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On this Best of Britain & Ireland tour, see Britain’s and Ireland’s highlights—from the bustling cities to the small towns and from the breathtaking scenery to the ancient ruins. Traveling through the lands of queens, kings, and leprechauns, begin and end in London and pass through England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
On this Britain and Ireland tour, stop in some historic towns and cities, including Oxford, home to some of England’s most famous colleges; Durham, a medieval city with its cathedral, built between 1093-1133, and castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; York, England's most complete medieval city with its cobbled streets and the magnificent York Minster, England’s largest gothic cathedral; Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of Shakespeare; Chester, where a walking tour highlights its Roman remains and black and white half-timbered buildings; Adare, founded in medieval times and known today as one of Ireland’s prettiest villages; and Bath, known for the excavations of Roman baths used for bathing and socializing 2,000 years ago.
Britain and Ireland are known for their green countryside and stunning scenery, and on this Britain and Ireland tour, you’ll witness some of their gorgeous landscapes. Travel through the incomparable landscapes of Snowdonia National Park in Wales, with picturesque villages, mountains, and lakes. Follow Ireland’s Ring of Kerry, a 100-mile panoramic drive with sparkling seascapes, brightly colored farmhouses, and the breathtaking panorama of the Lakes of Killarney. Visit the spectacular 668-feet Cliffs of Moher, with breathtaking views of rugged cliffs dropping into the ocean. Drive through the Cotswolds, with the rolling hills and picturesque villages, Northumberland National Park, with its wide-open spaces, and the serene Lake District, England’s largest natural park.
All of this and more—including time in Dublin and Edinburgh—await you on this marvelous vacation!
Please note: Please note: 2021 itinerary is based on 2020 and is subject to change, but by booking today you will lock in your price. Full details will be confirmed in September 2020.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Total meals included:
Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, there’s time to rest or start exploring the lively British capital. Uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
Today is free for 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 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 Oxford. A walking tour takes in the colleges where Britain’s elite receive their 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
This morning, head north to York. Stand in front of the great structure of York Minster, then follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles. Next, visit Durham, a captivating city with its dramatic cathedral and castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop for the night in Newcastle.
Today’s Distance: 118 mi/ 186 km
See a section of Hadrian’s Wall, then motor through wild Northumberland National Park to the Scottish border. Stop for photos at Jedburgh before arriving in Edinburgh. Here, sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town.” In the “Old Town,” visit EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. A suggestion for this evening: a traditional Scottish night out with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis.
Today’s Distance: 117 mi/ 188 km
Your choice today: an optional morning excursion to Rosslyn Chapel, made world-famous by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, and also one of Scotland’s most remarkable buildings. You will have ample time to visit the 15th-century medieval chapel and the visitor center, and to take photographs of the ruins of Rosslyn Castle. Later, another unique optional opportunity: 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 0802 through 0823, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO.
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. In Chester, the historic county town on the Dee River, your walking tour takes in the Roman remains, black and white half-timbered buildings, and the two-tiered shopping arcades called the “Rows".
Today’s Distance: 268 mi/ 431 km
A scenic North Wales drive through the incomparable landscapes of Snowdonia National Park brings you to lovely Betws-y-Coed. Then, head over spectacular Llanberis Pass and, finally, across Britannia Bridge to the Isle of Anglesey. Take your photos at tongue-twisting Llanfairpwllgwyngyll; and at Holyhead, board the ferry for the Irish Sea crossing to Dublin.
Today’s Distance: 162 mi/ 260 km
A day in the “Fair City” starts off with an orientation drive through Eire’s capital and includes statue-lined O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy Dublin at leisure. Why not join an optional dinner evening at the Guinness Storehouse?
Head for dairy-farm country in the center of the “Emerald Isle". Stop in 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 before heading for Ennis, county town of Clare. Tonight’s optional opportunity: a medieval banquet at a historic castle.
Today’s Distance: 214 mi/ 344 km
Stop for photos in Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages and monastic ruins. In County Kerry, join the road known as the RING OF KERRY for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive. Focus your camera on sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes, and views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. Later, in Killarney, discover why this is such a popular resort.
Today’s Distance: 189 mi/ 304 km
Cross the Kerry Mountains and through County Cork to Blarney, famous for its magical Stone of Eloquence. Time to see the castle, and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. Drive past Cork, the country’s second-largest city, and via Dungarvan to Tramore. Why not join an optional pub tour before dinner at your hotel?
Today’s Distance: 131 mi/ 210 km
An early start for the short drive to Rosslare. In just under four hours, you cross St. George’s Channel by FERRY to South Wales. Continue through rich dairy farmland to Cardiff, where an orientation drive introduces you to the capital’s 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: 242 mi/ 390 km
A day packed with highlights begins as you cross the spectacular Severn Bridge into England. Stop in the elegant Georgian city of Bath, famous for its Roman relics, before visiting STONEHENGE, still an intriguing mystery. Explore the visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument up close. After returning to London around 3:30 pm, how about celebrating the success of your tour with a night out on the town?
Today’s Distance: 171 mi/ 275 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.
This elegant hotel boasts an ideal location near the renowned shops on High Street Kensington. The hotel includes 550 rooms equipped with ensuite shower or bath, satellite TV, coffee maker, and state-of-the-art in-room entertainment system. It also provides 24-hour in room dining and one-day laundry and dry cleaning service. The hotels Blue Smoke restaurant is an American-style steakhouse, and the Lions Sports Bar shows all the action and excitement of live sporting events from around the world.
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.
Situated south of the River Tyne, Jurys Inn Newcastle Quayside offers a fantastic city centre location with great views overlooking the water. With easy access to restaurants and bars via the iconic Millennium Bridge just a three minute walk from the hotel, and Newcastle Central Station is just a mile away. All 203 rooms are furnished with large soft beds and flat screen TVs with Freeview as well as free Wi-Fi throughout. The rooms also come with a hair dryer and plenty of work space and the spacious en-suite bathroom feature complimentary toiletries.
The brand-new state-of-the art Courtyard Edinburgh West is located on the outskirts of Edinburgh, in the heart of the Heriot-Watt University's woodland campus. The fully air-conditioned hotel boast complimentary Wi-Fi throughout and the bedrooms combine comfort with modern functionality. At the Avenue you can relax in a casual, laid-back environment while enjoying inventive cuisine morning, afternoon and evening.
Wrexham's premier four star hotel has been designed to offer luxurious accommodation with superb amenities and service with those extra touches to make your stay more pleasurable.
Modern Business-oriented hotel comprising an 18th-century Manor House, located 3km north of Dublin City center.
Gracious Stone Lodge situated amid landscaped gardens, 1 mile from town center.
Bedrooms boast tasteful neo-gothic style decor w/modern facilities; friendly efficient svc; ideal venue for a conference/seminar.
Welcome to the award winning AA*** Majestic Hotel in the sunny South East of Ireland, overlooking Tramore Bay with its impressive 5km stretch of golden beach and sand dunes and less than 10km from the historical city of Waterford.
Redbrick Victorian-style Hotel located near Cardiff Bay & city center.
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.