1 Month UK and Ireland Itinerary for First Timers

by | Nov 8, 2022 | Ireland Live Work and Play, Itineraries, Live Work Play Travel, London and UK Live Work and Play | 9 comments

White Cliffs are just one place you will visit on my 1 month UK and Ireland itinerary

 

You have one month holiday and you want to spend it holidaying in the United Kingdom and Ireland. I know just how you are feeling. Excited. Daunted. Maybe a little stressed at how many amazing places there are and how you will fit seeing them all in to one month? But it doesn’t have to be. In this post I will show you the best places to visit and advise you on some of the ‘must’ things to do and see in the UK and Ireland. Plus, I provide an idea of how many days you will need to make the most of your time in each city and country. So get ready to start planning your 1 Month UK and Ireland road trip itinerary.

FYI – The UK is made up of the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Countries that make up Britain are England, Scotland and Wales. Then, on one island you have Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This itinerary I have put together starts and finishes in London and visits 5 countries on 2 islands. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

 

When is the Best Time to Visit the UK and Ireland?

 

You can visit the UK and Ireland anytime however, they have very cold winters. So if you don’t want to be wearing 3 or 4 layers of clothes when outside and then boil inside from the central heating, I suggest visiting during the warmer months. However, the winter months can be magical with chestnuts being roasted by vendors on the streets and the Christmas lights are so bright and welcoming. 

The summer months of June, July and August see the most overseas tourists visiting and this is when accommodation is the most expensive. I lived in the UK on a UK Working Holiday Visa so I experienced all the seasons. If I was going to visit as a tourist I would suggest visiting during the shoulder seasons of mid-Spring or mid-Autumn because the weather is warmer, accommodation not as expensive and you can enjoy doing all the touristy things with less people. But any time is a magical time to visit the UK as there is plenty of things to see and do. 

 

How to Travel Around the UK and Ireland?

 

There are a number of options to travel around the UK and Ireland. They include by train, bus, ferry and car. This itinerary is best suited to travelling by car as it gives you the flexibility to go where you want, when you want, and deviate if you want to. There are a couple of ferry trips on this itinerary. If you don’t have a car, you can hire one in Britain. Check out Rentalcars for pricing and availability. 

 

What to Pack for a Trip to the UK and Ireland

 

What to pack for your trip to the UK and Ireland will depend on the season you are visiting. It is always best to dress in layers so you can take them off if hot, and put them on when cold. I would suggest if you are visiting at the height of winter to ensure you have thermal underwear and a good waterproof jacket. You will be doing plenty of walking on this driving tour of the UK and Ireland so definitely invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

 

Where to Stay in the UK and Ireland

 

There are many styles of accommodation in the UK and Ireland to suit every budget and need. Accommodation comes in all sorts of sizes and shapes including hostels, hotels, B&Bs, camp sites, boats, apartments and even castles. My biggest tip for booking your accommodation is to book early, particularly during the summer months as many places book out well in advance. Many young and solo travellers stay at hostels and there are a number of small hostel chains such as Wombats, Generator and of course YHA (Youth Hostels Association). They provide all the services you need in a hostel from a bed, bathroom, kitchens to cook in, communal areas, cafes, bars to free wifi. I have listed some hostel contact details under each city but for more options check out HostelWorld to compare and book a hostel bed. Other affordable accommodation can be found through Booking.com.. This is the place I book all my accommodation because of the range available and the ease of the process.

 

LWPT Tip: Before I begin my suggested itinerary I just want to recommend you purchase travel insurance. I know travel insurance is an extra cost on any holiday but it is well worth it. Things can happen when you least expect them. You don’t want to be stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills or without any luggage. I recommend World Nomads and SafetyWing for travel insurance but if you don’t purchase a policy through either of them, please ensure you purchase travel insurance from somewhere else. You never know what might happen and you need to be covered.

 

1 Month UK and Ireland Highlights

Big Ben London is a Great Place To Start my 1 Month UK and Ireland Itinerary.

This 1 month UK and Ireland itinerary starts and finishes in London

 

The Amazing Experiences included in my suggested itinerary include:

  • Discover London and see places on the Monopoly Board on a Hop-on Hop-off London Sightseeing Bus Tour
  • Visit Stonehenge, Bath, Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast
  • See crystal being made in Waterford
  • Visit Blarney Castle and kiss its Blarney Stone
  • See the birthplace of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Get your Harry Potter on in Oxford and Edinburgh
  • See Hadrians Wall
  • Experience the Cliffs of Moher, the White Cliffs of Dover and the Giant’s Causeway
  • Visit museums including the National Wallace Museum in Stirling
  • Taste whisky in Scotland and Guinness in Ireland

 

Days 1-5 – London

 

No trip to Great Britain should miss the capital of England, London. And this is where this 1 month UK and Ireland itinerary starts and ends. Use day 1 to get use to UK time and start exploring this wonderful city. You will have it in your mind what you want to see and do in London. I usually start my visit to a new big city with a hop-on hop-off bus sightseeing tour. One of these tours takes me to all the places to see and provides a commentary of each place. Then I can decide which places I want to go back and visit longer.

The bus will swing by must-see attractions like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, Parliament Square, Big Ben, Harrods in Knightsbridge, Natural History Museum, V&A Museum, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Kings Cross, Tower Bridge, Oxford Street shops, Madame Tussauds, the Tower of London, London Eye, The Shard and so much more. You can book you hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour of London here.

Day 1 in London – get use to UK time and get your bearings on a hop-on hop-off bus around London. Followed by an evening in Covent Garden to get a meal and drink.

Your second day in London is all about Westminster and Buckingham Palace. Catch the tube or bus to Westminster and discover Westminster Abbey, the Houses of parliament with Big Ben, 10 Downing Street and nearby is Buckingham Palace and The Mall. Then take a walk through Hyde Park.

Day 3 discover the history of London with a visit to the Tower of London. Take a walk across Tower Bridge to the Southbank Area.

On your fourth day in London before you head through England get some shopping in on Bond or Oxford Streets or at Harrods in Knightsbridge.

Day 5 is a day trip to Windsor to visit Windsor Castle. This is the birthplace of Queen Victoria and you can see a lot of memorabilia from her childhood and reign here. Walk the cobbled streets and pick up a royal trinket or two. You can get to Windsor on a tour or catch the train. It is a very pleasant train ride and quite spectacular when Windsor Castle appears.

 

How to Get Around London

 

London is synonymous with black cabs, red double decker buses and the Tube. Get yourself a day ticket and this public transport to visit all the places you want to see in London.

 

Where to Stay in London

 

As you will be spending 5 nights here in London you may wish to choose accommodation with cooking facilities. This way you could have breakfast each morning. Make lunch to take with you for the day and cook your dinner if you don’t want to go out each night. Cooking your own meals will definitely help you save heaps of money.

If hostels are your choice of accommodation style then you are in luck because London has around 150 of them. I lived in London for 4 years and stayed in many hostels, hotels and B&Bs. Here are some hostels I have stayed in in London and can recommend.

YHA Central London
Astor Hyde Park
Generator London
The Walrus Bar and Hostel

If you are wanting a budget hotel then consider:

Earls Court Garden Hotel which is in Earls Court and is easy to reach from the airport and has lots of transport into central London.
Oxford Hotel
Lord Jim – I have stayed in this one and it was enjoyable.
Mayflower Hotel and Apartments

For a bit of luxury consider The Savoy or The Ritz. For more London accommodation options visit Booking.com.

You could consider house sitting for your 5 days in London. Check out Trusted Housesitters for options.

 

Day 6 – Canterbury, Hastings and Brighton

 

Take a walk along Brighton Pier on your 1 Month UK and Ireland Itinerary.

Take a walk along Brighton Pier while in Brighton

 

Distance London to Brighton via Canterbury and Hastings – about a couple of hundred miles which will be around 3 hours of driving.

Today, pick up your car and hit the road. Take the M2 and onto the A2 towards the East Coast. First stop is the town of Canterbury which is home to Canterbury Cathedral, founded 597AD. This beautiful cathedral is the headquarters of the Church of England. Take a walk around the ancient walls, originally built by the Romans that encircle the city centre. See beautiful old timber-framed houses built on cobbled streets. Step back in time on discover this beautiful old town. Maybe enjoy a meal before jumping in the car for our next stop on this British road trip.

Next stop, White Cliffs of Dover which is the English coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France. These cliffs are composed of soft white limestone which give them their white chalk appearance. The cliffs are about 350 feet high and you can walk along the cliff face if you are feeling energetic and the weather is good. You will be treated to great views if you do! Start your visit at the Dover Visitor Centre where you can park and have access to a cafe, toilets and the walking tracks. Parking costs 5 pound per day or free for National Trust members. Did you take out membership?

From Dover head to Hastings. This town is known for the 1066 Battle of Hastings which was fought on a field where the Battle Abbey now stands. If you love history, you will love this place and you will definitely want to visit the ruins of Hastings Castle which was once the home of William the Conqueror. There are also a couple of museums nearby, Hastings Fishermen’s Museum and Shipwreck Museum which document the maritime history of the area. 

Onto Brighton. Check into your accommodation for 2 nights as tomorrow you will have a full day discovering Brighton.

Where to Stay in Brighton – book for 2 nights.

Hostel: YHA Brighton, Selina Brighton Backpackers
Budget-Mid Range: Royal Albion Hotel, The Queensberry Hotel

 

Day 7 – Brighton

 

Brighton is a seaside resort, well a British version of a seaside resort on the East Sussex coast of England. Realistically it is only 47 miles south of London and you could visit it doing a day trip from London. I have done it a few times by train from London but if you do, you won’t have the flexibility to visit the White Cliffs of Dover and Hastings.

I love visiting Brighton, particularly walking along the pier and stopping in the arcade to play a couple of games and to buy some Brighton rock – a hard lolly to suck. If the weather is warm, buy an ice cream and sit on the pebbly beach ‘ouch’, and enjoy the water. Or perhaps some fish and chips might be on the cards! As Brighton is rather compact it is easy to walk around. Many of the streets are cobbled so wear good walking shoes to see the old buildings and visit the Royal Pavilion. Enjoy a drink in one of the pubs before heading back to your accommodation for the night.

 

Day 8 – Stonehenge to Winchester to Salisbury to Bath

 

Distance Brighton to Stonehenge is 97miles or about 2 hours drive passing by Portsmouth and Southampton.

After breakfast, hop in the car and head west through the beautiful English countryside to Wiltshire and Stonehenge. Stop by Winchester and visit the Winchester Cathedral to see King Arthur’s Round Table. Then to Salisbury, home of the Salisbury Cathedral for a quick look around and maybe some morning tea. 

Then to Stonehenge. Stonehenge is an iconic symbol of Britain with a history spanning some 4,500 years with different meanings to people. After parking in the car park visit the information centre to learn about Stonehenge before walking under the main road to the field where the sacred stone circle making up Stonehenge reside. You will need an entrance ticket to Stonehenge which you can purchase here. Budget to spend a couple of hours here, then onto the town of Bath in the county of Somerset for the evening.

READ MORE: How to Visit Stonehenge.

Where to Stay in Bath – book for 2 nights

Hostel: YHA Bath Hostel, Bath Backpackers
Hotel: St Christophers Inn, The Z Hotel Bath

 

Day 9 – Bath

Sharyn getting up close and personal with a thermal bath in Bath UK.

Me enjoying the baths in Bath

You might be itching to see the Roman baths, but start your day on the Bath Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus which will take you to all the places of note. Before deciding which ones you wish to spend more time at. Then spend the rest of the day discovering the Roman era natural hot spring water baths, built in 60AD that are still operating today. Then see Bath’s honey-coloured Georgian architecture with the iconic Royal Crescent and the majestic Circus. End the day with a good meal in one of Bath’s pubs. Then maybe have a nightcap before heading back to your accommodation.

 

Day 10 – To Cardiff

 

Distance Bath to Cardiff – 1 hour 5 mins, 54 miles afternoon Cardiff

After breakfast, jump in your car, cross the massive Severn Bridge into Wales, heading for the capital of Cardiff. On arriving in Cardiff, find a place to park and get to know this beautiful and compact city. Maybe take Cardiff’s Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus. The head back to visit the medieval Cardiff Castle located in the city centre before enjoying a meal along the ultramodern Cardiff Bay Waterfront. Why not also visit the Millennium Stadium, known as Principality Stadium since 2016 and is home of Welsh rugby.

Where to Stay in Cardiff for the night.

There are a number of hostels close to the city centre – Bunkhouse (0.3km) and The Riverhouse (0.7km) for those of you looking for a bed in a dorm room. For a budget hotel try the Ibis Budget Hotel Cardiff City or the Holiday Inn. Happy to splurge for your time in Cardiff check into The Parkgate Hotel or the St David’s Cardiff an IHG Hotel.

 

Day 11 – To Liverpool

 

The Fab Four Beatles Statue in Liverpool.

Get a photo with the Fab Four

 

Distance Cardiff to Liverpool 3.5 hours, 196 miles along the M6.

Leave Wales and head back into England to arrive in Liverpool by lunch time and spend the rest of the day getting to know this city. Famous for the Beatles you can visit The Beatles Story and Museum while taking the Liverpool and Beatles Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour. Perhaps include a visit to the world-famous ‘Cavern Club’ on Mathew Street. Then take walk around the Albert Docks along the Mersey river and discover historic architecture and local Liverpudlian lifestyle. Maybe even get a photo with the fab four statue! Enjoy an evening in one of the pubs and discover a ‘Scouse stew’ with a pint before heading to your accommodation for the night. Or take the overnight ferry to Dublin rather than waiting for tomorrow. However, I think you see more on the day sailing. Leaving one harbour and coastline behind and arriving to a new coastline and harbour is quite spectacular.

Where to Stay in Liverpool for the night if not doing the overnight ferry but doing it during the day tomorrow. Taking the overnight ferry will give you more time in Dublin.

Hostel: YHA Liverpool Albert Docks, Liverpool Central YHA
Budget-mid-range Hotel: Easy Hotel Liverpool, Tune Hotel Liverpool

 

Day 12 – Ferry to Dublin

 

Ferry to Dublin takes between 6.5-7.5 hours or you could fly.

Today cruise across the Irish sea to Dublin. On arrival check into your accommodation and head out to Temple Bar for the evening. This area is full of restaurants and bars offering good Irish ‘craic’ (fun). Maybe an Irish Stew and a Pint of Guinness is on the cards!

Where to Stay in Dublin – book for 2 nights

There are plenty of hostels in Dublin for your 2 night stay.

Jacobs Inn Hostel, only 600m from the city centre.
The Apache Hostel in the Temple Bar area.
Generator Dublin, about 1.2km from the city centre and is great value if you measure it in terms of star rating, facilities and reviews.
Backpackers D1Hostel, only 450m from city centre.
The Times Hostel, College Street, only 500m from city centre.
Backpackers Citi Hostel, Dublin City Centre, 450m from centre.

If it’s a budget hotel room you are after then check out:

RIU Plaza The Gresham, Dublin is a 4 star hotel only 250m from the city centre.
Amberley House by the KeyCollections, 400m from centre, and includes breakfast.
Arcadia House B&B

 

Day 13 – Dublin

 

Dublin is a compact city and to get to know it I suggest you get onto the Dublin hop-on hop-off bus to discover what this magnificent medieval city has to offer. Then you can head back to the places you want to spend more time. Such as:

– Dublin Castle
Guinness Storehouse to discover how Guinness is made and to have a sample in the bar on the top floor with fabulous views over Dublin.
– St Stephen’s Green, the city’s most famous park.
– National Museum of Ireland
– Book of Kells at Trinity College
– Irish Whisky Museum
– Do some shopping along Grafton Street, a pedestrian only shopping street filled with many street-level stores and coffee shops.

End your day in Dublin in another traditional Irish pub for another Irish meal, Guinness with Irish music and dancing.

 

Day 14 – to Waterford, Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone

 

Today leave Dublin and head south to Ireland’s ancient east coast and to its oldest city, Waterford. This city was founded by Vikings in 914 and has a fascinating history. Make time to visit the Waterford Crystal Factory to watch professional crystal crafters at work and maybe buy some crystal to take home.

After some lunch, continue to Blarney Castle housing the famous Blarney Stone. The stone is legendary for being the Stone of Eloquence and if you kiss it, you will never again be lost for words. Be warned, to kiss the stone you will be hung upside down by a couple of friendly guy! Then onto Killarney for the night.

Where to stay in Killarney – book for 2 nights

Hostel: The Black Sheep Hostel, The Railway Hostel
Budget-Mid Range Hotels: Killarney Royal Hotel, Killarney Country House

 

Day 15 – Ring of Kerry

 

The Ring of Kerry is a popular scenic circular driving tourist route skirting the edges of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, south-western Ireland. It is only 111 miles long and can take a couple of hours if you don’t stop. But you must stop, and you will as you drive through picture-postcard quaint and charming towns. Plus you will see plenty of Ireland’s rugged coastline with breathtaking coastal views and emerald-green paddocks. Definitely have your camera full charged for your visit today. Also, stop in the little villages and enjoy culinary treats from cute cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs in the area.

You can choose to stay in one of the small towns along the way or back in Killarney which will be easy and closer for our drive tomorrow.

 

Day 16 – Killarney to Adare to Limerick to Galway

 

Steep cliffs in Ireland - the Cliffs of Moher with the ocean pounding against them.

The Cliffs of Moher – a must on any Irish holiday

 

Today is another day for dramatic Irish scenery as you make your way up the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’. Take a little time to stop in Adare and Limerick. Adare is renowned as Ireland’s prettiest village, with its string of beautiful 19th-century thatch-roofed white-walled cottages. Another good photo shot here! Then journey through the county of Limerick, maybe even stop in the town of Limerick before making your way to the famous Cliffs of Moher. These staggeringly beautiful, entirely vertical cliffs rise to a height of 214m. Their edge abruptly falls away into a ceaselessly churning Atlantic. The views on a clear day are absolutely breath-taking. The wind can be extremely strong and blustery, but well worth the visit.

Continue to Galway for the evening. Here you will discover remnants of the medieval town walls as you walk around the shops selling musical instruments, books and handcrafted Claddagh rings – have you bought one of these yet? Enjoy a night out for dinner in one of the local pubs.

Where to Stay in Galway for the night

Hostel: Galway City Hostel, Kinlay Hostel
Budget-mid-range hotel: Galway Arms Inn, The Lane Boutique Hotel

 

Day 17 – To Enniskillen, Londonerry & Belfast, Northern Ireland

 

Today leave the republic of Ireland and drive into Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. It is quite a long drive but you will see plenty. Take the N83 and drive through beautiful green open fields with many towns along the way. This area is a key filming location for the hit television show Game of Thrones. If you love the show, you will know where you are! One of the towns you might drive through is Enniskillen. Known for the Remembrance Day bombing (also known as the Enniskillen bombing or Poppy Day massacre) which took place on 8 November 1987. Twelve people were killed and 63 injured from the bombing.

Leave Enniskillen and onto Ireland’s second largest city, Derry (Londonderry). There is plenty of history to discover here within the 17th-century city walls. Learn about the Siege of Derry, the Battle of the Bogside and Bloody Sunday – sung about in U2s song ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’. With all this history enjoy some frivolity in one of the vibrant pubs.

Take the A37 to your next stop of the well-known phenomenon of the Giant’s Causeway. This is about an hour or so away but is one of natures most beautiful formations. Hear the stories as you walk around the some 40,000 interlocking basalt columns.

Then head south driving some 60 or so miles to the capital Belfast for the evening.

Where to Stay in Belfast – book for 2 nights

Hostel: Lagan Backpackers, Belfast International Youth Hostel
Budget-Mid Range Hotels: Holiday Inn Belfast, Hilton Belfast

 

Day 18 – Belfast

 

Titanic was built in the shipyards in Belfast. Visit the memorial to Titanic.
Peace Wall in Belfast Northern Ireland

Belfast is an interesting place with its nod to Titanic and its healing with its Peace Wall

 

Wake up in Belfast and get ready for a full day of things to do.

  • Get a ticket and jump on the Hop-on Hop-off bus of Belfast, taking you to all the best places to see.
  • Discover where RMS Titanic was built at the renovated dockyards’ Titanic Quarter. Check out the aluminium-clad museum, Titanic Belfast Experience, to discover more about this ship that struck an iceberg and sunk in 1912.
  • Delve into Belfast’s history visiting Catholic and Protestant estates and the Belfast Peace Wall.
  • Finish your day in the Cathedral Quarter for a meal and a pint of Irish stout.

 

Day 19 – Ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan in Scotland and drive to Glasgow

 

Say goodbye to Northern Ireland and hello to Scotland today by hopping on the ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan. It’s only a couple of hours away, then continue driving to Glasgow. After some lunch, get on the hop-on hop-off bus to discover Glasgow. After a good Scottish meal in a pub head to your accommodation.

Where to Stay in Glasgow – book for 2 nights

Hostel: Euro Hostel Glasgow, Glasgow Youth Hostel
Budget-Mid Range Hotels: Holiday Inn Glasgow Central, Motel One Glasgow

 

Day 20 – Glasgow

 

Glasgow is such an underrated city. Known for being bleak with plenty of housing commission dwellers Glasgow has come into its own with many vibrant pubs and coffee shops to enjoy. Highlights to see in Glasgow include:

  • Glasgow Cathedral
  • Riverside Museum
  • St Vincent Place
  • Glasgow University to name a few.

 

Day 21 – Glasgow to Stirling and Scottish Highlands

 

Today sees you hit the 3 week mark in my 1 month UK and Ireland itinerary – isn’t it going too fast! But we are now headed to one of my favourite places on earth – the Scottish Highlands. The first time I visited the Scottish Highlands I stood in the Cairngorm Mountains and thought, ‘I could easily move abroad and live here’. Maybe its because my surname is McCullum that I feel this way! But I could easily move to Scotland, rent or buy a stone farmhouse and live in the Scottish Highlands. In the meantime……

After breakfast, head to Stirling, only half an hour or so drive away. Stirling is one of my favourite Scottish towns, it’s got a beautifully preserved Old Town with many historic buildings. And it has cobbled streets so ensure you have good flat walking shoes so you can walk around the ramparts of Stirling Castle. A must see is a visit to the famous Wallace Monument standing on the summit of Abbey Craig. This honours the legendary Braveheart freedom fighter, William Wallace. You know, the one made famous in that movie with Mel Gibson as William Wallace.

Can I suggest while in Stirling, introduce yourself to whisky. There are many whisky distilleries in Scotland all making fine single malt whisky and Stirling Distillery is just one of them. And lucky for you, in the shadow of Stirling Castle, you will find Stirling Distillery. Discover how whisky is made and maybe have a taste or two!

I hope you are under the limit to drive up through the picturesque highlands to Inverness, which is a good 3 hours of driving away. Lucky there are a number of stops including Glencoe, one of Scotlands ski towns to stop at. But keep going to Fort William on the shores of Loch Linne. Often talked about in the ‘Outlander’ Netflix series, roam around Fort William and see what you recognise. Fort William is known as the gateway to Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak and if you are visiting during the winter months you may wish to include some skiing or snowboarding into your stay here on the Nevis Range Mountain Resort. If not, visit the West Highland Museum focusing on life in the area and keep your whisky tasting pallet up with a trip to the Ben Nevis Distillery. Spend the night here in Fort William.

If you are a working holiday in the UK and you love skiing and snowboarding, why not get a job in the Scottish ski fields. Scotland has a good snow season from November to March and need staff to ensure the season goes off without a hitch. If you would like to work and ski Scotland, read how to do it here.

Where to stay in Fort William

Hostel: Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, Fort William Backpackers
Budget-Mid Range Hotel: Muthu Fort William Hotel, Nevis Bank Inn

 

Day 22 – to Loch Ness, Inverness and Colluden Battlefield

Urquhart Castle on the Banks of Loch Ness while looking for the Loch Ness Monster

Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness – Did you see Nessie?

 

After breakfast head north and deeper into the dramatic Scottish Highlands to Loch Ness. You’ve got a number of options here to spot ‘Nessie’, the Loch Ness Monster. You can walk to the 1000 year old Urquhart Castle on the banks of the loch to explore it and to look for Nessie. Or you could take a Loch Ness Cruise in search of Nessie.

After a wonderful morning head to Inverness via Colluden Battlefield which is only 8 miles or so outside of Inverness. The Colluden Battlefield is the site of last battle of the Jacobite Rising – where the Scots were fighting the English for their freedom. Alas they lost with a great loss of life. You may have seen this in the Outlander series. Here, at the Colluden Battlefield Visitor Centre you discover all about this battle and what led up to it. The places almost comes alive through wonderful interactive exhibitions and artefacts. Then walk outside into the field and along the battle lines of the clans. Then onto Inverness for the evening.

Where to Stay in Inverness

Hostel: Inverness Youth Hostel, Hillview House Hotel Inverness
Budget-Mid Range Hotel: Colluden House Hotel, The Royal Highland Hotel

 

Day 23 – Inverness to Edinburgh

 

Many use Inverness as a base to explore Loch Ness and Colluden. However, Inverness is known as the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands and has a number of places to see. Start with the Old Town where you will find Inverness Cathedral and the Old High Church. As I have said before, I like to do the hop-on hop-off bus tours, and Inverness has one. This will take up your morning, then you hop in the car and head to Edinburgh via the A9 covering 200 or so miles during the 3 hour drive.

On the way to Edinburgh you could stop at Aviemore, often referred to as Aussiemore due to the number of Australians who get jobs here during the Scottish ski season. Aviemore is at the base of the Cairngorm Mountains which have a great ski season plus plenty of hikes in the warmer months. There are other towns to stop in along the way including Perth before arriving in Edinburgh.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh – book for 2 nights

Hostel: Castle Rock Hostel, Kick Ass Greyfriars Hostel
Budget-Mid Range Hotel: The Scotsman Hotel, Novotel Edinburgh Centre

 

Day 24 – Edinburgh

 

Wake up in Edinburgh and get your walking shoes on because you will be doing a lot of walking today. But first, ride aboard the Edinburgh hop-on hop-off bus. it will take you to all the places in Edinburgh of note and interest. Then head to Edinburgh Castle. You can’t miss it sitting high on a crag overlooking the city. Take a tour and see where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James and also the spikes where William Wallace’s head was displayed after his death. Then walk the Royal Mile and visit a few shops on the way down to Holyrood Palace. Holyrood Palace is the home of the British monarch when in Edinburgh. These things will mostly take you all day, depending on your interest. Other things to do in Scotland include:

  • Take a walking tour of the city, such as a Potter-themed tour and see if some parts look strangely familiar to those penned in the first Harry Potter novel.
  • See St Giles Cathedral.
  • Hike up Arthur’s Seat for great views of the city.
  • Visit Princes Street Gardens.
  • Explore the Museum of Scotland or the National and Portrait Galleries.
  • Enjoy more whisky at the Scotch Whisky Experience.
  • Shop along George Street.

Finish your day in one of the quirky bars, cosy traditional pubs or craft beer house in the Old Town for a meal – with or without haggis – and a dram of whiskey before retiring to your accommodation.

 

Day 25 – Edinburgh to York

 

Today you must say goodbye to Scotland and make your way back into the north of England. I suggest taking the A1 which hugs the coastline for some great scenery and cute towns. A couple of hours drive will see you at the first stop of Alnwick Castle in Alnwick which is the residence of The 12th Duke of Northumberland. It was built following the Norman conquest in 1096 but you will most likely recognise it as being the place a number of movies and TV shows are filmed. Including Downton Abbey, Black Adder and two Harry Potter films (The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets).

Continue into Yorkshire, and to the county’s capital, York. This is a charming walled city with winding cobbled streets that is overlooked by the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe – York Minster. As you will be arriving late in the day check into your accommodation before heading out for dinner.

Where to Stay in York – book for 2 nights

Hostel: Safestay York, YHA York
Budget-Mid Range Hotel: Ibis York Centre, Doubletree by Hilton

 

Day 26 – York

 

Spend the whole day today exploring York. York is a walled city in northeast England that was founded by the ancient Romans. Its huge 13th-century Gothic cathedral, York Minster, has medieval stained glass and two functioning bell towers. The City Walls form a walkway on both sides of the River Ouse. The Monk Bar gate houses an exhibition tracing the life of 15th-century Plantagenet King Richard III. The best things to see and do in York include:

Day 27 – To Nottingham

 

Sharyn with Robin Hood Statue in Nottingham, UK.

Me and Robin Hood Statue in Nottingham

 

Distance from York to Nottingham is a leisurely 88 miles which will take about 1.5 hours along the M1. You will be there by mid-morning and able to enjoy Nottingham for the rest of the day. This area is known for being where Robin Hood spent a lot of time robbing the rich and giving to the poor. You could visit Sherwood Forest not to far away or the hilltop Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. However, Nottingham is also known for once being the lace capital of the world. You can discover all about lace, and maybe buy some, in the Lace Market area.

Where to stay in Nottingham

Hostels: Igloo Hybrid, Midtown Lodge
Budget-Mid Range Hotels: Park Plaza Nottingham, Doubletree by Hilton

 

Day 28 – To Stratford-upon-Avon

 

From Nottingham head to Stratford-upon-Avon, home of Shakespeare – William Shakespeare that is. It is only 83 miles away so will take around 1.5 hours to reach. Stratford-upon-Avon is a medieval market town which William Shakespeare lived in the 16th century. Shakespeare is best known for his sonnets and plays such as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Hamlet’. Things to see and do while here include:

  • Visit Swan Theatre on the banks of the River Avo
  • See Anne Hathaways Cottage and Gardens (Shakespeare’s wife)
  • Walk along the river and through the town with its shopping areas and quirky cafes.
  • Maybe take a canal boat tour.

After most of the day in Stratford-upon-Avon jump in the car and head to Blenheim Palace in the town of Woodstock. Blenheim Palace is the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough and is the only country house in England to hold the title of palace. Sir Winston Churchill, one of the UK most prominent Prime Ministers was born here. Take a walk through the palace and the grounds. It is then only a 20 minute drive to city of Oxford – the next stop on this itinerary of the UK and Ireland.

Where to Stay in Oxford – book for 2 nights

Hostel: Central Backpackers 
Budget-Mid Range Hotels: Holiday Inn Oxford, Leonardo Royal Hotel

 

Day 29 – Oxford

 

After breakfast take the Oxford Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus to see all the sights of the city before going back to some of the notable spots. If you are a Harry Potter lover, get your fix with a walking tour around the incredible Oxford Colleges and see where some of the scenes of the movies were made. End your day in one of the vibrant pubs enjoying a good English feed and a pint, possibly with a bunch of students!

 

Day 30 – Drive to London, return car and leave

Leave Oxford behind for the journey back to London. Return your rental car and leave the UK and Ireland for home.

 

And So Ends this 1 Month UK and Ireland itinerary

 

All good things must come to end, including this holiday of a lifetime in the UK and Ireland. On this last day, depending on where you are going to next, you possibly could have extra time in London or head to Heathrow Airport for your journey home. I hope you have had the best time in the UK and Ireland. This itinerary was designed to see the best ‘bits’ but I do hope it is only the first of many visits to the UK and Ireland for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my 1 month itinerary for the UK and Ireland in the comments following.

For more UK and Irish travel inspiration:

 

White Cliffs of Dover in the UK PIN.
London Bus IN UK & Ireland 1 Month Itinerary.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!

 

Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, Booking.com is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from raileurope. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

 

Sharyn McCullum In A Black T-shirt With Her Live Work Play Travel Logo In The Shape Of A World.

Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.

 

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Hi, Sharyn here. I’m the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve travelled all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline – thanks dad! I’ve been a travel writer/blogger and living a location independent lifestyle since 1993. My aim with Live Work Play Travel is to provide you with the info to start living, working and travelling around the world like I do. I currently live in Melbourne with my partner and 2 kids. 

9 Comments

  1. Carly

    I’ve always wanted to visit Edinburgh – the streets look so beautiful and it sounds like there is so much to do in town!

    Reply
  2. John Alwyn-Jone

    Hey there – good attempt but one day in Cardiff is all you could include in Wales!?! A great pity!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes, one day in Cardiff is good amount during this 1 month UK and Ireland Itinerary as there are a lot of other towns and cities to cover. More days in Cardiff will be included in my 1 month Britain Itinerary and it won’t be going to Ireland.

      Reply
  3. Josy A

    Goodness what an amaaaaazing ideas for a month long trip! I grew up in the UK (in both England and Ireland) so it is fun to see some of the best bits though your eyes. It looks like you made the most of that working holiday visa! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Jeanine

    What a fantastic Itinerary, it goes to show that 1 month isn’t enough to visit the whole UK and Ireland. I would want to do so much more, we had 4days in London and I know we didn’t get everywhere, but loved wandering Hyde Park.

    Reply
  5. Geeves

    Oh my goodness come I can’t believe that you explore the UK for one month! That’s so awesome. The cliffs and Lochness look beautiful! I can’t wait to explore some of these incredible places. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      1 Month in the UK and Ireland is just a taste and will let you visit all the ‘must see’ highlights. Longer would be more incredible.

      Reply
  6. Jo

    Have you been eavesdropping on my conversations? This is EXACTLY where I want to go next year, but want lots of time for genealogy research! This gives me a great starting point for planning!!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I think I’m more of a mind reader! LOL. I hope you enjoy your trip to Australia next year.

      Reply

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