Help! Ireland, Scotland, Great Britain...what to See???

Updated on January 30, 2009
B.R. asks from APO, AE
9 answers

We are getting ready to plan a trip to the united kingdom. Has anybody any suggestions what to see and what not to see? Where to stay? What ferries to take...? We will take our own car and have to childre (6 and 7) with us. We do not need luxury...
Thanks for any hints!

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answers from Stationed Overseas on

What part of the UK are you planning on seeing? We were in the London-Paddington Area end of Oktober. We were in the Audience of 'The Wright Stuff' twice, saw Big Ben and area.. we were only there 3 days, and plan on going back for a week in the next few weeks.

The best thing, go online to the Areas you want to see and check out the sights.

Good luck and have fun! We LOVED it there.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

We are stationed at RAF Lakenheath 70 miles north of London. There are several bases in the UK, but most of them are not close to the good sight seeing. The only one we have where you can stay there and travel around the areas to see alot during the days is Croughton is idea location however for seeing Bath (favorite place), Stonehedge, Winchester & Salisbury Cathedrals, Cheddar in the county of Wiltshire (west of London).

Due to the cost of gasoline on the economy and the time it takes to travel around England I would advise you to check into 15 and 30 day train tickets or using Easy Jet, BMI baby and Ryan Air to fly to different locations. Easy Jet flies into Edinburgh, Scottland one of my favorite places to visit. They have great trasportation system here to the airports into the major cities, I know Easy Jet and Ryan Air generally offer a low cost bus fair to and from the airports. But if you plan to drive now is the time with the exchange rates the lowest in years. Please take note of what another person told you that you are not allowed to purchase gas on any of the bases as we cannot even purhcase case to travel around england or at another base in england we have to purchase gas for our personal travel on the economy.

If you plan to sight see in London remember parking at hotels is expensive around 18 to 24 pounds a day on top of your hotel expense. London Pass is great if you plan to see alot of sights in the London area, plus you can purchase a travel pass so you can hop on and off the subway and buses with the pass.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

I haven't been yet, but if you are going over New Year's you might want to look into flinging in the New Year with Scottish Dancers. I've been invited twice already, but can't swing it with 3 kids so fingers crossed we get invited again next year and can go up to Aberdeen area and enjoy.

We have researched the ferries and it is quick and easy to jump to England. Ireland/Scotland are longer ferries, but completely doable. just a bigger expense, but less gas or diesel :).



answers from Stationed Overseas on


There are alot of websites that you can visit for ferry prices. When currently live in the Uk (have been here for seven years) and usually use the Eurotunnl for the crossing. You can go directly to their website and make a reservation, the earlier you do that,the cheaper it will be. If you miss your time slot, they will get you on the next available train. The eurotunnel is a 30 minute crossing, the ferry, about 90 minutes. If you have an American sized vehicle SUV or minivan, make sure you book a slot for the size vehicle that you'll be using. We always book for larger sized vehicles like for trailers/motorhomes,caravans because we use a luggage rack on the top of our minivan, there are height restrictions for different carriages.

London is always a good choice to visit. It's expensive though, and drivng within the city can be a bit of a pain, there are different zones within the city and you need a permit, otherwise you run the risk of a ticket. Best to avoid, park your vehicle and use the underground or public transportation. There are a variety of passes you can buy, one day, three days, that will enable you to ride all zones. The British Museum is free and you can spend days in that alone, other free stuff, google and you will be offered many options. Warwick Castle is the best castle to visit in the UK (my opinion of course), it's in Warwickshire (about 2 hrs from London), your kids would love it! You can buy tickets on-line,but the cheapest option is to buy discount tickets from ITT on one of the Bases over here. Be prepared for all kinds of weather, especially wet! It's really cold right now! Waterproof pants, boots, jackets, etc. If you wait for decent weather here, you'd never get to see anything!!! Not sure what else I can tell you. Really depends on what your interests are, how much time you'll have, etc. Many road side stops have typical American fast food, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King. I don't know whether you can take advantage of Base Lodging while you traveling. RAF Alconbury, RAF Lakenheath/Mildenhal are about 70 miles north of London, an hour away by train. You can gas up on the Bases, otherwise, gas is about .99 pence per liter!

Enjoy your trip!!



answers from Stationed Overseas on


My colleague is British and I asked him. This is what he recommends: If you have a few weeks to travel...
Start in Salsbury see the Stone Henge then travel to Windsor to see the Windsor castle or Legoland, or even go to Biringham to Cadbury World( and see the chocolate being made and get samples, then travel to York and see York Minster, maybe some shoppping as he says shopping is great, then to Lancaster to the Mountains and lake district, then to Gretnagreen to the famous wedding stone, then go to Edinburgh Castle and much more to see beside a castle, then go to the coast to Oben and Troon/Ft. Williams area where the Lochness is near byand take the ferry to Ireland. He says there are alot of bed and breakfast/guesthouses along the way and they always have openings.
Hope this give you some ideas.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

It really depends on how much time you have. I have found this website helpful to check out the highlights. It is geared towards sites that are kid friendly too-



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Hello. I am stationed at RAF Croughton. If you reserve a room here and get here after the front desk closes, they give the keys to the security forces desk. The base is 20 minutes from Oxford, 3 hours to south Wales and 1 Hour to London. You can catch a train into London from Biscester that is 5 minutes from the base. Check out the British Hertiage website. You can get a great deal on tickets to be able to see a lot in the UK, Scotland and Wales. My brother got it before he came an it is definately worth it. You buy the ticket for so many days and you get in to any of the places in their books. Ther are many places in London you can go see from the book. You can check out travel lodges aroung the UK they offer rooms from 25 pounds. There are many places to see around here. As for ferries you can get plenty from Calais in France to Dover or you can take the Chunnel that is only 20 minutes. You can actually get out of the car on the chunnel and use the bathroom if need to. Good luck and just check the internet. They always have great deals. Also London has some British military hotels you can stay at.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

We currently live in the UK...there is another base at RAF Alconbury with a lodge. Its close to a town called Huntingdon (which has direct trains to London). I'm not sure how long you have or what you are interested in. I don't know where you are coming from so its hard to tell you what ferries. Most come from Callais, France into Dover (White Cliff of Dover). I have been to Ireland many times, but again it depends on your interests, time and budget. Let me know with more specific details so I can help....



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Unfortunately you can not get gas on base in the UK. Our SOFA with the Brits is pretty strict about who is entitled to tax free fuel. My husband was in line to pay for his fuel (we’re stationed at RAF Mildenhall) when a man in front of him was paying and had that very issue. He was visiting from Ramstein and assumed he’d be able to purchase fuel on base but in reality was not authorized. I’m not sure how that situation was resolved.

In addition to RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall there are some other bases in the UK with an American presence. Three that I know of are RAF Fairford, RAF Croughton, and RAF Mawgan. Fairford and Croughton are both in the Cotswolds area. They aren’t very big, but you can find lodging there. We’ve only been to Fariford. Their commissary has very limited hours and their lodging desk closes after I think 9pm (not positive, you’d want to check for certain) but they will leave your room key with the guard at the gate if you arrange to arrive after they are closed. I’ve heard that Croughton has nicer TLF. Their front desk also closes in the evenings and on the weekends. I know nothing about Mawgan except that there’s an American presence and we can stay there. I think it is down on the coast over by Wales.

We can also stay at some of the British Navy lodging facilities. Here’s a website for more info.

Helensburgh is up in Scotland. There’s a minimum of a two night stay and you have to clean the place yourself before you leave. I’ve never stayed there, but I’ve heard from people that it’s a good deal. I think you might have to bring your own bed sheets and towels but they have pots and pans. If you scroll down to the bottom there is a separate website for The Services Cotswold Centere. I think this is similar to the Royal Navy lodging in that you have to clean after yourself and bring your own linens but it is only 10 GBP a night!

If you want to stay somewhere where there is not military lodging, look for a Premier Inn. It has family rooms that are larger and nicer and you pay a family rate instead of per person.

This is a good website to print driving direction off of

I don’t know what website to buy ferry tickets on, but my friend says it’s cheaper to buy them on-line than when you get there. Also, because traffic can get hairy over here, she recommended buying one for later than your plan on being there. If you’re there early and they have space, they’ll let you go early. If you’re late, you’re out your $ and have to buy another ticket. Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, just ask!

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