3 Weeks In The UK Itinerary

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The UK is such a great destination to spend your 3-week vacation. It comprises four beautiful countries; England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Visiting the UK will make the most out of your annual holiday. You will get to chill at the beach, hike a mountain or two, visit ancient cities and ruins, explore vibrant cities, and, well, finally, have the best fish and chips you will ever have.

In this article, I will show you how to spend 3 weeks in the UK. I will first list things you should prepare before you book anything, then I will proceed to show you must-see places and must-do activities during your holiday, plus tips on places to stay in each country.

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THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO THE UK

london downtown, edinburgh castle, belfast castle, glasgow downtown - 3 Weeks In The UK Itinerary

The United Kingdom, also known as Great Britain, can be confusing to people who are not local. The name Britain came even before the now-known United Kingdom. When Scotland joined England in 1707, the name Britain was used. Ireland has always been part of the English colony since the 12th century but not officially. When the Northern part formally joined Great Britain, the term United Kingdom of Great Britain became official.

Today the terms the United Kingdom and Great Britain are used interchangeably. Here are some quick tips for travelling to the UK; before you book anything, take a look and plan your trip properly:

When is the best time to go to the UK

Normally, when we talk about the best time to visit a place for a holiday, the summer season for the global north or the winter season for the ones near the equator – are the two best times to go.

But for the UK, the best time to visit is during spring. It’s the time when it’s drier and warmer. Summer in the UK is filled with rain, while winter is freezing and still raining. If you get allergies from the pollen that spring brings, remember to bring your medications.

Are 3 weeks enough for the UK

The UK is not a massive country when it comes to land size; however, there is just so much to see. I really want you to focus on creating a travel itinerary, even though just a basic one. In this way, you can see how much you are willing to spend in one place and what type of attractions you prefer to see.

Renting a car will only save you time if you plan to use it anywhere but London. In that city, it’s better to use public transport. But in countries such as Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, having your own vehicle can help you see more places.

Average cost of 20 days in the UK

The cost depends on many things, such as your preferred type of accommodation, dining, and transportation. But to give you a quick idea, $2,300 is a good mid-range budget. You’ll dine out in a private room in a mid-range hotel.

But if you have a tight budget, you can bring that down a little bit to $1,500, where you’d be staying in youth hostels and probably half cooking at the hostel and half eating out. If you want to make this a luxury trip, $4,500 will be an amazing budget for sleeping in 5-star hotels and eating out at fancier restaurants.

Accommodation will cost the most when travelling in the UK, especially in London, where a room can easily go as high as $90 per night. If you can minimise your stay in London to 2-3 days, it will make a big difference in your budget.

How to get around the UK

The UK have one of the best transportation systems in place. There are domestic flights, buses, and the most popular – train. Sure, they can be annoying for being late sometimes, but it’s still reliable. If you have an international driver’s license that is valid here, you can also rent a car which will give you so much more freedom with your schedule.

If you need to get out of the UK, there are a lot of affordable flights going to other parts of Europe. At the same time, Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world. Flights here go all over the place, to Latin America, North America, Asia, Africa, and even all the way to Australia.

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Visa and COVID-19 policy

The UK always had a different visa policy than the EU, which is a member of the Schengen States. So, Brexit didn’t really affect travellers visiting the UK.

If you are from EU countries, you can enjoy a 180-day visa-free, the same goes for North Americans, countries from Oceania, some countries in Latin America, Namibia and Botswana, East Asia, Malaysia and Singapore. On the other hand, Ireland has freedom of movement with no time limit.

Fully vaccinated tourists can enter the UK without showing negative test results. However, your airline or connecting flights might require you to show one. Unvaccinated visitors might be required to do further tests and quarantine. Learn more about the UK COVID-19 protocols.

Other travel tips

For basic tips like where to look for accommodation, booking a car rental, and even where to find awesome tours, I always use these services:

PINNED MAP OF THE MUST-SEE PLACES IN THE UK

Click the top-right logo to enlarge the map. Credit: map data: Google

3 WEEKS IN THE UK ITINERARY

In this travel itinerary, I will be covering all 4 countries in the UK, which are composed of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. I must say, though, this itinerary is a bit packed. If you want to slow it down or spend more time in other countries, you can cut down some days from England and leave some for your next visit.

If you want to travel slower, you can reduce the number of countries you want to see. Here are a few samples: 7 days in England, 6 days in Scotland, and 6 days in Northern Ireland. You can also try 7 days in England, 6 days in Scotland, and 6 days in Wales. Then explore the country you missed on your next holiday in the UK.

England for 9 days

England is such a big country; maybe 10 days won’t even cut it. While reliable train connections exist between all the big areas of England, it can still take some time to travel around. If you rent a car, it will give you a bit more flexibility.

England is known for its historical spots, very diverse culture and people, and the home to the many food hubs and pubs to try. Not to mention, most Harry Potter film locations are around England (some are in Scotland).

London alone has so much to offer, from history, architecture, adventure, and local pubs. If you are staying right in the city centre, you can see many iconic landmarks just by walking around. You won’t run out of things to do near Tower Bridge and of course Buckingham Palace.

If you only want to see England in the UK, we have an itinerary for 3 weeks in England as well.

london clock tower, st paul's - 3 Weeks In The UK Itinerary

Best places to see in England:

Let’s start with London, it’s easier to get around by either using hop on-hop off bus or using public transport. There’s also a bus tour with cruise.

South and southwest of London:

  • The Royal Pavillion
  • Leeds Castle
  • Bodiam Castle
  • Hever Castle & Gardens
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Thorpe Park Resort
  • Salisbury Cathedral
  • Stonehenge – get your ticket here if you’re planning to get there on your own

North and northwest of London (Leeds/Liverpool/Manchester):

This list is just a few of many. Check out our pinned map; from there, you can see which attractions are close to each other. You can uncheck the layers per city to see a better look. You can plan your trip to start in London, then go south, southwest, then the north part – Machester/Liverpool/Leeds area.

Accommodations in England:

Wales for 3 days

Wales is the place for people who love the outdoors but perhaps not planning to travel all the way to Scotland. The great National Park of Snowdonia is popular with foreign tourists and the locals. Even though Wales is significantly smaller than England, there are still many places in Wales that you must see during your visit, such as the following:

cardiff castle, snowdonia - 3 Weeks In The UK Itinerary

Best places to see in Wales:

Accommodations in Wales:

Scotland for 5 days

If you have 3 weeks in the UK, you must include Scotland on your itinerary. When one thinks of Scotland, we quickly go to the inaudible England accent and the very traditional kilt (a Scottish skirt-like). But this country is more than that.

Not only it’s filled with beautiful destinations for hiking, camping, and historical spots – Scotland is rich in culture and offers such wide and interesting varieties of whisky. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, there are more filming locations and activities you can do here. Do you know that golf came from Scotland?

edinburgh castle, loch ness - 3 Weeks In The UK Itinerary

Best places to explore in Scotland:

Accommodations in Edinburgh:

Northern Ireland for 3 days

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have a lot of expectations from my visit to Northern Ireland, mostly because conflict and war get me quite easily. But I was stunned! I can now say that 3 weeks in the UK are not complete without visiting Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland (especially the city of Derry) may be known for having long and dark war history that happened not long ago. Some people might even think that the tension is still as strong as it was about 30 years ago.

While there are places, you should visit to understand more about the war in the 1990s. There are also so many beautiful spots to see. Many are related to the famous Titanic. Not to mention how adorable and honestly hard-to-understand accent people have. And if you love whiskey or are simply curious, make sure to try traditional Irish whiskey.

If the Potterheads had their day in Scotland and England, Game of Thrones fans would also enjoy a great time in Northern Ireland.

ALSO READ: 3 weeks in Ireland and Northern Ireland itinerary

guildhall, giant causeway - 3 Weeks In The UK Itinerary

Best places to explore in Northern Ireland:

Accommodations in Northern Ireland:

SUMMARY OF 3 WEEKS IN THE UK

The UK have so much to offer to every kind of visitor. History lovers, hikers and, nature enthusiasts, even people who want to explore the UK through different dishes – there’s always something for everyone. You can cover all four countries and do so many things during this time.

I hope that you found these 3 weeks in the UK itineraries helpful and that you will have a fun holiday in this region.

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A trip to the UK combines historical allure with diverse landscapes. Explore London's iconic landmarks, Scotland's rugged highlands, Wales' scenic coastlines, and Northern Ireland's rich heritage for a comprehensive and captivating British experience. via @threeweektraveller