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24 Days in Scotland/Ireland

We have 24 days to spend in Scotland and Ireland in May/June of 2018. We fly into London and fly out of Dublin. We like the idea of staying in one area for several days at a time and taking day trips from each "home base." We are wide open! Edinburgh is a must, Isle of Skye is desirable , and a stay in a castle is on the request list as well. Any ideas for our 24 day loop?

Posted by
7124 posts

I can help you with Scotland if you are splitting your time 50/50. Unfortunately Scotland is not ideal for 'home basing'. A car is a necessity.

  1. From London to Edinburgh (3)
  2. Edinburgh
  3. Possible day to the Borders
  4. Via Stirling to Pitlochry (2)
  5. Possible day to St Andrews
  6. Via the Highlands to Inverness (1)
  7. To Skye (2)
  8. On Skye
  9. Via Loch Ness to Glencoe & Fort William (1)
  10. Via Loch Lomond to Trossachs (1)
  11. To Glasgow (1)
  12. To Ireland ....
Posted by
6 posts

We plan on having a car. Not sure how to split the time. We were thinking more time in Scotland and fewer days in Ireland.

Posted by
7124 posts

Do you plan on taking the train from London to Edinburgh? Would you stop in York and Durham?

Posted by
631 posts

a car is NOT a necessity in Scotland although useful if you want to spend much time on Skye. There may be restrictions on taking rentals out of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales). IF they let you do it the one way drop off fee will be huge. Northern Ireland rentals are usually OK to enter the Republic but again there will be a one way drop off charge.

Why fly into London to visit Scotland? That's just making life complicated and wasting time. There are transatlantic flights to Scotland. But I'd suggest booking a round trip flight to Dublin. Spend the first couple of days in the city, then a quick flight to Edinburgh or Glasgow, Scottish tour, move across to Ireland by bus/ferry (inclusive ticket) and final few days working down to Dublin.

Posted by
552 posts

Well, I spent three weeks in each so you won't be able to cover all of the ground I did, but with a car you should be able to see a lot. Have you already booked your flights into London and out of Dublin? If so then are you planning to rent the car from London and drive to Scotland? It might make sense to find a cheap flight into either Edinburgh or Glasgow. From Edinburgh I did a loop tour going first to St. Andrews then north through central Scotland and up to Inverness, across to Gairloch/Ullapool and then on to Skye. From Skye I went south (doing the stunning drive out to Applecross) down to Oban (from Oban do a day trip out to Mull etc). From Oban through Inverary (toured the jail) and on to Glasgow where I spent a few days in the city and did a day trip to Stirling and Loch Lomond. I highly recommend looking at the Secret Scotland web site for itinerary ideas. There is a lot to see, and it takes a lot longer to get around in Scotland than you might think. I had the car for ten days, and spent 6 days in Edinburgh, and four in Glasgow. Once done with Scotland you will have to figure out where in Ireland you want to start, and how you're going to get there. You could take a ferry across, or see if you can find a cheap flight into either Belfast, Dublin, or Galway. It will depend how many days you allot to Ireland. If it were me I would try for Galway since you are flying out of Dublin it makes sense to end there. From Galway do a day trip to the Aran Islands, tour the Connemara region, the Burren/Cliffs of Moher then head south towards Dingle/Killarney. From Killarney head east towards Kinsale then north through Cashel, then Kilkenny and end in Dublin. These are just some very basic ideas to get you started. Once you start researching a route you will find places that appeal to you and your plan will change.

Posted by
1008 posts

Why are you flying into London when you want to go to Scotland? Just fly into Glasgow, Edinburgh or Inverness. That saves driving about 8 hours or an expensive train ride. If you go north, Wick and Thurso are interesting villages. Thurso even has a small museum. Both towns have interesting charity shops.

Posted by
6 posts

Our original thought was to spend a few days in London, but we are now re-thinking that so that we can have more time in Scotland and Ireland. Please keep the advice coming!

Posted by
552 posts

If you haven't booked your flights yet, then don't do it until you have a better idea of what you want to see in both countries, and figure out which one is best to do first according to your route. For example, it might be easier for you to fly into Shannon and fly home from Edinburgh (or the other way around). Personally, I would skip London if you were thinking of just spending a couple of days there. It's a big city with a lot to see and would require at least a week to do it justice.

Posted by
6 posts

Unfortunately we booked already since we are using airline miles for four of us. I think we will hop on a train out of London and head straight to Edinburgh where we will begin our journey!

Posted by
1 posts

This past early June, we traveled from Spain to Edinburgh and from Edinburgh to London (City Airport). I really wanted to take trains, but found it was MUCH cheaper to fly on Norweigan and BA. I had a travel agent book the flights, and we made a concerted effort to avoid the really notorious low-cost carriers like Ryan Air, and we still got GREAT fares.

Posted by
6 posts

We are trying to nail down accommodations in Edinburgh. We would like to be near the city center and would prefer to stay in a B&B. We are looking at 53 Frederick Street and Castle View Guest House. Does anyone have any experience with either? Or any recommendations for B&Bs in the $200 +/- range?