21 day itinerary in England and Ireland

Any suggestions for the best itinerary for a 20 day trip (don't want to drive) in Great Britain and Ireland. Flights will be arriving and departing LHR. This will be our first trip and will be off-peak travel in Oct/Nov, but want to see as much as possible. Appreciate any recommendations for all the "must sees"

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1642 posts

In my opinion, there is not enough information to provide you with help. What are your interests, history, castles,etc. How are you planning to get from England to Ireland and back? Are your flights already booked? Do you have any guidebooks? We always drive but there are many, many people on this site who can help you with public transportation but give more info, please.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
10752 posts

Hi Priscilla, Are you just starting to plan for a trip next month or do we have a year to help you plan? In either event, you have asked for a lot. There are entire several hundred page guidebooks written with answers to exactly your question, in fact many just for London alone. We only get 2000 characters here so writing a guidebook for you is impossible. If you give us something to get our teeth into we may be able to help. There is no such thing as one size fits all travel adventures. Everybody is different and has different likes and dislikes. How much studying have you and your other(s) done? Do you know where you want to go in your just under 3 weeks? You have named two countries but no indication of where within those you would like to go. To start off, what attracted you to England and Ireland?

Posted by Kathleen
Camano Island, WA, usa
365 posts

Since you do not want to drive plan your trip around the direct train lines with connections to Ferries. Some of the train stations have tours starting from them. It will be wet and chilly so plan to visit locations that are open that time of year in the bigger towns or cities. Plan activities that are indoors such as museums, churches, palaces, concert halls and the great estate houses and indoor farmer and antique markets. You can take bus tours from town centers. Taking public buses that time of year could be a lot of time waiting in the rain for connections. Visit the tearooms and pubs to stay warm.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4021 posts

If you want to see both countries in 21 days (and even though that sounds like a lot of time, it isn't), don't fly round trip to London. Instead, fly into London and out of Dublin or Shannon, or vice versa. To find these flights (called open jaw), use the "multi city" option on http://www.kayak.com/. Don't book these as two one-way flights, as that's much more expensive. To get between England and Ireland, the easiest way is to fly. To find flight options, use http://www.skyscanner.com/. If you don't want to fly, rail/sail options are detailed here: http://www.seat61.com/Ireland.htm If you're flying Ryanair (which has a lot of service between these two countries), here's a musical warning about the perils of Cheap Flights (not safe for work - contains profanity): http://tinyurl.com/2vxmaod
"There must be extra charges when the flights are 50p" (not saying you can't take them, just be forewarned). As for the rest of your question, you should start with some guidebooks and videos (Rick's videos are on Hulu and YouTube, and he just did new London videos a year or two ago). Any guidebook will outline their idea of the best one week, two week, etc. visits. Then, adjust these based on your interests. Remember that getting from place to place takes at least a half day (checking out, getting to station, taking train, getting to hotel, checking in...) and going further distances (say, between Liverpool and Dublin) takes more like a whole day. Also remember that in October/November the days will be relatively short, so that cuts into your outdoor sightseeing time.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
928 posts

To piggyback on what Harold said, step one should be:
1. Start with some guidebooks and videos. Read the guidebooks, making notes of all the things that interest you. 2. Begin a rough outline of where you will go, using a map to measure distances. 3. Come back here when you have a trip plan day-by-day roughed out, put your trip plan on here, and ask again, "Any suggestions for the best itinerary" or "Critique My Itinerary". You will get more responses because you will have given us an idea of what your plan is. As an alternative, if you just don't want to do all that planning, click on the "Tours" tab above, and look at booking one of the Rick Steves trips. You could go on the England In 14 Days trip, and then spend one week in Ireland afterwards, on your own. Look at the route map for the Rick Steves England in 14 Days, and the route map for Ireland In 14 Days. You could follow this pattern in planning your trip. Time to do some homework!