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Ireland/Scotland & Maybe England

My husband and I are looking to do Ireland & Scotland (and maybe some England) for two weeks this spring. I'm wondering what you'd all recommend for an itinerary? We don't have any additional time other than the two weeks, and would like to cram as much in. I know some areas would obviously be worth more time than others, but we'll have to ration, so to speak.

Any advice would be appreciated! We're thinking April travel and flying into Dublin and out of Scotland, somewhere.

Thank you!

Posted by
1225 posts

I guess I would need to know more about what kinds of sightseeing you are interested in, but I wouldn't recommend doing 2 countries let alone 3 with only 2 weeks. If you were to do 2 I would do Scotland and England together because at least they are on the same island. You could do Yorkshire, Northumberland, Lake District area of England and then do more of the border region of Scotland with a trip out to the western isles, particularly Skye. What are you most interested in seeing and we can give you better direction.

Posted by
631 posts

Ireland & Scotland is OK but you need to travel in a logical order. Too many people post planned itineries where they bounce around a country almost randomly.

So fly into Dublin - or Edinburgh. First alarm bell, I see you are in Detroit. Not an easy place to fly to UK/Ireland and needs connecting flights. My cousin lives in MI and flies over a few times each year. His luggage often doesn't arrive same day! So, make sure your layover is a good long one, or plan on spending the first few days in the arrival city in case you are waiting for bags.

from Dublin head north via Belfast in a reasonably direct manner. Stop wherever you feel like but do not think that Cork or Waterford is quick diversion! From Belfast take the ferry to Scotland, either the fast craft from teh city centre or the ordinary one from the port of Larne, both go to Cairnryan. From there another reasonably direct journey to Edinburgh. Glasgow, Perth, Stirling are all points within the sweep. Inverness, Glenfinnan, Shetland are not!! Or do the whole thing in reverse.

Car rental will be difficult. In Dublin they may allow you to cross into Northern Ireland but not go on a ferry to Scotland. In Edinburgh they probably won't allow you to go to on the ferry. But within the recommended "reasonable arc" train and bus options are varied, including tickets with the ferry as part of the journey.

You could try for an open jaw ticket which would be best use of time. If not possible there are cheap flights between Edinburgh and Dublin bear in mind that all checked bags have to be added to the cost of the fare and you have to check-in online and get a boarding pass before reaching the airport.

Posted by
67 posts

Thank you for your replies!

We're hoping to do an open-jaw flight situation for sure. In terms of flying, we fly out of Toronto for direct flights (we just drive to Toronto, it's 4 hours but saves time and a lot of money). I'm beginning to think that England and Scotland make the most sense.

In terms of our interest - we like to have a mix of cities and more rural areas. We're into food, drinks, local history and we aren't really museum types. We like to wander and see smaller towns that are a little off the beaten path. Whiskey would be awesome to learn about and do some tastings.

Posted by
3122 posts

I agree with SteveB about using logical geography for your itinerary, but if you chose Ireland & Scotland I would fly, not spend time on a ferry. Personally Northern Ireland would not be high on my list either.

The RS guidebooks to Ireland and to Great Britain will give you ideas of reasonable itineraries. Would you be renting cars or using public transportation? Do you like cities or prefer spending time in the great outdoors walking (hiking)? Do you enjoy museums? Castles and stately homes? Lots of unknowns here. April is a good time to travel as the days are reasonably long and popular destinations not overrun with tourists, but you'll need layers of warm clothing & waterproof gear.

Posted by
67 posts

We're interested in splitting the time between scenic/outdoorsy stuff and cities. We're very into castles, and historical stuff. Not really museum types, but it kind of depends on the museums.

We're open to renting a car and/or trains/busses. We just went to Spain last April where we did trains, busses and rented a car during the two weeks we were there.

Posted by
1470 posts

If you like castles you should really think about Wales. You might be able to fly into Manchester from Toronto and then easily see Northern Wales, The English Midland: Chester, Liverpool, the Lake District, Hadrian Wall, Then Scotland: Dumphries, the Borders, Glasgow, Edinburgh, then turn south to Durham, York and then London. This can be done by car in two weeks...we did it.

Posted by
631 posts

For castles and similar, there is an option. Actually it isn't an option, we scrap your original idea. I think direct flights from Toronto use Glasgow. And Manchester! Once again plan for a fairly logical arc without wild diversions.

Scottish central belt Glasgow-Falkirk / Stirling - Edinburgh. Glasgow to Edinburgh is only about 45 miles but there's plenty to see without lots of driving. Couple of days at least.

Then drive south through Kielder to Hadrians Wall. and the overnight (or 2) around Kendal/ Windermere.

Head for North Wales (maybe a few hours in Chester on route), you can't move far without finding a castle! Three examples.

plus Snowdonia mountain scenery, and a couple of steam train rides through it. Will need 4/5 days

Route back on A5 via Llangollen (preferably not weekend afternoons, eastbound traffic can be bad then). Maybe visit Ironbridge (overnight in the area). Then up to Manchester airport (see Chatsworth if you have a spare day)

Posted by
6113 posts

Please be aware that the first 2-3 weeks of April will be Easter school holidays here, so places will be busier and more expensive. It's good that you are planning relatively early.