Britain and Ireland

Britain & Ireland

Country Roads

Elegance of Great Britain (Summer 2018)

Duration: 13 days Visiting: England, Scotland

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

This journey is a must for those who have a love of literature and Britain. Stately homes, historic castles and beautiful gardens shape a delightful itinerary, evoking a bygone age.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (Please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to Edinburgh.

    Welcome to Scotland - land of legends and romance, from the great cultural cities in the south, to the dramatic mountains and misty lochs of the Highlands. On arrival at Edinburgh Airport, transfers depart for your hotel at 09:00, 11:00 and 13:00. Then the rest of the day is yours to relax before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 17:30 for a Welcome Dinner and the opportunity to get to know each other over a pleasant evening.

  3. Day 3

    Edinburgh, The Capital of Culture.

    Join a Local Expert to see the highlights of the city. Enjoy a drive along Princes Street to the ornate Scott Memorial, then wander through the 18th century New Town with its neoclassical Adam facades. Over in the Old Town, visit Edinburgh Castle, home of Mons Meg, the Stone of Destiny and Scotland's crown jewels, known as The Honours of Scotland. At the bottom of the Royal Mile stands the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty, the Queen. With the afternoon at leisure, why not visit the art treasures in the National Gallery? On select departures, you will also attend the spectacular Military Tattoo - a colourful mix of pipes and drums, dance and display, set against the floodlit backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

  4. Day 4

    Ardgowan, Gretna Green and the English Lakes.

    Depart the majestic Scottish capital and journey to Ardgowan, set in a stunning 10,000-acre coastal estate. Meet Sir Ludovic Shaw Stewart for a tour of the expansive house and learn the histories of the area, the family, the domain and its contents - you may even hear about the ghost! Delight in freshly-made, traditional Scottish Tea and Scones. Continue to Gretna Green to see the famous spot where runaway lovers were married over the anvil at the blacksmith's shop. Your travels continues to the picturesque English Lake District and dinner is served at your hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere.

  5. Day 5 - Relaxed Start

    English Poets and the Lake District Experience.

    Devote the day to a scenic wonderland of rugged mountains and tranquil waters - inspiration to a host of English poets. Visit Wordsworth's grave in the small churchyard at Grasmere. Appreciate the scenic beauty of the English Lake District on a relaxing cruise admiring the magnificent views of rugged mountains, secluded bays and wooded islands. Then, embark on a nostalgic steam train ride along the banks of the beautiful River Leven.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    Windermere to York.

    Enjoy a morning at leisure before travelling through the Yorkshire Dales to arrive at the charming village of Haworth. Visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum, created within the actual home of the Brontë family. Learn about the family's literary legacy and what inspired them from the surroundings of their own home. Your journey continues to York, one of the oldest cities in England.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    The Viking city of York.

    Enjoy an exploration of one of Britain's most historic cities, controlled by the Vikings during the 9th and 10th century and now renowned for its exquisite architecture. Walk within the town walls with a Local Expert to see the huge York Minster, Britain's largest medieval cathedral. Explore the tangle of quaint, narrow, cobbled streets and see the Shambles. There is plenty of time to further explore on you own, perhaps visit the National Railway Museum housing over 300 years of history, or continue wandering the well-preserved city walls? In the evening, take the opportunity to mix with the locals over dinner and drinks.

  8. Day 8

    Lincoln’s Magna Carta and on to Stratford.

    Visit Lincoln Castle, one of the finest Norman castles in England. Your tour will include a chance to see one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta. Continue to pretty Stratford, beautifully situated on the River Avon. Your hotel is set in its own private grounds, just a short walk from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the town's wealth of black and white timber-framed buildings.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Shakespeare's Straford-upon-Avon.

    Discover how William Shakespeare and his incredible works continue to delight audiences today when you visit his birthplace, full of interesting memorabilia and artefacts relating to his life. Later, join your Travel Director for a traditional Sunday Roast Dinner, served with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings.

  10. Day 10

    The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace and Bath.

    An enchanting day awaits in the morning. Cross the beautiful Cotswold hills, a chocolate box scene of golden stone villages with roses round the doors. Visit the magnificent stately home and gardens of Blenheim Palace, the greatest building of the English Baroque. Continue to the elegant Georgian city of Bath, built in amphitheatre-style on the surrounding hills. Your Travel Director introduces you to the impressive Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge, both built in mellow local stone. See the angels climbing Jacob's Ladder on Bath Abbey.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Bath.

    The City of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built above Britain's only thermal, mineral springs and the key highlight is of course a visit to the Roman Baths. See incredibly well-preserved remains of one of the greatest spas of the ancient world, still flowing with the natural hot water from the springs. With the rest of the day at leisure, why not soak and relax with a visit to Thermae Spa? Alternatively, you may wish to follow in the steps of Jane Austen with a visit to the Jane Austen Centre? In the evening, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers as you raise a glass over your Celebration Dinner to commend your wonderful journey.

  12. Day 12

    Ancient Stonehenge to London.

    Travel across Salisbury Plain to visit the pre-historic and mysterious Stonehenge, where the strange and awe-inspiring monoliths are reputed to be up to 5,000 years old. Your journey concludes upon arrival at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch in London.

  13. Day 13

    Homeward Bound.

    Your journey comes to an end after breakfast.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Edinburgh: Walk with a Local Expert within the walls of the Castle to view the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg.
  • York: Walk with your Local Expert to see the might York Minster and wander the maze of cobbled streets to see the Shambles.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bath: The Roman Baths have existed for over 2,000 years and are now one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. Learn the importance of this historic site, still used as a center for bathing and socialising.
  • Stonehenge: Visit the mysterious circle of upright stones, which stands as strong today as it did 5,000 years ago.
  • English Lake District: The best way to enjoy the Lake District is by cruise. Relax as you admire the magnificent views. Board a steam train and journey along the banks of the beautiful River Leven.
  • Haworth: A visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum provides a fascinating insight into the life of the Brontë family and the inspiration behind their marvellous works of literature.
  • Lincoln: Visit Lincoln Castle and admire one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta, which is over 800 years old.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon: Learn about the life of William Shakespeare, arguably history's most famous writer, when you visit his birthplace.
  • Blenheim Palace: Witness a masterpiece of the English Baroque, brimming with priceless art and tapestries.
  • Edinburgh: A hush descends and eyes turn to the castle. The skirl of the pipes rises and drums crack the night air as a tide of tunics and tartan flood from the drawbridge. For a limited time in August, witness the incredible spectacle of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Ardgowan Estate: You are welcomed by Sir Ludovic Shaw Stewart who will lead you on a tour of his property, set on a 10,000-acre coastal estate. Learn of the histories of the area, the Shaw Stewart family and the house, followed by the delightful and elegant tradition of a Scottish Tea and Scones.
  • York: Enjoy the opportunity to mix with the locals over dinner and drinks.
  • Stratford: Enjoy a traditional Sunday Roast Dinner, with all the trimmings.
  • Dining Summary: 10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 1 Morning Tea (MT), 2 Dinners (D) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

ADDITIONAL 5 STAR SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival flights are as per the itinerary start date, then arrival transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport. You may purchase transfers to London Heathrow and Gatwick airports on departure day, or when additional night accommodation has been booked through Insight Vacations. Alternatively, please make your own way from/to the airport.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

Accommodation

 

The Holyrood Hotel

Edinburgh (Traditional) - Scotland

The hotel is situated in Edinburgh’s beautiful old town, within walking distance of the Scottish Parliament building.

Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa

Windermere (Traditional) - England

This hotel, contained in a 17th century building, rests on the shores of Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake.

Hilton York

York (Traditional) - England

Situated in the walls of York, close to the minster and the best York has to offer.

The Stratford Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford (Traditional) - England

The Stratford is an award-winning boutique hotel in the centre of this historic town.

Bailbrook House Hotel Bath

Bath (Traditional) - England

GUEST REVIEWS & EXPERIENCES

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on 7369 reviews received during the past year.

  • 04 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Tremendous itinerary. Very varied. Ample time. I suggest allowing time in Cambridge to tour KIing's College Chapel in Cambridge. Tours begin at 2 p.m.

    Service: This was our third tour with Insight, following two with Trafalgar. All of our tours have been great, but this was the best yet. John Brackenridge is a superb tour director. The pace was great with several relaxed start days. We also enjoyed the included dinners, the ample time on our own, and the lack of optional experiences.

  • 23 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Itinerary was comprehensive and would have loved more time in Cambridge less in Beaulieu. Also Marble Arch Hotel good but drop off on street at end of tour chaotic. Did not enjoy luggage dumped on footpath. Had to ask guide for help into hotel which John graciously did. Purchased cashmere in Scotland and Wales. Needed more time in Llangothen, perhaps tour around. Hadrian’s Wall or the small part we saw was a waste of time as it was just small section.

    Service: I’d buy Insight package again. Guide was excellent as was bus and driver and the trip mostly not rushed but would prefer to stay in hotel closer to venue to be visited. Loved the two night stays and would haven been nice to look around hotel district but of course not always possible because of time restraints.

  • 10 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Covered England well, would have liked a day in Wales. Really enjoyed the two night stops and the relaxed starts. Having most dinners included was a real plus especially with respect to the pound vs. the Canadian dollar. Enjoyed the whole free day in Edinburgh. Would have liked the use of guides more - rather than being dropped off and having a limited amount of time to go through attractions/stops on our own -- guides can give an over-all "picture" far more concisely.

    Service: Very good tour director, knew everyone's name early on and called everyone by name; handled all of the house-keeping tasks (hotel check-ins, restaurants, etc.) efficiently; gave good commentary as we travelled; excellent, personable bus driver, always there with a helping hand getting off the bus; outside use of airport/hotel transfer was smooth.

  • 09 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Interesting and beautiful sights.

    Service: Customer service was very good and yes we would recommend Insight to others.

  • 09 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Two nights in each hotel made travelling much better to experience the beauty of Great Britain. Arriving at the Amba Hotel in London although was not a good experience because of its location and staff with less than acceptable skill in the English language.

    Service: Tour director John Brackenridge was very informative and made our trip more enjoyable than I could have imagined. George Hanratty our driver managed the streets and byways of Great Britain with unbelievable skill.

  • 09 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: The variety of the cities visited was perfect.

    Service: More time should have been spent with our group during the individual city excursions.

  • 06 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: We knew we had a day or two on own before tour started, but no representative at hotel as expected and email from tour guide confusing talking about starting tour on Thurs when we were expecting tour of London day before. We called agent at home for her to find out what's what. Communication there could have been better. Half day tour of London bad as bus was about 40 to 50 minutes late. Tour felt very rushed and incomplete. Once off With John, enjoyed most every spot and hotel. I would skip the stones at Avebury or give more of a tour--stones scattered over several areas divided by highway. We were turned loose without a map. Loved Chartwell, Beaulieu, Salisbury, Winchester and Stratford. Again in some places a hand held map would have been great. Blenheim, ran out of time. Llangollen for Wales was a disappointment. However, I can say, I was in Wales, briefly. Lake District hotel, cruise, lovely. Just too little time. Loved going to Wordsworth grave. Edinburgh: our second time there, so we knew what to do on our free day. Hotel, worse of all---doing remodeling and breakfast and food very under par. Had great local guide for Castle. Alnwick Castle and The Marriot Hotel awesome. In York, map would be helpful. Not enough time. Local guide excellent and gave good suggestions. Last day in Cambridge---a sad waste, not much time, no real guided tour--left at St. Mary's Cathedral on our own. Would have been nice to have Insight arrange tour of King's College Chapel. Found out too late Tickets had to be bought (not cheap) and time running out. Departure in London terrible--most of us felt shoved out on street in a hurry to grab our bags and get into hotel. Sad way to end trip. But Insight Rep. inside to give us our keys--which we didn't know about until one of our members were told that. Again Communications!!! I would suggest, maps for each destination and suggestions of what to see when on own, even list of restaurants for our lunches. And a diagram of Monarch's of Scotland and England--that are significant. Also suggest use of whisper ears more often. Hearing not so good. Our tour guide John, was so good. Appreciated Birthday recognition

    Service: Well planned visits to important historical events, highlights of Scotlands. Extra leg room and rotating seat positions in bus very important. Would add another day or so to trip so that staying in hotel more than just one day. Also, some optional tours were not really optional like tour of Skye for the day; and kThe Lake Cruise, Gaelic Evening in Thurso, Blair Castle, Glasgow Dinner. Reason I'm saying this is the bus would have to leave you somewhere and pick you up. Just add the price onto ticket.

  • 26 September, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Interesting, varied sites with time to explore

    Service: We would definitely use Insight again. Tour Director and Bus Driver were excellent and the itinerary great. Liked the two night stays in each hotel.... not as tiring

  • 26 September, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Interesting and varied tour

    Service: Great Tour Director and Bus Driver. Interesting itinerary, good hotels, good meals.

  • 25 September, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: very good tour but I did not like the Amba Marble Arch hotel. For a tour of England we felt like we had landed in the middle east. No fault with the service though.

    Service: everything ran smoothly

  • 25 September, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: We spent two nights prior to our bus tour at the Amba Marble Arch. We were so disappointed with the room, we had to ask for another room. The rug was absolutely filthy! The 2nd room was better but the view was not the same - looked at the inner court with all the mechanical equipment. The 1st room at least had a view of the street. Keep in mind this was our absolute first time in London and we were so tired after our flight. We were hugely disappointed and will never go back there. The rest of the hotel's throughout the trip were stellar and had no issues. In fact I applaud the hotels for processing us so quickly. It can't be easy when a bus load of people descend on you at one time.

    Service: The tour director and bus driver were absolutely fantastic. We left our tour a day early to meet up with family. While the others in our tour where visiting Cambridge, our tour director made sure we made our connection. It was excellent customer service as it was a little daunting trying to make this meet in a busy location. The bus driver was amazing at his job and got us from point A to B safely.

  • 25 September, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Wish we had more time in each place.

    Service: Nice hotels, great food, well planned and we saw many, many interesting places.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Note prices displayed reflect available discounted rates (i.e. Early Payment Discount, Last Minute Deals). All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
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