My brother shall soon be embarking on his first British Isles adventure and was asking his travel blogger sister and other sister who used to live in Europe the best itinerary for him and his friend. Two weeks is a good amount of time to get a taste of an area and while he can’t do everything, hopefully he will get enough of the culture and have enough fun to want to keep spreading his travel wings.
1) Fly into London- 7 days
London is fantastic and you need to spend a good amount of time here seeing all the sights like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, British Museum, Trafalgar Square, a show on the West End, having a drink along the Thames, Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station, Buckingham Palace, and trying all the food.
I wouldn’t call my brother super-adventurous with his food and his navigating skills are questionable (which we inherited from my directionally-challenged mother) but I hope he expands his culinary horizons in London and doesn’t just eat fish and chips for every meal! Although fish and chips can be very tasty.
- Side trips from London
London is a great base for seeing other parts of England because of the railway system. It makes it really fast and easy to experience some fantastic places.
Spend a day (or half day if you are speedy) in the college town to get a feel for the non-London, England. Oxford has a quaint feel, more English countryside than city.
For Stonehenge travelers will either need to take the train and hop on a connecting bus or do a bus tour. I did the train to bus route without issue but it does take a bit more planning. Stonehenge is super crowded so definitely be on the first bus of the day. A lot of people say they were disappointed in Stonehenge but I still thought the ancient rock clock was very cool.
There are so many other side trips to take from London including Stratford upon Avon, Cambridge, Dover, Cardiff (Wales) but my brother isn’t going to be into a lot of them and he is short on time. Stonehenge and Oxford are my two picks for him.
2) Take the train to Edinburgh- 3 days, 2 nights
Edinburgh is one of my favorite European cities and deserves two full days of wandering. Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile have amazing architectural structures to bring back a medieval feel. Beer and a scotch tasting are a must do for those who enjoy an alcoholic beverage.
3) Fly to Galway, Ireland (Shannon Airport)- 2 days, 2 nights
Galway is a good home base for driving the Ring of Kerry to view Irelands beautiful coastline. Driving on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to is very hard so I suggest that my brother take a tour here that drives the Ring of Kerry and stops in some small Irish towns. It may be the tourist thing to do but it is the easiest thing to do too.
4) Train from Galway to Dublin- 3 nights
It would be easy to complete this itinerary in reverse order or switching around Galway and Dublin depending on flight prices. Shannon, Dublin, and London airports all have frequent flights to the United States.
Reader Question: Have you done a British Isles trip? What did you include on your adventure?