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3 Weeks in England, Scotland, and Ireland - Itinerary Review

3 Weeks in England, Scotland, and Ireland - Itinerary Review

Old May 11th, 2016, 08:53 AM
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3 Weeks in England, Scotland, and Ireland - Itinerary Review

Husband and I are planning a 3 week trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland for summer of 2017 (we have availability to travel in late July, August, or September). We initially thought we would do a 3 week self-drive tour of England and Scotland (I posted previously about this). However, after much thought, discussion and feedback, we've decided to decrease the amount of self drive time. We've also decided that we cannot leave Ireland off our UK itinierary in the event that we do not have the chance to visit the UK again. Would love feedback, critique, advice, and suggestions on our 3 week itinerary.

Total Days: 21 + 2 days for travel = 23 totals days
England: 11 days
Scotland: 5 days
Ireland: 5 days

Day 1: Flight US to London
Day 2: Arrive in London, overnight in London
Day 3: Full day in London, overnight in London
Day 4: Full day in London, overnight in London
Day 5: Join a guided one-way tour from London to Stonehenge to Bath. Overnight in Bath.
Day 6: Pick up a rental car and explore Wells and the Cotswolds. Overnight in Bath.
Day 7: Drive from Bath to Ludlow, stopping at Chepstow Castle and Tintern Abbey on the way. Overnight in Ludlow.
Day 8: Drive from Ludlow along the Welsh border to Manchester. Overnight in Manchester.
Day 9: Full day in Manchester (visiting with family), Overnight in Manchester
Day 10: Drive to the Lake District, overnight in Lake District
Day 11: Full day in Lake District, overnight in Lake District
Day 12: Drive to York, return rental car and spend the day in York, overnight in York
Day 13: Train to Edinburgh, overnight in Edinburgh
Day 14: Rabbies Isle of Sky 3 Day Tour - Depart Edinburgh 8:30am - Glencoe, the Lochaber region around Fort William, Eilean Donan Castle, and over the sea to Skye, stay overnight in the picturesque harbour town of Portree.
Day 15: Rabbies Isle of Sky 3 Day Tour - Explore Isle of Skye including the wild north of the island, the Old Man of Storr, the mountain pass of the Quiraing and Skye’s most westerly point at Neist
Day 16: Rabbies Isle of Sky 3 Day Tour - return through the Cuillin mountains to the mainland, past the 5 Sisters of Kintail, on to eerie Loch Ness, the Central Highlands, Pitlochry - overnight in Edinburgh (arrive 7pm)
Day 17: Full day in Edinburgh, overnight in Edinburgh
Day 18: Morning flight to Dublin, spend the day in Dublin, overnight in Dublin
Day 19: Northern Ireland Full Day Trip from Dublin: Belfast and Giant's Causeway, overnight in Dublin
Day 20: Shamrocker Adventure 3 Day Southern Rocker Tour - 8:30am pickup in Dublin, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, overnight in Killarney
Day 21: Shamrocker Adventure 3 Day Southern Rocker Tour - Dingle Peninsula
Day 22: Shamrocker Adventure 3 Day Southern Rocker Tour - Cliffs of Moher, Galway, overnight in Dublin
Day 23: Flight from Dublin to US
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Old May 11th, 2016, 09:20 AM
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The UK parts looks fine.

I'd maybe change the Ireland portion to something like this:

Day 17 see more of Edinburgh all day and take an evening flight to Belfast. Sleep Belfast.
Day 18 tour to Giant's Causway from Belfast, early evening train to Dublin.
Day 19 Dublin
Days 20-22 Shamrocker tour
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Old May 11th, 2016, 10:11 AM
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Thanks janisj, that is a good recommendation!
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Old May 11th, 2016, 10:17 AM
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Shrewsbury is an awfully nice town on a nice river - right near Ludlow - do have a quick look - unique covered walkways in the town center I believe. I went to Ludlow on a day trip from Shrewsbury and like Ludlow but preferred Shrewsbury - and Iron Bridge Gorge is right there too - to me a fascinating place - where the Iron Age on construction began with the Iron Bridge which is still there.

Anyway your trip looks awesome though janis is much more a British expert than I so heed her suggestions seriously.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 10:28 AM
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"We've also decided that we cannot leave Ireland off our UK itinierary in the event that we do not have the chance to visit the UK again."

Not sure if you're aware but Ireland is not in the UK.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 11:11 AM
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Well, Edinburgh and London each deserve more time. Dublin doesn't.

That said, if you opt for August '17, you need to hop on this asap this autumn, especially hotels in Edinburgh, because August is festival month in Edinburgh and the city doubles or triples its population.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 11:28 AM
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>>Well, Edinburgh and London each deserve more time. Dublin doesn't.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 11:29 AM
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We are hoping to leave the US on a Saturday and return 3 weeks later on a Sunday. Given that we can plan the trip anytime on or after July 15, 2017 - what is your recommendation for a good 3 weeks to visit England, Scotland, and Ireland? Ideally we'd like to avoid major holidays but if there are festivals worth going to we are open to that. We are from the desert and are looking forward to beautiful green grass and lush green foliage that the UK and Ireland (thanks Hooameye) have to offer - not sure if that changes the month we should visit.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 11:57 AM
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>>Well, Edinburgh and London each deserve more time.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:08 PM
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>>Given that we can plan the trip anytime on or after July 15, 2017 - what is your recommendation for a good 3 weeks to visit England, Scotland, and Ireland? Ideally we'd like to avoid major holidays but if there are festivals worth going to we are open to that.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:12 PM
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Thanks janisj!
>>But accommodations at this late date will be very difficult and VERY expensive.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:19 PM
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Oh crap missed the '17 bit . . .

No not 15 months in advance LOL (though some do book that far ahead actually)

They will still be pricey but w/ this much lead time - yes you will be able to easily find rooms.

The main problem -- Edinburgh in August is a bit like Superbowl weekend in the host city or Mardi Gras in NO. EVERY restaurant will be booked solid, the crowds will mean you won't enjoy 'typical Edinburgh' - all the sites will be packed.

If you want to attend the Tattoo (Highly recommended) and/or festivals (also Highly recommended) and don't mind massive crowds -- then go for it. But I would then make sure I was in Edinburgh on weekdays, not a weekend since the city only doubles in size during the week -- it triples on weekends.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for the clarification and great advice. Will look into Tattoo and other festivals to see if it is something that interests us. If we decide to avoid the crowds and visit in September, is the vegetation in England/Scotland/Ireland still green by that time of year?
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:57 PM
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The UK/Ireland are basically green year round . . . but in Fall in Scotland you'll see the Heather in bloom etc. http://www.greatbritishlandscape.co....ahyHeather.jpg
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Old May 11th, 2016, 01:57 PM
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Hm https://www.flickr.com/photos/tony2p...7629501524001/ Scotland or Ireland?

Anyway Shamrocker Adventure Tour? Killarney and Ennis as overnights. fine. The Roan Tree is highly rated and right on the edge of town. If Ennis gets the Fledh again in Aigust 2017 as it has for this year your accommodation might be subject to change if the dates clash (be great to be in town then though)

I would also go with Scotland to Belfast and collecting a Causeway or Game of Thrones tour from there rather than Dublin. You can do the trip coach and sail if trying to save a little cash at the expense of just a little time.
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Old May 12th, 2016, 05:13 AM
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Hi there, I would suggest trying to get to Bristol if you can. It's only 15 mintues on the train from Bath. Bristol is super interesting and cultural (Banksy, suspension bridge etc)

There loads of really good festivals and stuff int he summer here too: http://www.cliftonhotels.com/news/sa...l-summer-2016/

Hope that was helpful
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Old May 12th, 2016, 05:17 AM
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Hi there, I would suggest trying to get to Bristol if you can. It's only 15 mintues on the train from Bath. Bristol is super interesting and cultural (Banksy, suspension bridge etc)

There loads of really good festivals and stuff int he summer here too: http://www.cliftonhotels.com/news/sa...l-summer-2016/

Hope that was helpful
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Old May 12th, 2016, 07:09 AM
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another nod to Bristol - old port area and town center all scrubbed up - a unique place.
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Old May 12th, 2016, 07:58 AM
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I have a radical suggestion.

To get more time elsewhere in your itinerary, cut a couple of nights in London. Not because I don't like that city, I do. But chances are greater that you will get a return visit to London (if only en route to Europe) and less that you will return to other places on your itinerary, because London is a gateway.

I would also consider basing in Oxford for 3 nights. This gives you some flexibility in how you travel and what you choose to do.

So:
day 1 flight over
day 2 London
day 3 afternoon to Oxford
day 4 day trip to Bath by train (longish, but still easier than what you have planned).
day 5 a full day for the Cotswolds by rental car or by tour
http://www.exploreoxfordtours.co.uk/cotswolds.htm
day 6 - If you must, do Stonehenge by rental car (about 3 hours roundtdrip), but bear in mind there are prehistoric sites elsewhere in the world (like near les Andelys in France.) It might be time to slow down, explore Oxford's dreaming spires, do a laundry, whatever.

day 7. Get to Manchester by train from Oxford. I'd forget Ludlow and Tintern abbey this trip.
day 8 - with family as you planned
day 9 and 10 - rent car at Manchester airport (avoids your having to navigate a big city as you are already on the outskirts) and drive to Lake district for 2 nights.
day 11 - drive to York, drop the car
day 12 - I'd catch my breath in York. Remember to 'pad' your itinerary to allow for the unexpected.
day 13 - train to Edinburgh
day 14 - Edinburgh. Again, try to allow for contingencies. Your schedule might not run as smoothly as you hope.
day 15 - pick up rental car at Edinburgh airport and whirl around the highlands in 4 nights, e.g. Glencoe, somewhere near the bridge to the Isle of Skye, Inverness, and the 4th night (day 18) back at Edinburgh airport.
day 19 flight to Dublin. Forget N. Ireland this trip. You want to see interesting geology, there are other places besides the basalt formations at the Giant's causeway.
day 20 to 23 - as you planned. I think it's a bit overloaded, but it's your vacation, enjoy.
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Old May 12th, 2016, 08:01 AM
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oops, that was 4 nights in Oxford, not 3. Still means less moving around.
London-1, Oxford - 4, Manchester - 2, Lake district - 2, York -2, Edinburgh - 2, Highland whirl - 4, Dublin and environs - 5 - total including flight over 23.
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