If everything goes according to plan, this time next year we will be tucked up in bed on our first night in London.

Our tentative plan is 6 weeks in UK and Ireland with possibly a few days in Spain at the end of the trip.

As you can imagine, we are still in the early stages of planning.  12 months does seem a long time but we have lots of other things going on in our lives so we want to make sure that we are prepared and can catch the best deals on fights, accommodation and trains.  I already know that the cheapest fares on the trains are about 9 – 12 weeks in advance.

As we discovered with our USA trip last year, half of the fun is in the research and planning.  If you have any hints, tips or ‘must do’ activities please share them.

Now it is back to reality – I need to hang the washing out on the line.

Categories: Preparation | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Countdown

  1. Pat and Tom

    Can you tell me the towns or areas you hope to visit? we stayed at some nice places in 2010 and I can pass on the details. One must is a 3 day pass for London attractions, if you plan to visit, which also includes transport. It got us a Thames cruise, and entrance into many of the best places in London.

  2. Great plan for your holiday. We hope to do one like that in a few years.
    As you know from other threads I can certainly vouch for the London pass. Such great value.

  3. Valerie Rees

    Hi Fairy, I know it is only a “typo” but your comment that you hope to catch the best fights made me laugh. Have fun whichever it is!

  4. The best thing I did in London was lots of walking with a company called London Walks. They give guided tours and tell you lots of anecdotes and things you would never find out for yourself, showing stuff which is off the beaten track, as well as the usual sights. I thought they were brilliant, I must have done close to 20 walks with them.

    Also, I got a pass for National Trust properties before I left Australia, it worked out much cheaper,and then when I was over there, I used my National Seniors card to get even more discounts. I was surprised how many places over there acknowledged my card and I saved a significant amount of money with it. One of the biggest was on a hire car, which I got for nine days for 130 pounds with unlimited kms, so all I had to pay was petrol on top of the hire fee. I got this from a small company on the outskirts of London, had to travel out by tube to pick it up, but very worth it, as when I got there, the people before me were late bringing it back, so they upgraded me to a bigger model at no extra expense. I found this company in the classified ads in TNT magazine.

    TNT magazine used to be free at various hostels and railway stations, now it is also online. It is a magazine for Aussies and Kiwis in London, with lots of helpful info. I found a lot of my accommodation through TNT. I was in my 50s when I spent 7 weeks in the UK & Ireland and mostly stayed in backpacker hostels, most of them good, one or two could have been better, but generally a good cheap option. The best one was in Penzance, run by Aussies, naturally. 😉

    Also, in Ireland, Paddywagon tours were great! All ages, on small buses, so you don’t get lost in a crowd and very friendly and helpful staff. I celebrated my 50th birthday in a pub in Killarney, on a 4 day paddywagon tour out of Dublin, and it was fantastic. They include accommodation and some meals on their trips, as well as the entrance fees to the places you visit on the tour.

    Hope some of this is useful. 🙂


  5. Pat and Tom

    One of the handiest things we discovered were the park and ride buses. Most big towns have them, situated a couple of miles from the town. You park your car, and hop on the bus which takes you into the town, and means you don’t have to negotiate the traffic or struggle to find parking spots. In most cases they cost around £2.

    We found B&B’s were very good value at around £60 a night per room, which included full English breakfast. At the moment that equates to a little over $100. We found we needed nothing else to eat during the day until dinner time. There are cheap motels like Travelodge but when you take into account breakfast and the added comfort, I found them well worth it. Plus the motels are usually situated outside of the towns, often close to airports.

    We also bought the English Heritage pass, which got us into a lot of places.

    We found train travel very expensive. We hired our car online direct from Hertz. We found it much cheaper this way than with companies like Expedia. It cost us $28 per day including insurance and unlimited mileage, for a mid sized car; plus we picked it up in Edinburgh and dropped it off in Doncaster, Yorkshire, which normally costs more.

    I also bought a Navman GPS online from UK, with UK maps for $80. It was a factory refit. Fortunately we were able to have it posted to family in the UK and picked it up from them at the beginning of our journey. I am not sure what the postage would have been. This was still cheaper for us than buying the UK maps for our Australian GPS. Hiring one from Hertz with the car was not an option as it was more expensive than buying one.

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