Ready to spend 8 incredible days seeing as much of the UK and Ireland as you can? I’ve put together this 8-day UK and Ireland itinerary that’s perfect for first-time visitors!
On our big trip to the British Isles, I had to put together an itinerary that showed Kevin as many iconic sites as possible for his first ever visit. Since I studied abroad in both England and Ireland, I pretty much know what was worth our time to see and what we could skip.
So if it’s your first trip to the UK and Ireland, this will be perfect for you! In this 8-day UK and Ireland itinerary, I’ll give you the rundown of everything we did on our vacation (and a few mistakes we made so you can avoid them!).
8 Days in the UK and Ireland Itinerary
Day 1: London, England
We started out in London, England, arriving early on a Sunday.
After getting over a little jet-lag crankiness, we ventured out for some sightseeing. I gave Kevin a walking tour of London’s top sights: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, etc.
Make time to tour inside Westminster Abbey and see the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
To read my full London itinerary and see the mapped out route that takes you to many of London’s main sights, read my 2 Days in London Itinerary post. This post also has suggestions for Day 3 of our 8-day UK and Ireland itinerary.
Day 2: Stonehenge and King Arthur’s England
On Monday, we got away from the city and went on a small group tour to Stonehenge.
For a day trip to Stonehenge, most people are underwhelmed by only seeing Stonehenge. So I highly recommend booking a tour that sees other sites. Tours that include a trip to Bath, Windsor, or Oxford are popular. I’ve done a Stonehenge, Windsor, and Oxford tour before.
But for this trip, we did a tour of Stonehenge and King Arthur sights. It took us to sights of mystery and intrigue, most of which are associated with the King Arthur legend. We saw Glastonbury Tor, the Chalice Well, Glastonbury Abbey, and as a bonus, our tour guide took us to Avebury Stone Circle, the largest stone circle in Europe.
Read my King Arthur Tour from London post for more details about this day trip.
Day 3: London, England
We were back to wandering around London on Tuesday.
Our itinerary for the day included the Tower of London, the British Museum, and the National Gallery.
Read my 2 Days in London Itinerary post for more details on both Day 3 and Day 1 adventures in London.
And if you feel like you have time for more activities, read my Free Things to Do in London post for more ideas that won’t cost you a penny!
Day 4: Cardiff, Wales
Wednesday we took a train from London to Cardiff, Wales.
We only had a couple activities planned for Cardiff: Cardiff Castle and National Museum Cardiff. If we had taken more time in Wales, I’d have loved to see more of the city.
Read my 24 Hours in Cardiff post for more details on what to see in Cardiff, including places to eat!
Day 5: Dublin, Ireland
After a short plane ride on Thursday, we were in Dublin, Ireland.
Pro tip: Don’t schedule your Book of Kells tour tickets for the same time as your plane trip. No clue how we messed that up. We had more planned for our first day in Dublin, but due to the aforementioned scheduling conflict, we had to cut some things.
We managed to still see the Book of Kells and Trinity College, and then I took Kevin on a walking tour of Dublin’s top sights, including Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, and Temple Bar.
If you plan better than us and have more time, I recommend taking a tour of Dublin Castle and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Christ Church Cathedral is also an interesting visit.
To read my full Dublin itinerary and see the mapped out route that takes you to many of Dublin’s main sights, read my 1 Day in Dublin Itinerary post.
And if you’re a much better scheduler and feel like you have time for more activities, read my Free Things to Do in Dublin post for more ideas of budget things to do!
Day 6: Blarney Castle, the Rock of Cashel, and Cahir Castle
On Friday, we took a guided Blarney Castle day tour around the southern counties of Ireland to see some castles.
Stops on this trip included the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, and Cahir Castle. For anyone looking to get from Dublin to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, this is a tour I definitely recommend for one main reason: three castles in one day!
Blarney Castle and the Rock of Cashel are both well-known Irish castles, while Cahir Castle is a lesser known hidden gem.
Read my Blarney Castle Day Trip from Dublin post to learn more about this day tour and each of these castles.
Day 7: Edinburgh, Scotland
We were back on another plane on Saturday, this time flying to Edinburgh, Scotland.
The one thing on our agenda for Saturday was Edinburgh Castle, and after a backpack mishap (the castle doesn’t allow bags over 30L so we had to go all the way back to our hotel and leave our backpack), we explored the castle.
After that, we were free to wander the Royal Mile. Go shopping for authentic Scottish souvenirs here (like a kilt!), enjoy watching the buskers and street performers, and find a nice pub for dinner.
Read my 24 Hours in Edinburgh post for a full look at our Day 7 and Day 8 activities.
And if you, again, planned better than us and did not have a backpack mishap, you’ll likely have more time on your hands. In that case, read my Free Things to Do in Edinburgh post for plenty of free stops!
Day 8: Edinburgh, Scotland
On Sunday, our last day, we went out to Edinburgh’s “other castle” — Craigmillar Castle.
Craigmillar Castle is 3 miles south of the City Centre, but the castle is great because they let you have the run of the place, encouraging you to open any door that isn’t locked.
Our Edinburgh trip was split over two days, but you could easily do this itinerary in the same day. Read my 24 Hours in Edinburgh post for a full look at our Day 7 and Day 8 activities.
Once we explored the vast amount of rooms at Craigmillar Castle, we hopped on yet another plane, this time back to London. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon getting to our hotel and resting up for another big flight back to Atlanta.
And that ends our 8-day UK and Ireland itinerary!
8-Day UK and Ireland Itinerary Map
Ready to plan out your week-long adventure in the UK and Ireland? Use the map below to help you out.
I hope you found this UK and Ireland Itinerary helpful! Happy travels!
- 5 Best Pubs in Pimlico, London
- 10 Incredible Day Trips from London, England
- A Self-Guided WWII History Tour of London, England
- Dublin Statues and Their Notorious Nicknames
- 15 Things to See and Do In Dublin, Ireland
- 6 Amazing Day Trips From Dublin, Ireland
Ready to travel across the UK and Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in the UK and Ireland using Booking.com.
- Start Packing: Check out my packing list resources so you’re prepared for your trip.
Leave your UK and Ireland travel tips in the comments below!