UK travel 2016 - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 21 Old Dec 18th, 2015, 8:46 pm Thread Starter
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UK travel 2016

Hi,
I am planning to travel Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England. I have about 4 weeks starting late June, 2016. I plan to leave from Cork, Ireland. Looking for route suggestions. I travel long days and plan to camp when possible. I spent 3 weeks traveling Southern Ireland by car in 2000. Loved every minute. I am from Newfoundland, Canada and it was like being at home!
I love scenery, hills, turns, and meeting people. Hoping for some guidance.
Thanks,
Kelly

2011, R1200RT
2006, R1200GS (located in Ireland)
2006, K1200LT (sold)
1981, Kawasaki CSR 650 (sold)
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post #2 of 21 Old Dec 19th, 2015, 9:04 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktompkins View Post
Hi,
I am planning to travel Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England. I have about 4 weeks starting late June, 2016. I plan to leave from Cork, Ireland. Looking for route suggestions. I travel long days and plan to camp when possible. I spent 3 weeks traveling Southern Ireland by car in 2000. Loved every minute. I am from Newfoundland, Canada and it was like being at home!
I love scenery, hills, turns, and meeting people. Hoping for some guidance.
Thanks,
Kelly
You can read my Scotland ride report! I enjoy the same kind of riding that you do (I am assuming that you will be riding?) I had also UL my GPX files in one of the post for another member who is also planning on riding the UK and Scotland in 2016:

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/ride-tal...nd-2015-a.html

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
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post #3 of 21 Old Dec 19th, 2015, 5:34 pm Thread Starter
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Re: UK travel 2016

Hi Pad,
Thanks for the link to your trip. I plan to camp when the weather is good and you gave me some ideas about that as well.
Looks like you had quite a trip! I love to spend long days on the bike. I like the Sena camera as well. I never take enough pictures but this will be much easier.
I rode to Alaska in 2014 but had no pictures of grizzlies as I was too scared to take my hands off the grips! I camped and was nervous every night but so tired from riding I always slept.

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post #4 of 21 Old Dec 20th, 2015, 8:46 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

Are you going to ship your bike over? That would be a good move, especially since (from my research) it seem that doing so from Canada is fairly easy. I would love to have done that.

I don't think that you will have any issues with camping at all. While waiting for ferry to Islay, I was chatting with a retired couple who were traveling on their bicycles from southern UK, and they were camping the whole way. They were going to camp on the beach while they were on Islay!

Good luck with your trip, and I am very sure that it will be loads of fun. I want to do it again sometimes in the future, but I have so many places that I want to go, and at 69, there isn't an awful lot of time!

BTW, I hope that you enjoy the video compilations that I have been publishing on YouTube! I am just about ready to publish the first part of day 4 ride, and I am working on part 2.

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #5 of 21 Old Dec 20th, 2015, 2:38 pm Thread Starter
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Re: UK travel 2016

I am strongly thinking of purchasing a bike in Ireland from Martin, Motofeirme. He will store the bike after my trip. I plan to make more than one trip. This one is to get my feet wet and then I will head for Europe.
Looks like you stayed to the East side of Scotland? Is that the better riding? I am just starting to explore routes now. I am not a person that plans each day or puts a detailed route in my GPS. I look at paper maps to get an idea of where I am going and use my GPS to get me out of trouble or find a specific location/gas/etc.
The anticipation of going is almost as much fun as going. It gives me something to do during our long winters. My last ride was November 14th and it could be May before I ride again. I haven't viewed your videos but will do so.

2011, R1200RT
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post #6 of 21 Old Dec 21st, 2015, 8:35 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

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Originally Posted by ktompkins View Post
I am strongly thinking of purchasing a bike in Ireland from Martin, Motofeirme. He will store the bike after my trip. I plan to make more than one trip. This one is to get my feet wet and then I will head for Europe.
Looks like you stayed to the East side of Scotland? Is that the better riding? I am just starting to explore routes now. I am not a person that plans each day or puts a detailed route in my GPS. I look at paper maps to get an idea of where I am going and use my GPS to get me out of trouble or find a specific location/gas/etc.
The anticipation of going is almost as much fun as going. It gives me something to do during our long winters. My last ride was November 14th and it could be May before I ride again. I haven't viewed your videos but will do so.
That is a great idea! How is the costs, and what bikes does he have to offer? I wanted to ride in Ireland also, having visited the country in '14, but sadly with a tour!

If my time was not limited with obligations here, and I was camping out, my preference would have been like yours! That is why I always ride solo. The reports that I have posted so far, days 1 - 5, have been while riding on the west and north coast of Scotland! Those are the areas where you will find good riding roads! I am delaying posting my ride reports for the last two days (6 & 7) because those were the days that I rode on the east side, and even though they were great days, they do not compare to the first 5 days!

So, I am working on publishing my YouTube videos until they catch up to my ride report. I am almost ready to publish part 2 of my day 4 ride, and you should watch this one! The narrowest single-track road that I had been on, up to that time, and I loved every minutes of it!

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #7 of 21 Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 9:16 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

Europe is generally much more geologically varied that northern America so you won't have to travel great distances to see differences in the countryside over here. By the fastest route it's not 1,000 miles from the UK's westerly tip - Land's End, in Cornwall - to the north-easterly one at John O'Groats. Our towns are much closer together, too, and many are old foundations so well worth a wander around. That's true of all four countries.

I don't know Ireland very well, having only visited the Republic and that only once on vacation. Cork's not bad and Blarney Castle, just outside, is worth a look but go early to avoid the crush. The Blarney Stone is part of a garderobe. It's been said that only the Irish could persuade the English to kiss a stone the Normans pi**ed on! From what bit I've seen, the scenic parts tend to be near the coast. The western side gets all the weather straight off the Atlantic so you're quite likely to see all four seasons in one day! An irishman told me, only slightly tongue in cheek, that the forty shades of green they're famous for is created by forty types of rain . . .

I'd guess you'll come over to Holyhead on the ferry from Dublin? Travel in Wales is often affected by its rugged geography so places that are close on a map may well be connected by long, winding and narrow roads. The culture varies a little from north to south and you'll hear Cymraeg (Welsh) spoken as the first language in the north-west and south-west, though everyone above school age speaks English. Road signs will be in both languages. They are rightly proud of "The Great Little Trains Of Wales", a number of narrow-gauge lines that are now run for tourists but which once served slate mines and other industries. There's a Roman gold mine at Dolaucothi that is a great visit if you don't have claustrophobia. As you come to the border with England there are many places worth a look, such as Shrewsbury, Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford.

Don't be tempted to stick to the obvious places in England. London, like most big cities, is unrepresentative of the country as a whole. Devon and, especially, Cornwall have their own feel because they're out on a peninsular. The Lake District is similarly unspoiled and has some superb roads. Try the Wrynose and Hardnott passes, for example. The Peak District, near where I live, was our first National Park and has some great and varied scenery. Blue John stone is only found near Castleton and the mines are open to the public. The North Yorkshire Moors National Park can be quite bleak but the towns are pretty and friendly. I like Pickering, Whitby - the fish and chips are wonderful there, Scarborough, Hartlepool - where you'll discover who hanged the monkey and the quaint Victorian town of Saltburn by the Sea. Go a bit further north and you'll be able to visit some of the sites along Hadrian's Wall. Vindolanda, though technically not part of the Wall, is a truly amazing site and its small museum is jaw-dropping.

Again, I can't speak for the whole of Scotland. The Lowlands, just over the English border, is not the Scotland most tourists imagine. It's relatively flat, for a start. I suppose everyone has to see Gretna Green and I can recommend a hotel run by a motorcycling family in that area - The Buccleuch (pronounced Buckloo) Arms in Moffatt. They'll set you up with some good rides around there. I've never been to Glasgow, although it's supposed to have a lot to offer these days. Edinburgh is quite touristy but not as much as it could be, IMO, as has a lot worth seeing. I like Stirling, the gateway to the Highlands. I haven't gone far into the Highlands but it's rugged and sparsely populated in parts so the roads tend to be great for riding but a bit lonely, too. Loch Ness is worth a drive past and Inverness is worth a few hours wandering. I've not been any firther north so I can't help there, I'm afraid.

Hope this helps,
Keith
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post #8 of 21 Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 7:58 pm Thread Starter
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Re: UK travel 2016

Hi Keith,
I had a look to see where you are located. Looks like you are in "The thick of things"! Your message is loading with some great ideas for me to check out. I love the secluded areas so I'm sure northern Scotland will suit me just fine! You really put it in perspective when you mention about the total distance but the time to travel because of narrow winding roads/small towns.
When my wife and I drove around Ireland in 2000 we discovered you could not travel the distances you can in North America. That being said we loved every minute. We traveled the "Dingle peninsula" instead of the "Ring of Kerry". The drive over "Sleigh Head" was quite a treat. Too bad we were in car.
Thank you for your suggestions and I welcome any more you have. It's a long winter with a bike sitting in the garage and snow on the ground!
I had a 2006 LT and traded to the RT in 2012. I loved the LT but love the RT more for solo riding.
Kelly

2011, R1200RT
2006, R1200GS (located in Ireland)
2006, K1200LT (sold)
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post #9 of 21 Old Dec 23rd, 2015, 2:14 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

I have ridden the Ring of Kerry but remember very little of it. We were at a large camping rally and the run was guided by off-duty riders from the Irish police, who went off like furies and the rest of us were just riding for dear life all the way round!

All I wanted to get across is that our islands are very varied so you can't visit one patch and claim to have seen anything typical. When I go somewhere new we get a Lonely Planet or Rough Guide book and do our homework so we have a good idea of the places that suit us and plan the trip around that. When we've visited the States and Canada we've always been struck by the length of time you guys think of as quite normal for routine driving. From Derby, four hours would see me at the south coast, well into Cornwall and somewhere around Edinburgh. I think you need to shed those American concepts at border control because we're one of the most densely populated places on Earth so, for the most part, everything is far closer together than you're used to, England especially so.

If riding is the thing you enjoy most then the National Parks are a good place to start. They are not like US Parks as we let life continue within them as normal while controlling development so as to keep their natural beauty. Although they can be very boring to ride, use the motorway system to get from place to place. The vast majority are toll free and driving through our towns and cities is definitely not recommended unless you have a good reason to. That said, don't ignore them altogether because many are well worth a day's exploration. If you come into my area, do have a run up the A6 to Matlock Bath, particularly at weekends. It's a very pretty village but on Saturdays and Sundays it's a biker magnet. You won't need to stay long but it's worth the experience.

Keith
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post #10 of 21 Old Dec 30th, 2015, 12:45 pm
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Re: UK travel 2016

Hi Kelly,
If you're travelling from Cork then the Rosslare to Fishguard crossing is your nearest sea route and this brings you to Pembrokeshire, a beautiful part of South Wales. Look up Tenby and its surrounding villages, St. Davids is the UK's smallest city, it has a medieval cathedral. From there you can head inland to the Brecon Beacons and then north through some of the Uk's best biking country. Visit the Elan Valley, the reservoirs supply water to Birmingham, 100 miles away, and were begun by the Victorians. Snowdonia is well worth a visit for the scenery and there are several typically British seaside resorts you can take a look at (Aberystwyth, Barmouth, Porthmadoc, Llandudno among the larger ones). Castles are everywhere if thats your thing. Or preserved narrow gauge steam railways, Wales is full of those as well! If you see a sign anywhere saying "Narrow Mountain Road to....." then if the sun is shining, follow it and be rewarded by some stunning scenery. (Rhayader to Aberystwyth, Macynlleth to Llanidloes are two of my favourites). Campsites are plentiful all around Wales.
Coming into England, I live in the Midlands and can recommend many places that might not feature in the tourist guides. The counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire are all great for bikers. The Black and White village trail on the Welsh borders, Ludlow is well known as a "foodie favourite", if Industrial Heritage interests you then see Ironbridge Gorge and its many museums dedicated to the birth of the Industrial Revolution, the Long Mynd can give you a rare sense of remoteness in mid-western England, and the county towns of Shrewsbury, Hereford and Worcester are large enough to be worth a visit, small enough to do on a flying visit by motorcycle.
Continue south-east into the Cotswolds, very Olde Englishe but also very touristy in the summer. Stonehenge isn't that far away from here.
Devon and Cornwall will be well covered in the tour guides but are VERY busy in summer, as are most of the south coast resorts. The east coast area around Great Yarmouth has given us some nice family holidays in the past but never gave me the urge to go back on the bike.
Heading North again, Keith has already mentioned the Peak District and as he's local I'll that to him! I'll also second what he says about Yorkshire, but will add its worth continuing north into Northumberland on your way to Scotland, keep off the M6 motorway, motorways are boring by bike anyway.
No bike tour of England is complete without a visit to Cumbria and the Lake District, theres no doubt that biking is the best way to tour there as again it is extremely busy with tourists.
I've only ever visited Scotland with the family but it is well and truly on the list for bike trip. PadG's write up is excellent.
You can probably guess that I'm a regular visitor to Wales and love the place. In fact, had a ride-out with the lads to the coast at Barmouth yesterday in some very unseasonal sunny weather. Gales again today, though!
Consider membership of the Camping and Caravanning Club (Welcome to The Club - The Camping and Caravanning Club), they have a UK wide network of sites, in all sorts of areas from the very remote to near London where you can use the train to get into the city. I'm no longer a member but always found club sites to have clean and well maintained facilities.
I'll be more than happy to assist you further if I can, have a great trip,
Watty.
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post #11 of 21 Old Dec 31st, 2015, 11:25 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

I'm Canadian, residing in UK for the last 5 years and have grown to love the riding there. Aside from the good advise already given, I've found the following resources helpful in planning trips in UK:

Bikers Britain by Simon Weir - great route descriptions throughout the country.

Websites

Motorcycle Map, Michelin Maps, Motorcycle Tours, Motorcycle Touring, Motorbike Rides, Motorcycle Atlas, Motorbike Routes designed with motorcyclists in mind
The Best Rides | The Best Rides good descriptions of what to look for and expect
1149 Motorcycling Roads United Kingdom great site to build your trip around - they have an app too

By the way, camping is always a option but the real way to experience UK is to stay in B&Bs. In the more rural areas they are quite reasonable and you will get to meet wonderful people who can help you plan your trip.

Trust this helps.

Dirk

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post #12 of 21 Old Dec 31st, 2015, 1:09 pm
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Re: UK travel 2016

I didn't start this thread, but thanks fellers! Some really excellent resource and advice here, and I am going to have to save for planning my next trip over there!

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
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1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #13 of 21 Old Jan 3rd, 2016, 12:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: UK travel 2016

I have been contact with Martin, Motofeirme | Ride your bike, in Europe! He was suggested by many other people who have done the same thing. They have only positive things to say about their experience and dealing with Martin. I am really looking forward to making this happen!

2011, R1200RT
2006, R1200GS (located in Ireland)
2006, K1200LT (sold)
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post #14 of 21 Old Jan 4th, 2016, 8:55 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktompkins View Post
I have been contact with Martin, Motofeirme | Ride your bike, in Europe! He was suggested by many other people who have done the same thing. They have only positive things to say about their experience and dealing with Martin. I am really looking forward to making this happen!
I knew that I had read something about this service before, when you had first mentioned it! It seem that I had the link that you had posted already bookmarked! Looks like it will be well worth it if you can find the bike that you like and you go over often! That R1150RT looks good at 3,500 Euro!

BTW, when you get to Scotland, DO make sure that you hit the Bealach na Ba! I had just published a video compilation on YouTube, and the link for it is in my Scotland Ride Report!

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #15 of 21 Old Jan 24th, 2016, 7:13 pm Thread Starter
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Re: UK travel 2016

I am in the process of purchasing a 2006 R1200GS from one of Martin's customers. My plane ticket is booked for June and I will spend 3 1/2 weeks touring Ireland and the UK. I will camp as much as possible. I will store the bike with Martin and return the following year to head further into Europe.
I spent this afternoon in the woods on my snowshoes as it was beautiful here. My bike RT is stored in my garage until May when the snow is gone. Can't wait to tour another part of the world!

2011, R1200RT
2006, R1200GS (located in Ireland)
2006, K1200LT (sold)
1981, Kawasaki CSR 650 (sold)
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post #16 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2016, 8:19 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

That sounds great! I wish that my legs were long enough to allow me to ride a GS! June is a good month! Based on the little research I had done on the weather for Scotland, the months for the best chance of sunshine is May and June, which was why I had selected June for my visit as well.

Good luck, and have loads of fun!!

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #17 of 21 Old Jan 26th, 2016, 5:58 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

June should be reasonable weather but bring your wet weather gear because you're bound to need it, sooner or later. The children are still in school in June so you won't get holiday traffic and the tourist areas are unlikely to be crowded, except at weekends. If the weather turns bad and you need accommodation Tourist Information Centres - which you'll find in many towns - will have lists of bed & breakfast places at all prices. Some even have touch screens on their windows so you can find accommodation outside their opening hours. It would be worth considering buying a cheap cellphone (we call them mobile phones) on a pay-as-you-go contract. You might be able to get an unlocked phone and then just get a sim-card but, either way, it's likely to be much cheaper than using your US model abroad. You may not need it but I'm a belt and braces man and like to have every base covered (a few mixed metaphors there!). Do beware that, out in the wilds, reception is likely to be very patchy.

Once you've got a general route sorted out post it here and I'm sure we'll be able to suggest interesting places nearby.

Keith


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post #18 of 21 Old Jan 28th, 2016, 6:36 pm Thread Starter
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Re: UK travel 2016

I do plan to bring an unlocked cell phone and purchase a SIM card. Do I pick thus up at any local store? Will it be good for Ireland/UK/France or will I need one for each country?
As for my route, I will continue to read peoples posts of their suggestions and do lots of research. I am not a person to plan out each day. I tend to have a general idea and mostly "wing it". Getting lost means new experiences!

2011, R1200RT
2006, R1200GS (located in Ireland)
2006, K1200LT (sold)
1981, Kawasaki CSR 650 (sold)
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post #19 of 21 Old Jan 29th, 2016, 2:20 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

Make sure that the phone is multi-band. I don't know whether it's still true but the frequencies used in the States were not the same as those used in Europe a few years ago. At one time a tri-band phone would work in most parts of the world but you needed a quad-band phone to work in the States. You should be able to pick up a SIM card at a store or on-line. I do not know whether the Republic of Ireland counts as "abroad" for UK operators or vice versa - we have a peculiar relationship with the country in many ways - but roaming charges might well apply. They are being phased out within the EU but will still apply this summer, I believe, anywhere in mainland Europe and crossing a border will change the operator and the charge level. At the end of the day, whether you get a card for more than one country will depend on how much you think you'll use it. If you expect to use it daily then getting a new SIM card is likely to pay dividends. They don't cost that much and ought to work again the next time you come over.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Make sure the card you get can be made to roam and how to do it. It isn't usually a problem but you do need to make sure as it isn't automatic.

Keith


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post #20 of 21 Old Jan 29th, 2016, 8:40 am
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Re: UK travel 2016

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockdoc View Post
Make sure that the phone is multi-band. I don't know whether it's still true but the frequencies used in the States were not the same as those used in Europe a few years ago. At one time a tri-band phone would work in most parts of the world but you needed a quad-band phone to work in the States. You should be able to pick up a SIM card at a store or on-line. I do not know whether the Republic of Ireland counts as "abroad" for UK operators or vice versa - we have a peculiar relationship with the country in many ways - but roaming charges might well apply. They are being phased out within the EU but will still apply this summer, I believe, anywhere in mainland Europe and crossing a border will change the operator and the charge level. At the end of the day, whether you get a card for more than one country will depend on how much you think you'll use it. If you expect to use it daily then getting a new SIM card is likely to pay dividends. They don't cost that much and ought to work again the next time you come over.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Make sure the card you get can be made to roam and how to do it. It isn't usually a problem but you do need to make sure as it isn't automatic.

Keith
I know that the GSM band here in the US does work in Scotland at least! I didn't bother to buy a SIM while in Scotland, since T-Mobile (my provider here in the US) allows me to use my phone there, and charging 20 cents per minute for phone calls and free international texting, and I think free data services as well! I had no interested in using my phone for phone calls at all, but I did want to have something for emergencies, and this plan had worked well.
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post #21 of 21 Old Mar 6th, 2016, 1:29 pm
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Kildare, , Ireland
Posts: 21
Re: UK travel 2016

You should look up the Wild Atlantic Way official video on YouTube, (www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIzU6Vhpzyw), if your coming to Southern Ireland the { Irish Republic} which is not a part of the UK ...

Don't get me wrong they are our Neighbours and very good ones at that !

The best of Ireland as a Island for biking and sights is from Cork in the south up along the west coast to Donegal and on to the North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland.
the Wild Atlantic Way !!
There is also a app for Wild Atlantic Way with Info and routes ..

You have plenty of options for ferries from Ireland to Wales and Scotland.
Its only a quick ferry ride to Scotland from Belfast by Ferry..
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