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Planes, boats and trains? Netherlands, England and Ireland

Planes, boats and trains? Netherlands, England and Ireland

Old Mar 14, 07, 3:02 pm
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Planes, boats and trains? Netherlands, England and Ireland

I'm traveling in November/December to Amsterdam. I'll be staying with my friends in Noordwijk and then we'll want to go to England...where we're likely to be visiting friends in Surrey and then Penzance. About 10 days into all of this, we want to travel over to Dublin, Ireland, where we'll probably rent a car and tour about for a week visiting absolutely no one.

I'm traveling with my mom (66 years old) and my son (3.5 years old) and I think it will be fun to try different means of transport (especially for my son). Any general suggestions?

1. Was thinking of the ferry from Holland to England. Then trains within England and then a ferry over to Ireland. Is this completely unrealistic?

2. Are there any ways of getting "passes" to allow us to do all this with some flexibility?

3. Any recommendations on great places to go in Ireland would be welcome, along with accomodations etc. Our budget is not super cheap, but I recognize these places are pricey.



p.s. I realize it's not the best time of year to go...

pps I am crossposting this in the East/West Europe forum.
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Old Mar 14, 07, 3:57 pm
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Not at all unrealistic.

The ferry goes from Hoek van Holland to Harwich, and is met by a boat train to Liverpool Street (1h). There are through tickets available.

Surrey is easy, there is a very comprehensive service from London Waterloo with South West Trains.

Back into London, and then you're at Paddington Station, from where you can take the train to Penzance. It's quite a long journey, with some really stunning bits (Dawlish, the Tamar Bridge, etc), and there is an option for the 'Night Riviera' sleeper train. All operated by First Great Western.

There is also the possibility to go from Surrey (Woking) to Exeter directly, and this is a very cheap service run by SWT (and Megatrain, but it is a small, relatively uncomfortable train, so you may still want to consider the FGW service.

From Cornwall to Ireland isn't quite so easy. There are some flights from Newquay, or you could get the ferry to France, then over to Ireland from there. Finally, you could ge the train round to one of the Welsh ports - the quickest for Dublin is Holyhead, so you'd basically have to do Penzance - Bristol - Newport - Holyhead - Dublin. Which would take all day, basically.

(Or you could split it up - spend a day in Bath, head up to Shrewsbury, do the Heart of Wales Line, then along the South coast of Wales).

In terms of passes, there is the Britrail pass, but as that is for non-residents, I'll let others advise.

Personally, I would look at the Advance Purchase fares available from FGW (to Penzance) and Virgin (to Bristol), which can be bought from the Friday 12 weeks before travel. Some nice bargains to be had, including in 1st class.
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Old Mar 14, 07, 3:58 pm
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In Ireland, I'm a great fan of the West coast. I had a lot of fun on a trip that was pottering around the Shannon River, the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin etc. Seek out guesthouses, if not just for the legendary cooked breakfasts you get (outclassed only by an Ulster Fry, and you need to be further North for that!)
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Old Mar 14, 07, 6:53 pm
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Sounds like a great trip and you will have a fantastic time driving around Ireland, it is a great place. Be sure to get up to Northern Ireland it is beautiful!
I got the Stena Line Fast ferry from Holyhead (Wales) to Dun Laoghaire. This would be the best way to get from Dublin if you want to go via ferry.
Stana Line also travels between Holland and England.

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Old Mar 15, 07, 1:07 am
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Some excellent train advice there from Stut as always, but just one other point to consider.

Depending where you are in Surrey, it might be easier to get a train to Reading then pick up another train to Cornwall from there. This saves the trek into London and also the need to get between two stations (likely to be Waterloo and Paddington).

Indeed heading West, it can be just a case of crossing over the platform at Reading - no stairs to worry about.
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Old Mar 15, 07, 8:38 am
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Sounds like a great trip. Bring your rain gear, you'll need it.

One piece of advise from an Irishman, a trip across the Irish Sea in Nov/Dec can be, or should I say, is likely to be, a lunch losing experience. Even the strongest stomachs can succumb on that crossing

Flights are available from Newquay to Dublin and Cork on Air Southwest and from Exeter to Dublin on Flybe.
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Old Mar 16, 07, 8:21 am
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I love this site. Great suggestions and things that I wouldn't know or find out beforehand. Thank you so much.

I am leaning to take the flight to western Ireland. Then meander to Dublin (or even go north---need to get a good idea of driving times) and take our flight(s) home.

thanks again.

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Old Mar 16, 07, 10:35 am
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I second the suggestion to fly to Ireland if possible. Fares are pretty cheap and you will get more sightseeing time in Ireland. The west is definitely a good focus and the north worth it if you have time. The ferry from Wales can definitely be an adventure that time of year. I can still remember taking that 30 years ago from Holyhead in November. Half the people on the ship were sick and the decks were slick with . . . . (you get the idea!)
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Old Mar 16, 07, 5:57 pm
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I felt like I needed to say something about driving in Dublin. Please understand that I used to travel all across the US for a living, so I've driven in most major cities here and never had issues. However, I travelled to Ireland last October, flew into SNN and got a car. I circled the coast and went to Belfast and things were still okay until the day I drove into Dublin. I've never, ever, had such a challenge in my life. If you're a local, it would be okay, but I would really recommend that you reconsider getting a car in Dublin. It's a great place, but I would also recommend the west of the country, it's better than I can put into words.

I hope you enjoy your trip, it sounds wonderful!
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Old Mar 17, 07, 12:48 pm
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Dublin traffic

Yes, the traffic in Dublin can be terrible especially at rush hours. Road/direction signs in the city are not very good either. You could always stay out of Dublin, maybe Howth or Malahide and get the DART railway into the city centre. There is a good ring road (M50) which bypasses the city itself. Howth and Malahide are seaside towns with a few reasonable hotels and some excellent restaurants.
Ian L is offline  

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