We would like to do the 14-day Best of Ireland and the 10-day Best of Scotland tours back to back. Any suggestions which to do first?
Are you planning for next year? It's still possible to do this year, too, but obviously with fewer dates still available. Flights between them should be easy in either case; see www.skyscanner.com for budget airlines. I might suggest Scotland first if you could possibly consider Ireland as "saving the best for last." But if you want more time on either island, before or after the tours, that could push the decision the other way, such as fly into Dublin, tour Ireland, tour Scotland, then independent travel through England to fly out from London.
Probably next year. We'd fly to and from London, and then take the train to either Dublin or Edinburgh.
Direct trains between London and Edinburgh take only 5 hours (cheapest if booked about 3 months before the travel date) but a train/ferry connection from London to Dublin can take about 8 hours and flying generally costs the same as the deepest advance-purchase discount.
When you're closer to choosing tour dates, do check fares for a "multi-city" or "open-jaws" plane ticket into one country and out from the other. The price is often not much different than roundtrip to London.
We’re doing back to back RS tours to Ireland and Scotland this year, except taking the 8 days Heart of Ireland tour, then 10 day Best of Scotland tour. We decided on Scotland last because the last date of the tour in Edinburgh gave us the opportunity to get tickets for and attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August. It just all fell in place conveniently.
We’re flying nonstop from Boston to Shannon on Aer Lingus, then after the Ireland tour taking an hour long Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Edinburgh to start our Scotland tour, then our return flight home is British Airways from Edinburgh transiting through Heathrow and Dulles.