernarfon doesn't.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1099 posts

I agree with Ed about everything, of course. Is Dublin useful for low airfare, favorable scheduling, or what? Consider open jaw into Glasgow and back from Dublin, might cost no more and save you some time and fatigue that first day. Glasgow has much more than you'll be able to see in the time you have. If you can bear to save Ireland for another trip, you could fly into Glasgow and out of Manchester.

We did something like the Britain part of your trip, in reverse, a couple of years ago: Conwy to York to Durham to Edinburgh to Keswick. We spent 16 nights, compared to the 9 nights you're spending, in those places. Your Tuesday with Hadrian's Wall and Durham will be a very full day. We loved Durham, used it as a base for the wall, but it might be a bridge too far on this trip.

In York we stayed at the Abbey Guest House, right on the river, a few minutes walk from the Minster, Yorkshire Museum, old medieval center, and (across the river) railroad museum. Comfortable, some parking, good breakfast, they'll do laundry if you want. In Conwy we stayed at the Glan Heulog B&B, a short walk outside the city wall. Very good breakfast, friendly hosts, some parking up a steep driveway. If you can't get a farm place near Keswick, you might try Badgers Wood Guest House, up a short hill from the center of town. Very good breakfast, nice views of the fells, adequate street parking. All these places are recommended in the RS guide, I'm sure there are other fine choices too.

Posted by Maureen
Burgaw, NC
7 posts

Thank you Ed and Dick for your helpful responses. Originally, we didn't plan to go to Ireland, but, when looking for flights to Glasgow/London, it was much more cost effective to fly into Dublin and take the Aer Lingus flight to Glasgow. Booking wit h Aer Lingus also gained us a very good rate for a Hertz rental car. So, we figured it was a way of getting a small taste of Ireland. I think we will miss Durham on this trip given the long drive. I appreciate your B&B suggestions and also the thoughts about Caernarfon vs Conway. From what we understand there is a drop off for Hertz rental at the Holyhead terminal.

We noted that the Stena Line has only one crossing to Dun Laoghaire at 10:30 AM. Does anyone know how reliable that schedule is? There does not appear to be any other options going to Dun Laoghaire. We are leaving the car in Holyhead so we won't have a car when we reach Ireland. We are planning to stay in Dun Laoghaire and would like to drop our bags off to the B&B before heading into Dublin for the afternoon/evening. We would hate to end up on a ferry that goes to Dublin and be forced to carry our bags around with us while sightseeing.

Thanks, Maureen

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

Absent a huge storm the ferry will run as scheduled.

Hertz has a place at Holyhead. I think it's the one closest to the terminal instead if way down the road where you first drive in.

There's bus stops and a taxi rank right outside the Dun Laoghaire terminal.

Posted by Deanna
Piedmont Triad, NC
161 posts

Hi Maureen, my husband and I stayed at Ellas Crag Guesthouse many years ago, it's just outside Keswick on the way to Newlands Valley. We loved that place! One of our favorite places ever - the hosts were lovely. When our rental car died, the husband gave us a lift to Carlisle so we could catch the train to Edinburgh. The Lake District is one of my all time favorite places - you will love it and wish you could stay longer! Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by Sarah
Seattle, Washington
122 posts

The Hertz location in Hollyhead is at the ferry terminal, right inside the door.
For Glasgow, I'd just do the hop-on-hop-off tour it will show you the city.
Dun Laoghaire, Ireland has a lot of construction projects going on, they were still in the beginning stages of redoing the waterfront when I last saw it in November. I'd personal would pick Howth over Dun Laoghaire to stay in. It's just as close to Dublin center as Dun Laoghaire is.