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Italy, France, UK Mid Jan-Mid March with 2 kids!

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We are a family of 4 about to undertake a trip of a lifetime.... My husband has to work in Italy and France from Mid Jan 2012 (yes we just found out!!!) and the girls and I are going with him. We Leave Australia mid Jan, probably fly directly to Palma, Italy as that is first port of call, stay approx 2 weeks ( work depending) then on to Brest, France. After that, we are thinking holiday time for all of us, up to Paris, then onto the UK, hiring a car and travelling up to Scotland. We have a wedding in Belfast on 10 March we have to be at. We are first time travellers overseas and very excited!! My girls are 8 & 13yo.
Should we fly into London and rest a day or 2, get warm clothes etc, and then head onto Italy? Time permitting?
Any ideas, hints, reccomendations or tips would be wonderful....

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