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1st time European Experience- Ireland, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, or Other?

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Greetings!

My partner and I are planning our first European trip for Fall 2016. We're thinking 21 days but are flexible. We expect this to be our first of many international trips, so this won't be a whirlwind tour. We are frugal travelers with a rough budget of $6,000- but with no kids, no mortgage and no debts, we have the option to spend additional time/money on experiences we feel are worthwhile.

I think a good introduction to European travel would be Ireland, UK, Belgium, or Netherlands– or a combination of some/all. Please let me know if I'm headed in the totally wrong direction! We anticipate seeing/staying in major cities, but love to experience countryside as well. With that said- what are your ideas for a 21-day trip at a slow-moderate pace, using mostly train travel?

Our travel interests:
Scenic places, wine/beer, food (seafood!) outdoor activities, unusual accommodations, cultural experiences, historical sites, natural wonders, famous landmarks, beaches, architecture, music, boats, local culture.

Not of interest:
Shopping, Museums with long lines, luxury, touristy-trap things that locals laugh at, group bus tours, expensive restaurants, souvenir shops.

Note: We would prefer to use public transportation for most of our trip, but I understand that more rural locations may require a car rental. I'm open to this, if not ridiculously expensive.

Looking forward to reading everyone's ideas! Thank you very much for your advice!!

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