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Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Great Britain in 16 Days

Guest post by bporter

Map tips: each color represents a different section below. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Days 1-4: Dublin

  • Kilmainham Gaol – it’s free to go to the museum. Didn’t take a tour but would like to go back and take one to see more of the prison space. Need to book in advance, maybe the day before, didn’t know that before we went.
  • Trinity College – bought tickets in advance to see the Book of Kells and tour the college. You also get to see The Long Room, which is the awesome-looking library.
  • Guinness Storehouse – also bought tickets in advance. It was very touristy, wouldn’t do it again but good to do once. I think we were spoiled by the other whiskey tours we did, which we liked better.
  • Temple Bar – went here in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. The Temple Bar Pub was so incredibly busy that we just walked around and went to The Norseman, right by it. Almost as old, not nearly as packed, and great food.

We bought tickets for the Hop on Hop off bus tour, cheap and good way to see the city. Even if you don’t listen to the tour, you can just use it to get around.

Buying tickets ahead of time saves so much time. Just print them off when you get there.

We didn’t go to the Writer’s Museum, but that looked neat.

Dublin is an affordable city, good for kids, and has lots of shopping.

Days 5-7: Belfast

We took a bus from Dublin to Belfast, which takes about 2 hours.

  • Titanic Museum – only thing that was open on Sunday. Pretty good.
  • Giant’s Causeway – long drive from Belfast (1.5 hours) but definitely worth it.
  • Bushmills Whiskey Tour – about 45 minutes and they give you 2 drinks at the end. Good time.
  • Crown Liquor Saloon is the oldest pub in Belfast, and Brennan’s bar is right across the street and had the same menu but cheaper so we ate there. Good stuff.

Days 8-10: Edinburgh

I’d already been to Edinburgh but my husband hadn’t. It’s only a 30-minute flight from Belfast.

  • Walking tour of Royal Mile – 2 or 3 hours and great. Had to pay, but cheap. Went with Mercat Tours – our guide had a Master’s Degree in history, very qualified people leading their tours.
  • Edinburgh Castle – expensive but a must-do.
  • World’s End – famous pub, good food and super fun. Close to the castle.
  • Scottish Highlands – booked the 1-day “Highland Lochs, Glens, and Whiskey” tour with Rabbies. No more than 14 ppl in their tours so it’s affordable but not crazy/crowded. Stopped at Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery, which was good. Also stopped at Queen’s View, Pitlochery, Dunkeld, and The Hermitage.
  • Greyfriars Kirkyard – cemetery at the abbey in Edinburgh where J.K. Rowling got all her names for Harry Potter. There is a coffee shop called the Elephant House where she wrote the first chapters, so they are known as being the birthplace of Harry Potter.

The Museum of Childhood and Camera Obscura (an optical illusion museum) are also great – didn’t do them this time, but had previously.

Days 11-13: London

We took the 5 hour train to London and did the touristy stuff. London is a huge city and I prefer smaller cities. Don’t think I would go back.

  • London Bridge
  • Buckingham Palace (really crowded – not a lot to see unless you get there early and wait for the changing of the guards).
  • Tower of London – didn’t do a tour, but they are available.
  • Big Ben was under construction so we couldn’t go in.

Days 14-16: Cardiff

Took the 2 hour train directly west to Cardiff, the capital of Wales. It’s a much smaller city that is much easier to navigate compared to London. Great food, too.

We went here mainly to see the filming locations of Doctor Who, so we spent a lot of time going from place to place. There are lots of websites that detail the filming spots.

We did the Hop on Hop off tour again, but it was a Sunday so the BBC Broadcasting House was closed. Would have liked to have done tour of that. Also would have done tour of Brains Brewery but it was closed.

Cardiff Castle – great castle and tour.

Cardiff Bay would be nice in the summer.

Flew from Cardiff to Dublin, then flew back home to the States.

Traveled in January 2018

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