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Itinerary Advice

A group of 8 of us will be going to Europe (in Aug) for 13 days. The focus of the trip will be Scotland and Ireland, and at least 1 day in Amsterdam. Is it too ambitious to try and get in a day in London as well? I realize this is a LOT in such a short time frame, so I welcome any advice you may have.

We are flying into Glasgow, and we will be renting a van or 2 small cars, if that helps. Thanks!

Posted by
417 posts

I tend to agree with Joel on this one. 13 days is a great trip, but to include Ireland and other sites may be too ambitious.

Are you flying out of Glasgow as well? If so, then I would definitely concentrate on Scotland.

You may be able to include some of Northern Ireland, at least Belfast and a day to the Antrim coast, and then swing back to Glasgow.

Day 1: Leave USA

Day 2: Arrive Glasgow

Day 3: Leave to highlands

Day 4: Highlands

Day 5: Highlands

Day 6: Highlands

Day 7: Edinburgh

Day 8: Edinburgh

Day 9: Belfast

Day 10: Antrim coast day trip

Day 11: Northern Ireland

Day 12: Back to Glasgow

Day 13: Leave to USA

Posted by
3428 posts

First- Thanks Joel! I love Scotland and it is nice to think others value my love and experiences.

Now Katie- For 13 days I'd say you need to limit your plans a bit. If Amsterdam is non-negotiable, I'd plan to either begin or end there. If you can drop it- I would for this trip.

We often start and/or end in London. You could easily do that. Are you locked into flying into Glasgow yet?

Next- we dont drive in the UK. We have used the trains and buses and love traveling that way. It's not that I would discourage you from driving- just we haven't done it. Be sure to consider that gas (petrol) is VERY VERY expensive in the UK. Parking is scarce and expensive and the roads are often small (still one lane in some parts of Scotland)and very winding- plus you will be driving on the left. Automaitc transmissions are also scarce and must be reserved in advance. Also- allow extra time compared to the same distance in the US.

I'll post a suggessted itenerary in my next post.

Posted by
3428 posts

OK- You might consider a variation on this-
Fly into Glasgow- stay 2 nights
train or drive to Inverness- 3-5 nights with day trips (lots to choose from- Culloden Battlefield and Clava Carins, Eliean Donnan castle and Isle of Skye, Great Glen, Glen Coe, Ft. William, Ft. Agustus, even Orkney- though it is a long day, whisky tours, cruises on Loch Ness and the firth, etc.) There are lots of reliable tour companies that base in Inverness. I'd suggesst going with one that does small van tours rather than big bus (coach) tours. We have used Puffin Tours, Canny Tours and similar ones.
Then train to Aviemore- 2 days with day trip to Blair Athol castle and maybe 1 or 2 distilleries, there is also a microwbrewery that does tours and gives samples in town, a restored steam train, and the funicular up Mt. Caringorm- lovely views on both of theses, as well as hiking, etc. if interested.

Train to Edinburgh- 1 or 2 days
train to York- 1 night
train to London- 2 or 3 nights (or skip York and London and fly home from Edinburgh- or tani back to Glasgow to fly home)

You will need to tweak your days to fit to the 13 days (does that include flying over and home- if so major cutting needed). Personally, I'd cut out Glasgow and reverse the iternerary.

Feel free to private message me. We've been to the UK more than 40 times in the past 20+ years.

Posted by
1265 posts

Katie - Yes, I think your plan ambitious. I would exclude Amsterdam, London, and Ireland and focus on Scotland. You could spend a 2-3 days in Glasgow, then head up towards the Highlands for 4-6 days, and finish in Edinburgh for 3 days. I'm also assuming you final day will be in Glasgow so you can return your rental car, or you can fly open jaw into Glasgow out of Edinburgh.

Toni from Charlotte is extremely knowledgable on Scotland and will probably respond to this post.

When I go to Scotland I'm primarily focusing on golf, pubs and WHISKY.

Posted by
3428 posts

Forgot to tell you--
When in Edinburgh we stay at the Royal British Hotel. Right across Princes St. from the Waverly Train station. Only been to Glasgow once- don't remember the hotel (it was one of the big chains) and Dublin was with a group tour. In Amsterdam we stayed at the Pulitzer. VERY nice. Bit expensive. just a few blocks from the Anne Frank House.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for the great advice! I have 2 clarifications as of yesterday afternoon. Our tickets are in fact booked, and we're definitely arriving and departing from Glasgow. Also, the only reasonable day we could get tickets to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo show was on Tues the 17th...so that puts a bit of a wrench into things, but we'll manage.

We're definitely skipping London. Now we just need to make Scotland, Ireland and Amsterdam happen. I know it's crazy, but everyone is determined to hit all 3 spots.

Posted by
3428 posts

OK- change of plans- I'd suggesst something like this:
Glasgow- 2 nights. Train (or van) to Edinburgh 4 nights with day trip to highlands

fly to Amsterdam 2 nights

fly to Dublin 1 night,
drive to Ring of Kerry or Kilarny 2 nights
fly to Glasgow

Posted by
1358 posts

As far as renting a car over there, especially in Ireland -- we traveled with a big group there this summer, 2 families, 11 people altogether. Vans are a whole different thing over there. If you ask for a van, you'll get a commercial-style vehicle that's very expensive. The largest, most affordable vehicle we could find was listed under "people movers", which seat 7 people. Kinda. It was a Hyundai Santa Fe with an extra row in the back. NO room for luggage.

I think you guys would have to get 2 cars, if you do the car thing. If you do hop over to Ireland, you might want to consider making Belfast or Dublin your home base and taking day trips by train from there.

Posted by
495 posts

On the language thing; as stated a van is a commercial vehicle.

What Americans call a "mini van" is a People Carrier or MPV.

What Americans call a "van" would be a mini-bus. Mini-bus is a somewhat vague term that covers anything from 8 up to 20-odd seater passenger vehicles. Be specific when booking one as the larger ones cannot be driven on a normal car licence.

Posted by
9 posts

Toni, that itinerary looks superb...thank you so much!

And great info about the vehicles. I think we are going to do 2 cars, but that 'van' info is awesome, because I think my father in law was going to ask for one van and one car, so I'm thrilled to know the differences in van descriptions. Thank you, thank you!