Getting around in Ireland and England.


Jan 9th, 2017, 01:10 PM
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Getting around in Ireland and England.

My husband and I are celebrating 50 years of marriage and have decided to visit both England and Ireland. After driving in Italy 3 times, and the last time getting traffic violations in Lucca, my husband refuses to drive in Europe again. So, I need advise on getting around in England and Ireland without a car. (Please, no comments on the violations- been there done that).

I read some info in tripadvisor, but decided to check fodors, since most of you have been all over the world, and I usually get good advise, although a bit sarcastic at times, due to my stupidity, I guess.

I don't want to take long tours, although day tours are fine. I know your thinking we must be quite old, since it's our 50th, but we were babies when we got married, and are quite capable of getting around, I.e., buses, trains, and walking, etc.

Also would like to know the best time of year to go to Ireland. We are flexible.

Please help us.
bblount is offline  
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Jan 9th, 2017, 01:40 PM
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I spent a month in the UK last year, traveling by public transport. Click on my name for the TR. There are also a number of worthwhile day trips from London - there have been a number of threads on them. I think Ireland would be more difficult without a car, you might want a tour there. Of course, it does depend on where you want to go.
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Jan 9th, 2017, 01:41 PM
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England and Wales have dense train lines and buses that pick up the slack that will take you practically everywhere.

Scotland has some main train lines but if you want to get to the hinterlands of the Highlands may a short mini-bus tour may be best.

Ireland has just a few main rail lines but lots of buses.

How long do you have on this trip?

A good sampler rail journey may be London (with day trips to say Oxford or Cambridge or Windsor Castle, etc)

London to Bath by train

Train to the Lakes District (Windermere rail head then special buses all over the highlights -also easy walks)

Train to Edinburgh

Train to Inverness to catch a very dramatic scenic railway to Kyle of Lochlash -bus from there to Isle of Skye and around - ferry to Maillag from Skye- then take another iconic scenic train line, the West HighlandsLine, from Maillag to Ft William (good place to nab tours into the Highlands)-train to Glasgow and back to London via say York or from Ft William area train to ferry to Northern Ireland - Belfast and to Dublin and various parts of Ireland.

There are also overnight trains from Scotland back to London.

For lots of great info on British and Irish trains check; (nice online European Planning & Rail Guide with rail itineraries for U.K.) and

Seniors get a good rate on first-class BritRail Passes and there is a huge difference in the U.K. on long-distance trains with first class IME.

Well there is one of many rail scenarios for Britain.
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Jan 9th, 2017, 02:05 PM
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We do public transportation in Ireland and love it that way. We also stay often Dublin for great day tours and the ability to hop on the dart train and go up or down the coast. Easy train trip or bus trip to Belfast which I recommend. Great day tours on McComb's buses.
We took the train to Westport/3 hours no changes and were met at the station by McGing taxi and they did a great tour one day for us. There were five of us and they charged 30 an hour and we had a great time seeing what we wanted and what our driver felt we would enjoy. You can rent bikes there and ride one way to Achill Island and the bike company brings you back.
We have taken the train to Galway and based there also.

UK the same. I think our public transportation in Fl lacks so much it thrills me to use it in other places.
Macross is offline  
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Jan 9th, 2017, 02:18 PM
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From Scotland, you can get ferries to Belfast. It's a shorter crossing, and saves you returning to London.

When traveling around the UK by public transportation, I've found the Traveline web sites, set up by regions, very helpful:

It includes both bus and train travel, and maybe ferries, too.

There is something similar for Ireland, but I've never used it. The only time I traveled by public transportation in Ireland was in 1986, pre-internet. We've rented cars on subsequent trips.


Public transportation is scantier in Ireland than it is in the parts of Great Britain where I've traveled by bus and train. As someone else said, long-distant buses are more useful than trains for the most part.

I'm not sure what route planner is best to use in Northern Ireland. They have a link on that traveline website I cited above, but the link is broken.

Google Maps have fairly good route planning for public transportation in the areas for which they've got schedules in their database.
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Jan 9th, 2017, 11:00 PM
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"From Scotland, you can get ferries to Belfast."

Sort of.

There IS a ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast, but most ferries go to Larne. ALL ferries to Ireland from Scotland start in the middle of nowhere - and are rarely significantly cheaper than the planes that go from all over Scotland (and all over the rest of Britain) to all over Ireland.

If you haven't got a car, it's almost impossible to think of a single sensible reason for travelling between Britain and Ireland any way other by plane.

The NI journey planner is This has some onward connections to the Republic.

The British public transport journey planner is there's no need any more to use its separate regional subsites It includes intra-Britain ferries, but not those crossing the Irish Sea

There's limited Irish Sea ferry info on the UK railway planner (, though it's really designed for through Britain-Ireland railway journeys involving ferries.

There are loads of UK-Ireland ferry sites: a typical one is
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Jan 10th, 2017, 01:29 AM
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If you haven't got a car, it's almost impossible to think of a single sensible reason for travelling between Britain and Ireland any way other by plane.

I'll have to tell that to my young relative in Northern Ireland who usually takes the ferry when returning to university in Scotland. I wonder what possible reason she could have.
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Jan 10th, 2017, 04:57 AM
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Everyone else covers everywhere else so I will stick to what I do for a living, Ireland.

Getting between Scotland/England/Wales and Ireland depends on where you end the UK section.. It might also consider your Baggage? as regional airlines have tight allowances so the ferry can make sense if you have a lot of baggage. I only use Stena Line for Irish sea travel on foot, by car the others are ok but experience has driven me just one way.

Driving? I wouldn't want to drive in Italy or France or a lot of Europe, I hate driving in the UK did 1000 miles of that the week before Christmas! Ireland isn't too bad outside Dublin but you can get around by public transport http://www.journeyplanner.transportf...T2?language=en (already given above, pleasant surprise)ignore any seat61 links given for Ireland, ur mans good at what he does UK/Europe but use Irish sites for Irish transport Irish rail rail is also included on the first link. Rick Steve's links should also be ignored anywhere but his own web site as the man is not respected over here.

There are a few good travel hubs, Dublin, Galway, Killarney, Cork, Belfast. regular local tours emanate from these hubs.

There isn't a bad time to visit Ireland apart from perhaps mid winter or July/Ausust peak season. Best times are probably May/June or September on the edge of the main season.

Remember Ireland is bigger on the ground than it looks on a map and using bus's or the limited trains will slow things down slightly more than driving. There are private driver options but we are expensive.
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Jan 10th, 2017, 06:28 AM
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traveline is fine tool and I use it as native, I recommend it to you.

The ferries across the Irish sea used to be famous for those who could drink cheap all the way across. Since they have been upgraded note that, on rare occasions, they will still seek shelter either out at sea or within inaccesible bays until the wind blows out, happened to a friend of mine who spent a happy 12 hours down near France.
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Jan 10th, 2017, 06:49 AM
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Take it you are talking Ireland~France rather than Ireland~UK ferries.
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Jan 10th, 2017, 07:11 AM
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We debated on whether to drive or train in Ireland and ended up renting a car-which was for us by far the best choice. There are places you cannot get in Ireland by train or bus. I will caution you that for some reason Irish car rentals are notorious for problems. Many travelers get hit with heavy deductible charges if they return the car with even slight damage, or get overcharged for the rental. Google it if you are unaware. We tried to avoid this by renting from Hertz via AAA, but to no avail-the rental company overcharged us by around $100 (it was hidden in with other legit charges). One technique they used was to list some of the charges as euros, and the others as USD. Please be aware and carefully check your agreement and all documents when you rent and when you return. Enjoy your trip!
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Jan 10th, 2017, 07:28 AM
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If you haven't got a car, it's almost impossible to think of a single sensible reason for travelling between Britain and Ireland any way other by plane.>

North Wales to Dublin? If doing North Wales or area the best way to Ireland IMO is to take a train to the ferry port and fast boat to Dublin?

From most places yes fly but if doing north Wales - a wonderful place- around Conwy and Llandudno, Mt Snowdon, etc take the fast boats.
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Jan 10th, 2017, 07:57 AM
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bblount- how long do you have for this trip -effect efficacy of doing Britain and Ireland -if not more than a few weeks concentrate on one or the other.

how long?
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Jan 10th, 2017, 02:08 PM
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If you had a lot of time you could go via North Wales to Dublin via fast boat - swing up thru Belfast -Northern Ireland - take ferry to Stranraer - do the scenic trains and Skye -end up in Edinburgh -go back to London via York.

North Wales is really neat -base in Conwy a dreamy old seaside town and do day trips to many sweet places - Beaumarais Castle, Mt Snowdon; Festiniog Railway and Great Orme - Llandudno -all in a compact area and they do speak Welsh as a daily tongue.
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