The UK and Ireland a nature tour

Feb 15th, 2013, 02:31 PM
  #1  
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The UK and Ireland a nature tour

My wife and I are planning a trip to the UK and Ireland for May or June of 2013. We are in our late 30's and very active. We enjoy seeing the great outdoors more than anything created by man although we are interested in well known historical man made sites or things. We are very agressive with travel plans meaning we can can cover a lot of territory in less time than most. Again, we are more concerned with seeing nature's beauty than anything so we are accustom to traveling a lot of miles. We are flexibile as to how much time we need for the trip. We are also flexible in budget. We are not budget strapped but we also are not intersted in traveling like the famous, We are looking for advise on what areas of the UK and Ireland we should be sure to visit based on our priortity of seeing nature's beauty. We would also like to request advise on where to stay at each location. Also, where should we rent a car and where should we travel by train?

An intial and very broad plan would be to fly into Dublin Ireland and after Ireland travel to Scotland then after Scotland travel to Wales and then to England.

We really appreciate your time and effort to give us guidance!!!
Juniorjordan is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 02:40 PM
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Well that should take about 3 weeks. how many days were you thinking of taking?
Tony2phones is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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tony - you pinched my question.

how long for this trip?
annhig is online now  
Feb 15th, 2013, 02:50 PM
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Actual nights planned?

Actual per night lodging budget?

Anything other than "nature, nature, nature" that actually interests you? You want nature's beauty first and foremost and you're not strapped for cash, I'd go to Australia or Alaska first.
BigRuss is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for your quick replies! 3 weeks total travel time works for us. $300 dollars or less a night for accomodations would be great. We have already visited Alaska and we just returned from Thailand so we are looking for a little less air travel time on this trip so Australia is out for this year. In addition to nature, we do want to visit a castle, sheep herding farm in Wales or Scotland, cool historic/famous pubs and the London sites of interest. I hope I have answered all the questions with enough detail but let me know I will try and give more detail.
Juniorjordan is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 04:19 PM
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Well having 3 weeks is good most want to fit the world into a week. That said do not expect to be covering as much ground as you might think.

Flying into Dublin then out to London from Shannon might work for Ireland and I will go against the south west fans and recommend Sligo, Mayo, Galway and Clare to be off the usual tourist path for a good part taking 6 or 7 days. Fly Shannon to London

London for 3 days then 6 days getting to Scotland for 4 days taking Rail and sail ferry back to Larne (Northern Ireland) for Antrim heading back to Dublin for the flight home.

Rough plan which needs some filling??
Tony2phones is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 04:23 PM
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I see a week for Ireland, a week or 10 days for Scotland, 5 days for Wales, and another 10 days or more for England. That's more than 3 weeks. And of course there's time lost getting from one place to another.

I assume you will be driving, given your interests. Areas to look into: the Highlands of Scotland, the Isle of Skye, the Orkneys, the English Lakes District, the Peaks, Yorkshire moors and dales. There are a lot of long distance trails in the UK, like along the scenic Cornish coast. But maybe walking is too slow for you.
Mimar is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 04:34 PM
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Ireland can really only be seen by car - except for Dublin - trains are few and far between and often don;t go from here ot there. Also much of Ireland is very rural - which mean narrow roads - and lots of sheep - often ON the road. Figure about 30 mph driving time off of the very few highways. Imho to see much of Ireland you need 9 or 10 days.

After that London for 5 nights (that's just a few high spots). After that you could wander around England, Scotland and Wales for months. (We have done 4 extended road trips and still have many places we haven;t been near - so you will have to make some very difficult choices). IMHO train is OK if you just want to go from London to Edinburgh - but if you want to visit countryside and see sights on the way (exp Hadrian's Wall) you will need a car. I would say this trip is 4 to 5 weeks - even choosing sights carefully.

Again - to get into the countryside the roads are often narrow (difficult for 2 cars to pass) with ditches on either side - so figure 30 mph or so once off the highwas.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 07:26 PM
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Bit of a reality check may be in order . . .

>>We are very agressive with travel plans meaning we can can cover a lot of territory in less time than most.<<

That may be -- but it simply isn't possible in rural/scenic parts of Scotland, England, Wales - and ESPECIALLY Ireland. On ethe scenic west coast of Ireland - think 30-35MPH max. In the gorgeous bits of northern/western Scotland there are a lot of one lane roads (not 1 lane each direction - 1 lane for BOTH directions).

W/ just 3 weeks you're looking at 7 to 10-ish days in Ireland and 10 to 12-ish days in Scotland - OR - a bit Scotland, Northern England and Wales. Something like that.
janisj is online now  
Feb 15th, 2013, 10:27 PM
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We have similar interests, though perhaps at a slower pace and with a little history thrown in. See if these reports/photos are helpful:

North Wales
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...orth-wales.cfm

http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/north-wales.html

Scotland
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm

Lake District
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-district.cfm

Ireland
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ids-photos.cfm
indy_dad is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 03:43 AM
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This sounds like fun. I dont know about timelines, but here's what my dream trip in the UK would be. I've lived in London for 7 years now and these are my favourite bits. I haven't been to Ireland, so I'll skip that.

After a couple days in London, I'd head to the Yorkshire dales via Cambridge. I'd take a day or 2 to go walking in the dales and then spend a day in York itself.
Head up to Edinburgh with a day driving through Northumberland. Maybe even a couple days walking along Hadrian's wall. Spend a day in Edinburgh and then get public transport + taxi up to Loch Lomond -- the the side with the west highland way -- not the motorway. Walk along loch lomond and possibly a hike up Ben Lomond. Then do various bits of the west highland way-- walking parts and getting bus/taxi for bits. My favourite bits are near loch lomond, bridge of orchy and glencoe. I've walked this entire path thrice and is my favourite in the UK.
Take the train from Fort William to Glasgow -- its a fantastic train ride -- parts of which a featured in the harry potter movies.

From Glasgow head south to the lake district. Take a few days to walk the paths. Head down to North Wales around Conwy. You can have your fill of castles and sheep farms around here as well as the spectacular Snowdonia national park.

Head back to London stopping in either the cotswolds -- for very photogenic villages -- or cornwall for its Famous Five (an Enid Blyton childrens book series that I loved) coast line.

That would be my trip. I love nature and believe that its best seen on foot (not in a car). I do like cities a lot, but like it in small bites when on Holiday since I live in one. The trip above would take me about a month -- but our speeds and interests may vary

Since you're flexible on time, I'd suggest picking the bits you want to see/do and then timing it.
ssachida is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 04:14 AM
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Come to Edinburgh the "Athens of the North" built on 7 hills. There's heaps to do here!
Then go north and stay near Aviemore and visit the Cairngorm National Park where you can see endangered species like Ospreys, red squirrels etc and fantastic lochs to canoe on and hills (what we call mountains) to walk - but wear the right gear and let someone know where you are walking before you go as our hills are difficult to hike because of changeable weather. http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attract..._Scotland.html
You will see Highland cattle and red deer along the way. If you travel up to the Black Isle, you can see dolphins, whales and seals. http://www.black-isle.info/chanonry_...watching_group
You are in Speyside and the famous whisky trail - visit one distillery and the cooperage is also interesting.
The best castle in Scotland is Stirling Castle and that's someone from Edinburgh (our one is a barracks and is really a military museum).
And how do I know all this, because we did it all in July last year and had a ball - as a wheelchair user they even got me into a canoe, and had me wheeling myself along the miles of cycle track near Aviemore and in the Rothiemurchas Estate http://www.rothiemurchus.net/
Enjoy!
Smodaig is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 04:25 AM
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Stirling Castle should be on any visitors list and that's from a well travelled Anglo Irish.
Tony2phones is offline  
Feb 21st, 2013, 04:11 PM
  #14  
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Thank you all so very much for your advice!!
Juniorjordan is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 04:47 AM
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Ssachida's route sounds lovely-although if you are heading as far north as Fort William with enough time you could also do some island hopping as well. Walking on Skye is lovely if the weather is right. We're big fans of walking short(er) parts of long distance paths in the UK as often we don't have time to devote to an entire trek. If you are nature lovers then these are the paths you will enjoy but of course you will need to think about appropriate walking gear (small pack, shoes, waterproofs, fleece).

Excellent and detailed Ordnance Survey (http://www.magazine.ordnancesurveyle...amap-home.html) maps of each trail can be purchased once you are in the UK or online prior. Castles? There are so many--romantic ruins in the Highlands, well-maintained restorations everywhere--Wales has some of the best but my personal, evocative favorites (I go for wishful wondering) are Manorbier Castle in Wales and Tantallon or Direlton in/near North Berwick. It's well worth visiting the magnificently kept castles as well.

Three weeks can fly by. If you would like to limit your roadway travel time you might consider taking the train from London to York then Edinburgh and farther north but book ahead as train (http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/travel-information/) prices are far cheaper when done so. The Caledonian Sleeper (http://www.scotrail.co.uk/caledoniansleeper/index.html) is a great overnight experience which could get you to the start of your destination and work backwards or take it back to London when your trip is done.

Not sure what you are looking for in a "sheep herding" farm as any farm with sheep herds them. If it's sheep herding trials you might enjoy they are fun and you can find a list of dates here: http://www.isds.org.uk/news/trials_d...al_trials.html.

Personally I'd say you are spoiled for choice if you can budget $300 a night for accommodation! We usually book self-catering cottages and use the location to explore locally and if on the road stay at inns, farmhouse b and b or guesthouses. If you're looking for cozy Brit places to stay
Alisdair Sawadays (http://www.sawdays.co.uk/special-pla...=51.5&hide=pub) listings might work for your budget and he has Irish accommodation as well. If I had your budget I might throw in a couple of nights at nice country house hotels (Ireland has some super ones as well) which are truly luxurious opportunities to stay in well, a country "house" (estate).


The 2013 Fodors Great Britain guide is useful and is one of several guides with an app as well.

Let us know how your planning is going!
opus is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 07:26 AM
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some minor clarifications:

"taxi up to Loch Lomond -- the the side with the west highland way -- not the motorway"

There is no motorway on either side of Loch Lomond

"Take the train from Fort William to Glasgow -- its a fantastic train ride -- parts of which a featured in the harry potter movies."

The train ride is terrific, but the bit(s) featured in The HP movies are between Ft William and Mallaig
janisj is online now  

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