Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN LONDON, ENGLAND. Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, there’s time to rest or to start exploring the lively British capital; uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
LONDON. What’s your pleasure? Today is devoted to exploring on your own or enjoying our exciting program of optional activities. You may choose to join a Local Guide for an optional morning sightseeing tour of the city’s famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall’s mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister’s Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. The highlight is a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece built between 1675 and 1708. Later on, maybe visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its spectacular Crown Jewels. Tonight, a leisurely cruise on the Thames River would be fun!
LONDON–OXFORD–STRATFORD-UPON-AVON–COVENTRY. Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and depart at 8 am for a memorable day of sightseeing: a photo opportunity at Hampton Court Palace; Runnymede, where King John sealed the Magna Carta; a walking tour in Oxford, one of the country’s oldest seats of learning; and skirting the Cotswold Hills to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. Take photos of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. Overnight near Coventry.
COVENTRY–YORK–NEWCASTLE. Leave the Midlands and head north to York, England’s most complete medieval city. Stand in awe in front of the great structure of York Minster, then follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles. Stop for the night in Newcastle, once an important center for the wool trade and coal mining and now a vibrant, modern city.
NEWCASTLE–BERWICK-UPON-TWEED–NORTH BERWICK, SCOTLAND–EDINBURGH. On your way to Scotland, drive along the picturesque coastline to Berwick-upon-Tweed, situated just south of the Scottish border. This peaceful town suffered a turbulent past, and its Elizabethan walls, built to keep invading Scots from entering the town, could tell a colorful tale. Stop for photographs of the Firth of Forth in pretty North Berwick before arriving in Edinburgh. Later, a unique optional experience: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia, which was once the perfect royal residence for glittering state visits and family holidays. Tour five decks and see how the Royal Family and crew of 240 lived and worked on board. Dinner rounds off this optional evening. For departure numbers July 29 through August 19, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO.
EDINBURGH. A full day to enjoy the Scottish capital. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town,” home to famous scientists, inventors, and novelists. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. Afternoon at leisure. A suggestion for this evening: a traditional Scottish night out, with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis.
EDINBURGH–ST. ANDREWS–DUNDEE–PERTH–PITLOCHRY–CULLODEN MOOR–INVERNESS–STRATHPEFFER. A day of memorable sightseeing. Take the elegant Forth Road Bridge to St. Andrews, whose Royal and Ancient Golf Club has given us the rules of golfing, then cross the Firth of Tay and via Dundee and Perth, head into the Highlands, with a stop in the Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry. Cross the battlefield of Culloden Moor with its memories of Bonnie Prince Charlie, then via Inverness, head for your Highland destination.
STRATHPEFFER. WEST COAST EXCURSION. More spectacular Scottish scenery: Dornoch Firth, the Kyle of Sutherland, the Mountains of Assynt, and Knockan Crag. Then, follow Strath Oykel for a visit to Ullapool, a remote fishing harbor on Loch Broom, before returning along Loch Glascarnoch. Our recommendation for this afternoon: join the optional Loch Ness Experience, which includes a cruise on the loch, followed by supper.
STRATHPEFFER–ISLE OF SKYE–FORT WILLIAM–GLASGOW. More heather-clad moors as you drive through the western Highlands to Lochalsh and the Inner Hebridean Isle of Skye. The route back to the mainland is by FERRY across the Sound of Sleat to Mallaig, then breathtaking scenery all the way to Fort William beneath Ben Nevis. Glen Coe, where the MacDonald Clan was massacred in 1692, and a drive along the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond are scenic highlights on the way to Glasgow, Scotland’s great cultural city.
GLASGOW–ALLOWAY–BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND. On this morning’s orientation drive through Scotland’s largest city, see the fine 12th-century cathedral, imposing university buildings, and elegant Georgian squares, built by wealthy tobacco barons. Later, stop at Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns, before boarding the FERRY for the Irish Sea crossing to Belfast.
BELFAST–GIANT’S CAUSEWAY–DERRY–BELLEEK–DRUMCLIFF, IRELAND–SLIGO. Take the scenic route along the Antrim Coast to awe-inspiring GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, then let the province’s story unfold as you head for the city of Derry. Later, visit BELLEEK POTTERY, renowned for its exquisite cream-colored Parian china. At Drumcliff, see the grave of native son and poet W.B. Yeats before arriving in Sligo, tonight’s destination.
SLIGO–GALWAY–CLIFFS OF MOHER–ENNIS. Travel south to Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with colorful shops and a busy café and bar culture. Then, cross the limestone plateau of The Burren to visit the spectacular 668-foot CLIFFS OF MOHER. Tonight, a chance to attend an optional medieval banquet at a historic castle.
ENNIS–DINGLE PENINSULA–KILLARNEY. Via Clonderlaw Bay to Killimer for the FERRY across the Shannon estuary. Breathtaking scenery this afternoon on the Dingle Peninsula, where the 32-mile Slea Head drive affords magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. Afternoon arrival in Killarney, your destination for the next two nights.
KILLARNEY. RING OF KERRY EXCURSION. At Killorglin, join the road known as the RING OF KERRY for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive featuring sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and spectacular views of the Lakes of Killarney. Then, a special optional adventure: take a horse-drawn jaunting car along the national park lakeshore for pictures of Ross Castle. Later, enjoy the optional outing to Tralee for dinner and a performance at Siamsa Tire, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre.
KILLARNEY–BLARNEY–DUNGARVAN–TRAMORE. More scenic splendor as you head into County Cork. Stop in Blarney, famous for its Stone of Eloquence, with time at your leisure to see the castle, and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. After lunch, drive past Cork, the country’s second-largest city. Finally, pass Dungarvan and travel along the Copper Coast to the seaside resort of Tramore. Tonight, maybe join an optional pub tour before dinner at your hotel.
TRAMORE–WATERFORD–AVOCA–GLENDALOUGH–DUBLIN. Highlights on your northbound journey: Waterford, famed for its exquisite crystal; Enniscorthy, site of the final battle of the Great Rebellion of 1798; a visit to Ireland’s oldest HANDWEAVING mill at Avoca; views of the Wicklow Mountains; and Glendalough with its ruins of a center of Irish Christianity, founded by St. Kevin. Afternoon arrival in Dublin—top off the day with an optional Irish cabaret evening including dinner, dance, song, and laughter.
DUBLIN. A day in the “Fair City” starts off with an orientation drive through Ireland’s capital and includes statue-lined O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The rest of the day is free to enjoy Dublin at leisure. This evening’s optional dinner excursion is to the famous Guinness Storehouse.
DUBLIN–WREXHAM, WALES. Take the FERRY across the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey with its tongue-twisting names. Enjoy the best of North Wales on a scenic drive through Snowdonia National Park, including spectacular Llanberis Pass. Then, on to Llangollen, home of an annual national competition for poets and musicians, before arriving in Wrexham. Later, why not join an optional excursion by barge along the Llangollen Canal?
WREXHAM–BUILTH WELLS–BRECON–CARDIFF. A day dedicated to Wales as you head south through the ancient market town of Builth Wells and Brecon Beacons National Park, land of salmon rivers and the Welsh mountain pony. In Cardiff, an orientation drive takes in Cathays Park with its splendid civic buildings and Cardiff Castle. Tonight’s optional excursion is an evening of Welsh entertainment and dinner.
CARDIFF–BATH, ENGLAND–GLASTONBURY–WIDECOMBE–PLYMOUTH. Across the Severn Bridge to the elegant Georgian city of Bath, famed for its Roman relics. Into the West Country via Glastonbury and its associations with King Arthur, and wild and romantic Dartmoor with a visit to the picture-book village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Upon arrival in Plymouth, hear about Sir Francis Drake and see the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620.
PLYMOUTH. LOOE EXCURSION. Today’s excursion takes you to the pretty fishing village and former smuggler’s port of Looe. Then, follow in the footsteps of Drake, Raleigh, and the Pilgrim Fathers on an optional cruise on Plymouth Sound, one of the world’s greatest natural harbors.
PLYMOUTH–STONEHENGE–BRIGHTON. An interesting day heading into Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and a visit to intriguing, prehistoric STONEHENGE. Explore the visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument up close. Via Arundel, dominated by the Duke of Norfolk’s huge castle, continue on to the seaside resort of Brighton for an overnight stay.
BRIGHTON–LONDON. A leisurely last day with time this morning for a seafront promenade stroll and out onto the famous Brighton Pier; a walk along The Lanes, a quaint area of narrow streets renowned for its antique shops; or even a flight on the i360, the world’s tallest moving observation tower, to enjoy spectacular views over the beautiful South Coast. Return to London in the early afternoon. How about celebrating the success of your tour with a night out on the town?
LONDON. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.