England Scotland Wales & Ireland – Grand Tour of the British Isles

12 Days / 11 Nights

England, Ireland, N. Ireland, Scotland, Wales

Features
London Stratford Warwick Castle York Edinburgh Stirling Castle Loch Ness Loch Lomond Glasgow Belfast Dublin Snowdonia Caerphilly Cardiff Bath Stonehenge

A Grand Tour of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland taking in some of the very best that these wonderfully varied countries have to offer, from the cosmopolitan and vibrant capital cities of London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Dublin to the majestic scenery of the north and west and the amazing cultural and historic highlights that abound in the British Isles.

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Itinerary


DAY 1

Following arrival in London enjoy a panoramic tour guiding you through the history of England’s capital city and its famous monuments and attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster AbbeyBig Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column and Piccadilly Circus.  Perhaps enjoy the evening in the city’s Soho area, famous for cinemas, theatres, clubs and restaurants.    Overnight: London, England.

DAY 2

This morning, explore more of London’s great monuments such as the mighty St Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince Charles married the late Princess of Wales and the infamous Tower of London, a medieval castle which has served as a fortress, a royal palace, a prison, a place of execution and torture, an armoury and a treasury. Since 1303 it has also been the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom which you can see on a tour.  You’ll also visit the iconic Tower Bridge  and the amazing London Eye.  After lunch head for the world famous university city of Oxford, the “city of dreaming spires”, with a visit to one of the renowned university colleges.    Overnight in the Midlands area of England

DAY 3

Today you are in the historic heart of England. Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace and home of William Shakespeare, and his house can still be visited in the centre of the town; the local church contains his grave and time permitting the house of Mary Arden, his mother, is well worth viewing.  It’s then just a short drive to Britain’s best preserved medieval castle, Warwick Castle. The Kingmaker’s House, the dungeon, the gardens and the fascinating display of weaponry are just some of the highlights of a visit to this iconic location.  Continue through central England into Yorkshire. Overnight York/Leeds area, England.

DAY 4

Morning panoramic sightseeing tour of York, a Roman and Viking capital, steeped in history and famed for its fine medieval walls and its magnificent cathedral – York Minster. Head north along the course of the Roman road to the north, the A1, and take either the scenic coastal route along the Northumberland coast with its beaches and castles (eg Alnwick and Bamburgh) or visit Hadrian’s Roman Wall,  Melrose and Melrose Abbey. Then continue north to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Overnight Edinburgh area, Scotland.

DAY 5

Today is dedicated to exploring Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, starting at Edinburgh Castle, which sits in a prominent defensive position on a volcanic rock and dominates the city, providing amazing views in all directions. The Castle is the home to the Scottish Crown Jewels and the famous Stone of Destiny, the ancient crowning seat of the Scottish monarchs. Afterwards enjoy a walk along the Royal Mile to the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse, closely associated with Scotland’s turbulent past, including the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived there between 1561 and 1567.  This is the official residence of the Royal Family when in Scotland.   Overnight Edinburgh area, Scotland.

DAY 6

Heading further  north into the Scottish Highlands enjoy a photo-stop en-route at Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s grandest castles with its impressive architecture towering over some of the most important battlefields in Scottish history.  Enjoy a visit to a Whisky distillery and learn all about the production of Scotland’s national drink, then on through the picturesque Pass of Killiecrankie and the grandeur of Speyside en-route to Inverness, “Capital of the Highlands”.   Overnight Inverness, Scotland.

DAY 7

This morning it’s time to turn south along the banks of Loch Ness. Keep a look out for “Nessie” the famous monster that is said to lurk in its deep dark  waters.  See the iconic Urquhart Castle and marvel at the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and the scenic beauty of Glencoe.  Then it’s on to equally scenic Loch Lomond with the option of a short cruise on the loch itself, before heading to Scotland’s second city, Glasgow.   Overnight Glasgow area, Scotland

DAY 8

Enjoy a scenic drive through south west Scotland and onward by ferry to Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland.   Here there’s the opportunity to visit Titanic Belfast – the impressive state of the art visitor experience which retells the story of Titanic from her conception within the city, to her prestigious launch and ultimately tragic end.  Alternatively, visit Carrickfergus Castle, the finest and best preserved Norman castle in Ireland.  Overnight Belfast, N. Ireland.

DAY 9

Morning drive south to the capital city of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin.  Afternoon guided sightseeing tour taking in the main highlights of the city including Trinity College with the famous Book of Kells  – an incredible medieval ornately illustrated manuscript – the Bank of Ireland, the Ha’penny Bridge over the River Liffey, Dublin Castle and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Dublin is the “home of Guinness”, the legendary Irish drink, and you can visit the Guinness Storehouse to see how its made.  Then join in  “the Craic” as you enjoy an entertaining evening of Irish folklore, music and dance this evening.  Overnight Dublin, Ireland.

DAY 10

A morning drive into the beautiful Wicklow Mountains which overlook Dublin, taking in the ancient religious site at Glendalough and the impressive Powerscourt House and its wonderful gardens.  Return to the UK mainland by ferry this afternoon, arriving on the island of Anglesey at Holyhead.  Overnight North Wales area.

DAY 11

Explore the scenic splendour of the  Snowdonia National Park which includes Wales’ highest peak Mount Snowdon.  Take a ride  behiond a historic steam locomotive on one of the “Great Little Trains of Wales”  through the park this morning before driving through more amazing scenery to visit the remarkably well preserved Caerphilly Castle, the largest in the country.  Overnight Cardiff Area, Wales.

DAY 12

Morning sightseeing in Cardiff, the capital of Wales, where you can see its Castle as well as the newly developed Cardiff Bay area and the stunning Millennium Stadium. Continue back into England to visit the Roman city of Bath, famous for its Georgian architecture and the visitor attractions of the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms.  Overnight Wiltshire/Berkshire area, England.

DAY 13

Depending on flight schedules, enjoy a visit to the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Stonehenge and to Salisbury Cathedral, boasting the tallest church spire in Britain before commencing your homeward journey.

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