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Quick Scotland trip to include Ireland

My elderly father and I would like to take a 7 day (actually 5 days to tour) trip to Scotland and include either Belfast or Dublin. He is adamant about seeing some of Wales. We are not interested in the typical tourist attractions. The lure for us will be the beautiful landscapes and the tiny towns and villages we will pass through on our travels. Our thought is to fly into Liverpool, rent a car and travel into Scotland. We can't decide between basing out of Glasgow or Edinburgh. One day would be spent in Ireland and then return to Liverpool for our flight home. I know this sounds fast to some but we are on a limited budget and simply want to get the flavor of where are ancestors came from. Any suggestions? Thank you so much!

Posted by
4686 posts

You can’t see Scotland, Ireland and Wales in 5 days, as you will spend the whole time in transit. If you want to see Scotland, then why fly into Liverpool, which is a 5 hour drive from Glasgow? The parts that most want to see in Scotland are somewhat further north than Glasgow. You could fly in via Dublin and have a night there, although with such a short time there, you aren’t going to see much of the country.

Five days is a sensible timeframe for seeing Liverpool and north Wales.

Posted by
4 posts

Appreciate the reply. As I STATED we want to see the country not the tourist attractions. We planned on renting a car and driving. I am unfamiliar with those areas so I would appreciate a bit more understanding in a response not a lecture. Gosh - we are just dumb Americans.

Posted by
25571 posts

Gosh - we are just dumb Americans.


A day in Wales for hubby.

A day in Ireland.

Not a lot of tiny towns and villages between North Wales and Scotland. Well there are some, but not of you only have such a short time - you'll have to spend most of it on the M6 which is mostly road works at the moment because of then pressing ahead with the "Smart Motorway". Miles and miles of 50 mph speed camera controlled narrow lanes. If you had more time you could get off the motorway. But with 5 days to see parts of 4 nations you don't have the time.

A day around Liverpool.

A day in Scotland.

A day in transit from North Wales to Scotland.

5 days.

I won't say anymore for fear of being accused of a lecture.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you Nigel. Let me explain because we have never been to anywhere in Europe. We have five touring days. Daddy wants to drive. He picked Liverpool from a google search. We have absolutely NO interest in seeing Liverpool. We have no particular tourist sites on our agenda. My father does not have an interest in touring in the cities of Glasgow or Edinburgh. He wants to see villages and beautiful landscapes. We were under the impression we could see countryside driving from Liverpool into Glasgow. Then travel by car to Edinburgh. Spend a day on the outskirts. Back to Glasgow and then either ferry or fly over to Belfast. Spend the night and fly from there to Liverpool to return home. You must understand I have no real idea of the countries over there. Perhaps what I posted sounded outlandish but we are not well traveled and I was hoping to find a kind response that didn't make me feel stupid due to my lack of knowledge of the area.

It will be just me and my hubby. Not sure where that came from. Daddy said he would like to see Wales. From what I could read on maps it looks as if that really would not be a good fit to our travel plans. He's afraid if we take trains he will miss seeing and "feeling" the experience. I am operating in the dark and and was just seeking some friendly advice.

Posted by
4686 posts

I wasn’t trying to lecture you, I was trying to stress how impractical your plan is and I don’t appreciate your attitude when I was trying to be helpful! Within your timeframe, it will take 5 hours non stop to drive from Liverpool to Glasgow without stopping and using boring motorways (freeways), not scenic routes via the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales (scenic countryside). You have 5 days or 4 if you want a day in Ireland.

One thing I will lecture you on is your first day - please, please, please don’t get off a flight in Liverpool, hire a car at the airport and head north for several hours driving whilst you are jet lagged. It’s dangerous for you and other road users. Alternatively, take the train from Liverpool to Scotland the first day and then hire a car to base yourselves around say Glencoe.

Your heading says trip to Scotland, so it would make sense to fly into Scotland if you want to see Scottish countryside. You can fly into Liverpool, but then, within your timeframe, it will be more of a quick trip to England. Most people on this forum want to see the major sites in the cities.

If using Google Maps, add a third, as they always underestimate the traffic. I have driven lots of times in the States, but driving in the UK on more congested roads is a more stressful experience.

As I said before, it would make more sense to head home from Dublin than spend half a day back tracking to Liverpool.

Posted by
25571 posts

Thanks for the reminder about your elderly father.

Elderly means different things to different people. For me it is over 85. If he is that elderly you may find that there may be either a ban on renting to that age, or a very high price because of it.

Also you may well find that although the national speed limit of 70 on motorways and dual carriageways is higher than some places (I don't know the speed limit in Ireland, but you weren't expecting to rent a car there too were you - or how do you plan on getting around Ireland?), you will likely find that with roundabouts, congestion and road works it will be very hard to average that.

You're not getting mean and nasty here, you're getting experience, local knowledge and reality.

When's the trip?

If you're mid-summer the days will be long - you can travel further in the day.

If about now, it is dark from 3 or 4 in the afternoon until 8 or 9 in the morning - the days are very short.

Posted by
1785 posts

We all started traveling with no knowledge and slowly learned what works and what doesn’t. Don’t feel intimidated, but try to be open minded when you get feedback from people who have learned from experience.

I’m hopeful you and your dad can do a lot more research and find a plan that will make the most of your time and get to experience what he is looking for.

Since you haven’t been to Europe, and your dad probably hasn’t driven on the opposite side of the road/car, it can be very stressful. I’m afraid with your current ideas you really won’t see much, or get any cultural experience. I would hope you could decide on one country. I think you’d be happier with the outcome of the trip. Just my opinion.

You will love Europe!!!! Happy travels!

Posted by
361 posts

If you haven't already, check out the Travel Tips on Rick's website, especially the Trip Planning and Transportation pages. That might give you some ideas on how to approach your trip.

Posted by
8889 posts

The lure for us will be the beautiful landscapes and the tiny towns and villages we will pass through on our travels. Our thought is to fly into Liverpool, rent a car and travel into Scotland. We can't decide between basing out of Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Trying to offer some positive advice in an non-lecturing manner. However you phrase it, the other posters are basically correct.

The "beautiful landscapes and the tiny towns and villages" you are looking for are in Northern Scotland. Glasgow and Edinburgh are big cities, where you want is ½ day's drive north of them. Basing in either and driving out of the city and back again every day is not logical. And landing in Liverpool (why Liverpool?) and then driving north is also not logical.

My thoughts: fly into Glasgow or Edinburgh, and immediately head north, and base yourselves in a small town further north.

These 4 websites should give you some ideas:

One day would be spent in Ireland and then return to Liverpool for our flight home.

You could fly from Glasgow to Ireland (Belfast? Dublin?), stay one night and look around the city. You have no time to do more. And Frankly, with only 5 days to tour I think it is too tight. You could then fly home from there direct.

And finally Wales. North Wales is lovely and satisfies your "beautiful landscapes and the tiny towns and villages" requirement. It is unfortunately a long drive from Scotland, and also a long drive to an airport at the end. What can I say, you only have 5 days? Sorry.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, pagerice1965,

Just to add to the confusion, there are no direct flights from the U.S. (I'm assuming that you are in the U.S.) to Liverpool. If you plan to start your holiday in Liverpool, you'd have to fly in to Manchester and take a train or bus to Liverpool. If you really want to start off in Liverpool, you'd be better off renting a car at Manchester Airport, and driving to Liverpool from there.

Given the limited amount of time that you have, I'd recommend saving Ireland for another holiday, and divide your five full days between Wales and Scotland. You'd have time to visit some of the small villages of North Wales, make your way to Scotland via the Lake District, and explore some of the villages of the Scottish Borders. You will definitely not have enough time to explore both Glasgow and Edinburgh; you may not even have time to visit either one.

Your best bet, to save a lot of time, would be to drop your car off at Edinburgh Airport, and fly down to Manchester for your connecting flight back home. There are no direct flights from Glasgow to Manchester; only Edinburgh to Manchester.

If dad is over 75, he most likely will not be allowed to rent a car. Most of the rental companies have a top out age, and 75 seems to be the limit.

If there is any possible way that you can extend your holiday, it would be a lot less stressful. I fear that you may end up seeing most of the landscapes and villages through the windscreen of your car.

Best wishes for your plans. Please come back to this forum if you need any more recommendations.


Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
25571 posts


remember that Page said,

He picked Liverpool from a google search. We have absolutely NO interest in seeing Liverpool.

It would be really helpful if Page came back with feedback on what's been said so far...

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Nigel,

You're right, they had no interest in seeing Liverpool, but they wanted to fly in to Liverpool, which I'm assuming is because it's the gateway to North Wales. Dad " adamant about seeing some of Wales." Unless you're a Beatles, Gerry Marsden, or Bill Shankly fan, there's not a lot in Liverpool that makes it a tourist destination. (Sorry, Liverpudlians!)

Despite what the movie Yesterday would have you believe, there are no direct flights to or from the U.S. into Liverpool.

I, too, hope that pagerice1965 provides some more information, or an update.

Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Christmas!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
3331 posts

I don't see your plan as realistic, even with the constraints that you have mentioned. No one is trying to lecture you, just give you the suggestions and feedback that you came to the forum and asked for. Is there a possibility of "editing" it a bit to decrease the number of places you are trying to see in such a short time?

The first day you arrive, is often a transition day. Driving that day after a transatlantic flight is not recommended for safety reasons. The train is a viable alternative. The trains in Europe are far different than what you might be used to here in the US. They are clean, run on time, and go many places. Perhaps that first day, you can take a train to a location that you are interested in, rest up and get a good night's sleep, and then rent the car the next day.

I worry that a day trip to Ireland will be spent mostly in airports rather than in Ireland. Are you worried that this will be the only trip that you and your Dad will be able to make and trying to fit in "everything"? Are there some special reasons why you have such a short time? I'm not trying to pry, simply understand what is the driving force behind your goals for this trip.

I'm very excited that you and your Dad will have this special time together. I hope that it can be all that you want it to be.

Posted by
4 posts

My father picked Liverpool because it was an airport hub. We have NO interest in seeing Liverpool or any of England. I will do my best to figure it out on my own. Please keep in mind we just decided this over the past week.

Our time constraint is based on budget plus I have a disabled husband and will not be able to be gone for more than 7 days. I took two days off for travel leaving 5 days to tour. We have no interest in museums, castles and typical landmarks. Thanks to those who have tried to give me good information as a I research. The plan is to come over sometime late August/early September 2020. I wish you all a happy new year.

Posted by
25571 posts

Which part of Wales does your father want to see?

Posted by
31 posts

Rather than flying into Liverpool, how about flying into Dublin? Spend nights 1 & 2 in Dublin, then take the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, Wales. Spend night 3 in Wales (check out Betws-y-Coed for accommodations). You could theoretically drive the entire next day to Edinburgh, but it will be painful (really, I can drive long distances in the US no problem, and have really learned to temper my driving confidence in the UK, it is very different and it takes a lot longer to get places than you'd think), maybe stop in Windermere for night 4, then finish the drive to Edinburgh for night 5. You really won't see/enjoy much those last two days, and like everyone else, I highly encourage paring down and crossing off either Scotland, Wales, or Ireland from your plan. You can fly from Edinburgh back to Dublin to get your flight back to the US (it's also possible to fly into one city and out of another, but you mentioned being on a budget, and I've found it's very expensive to fly in and out of different cities). If you could pare it back to just Ireland & Wales or even Scotland & Wales, you'll have a much more enjoyable time.

Posted by
8889 posts

My father picked Liverpool because it was an airport hub.

I am sorry to disillusion your father, but Liverpool is no hub. It is a minor airport for European flights only.
For North Wales, the better airport is nearby Manchester. Lots more flights including intercontinental destinations.
For Scotland, the two main airports are Edinburgh and Glasgow, both with more flights than lowly Liverpool.

Posted by
4686 posts

Places here are busy at the end of August and the first few days of September, as this is still school holidays. You will find car hire cheaper in September and there will be more accommodation available and in some places cheaper if you travel the second week of September.

The age limit for many car hire companies is 70 - you can still hire above this age, but it will be more expensive. You will not be permitted to take a hire car on a ferry to/ from Ireland.

Posted by
1369 posts

Also, you say you have never traveled much before.
Are you sure you want to rent a car right off the bat and go driving on the " wrong" side of the road in a country entirely new to you?
You will arrive somewhere around the middle of the day , and be jet lagged.
If you haven't traveled before, you don't know how jet lag might affect you ,and as your Dad is elderly he may be quite tired .
I lived in the UK for many years, and visit it frequently, and would never drive there!
How did you plan to get over to Ireland?

None of us are trying to give you a lecture, but you did come here looking for advice; and you have been given some very good advice.

I honestly think it would be better to arrive somewhere like Edinburgh or Dublin, stay there as your base, and take some day trips out into the country by bus or taxi.
You won't get much of an idea about your ancestors if you are just driving all the time and not stopping to see anything.
I wish you luck in all your planning, and hope you will let us know the final plan!