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Trip Report – Multiple visits

European Greenfinch

Day 1: Start your trip in central London, enjoying both birds and the sights. First time visitors may wish to chose more of a sightseeing itinerary and returning visitors maybe ready to jump right into the gardens and wetlands in order to start their birding immediately. Try the Best Western Hotel near Hyde Park it is quite good value. Of course there will be many dinner options or, if you can stay awake, try the theater. London is always great just to wander around at night.

Day 2: Stay in London today and decide if you want to sight see some more or bird. If you sight see through the parks you can do both.

Day 3: Head to Cambridge today and stop whenever you can to bird in some of England’s wonderful countryside. Try one of the pubs for lunch and then head on to Cambridge itself to enjoy more of England’s wonderful history.


Day 4: A reasonably early start will take you to Wicken Fen, a wetlands close to Cambridge for a great birding day and then return mid afternoon to explore more of Cambridge (you may even wish to try your hand at punting on the Cam!)

Day 5:  Today head to the north Norfolk coast which offers not only some of Europe’s best birding but also some of the most beautiful villages and countryside.Stop en route at Lakenheath Fen which is the only place in England you have any chance of seeing Golden Oriole ( although very unlikely). Also stop at Lynford Hall, near Munford, to try for Hawfinch. The hotel is worth having tea or coffee in but when you first arrive, drive past the hotel, park and walk into the area behind the hotel. There is a lake that you can walk all the way around – that’s where you can see Hawfinch. Then continue to your accommodation in Norfolk, the George Hotel at Cley Next the Sea right on the coast.

Grey Wagtail

Day 6: Early morning for a full day’s birding along Norfolk’s rugged coast line. Head east along the coast road about 1.5 km to Cley Marshes Nature Reserve, the visitors center and parking are on the right. After using the hides here, continue east to Saltmarsh village. (The Crab Shop here is great). Just past the village you can walk down the dyke to the ocean. Later in the afternoon drive into Holt, for some sightseeing and a wander round some of the quaint stores. Back to the George to sleep.

Day 7: Another morning’s birding on the coast . This time head west to Holkham. Opposite the Hotel Victoria turn right and park at the far end of the parking. Check the fields on either side of the parking and then walk out to the beach. Enjoy lunch at the local stately home of Holkam House. In the afternoon take a boat trip out to Blakeney Point for seals and seabirds. Stay tonight at the White Horse Hotel in the harbor town of Blakeney.

Willow Warbler

Day 8: Today bird inland to focus more on passerines, enjoying the woodlands and villages in the area – plus a stop at the locally famous scope store, Cley Spy ( hold onto your credit cards!). There is also a glass blowing factory nearby that some may wish to visit. Stay again at the White Horse.

Day 9: Head west early in the morning to get to Tichwell Marsh (just beyond Brancaster) which is one of England’s best RSPB reserves. You can spend all day here – there is food available at the reserve. Depending on what time you leave, you could stay somewhere en route to your next birding spot ( see Day 10) – Lincoln could be ideal but there are many choices along the way.

Day 10: Heading a little further north, stop at Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve for your first sea bird colony. Then move on to York, possibly one of England’s most interesting historic towns where you should stay for 2 nights. Because of the price range available I will leave it up to you to chose- there is not shortage here.

Meadow Pipit

Day 11: There is an option today – some of you may wish to spend the whole day in York. For others you could visit Bempton Cliffs, to a 2nd seabird colony, and then return to York later in the day in time for a little sightseeing around town.

Day 12: Now move on towards Scotland. Bird en route where ever seems good. The main thing is to arrive hotel in Abernathy at the Mountain View Hotel in the evening. Use guides from the hotel to assist you in your Scottish Highlands part of the trip over the next couple of days.

Day 13 –  16:  Remain in Scotland visiting several different habitats, the timing of which will depend on recent sightings. This is a truly stunning part of the world – what with fabulous birds, wonderful countryside, great pubs and Scottish hospitality we may never leave!


Day 17: Head west to an island off the coast of Scotland for 3 days on the Isle of Islay. The ferry ride itself will offer some great birding opportunities. The island is a beautifully peaceful location where you can enjoy a B&B or stay right on the harbor at the Harbour Inn.

Day 18: Use a local birding guide for a tour of the island . They will provide a picnic to enjoy in the peace of this island and continue to add to your bird list.

Day 19: Weather depending, try to take a pelagic trip or take this as a rest day and enjoy the beauty of this little haven.

Day 20: The ferry back to the mainland is the beginning of your trip home.

Both England and Scotland have so much to offer – the combination of history, landscapes, birds and culture makes this a memorable trip – not to mention the pub food & fare!!!


Best Western, nr Hyde Park, London
The George Hotel, Cley, Norfolk – no longer offering accommodation
The White Horse, Blakeney, Norfolk
Mountain View Hotel, Abernathy, Scotland
Harbour Inn, Isle of Islay, Scotland

Guides & Resources

Guides – We don’t use Guides in England because we are from there. BirdingPals is always a great resource for free and professional guides.

Field guide – a ‘must’ in Europe is ‘The Most complete Field Guide to the birds of Britain and Europe’ by Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom & Grant.

Wesites: www.birdwatch.co.uk
The RSPB is always a great resource and their reserves are all great.

A good ‘where to bird’ guide is Top Birding Spots in Britain and Ireland by David Tipling

Bird Song – order from the NHBS – Bird Songs and Calls of Britain and Europe – Jean C. Roche

Bird List