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Select Cosmos 2021 Europe tours are limited to an average of just 24 guests per tour. There’s always room to roam with extra space between you and other travelers—while still getting up close and personal to the experiences you’ve been dreaming of. Small-Group Discoveries include all the features of a traditional Cosmos European tour, complete with expert Tour Director, Driver, and Local Guides who ensure that your health and safety is our top priority. A Small-Group Discovery Europe vacation is the perfectly sized tour—without the crowds.
Total meals included:
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.
Today is devoted to exploring on your own or enjoying our exciting 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 residence, 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, maybe visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its spectacular Crown Jewels. Tonight, we recommend our optional Taste of London excursion with dinner, followed by a guided illumination cruise on the Thames River.
Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and depart at 8 am for a memorable day of sightseeing. In Oxford, a walking tour shows you the colleges where Britain’s elite receive its outstanding education. Then, travel through the lovely Cotswold Hills to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. Take photos of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. Your overnight destination is Leeds.
Today’s Distance: 263 mi/ 423 km
In York, 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. See a section of Hadrian’s Wall, then motor through wild Northumberland National Park to the Scottish border. Then, at Jedburgh, see the abbey ruins before a late-afternoon arrival 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.
Today’s Distance: 270 mi/ 334 km
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,” visit Edinburgh Castle to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. Afternoon at leisure. Later, consider a unique optional experience: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia. Tour five decks and see how the Royal Family and crew of 240 lived and worked on board. Dinner rounds out this optional evening. For departures August 9 and August 23, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned Military Tattoo, a vast spectacle of amassed Scottish pipe bands that takes place in an arena on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.
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.
Today’s Distance: 221 mi/ 335 km
More heather-clad moors as you drive through the western Highlands to Lochalsh and the Inner Hebridean Isle of Skye. Return to the mainland by ferry across the Sound of Sleat to Mallaig. 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.
Today’s Distance: 234 mi/ 377 km
South through the history-steeped Lowland Hills and a visit to Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Drive through beautiful scenery in the Lake District, considered to be the finest of England’s national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. End the day in Liverpool, of Beatles fame, once the departure port of the great transatlantic liners. You may wish to join an optional city tour this afternoon.
Today’s Distance: 240 mi/ 386 km
A day dedicated to the mountainous splendor of North Wales. After a stop in pretty Betws-y-Coed, drive over spectacular Llanberis Pass and through Snowdonia National Park to Caernarvon, where the castle saw the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales. Then, follow the coast road via the walled town of Conway back to Liverpool.
Today’s Distance: 185 mi/ 298 km
First stop today is in the pretty market town of Ludlow before heading back into Wales and Brecon Beacons National Park, land of salmon rivers and the Welsh mountain pony. Finally, head through “The Valleys,” whose iron ore and coal were the raw materials for the Industrial Revolution, to the Welsh capital. Here, an orientation drive introduces you to 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?
Today’s Distance: 181 mi/ 301 km
Leaving Wales, cross the Severn Bridge for a visit to the elegant Georgian city of Bath, famed for its Roman relics, before heading into the romantically scenic West Country and Glastonbury with its King Arthur associations. In the heart of Dartmoor National Park, visit quaint Widecombe-in-the-Moor, ghostly setting for Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Finally, in Plymouth, hear about Sir Francis Drake and see the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620.
Today’s Distance: 197 mi/ 316 km
On the final leg of your journey, take in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and visit prehistoric Stonehenge. First, explore the visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument from up close. Return to London around 3 pm. How about celebrating the success of your tour with a night out on the town?
Today’s Distance: 218 mi/ 351 km
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
It may occasionally be necessary to use alternative hotels of a similar standard to those shown.
Concrete and brick commercial hotel in modern nine-story complex located at Hammersmith, 1/4 mile from train station.
Set among fields, the Holiday Inn Leeds Garforth is situated just a short drive from Leeds city centre. The hotel features the Aioli Restaurant for breakfast and dinner and Aioli Bar and Lounge for light meals and snacks. The 144 rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with all modern amenities including hairdryer, iron and ironing board, complimentary toiletries and more. The hotel also boasts an indoor swimming pool, fitness center and spa. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout.
The 4 star Novotel Edinburgh Park is ideally located for a city break in Edinburgh. The hotel has free on site parking, leisure facilities including a pool, gym and steam room.
Scottish Highland hotel is an idyllic setting for weddings, functions and conferences, offering spectacular views of Ben Wyvis.
Multistory Hotel set in prestigious West End, 4 miles from city center.
Modern Multistory Hotel opposite Lime Street Station, 5 miles from Liverpool Airport.
Modern Hotel situated 3 miles from center of Cardiff & train station.
The Jurys Inn is located on Exeter Street, beside the historic quarter, and an easy 10 minute walk to the historic centre where Plymouth is yours to explore and enjoy. It features an all-day Costa Coffee bar and lounge where you can enjoy a hot drink and relax, an elegant on-site bar for a glass of wine or a pint of beer, and a restaurant with a range of delectable dishes to choose from. The 247 comfortable and spacious hotel rooms are furnished with large soft beds, a well-lit desk, TV with Free view, and free Wi-Fi access.
Our expert Tour Directors help you get the most out of every place you visit - and have a 96% customer satisfaction rating.
We’re delighted to have achieved the Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended endorsement for customer experience.
We are a member of ABTA and our flight-inclusive holidays are protected by ATOL. If your holiday is cancelled for any reason, you’ll receive a full refund.