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1 Month - Ireland, England & Scotland: Best Route

1 Month - Ireland, England & Scotland: Best Route

Feb 9th, 2014, 03:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6
1 Month - Ireland, England & Scotland: Best Route

Hi there,
I was hoping I could get some help with planning my first big trip!

My boyfriend and I are planning to travel to Ireland, England & Scotland in September 2014. We would be flying from Toronto to Dublin.

With 10 days per country should we rent a car in each country or take trains and transit? We would be fine with driving and would truthfully be more comfortable doing so. At home we're not big on transit.

Traveling from Ireland to England, would a flight or a ferry be our best option? And from England to Scotland, car or train? My boyfriend isn't the biggest fan of flying.

We would like to save as much money as possible but also want to be comfortable throughout the trip.

Look forward to some tips and perhaps some websites where I can gather prices.

Thank you!
carlyjean is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 03:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,803
Whether you should rent a car depends on what you want to visit. A car would be useless in London and in most other cities it would be an expensive nuisance. In the countryside, a car is useful, but I would turn in the card in Ireland and rent a different one for England/Scotland.

Trains are great for covering long distances, much better than driving. Cars are good for local exploring in the countryside. I would take the train to Scotland, unless you're starting from somewhere in northern England.

Between Ireland and England (or Ireland and Scotland) there are ferries. One leaves from Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin and arrives at Holyhead in Wales, where you can take a train to London. It's been some years, since I made the trip, but I believe I bought a single ticket from Dublin to London which included the ferry. Another leaves from Belfast, in northern Ireland, to Stranraer in Scotland.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,909
I'd leave a car in each island as a general principle ferries are expensive for cars and changing countries gives the owners a problem for which they will charge you.

Ireland needs a car (for most people) but you don't need one in Dublin

Major cities in UK don't need or want a car.

Fear of "transit" (I guess you mean trains??). I've worked with many Americans who fear trains the first time they come to Europe, but love them once they have tried. If you've done it and still feel that way then that's ok.

I'd look at flying Dublin to Scotland and then take the train/car south and give it up in London.
bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
Interesting interpretation bilboburgler. What I think the OP was saying was they PREFER not to use public transit, that's all, no fear involved.

You don't say where you are flying home from carlyjean. That is important since it will affect suggestions as to routing. For example, if you are flying home from London then I would go Ireland-Scotland-England in that order.

Personally, I would rent a car on arrival in each country. Drive a circular route and drop-off the car back at your start point before moving on. So Dublin-Dublin rental then fly/ferry to Scotland. Train/bus from Ferry terminal to Glasgow or Edinburgh then rent second car. Return car to Glasgow/Edinburgh. Train to London and rent third car. Return car and fly home from London.

Something like that. There is not going to be THE ideal way or THE cheapest way, since any way you do it is going to involve a lot of wasted time doing all this and will result in various costs based on time schedules etc.

Really, I think 10 days in each is simply not enough time. I'd pick one country for the entire month and greatly reduce the hassle factor that moving from one to another and renting a car each time will involve.

Another factor is that you probably won't need a car in any of the major cities, ie. Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, that you may spend time in. So that will also affect when and for how long you rent a car.

Your initial plan will inevitably involve paying for flights,ferries, or trains between 'countries'. They could be avoided if you didn't try to visit all three places in one trip.

By the way, have you looked at Canadian Affair and Air Transat for your flights to/from Canada? They are usually the lowest cost flights available between Toronto and the UK.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,909
I hear what you say dulcius, but I've looked too many Americans in the eye about this and while we can search out more tender words I know what I see.

Still I have the same problem with buses in any country. Great big belching things.
bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 09:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6
Thank you everyone! I'm not necessarily scared of buses or subways, I will take them if need be. I just don't like being surrounded by so many people in small (usually dirty) spaces. It's all personal preference.

10 days in each would be sufficient enough for us. Though we do want to explore but there are only a certain number of cities we plan to visit. If we want to see more, we will definitely come back.

We will rent a car in Ireland and Scotland and take transit in England. A friend from London will be joining us for most of the adventure in England and would drive. We will also be taking a ferry from London to Guernsey (Channel Islands) for 1 or 2 days.

After looking at prices, I think Ireland, ferry to Scotland, train to England is the best route. Flights out of London are about $200 cheaper it seems.

Any places I HAVE to go in each country? Pubs, landmarks, castles, etc?

Thank you again for all the input! I'm pretty inexperienced when it comes to planning and need all the help I can get.
carlyjean is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
Carlyjean, the two biggest mistakes tourists make are packing too much and trying to see/do too much in too little time.

The usual phrase used is 'to see as much as possible'. But the word 'much' is not synonymous with the word 'many'. The way to see/do as much as possible is to spend time IN places, not in BETWEEN places. In travel as in many things, less is more. The less you move, the more you see/do. So as you say you are inexperienced, I would caution you to think about that.

When you ask about places you HAVE to go in each country, that also indicates a typical way of thinking that there are 'must sees'. There is no such thing as a must see other than what YOU determine is a must see. YOU have to do your own research to decide that, not ask others what THEY think are must sees.

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto is no doubt a must see for a lot of people involved in the shoe business. How high does it rate on your list?

A lot of people who live in England consider the Lake District a 'must see' and will happily tell you so. I as a Canadian having visited the Lake District consider it tiny, over-crowded and not all that great at all compared to other places in the world. I wouldn't put it on a list of places to go if you only have 10 days in the country.

'Must see' is subjective, not objective. YOU have to decide that.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6
I understand it is subjective. I wasn't planning on adding every place mentioned to my must-sees. I was just looking for some general thoughts. Castles and museums aren't intriguing to us usually but perhaps someone here knows of one that we may be interested in. This whole trip is to see family and friends, have some good beer and have fun. We don't plan to jam pack tours and sight-see every waking moment. Of course I plan to see as much as possible, but only as much as the schedule allows.

We plan on seeing, Dublin, Cork and Belfast mainly when in Ireland. Of course anything we have time for that interests us during the trip we will take advantage of.

Scotland is a different story. There will be a lot more little town visits. My mom grew up in Glasgow and I would like to see what I can from her childhood. Glasgow and Edinburgh are the main cities we plan on.

As for England, I have no clue. Other than London and Guernsey we are mainly going to leave the destinations up to our friend. Of course some aspects will be planned out but not as much as Ireland and Scotland.

There are some quintessential Irish, Scottish & English things we would like see but they aren't "must-sees" on our list.

Everything will be planned day by day with as much wiggle room as possible. Nothing is set in stone.
carlyjean is offline  
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