Day 1: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.Day 2: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. 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! (B)Day 3:LONDON–STONEHENGE–WIDECOMBE–PLYMOUTH.
Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and depart at 8 am for the West Country. Cross the chalky terrain of Wiltshire and visit STONEHENGE, one of England’s most intriguing mysteries. Explore the visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument from up close. In the heart of Dartmoor National Park, ghostly setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, visit quaint Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Later, in Plymouth, hear about Sir Francis Drake and see the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620. (B,D)Day 4:PLYMOUTH–GLASTONBURY–BATH–CARDIFF, WALES.
Via Glastonbury and its associations with King Arthur to the elegant city of Bath, famed for its amazing Roman relics and Georgian buildings. Cross the spectacular Severn Bridge into Wales and head for the capital, Cardiff. Here, an orientation drive introduces you to all the major attractions: Cardiff Castle, Cathays Park, Millennium Stadium, and the stately civic buildings. Tonight, why not join an evening of Welsh entertainment and dinner? (B)Day 5:CARDIFF–TENBY–TRAMORE, IRELAND.
Vistas of rich dairy farmland this morning on the way to the pretty seaside resort of Tenby. Then, on to Pembroke, departure point for the FERRY across St. George’s Channel to Ireland. Arrive at Rosslare in just under four hours. (B,D)Day 6:TRAMORE–BLARNEY–KILLARNEY.
Today, discover why Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle.” Drive along the southern coast, passing Cork, the country’s second-largest city. Stop in Blarney, famous for its Stone of Eloquence. Time to see the castle, and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. After lunch, continue to the popular resort of Killarney. Tonight, enjoy the optional outing to Tralee for dinner and a performance at Siamsa Tire, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre. (B)Day 7: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 from Ladies View. Back in Killarney, a special optional adventure: take a horse-drawn jaunting car along the national park lakeshore for pictures of Ross Castle. (B)Day 8:KILLARNEY–DINGLE PENINSULA–ADARE–LIMERICK.
Breathtaking scenery this morning on the Dingle Peninsula, where the 32-mile Slea Head drive affords magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. See the Blasket Islands and hear about the way of life and unique literary achievements of its inhabitants prior to their evacuation in 1953. Then, travel via Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages, to Limerick. Tonight, consider joining an optional medieval banquet at a historic castle. (B)Day 9:LIMERICK–CLIFFS OF MOHER–GALWAY–DUBLIN.
A scenic route this morning via the CLIFFS OF MOHER and The Burren on the way to the port city of Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with colorful shops and a busy café and bar culture. Continue across the mighty Shannon before arriving in Dublin. The optional dinner suggestion is a fun Irish cabaret evening with dance, song, and laughter. (B)Day 10:DUBLIN.
A day in the “Fair City” starts with an orientation drive through Eire’s capital, including statue-lined O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The rest of the day is at leisure. Why not join an optional dinner at the Guinness Storehouse? (B)Day 11:DUBLIN–CHESTER, ENGLAND–LIVERPOOL.
Take the FERRY across the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey with its tongue-twisting names. Follow the North Wales coast to Chester, the ancient county town on the Dee River. See the Roman remains, black and white half-timbered buildings, and the two-tiered arcades called the “Rows.” Overnight in Liverpool, of Beatles fame and once the departure port of the great transatlantic liners. (B)Day 12:LIVERPOOL–LAKE DISTRICT–GRETNA GREEN, SCOTLAND–GLASGOW.
Drive into the tranquil Lake District, often considered to be the finest of England’s national parks and recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Then, visit Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Travel through the history-steeped Lowland Hills to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. (B,D)Day 13:GLASGOW–FORT WILLIAM–INVERNESS–CULLODEN MOOR–GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY.
Skirt the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond and head through wild Rannoch Moor into the Highlands. Via Glen Coe, where the MacDonald Clan was massacred in 1692, to Fort William beneath Ben Nevis. Then, the Great Glen for vistas of the Caledonian Canal, Loch Lochy, and Loch Oich. Follow the banks of Loch Ness, home of the timid and timeless Nessie. Continue via Inverness, the Highland capital, and on the way to tonight’s destination, stop at the battlefield of Culloden Moor with its memories of Bonnie Prince Charlie. (B,D)Day 14:GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY–PITLOCHRY–PERTH–DUNDEE–ST. ANDREWS–EDINBURGH.
Drive through more spectacular Highland scenery for a stop in the pretty Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry. The routing then takes in Perth and Dundee before crossing the Tay Bridge to St. Andrews, whose Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, has given us the rules of golfing. Continue through Fife and over the mighty Forth Road Bridge to spend the next two nights in Edinburgh. A suggestion for this evening: enjoy a traditional Scottish night out, with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis. (B)Day 15: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 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. 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 21 through August 11, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO. (B)Day 16:EDINBURGH–JEDBURGH–YORK, ENGLAND–SHEFFIELD.
At Jedburgh, see the abbey ruins before heading towards the Cheviot Hills and the English border. Travel through wild Northumberland National Park, and on the way, see a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes. In 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. Overnight in Sheffield. (B,D)Day 17:SHEFFIELD–STRATFORD-UPON-AVON–LONDON.
In Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, take photos of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. After returning to London around 4 pm, how about celebrating the success of your tour with an optional night out on the town? (B)Day 18:LONDON.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
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