Not sure where to go? Try one of these common itineraries to take on your own, or mix and match destinations to plan your own independent trip.
1. England, Scotland, and Wales Itinerary
Approximate Time: 2 or 3 Weeks
London - Bath - Stratford-upon-Avon - Windermere - Edinburgh - York - Cardiff - London
This itinerary will take you through some of the highlights in England, Scotland and Wales. You'll begin and end your trip in London, where it is recommended that you spend at least a few days exploring all that the city has to offer. From London, travel west to Bath which is a city filled with history. You can visit the Roman Baths and Pump room which are fueled by hot springs in the same way they were two thousand years ago. From there, continue on to the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon. In Stratford you'll find that the major attractions are run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Also make sure you visit the Hidcote Manor Gardens and Sudeley Castle. Travel on to North Wales and explore the area's ancient castles and mountain hikes. There's popular hiking spots in Snowdonia National Park. Conwy Castle is also a recommended place to visit. Your next stop is the Lake District, where you can spend some time in Windermere and hike on the numerous trails in the area. From there make your way to Edinburgh and explore the Old Town area. Also make sure you do some shopping on George Street. From Edinburgh, head to York and see some of the gothic architecture. Then check out the castles in Cardiff before heading back to London and a few days in the city.
2. Scotland Itinerary
Approximate Time: 2 Weeks
Edinburgh - Saint Andrews - Aberfeldy - Pitlochry - Inverness - Glencoe - Oban - Iona - Oban - Stirling - Edinburgh
This example itinerary will have you start your trip in Edinburgh, home to Scottish culture and the famous medieval castle on the hill. Then venture to St. Andrews, a place of pilgrimage for avid golfers around the world. Head to Aberfeldy to get a taste of rural Scotland as you hike along Loch Tay and hillside farms. Next, Pitlochry is a popular destination in Scotland due to the terrific surroundings (golf, hiking, rivers, and more) along with the festive old town markets. Inverness is the next stop, and this major city in Scotland has plenty of art, architecture, and fine food to keep you entertained for quite some time. It's also the gateway to Loch Ness and the surrounding highlands. Glencoe is known for its natural beauty and provides a great opportunity for a nice long walk through nature. Next up is Oban, gateway to the Hebridean Islands and home to the Dunollie Castle and other landmarks worth a visit. Iona is one of the islands of the Hebrides, and is a place where you'll find tranquil settings in a rugged, natural environment. Peace and quiet along with natural beauty is one of the main draws here. Finally, Stirling is a town not to be missed as it is full of old architecture, a beautiful castle of the same name, and home to the famous battle involving William Wallace. A trip back to Edinburgh ends this itinerary.
3. Northern Ireland Itinerary
Approximate Time: 2 Weeks
Belfast - Coleraine - Londonderry County Borough - Omagh - Enniskillen - Dungannon - Downpatrick - Belfast
This itinerary begins and ends in Belfast and makes a loop through Northern Ireland. Give yourself a couple of days to explore Belfast before moving on, or you can save the city for the end of your trip. From Belfast go to the Causeway Coast where the first visitors to Ireland landed over 9,000 years ago. It's one of the most dramatic coastlines in Ireland.
From the coastline continue on to Londonderry. This city is rich in history. Although it's officially named Londonderry, Derry is the most commonly used name. In the city you can visit the Orchard Gallery, the Tower Museum, and the Workhouse Museum and Library.
Continue on to County Tyrone which is famous for its Tyrone Crystal Factory which you can tour. From there head to the Lough Erne area and visit Belleek with its famous pottery, Lough Navar Forest and on to Enniskillen with the Enniskillen Castle. Move on to Dungannon and the Florence Court, Armagh and the Armagh County Museum and Navan Fort before reaching the Downpatrick area. Here you can visit the famous Cathedral, St. Patrick Heritage Center, Mount Stewart House, and Legananny Dolmen.
Finally, finish your loop by continuing back to Belfast. Belfast is an excellent place to spend a few days. It is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions and excellent shopping. It has a great art scene and many local events regardless of what time of year you visit. It's a very walkable city and it is recommended that you explore it on foot. Some of the popular sites include the Botanic Gardens and Palm House, the Belfast Castle, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and the Grand Opera House. Definitely give yourself enough time to take in the atmosphere of the city and enjoy some of the daily activities.