The British Isles in Depth


  • 23 days

  • Scotland

  • Active pace

tour : 9090

Save £150 per couple

Was from

£3,249pp

Now from

£3,174pp

Prices shown exclude flights and transfers

Overview

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From the lively cities to the breathtaking scenery, you’ll discover the best of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland on this in-depth Britain and Ireland tour.

Britain and Ireland are known for their breathtaking scenery, and this tour will not disappoint. You’ll see the 100-mile Ring of Kerry, with its rugged and magnificent landscapes; stunning scenery on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula; the spectacular 668-foot Cliffs of Moher; Northern Ireland’s awe-inspiring Giant’s Causeway, formed millions of years ago; Brecon Beacons National Park, with its dramatic landscapes; and the Isle of Skye, with some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery. Enjoy time in the Scottish Highlands, filled with dramatic landscapes, rolling farmland, picturesque seaside towns, and beautiful lochs (lakes).

Britain and Ireland are also known for their picturesque and historic towns and cities. On this Britain and Ireland tour, you’ll visit many of these towns, including Oxford, home to some of England’s most famous colleges; Stratford-upon-Avon, where you’ll get a glimpse into life in 16th-century England in Shakespeare’s hometown; York, England's most complete medieval city with its cobbled streets and the magnificent York Minster, England’s largest Gothic cathedral; Berwick-upon-Tweed, a peaceful coastal town with a turbulent past; Strathpeffer, known in its Victorian heyday as a spa resort; Looe, a pretty fishing village; the seaside town of Tramore; Bath, known for the excavations of Roman baths used for bathing and socializing 2,000 years ago; and many more. You’ll also visit the capitals—London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Dublin, and Belfast.

These are just some of the many highlights of this tour through the British Isles. For value-minded vacationers, this is the perfect way to see England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland!

From the lively cities to the breathtaking scenery, you’ll discover the best of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland on this in-depth Britain and Ireland tour.

Small Group Discovery

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.

Flights available from most UK airports

Tour prices are shown without flights: make your own arrangements, or purchase your flights with us from most UK airports. All flight-inclusive tours are ATOL-protected, so you can book with confidence.

Flights available from most UK airports

2021 Tour itinerary

Total meals included:

  • 22 breakfasts, 7 dinners

ARRIVE IN LONDON, ENGLAND

Day
1

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

Day
2

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 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.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

LONDON–OXFORD–STRATFORD-UPON-AVON–WETHERBY.

Day
3

Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and depart at 8 am for a memorable day of sightseeing, including a walking tour of Oxford, one of the country’s oldest seats of learning; then, skirt the Cotswold Hills to Shakespeare’s Stratfordupon-Avon.Take photos of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. Overnight in Wetherby.
Today’s Distance: 255 mi/ 410 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

WETHERBY–YORK–NEWCASTLE.

Day
4

This morning, 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.
Today’s Distance: 103 mi/ 166 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

NEWCASTLE–BERWICK-UPON-TWEED–NORTH BERWICK, SCOTLAND–EDINBURGH.

Day
5

On your way to Scotland, drive along the picturesque coastline to Berwickupon-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 departures August 8 and August 22, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned Military Tattoo.
Today’s Distance: 121 mi/ 195 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

EDINBURGH

Day
6

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. A suggestion for this evening: a traditional Scottish night out, with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

EDINBURGH–ST. ANDREWS–PITLOCHRY–CULLODEN MOOR–INVERNESS–STRATHPEFFER.

Day
7

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/ 355 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

STRATHPEFFER. WEST COAST EXCURSION.

Day
8

More spectacular Scottish scenery: Dornoch Firth, the Kyle of Sutherland, the Falls of Shin, 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.
Today’s Distance: 123 mi/ 198 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

STRATHPEFFER–ISLE OF SKYE–FORT WILLIAM–GLASGOW.

Day
9

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.
Today’s Distance: 234 mi/ 377 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

GLASGOW–ALLOWAY–BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND

Day
10

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.
Today’s Distance: 100 mi/ 160 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

BELFAST–GIANT’S CAUSEWAY–DERRY–BELLEEK–SLIGO, IRELAND.

Day
11

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, before arriving in Sligo, tonight’s destination.
Today’s Distance: 214 mi/ 344 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

SLIGO–GALWAY–CLIFFS OF MOHER–ENNIS

Day
12

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.
Today’s Distance: 161 mi/ 260 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

ENNIS–DINGLE PENINSULA–KILLARNEY

Day
13

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.
Today’s Distance: 125 mi/ 201 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

KILLARNEY. RING OF KERRY EXCURSION.

Day
14

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.
Today’s Distance: 99 mi/ 158 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

KILLARNEY–BLARNEY–DUNGARVAN–TRAMORE.

Day
15

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.
Today’s Distance: 131 mi/ 211 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

TRAMORE–WATERFORD–KILKENNY–DUBLIN.

Day
16

On your northbound journey pause in Waterford, famous for its exquisite crystal, and visit Kilkenny, one of Ireland’s prettiest towns with medieval cobblestone streets and Old-World charm. Afternoon arrival in Dublin—top off the day with an optional Irish cabaret evening including dinner, dance, song, and laughter.
Today’s Distance: 128 mi/ 205 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

DUBLIN

Day
17

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.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

DUBLIN–CAERNARVON, WALES–LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

Day
18

Take the ferry across the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey with its tongue-twisting names. Explore North Wales on the way to Caernarvon where the castle saw the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales, before arriving in Liverpool.
Today’s Distance: 180 mi/ 290 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

LIVERPOOL–BUILTH WELLS, WALES–BRECON–CARDIFF

Day
19

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.
Today’s Distance: 174 mi/ 281 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

CARDIFF–BATH, ENGLAND–GLASTONBURY–WIDECOMBE–PLYMOUTH.

Day
20

Across the Severn Bridge to the elegant Georgian city of Bath, famed for its Roman relics. Into the West Country via Glastonbury and its legends of 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.
Today’s Distance: 198 mi/ 319 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

PLYMOUTH. LOOE EXCURSION.

Day
21

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.
Today’s Distance: 45 mi/ 65 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

PLYMOUTH–STONEHENGE–LONDON.

Day
22

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. Return to London in the early evening. How about celebrating the success of your tour with a night out on the town?
Today’s Distance: 215 mi/ 346 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

LONDON.

Day
23

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Things to note

Departure May 30 Due to closure Stonehenge visit replaced by Salisbury Cathedral.

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