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England, Ireland, Scotland trip July 2023 what to see and do?

LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
So my wife and kiddo have always wanted to do this, a huge 3 week trip and we will be flying out from the US West Coast. I was too little to go when my Mom and extended family went and at this point most of the relatives we knew died or have lost contact with. My maternal grandfather was 2nd generation Irish American and was a US paratrooper, African campaign (MIA for a time), Normandy invasion, Battle of the Bulge. My maternal grandmother worked in Bletchley Park, working on cracking the Enigma Machine when they met in a pub. I never learned this until I was much older, but here we are looking for out of the way or lesser known must see things. We are not interested really in large tours like Big Ben, the Palace, Crown Jewels, if we happen to drive by or see something near them maybe but those are not destination we are looking for. We have a few things already as must see, Guinness and Jamison, Harry Potter experience, the Jacobite express in Scotland. Also transportation, we know someone who has lives in London who will be our "guide" for part of it but they do not own a car, in London probably not an issue but the rest of England, Ireland and Scotland? What hostels/hotels/motels to STAY AWAY from. We are all fully vaxxed, the kiddo will be 18 (her grad present so I hope no age restrictions). We all have current US passports and we will be traveling "light" backpacks not suitcases, maybe an extra small bag or two for carry on purposes. Any food is no worries we eat anything except my wife is gluten intolerant but we have heard many GI folks can consume proper bread, breading etc. since it is not so processed as in the US, I would love to have her try a proper steak and kidney pie, or any meat pie really. Anyway it is 16 months out but I wanted to ask, unfortunately no Soccer/Football matches will be played I would love to watch Arsenal play in person maybe by 23 they will be back in form.

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    XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    I quite enjoyed Loch Ness, St. Andrews, and Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

    The Isle of Skye was nice too (best food on the trip)

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    I quite enjoyed Loch Ness, St. Andrews, and Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

    The Isle of Skye was nice too (best food on the trip)

    Awesome thanks. And 3 weeks is so we can go at a moderate pace hopefully, we will miss a bunch a things but really zero in on select few what we really want to do while leaving in a day here and there for rest/the oh hey look at that, lets go back we missed something back there (locally of course)

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    RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Depending on the time planned for Ireland, it might be an idea to come up from Dublin (Which I'm assuming is your base of operations because Guiness) to Belfast for a few days. Mainly for the Titanic Quarter for a bunch of maritime/industrial history (plus SS Nomadic and HMS Caroline), and perhaps a daytrip to the North Coast and the Giant's Causeway.

    For England I'm rather fond of York. A lovely place to walk around, the national rail museum and some medieval streets that really inspired some of the Harry Potter aesthetic if that's your thing, though the shops there these days are pretty touristy.

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    Depending on the time planned for Ireland, it might be an idea to come up from Dublin (Which I'm assuming is your base of operations because Guiness) to Belfast for a few days. Mainly for the Titanic Quarter for a bunch of maritime/industrial history (plus SS Nomadic and HMS Caroline), and perhaps a daytrip to the North Coast and the Giant's Causeway.

    For England I'm rather fond of York. A lovely place to walk around, the national rail museum and some medieval streets that really inspired some of the Harry Potter aesthetic if that's your thing, though the shops there these days are pretty touristy.

    Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede are on our list so awesome info thank you!

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    V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Depending on the time planned for Ireland, it might be an idea to come up from Dublin (Which I'm assuming is your base of operations because Guiness) to Belfast for a few days. Mainly for the Titanic Quarter for a bunch of maritime/industrial history (plus SS Nomadic and HMS Caroline), and perhaps a daytrip to the North Coast and the Giant's Causeway.

    For England I'm rather fond of York. A lovely place to walk around, the national rail museum and some medieval streets that really inspired some of the Harry Potter aesthetic if that's your thing, though the shops there these days are pretty touristy.

    If you like cheese, and I trust that you do, then Wensleydale is an easy trip from York. A lot of kinds of cheese get made around there, and it's absurdly, ridiculously, surely this is CGI, right? beautiful. I recommend a morning at Aysgarth Falls, then up the road to Hawes to get cheese and beer.

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    OricalmOricalm MDRegistered User regular
    When the wife and I were in London a few years ago, we made the trip out to Hampton Court Palace, which was amazing, even as someone with little/no interest in English history. It's still breathtakingly beautiful, and the time of year your going is the same as us, meaning the gardens will be in full glorious bloom. You can get there via Tube->Train->Bus and despite how that sounds, it was pretty quick and cheap.

    They do re-enactments if that's your thing. If you're into gardens, stained glass, or medieval architecture, it'll knock your socks off. We also checked out the tower of London and one of the other palaces (My wife is a huge English history nut) but nothing compared to Hampton Court.

    If you do go, get their meat pies. Get two of their meat pies. Get ALL of their meat pies.

    Xbox Live: Oricalm
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    FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    When in Ireland I'd strongly recommend a visit to Killarney National Park. If you want nature+castle ruins+good food this is one place where you can get all three.

    "The western world sips from a poisonous cocktail: Polarisation, populism, protectionism and post-truth"
    -Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden
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    KetBraKetBra Dressed Ridiculously Registered User regular
    I second York. You'll get your share of old churches, but I liked the climb up to the top of Yorkminster.

    Skye is great if you can hire a car in Edinburgh or Glasgow, lots of great hikes and beautiful views. Also if you like Scotch you can stop by the Talisker distillery.

    Cambridge is about an hour or so drive from Bletchley Park, if you're interested in college towns. Quite nice to bike around and has museums and such.

    I know you said you're not interested in doing the big touristy things but the British Museum is quite impressive (and free)

    KGMvDLc.jpg?1
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    ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular

    Definitely seconding the recommendation of Hampton Court Palace.

    If you like military and naval history, the HMS Belfast in London is amazing. The Imperial War museum in London is worth seeing IMO. The dockyards at Portsmouth have the HMS Victory, the HMS Warrior, the Mary Rose, and a bunch of other stuff, and is about two hours from London.

    If you like castles and medieval history, I recommend Dover Castle (about an hour from London by train), Carrickfergus Castle (less than an hour from a Belfast by train), and Portchester Castle (about two hours from London by train). There’s certainly plenty of others, but after the Tower of London those three are top of mind for me in terms of accessibility, historical importance, and state of preservation. I really do recommend the Tower first and foremost though. I kinda feel like seeing London on a long tourist trip but not visiting the Tower is a little like going to Giza and not seeing the pyramids. Canterbury Cathedral is reasonably impressive as Cathedrals go, and the site of one of the most important events of Medieval English history is well marked there. York’s Cathedral is incredible, absolutely gorgeous and enormous.

    Civics is not a consumer product that you can ignore because you don’t like the options presented.
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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    edited February 2022
    Cheese and Meat pies (for me) are on the list for sure everywhere we go, we can get Dubliner here we really want to try other. Also found Kerigold butter many years ago amazing difference between the major US brands that we have had here in the stores.

    LeperMessiah on
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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited February 2022
    Bath is usually pretty popular, historic town built on hot springs that still has a fairly well intact Roman bath. If you're from the US and don't mind a serious commute, there's quite a few places that could be worth a 2hr drive and then a couple of days if you could hire a car. Portsmouth is a good example, you've got the Dockyards, Portchester Castle and you're only 45 min from Stonehenge and the New Forest, or Arundel and Brighton in the other direction.

    There's also lot of cool stuff down in the SE of England around Devon and Cornwall, but public transport down there is terrible.

    As for castles, Arundel is another good one, and other summer they tend to have a lot of events. Medieval jousts, archery tournaments and the like.
    Portchester is a Roman castle, and they also do a bunch of live events too. They took out a car in the carpark with a mangonel once by accident once.
    English Heritage has a schedule when all of that kind of stuff is happening and where, although Arundel Castle is it's own thing.

    They have a jousting tournament from the 26th to the 31st.

    Tastyfish on
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    EnigmedicEnigmedic Registered User regular
    when we went to ireland we took a tour bus from dublin to the cliffs of moher. that was a neat day trip. since you basically drive across the country you see a lot of it. the food in ireland was so much better than in england as well. we went to the brazen head and there was a story time thing and a meal with a little old irish man, which was entertaining enough. in england stonehenge is pretty cool. there werent a billion people there either when we went. iirc we looked into the harry potter thing and you needed to book it over a year out, so make sure you look at that soon.

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    AntinumericAntinumeric Registered User regular
    How much do you like Cathedrals? There's some pretty nice cathedrals all over the place. Canterbury is really quite nice. York is great and Durham is very pretty with a castle too.

    Swanage is nice and touristy and has Corfe Castle, but the best castles are in Wales. Caernarfon is great but a bit remote.

    In this moment, I am euphoric. Not because of any phony god’s blessing. But because, I am enlightened by my intelligence.
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    ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    How much do you like Cathedrals? There's some pretty nice cathedrals all over the place. Canterbury is really quite nice. York is great and Durham is very pretty with a castle too.

    Swanage is nice and touristy and has Corfe Castle, but the best castles are in Wales. Caernarfon is great but a bit remote.

    Some excellent non-remote Welsh castles are Caerphilly and Chepstow; they're respectively 20 and 40 minutes from Cardiff by train.

    Civics is not a consumer product that you can ignore because you don’t like the options presented.
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    AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    Can I tag onto this thread and ask about a different scale of trip?

    I'm about to be 40 and have never been to the UK despite wanting to go for since I was 13.
    I have time off from May 22nd to the 30th this year.

    I'm interested in Naval history stuff (thanks Shadowhope for the suggestions already!) and probably the major tourist attractions but I don't want to be constantly on the move to the next thing for a quick glimpse.
    Hoping to get some winding down in a pub or some good food as well.

    Please recommend me some *must* visits and advice on airbnb or similar accomodation stuff would be great.
    I can drive though would prefer to walk or take a train.

    Also, any warnings about wasted time or money would be awesome :)

    I may be solo or with my best friend if he can get the time off but no kids or age constraints, both like to have a couple beers but not clubbing atmosphere.


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    ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular

    Another naval site possibly worth visiting is the Chatham dockyards. I have NOT been there personally, so I can't personally vouch for it, but it's another Royal Navy site as I understand it. It had been on my list to visit in 2021, but the global plague intervened. Rochester Cathedral and Castle are nearby (literally walking distance, if you don't mind a long walk), and those I did visit and find interesting. The castle is the site of one of the most famous sieges in medieval England.

    Civics is not a consumer product that you can ignore because you don’t like the options presented.
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    djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    Greenwich has the National Maritime Museum if you want naval history, and the Cutty Sark (as well as the royal observatory if you want to stand on the 0th meridian).

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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    Haven't been to the UK for decades, but, you want to go to Portsmouth, I think. HMS Victory, the Submarine museum in Gosport nearby, etc.

    https://www.nmrn.org.uk/

    :so_raven:
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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    100% Portsmouth for Naval military stuff, dating all the way back the Tudors with the Mary Rose to modern day. I've not done it, but there is also some experience thing they have at the Dockyards that is based around helicoptering over and boarding an enemy vessel.

    Th submarine museum is worth seeing at Gosport too, as they have a large sub drydocked that you can go into, and you can see the madness of the diving tower, where they practice emergency exits.

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    V1mV1m Registered User regular
    A quick check shows that Portsmouth is about 2 hours from London via train, so it's a fairly easy day trip

    https://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/timesandfares/London/Portsmouth/today/0830/dep

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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    They're both terminal stations too, so just get on the train at Waterloo and get off it when it stops, and vice versa, should you be someone who falls asleep on trains or you're getting the last one home.

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    edited June 2023
    Massive bump, T - 12 days to departure, how has the weather been for the folks over there.

    See the above but we have most things locked in at this point.

    @Aridhol
    How was your trip?

    I know there are some other folks that live over there, should I at them? Tav a few other folks, I am not a regular in chat.

    We are in and around London starting July 4, making our way north from there to Buxton, York, Edenborough, then East to Glasgow. This is just about 2 weeks of our trip, then flight over to Belfast, North to Giants Causeway, south to Dublin we are not sure the route yet but we have a car in Ireland and this is the last 6-7 days of our trip. All travel in England and Scotland will be Tube, Rail and by foot with help from a Friend in London and Uber I guess..? One thing we are not sure, our Rail ride up north from London has a possible stop "near" Quorn. I guess many of the 82nd airborne were helped/housed by local families there on and off during the war? My Grandfather was there and was helped by a family name of Dutton, at the time they had 11 year old twin daughters this would have been between 43-45 I think from the papers I have. Very very far chance but maybe we can stop in that town and at least see the memorial to the 82nd I have been told they have.

    I know nobody here knows me at all but if you happen to want a free pint or something maybe we will be close and can meet at a pub. Also I really want to find a good steak and kidney pie, stuffed beef/ox heart, and Shepard's pie, these are the things my Grandmother made and I can make everything except the steak kidney pie. I am not yet ready to go into preparing kidney without some proper help.

    LeperMessiah on
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    RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    edited June 2023
    Weatherwise we've just come through a heatwave and now it's more overcast and rainy, but still warm. Doubt it will be any colder by July.

    Belfast to Dublin is simple, it's like 98% Motorway, though there's one physical toll in the Republic and an electronic one depending on how much of the M50 you use. For the Giant's Causeway you have the quick route or the scenic route.

    Quick: Belfast - Take M2/M22 west - Turn off at Junction 1 for Ballymena - Take M2 ringroad around Ballymena* - Follow signs for Ballycastle, first A26, then A44** - Once in Ballycastle***, follow the Causeway Scenic Route (with the sea on your right) and you will come across Carrick-a-Rede first, then the Causeway a little further on. Then you can either push on to Dunluce Castle, Portstewart and Coleraine**** before doing your return trip, or turn in to Bushmills to head back right away.

    Scenic: Belfast - Take M5 north - go through Carrickfergus, past Whitehead and through Larne - follow Causeway Scenic Route for a leisurely coastal drive with some excellent scenery of the Antrim glens. If you're up for a driving challenge you can detour through Cushendun on the final stretch to Ballycastle and visit Torr Head, where you can see a ruined lifeboat outpost and depending on the weather can see Scotland. It's narrow, twisty and steep though so be careful, and the ruins are unsupervised and falling is possible. In either case you turn up in Ballycastle and continue as described above.

    Also Carrick-a-Rede and the Causeway are both managed by the National Trust, so if you can procure some type of temporary pass, consider doing so.


    *Keep an eye out for Mount Slemish if you want to see an extinct volcano, it's where Saint Patrick worked as a slave. There are tons of places around Mid Ulster that have it on the Horizon somewhere.

    **A possible detour here is to see the Dark Hedges, a road lined by visually striking trees which was used as the Kingsroad in Game of Thrones

    ***Can get nice views of Fair Head and Rathlin Island here

    ****If you make it that far, consider visiting Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple, a few extra miles into County Derry where you can see an 18th Century recreation of a Roman Temple atop a stunning clifftop view of beaches, a coastal railway line, the mountains of County Donegal, and much of the Causeway Coast you'll have covered. It is also a National Trust property.

    RMS Oceanic on
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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    edited June 2023
    "Weatherwise we've just come through a heatwave and now it's more overcast and rainy, but still warm. Doubt it will be any colder by July."

    I grew up in Seattle so I would prefer overcast and a bit of rain here and there, we have raingear and rain covers for our backpacks, mostly worried about too hot.

    "Also Carrick-a-Rede and the Causeway are both managed by the National Trust, so if you can procure some type of temporary pass, consider doing so."

    This is already on our plan, looks amazing.

    There was an older man who opened a bar across the street from where I worked, he brought an original Barfront over from Ireland, it was called "Giants Causeway" and then "Finnegan's" at some point, but then he had to sell for health reasons I was told, it was reopened and called "A Terrible Beauty". Closed down now but they would bring younger folk over, out of highschool or college, and sponsor them to work in the states.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=http://www.seattlebars.org/2012/10/1792-terrible-beauty-renton-wa-5242012.html&psig=AOvVaw2LKchNbU5hi9ZAsyeYAEEa&ust=1687454638406000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CBAQjRxqFwoTCICOn8Xw1P8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

    LeperMessiah on
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    AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    I can add more after work but my trip was great!

    So jealous of the public transit, it was so easy to get around (I just swiped my card and used the train apps).

    A highlight for me was certainly popping from pub to pub in between tourist stuff and just having great beer and observing the people.

    We went to Portsmouth to go through the historic naval yard and I loved it. I'm a big naval history guy but my friends are not and even they had a great time. I wish I could have had another day there.

    We went to a pub called the Phoenix in Portsmouth which was one of the best experiences of the trip. It was a genuine family pub kind of experience with some amazing local people.

    We saw the usual tourist stuff around London like the tower, museums, zoo etc and it was all great.

    We didn't do anything off the beaten path really so if you're more adventurous than I am I might not be a great guide.

    My goal with the trip was to get out of the country, see some history, absorb the pub life and good beer and all of that was accomplished.


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    AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    I forgot to mention I had one of the top 3 meals of my entire life at an Indian restaurant called Dishoom.
    Absolutely amazing.

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    "A highlight for me was certainly popping from pub to pub in between tourist stuff and just having great beer and observing the people."

    This is some of what I am looking forward too, I never sleep much on trips and usually just wander around at night after daily stuff is finished. Is wandering around safe at night in the city/town center, pubs etc.? I have done this in San Francisco, Salt Lake, San Diego, Raleigh NC, Seattle, Portland, Orlando, Phoenix, I can't imagine, baring wandering into "bad" areas it is any different.

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    SchadenfreudeSchadenfreude Mean Mister Mustard Registered User regular
    Aridhol wrote: »
    I forgot to mention I had one of the top 3 meals of my entire life at an Indian restaurant called Dishoom.
    Absolutely amazing.

    Dishoom is great. They do a lovely BLT. Buy the cookbook!

    Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe
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    AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    "A highlight for me was certainly popping from pub to pub in between tourist stuff and just having great beer and observing the people."

    This is some of what I am looking forward too, I never sleep much on trips and usually just wander around at night after daily stuff is finished. Is wandering around safe at night in the city/town center, pubs etc.? I have done this in San Francisco, Salt Lake, San Diego, Raleigh NC, Seattle, Portland, Orlando, Phoenix, I can't imagine, baring wandering into "bad" areas it is any different.

    This is a place we kept returning to
    https://www.lambandflagcoventgarden.co.uk/?utm_source=googlemybusiness&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=yext&utm_content=P154&y_source=1_MTIyMzcxNTgtNzE1LWxvY2F0aW9uLndlYnNpdGU=

    There is an alleyway / road outside and every lunch hour or afternoon/dinner it was flooded with what looked like working professionals all just chatting and having a nice pint before going wherever. It was really great and the good tasting beer didn't hurt either!

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    spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    If you go to the west of Ireland, make it to the Saturday morning market in Galway.

    While you're there, find the crepe stand and prepare for a good time. The place has been legendary for 20 years, the owner's kids are running the show now. I have met random people who lived in Galway, and was like "that crepe stand tho, am I right?" and then we cry about the utter impossibility of finding its like, anywhere else. You won't be disappointed!

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