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British Isle trip

My husband, his sister and I will be traveling throughout the British Isles for 5 weeks. We need help planning. We are flying into Dublin, but out of Paris. Our trip is set for all of September and part of October. My sister-in-law is flying out of London 10/1. We plan to tour Scotland, Ireland, England....not sure about Wales, other than just enough to say we have been there. Are we making a mistake by not spending time in Wales?

Suggestions please. Looking at Michelin maps, however don't see any that have been published any later than 2012. Will those suffice or are there newer ones out there? Is Michelin the best map to use? We have used them for France, Italy.....

Bed and Breakfasts, hotels....a the current plan. Do you have to reserve in advance or are we traveling in a month where there won't be problems getting rooms?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Posted by
782 posts

I did a trip very similar to this 2 years ago and we found that using a Britrail pass was the easiest and fastest way to get around in England & Scotland. Ireland is a different story, to get outside of Dublin you really need a car. The train system in England is very good and was on time when we used it. I assume that you are taking the Eurostar to Paris.

Posted by
5564 posts

HI, what a great trip you will have!

As for maps for the UK, check out the Ordnance Survey Maps. They have all kinds. Start with one of the bigger maps and then as you decide where you want to go you can look into the ones with greater detail. The have all kinds and are very useful.

You will also want to use viamichelin or google maps to plan your trip. I often plot a trip on both to see what the recommendations are. Also, it's interesting to add in stops and see what that does for your timing.

Lastly, there are some wonderful websites that you'll want to explore while planning. Undiscovered Scotland is one of my favorites. They have everything from feature pages on small towns to driving tips. The government's website, [VisitScotland],6 can be helpful. I've used it for accommodation searches and more. Also, they run the Tourist Information offices in all the small towns. Also, Historic Scotland (now maybe Environment Scotland???) is a great place to research many of the castles and other historic sites. It does not include all as some are in private hands, notably Glamis Castle and Eileen Donan. Rampant Scotland is a site that has been around for quite a while and is helpful. There is this great history site, but there are many others. I really love Sigurd Towrie's site on Orkney.

Please do come back with questions. Let us know your interests--History, music, whisky, dance, walking, museums, castles etc.


Posted by
2127 posts

My advice is never go anywhere just to say you've been there. That said, Wales is fabulous - beautiful scenery, wonderful people, fun pubs, lots of castles, and fairly inexpensive. With five weeks, you certainly have time to go there, but the British isles are packed with great destinations, so you can't see it all. You may want to divide your time like this: 2 weeks England, 2 weeks Scotland and 1 week Wales. That will give you a good overview. It's hard to advise further without having any idea what you are interested.

I've always used Michelin maps and been happy with them, but I can't compare them to anything else.

I always reserve in advance because I don't like to waste time trying to find a place. So I can't tell you if you need to reserve ahead or not.

Posted by
5564 posts

I should add that often traveling at that time of year, I have booked my first night (more if staying there multiple nights) and my last night. In between I have used the Tourist information office in Scotland and England to book my stays. I'm pretty flexible, so it has worked well for me. I occasionally struggle because I am a single and they absolutely HATE putting a single in a double bed. Doubles who will take either a double bed or two twins would have great flexibility. :)

And BTW if you get to Scotland in early September you should still catch some of the heather.


Posted by
1293 posts

The Michelin maps should be ok, they are generally very good maps, though if driving a good road atlas might be an idea. Michelin do these, as do the Ordinance Survey, the AA and my favourite, Collins. Though you would need different ones for Great Britain, for Ireland, and for France.

As yet Historic Environment Scotland are still operating as Historic Scotland despite the merger with RCAHMS, the Gaelic name for both HES and HS is the same. Hoping they keep the name, it feels a better brand.