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Itinerary Help- What would you skip?

I am traveling with my Mother and teen daughter for 3 weeks in Great Britain. I think I have too much in my itinerary and need to decide what to remove. There are so many great things to see and do that it is hard to decide which direction to head.
So if you had to take one of these destinations out of an itinerary, which would you choose?
-Northern Wales
I was allotting approximately 2 days for each of these places, so dropping one will give us time to enjoy the others along with time in London and a week in Ireland.

Posted by
2949 posts

Your last sentence puts it all in perspective: a week in Ireland means you have only 2 weeks on the island of Great Britain, and out of the 2 weeks you want to set aside several days to see London, is that right? And are you planning to rent a car or travel by rail and bus?

The one destination on your list that is out of the way from the others is York -- unless you are taking the train from London to Edinburgh, in which case you could conveniently stop off in York. But the latter plan would make Bath, Cotswolds, and northern Wales a big detour.

Which airports/cities are your arrival and departure points? For example, if you arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick , you could start off without a rental car and enjoy London for a few days, then get a rental car and drive to Bath, drive through the Cotswolds and northern Wales, then take the M6 / M74 north toward Glasgow and cut off to Edinburgh, and finally fly from Edinburgh to Ireland.

That last driving segment from Wales to Edinburgh is a long one; it will take you pretty much all day, but if you instead tried to drive east from Wales to York and then north to Edinburgh it would be much slower. You can see this if you look at the type of roads (Motorway vs. highway).

I can't comment on the beauty of northern Wales, but I have been to York and frankly while it was perfectly OK I don't think I would have felt I missed out on anything crucial if I hadn't gone there.

Caveat: The above advice rather falls apart if your plan is to use public transport and do something creative like taking the Holyhead ferry to Ireland.

Posted by
3551 posts

U could omit York or Edinburgh imo.
While they are interesting with your itin i would leave or another time.
Do not rush London ever it is a fabulous and varied visit.

Posted by
15045 posts

All are good destinations. Whichever you choose, you'll have to skip other great sights. Make your choices and don't look back. Enjoy what you can without regrets, and remember, there's always next time.

Use to estimate driving times. You can enter a starting and ending point and then add in intermediate points. This will give you a better idea of how much time it will take from point to point (add an allowance for traffic and pit stops, parking, etc). Once you plot it out, you'll see which is the outlier. You may even find that two are outliers.

Posted by
1 posts

Further to all the responses which are quite apt, it has to be your decision depending on your own preference, convenience and ease of accessibility especially since you have to look after the needs of your mother and daughter. If possible it could also be a good idea to extend your trip by a few days which would make it possible for you to visit all the places you want to. Hope you all have a safe journey and enjoy your vacation.

Posted by
5704 posts

So you have 10 days?

When are you travelling?

Will you have a car?

Ireland to London will take half a day, as will all your other changes of destination, with the exception of northern Wales to Scotland, which will be a full day.

I would suggest that you plan out your time, allowing travel time between destinations. London needs 4/5 days to just scratch the surface.

Cotswolds - for the best experience, you need a car. Two full days here should suffice, excluding travel time

Bath also needs 2 full days there. Ditto York.

Edinburgh needs 3 full days there minimum plus whatever you want to allow for day trips out of the city.

North Wales is also better with a car to cover the castles and Snowdonia and needs a minimum of 3 full days there.

York and Edinburgh and Bath are best by train from London.

You, not us, need to decide what you want to see, as say north Wales and Edinburgh are very different. Personally, I would drop the Cotswolds, as I think they are overrated compared to other parts of the UK. Sorry, but I think that you need to drop two places from your wish list for your given timescale. Flying back from say Edinburgh rather than London will save you a day's back tracking.

Posted by
2353 posts

Without knowing more details I would cut Edinburgh as it seems to be the outlier. My other choice would be Northern Wales - it really needs a little more time - we call that "a reason to return"!

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
5630 posts

We planned for a four week drive tour of England and Wales. We have been to Britain before, and excluded London. We decided to save Scotland for a separate trip later and stick to a more contiguous geographical area.

We are doing 8 days in the Cotswolds, five days in South Wales, three days in Bath, four days in York and outside York, other stops include Durham, Hadrian's Wall, the Lake District in the NW and Winchester.

One thing that I discovered was that the more research that I did, the more I wanted to add more sights to our trip.

As others have indicated, it you want to see the Cotswolds, a car is needed. You would not need one for Bath, York or Edinburgh.

There are tours of Bath and the Cotswolds from London, but you waste a lot of time on the bus.

If you still want to see Edinburgh, there are good rail choices from York and London.

Posted by
6470 posts

AS lovely as the Cotswolds are having spent a week in Ireland (hopefully a good portion on the stunning West Coast) seeing them may not be worth the effort. As noted a car is needed there.

Personally I'd drop everything but Ireland and London and while enjoying the latter take day trips by train to Bath, Windsor and maybe Brighton.

I love London. Have been going there since my college days many moons ago. I never tire of finding new things to explore and enjoy in the various neighborhoods that combine to create a London experience.

For instance you can easily spend a day in Hampstead and Highgate walking about Hampstead village, visit the Burgh House museum,, wander around the Heath, catch a rugby match, visit Kenwood House, explore the fabulous Highgate cemetery ( you need reservations to tour the West Cemetary ) but you can see Karl Marx's grave which is in the East Cemetary by buying a ticket. If you traveling after March I'd include a visit to the Fenton House and Garden.

This area is London is a simple Underground train ride away.

Enjoy your 3 weeks in the UK and while in Ireland don't forget that NI is but a 2 hour train or bus ride away. The Titanic Museum in Belfast is wonderful.

Posted by
5630 posts

Going to Britain and just going to London would be like coming to the USA and only going to New Your City.

Those large cities have a lot to offer, but the British countryside is marvelous. Also, in my opinion, you get a sense of the heartbeat of the country from the countryside.

Posted by
11443 posts

Everyone has their own personal preferences as you can clearly see. You only don't state if you are driving or relying on public transit.

What you need to do is figure out which sites are most important to YOU. List them in order and drop the bottom ones.

Except for northern Wales, most of the sites could be seen by public transit and local tours. Make a circle. Something like this:

Fly to London-train to Bath-local tour through the Cotswalds--Northern Wales--ferry to Ireland--flight from Ireland to Edinburgh--train to York--train to London--fly home.

It will be rushed. Personally, I would drop northern Wales on this trip and instead fly over to Dublin from Bristol which is very close to Bath.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you for all the great input. I can't believe how helpful all of this is. So...if you are ready to weigh in on some more details, I would be grateful! I have put a few ?s throughout the itinerary, but am open to input on anything. Just trying to figure out the smoothest way to do the trip with transportation and time in mind. Also, keep in mind I have never driven on the left side. I am a capable driver and love the idea of having freedom to roam the countryside, but also wonder if driving will be more taxing and less enjoyable than train travel.
Day 1- Arrive mid day London
Day 2-4 London (no car, only public transport)
Day 5- Train to Edinburgh
Day 6-7 Edinburgh
Day 8 Fly from Edinburgh to Belfast; Pick up car, overnight in Carrickfergus
Day 9 Atrim Coast- Need a good place to overnight
Day 10 Derry
Day 11 ???? Option #1- Drive back to Belfast and take train to Galway through Dublin
Option #2- Keep driving and head from Derry to Silgo and then Galway area
Day 12 Galway area
Day 13 Ennis/Shannon area
Day 14 Drop car and Fly from Shannon to Manchester, England, Take train up to Carnforth to visit Capenwray Bible School
???- Does it make more sense to keep car and drive to Dublin, ferry to Holyhead and begin tour of Northern Wales? Can you pick up a car in Belfast that gets returned in England? Would then need to readjust itinerary to go from Northern Wales to Carnforth and then perhaps go to Leeds and York for the rest of the trip rather than Cotswolds and Bath.
Day 15 Mid/Late day train from Carnforth to Chester
Day 16 Pick up rental car. Drive through N. Wales. Visit Conwy, Caernarfon, Sleep Porthmadog
Day 17 Drive through Dolgellau and head east to Shrewsbury. Spend night in northern Cotswolds
Day 18 Tour Cotswolds by car
Day 19 More time in Cotswolds- Blenheim Palace
Day 20 Bath- drop car
Day 21 Bath
Day 22 Morning train to London for flight out.

Posted by
15045 posts

Practical issues - are you sure you'll get an automatic car wherever you plan to rent? (It's not a given in continental European countries and you probably don't want to shift gears left-handed even if you're comfortable with a manual.) Are you going to have excessive drop-off charges if you rent in the UK and return the car in Ireland or vice versa?

Posted by
15045 posts

Another practical issue - after Edinburgh, you have nearly 2 weeks of one-night stays. That is exhausting on a guided tour. I can't even imagine how hard it would be when you're on your own, trying to find hotel and sight locations. Also, plot out the driving on to get net driving times.

Posted by
4735 posts

You will almost certainly be faced with a large charge if you rent a car in Northern Ireland and return it in Great Britain. You will be possibly faced with a lesser charge if you hire a car in Northern Ireland and return in the Republic or vice versa. You will also need to verify in those circumstances that you can use the car in both countries - almost universally the case with vehicles from Northern Ireland; less so but not uncommon for vehicles hired in the Republic.

Posted by
220 posts

Oh dear... why? This seems like too much to be honest. It would be horribly rushed and not enjoyable. I think you'd be better off (if you are really insisting on such loopy-trip) to begin in edinburgh, and end in London.

Day 1- Edinburgh
Day 2- Edinburgh
Day 3- Edinburgh
Day 4- Fly to Shannon rent car
Days 5-10- Out and about in ireland
Day 10- Boat from Belflast to Isle of man, then boat to - Heysham rent new car in England
Day 11- Visit your bible college place
Day 12- north wales
Day 13- North wales
Day 14- North wales
Day 15- Oxford
Day 16- Bath
Day 17- London
Day 18- London
Day 19- London
Day 20- London
Day 21- London/Fly home?

Please don't do your original plan you wont see anything... Getting about takes quite some time in England. You'd just be stuck in a car on in transit

Posted by
4166 posts

Use Bath as a base for day trips to the Cotswolds. If use ever plan to return to the UK, make Ireland a separate trip since you can spend a full week in Northern Ireland by itself. I always drive and specify an automatic transmission when I make the rental reservation.

Posted by
7139 posts

I'd flip the itinerary so you make the easy hop to Bath on arrival, and then stay in London before flying out.

Arrive in London. Bus to Bath (2N)
Pick up car in Bath
Cotswolds (2N)
N Wales (3N)
Carnforth (1N)
Drop off car at Manchester Airport
Fly to Ireland (6N)
Fly to Edinburgh (3N)
Train to London (4N)
Depart from London

Posted by
3250 posts

I get tired just looking at your proposed itinerary. The trains in England are so easy and convenient that I would not rent a car there unless the Cotswolds are a top priority for you. Ireland is difficult to see without a car. Like Mrs. EB, I'm not a big fan of Bath. We took a bus tour to Cotswolds and Blenheim years ago-don't feel I would have missed much if I had never seen either one. If you go to Bath, Southern Wales is an easy train trip with some interesting sights. Edinburgh and York are at the top of my "when I get the chance list".

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you so much for the input! I have been using ViaMichelin to figure out route times and distances. So I have been looking for ways to simplify the trip in terms of travel and energy levels.

One of the issues I am running into is timing. We are arriving on Maudy Thursday right as Easter weekend gets going. I was originally going to head straight out to Bath upon arrival but that puts me driving through the Cotswolds on Easter weekend. It sounds as if there would be a high volume of traffic both car and train over the weekend, so maybe it is best to stay put in London and do our sightseeing there for the first 4-5 days? I will not do well navigating with lots of traffic. Also, I am having a hard time finding availability in housing over Easter weekend in places like Bath or York. So even though RS recommends against it, we are considering doing London first rather than last.

Posted by
7139 posts

Perhaps head to Carnforth first up, then North Wales. Cotswolds and Bath then after the Easter break.

Arrive in London
Train to Carnforth (1N)
Pick up car in Lancaster ??
N Wales (3N)
Cotswolds (2N)
Bath (2N)
Drop off car at Bristol Airport
Fly to Ireland (6N)
Fly to Edinburgh (3N)
Train to London (4N)
Depart from London

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks David- that looks great, except that I would like to be in Carnforth during the week while classes are in session, so once again Easter weekend makes things challenging. So in the latest version below I dropped Bath, York, and Cotswolds (mostly...we will get a little taste when we visit Blennheim Palace and the village of Woodstock.)
Here is the latest and greatest-
1-4 London
5-7 Edinburgh
8-10 Fly to Belfast/Northern Ireland *Diff place each night
11-13 Galway Drive or Train? *
Diff place each night if we drive
14 Fly to Manchester/ Train to Carnforth
15 Carnforth
16 Train to Chester- Pick up Car
17-18 Northern Wales
19 Travel Day: Drive to Shrewsbury- drop car, then train to Oxford
20 Oxford (take bus and spend most of day at Blennheim Palace)
21 Depart London
Does this look more manageable?