10 days trip to Scotland and Ireland

8 years
2007-04-05 to 2007-04-15

Our big trip was carefully planned because in only ten days we have planned to visit more then 12 cities in England, Scotland, Ireland and North Ireland. It was our longest trip with daughter with us ever. We were waiting for Easter school holidays in our country so that our daughter can go with us. I think, we've never before planned trips in such details, but it was elemental thing to be able to visit so many places in so little time. I highly suggest these destination for family holidays.

DAY 1 (Nottingham)

NottinghamOur tour has started at Luton Airport situated north of London. We came by Wizzair  (low cost airline company) and this was our first flight with any low cost companies. We were nice surprised with quality of service and staff showing special care for family with children (e.g. in that Company you don't have numbered seats, but people with kids do have priority boarding).

In airport we took a rent-a-car, and went to our first destination - Nottingham. It's about 150 km away from Luton. When we arrived it was almost sleeping time, and we were able to find our hotel without issues. We've made hotel and B&B (Bed and Breakfast) reservations before departure in all cities we were planning to visit through Booking.com.

DAY 2 (Nottingham, Sherwood Forest, Edinburgh)

Nottingham Castle - Robin Hood StatueNottingham CastleSherwood ForestOn the second day we've started at around 8 AM, and after breakfast we went around Nottingham center, to Nottingham Castle and then continued drive to Sherwood Forest. We heard as everyone else in the word about Robin Hood, Nottingham's most famous son and the word's favorite folk hero.  The Nottingham city was pleasant and the Nottingham Castle dominates with his proportion and position on the cliffs. The castle is now used as a museum and art gallery and it was really impressive.

Major Oak - The Robin Hood treeWe had big expectation at the Sherwood Forest, but we were little disappointed. Because of the Robin Hood movies I've expected that the forest has many old and large trees, and you almost can expect to meet Robin's gang hanging from the trees. But, unfortunately, there are no old trees, almost everything is recently planted, only a central Robin Hood tree (Major Oak) is old and in a little bit poor shape. But, we understand that is April, and in the late spring or summer forest probably looks much better, I guess. For our daughter, this tour was great because we spent all time on fresh air, and in the forest there are wide tracks so she could ran without restrictions. 

We continued our tour to Edinburgh in Scotland. It took some time to reach it, since Edinburgh is 450 km away. In the evening hours we arrived in the capital city of Scotland. 

DAY 3 (Edinburgh, Inverness)

Edinburg City BusBravehart in EdinburghEdinburghIn morning hours we went around Edinburgh. It's a very nice town. The most impressive building certainly was Edinburgh Castle. You have a feeling a spirit of history. The castle was on the rock and from there you had great view of the town. I think this castle was the most visited attraction in Edinburgh, because there were enormous number of visitors. But, nevertheless it's wort visiting. The town is quite interesting. In the center you can see actors on the street who represent a spirit of past (e.g. we saw actor impersonating Braveheart). We decided to discover the town with Hop on - hop off bus. It is the great method for visit a different places in your own arrangement. One of the great thing what we saw is the Royal Yacht "Britannia".The Royal Yacht Britannia was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years. On the yacht you can take the audio handset tour, and you can can learn about the history of Royal Yachts, and view displays and historical photographs of Britannia's fascinating past.

Inverness CastleOn the bank of River Ness in InvernessLoch Ness mapAfter Edinburgh tour we continued our trip to Inverness, about 250 km away. In Inverness we had nice B&B accommodation. In evening hours we went around the town. This is very nice small town on the River Ness. There is an impressive Inverness Castle, currently used as a courthouse, and St. Andrew's Cathedral. The most beautiful was promenade by the river Ness.


DAY 4 (Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Eilean Donan, Fort William)

Urquhart Castle - Loch NessUrquhart Castle - Loch NessIn the morning we spent some additional time in Inverness and after that we went to visit Loch Ness. We heard so many stories about 'Nessie', the world-famous Loch Ness monster. But, unfortunately  or fortunately we didn't saw the monster. The lake was very dark and little bit scary. The visitors center wasn't big and luxurious, but we bought some souvenirs there and took a photo with replica of the monster. We thought that there will be a quite number of hotels around the lake, but actually it's quite deserted. There are only two roads on each side of lake with just few houses here and there.

Urquhart Castle - Loch NessUrquhart Castle - Loch NessDuring our ride to along the lake shore we stopped by the Urquhart Castle. It was really impressive. Lake, castle and especially green grass, perfect scenery! Very nice place! There is also a real-size replica of the Catapult (or Trebuchet) that kids can study how it works. The ruin of castle offers great perspective to the lake. If you are good you can maybe see the monster :).

Scotland sceneryEilean DonanFort WilliamScottish scenery

Eilean Donan was next castle on our trip. This castle was known all around the world. It was raining and the sky was clouded when we came there and the atmosphere was like in old stories. You must see the photos and you'll understand what I am taking about. Very picturesque castle that you can also visit inside for a fee.  Only criticism was that there were too many visitors. 

This day we finished with drive to Forth William, our next destination.

DAY 5 (Glenfinnan, Glasgow, Ayr)

AyrForth William was nice town where we spent some time.  The rest of the day we went around the Glenfinnan, Loch Shiel, Loch Lochy and Loch Eil. If you like a untouched nature this were right places for you. Unfortunately the weather wasn't so nice and we couldn't enjoy a lot in this great countryside. I think that better time for coming is summer or late spring. In April nature was still sleeping. 

We made a short stop to Glasgow (250 km away), and generally spent some time shopping, eating and walking around the centre of town.

Tomorrow early morning we'll go to Ireland and for that reason we went to Ayr, a town near Glasgow. This town is very close to Glasgow Airport in Prestwick. We've returned car on the airport.

DAY 6 (Newgrange, Dublin)

Bru na Boine - NewgrangeWhen we came to Dublin we took rent-a-car again. I had interesting experience at the airport. Some man wanted to give to my child a big chocolate egg. In the time of assassination and unsecured I didn't want to take the present, because I didn't knew this man. He explained to me that that present was for his child, but the security hasn't admitted him to take it in the security zone at the airport. I don't know why, but I have believed this stranger and accepted the gift. This was not my usual behavior, and I was quite surprised with myself. But, the chocolate was great and I was sorry why I've distrusted the man and why bad thoughts dominate our heads. This was nice gesture by this man whose name I don't know, and it's very nice to know that in our word still live some good people.

NewgrangeDought - Teletubbied World

In Ireland Newgrange was our first destination. Wowwww! You must see this! This is probably neolithic monumental tomb. You can saw inside the tomb in guided tour. This is very old monument and it is not certainly clear what was it's main purpose. The countryside around was beautiful. The monument was built in stone, but the kind of stone that is not available for many kilometers around, and people that built it didn't had not even wheel at that time. We also saw The Great Mound at Knowth, which is similar in size to Newgrange and is surrounded by 18 smaller satellite mounds. It has resembled us of Teletubbies World. Very interesting for visit, and very funny for the kids.

DAY 7 (Dublin, Guinness Brewery, Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel, Cork)

Dublin is very interesting town. Some of our friends suggested that the visit to Dublin is enough to say that you were in Ireland, but we hardly can agree to this because Ireland is really much, much more. It seems that some people are visiting one by one all the pubs in town, but frankly speaking they all look too similar to us, and we feel when you saw one of them, you saw all. And believe me, Guiness is same in all the pubs :)  

So we spent some time walking around the town and visiting the Guinness brewery. It was really two hours nicely spent when you can see all the phases of the beer production, from the basic ingredients until the transportation around the World. The visit ends on the top of the old brewery where you climb with the elevator and you have a nice view of the town. There you can take one free beer - the best possible Guinness you can try.

After the short visit to the Dublin, we continued to drive toward Cork. We firstly made a small detour to visit Kilkenny, generally because we knew the name since it was a name of the Irish Red Beer sold at home. Surprisingly, noone of the locals didn't knew of the beer, and it seems that it is a name used for beer going for export to other countries. The town itself is quite small and very nice. We walked around and had lunch in one of the cosy little restaurants. Then we crossed the bridge to the other side of the river and went to see the Kilkenny Castle where lot of high school kids were enjoying nice weather in the open around the castle.

Then we continued toward Cork. Somewhere in the middle of our voyage was Rock of Cashel, but unfortunately it was closed, since we arrived a little bit too late. So after external short sightseeing we continued to Cork where we overslept. 

DAY 8 (Cork, Inch Beach, Dingle Peninsula, Cliffs of Moher)

Inch Beach on Dingle PeninsulaWe haven't spent much time in the Cork because we had to continue our drive toward Cliffs of Moher, which was our major destination on this day. While driving we passed thrugh Killarney, then continued to Dingle Peninsula and made a short visit to the Inch Beach. The beach itself spans for kilometers, and it was very impressive for us. Since the weather wasn't so nice, we just walked around and watched huge waves coming from the ocean. Some of other visitors had kites flying, while others were just jogging on the beach.

Cliffs of MoherFinally we have reached our major destination - The Cliffs of Moher. While we were once before, this time the weather was quite different. It was very calm and sunny, quite different from the rainy and windy weather that we met here some years ago. We couldn't decide which of two weather situations we preferred on the cliffs, since both of them did have their peculiarities. One thing was for sure - the cliffs were changed. There is now visitor center which wasn't here before, and everything now looked more polished then before. Is it better now? Not for us :(

We ended our day in Galway where we overslept.

DAY 9 (Galway, Derry, Giant's Causeway)

We didn't spent much time in Galway, since we had to continue our trip to Northern Ireland, to be more precise to Derry. There are around 270 km to drive from Galway to Derry, and since we haven't been to Northern Ireland before (last time when we were in Ireland there was a vise requirement to enter UK, and this was applicable to NI too, so we skipped it) we didn't know what to expect there. We were not quite sure when we passed from Ireland to Northern Ireland since we haven't seen any table or sign saying that we left Ireland and entered N. Ireland. The only change that could be seen is that the road signs were now in miles and that road lines were now yellow and not white anymore. We found our accommodation in Derry quite easy, and it was an B&B in an old house quite close to the center of the city. 

Giants CausewayGiants CausewayIn the afternoon we decided to visit Giant Causeway, one of the remarkable natural wonders around here. The first impression was terrible: when we arrived at the parking area, we had to pay for the parking ticket. My husband has opened car window and the awful smell entered the car. My God, it was terrible, but we somehow got used to it quite fast. We believe that it has to do something with the algae and the ocean, but we might be quite wrong. There is a almost half-an-hour walk to reach Giant Causeway itself, but there is also possibility to take a small bus there.

The scenery here is amazing, and we were quite unsure that this is really work of nature, since it really doesn't look like it is. Our daughter was happily jumping around and rest of us spread around and took probably thousand of pictures. There were some tourists all around, but it was not so crowded. My husband disregarded the signs saying "do not cross this line, risk of high waves" and he was wet in no time. At least we had something to make fun for the rest of the voyage :)

In the end we went to the Smugglers Inn for a lunch. It was close to the Giant's Causeway and the food was nice.

DAY 10 (Belfast)

BelfastBelfast MuralsThis was our last "real-day" of the voyage, since we were leaving tomorrow wearly in the morning. We spent whole morning walking around the Belfast, where we, frankly speaking, didn't found many things to see. Probably the most famous things to see are the painted walls (murals) generally with political slogans. One of the things that we found out is that teh Titanic was built in Belfast, but I'm not sure if this is something that local shipyard wants to let everyone know :) I can see the shipyard slogan "we build strong and durable ships here, we also built Titanic" :) 

In the afternoon we left for Dublin to catch the plane for Luton. We had some awkward experience with Ryan Air since we found out that there is very high fee for excessive baggage weight. It was funny that there was no fee when we flown from UK to Ireland, and we had same luggage with us. It turned out that we had to pay more for the excessive weight than we paid for the tickets for all free of us.

The flight was quite short and we were in our hotel at the Luton airport around 8 PM. We decided to sleep at the airport since we had to leave back home early in the morning.

DAY 11 (going home)

And this was it. We took the plane back home and in about two hours landed in Zagreb. This has really ended our longest trip until now, where we saw in practice that going with a child on a trip long like this one is quite possible.

Sherwood Forest
Nottingham Castle - Robin Hood Statue
Nottingham Castle
Major Oak - The Robin Hood tree
Bravehart in Edinburgh
Edinburg City Bus
Inverness Castle
On the bank of River Ness in Inverness
Loch Ness map
Urquhart Castle - Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle - Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle - Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle - Loch Ness
Scotland scenery
Eilean Donan
Fort William
Scottish scenery
Bru na Boine - Newgrange
Dought - Teletubbies World
Dought - Teletubbied World
Inch Beach on Dingle Peninsula
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Giants Causeway
Giants Causeway
Giants Causeway
Giants Causeway
Belfast Murals


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