I am planning a trip this May/June to celebrate my 30th birthday. It will be my first international trip solo and I am a little overwhelmed with all of the options. I have travelled quite a bit (Czech Republic, Austria, France, Hungary), however, each trip I had people with me to rely on for navigating in and between cities. I will admit to not being the best with directions OR the best driver (although I am looking forward to improving on the former on this trip since I will have no one to rely on but myself).
I have scoured the numerous threads on this site and have plenty of wonderful recommendations for my time in London (adding on a quick jaunt down visit the Poole pottery store). Currently only my arrival airline ticket has been secured. I am rather flexible on my departure. I am even considering taking the ferry or EasyJet to Dublin as British Airways just added a direct flight from LHR to Austin, my home. For some reason, it is approx. 400 USD less to fly DUB>LHR>AUS than it is LHR>AUS on the same last leg of the flight. I realize this is not the most efficient and it would be unfortunate to stop in Dublin without allowing adequate time to visit but I do like to save money and would love to fly directly home on the new Dreamliners.
Day 1-7: Arrive LHR, Marriott County Hall (on points)
Day 7-12: Leave London towards Edinburgh
Day 12 PM: EasyJet to Dublin, DUB>LHR, Hilton LHR Term 5
Day 13 AM: LHR->AUS
My question: I would really appreciate some recommendations from a local or frequent visitor perspective on a route, that could include overnight stops, from London to Edinburgh to fill days 7-12. Are there a few standout favorites along the way? Should I forget trying to stop along the way and fill my time in Edinburgh and surrounding areas?
A few items to factor in--
- Solo female traveler
- Towns easily accessible from train stations, renting and driving a car is not an option
- Less crowded, more authentic GB (I realize the first two are a bit contrary)
- Areas of Interest-- Architecture, History (especially the Scientific and Industrial Revolution periods), Literature (I would prefer a C.S. Lewis tour of Oxford to a Shakespeare tour), nature
- Considering Birmingham as they have a nice Hyatt Regency. I try to make the most of my points on these trips so any Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, or Starwood property is a plus (I am an Event Planner so I am very blessed with access to the chains) but I would also be happy to pay for a B&B to achieve a more traditional visit.
I realize this is rather vague, I will not be able to see everything on this trip and happy to return again. I would appreciate any guidance or suggestions very much.