I think the often stated fact that everything in Europe is "so close" can be deceptive for people coming for the first time. Relatively speaking, it's true, but if you've got a shortish about of time and want to cover a lot of ground, you are going to end up most of a lot of days on the train. Of course you can take night trains to compensate for this (and save on accommodation) but if you've got two weeks, you don't want to be spending half of it en route. That's why you see people recommending taking a smaller area and concentrating on that (like, France, Spain and Portugal is morrre than plenty for that amount of time). Of course it's all a matter of opinion (and I get the football draw), but I see no reason to bother with the British isles at all, it's basically a waste of your time. If there's a real draw for you there, do a separate trip some other time so you can see the more interesting parts like Scotland and Ireland, but if you've got a European whirlwind in store, you're just burning days by including a country where the main interesting thing is you realise where all the worst parts of American culture actually originated.