The Ultimate London-Scotland-Ireland Itinerary

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by Maggie Turansky

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Travelling through the British Isles is something many people want to do in their lifetimes. And it’s no surprise as to why. England, Scotland, and Ireland not only have a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years, but is home to both bucolic natural scenery and some of the world’s most vibrant and diverse cities. With so much to see and do in a seemingly small landmass, it can be hard to plan out the perfect London-Scotland-Ireland itinerary.

Luckily, I’m here to help. Read on to find out the best places to visit in Great Britain and Ireland and where you should spend your time!

Planning a Trip to England, Ireland and Scotland

If you’re wondering about the best way to see England, Scotland and Ireland, then make sure to follow the tips and tricks outlined below.

Though it can be fairly easy to travel around this area, there are a number of logistical things and considerations to take into account in order to make the most out of your trip.

Everything from the time of year you visit to the mode of transport you use to get around can make an impact on your trip, so we’ve taken the time to outline all major options out there.

Best Time to Visit the United Kingdom and Ireland

Contrary to popular belief, it is not always cold and rainy in Britain and Ireland. The weather tends to be mild in the British Isles no matter what time of year, with no extreme variance between the seasons.

However, there are some seasons to travel to this beautiful corner of the world that are better than others which is important to consider when wondering how to plan a trip to England, Ireland and Scotland.

Summer is the most popular time to plan a trip. The days are long and the weather is as warm as it can be.

Highs in most of England and Ireland in the summer average around 20-22ºC (68-72ºF) and you can expect highs in Scotland to be about 15-17ºC (59-63°F). Though there are definitely rainy days, you can generally expect more sunshine this time of year than in other seasons.

While the weather is fantastic (for Britain) in the summer, it is also the busiest time for tourism. That means that the prettiest cities and towns will be filled with people and accommodation will book out well in advance. Prices are likely to be higher as well.

If you plan to go to Edinburgh, it is best to avoid the city during the month of August when its world-famous Fringe Festival is going on (unless you specifically want to visit for this occasion). Accommodation books out months in advance and it can be absolutely packed with people.

Autumn could arguably be the best time to visit Britain and Ireland because you get fewer crowds and decent weather. It doesn’t tend to get properly cold in the British Isles until November, so if you don’t mind a bit of rain and needing to wear a jacket outside, then autumn might be the best bet for you.

Glencoe in Scotland
Glencoe in Scotland

Along with the beautiful colours of the changing leaves, average highs in England and Ireland land somewhere around 10-17ºC (50-63ºF) and 8-14ºC (46-57ºF) in Scotland. Plan your visit for late September to early October and you very well might get some beautiful sunny days that are over 20ºC!

Spring in Britain and Ireland can be quite chilly still as the weather doesn’t start warming up properly until mid to late May and doesn’t consistently stay warm until June.

It can be quite rainy, windy, and miserable through most of the spring and even a bit dreary as the leaves don’t return to the trees until May. If you’re travelling in the spring, expect highs to be between 9-14ºC (48-57ºF) in England and Ireland and 7-13ºC (45-55ºF) in Scotland.

Winter is the coldest and darkest month in England, Scotland, and Ireland. While the majority of the isles don’t get a lot of snow, it does get dark quite early (around 3 or 4 PM depending on where you are) and it can be extremely wet and rainy.

Snow and sleet are common so make sure to pack accordingly. Average high temperatures in England and Ireland in winter clock in around 5-7ºC (41-45ºF) and 0-5ºC (32-41ºF) in Scotland.

Winter in Britain and Ireland can be miserable, however, many do like to travel around Christmas time in order to enjoy the decorations and markets scattered throughout the cities.

Cities like London and Edinburgh have wonderful Christmas markets and carnivals set up, but most major towns and cities all throughout this England-Scotland-Ireland itinerary will have something to fill you with holiday cheer.

Dugort Beach on Achill
Dugort Beach on Achill Island in Ireland

How to Get Around

When it comes to planning a trip around England, Ireland, and Scotland, many people assume that it is easy to see a great portion of all three countries relying solely on the train. While the train network, especially in England, is extensive, it can be very expensive and they don’t always connect to smaller towns and more rural areas.

We recommend relying on the train and public transport systems while visiting England and then hiring a car once you arrive in Scotland and Ireland respectively if you’re following this itinerary. Both of the countries are noticeably more rural than England and don’t have as extensive of a train network.

The bus is also another option and there are more reliable bus connections within Ireland and Scotland than there are with the train.

Bus tickets can also be considerably less expensive than train tickets, however, it is almost always cheaper to book tickets for both at least a little bit in advance instead of on the day of travel. We suggest looking on Omio to book tickets for trains and buses in the UK

If you can drive, however, and your budget allows for it, then we would seriously recommend you hire a car in Ireland and Scotland. There are many places on this Ireland and Scotland itinerary that are much easier reached if you have your own mode of transportation.

Having a rental car not only allows you to get to more off-the-beaten-path and hard-to-reach areas, but it also gives you more flexibility. Nobody likes to be at the mercy of irregular bus timetables! You can browse car rental options here.

It can also be worth taking out an excess insurance policy with iCarHireInsurance to ensure you don’t need to pay a cent if you get into an accident. This will be significantly cheaper than taking out additional insurance from the car rental company.

It is worth knowing that the majority of rental cars available have a manual transmission. If you can only drive automatic, you need to expect to pay a little bit more for that! Also, this goes without saying, all three countries drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Finally, are you considering taking out a travel insurance policy before your trip? World Nomads offers flexible and simple travel insurance policies with coverage for more than 150 activities that you can buy or extend while on the road.

Driving along the Sky Road in Connemara
Driving along the Sky Road in Ireland

3-Week London-Scotland-Ireland Itinerary

In order to get a good feel for each country, we recommend you spend at least one week in each of them. Obviously, you could easily spend weeks exploring all three countries on their own, but then that is what future trips are for!

If you have a shorter period of time, why not make it solely a London-Scotland-Ireland itinerary? While we recommend spending as much time in the massive city that is England’s capital as possible, you can see all of the biggest tourist attractions of London in just three or 4 days before taking the train or flying up to Scotland.

Week 1: England

London — the capital of the United Kingdom — is the most logical starting point for this itinerary. London is an absolutely massive city and while most visitors only spend a couple of days exploring, we would recommend that you spend the entirety of your week in England solely staying in London.

While there is certainly more to England than London, due to its central location as a transport hub, it is easy to visit other English cities as a day trip by train. And also a week in the city allows you to dig deeper and see beyond the main tourist draws and get a glimpse at how and where locals actually live in this diverse metropolis.

If you have never visited London before, then it is only understandable that you might want to spend a couple of days seeing everything that makes The Big Smoke so famous. Take the time to visit Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament.

If you plan on visiting many paid attractions, then consider investing in a London Go City Pass that includes entry to several of the most popular places in the city and will save you money if you visit enough places!

Enjoy free entry into some of the best museums in the world like the British Museum, Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. And, if you can, be sure to catch a West End show.

Big Ben and the Westminster Bridge in London
Iconic London

If these are the only things you plan on doing, then we suggest planning to stay in Central or West London (neighbourhoods like Soho, Kensington, and Knightsbridge) in order to avoid wasting valuable time sitting on the tube or bus.

Many first-time visitors to London grossly underestimate the city’s size and expect everything to be quite close to each other when, in reality, travel times in the city can take a very long time.

One benefit to spending one week in London, however, is that you will have time not only to do that traditional “touristy” things but also be able to get a little bit off the tourist trail and significantly reduce your overall London trip cost.

After you’ve spent your first couple of days exploring Central London and the museums, take a journey east and hang out with the hipsters in Shoreditch, walk along Regent’s Canal to London Fields, or see some live music in Camden.

London is much more than what is displayed in movies and in the media — it is easily one of the most multicultural cities in the world and has close to 9 million residents. Take the time to realise that London is not solely British and you won’t be disappointed.

Another benefit to spending one week in London is that it gives you the opportunity to take some day trips to other English cities. London is very different from the rest of the country, so it can be a really great experience to see how other cities function in England. Cities like Oxford, Cambridge, and Brighton are very popular day-trips from London and are all within about an hour’s train journey.

If you want to visit some less touristy cities that are still easy to do as a day trip, we would recommend getting up early and catching a train to Bristol or Bath in the west, which is a very cool and completely underrated city with an amazing craft beer and arts scene. Or, if you want to see a beautiful walled medieval city, head north to York, which can also easily be visited as a day trip from London.

If you don’t want to spend your entire week in England completely in London, then we would actually recommend spending five nights in the capital before spending two nights in York. There, you can spend one day exploring the city and another venturing out into the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

Camden Lock Market
Camden Lock Market

Where to Stay in London

It really depends on what you want to do and see in order to find the best area to stay in London. These are our suggestions for some of our favourite areas of the city:


Z Hotel Soho – cool boutique hotel located right in the centre of Soho. The rooms have been stylishly decorated and there are a number of great cafes, restaurants and bars nearby. 


Astor Hyde Park Hostel – great budget option in this area offering a mix of dorm and private rooms. The hostel has a brilliant common area, large kitchen and cheap breakfast available with proceeds going to charity. 

Eden Plaza Kensington – a mid-range hotel located just a few minutes walk from the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. Also well connected with nearby Tube stations.


Prime Backpackers Angel – this hostel is located in Angel, just a short walk along the canal to lively and bustling Shoreditch. They have a range of great dorm and private rooms available and come quite highly rated. 

The Hoxton – boutique hotel with funky and stylish rooms, located only a few minutes from Old Street Tube Station. Downstairs is a popular bar and restaurant that gets busy on weekends, however, rooms are completely soundproof. 

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other London hotels.

Week 2: Scotland

After spending one week in London and exploring England, it is time to head north to Scotland. You can reach Scotland either by taking the train — which is incredibly scenic, though expensive — or flying, which is often cheaper. If driving, there are a number of great stops between London and Edinburgh to check out!

Begin your adventures in Scotland by spending two days in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. This beautiful city has an incredible history but it is quite compact and easy to get around — and it’s drastically different from London!

Take the time to walk the Royal Mile, tour Edinburgh Castle, swill some single-malt whiskey in a convivial pub, or maybe let your inner Harry Potter nerd run wild at Greyfriars Kirkyard!

Edinburgh old town
Edinburgh’s beautiful Old Town

After spending two days in Edinburgh, it’s time to venture into the Scottish Highlands and to explore the largest city there: Inverness. Inverness has the feeling of a small town and the main tourist appeal is its proximity to Loch Ness, however, it is very much worth exploring in its own right.

Spend one day in Inverness itself and another on a day trip from Inverness to Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle, or the famous Loch Ness.

From Inverness, it’s time to get in the car and drive to one of the most beautiful areas of Scotland and a top place to visit in the country: the Isle of Skye. Though many people treat Skye as a simple day trip or stopover spot, it is quite large and really deserves to be explored fully.

That is why we recommend spending 2 full days here in order to see some of the main attractions while also getting a bit off the beaten path. There are some really fantastic hikes to do on Skye as well, so make sure you have proper boots!

After you have spent a wonderful two days exploring the beautiful Isle of Skye, head back to Edinburgh of one night before catching a flight to the Emerald Isle.

Where to Stay in Scotland

Apart from the traditional accommodation options listed below, you can find a number of private rentals in Scotland such as this contemporary cottage on the Isle of Skye or this charming riverside cottage in Inverness.


Cityroomz Edinburgh — Located in the heart of the city, this small hotel had a number of rooms on offer and comes very highly rated.

Castle Rock Hostel — This small, centrally located hostel continues to be one of the highest-rated places to stay in Edinburgh. They have a number of rooms on offer, from dorm beds to privates, a friendly staff, and are a great option for both budget and solo travellers. 


Torridon Guest House – a quaint bed and breakfast that is a great place to stay in Inverness. It is within a short walking distance of the city centre and a good option if you don’t want to stay in a hostel.

Black Isle Hostel – a great hostel offering dorms and private rooms that is a fantastic option if travelling solo and if you want to meet other travellers. 

Isle of Skye 

An-Airidh Bed & Breakfast Portree – located in Portree, this is a cosy bed and breakfast with plentyof great rooms, a hearty breakfast and friendly owners. Perfect for mid-range visitors.

Skyewalker Hostel — one of the top-rated hostels in all of Scotland, it’s excellently located, they have a number of different room options, a friendly staff, and they sometimes organise social events in the evening. 

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other Scotland hotels

Old Man of Storr on Skye
Old Man of Storr on Skye

Week 3: Ireland

Ireland is a country that fills many people with visions of rolling green hills, pastoral beauty, and incredibly friendly people — and upon visiting you will find that it certainly delivers!

While most people spend one week in Ireland going a pretty standard route from Dublin south to Cork and then following the coast up to Galway, we suggest that you venture on a path less taken when you get to this portion of the London-Scotland-Ireland itinerary.

It is easiest to begin your Ireland trip in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Dublin is a large and dynamic city with many layers, however, it can be quite expensive for tourists and there aren’t a plethora of things to do.

Two days in Dublin should be more than sufficient to see the main sites such as Trinity College, Temple Bar, and the Guinness Storehouse.

Dublin castle
Dublin Castle

From Dublin, instead of following all too many tourists ahead of you and going south, it’s time to instead head west for the naturally stunning Connemara region in County Galway.

Situated on Ireland’s west coast, Connemara is famed for its rugged scenery, mountainous and boggy terrain, and unique Gaelic culture.  Though Connemara is your eventual destination, there are a number of interesting stops you can make in the drive along the way.

Spending two days in Connemara will give you time to experience all of the fantastic things to do in this beautiful peninsula.

You can spend the day driving the famous scenic Sky Road outside of Clifden, explore charming fishing villages like Roundstone and Letterfrack, lie on the pristine white sand of Dog’s Bay Beach, and visit the gorgeous and historic Kylemore Abbey.

The final stop sees you in the wonderful Irish city of Galway. There are a number of great things to do here from exploring the main sites like the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square, whiskey tasting at Garavans Pub, listening to traditional Irish music in the trendy West End, and eating at some of Ireland’s top restaurants.

Spend two days exploring Galway city and one more day to take a day trip to one of Ireland’s most famous natural attractions: the Cliffs of Moher. These amazing cliffs are a popular spot for a reason: they are absolutely stunning. Avoid the tourist crowds by trying to get there early, you won’t be sorry!

Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher on Ireland’s west coast

Where to Stay in Ireland

Apart from the traditional accommodation listed below, you can find a number of private rental properties in Ireland including this stunning city-centre flat in Dublin or this lovely restored barn in Connemara.


Hotel 7 – This perfectly located boutique hotel is the ideal place to stay if you’re looking for a bit more comfort in Dublin. Situated within easy walking distance of some main attractions, they have a number of plush rooms available and a restaurant and bar on site.

Jacobs Inn – This centrally located hostel is a great place for solo and budget travellers. As one of the best-rated hostels in Dublin, they have a range of dorm rooms and privates available and they also organise social events. 


Island View B&B – Located in the small seaside village of Roundstone, this B&B is the perfect base to explore all that Connemara has to offer. They offer a tasty and filling breakfast and the rooms were clean and comfortable. This is absolutely one of the best places to stay in Connemara. 


The Stop B&B – This is a great bed and breakfast located in the Claddagh neighbourhood of Galway. Though the location is more quiet and residential, it was only about a ten-minute walk to the city centre and even closer to Galway’s vibrant west end. They also have a fantastic breakfast in the morning, included in the room rate. 

Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel – Centrally located just off of Galway’s Eyre Square, this is one of the top-rated hostels in Galway City. They have both dorm and private rooms on offer and also include breakfast in their nightly rate. It’s a fantastic option for both budget and solo travellers alike. 

The Claddagh Galway
The Claddagh Galway

Additional Information

If you have more time to devote to your itinerary, it can be worth adding a week onto all three countries or forgoing visiting one country altogether.

If you want to see more of England, consider spending a week in the beautiful southwestern region of Cornwall (there are a number of great stops from London to Cornwall to explore!) or heading north to the perennially popular Lake District. The latter makes more sense for an England-Scotland itinerary.

If you have more time and want to spend it in Scotland, consider adding on the Orkney Islands or driving all or part of the North Coast 500 route – this will allow you to see some of the most beautiful areas of the country where few tourists ever venture.

If you want to spend more time in Ireland or want only an Ireland-Scotland itinerary, you can head south from Dublin and spend time in Cork and the Ring of Kerry before tacking on Galway City and Connemara or alternatively head north from Dublin to Belfast and explore Northern Ireland!

The Standing Stones of Stenness in Orkney
The Standing Stones of Stenness in Orkney

Planning the perfect itinerary for England, Scotland and Ireland can be difficult as there is so much to see in each country. With these suggestions, however, you are sure to have the trip of a lifetime!

Are you trying to plan a trip to England, Scotland and Ireland? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie


  1. I am a widower and solo traveller of 76 years old
    can you recommend a company that would cater to my age group to see england scotland and Ireland, would it be better to take a cruise on small ship or land tour. I want to spend some time in London as well. It’s been thirty years since Ive been there. I realize this may be too much for one trip but not sure I would ever get back. I am not one to organize tours on my own
    look forward to hearing from you
    martin taffel

  2. Hello Maggie,

    Hope you are doing great and thank you for having chat blog which would help travelers like us.

    We are a family of three adults and fan of Manchester United. We are planning to travel in September/October to see or 2 matches of Man U then travel to Scotland and Ireland. . I also want to know how could travel to the three places, train or air would be better. We are coming from Singapore. Any tips and guidance for us would be good.

    Thank you very much

    • Hi Selvi, if you don’t want to drive yourself, I’d recommend taking the train from London to Manchester and the same onward to Scotland. Then it’s a quick flight to Ireland 🙂

  3. Hi Maggie:

    Thanks for the ideas and feedback. This helps stop the head spinning.

    One question as we are planning something in June or July 2024 ( I know need to get going), but it will be a family of 3 (2 adults and 1 14YR Old Son). Knowing all cool viewing points will not always be as fun for a 14 year old, any thoughts/suggestions for his consideration?


    • Hi Tom, maybe plan to spend more time in the cities rather than in the country? There are lots of things that could be of interest to a teenager depending on what your son likes!

  4. Love your recommendations! We will likely visit England, Scotland and Wales in a three to four week trip. Any thoughts about a brief Wales tour? My ancestors are from Llanddulas and we’ve never been to Wales.

  5. Hi,

    I saw you suggested Ireland and Scotland if you only plan to spend 10 days, but what do you think about Ireland and England? I’d love to know your thoughts.


  6. Thank you so much for the great info! My husband and I just booked a trip in and out of London from 9/12-10/16. We plan to do 2 weeks in England and a week each in Scotland and Ireland. He has roots in County Cork so we definitely want to go there. Can you help with an itinerary? Since we’re flying in and out of London, do you recommend one week in the city and one week in the countryside? We definitely want to go to Bath. York, Cambridge, Oxford and maybe the Cotswalds? What do you suggest? Also, is there a ferry from Scotland to Ireland and how are the roads in the rural areas of these two countries? We’ve never driven on the UK side of the road. Will we need a car at all in England?
    Thank you so much!

  7. Hello Maggie, I enjoyed your article. My wife and I are planning a Sept 2023 trip to Scotland/London area. Will spend 14 days or so. Wondering if we fly into a Scottish airport or London on a RT ticket from Seattle, WA? The only thing in England we want to see is Sudeley Castle (family relationship), then it’s off to Scotland for 11-12 days (focused on highlands), probably by train then rental car. We could do Sudeley on front end or back. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  8. Hi Maggie,

    I am planning a 13 days trip to the UK in January.

    I want to understand if I should do both Scotland and Ireland with london.

    Please guide.

  9. Thanks for your super helpful blog! I have just a couple of questions:

    – Would you recommend separate car hires for Scottland and Ireland?
    – If you recommend separate car hires, would you recommend travel to Ireland from Scottland via ferry, or plane?



  10. Hello Maggie,visiting Europe for the first time- London – Paris – Italy – would love some advise from you
    Is the Oliver plaza hotel a good choice to stay in London
    We are considering 3 to 4 days in London ( sight seeing the most famous sites) – traveling to Paris via the eurostar – 4 day stay in Paris- need advise on hotel close to normal sight seeing- then Italy Rome-pissa -Venice- any and all advise is welcome
    Thanking you in advance for your help!

  11. Greetings Maggie!
    We have a reunion meeting in Belfast on 16-20 Sept 2022. I am flying from New York to Heathrow with connection to Belfast. After the reunion we want to explore Wales and Edinburg and Loch Ness (20-22 Sept) then back to London for return flight to NY. Would appreciate if you could recommend a good itinerary (I don’t drive manual so driving is not for me) taking the ferry from Belfast to Wales and maybe by air to Edinburg (pls suggest the best transport to take). Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

  12. Hello,

    Wonderful information. I have a 1 week trip to London in August and want to spend 2 days in Ireland. My family is from County Fermanagh but I am not sure I can get that far in such a short time and still enjoy it leisurely. Any must do’s or suggestions?? I am not too interested in Dublin.

    • Spending 2 days in Ireland will definitely be a bit rushed, especially when you consider travel times. I would recommend planning to visit another time if you’re strapped for time on this trip 🙂

  13. Hello Maggie we are 6 people from India all 60 plus of age want to visit London & Countryside in second half of June for around 12 nights what can be best ittenary for the same.My daughter living in London suggested Isle of Wright,Cotswold & Scotland

  14. Hi Maggie-
    My son is graduating from college and we are planning to go to Ireland, Wales and London. We have approximately 2 weeks. We fly into Dublin and will finish up in London. I’m going home then and he’s heading over to the continent for another 10 days before he returns home to Chicago. I’m considering renting a car in Ireland so we can have more flexibility getting to more places “off the beaten path”. Any advice?

    • Hi Patrice – sounds like you’re planning a really memorable trip! I think that renting a car in Ireland (and in Wales, too) is a great idea as it will give you a lot more flexibility. Hope you have a great time!

  15. Hi Maggie,

    I’m returning to the British Isles in April with my husband & son, as we will be visiting our older son studying in Swansea, Wales. Do you have any recommendations/links for a bed & breakfast or hotel in Swansea and for a bed & breakfast in Dublin, Ireland? Thank you for your kind consideration.

  16. Hi there Maggie,

    Thank you for this interesting read! I’ve actually been wanting to do a eng-sct-irl tour like this for quite a while (due in part to being a huge Harry Potter nerd), but I’ve never actually looked into it until now. Your itinerary guide has been really informative!

    I know it’s almost impossible to say, BUT if you were to give a ballpark cost figure for the full tour for a single traveler hiring a car, what would it be?

    Thanks again! And best wishes.

  17. Great article, thank you. In terms of a budget for the three locations, do you have anything on this? Many thanks, Ken

  18. Dear Maggie, thank you so much for putting this information out. 6 of us (3 couples family) want to plan a vacation to these locations in June 2022. This really helps us. My mother in law was from England and my husband and siblings want to see it all again. Fingers crossed.
    Thank you,

  19. Dear Maggie,
    This is wonderful information. Thank you so very much. I along with 3 other nurses who have worked off and on together for over 30 years are planning a 6 week trip through England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Your tips have helped me with the planning of this trip.
    Thank you again,

    • Thanks for your comment, Terry! So happy that we’ve been able to help you plan your trip and I hope that you’re able to have an unforgettable adventure.

    • Hello, we are considering a 4 week trip for our family of 5, and I was wondering how your 6 weeks went? I am starting to think 4 weeks isn’t enough time

  20. I am planning a trip to the U.K next year. I’m planning on moving to the U.K from Maryland. Where are the best location to settle down. It’s just me and no kids.

    • Hi Felicia, thanks for your comment! Where you plan to live in the UK really depends on what you’re after. There’s quite a lot of options so make sure to do some research and see where you like the most when you’re visiting next year 🙂

  21. Hello,

    My husband and I are hoping to travel next year to London, Scotland and Ireland. This was a very informative and helpful article. We unfortunately will only have two weeks and not three to do this trip so we may leave off Ireland. Any suggestions on how to spilt the 3 of them in a 2 week period or do you suggest skipping one for a later time date by itself? Thank you

    • Hi Vicki, thanks for your comment! If you only have two weeks, I think the right move is to only concentrate on England and Scotland and leave Ireland for another trip. It is way better to visit fewer places and actually get to see and experience them then feel as if you have to rush through too many places and not really get the most out of them. Hope this helps and you’re able to have a great trip in the future!

  22. Hi Maggie,

    Thanks for your tips etc on visiting Scotland/Ireland. A question can I rent a car in Scotland go over to Ireland leaving the car behind and pick up another car with the same rental company. Thus saving Ferry costs for the car. Whick port do you advise to use?

    Regards Sakkie

    • Hi Sakkie, I’m not aware of any particular companies that you could do this with — you’ll need to contact a few yourself. Hope you have a great trip!

  23. hello maggie,me and my wife are leaving USA,first time for our 30th anniversary.taking 2 1/2 weeks.wanted to visit all 3 places plus amsterdam,and normandy.was planning on flying to all of them,we heard it was the less expensive and doing small day tours in each.3 days in each,London,Edinburgh,dublin,amsterdam and normandy,all in may 2021.think too much?trying to plan a headstart.

    • Hi Jeffery, I think if you want to visit all of these places in 2.5 weeks it’s going to be a bit too much. Personally, I would limit yourself to just England and Scotland and maybe Ireland and save continental Europe for another trip 🙂 I think you will be able to enjoy the places you visit more this way.

  24. Wondering what the best itinerary would be for 17 day trip. We would fly into the suggested city and rent a car for sure. Looking to get all 3 in and definitely want to see all the highlights. Any recommendations ?

    • H John, if you have 17 days, I would follow the 3-week itinerary that I’ve lined out and just pick one or two places that don’t interest you in order to meet your time constraints.

  25. Dear Maggie,
    Thanks for the great information
    I’m planning for my short vacation (one week ) trip to London . North iceland and Scotland. Do you have any idea or suggestions for this short period ??

    • Hi Joanne, that is a lot of places to pack into one week! I would honestly only suggest sticking to the capital cities (London, Edinburgh, Belfast) and maybe take a day trip or two from them. That would allow you to get a good feel for the places without cramming too much in. Hope you have a great time!

  26. Hello Maggie,

    Wonderfully insightful and helpful information on traveling the British Isles. I am planning an 18 day trip next September for my wife and I. Following your suggestions, I think 3 days in London would be enough for us to see many of the important and historic sights there. Then we would take the train to Edinburgh and stay for 2 or 3 days (maybe a short trip to St. Andrews one of those days). Then off to Inverness and the Isle of Skye for 2 days. I’d like to know if you think Glasgow is a must see. If not, we will simply head to Ireland and have a few more days to spend there.

    I like the idea of Air BnB sites, but have no experience with them and want to make sure there is no concern necessary. I am a bit cautious at this point.

    I’m looking forward to your response and any further/additional suggestions for helpful information.

    Best regards,

    • Thanks for your comment, Pat! I’m glad you’ve found this information helpful and it sounds like you’re planning a great trip. A lot of people tend to skip Glasgow when visiting Scotland (I, myself, have never been) as I don’t believe it has the same kind of beauty and historical sites that you can find in Edinburgh or elsewhere in the country. It is pretty up and coming, however, and there is a great music scene (so I’ve heard), so it all depends on what you’re after.

      As for Airbnb, I have stayed in many many Airbnb properties all over the world and have never once had any sort of safety issue. It is actually my preferred kind of accommodation and I use it more often than not. All I would say is make sure you read the reviews of whichever property you want to stay in so you know what to expect. But there isn’t anything to worry about 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  27. Maggie,
    I really enjoyed your discussion and suggested itinerary. I is a great start for us. We are planning a five week trip to England, Scotland and Ireland (hopefully including Northern Ireland). A bit of Wales if we can fit it in would be nice. We are deciding between May and September. Do you have any recommendation/preference? I was thinking September since we would be heading pretty far north in Scotland. Also, do you have any thoughts on additional places to add for a trip of this length. We would likely limit our time in London to two-three days max. Both my wife Sue and I have visited London multiple times, but that is the extent of her travels to Britain. I have seen a fair share of the West Country and South Wales, but would appreciate any thoughts from an expert on how to expand your suggested itinerary. FYI, I have been no further north than the Cotswolds and have not seen Oxford/Cambridge/York and only limited places in Kent/Sussex/Hampshire/Dorset. Thanks in advance.

    • Thanks for your comment, Bob. I think that planning to go in September is a better bet, the weather is more consistently warm then — May can be really cold throughout Britain. If you’ve already been to London, then I would recommend spending some time in Cambridge and York. The Lake District could be a good option for you, as well, especially if you like nature. I hope you have a great trip!

  28. Hi Maggie,

    Thank you so much for such informative articles (I’ve read several of them tonight)!

    My husband and I are celebrating our 40th anniversary this December. We never had a honeymoon, so we have been planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland in March/April of 2020.

    After reading this article, however, I’m thinking we might be better off to wait until Fall of 2020. ?

    I have been looking into tour group trips, but none of them seem to be what we really want. After waiting all this time to go on a trip we’ve dreamed all our lives, I want it to be as special as can be. You have given me the courage to try and plan a trip myself and even hire a car! ?

    Thank you again for the insightful advice.


    • Hi Lorrie, thanks so much for your comment and I am so happy that I’ve inspired you to travel independently for your 40th anniversary “honeymoon!” I’m sure you and your husband will have an amazing time! If you have any questions regarding your trip, please don’t hesitate to get in touch 🙂

  29. Hi Maggie,

    we plan to travel to London 14 days on 19dec2019 onwsrds for Christmas celebration n New year 2020 and knowing that daylights short..about 4pm will b dark..

    We don’t plan to drive.. can u recommend which date shall we stay in London ? will like to travel to Paris, Scotland or any better suggestion.


    • Hey Amie, you can stay in London on any of these days but keep in mind that virtually everything shuts down on Christmas (25 Dec), including all public transport. Other than that, I’m sure you will have a great time — there are lots of markets and fun, festive things to explore that time of year. Just make sure to pack warm clothes!

    • 10 days in all three of London, Scotland, and Ireland is going to be too rushed. I would suggest concentrating on either London and Scotland or Scotland and Ireland depending on what interests you most. Hope you have a great trip!

  30. Hi Maggie,
    Planning a 2.5 week trip and a friend has offered for me to use her vehicle (starting point West London). Would this be a good option or will I be wasting time driving long distances?

    • Hi Stephanie, if you have the option to borrow your friend’s car for the trip, I would definitely recommend it! Driving in London can be a nightmare, but otherwise, you will have so much more flexibility on your itinerary without being beholden to bus and train timetables. The UK is a small country, so no drives are really that long, either. And you can always find somewhere great to stop along the way!

  31. Hi Maggie! We are looking for a 2 week trip to all 3 places. London we only want to do a few days and see the highlights. Then Scotland and Ireland. We want to stay a night in a castle in Scotland. Ireland we have to kiss the Blarney Stone. Touristy stuff as we have never been. Guinness and Jameson yours too! Ideas?

  32. Dear Maggie,
    Read your wonderful and infomative blog.
    Planning a trip to England, Scotland and Ireland in Mid September for family of
    4 adults , a 4 years child and a 8 months baby.

    We have only 2 weeks to spend.
    Please recommended some suggestions and an itinerary.
    Would like self driving in Scotland and Ireland.

    Thank you

    • Glad you found the information helpful! While the above itinerary is 3 weeks long, it is entirely possible to cut it down to 2 weeks if you just decide to skip some of the destinations that don’t interest you. For instance, you can only spend a couple of days in London, and skip one destination from each Scotland and Ireland and you will be able to plan to perfect 2-week trip. Hope you and your family have a great time!

  33. Dear Maggie,
    Happy New Year!
    Your information is great but I was wondering if you have info on just navigating travel to these beautiful cities via train or other types of transportation between your suggested cities What is your opinion of taking a ferry to one of our selected city? I will be traveling with my 16-year-old daughter and will not be renting a car. I would be too freaked out and make our trip unbearable. We have been to London but never to Scotland or Ireland. We are traveling from Los Angeles and look for to making this a reality. Our travel will be in June of 2019.
    Great Article and look forward to reading more of your articles.

    • Happy New Year, Rosemarie! Thanks for your comment 🙂 Depending on where you want to go in Ireland/Scotland, renting a car isn’t entirely necessary, it can just make things more convenient if you want to visit more rural areas. Bus and train connections between the bigger cities in both countries are frequent and reliable, so you shouldn’t need to worry much about that. I’m not sure where you plan to take a ferry to, however, in my experience, the ferries are large, clean, and comfortable and tend to operate on time.
      If you’re not renting a car, you can also take day tours from all of the bigger cities/towns to visit more difficult-to-reach areas as well.
      I hope this helps you plan your trip! If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email 🙂

      • Hi Maggie, my husband and I are planning a trip Oct 1-15 for his work to Tenby, Wales. He will have to work each day and I would love to see the UK, my daughter is planning on flying for one week of our stay and just wondering how we could see Ireland-Scotland-London in a 7 day period or is that too much to see in such a short time? Would love your suggestions!!

        • Hi Pam, thanks for your comment! I personally wouldn’t recommend trying to cram a visit to England, Scotland and Ireland into one 7-day trip – you’re likely not going to get a lot out of it and will spend more of your time travelling between places rather than actually seeing anything. I would recommend staying simply in England and Scotland (or just one of them) and then plan to visit Ireland some other time when you have enough time to properly dedicate to it.


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