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Planning 1 month GB / Ireland. Seek suggestions, critique to outline plan.

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For my wife’s 70th birthday, July 1, (how’d it get to be that many) she wants to be somewhere in Great Britain/Ireland. We have allocated up to a month for this trip. It will be our first to the British Isles. We came close on previous occasions, but for various reasons had to cancel.

The Summer Olympics start in London on July 26, so I think we need to be clear of London well before that. My thought is to start in London, work our way north to Edinburgh, then over to Ireland, and thence home from Dublin. We live on the west coast, USA.

Interests: history, scenery, old architecture (as in: old town centers), nature, some hiking if short and level, gardens. Good eating. Favor B&B’s over chain hotels. Also like boutique hotels. Want to see lots, but not rush, rush. Realize we can’t “see it all.” Days don’t start very early for us. After all, it’s supposed to be a vacation.

I have just started researching and planning, and I thought I’d put this up for the British and Irish experts to kibitz on and critique at this time.

Starting in London, we want to see the usual big attractions. Probably start with a tour of the highlights, then spend the rest of the time going to things and places. I also want to spend some time at Kews garden and palace area. So I’m figuring 5 nights. Enough?

Rent a car in London and drive to Bath and the Cotswolds. Not sure how many days here. Maybe 2 nights in Bath and 3 nights in some village (Chipping Campden, Moreton). Probably can’t take in the Lake District. Can daytrip to Warwick Castle?

Drive to York stay there 2 nights. Google maps says about 3 hours if no stops. Not likely. Of course we will make stops.

Drive north to Edinburgh, spending one night somewhere on the road getting there. I am interested in Hadrian’s wall, if just to take a picture and look at it.

3 nights in Edinburgh. Not sure about dumping the car upon arrival. May want it for a day trip. 3 nights enough? Probably can’t consider the Highlands.

That adds up to 16 nights.

Drive / ferry to Ireland is apparently most of a day. So maybe fly from Edinburgh to either Belfast or Dublin. Not sure I should spend time in Belfast. I’ve looked at a few tour books, and none rave about Belfast. Maybe just go direct to Dublin.

Couple of days in Dublin, then rent a car and get out into the countryside. The Dingle Peninsula peeked my interest. The Michelin Green Guide has several suggested drive tours. Looks very easy to fill up 10 days or so. Eventually back to Dublin, then home.

So, this is the outline I’m working with as of now. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions on itinerary or what “has” to be seen, or not, or how much time to allow, will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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