England - Wales - Ireland - Scotland

Mar 11th, 2003, 05:48 AM
  #1  
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England - Wales - Ireland - Scotland

Hi,
My husbond and I are going for a three weeks car trip to UK and Ireland in July/August. We don't want to plan the route in detail so I'm a bit worried if it will be hard to get B&B's in short notice?
We will start and finish our trip in Newcastle. Any suggestions on a good and possible to do itinerary? We like the countryside, small towns, historical buildings and sites, scenery. The only plans we have for now is the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh which we have already made reservations for.
Kaja is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 08:03 AM
  #2  
JMM
 
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A couple of comments:
1. 3 weeks is NOT enough time to see all of the British Isles. Save Ireland and Wales for another trip.
2. You may have difficulty getting B&Bs at short notice in major tourist areas. For Edinburgh since you have already booked the Tattoo and therefore know exactly when you will be there - book a B&B in advance.
3. Since you have a car and love the countryside - try to get B&Bs outside of urban areas. They are generally cheaper and less likely to be filled up.
4. Since you are arriving and leaving from Newcastle, I suggest booking a B&B in advance in Corbridge ( a short drive from Newcastle (less than an hour). It is a pretty little town and near Hadrian's Wall. It even has it's own small Roman museum and ruins (Corstopitium sp ?).
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Mar 11th, 2003, 08:11 AM
  #3  
LJ
 
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I am with JMM on both points. Do drop part of that list of countries or you will not do justice to any.

We visited England (Lake District) and Scotland (all of east coast and a little of highlands and central) over a three week period in August, several years ago. We did find it necessary to book at least 1-2 days in advance for many places as this is the ultimate high season and the more interesting B&B's are booked up in advance.

Still, to us, it didn't seem too confining to plan 24 hours in advance. Some of or B&B hosts were able to recommend and even book accomadation for us in off-the-beaten-path locales when we told them our plans.
LJ is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 08:39 AM
  #4  
 
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As the others said - "England - Wales - Ireland - Scotland" in three weeks is a no go.

A couple of things to keep in mind - Edinburgh in August is a special case - not only must you book ahead, you will likely face three or four night minimums. In fact my favorite B&B in Edinburgh is already totally full for the entire Tattoo/Festivals period. Of course international events may cause cancellations, but you need to reserve a place in Edinburgh ASAP - yesterday is not too soon.

Other areas you should definitely book ahead are anywhere in the Lake District, anywhere in Devon or Cornwall, and in York.

That being said - in many areas of England Scotland you can usually get by booking as you go along. You won't always get your first choice, but using the Tourist Information Centers book-a-bed-ahead scheme works great. Go into any TIC and tell them where you are going over the next 2 or 3 days, your bed/bath requirements and price range -- and they will call ahead to that town and get you confirmed bookings.

But with only 3 weeks strating/ending in Newcastke consider something like:

* Northumberland including Hadrian's Wall Bamburgh and Alnwick Castles, Holy Island. 2 or 3 days

* Then into the Borders for the Border Abbeys, St Abbs Head, Abbottsford, Traquair House. 2 or 3 days

* To Edinburgh for at least 3 days - more if you can because it will be crowded and the main sites will take time.

* From there a 9 or 10 day loop through whichever areas of Scotland appeal -- the northeast, central Highlands, Skye or another island, down into the Trossachs, through Ayrshire and the SW. This will be a rush - but outside of Edinburgh and the Inverness/Ft William area most places will not be crowded.

* Then a couple of days in the Lake District and back to Newcastle.
janis is offline  
Mar 11th, 2003, 11:35 PM
  #5  
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Hi,
Thanks for your comments. We are thinking about saving Ireland for later. We have also booked a hotel in Edinburgh for three nights during the Tattoo. (It is not exactly inexpensive during this period....)
We have also been thinking about spending some time in Lake District, but I am not sure what exactly that is so great about it. Since we are from Norway we have seen mountains and lakes before... Am I totally wrong here?
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Mar 12th, 2003, 03:01 AM
  #6  
 
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I am English with grandchildren in Wales and Scotland. I don't think you are wrong about our lovely Lake District but I do think that parts of the Scottish Highlands are sufficiently distinctive to make it worth while not to miss them - after all it can be interesting to compare different types of mountain area and the Torridonian sandstone mountains and the gabbro of the Black Coolin on Skye are very different from the wonders I have seen in Norway.
Basically I agree with janis except that I should cut down a little on the northern Scotland trip - in view of your being Norwegian - and have a few days in Yorkshire and County Durham rather than the Lake District at the end.
I have some folders of notes on Scotland and one on Yorkshire, all with URLs included, if you care to e-mail me.
[email protected]
davidx is offline  
Mar 12th, 2003, 09:08 AM
  #7  
 
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Just for the heck of it . . . I disagree with all those who say 3 weeks isn't enough time to see the UK (well . . . see Ireland on a different trip). Will you be travelling by horseback or mule team? Otherwise, using a car you should be able to cover 75 miles a day (3 hours of driving at 25 miles/hr) without getting sore backsides, which over 3 weeks is in excess of 1500 miles.

If you spend 6 days roaming Scotland, 6 days roaming The Lake District and Northern Wales, and 6 days in Southern Wales, Cotswolds, and back through York to Newcastle, you will have seen a considerable chunk of the UK.

If you are the type that spends 8 hours looking at every brick used to build Doune Castle or 6 hours in the Cumberland Pencil Museum outside of Keswick . . . 3 weeks WON'T be enough time to see the UK. In fact, for many who post on this forum, 3 weeks isn't enough time to PROPERLY see the Textiles and Dress Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Just having fun, don't get torqued out of shape . . .
Snoopy is offline  
Mar 12th, 2003, 11:04 PM
  #8  
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Eh, should I visit Anstruther or not...?

PS!! No argueing in my post....!
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Mar 12th, 2003, 11:10 PM
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Kaja

If you stick around, you'll soon work out that once it's on the board, it's no longer "your" post and there's nothing you can do or say that will stop the arguing.

An'ster's lovely, as are all the Fife fishing villages. You could productively spend a day or two there. Just depends (wait for it) how much time you have
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Mar 13th, 2003, 04:36 AM
  #10  
 
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Doesn't Anstruther have the 'best' fish & chips in the UK?
melr is offline  
Mar 13th, 2003, 04:57 AM
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Sorry Kaja.

janis, I never said I was an expert. I have driven in that area and knew some travel times and appx mileages.

In fact, in other posts I have said that you and sheila are the experts. I am just a visitor. I'll defer to your issue with me and stop posing on the UK.
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Mar 13th, 2003, 05:06 AM
  #12  
 
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That's right, Kaja. It isn't your post and janis and sheila are very knowledgable about the UK . . . although janis can be a little snippy as evidenced by this post. And Snoopy tends be a little harsh as well. He/She seems to have only a general knowledge about the area. Sheila appears to be particularly well versed in the UK.

I am fairly new to this board and spotted your question, Kaja. I too only have about 3 weeks and wondered what itinerary a UK "expert" would suggest.

Have fun on your trip!
Born2run is offline  
Mar 13th, 2003, 06:15 AM
  #13  
 
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I know most of Scotland pretty well, but only some little bits of England. I'm not an expert, just someone who loves the place she lives. (sometimes I even like the weather

To give you advice on what to do with 3 weeks (and is that 3 weeks in Scotland or 3 weeks in the UK) I would need to know a little more about your likes and dislikes. let me know and I'll try to help
sheila is offline  
Mar 13th, 2003, 07:21 AM
  #14  
LJ
 
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JUst browsing here. This is not my area of greatest expertise (but if you want to know about Puglia in Italy, I am your man!). I did want to say that regardless of the minor friction that we've just experienced, this was all articulate and knowledgable debate and expressed in reasonable terms, for the most part.

A Bravo to Fodors for the registration scheme! As a longterm user of this forum, I can honestly say that the registration has minimized the number of truly cranky posters and raised the level of conversation to the passionately engaged.

And have fun, Kaja: the Military Tattoo alone is worth the trip. I play my CD of the massed pipe bands Amazing Grace frequently; don't miss that event!
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Mar 20th, 2003, 12:59 AM
  #15  
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Hi,
I have done a lot more thinking since I posted this. We have deceided not to go to Ireland, we are saving that for later.
Our iternary will be somewhat like this:
Day 1: Arrive in Newcastle in the morning and drive to the York area (if we figure out how to drive on the left side of the road )
Day 2: York
Day 3: Drive from York to probably Cotswold
Day 4: Cotswold?
Day 5: Cotswold?
Day 6: Cornwall?
Day 7: Wales?
Day 8: Wales?
Day 9: Wales to Lake District
Day 10: Lake District
Day 11: Lake District to Edinburgh
Day 12: Edinburgh
Day 13: Edinburgh(Military Tattoo)
Day 14: Edinburgh - Highlands?
Day 15: Highlands?
Day 16: Highlands?
Day 17: Highlands?
Day 18: Lowlands?
Day 19: Lowlands - Newcastle
Does anyone have comments on this iternary? We are trying to find B&B's in the countryside which don't charge more than £20 per person. Do anyone know of any nice B&B's in the York area, Cotswold, Wales, Lake District and the Highlands? We have already booked the Holyrood Hotel in Edinburg, and that is not exactly cheap, so we need to be on a low budget for the rest of the trip.
We haven't deceided on exactly where in the Highlands we are going, but we are thinking about Dee-side, Isle of Skye or some of the other islands.
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Mar 20th, 2003, 03:20 AM
  #16  
 
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My immediate reaction to your new itinerary is there is NO point trying to get to Cornwall for a day in July/August!!! Many people find themselves stuck in a traffic jam for 6 h trying to get into Cornwall at that time of year, over and above the 4-5 h that the drive would take normally. Add that day to Wales - this will give you plenty of coastal scenery if that is what you were going to Cornwall for. Apart from that, the itinerary looks fine to me. Have a great trip!
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Mar 20th, 2003, 03:24 AM
  #17  
 
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Another thought - it is still a crowded itinerary, and since you will be in Edinburgh during the festival, you will find countless things going on (concerts, plays, street performers, comedy - the whole of "the Fringe") - you might wish you had allocated another day to that.
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Mar 20th, 2003, 04:47 AM
  #18  
 
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Nonsense you can easily cover UK in 3 weeks, you will have a car which makes it relatively easy for you.
But I do agree with Ruth,
Cornwall almost has one road in and one road out and in Summer everyone is on that road especially during the weekend. Remember this is school holiday time. So if you really want to visit cornwall and Devon plan it for midweek. saturday is accommodation change over and everyone is on the road.
Meanwhile have a look at www.visitbritain.com

West Wales is especially nice at this time of year, there are plenty of National parks, Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire.
Whatever you decide ..
Have fun


Muck

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Mar 20th, 2003, 07:32 AM
  #19  
 
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Now your itinerary is totally doable - EXCEPT the Cornwall bit. As Ruth and Mucky say - that is not a one day trip. Especially in the summer time. The drive is fast as far as Exeter - but after that you will face narrow roads, LOTS of traffic, and crowds everywhere.

Take that extra day and add it to Wales or the Cotswolds.

The rest of your plan will work fine. (But you will also face major crowds and traffic in parts of the Lake District)
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Mar 20th, 2003, 09:08 AM
  #20  
 
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Kaja
Tsk, Tsk! All this arguing about how fast one travels. I think sometimes that people who have spent a lot of time in the UK sometimes forget that for some people a single trip to the UK is the only one they ever will make in their life, or that they simply want to get a feel for the entire country before they start focusing on specific areas.

Many years ago, I did a similar first trip to the UK with my family. Yes, we only spent a couple of days in each of the places we visited, but we still saw a lot of the UK at what I did not see then as a particulary hurried pace, and we still enjoy looking at the albums from that very special trip. Actually, having made that trip, it allowed us on our several trips since then to focus on areas we particularly enjoyed.

Please enjoy your trip. Your itinerary looks fine, especially now that you have dropped Ireland (that really would have been too much). I'd also agree with the suggestion to drop Cornwall and spend the extra day in Wales or the Lake District. Make sure you get one of those books listing all the B&B's. When you get back, please post and let us know about your trip.
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