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Ireland & Great Britain Itinerary - Need guidance and ideas

We are planning a Great Britain & Ireland trip for August or September 2014 for almost a month by car. My husband does not want to go to Northern Ireland. Other than that, he wants to fly into London, leave immediately and start our trip heading southeast...? Maybe cross over by ferry (with our car) to Ireland from Wales. Spend a week there, Circle around and come back to England, up to Scotland, back down, ending in London (and probably turn the car in when we arrive in London) to fly home. I'm having a hard time figuring stuff out and am getting super overwhelmed. We did buy the Ireland and Great Britain Rick Steves' books, so am going to start working on the trip. Also, I printed his recommended tours for each of the areas, but being that we're doing 4 countries in one trip, don't know what's doable. Any suggested itinerary and must-sees are appreciated. We love small towns and villages, love castles, the countryside. We'd like to see a couple of museums. Any suggestions for where to stay, hotels (3 star) would be helpful, as well as must see's. Any ideas at all are appreciated! Thank you!
(will also post this on England and Ireland forums.)

Posted by
9110 posts

Reference is made to identical posts in the England and Ireland sections.

Posted by
5455 posts

I would try to arrange the Itinerary so that you have two cars. Maybe fly into Ireland, rent a car, then fly to England or Scotland, probably Scotland and rent a second car. I'm sure it will be less expensive and you will have more time to enjoy the countries rather than traveling back and forth on the Irish Sea.

For your week in Scotland spend a couple of days in Edinburgh and then I would do a trip north. You won't need a car in Edinburgh , so pick it up as you head out of town. You have enough time that you can head west to Skye, or you could head north to the castles in Aberdeenshire in the Northeast. Are you golfers? Do you want to see St. Andrew's? Are your historians and want to see Culloden? Are you fascinated by monsters and want Loch Ness. Or do you want to walk in hills? Maybe you want to hear some fiddle music or pipers. At any rate, it would help to know a wee bit more about your interests.

Also, I love to drive in Scotland. But, the roads are small so please realize it takes longer than you think to get from place to another. The only Interstate like roads are in the Borders and the Central Belt. North of Perth, it's two lanes and often one lane except for strange bits on the A9. If you really love to drive, pick up Iain Banks book Raw Spirit, In Search of the Perfect Dram. It's a marvelous book about whisky and Scotland.

I would also recommend that you use some websites. Check out Undiscovered Scotland. Here's what they say about one of my favorite Glens. Another site is Visit Scotland. It's the country's tourist site and has lots of suggestion and information about potential hotels and B&B's. See what they recommend and then ask to see if anyone else has been there. I also recommend checking out some of the Historical sites on Historic Scotland. They don't manage all the properties, but they manage a lot of them.

Pam

Posted by
1072 posts

Check the different Ferry Companies for Train- Bus- Ferry Combo tickets....this may save money and time for you. There is a London to Dublin Combo and an Ireland to Glasgow Combo. That way you could have a separate car in Ireland and then rent another in Scotland. Don't skip Glasgow...it has some World Glass Art and Culture. The Necropolis is especially fascinating. Drive North from there...check out the West and the Lochs...go North up Loch Ness then go South thru Whiskey Valley...Check out stuff in Edinburgh...Drive to the Borders.Go to Durham, Hadrians Wall. Go to York. Go West to Lake District, Liverpool, The Potteries, then West to North Wales for Edwards Castles. East to the Cotswalds. Bath. Back to London. We did a version of this 2 times. Once for 21 day the second time for 15. Buy one of the overseas visitor passes such the one from National Trust for UK or others if you like to visit historic sites. Check out the English Treasure house site if you want to visit the Great Estates.

Posted by
1072 posts

You could always fly to Ireland on Ryan Air or other discount airlines to save lots of time with no back tracking. I would skip the hotels and look to more posh inns, farm houses, b & b's unless you like to be in the middle of town...since you will have a car just check the Tourist Info office when you get to town. We stayed at an Inn outside of Chester that was own by a 3 star chef. When we stayed in London we stayed in a B & B that was an Edwardian Townhouse. Hotels for the same price were just average. If I went back again I would spend more time in Wales and the Midlands of England...much more charming than the hard worn tourist trail. We stayed in a Farmhouse B & B near the Lake District that served a gourmet dinner with drinks. There was also a Farmhouse near Lake Awe that was a Victorian Manor House. A Georgian Townhouse in Dumphries. etc. So unless you play golf or want to fish there is no great advantage to Hotels unless you like to dress for dinner, etc.