There are so many places to see in Britain & Ireland, how do you approach trip planning?
Start your planning with how much total time you have to get away. Are you looking at this trip as your “once-in-a-lifetime chance” to see it all? If so, make room for at least 10 days. Or is it a true starter vacation to get a taste of the British Isles before a return trip or two? In that case, four days is our minimum recommendation.
If you only have a short amount of time to get away and view this as a “starter” vacation,plan to visit just one major destination. Choose jus tone fo the most popular British cities or possibly two.
- London: London is one of the world’s most exciting and interesting cities, filled with museums, historical sites, shops, restaurants, pubs, entertainment venues, experiences, and churches. IT offers some of the best shopping in the world. London’s theater scene rivals that of New York’s Broadway, so be sure to catch a show. Visit the historical treasures such as Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. There are many fascinating towns outside of London, too — Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, and more.
- Dublin: Although Dublin is one of Europe’s oldest cities, it offers trendy bards and cosmopolitan restaurants along with its historical sites. IT is also home to beautiful urban parks, art galleries, elegant Georgian architecture, medieval castles, beautiful cathedrals, and numerous museums. Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature, dating back to 800 AD. Perhaps take an excursion outside of Dublin to the scenic Wicklow Mountains, explore the mystical site of Newgrange, or visit Malahide Castle.
- Edinburgh: Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that combine a medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town with modern architecture, numerous shops, and a plethora of restaurants, including many offering fresh, local produce. Explore some of the residences of Britain’s royalty — past and present — and learn about Scotland’s tumultuous history. The city’s main focal point is Edinburgh Castle. Opt to take an excursion to the Highlands to learn more about Scotland’s history and to search for the infamous Loc Ness Monster.
What should you budget?
A simple guideline is to allot about $200-300 per day for the land portion of your trip. Add on an additional $1,200 for airfare and don’t forget to budget for transfers to/from the airport and travel between destinations. A trip from London to Edinburgh on the high-speed train costs around $25.
If your budget (or time) is limited, explore packages where travel, lodging and some sightseeing are included. Then, add on activities and excursions that fit your budget.
If the idea of researching and booking transportation (from the airport, between cities, etc.) and activities is starting to raise your blood pressure, don’t worry — we’ll have upcoming posts that will give you simple solutions! Check back soon!