Help needed!!! I want to tour England, ireland, Wales and Scotland for 14 days in June or July summer 2011. I want to travel by rail. What rail passes do I need? What are key places I should see? This trip is for 2 adults, no kids. Is the 1st class train pass worth the price increase over the standard pass? Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!! This is our 25th wedding anniversary trip!
I much prefer the smaller towns and the countryside- but for that you need a car. Pick out about 4 or so larger Cities that you want to see and limit yourself to a few days in each. If i were doing this with limited prior UK travel, I would suggest London (as many days as you can), York (2 days) Edinburgh (2 days); maybe one day taking the train across Scotland; Bath (1 day- just cause everyone says you must); And then day trips (or overnight) from London to a ion from: Salisbury, Winchester, Canterbury, Cambridge, Oxford (Cambridge is more compact). In such a limited time period I would not try Glasgow or Wales - more a country place (I really dont understand why Rick pushes Cardiff);. Both Wales and Ireland are more difficult to see by train
Thank you so much for your responses! I was wondering if this was too much in a short period of time. I want to see historical and cultural sights, authentic restaurants, maybe a combination of B and B's with hotels, and I'd love to see at least one great castle. I also loved the James Herriott books and if I had time would like to see that area. Also Stratford on Avon. England is a must do for me. Ireland and Scotland are numbers 2 and 3, and Wales is #4 for me in order of importance. I havent been to any of them, but my husband studied in Wales for a brief time in college. I think I'll take Wales out of the mix for now. Keep those tips coming, folks! I really, really appreciate them! It is overwhelming trying to prioritize what to see. I also need hotel and/or B and B suggestions. I dont want to spend a mint but I dont want to rough it at all either. I want nice, clean, charming, and SAFE.
Beth, I will be the first to say for 14 days you are trying to do to much. You will be spending alot of time traveling. What are your and hubbies interest? You may want to look at a week in London with day trips to Windsor, Hampton Court, Oxford or Cambridge. Then spend a week in Scotland. With 3 or 4 days in Edinburgh and 3 days in Inverness. You can do day trips out of both cities. You could fly open jaw into London and out of Edinburgh or Glasgow. Or spend your 14 days in Ireland. Spending time in Dublin, Limerick, Dingle, Galway. You could fly open jaw into Dublin and out of Shannon. ***** Edit Beth - Stirling Castle is nice also, same day return form Edinburgh is £12.50 per person, and travel time is about 1 hour. I've used eastcoast.co.uk to book train travel in England & Scotland. Go to the web site and look at fares and time tables.
I agree with Joel- too much! As to rail passes- check the prices on BritRail (Ireland doesn't have as good rail service as Wales, England and Scotland) and compair that to point-to-point tickets for the trips you want to do. We have always used BritRail 1st class passes in the past but they are not the bargain they used to be. We did enjoy the flexibility however. It was nice to change plans based on weather, etc. and you might feel that the price is worth that. Not knowing your specific interests makes making recommendaitons a bit iffy- but maybe something like this: London- 4 to 7 days with day trips to some of the following: Cardiff Wales, Windsor, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon, Canterburry, Dover, Winchester, Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge (I'll put the webaddress of an article I wrote about these at the end of this post) Train to York- 1 or 2 nights (could skip if want more time in Scotland) Train to Edinbiurgh- 1 or 2 nights Train to Aviemore- 2 or 3 nights (could skip and put more time in Inverness)- good whisky distilleries in area along with good outdoor type activities Train to Inverness- 2-5 nights with possible day trips: Isle of Skye and Eliean Donnan, Orkney, Cullodean battlefield and Clava Cairnes, and more Train to Glasgow- 1 -2 nights As you can see well over your time- you'll have to pick and choose Here's the web address for the article I wrote
http://www.aaacarolinas.com/Magazine/2008/Jan-Feb/britain.htm?zip=28105&stateprov=nc&city=matthews Let us know some more and we'll make more/better recommendations.
If you stay in York there are day tours to the Moors. You could probably find bus or mini-van tours to the Herriot country from York (i havent tried).There are also coach tours to Stratford from london (some include seeing one of the plays in season)
In York we like the Royal York- right beside the train station and about a 5-10 min. walk to the heart of town. It has its own lovely garden, too. In Edinburgh we stay at the Royal British (no- not a chain just similar names)- it is across Princes St. from Waverly train staiton and very good location for walking to the Royal mile. In Inverness we stay at the Royal Highlander- again attached to the station. All moderate priced, but excellent hotels.