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Ihearttravel Nov 16th, 2006 01:45 PM

Must See's in UK
Hello, A couple of friends and I will be traveling to the UK in January and are looking for a few must see's.

We will be flying into Gatwick and spending a couple of days in London. Next we would like to go to Ireland and then Scotland. We will be staying for 12 days, so not a whole lot of time. We will have a car to tour around in. Here are my questions:

1. What will the weather be like in the middle of January?

2. What are the best places to visit - not necessarily the tourist spots.

3. Is it expensive to ferry a car over to Ireland? Is one port better than another?

That is a good place to start. Thanks in advance for all of your advice!

janisj Nov 16th, 2006 01:57 PM

First of all you need to <b>focus</b>. London, Ireland, and Scotland in 12 days, in January, by car no less is not a terribly practical plan.

You will not want to taking a car across on a ferry to Ireland when you can easily fly for pennies (plus taxes of course). And beaside, there is no ferry from Ireland to Scotland. There are ferries from Ireland to Wales and England, and from Northern Ireland to Scotland. But in January the trips can be quite rough.

And where do you want to go in Scotland - it will be dark by about 3:30 every day so you won't have a lot of driving around time.

There is really no way to give you useful info since you are a long way from having a useful plan yet.

What research have you done so far?

W/ just 12 days you could do a few days in London, a couple of days in Dublin and a few days in edinburgh - all by air (or train between London/Edinburgh) -- all w/o a car.

Hate to rain on your parade but you need to do a lot more thinking about what you want to do . . . . .

janisj Nov 16th, 2006 01:58 PM

sorry about all the typos . . . .

marcy_ Nov 16th, 2006 01:59 PM

I'd recommend doing some research first- either buy yourself a guidebook or try the Destinations section here on

Then come back and ask specific questions, and you'll probably get a lot of good help.

Ihearttravel Nov 16th, 2006 04:07 PM

We will try to narrow it down as we do some research. Right now we are very flexible and we were looking for some can't miss attractions/destinations to plan our travel around. What has been most memorable to you about England/Ireland/Scotland?

W9London Nov 16th, 2006 04:13 PM

1. Most likely cold, dark and damp. Though we get snow only very rarely in south England, it can snow up north.

2. It would be helpful if you can describe what you and your friends are interested in. Are you into medieval history, architecture, arts or natural beauty? Do you want posh country houses or place to play golf?

3. janisj answered well.

historytraveler Nov 16th, 2006 08:08 PM

Can't miss attractions/destinations are only answerable if we know your interests.

Please post back when you can give us more information.

I can answer our question regarding taking a car to Ireland via ferry. Yes, it is expensive.

Ihearttravel Nov 17th, 2006 04:30 AM

Okay, our interests would be:
1. Theatre/arts/music/poetry
2. History
3. Local life-where we can connect with the local people.
4. Nature - although in January I'm not sure how much we will want to be in the great outdoors.

We are not so interested in golf, but would like to go to some whisky distilleries and take in some music.

We do not need &quot;posh&quot; accommodations but while being reasonably priced would like decent places to stay.

Thanks for all of the recommendations on how to post - this is my first time posting a question.

daveesl Nov 17th, 2006 04:38 AM

I'm someone that really pushes to do lots of stuff on my trips. That said, I don't think I'd try to do England/Scotland and Ireland in 12 days.

As said before, it gets dark real early in Scotland in the winter and doesn't get light until late. 6-7 hours of reasonable daylight per day. That means your &quot;seeing time&quot; is dramatically reduced. Granted, there can be lots to do at night in the bigger cities, but it doesn't sound like that is what you are looking for.

So, I'd advise giving your trip more focus, understanding the time limitations.


travelbunny Nov 17th, 2006 04:56 AM

..just to echo everyone ..far too much. I think you might start thinking about the trip by breaking it up in 3 (or even 2 locations) and remembering that it is Jan! (I spent Dec-March in Dublin and did not see daylight- I was working and by 5 it was black.and grey and drizzly when I looked out the windows).From your interests you could easily spend the entire trip in London with day trips but if you wish to &quot;see more&quot; why not a week in London (without a car) and then up to York. You could rent a car there and see Durham (my favorite cathedral), Chatsworth and some lovely drives but remember your days will be short.

ukgal Nov 17th, 2006 05:11 AM

As mentioned before, doing all 3 is too much,especially in January. I would recommned London greater area and then Ireland. Definitely fly from London to Ireland. Use the following link to book cheap flights.

In London you can get good deals on theatre tickets at I've had no problems using this service for theatre tickets.

You may also look at and take a look at the Oyster card section. The Oyster card is a prepaid bus &amp; tube card and many times there are promotions with venues (buy 2 get 1 ticket free, or 50%). Worth a look.

What is worthwile in central London is to use the &quot;tourist&quot; bus as it goes all around the city, and you have get on / get off priveledges; and its good for 2 days. Its about &pound;14 per person. It takes you to all the major attractions.

Outside of central London the Hampton Court Palace in very nice as are Kew Gardens. You may think gardens in Jan? But they have nice indoors exhibits, and Jan in London is not that cold (around 32F).
Guilford Cathedral is glorious. About an hour outside of London. Of course you can go and see some rocks: Stonehenge is couple of hours.

As where to stay, central London is ridiculously expensive. You may consiser staying in one of the boroughs for less. Central London will be 30 min by train.

I don't have any info on Ireland.

Wishing you good travels.

PalenqueBob Nov 17th, 2006 07:48 AM

Bath Spa
Chester on way to boat to Ireland (Dublin)



Boat to Scotland


Stratford or Oxford or both


yes ambitious it seems and you'd be driving most of the time - scratch Ireland and from Bath go up thru Lake District to Scotland - Edinburgh

halfapair Nov 17th, 2006 08:12 AM

With the interests you listed you could easily stay in London or nearby areas the whole 12 days and still not see/do everything. For Nature experiences you might want to consider Kew Gardens, Hyde Park &amp; St. James Park in London.

Bath is lovely &amp; only 2 hrs away from London. You could take a day tour that will go to Stonehenge/Avebury or some Cotswold Villages, etc. giving you a chance to see some countryside.

Out in Cornwall there is Trebah Gardens:

An added benefit to Cornwall is that it does get you out of the city and among locals and you don't have to fly to get there. You could take a train or rent a car.

Just a few ideas/opinions.

sheila Nov 17th, 2006 11:28 AM

Nature? In Hyde Park?

travellover, you truly are trying to do too much. Two destinations at most, I think, and were I you, I'd stay south, so go to Ireland not sunny Scotland.

nevcharlie Nov 17th, 2006 02:17 PM

All the previous posters have given good advice, and I would go even further.If you MUST travel in January it will likely be chilly, damp and dark by 4.30 at the would be unwise to plan on driving any distance, there is the possibility of snow, and even a light fall could see you stranded, or worse, involved in a multiple pile-up.
I would strongly reccommend that you stay in London and maybe one other city, then at least you can shelter in warm museums and galleries (most of which are free)and go to pubs and restaurants in the evenings. Maybe one trip out of town to Windsor or Hampton Court by train would be possible.
As others have said, there is MORE than enough in London to occupy you for 12 days.(and I am a native Londoner !)

nona1 Nov 18th, 2006 02:16 AM

Are you prepared to 'wing it' at bit and see what the weather is like when you are here? You shouldn't have any problem finding accomodation at that time of year.
You could book several days in London (you will not need a car here) then decide whether to head off according to how you feel.
January is dark but we are not exactly Siberia. If it is a cold but dry month then it won't be too bad to travel and there is no reason why you couldn't get on the train up to Edinburgh and spend some time there.

On the other hand it could be rotten weather and you'll be glad to stay tucked up in London.

MissPrism Nov 18th, 2006 02:40 AM

I'd stay in London.
If you want something a bit rural then you can find it in London.
I think that I'd say Richmond Park rather than Hyde Park and if you are interested in birds, the Wetland Centre in Barnes is worth a visit.

kaneda Nov 18th, 2006 03:31 AM

12 days is just about right to see England. The other day (16th), the Highlands of Scotland had 6-8 inches of snow. Roads and passes can be impassible in mid-winter in some areas. A good part of Ireland (outside of many towns) only has small roads which a little snow can make a nightmare if not cleared and gritted.

As others have said, base yourself in London where there is a fair bit to see-

and train, coach trips or even cheap flights can take you further afield to other places to visit. Weather- expect cold, wet snow, plain miserable short days. The best places to visit- indoor places like museums, galleries, castles, etc. Despite this there are a fair number of tourists about even then, as well as locals. A car only if you have to. London is not car friendly.

valtor Nov 18th, 2006 03:43 AM

* Bath as day trip from London
* Oxford or Cambridge as day trip from London
* Stratford as day trip from London

caroline_edinburgh Nov 20th, 2006 03:56 AM

In January, I'd agree with a previous poster &amp; say stick to London, Dublin and Edinburgh. You'll get plenty of your number 1-3 interests in those cities and number 4 is inadvisable, especially if driving, as others have said due to likely rotten weather &amp; very short days.

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