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England, Scotland, Ireland, and France... Where do I start?! (three weeks)

England, Scotland, Ireland, and France... Where do I start?! (three weeks)

Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:41 PM
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England, Scotland, Ireland, and France... Where do I start?! (three weeks)

Hi all!

My sister and I (I'm 26, she's 25) have decided to embark on a euro-trip this coming May 2015. We would like to visit England, Scotland, Ireland, and France (just Paris). We are thinking of leaving May 1st from Canada and heading to London first. We have a lot of time to plan this trip and want to do it right! We aren't interested in tours, and would like to create our own itinerary. I just don't know where is most logical to start. We would like to rent a car for our UK portion of the trip. We are most interested in the countryside and smaller communities where we can get a real feel for the culture! I'm envisioning cozy B&B's for our stay. We aren't really into the party scene, just want a relaxing (but busy) trip. I know this is vague, we welcome all tips and suggestions!! Thank you!!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:55 PM
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If this was my trip I'd start by eliminating Ireland. Considering your desire to spend time in the countryside, as I most often do, try to give it the time it needs by spending more time in fewer locales. Save Ireland for another time when you can also do it justice.

You might want to begin in Scotland, fly into Glasgow or Edinburgh, progress south into England using a combination of cars and trains and finish in Paris, flying home from there.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:56 PM
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We really want to see Ireland, I don't think we can cross that one off. Thank you for the suggestion though. As well, it's extremely expensive to fly one way from where I live. Round trip to london is 1100 CAD, whereas one way is almost 900CAD. it's insane!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:05 PM
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You don't fly one way, you fly "multicity" or open jaw. Fly into your first city and home from your last. It is likely no more expensive than round trip and will save you the time and cost of returning to your first city.

If you absolutely can't miss Ireland on this trip, you should think about what you can save for another time - perhaps Scotland. Perhaps start in Ireland, move to England and fly home from Paris.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:14 PM
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I think you need to cut something - what is up to you. 4 countries in 3 weeks is a lot. But then a lot depends on what you mean by 'England, Scotland, and Ireland'

Ireland? -- just Dublin (I sure hope not) - or a lot of the scenic wast/southwest coast and Dublin too? If you mean to see a fair amount of Ireland -- then you have to plan a minimum of 10 days. The travel is very slow -- like 30-35 mph slow.

Same for Scotland - Edinburgh is 2 or 3 days minimum. But if also you want to see anything else (Highlands/Skye or Mull,/Fife, the Castle Trail/ the Borders/etc) then you'll want 9 or 10 days total in Scotland. Again, the travel is slow -- not quote 'Ireland slow' but 35-40 mph.

England? London - 5 to 7 days at least. But if you want to see other area(s) like the Cotswolds or Yorkshire or whatever - then you have maybe 10 days - 2 weeks total.

So as you see you 3 weeks is long gone -- even w/o Paris.

Now, 3 weeks would be terrific for a city-based trip London/Paris/Edinburgh/Dublin . . . that would be a wonderful trip -- but doesn't sound like what you have in mind (driving and cozy B&Bs)

So you have to decide -- what sort of trip you want and if you do want towns/villages/rural scenery you need to be realistic re how much territory you can cover.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:17 PM
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Oh I missed mamcalice's post -- yes, for sure you want to fly open jaw/multi city. In to say Shannon or Dublin and home from Paris or London. This is not two one way tickets.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:21 PM
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How long is your holiday? This will determine what is realistic. Don't forget to allow time to recover from jet lag at the start of the holiday.

Is there any reason why you have decided to do London first? Starting off with Ireland might be more logical, then head for Scotland (either fly or take the ferry) and then work your way down to London. Do Paris last by Eurostar from London. Fly home from Paris. This saves travel time as you won't be doubling back on yourselves.

You will be able to rent a car for England and Scotland, although a one way rental is likely to be expensive. You will probably need to rent another car for Ireland.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:22 PM
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Thank you for the amazing replies! As you can see I am under travelled. I was not aware of the multi city option! Thanks again.. Hmmm now what to cut out....
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:30 PM
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Listen to janisj! We spent three weeks in England, Scotland and Wales and only scratched the surface. Driving is much tougher than you think.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:32 PM
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ESW: >>How long is your holiday? <<

From the thread title >>England, Scotland, Ireland, and France... Where do I start?! (<u>three weeks</u<<

Note: Actually - one way rentals usually are not more expensive. Most autoeurope bookings for instance include one-way drop offs in the UK.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:34 PM
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Ok.. We have decided we will chop England from the list. So. Start in Ireland, ferry to Scotland... Train to London and then take the channel to paris?! Does this sound more realistic?
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:34 PM
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Or just fly from Scotland to paris?
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:47 PM
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Agree to just fly from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Paris - heading through London with make the trip take the whole day instead of a half day.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 05:09 PM
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I can't speak to where you fly from, but sometimes flights in to Shannon are less expensive than to Dublin.

You can fly cheaply from Ireland to Scotland, I believe.

Flying to Paris might be inexpensive, too.

The trip to London just to take a train to Paris may not be worth your while; it could become costly and since you're on short time, it's worth checking for cheap flights.

You can fly to Orly as well as CDG in Paris. There are also cheap flights to another airport outside Paris called Beauvais, but it requires a bus to Paris.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 06:07 PM
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>>Start in Ireland, ferry to Scotland… <<

Any reason why? There is no ferry from Ireland to Scotland. There is from Northern Ireland - but unless you plan on going to Belfast (and you won't have enough time) that doesn't make sense.

Plus, where are you planning on touring in Scotland. Unless you want to see the far SW - Dumfries and Galloway/Ayrshire which are lovely but you really don't have a lot of time - a ferry from Belfast to SW Scotland likely doesn't fit in your plans.

You can fly from Ireland to GLA or EDI in a <u>fraction of the time</u> of schlepping from Dublin to Belfast to SW Scotland and then across the whole country. I'd maybe fly into EDI, see Edinburgh car-less for a couple of days, collect a car and drive around for 5 or 6 days, drop the car at GLA and fly to Paris.

You could visit Fife/St Andrews, a bit of the Highlands, the Trossachs and then a short drive to GLA. Or you could manage the Highlands and Skye and then to GLA.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:22 AM
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The OP needs to sort out what order she wants to do things first and then fill in detail. I did suggest she could either fly or take the ferry. It may be that she decides to do Ireland and one option is to get the ferry from either Belfast or Larne to Stranraer or Cairn Ryan and then travel across Dumfries and Galloway to either Glasgow of Edinburgh. Scenically Galloway, especially around Glen Trool which has some serious hills.

By the way, how do you know the OP won't have time to go to Belfast or that won't fit in with her plans. Doesn't it all depends on where she wants to start in Ireland and what she is planning to do in the time allocated to this bit? Dublin to Belfast is about two and a half hours by train. (Less by car but she would need to check out implications of hiring a car in the Republic and dropping it off in Northern Ireland.) Travelling between the two will let her see more of both Ireland and Northern Ireland. (Perhaps I should have distinguished between them more carefully in my original post.) There is a very different feel between the two countries which if the OP is interestd in culture as she says in her original post, might be of interest to her. Taking the ferry is a different experience to flying...

What I have been trying to do is get her to think about a possible route and give suggestions. The OP is 'most interested in the countryside and smaller communities where we can get a real feel for the culture'. One of the ways of achieving this is by driving between main points - spending time in teh countryside rather than the cities. I was thinking about this in my origianl suggestion which seems to have exercised janisj mind.

Whatever she decides on, I am sure she will enjoy it as there is some cracking scenery in Ireland, Scotland and England... Sometimes there are advantages for heading for the less touristy areas of SW Scotland over say Skye and the Highlands....
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Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 07:13 AM
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Scotland > Ireland.

Edinburgh > Dublin.

London is sui generis. If you cut it out, you really miss out.

Taking a ferry is just daft - you lose a whole day sitting on a boat. G-d forbid either of you doesn't handle being on the water well.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 07:57 AM
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>>By the way, how do you know the OP won't have time to go to Belfast or that won't fit in with her plans. <<

. . . Because she wants to see four countries in 3 weeks and adding Belfast means five countries.

She needs to start whittling down . . . not adding places and complexities . . . (She says they are 'chopping England' but still are planning on London - which <i>is</i> in England and will need several days at minimum)
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Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:34 AM
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I just love when the self-appointed get into it. A tussle is so revealing. And entertaining.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 10:17 AM
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Regarding ferry travel...if you take a car, it will be very expensive; if you go on foot, it'll be a hassle. It will be time consuming either way.
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