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Educational Discovery of Europe & the UK

Science & Space Marvels of the USA

Educational Discovery of Europe & the UK

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Day 1: Welcome to London

Welcome to London, an immense metropolis steeped in history and tradition. You are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to relax after your long flight or to explore. This evening we meet our Travel Director for an informative meeting about our tour.

Day 2: University Town of Oxford & Shakespeare’s Stratford

We leave London this morning and head off to Oxford, the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’, which is home to England’s oldest university. Here we see the city’s famous university buildings. Afterwards, see Churchill’s grave at Bladon, before taking a scenic drive through the golden stone villages of the Cotswolds to the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, home to William Shakespeare, beautifully located beside the peaceful river Avon. (BB)

Day 3: Sightseeing in Stratford & onto York

We visit Stratford this morning and see Harvard House, New Place, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Parish Church, where Shakespeare was both baptised and buried. We journey to the half-timbered house where the bard was born, now a museum full of memorabilia relating to his life.  We then continue north to Roman York, renowned for its ancient enclosing walls, its quaint Tudor ‘Shambles’ and its superb Cathedral, whose 13th century Minster is one of the finest ever built. (BB)

Day 4: Captain Cook’s Whitby

This morning we drive to one of the most picturesque ports in England, Whitby. Its harbour is set in a ravine at the mouth of the River Esk. Dominated by the clifftop ruined Abbey, the narrow alleys and quaint streets climb down to the busy quayside, with its harbourside houses and small shops filled with crafts, curios, and antiques. We visit the parish Church of St Mary, one of the finest Anglo Saxon churches in the country, which is located 199 steps up from the old streets and sharing the clifftop with the Abbey. Its churchyard is famous for providing the setting which inspired Bram Stoker to write his classic novel – Dracula.  We then visit Whitby Museum to discover the life story of the town’s most famous inhabitant, Captain James Cook, who sailed from the port to change the history of the world. The Captain Cook Memorial Museum, his former home in Grape Lane, is furnished in the style of his times, which we visit next. (BB)

Day 5: Cultural Highlights of Bristol

We depart Whitby today and head back south through the English countryside via Nottingham and Birmingham to the city of Bristol. This is a city that has combined its unique maritime and architectural heritage. Bristol is home to Temple Meads Old Station, the SS Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Upon arrival we enjoy an orientation and wander through the streets to marvel at the medieval, Georgian, Victorian and contemporary architecture. (BB)

Day 6: Georgian Bath, Stonehenge & London

Today we make our way to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath, its curative waters famous since Roman times. We visit the 18th century Pump Room and Roman Baths, where parts of the Roman plumbing are still in use. We also see the 15th century Abbey. From here we continue our journey across Salisbury Plain, making a stop to visit the ancient monoliths at Stonehenge. From here, we then travel back to London for our overnight stop. (BB)

Day 7: Eurostar to Paris

This morning we are transferred from our hotel to Waterloo Station to take the Eurostar to Paris. After a journey of just two-and-a-half hours, passing through the famous Channel Tunnel en route, we arrive in Paris and are transferred to our hotel. Tonight, we take a Seine cruise on the famous Parisian boats. Then our illuminations excursion reveals the magic and grandeur of the ‘city of light’ – a vision to last a lifetime. (BB)

Day 8: Highlights of Paris

Today our sightseeing with a local guide shows us the highlights of the city! We see the Gothic Notre Dame cathedral, with its tale of Quasimodo, and then we drive past the immense facades of the Louvre to the Place de la Concorde and along the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. It’s then time for a premium highlight, as we ascend the Eiffel Tower for fine views over Paris. We complete the tour with a visit to Napoleon’s tomb in the Eglise du Dome. The afternoon is at leisure to perhaps visit the Louvre’s superb collections or admire the impressionist paintings in the Musee d’Orsay. (BB)

Day 9: Paris at Leisure

Today you have the option of participating in a cookery lesson, which includes a visit to the markets where we’ll meet the locals who shop daily for the freshest foods, followed by a delicious lunch. Or perhaps take the funicular up to the bohemian painters’ quarter of Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur Basilica. (BB)

Day 10: The Opulent Palace & Gardens of Versailles

Today’s highlight visit is an excursion to the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, the imposing residence of Louis XIV, which reflects the extravagant lifestyle of the grandest court in history. Escorted by a local guide, we see the Queen’s apartments, the Hall of Mirrors and the Gallery of Battles. (BB)

Day 11: Castle of Chenonceau & Tours

We depart Paris today and travel through the Loire Valley where we see the mighty Chambord with its beautiful park and colossal chimneys. We then visit the fairytale Castle of Chenonceau. Built in 1513 by Thomas Bohier, this splendid jewel of the French Renaissance is spectacularly set overlooking the River Cher. During our guided visit we have time to admire the fine tapestries, richly decorated ceilings and the magnificent pieces, as well as manicured gardens, before arriving at our hotel in Tours. (BB)

Day 12: Iconic World Wars Landmarks & Caen

We travel north today to the city of Caen. We then spend the rest of the day exploring the D Day landing beaches, where there are poignant reminders of the Second World War, including Sword, Juno and Gold. Then it’s on to Arromanches to visit the Invasion Landings Museum and see the remnants of the artificial port, Mulberry B, which remain in the bay. We then continue to Omaha Beach to visit the American Military Cemetery of St Laurent. Afterwards, we follow the route of the Rangers depicted in Saving Private Ryan and visit the bunkers and Ranger’s Memorial at Pointe du Hoc. (BB)

Day 13: Insight into WWI at Amiens

This morning we travel to the beautiful medieval city of Amiens in the Somme area. Our first visit of the day is to the Historical de la Grande Guerre in Peronne. This fascinating and unique museum gives an insight into every aspect of WWI as well as the subsequent global ramifications. (BB)

Day 14: Battle Fields & Arras

We start our journey today by visiting the town of Albert, which allied troops passed through on their way to the actions during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. We visit the 1918 Armistice signing site en route from Albert and then visit the battlefields. We then inspect the Thiepval Memorial to the missing, and visit Newfoundland Park, a site where Canadian troops suffered very heavily from German machine gun fire during the opening hours of the battle. We then continue to the city of Arras, a vitally important city held by the Allies throughout the war. (BB)

Day 15: Ferry Crossing to London

We depart Arras this morning and drive to Calais for our ferry crossing over the English Channel to the white cliffs of Dover. After a short drive through the pretty Kent countryside, we return to London. (BB)

Day 16: Highlights of London

Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide, beginning in London’s West End, where we pass Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and of course Buckingham Palace. This afternoon there is free time for you to perhaps visit the British Museum or to see the ancient treasures or the Old Masters in the National Gallery. (BB)

Day 17: London at Leisure

Today is perhaps an opportunity to visit the magnificent Tower of London, which is steeped in history of centuries of murder, treason and the untold secrets of the condemned. The splendidly dressed Beefeaters will tell you about the Tower’s history and the Crown Jewels. Alternatively take a ride on the London Eye or visit St Paul’s Cathedral. There is so much to discover in Europe’s most popular tourist centre. (BB)

Day 18: Farewell London

Our memorable tour ends today, when we are transferred to the airport for our flights home! (BB)

Science & Space Marvels of the USA

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Day 1: Welcome to San Francisco

Welcome to the United States and San Francisco, the “City by the Bay”. Upon arrival at the airport, you’ll be met by your Insight Travel Director for your transfer into the city. Take some photos of San Francisco’s highlights, before being dropped off at iconic Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch. After lunch, travel to the Exploratorium for a privately guided experience, which will include the interactive exhibit highlight and an orientation of the rest of the museum. Take a deeper look into classic Exploratorium exhibits, such as Giant Mirror, Sun Painting, and Colored Shadows. Learn about the physics of light and colour and how your eyes and brain work together to inform—or fool—you. Next, it’s time to transfer back to your hotel for check in. (D)

Day 2: Fly from San Francisco to Huntsville, Alabama

We are off to an early start to catch our connecting flights to Denver and then onto Huntsville, Alabama - home of the US Space & Rocket Academy. A boxed breakfast will be provided prior to your transfer. Tonight’s accommodation is provided at the Space Academy Camp, before our program starts tomorrow. (BB)

Days 3-9: Space Academy Programme Week at U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Embark on the learning opportunity of a lifetime by spending a week at Space Academy. This intense experience is designed to immerse trainees in the science and technology of the space programme. Prior to departure, you’ll also have the chance to visit the First Baptist Church in Huntsville for Church Service.

Day 9: Fly to Washington

This afternoon we catch a connecting flight to America’s capital city Washington D.C. Upon arrival in Washington, your Insight Vacations Travel Director will meet you again for your transfer to your downtown hotel. Enjoy a family-style buffet dinner en route to your hotel. (HD)

Day 10: Iconic Washington

After breakfast, join your Travel Director and a local guide for a visit to the National Mall. You will see the Washington Monument, Jefferson Monument, WWII Monument and Iwo Jima Memorial. Next we head to the Smithsonian Institute for a visit to The Castle. Finish your day at the Arlington National Cemetery on a Tourmobile. Watch out for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the graves of John F Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kenney-Onassis. (BB, HD)

Day 11: Highlights of Washington - McDonnell Space Hanger

Today you will visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a companion to the Museum on the Mall. Our Highlights Tour includes the McDonnell Space Hanger. Explore the Space Shuttle Discovery and other space artifacts. Join us as we trace our history, science, and technology in space. Examine exciting aircraft from the early days of aviation to the space shuttle program, while learning about changes in technology over time. After your tour, enjoy the Mission to Mars learning Lab. From Mariner's first pictures of Mars in 1964 to Curiosity's landing in August 2012, humans have been on a quest to learn about the Red Planet. Explore the climate and geology of Mars and the challenges of robotic exploration in space. You’ll have the chance to work in mission design teams and use budget and science guidelines from NASA to create a spacecraft to fly to Mars. After an enriching day, we travel back to DC and explore the Capitol building. Tonight we go to a baseball game where dinner is served. (BB, HD)

Day 12: Highlights of Washington - Nasa/Goddard Space Flight Centre and Spy Museum

NASA/GODDARD Space Flight Center is our focus this morning, guided by a host. The GSFC Visitor Center boasts a number of visually stimulating exhibits, describing some of the space exploration programs of the Goddard Space Flight Center. This afternoon we visit the International Spy Museum, featuring the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display. Transfer back to the hotel and dinner is served at our hotel. (BB, D)

Day 13: Highlights of Washington – National Air & Space Museum

Today we visit the National Air & Space Museum, the sister museum of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. As you start your guided excursion of “Exploring the Universe with Telescopes”, discover a new way of looking at the universe by exploring how telescopes have expanded our view of the heavens from Galileo to the Hubble Space Telescope. You will see spacecraft such as the Apollo 11 Command Module and the Skylab orbital workshop, and examine the technology and scientific advances that have expanded our horizons. An Interactive Flight simulators experience is included. (BB, HD)

Day 14: Highlights of Washington - Natural History Museum & Nara

Today, explore the Natural History Museum through its educational program, Forensic Mysteries. Examine human bones, objects and artifacts using the forensic tools and techniques of Smithsonian scientists, Doug Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide, to determine age, sex, time since death, and cause of death. Afterwards, join an escorted tour to the Museum of National History, where you will see the earliest human origins, development of world cultures, ancient and modern mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and much more. This afternoon, visit the National Archive and Records Administration, NARA, which serves as the official repository for all federal records judged to be of enduring value. See documents dating from the 18th century to the present, including the famous Charters of Freedom—the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Dinner is served at a local restaurant. (BB, HD)

Day 15: Flight to San Francisco & onto Palo Alto

Today we have an early start to catch our flight back to San Francisco where we transfer to Palo Alto, home of Stanford University where your Travel Director will take you on a guided visit to the campus. (BB, HD)

Day 16: Highlights of San Francisco - California Academy of Sciences & Chinatown

We start today’s activities exploring the California Academy of Sciences from an insider's perspective and spend an hour behind the scenes learning more about the institution's 159-year history and how its scientists are tackling critical questions about life on earth. Visit the research collections and a working laboratory, get closer to the living roof, and see breathtaking geology specimens in the vault. A general admission ticket and a one-hour behind the scenes at the Academy are included. The rest of the day is yours to explore this vibrant city. Before dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, we’ll embark on a walking tour in San Francisco’s famous Chinatown. (BB, HD)

Day 17: Alcatraz & onward Flight to Los Angeles

An exciting start, we cruise along San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island and its infamous and notorious former federal prison, which was home to the likes of Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelley, and Robert "The Birdman" Stroud. This excursion includes the audio-guided cell block visit. Heading back to the famous San Francisco pier, it is just a short walk to Pier 39 where we have lunch at one of the local restaurants.  After lunch, take the extra time to explore, before our transfer to the airport for a flight to Los Angeles. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel in the “City of Angels”. (BB, L)

Day 18: Los Angeles & Mount Wilson

After breakfast, visit the outlets at the Block in Orange for some shopping, before we continue to Mount Wilson where you will embark on an exploration of the observation facilities.  Here you will enjoy a casual boxed dinner before your Half Night Experience begins. Leaving at 1:00am, you will have plenty of time to see the expanse of the stars. Please note sturdy shoes are required to walk approximately 400 meters to observation summit. Warm clothes and flashlights are also highly recommended. (BB, HD)

Day 19: Disneyland

Today we have a late-morning admission to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which is known as the “happiest place on earth”. You will have plenty of time to visit Fantasyland where you can ride Space Mountain or Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters or go back to Frontierland for the wild Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. Perhaps take some time to do some shopping at Downtown Disney where you will find stores such as ESPN Zone Studio Store, Fossil, House of Blues and Quiksilver. This evening, marvel at the Fantastic Fireworks display before heading back to the hotel. (BB, HD)

Day 20: USC Robotics Laboratory & California Science Center

This morning, we start at the USC robotics laboratory. A leader in the field, the USC robotics laboratory will allow you to see science in action. You will be guided by post-doctoral researchers and assistants as you see how this field is changing our world. We'll be seeing a variety of robots in 3 different labs. Our lab focuses on human-robot interaction, and other labs focused on aerial and underwater robotics, and manipulation (robot arms). For more information on the research at the lab see: Afterwards, we go to the California Science Center where we will start by viewing an educational 3D IMAX film about the Hubble Telescope. We also have reservations to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor display with all of the timeline information and exhibits, following a chance to walk around the outside of the shuttle for a life-sized view of the actual shuttle. The rest of the day is for you to explore the many interactive displays at the Centre. (BB, HD)

Day 21: UCLA Tour & Page Museum

This morning we visit UCLA for a student-led campus highlights visit. After a lunch stop at the famous Farmer’s Market in downtown Los Angeles, head into the pre-historic age, displayed at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. A guided excursion by a docent of the Museum is how you will learn about our fascinating tar pit formation, and how animals and plants became entrapped in the asphalt! It is one of the world’s most famous fossil localities, recognized for having the largest and most diverse assemblage of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world. Later we visit the Citadel for some last minute shopping. (BB)

Day 22: Universal Studios & Farewell Los Angeles

Today we visit Universal Studios where you can take a behind-the-scenes visit to the studios. You will see Jaws, King Kong and the lot where many films and television programs are filmed.  Then maybe brave rides such as the Transformers, the ride-3D or Revenge of the Mummy Ride. Dinner is served at the Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company located at the Universal City Walk. This marks the end of our tour, as we transfer to the airport for our flights home. (BB,HD)