My partner and I have just booked our flights for a 3 week holiday to Europe (arriving and departing London).
We don't want to cram too much into the holiday so were thinking of primarily spending time in England, Scotland, Netherlands and France.
What would be the best route to take?
Is it easier to hire a car, or to utilize trains and other modes of transport?
What are some of those secret-must-experience places?
Have you been before? What kinds of things are you most interested in? Big cities vs. small villages, eating/drinking vs. walks in the countryside, museums vs. outdoor pursuits etc.
Most importantly, when will you be there?
Hey! Im From Spain and i think if you are in France you should come to see Spain ...
Spain is very beautifull place! i swear that it would like you!
And why go to France and not coming here?! :'(
Its near and it will like you!
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
This will be my first visit to Europe. My partner was born in the UK and stayed until he was about 10 - but a lot would have changed since then. We will be there June/July - so I believe that is Summer.
I like to see the big cities because the are a lot different to Perth, but I adore villages. Eating and drinking is often a highlight of a trip so would love to hear any suggestions there too.
Definitely prefer outdoor activities and adventures over museums and galleries - but in saying that I will give anything a go!
I would love to go to Spain too but I don't want to stretch ourselves. I would love to do a trip later with Italy, Greece, Spain and spend more time admiring Europe.
4 countries in 3 weeks is still quite a lot. Here's what I would do though, if I had 3 weeks exactly...
Maybe after flying in to London (2 days) you could head out westwards, down to the Dorset coast (1 day). Then up to the cotswolds for some village action (1 day). Then drive North to the Lake District, maybe stopping off in one of the big Northern cities on the way (Manchester perhaps - 1 day). Spend a few days in the Lake District (2 days). Drive from the Lake District up to Glasgow (1 day). Then a few days in the Highlands (3 days) before driving down to Edinburgh (1 day) and flying to Amsterdam.
Spend a few days in Amsterdam (2 days) then get the train to Paris.
See Paris (2 days) then TGV south to somewhere rural and beautiful (Ardeche perhaps? - 2 days). Then on to Avignon (I really like Avignon - 1 day), then TGV across to the Atlantic coast (Bordeaux? 1 day) before back up to Paris for flight out (1 day).
I could recommend somewhere to eat or drink in most of these places, let me know what you choose to do!
I agree with what magykal wrote, but I personally would spend more time in the cities. Two days in London is nothing, especially if the first day means that you arrive jet-lagged in the afternoon or so. It will take you some time to adjust time-wise and you won't get much done. To really see London you'll need at least 5 days, same goes for Paris. With Amsterdam you could get away with 3 days, but even so you could spend your whole holiday doing nothing but seeing the big cities. Ok, so you are not the museum type, but still there is so much to see and do. The Tower of London for example - it is a museum, but seeing it involves so much walking all over the place it doesn't feel like a museum at all.
I thus recommend that you reconsider a bit and maybe drop France altogether. England, Scotland and the Netherlands will certainly keep you busy enough for 3 weeks.
Places you could look at in England are Salisbury, Bath, Oxford. As for outdoorsy stuff, consider hiking along Hadrian's Wall. And in the Netherlands definitely rent bicyles to get from A to B.
Thanks for such great feedback. I am hearing the same things from people at home too, so may be time to reconsider.
Bicycles in Amsterdam is a great suggestion too - thanks! Tower of London definitely sounds up my alley too. I like walking around and experiencing things rather than admiring others work (although that has its place!)
What do you think about hiring a car and driving from London, up through Manchester (have family there) and then on to Scotland? I have heard fuel can be quite expensive but it also seems like it would be a great experience?
I think that's perfectly sensible. Train travel can be pretty expensive too, unless you book well in advance and are quite canny with the tickets. And having a car would be a major boon in rural areas like the Lake District and the Highlands (both of which you should go to by the way!). Most of the big car hire companies do a deal where you can pick up in one place and drop off in another, so you could still fly in to London and out of Edinburgh or Glasgow thus avoiding having to double back.
I've rented a car in England twice, and i agree with magykal, despite the gas prices it's worth it. Just book it in advance and you can get a good price for the car. there are web sites like vroomvroomvroom.co.uk which compare prices of different companies. but be careful because the price depends on the location, i realized that this year in london, not only if you rent it at the airport or not, but central locations can be much more expensive, too. just a tip, i found driving in london extremely stressful
as for the netherlands, i think it would be a shame to see only amsterdam, as there are so many beautiful little towns like delft, utrecht. and as t_maia said, it's not only in the cities that you can go by bike, you can cycle between towns, too! for example, there are tons of amazing cycling paths around utrecht, and you can easily get to the surrounding little villages. it's fantastic.
Thank you for such great advice. I think we will definitely be looking for a car now. We don't intend on spending too much time in London itself as we have family in Manchester but I'm sure driving will be interesting.
Amsterdam was just a starting place for the Netherlands - I don't know too much about the area but my Dad was born there so I really want to visit! He hasn't been there for over 40 years and doesn't remember too much so he isn't much help! I do definitely need to do more research on the country and will absolutely look at your suggestions.
Thank you ever so much