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Family of five traveling to Europe

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We are a family of five ( 17,11,5 year old children ) traveling around Europe in June/July 2015 and I am piecing together our itinerary.
The trip so far.....London ( 4nights ), Manchester ( 2 nights ), Glasgow ( 2 nights ), Edinburgh ( 2 nights ), Dublin ( 3 nights ), Paris ( 3 nights ), cologne ( 1 night ), Berlin ( 2 nights ), Munich ( 2 nights ) Florence ( 2 nights ) , Rome ( 3 nights )........ Then fly home to Australia.

O.k a few questions... a): we would like to hire a car for the first part of our trip, and drive from London to Manchester to Scotland, any recommendations along the way of castles to see? The first 4 nights we will see the sights of London, but we were hoping of some ideas of things to see while we drive to Manchester? Or just sit back and enjoy the scenery?

b): when we leave Dublin, Is it best/cheaper to fly direct to Paris? Or best/cheaper to fly back into London and catch the euro rail to Paris and enjoy the scenery. Does the euro rail leave from st pancreas station?
We could always stay one night in london and catch the euro rail and enjoy the ride into Paris?? Suggestions?

c); would it best to catch the train from Berlin to Munich, or nicer to drive?

d): any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated, it's our first trip to Europe as a big family trip, even things of what to do and what not to do will help!

Thanks guys ; )

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