If you're planning a trip to the British Isles, the toughest part of your journey will be deciding where to go. On paper this doesn't seem too complicated, your enthusiasm is already running high, and every article you read you're becoming more excited about your big trip. How is that tough? As you begin to narrow down the list of places that are a must see for you, you'll soon realize that for every one location you choose, another location is taken from the list. Unless you have months to spend, which the average person doesn't, you're gonna have to be a little selective about where you're going. In the hopes that it will be beneficial for you, I have included my top three must see locations in the British Isles.
They say save the best for last, but on this list of bests, there is no last, so lets jump in.
The Cliffs of Moher
Photo Credit (Shutterstock)
It is no surprise that the Cliffs of Moher are one of the most visited locations in Ireland. Located in the county of Clare, at the highest point, the cliffs tower some 214 meters (702 feet) over the rugged west coast and Atlantic Ocean. You may have already seen the cliffs and didn't realize it. It has been featured in several films such as, The Princess Bride, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and Leap Year. Don't let the threat of crowds deter you. There are ways to beat the crowds, either by going early or later in the day, or by going during the "off season." When we made our visit in the "off season," there was maybe five or so people there at that moment. This gave us the opportunity to really easily take in the great view. Looking out to the Atlantic, down the cliff wall, gave me this overwhelming feeling of pure and total awe to the likes of nothing I have ever experienced before.
Travel Tip - If you're already located in Europe, consider flying Ryan Air. We were able to secure super cheap flights and a rental car for less than the cost of tickets via other airlines. Driving through Ireland was absolutely amazing and gorgeous. Driving also gives you the opportunity to pull over and stop to see other sights or the raw beauty of Ireland. It is truly stunning. On our trip, we came through a really small village and dined at a pub where everyone spoke Gaelic. It was awesome to share in their culture even if only briefly.
Your closest international airport to the Cliffs is Shannon Airport. A link to the Cliffs official website and Ryan Air posted below. Happy Adventures.
As the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is a must see. Unlike most cities that I have traveled to, Edinburgh has maintained a busy broad area while still yet giving that cozy village vibe. On both of our trips to Edinburgh, during different seasons, the vibe stayed the same. I never felt on guard nor did I feel over-crowded, despite there being swarms of people everywhere. There was plenty of benches, grassy hills, and gardens for everyone to disburse out into. Which makes visitors more relaxed to be able to enjoy the city and the beauty that is housed within it. The walking tours throughout the city are fantastic and will take you to all note worthy points. Don't be afraid to explore the darker side of Scotland, with one of the many graveyard or nighttime tours. Wear good shoes, especially on the night time tours, in case you need to run (you know, in case of zombies or something). Seriously though, some of the cobble stone paths are a bit of a tripping hazard in the dark. Vegetarian friends, good news, they have vegetarian versions of Haggis.
London is calling, is it really a surprise that London is on the list? There is so much do in London it is easy to get swallowed up and distracted. For some people this isn't a bad thing, some travelers come to England specifically for London. However, let me say there is so much more outside of city limits. I encourage everyone to experience London, breath it in, have a blast, and then go see what the rest of the U.K. has to offer. I personally loved riding the big red double-decker tour buses. My recommendation is be bold and climb up to the top level. Once up top, grab a front row seat and enjoy the adventure. Also, hang onto your phones and cameras, some stops are rather abrupt.
Traveler Tip - I don't recommend driving into London, there is a daily congestion fee, limited parking, and traffic is crazy pants. It's difficult to really enjoy the sights when navigating the area. Also, everyone has to ride in a British Taxi at least once in their lives. Have yourself a true authentic London experience.
As always, keep it safe, keep it cool, and stay curious.