I was in the UK from September 9 through 19, 2016, and visited Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool. It might take a while to post this report, and I'll start with logistics and then get to experiences, so I just want to say, I had a GREAT time, and if anyone is at all thinking of going to these places - GO!
And yes, that includes Manchester. I've only seen a few comments on Manchester here, and they were all negative. Obviously people will all have different experiences, but my two night stay in Manchester was just as rewarding as my other cities.
And for those who always want to go to places that aren't "touristy" but are still worthwhile - go to these places! Even at the designated tourist attractions, locals almost always outnumbered tourists.
First, the itinerary:
Sept 8: Fly EWR to GLA (via DUB) on Aer Lingus
Sept 9-12: Glasgow
Sept 13: Train from Glasgow Central to Manchester Picadilly; sightseeing in Manchester
Sept 14: Manchester
Sept 15: Train from Manchester Picadilly to Liverpool Lime Street; sightseeing in Liverpool
Sept 16: Liverpool
Sept 17: Day trip to Chester
Sept 18: Liverpool
Sept 19: Fly LPL to JFK (via DUB) on Aer Lingus
There are nonstops to Glasgow and Manchester from New York, but not to Liverpool. Aer Lingus not only has flights to all three through their Dublin hub, but had, by far, the lowest price ($690!). I have no idea why leaving from EWR and returning to JFK was how the Aer Lingus website did the tickets; for me it's not a problem as they're equally convenient. Changing in Dublin was OK, but with several caveats.
First, the flights to Glasgow and Edinburgh leave from gates 336 and 337, and the signage only goes up to 335. And there is no person at this part of the airport to ask for help. I finally followed someone who knew that you simply follow signs for 335, and then signs for 336 and 337 start to appear. It was a long walk, and these gate areas have only vending machines which only take euro coins. A sign in this gate area indicated that the nearest more extensive services were a 10 minute walk - each way.
More in the "be prepared" category than in the "problem" category was that I coming from the US and going to the UK, so I didn't have euros. Machines in the airport need euro coins; live vendors will take foreign notes, but not foreign coins. On the way back I wanted to buy a beverage and had to use my credit card. I know some people love using their credit cards for very low amounts, but I'm old (OK, just 53), and not used to this. Incidentally, even though it was for €1.80, I had to sign the slip (I have chip and sign, not chip and PIN).
And also in the "be prepared" category, while my flight from Dublin to JFK boarded via a jetway (the "tube"), other flights used buses to and from the terminal, or in one case, just involved walking out to the plane. Yes, in that weather (I was lucky it was clear and not too cold, but if it had been cold and/or raining, which is more likely in these places - no fun). A potentially bigger problem is that the propeller plane used on the short flights from Dublin to Glasgow or Liverpool is boarded via very steep steps. Boarding wasn't so hard, but deplaning was; taking my carry-ons down those very narrow and very steep steps was difficult, and if anyone has balance problems or issues with steep stairs (like my mother does), it's potential trouble.