Scotland & Irleand in Feburary

Old Oct 16th, 2012, 11:32 AM
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Scotland & Irleand in Feburary

I am planning an approximate 6 week solo trip to Europe in January and February. I know the weather is colder. I know the sightseeing hours are shorter. I will work with what I have.

I need some advice on the tail end of my trip. At the end, I will be flying into London and spending approximately 5-6 days there. I planned on continuing onto Ireland, but have now decided to include an extension through Scotland, on into Northern Ireland, and finally ending in Dublin before returning home.

I usually like to base myself in a city, stay in a mixture of hostels and B&B's, do a couple day trips, sometimes using tour groups, other times using public transport on my own. Sometimes I stop somewhere for a day on the way to my next city base. My main interests are history, art, architecture, and ancient sites. I have no interest in tourist traps like Loch Ness or the Blarney stone. The actual city of Edinburgh looks enticing, along with Stirling Castle, and some kind of taste of the Highlands. I definitely want to see the Giant's Causeway and Newgrange.

I will not be renting a car. It's too expensive, and far too much of a hassle for me on my own. I have plenty of experience using public transportation. I know the limitations and can live with them. Ideally, I'll enjoy either Scotland or Ireland so much, that I'll return at a later date with someone else, rent a car, and have more flexibility. This is not that kind of trip. I like a mixture of slow and fast paced travel, but believe me, I will have my slow moments at other times, so no judgments please.

I was thinking that I would take the train to Edinburgh from London. Spend 3-4 days in Scotland, then fly with a low cost carrier from either Edinburgh or Glasgow to Belfast. Spend a couple days in Belfast, and then continue on to Dublin for the remainder (approximately 4-5 days).

Any advice, on which city should I base myself in Scotland? Should I combine two cities? Is one city better than the other for day trip tours?

Any recommendations for day trips in February for both Ireland and Scotland based out of a city?
Annaj_R is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2012, 11:47 AM
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You may want to have two bases in Scotland: Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Michael is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2012, 11:42 AM
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I would disgree, I would stay in Edinburgh, wonderful city and much easier access if you want ( and can, beware of the weather) to vist the Highlands. Not sure how many day excurions will operate in Edinburgh in February, Rabbies Tour come highly recommended so check out their website.

If you want to get there by train book your tickets in advance at, if you buy advance tickets they can be very cheap, they go on sale 12 weeks before travel, selling up to the end of December at the moment, you can choose your seat, take one on the right hand side of the train for the views between Newcastle and Edinburgh when the train travels alongside the coast.

Easyjet will get you to Belfast, again book as soon as you can, they are already on sale from around £32 one way but check the baggage allowance to avoid a shock at check in
alanbowen is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Here is another tour company in Scotland that is highly recommended here:
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Old Oct 17th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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Why have two bases in Scotland? Edinburgh and Glasgow are 70 miles apart so the latter is an easy day trip. The former is a great city to visit. And Edinburgh > Dublin any day of the week that ends in "y". That's not a close call. Spend more time in Edinburgh and you can day trip to Stirling, Perth, some part of the Highlands, etc.

Whisky's better than Whiskey too - another Scotland > Ireland issue.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2012, 01:05 PM
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IMHO Edinburgh has more history and is a more charming city.

But - I would not visit that area and miss Hadrian's Wall - which is fantastic - between ruins and museum - if yuo are at all interested in Roman history.

Not sure how to get there via public transit - we had a car and spent the whole day between York and Edinburgh doing this - and could have stayed longer but it just got too late.
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Old Oct 17th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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There is more to see in Glasgow than can be seen in a day.
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Old Oct 17th, 2012, 01:43 PM
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Hooray Michael! It's not just me trying to point out what Glasgow has to offer....I've been bashing my head against a brick wall for ages on this one. I was playing in a concert at the Bute Hall in the Uni on Saturday and was reminded again of the amazing buildings.....
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