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30 Day Itinerary in Britain

My husband and I are planning to spend a month in Britain in July/August 2011. We will be renting a car for most of the trip (except for London). Just starting an itinerary. Tentatively 7 nights in London; 3 nights in the southwest; 5 nights in the southwest; 5 nights near liverpool, chester (and doing north wales); 3 nights in lake district; 4 nights in edinbourough/glascow and 3 nights in the north of scotland flying home from scotland.
I have been to Britain as a child but my husband has never been. We want to try and cover all the major sites and see as much of the country as we can. Does this itinerary sound realistic? Too much time anywhere? Not enough time? Although originally we were thinking of 3 or 4 "bases", I am rethinking that as it may be too much backtracking. So now we are thinking of staying for short stays in inns or small hotels. My husband is not an early morning person so B&B's won't work. All your ideas are welcome and appreciated!

Posted by
9110 posts

Not real sure what the attraction is for Liverpool/Chester. Instead of doing just north Wales, you might want to start at Cardiff and make essentially a clockwise half circle along the coast (or just inland from it) to Conwy. It's and easy three-day project and will hit most of the really good castles.

Posted by
571 posts

You don't state what you are doing in the south, but I recommend the beautiful the Dorset countryside, and should you find yourself in Portsmouth, be sure to check out Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory.
Also, I second the recommendation of York, a fabulous city. Personally, I'd try to see part of Hadrian's Wall on the drive between the Lake District and York.
I think 7 nights in London and 4 in Edinburgh/Glasgow are perfect, given your total travel days.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
34 posts

A lot is going to depend on where you fly in and out. On our recent trip there we flew in to Edinburgh (via London) and out of Manchester. We originally were going to fly out of London, but it was much cheaper to go through Manchester. I would recommend Inverness as a base for exploring the Highlands. I'd also highly recommend York. It is a really neat city full of lots to see and do. We drove from Glasgow to York in a day and visited Hadrian's wall along the way which was worthwhile.

Posted by
1253 posts

I agree with Ed about doing the Welsh Castles. I've been to the UK 4 times and driving is the best way to do it. Just get a British Hertitage Pass and point your car to what ever looks good. Don't need to back track. Get a tourist information office map and head to one of their offices by late afternoon and book your Pub, B & B ( some really nice manor houses or townhouses),or farmhouse stay. Some of the hosts serve dinner included. You don't have to worry about being a morning person, they serve breakfast at a time you'd like (if not too late). Small hotels (Affordable ones) are just plain boring. We did stay in outside of Chester to the west in a Pub which was great. Liverpool is pretty touristy now. We really enjoyed our stay in Dumphries, Bobby Burns & Mary Q of Scots territory. York is worth a visit for the cathredral, but stay out of town in Ripon near Studley Royal. Somestimes an B & B host will refer you ahead to an associate. Don't miss Durham Cathedral; it is really evocative of medieval times. I could go on...just start reading up on the history you're interested in or follow another whim and you'll have a wonderful time.

Posted by
993 posts

I can understand the attraction of Liverpool. The Big Dig.

Posted by
403 posts

Cheryl: The other posters have given good advice and I agree with most of what has been said. Regarding Liverpool...I think it's generational. For my generation, seeing the places where the Beatles lived and began their careers--well, it was well worth a visit. And the city of Liverpool is much cleaner and more pleasant than I, for one, expected before going there.
If I were doing your 30 days--and that is not the case, so be guided by your own intuitive sense of what is doable and desirable--I would do 7 days in London plus perhaps an additional couple of days to do daytrips from London to Brighton and Canterbury. Then train to Bath and pick up the rental car. Base somewhere near Bath and do Bath-the southern Cotswolds-Stonehenge. Then drive to somewhere near Stratford on Avon and do Stratford plus the northern Cotswolds, Warwick Castle and Blenheim Palace. Then do the Liverpool--Wales circuit followed by the Lake District (and I would add in hadrian's wall also, as it fits in nicely between the Lake District and Scotland) and Scotland.
I wouldn't worry about B&B's...most are like little hotels. Rick's books will give you excellent descriptions and you can judge from those whether you would be comfortable in a given place. Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks everyone for the ideas. Just to clarify we want to explore the Liverpool area because my husband's father was from Liverpool. He was put on a ship at 14 and sent to Canada on his own. Appreciate all the ideas. We will use them in our planning. We are actually now thinking of waiting a year or two until my husband retires to go so that we can go in spring or fall. He's a teacher so summer is currently our only choice and I realize high season can be pricier. Might be smarter to wait.