Britain and Ireland

Britain & Ireland

Country Roads

Elegance of Great Britain start London (Summer 2018)

Duration: 14 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 London

    Welcome to London. After checking into your hotel, the afternoon is free to enjoy a city that is famous for its pomp and pageantry. Perhaps relax with a walk along the Serpentine in Hyde Park or window shop in the elegant boutiques of Knightsbridge? Alternatively, you may want to stroll along the Thames to the iconic Tower Bridge and Tower of London.

  3. Day 3

    From London to Edinburgh.

    In the morning, transfer to the train station and take your comfortable, standard-class seats. Your cross-country journey takes you through the green English countryside as you travel to Scotland - land of legends and romance. You are then transferred to Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, where the rest of the day is yours to relax. Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 17:30 for a Welcome Dinner and the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers over a pleasant evening.

  4. Day 4

    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 and see 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.

  5. Day 5

    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.

  6. Day 6 - 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.

  7. Day 7 - 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. In the evening, take the opportunity to mix with the locals over dinner and drinks.

  8. Day 8 - 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?

  9. Day 9

    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.

  10. Day 10 - 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.

  11. Day 11

    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.

  12. Day 12 - 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.

  13. Day 13

    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.

  14. Day 14

    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. Then enjoy some time to explore this pretty town with its iconic Tudor houses.
  • Blenheim Palace: Witness a masterpiece of the English Baroque, brimming with priceless art and tapestries.
  • Bath: During your orientation of the city, your Travel Director will show you the Georgian houses, the Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey.
  • Edinburgh: Edinburgh: Explore the city as you travel along Princes Street to see the Scott Memorial, the neoclassical Adam facades of New Town and the official Scottish residence of the Queen, Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • 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.
  • Grasmere: Visit the grave of the English poet, William Wordsworth.
  • Gretna Green: Visit the spot where once runaway lovers were married.
  • Scenic Drives: Fall in love with the English and Scottish countryside as you travel through the English Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the picturesque Cotswolds.

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 trips. 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.

Dinner In Edinburgh

Edinburgh has more eateries per head than any other city in the UK and your Tour Director knows which ones shine and which ones to shun! Join your fellow companions for a fun evening out in this vibrant city. Visit a prized local restaurant for a delicious three course dinner with a glass of wine, beer or soft drink included.

Adult Price: GBP 38.00

Code: EDI0001

Scottish Dinner & Cabaret

Join us for a lively and memorable evening of traditional Scottish song, dance, tartan and bagpipes. In addition to wine and dinner, your kilted hosts will lead you through some of the best-loved Scottish music and songs. You'll learn a Highland dance or two and sample Scotland’s national dish - haggis. An exceptional Scottish experience!

Adult Price: GBP 60.00

Code: EDI0002

Royal Yacht Britannia

This magnificent ship has hosted some of the most famous people in the world. But, above all, Britannia was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family. For four royal couples, Britannia was to provide a honeymoon sanctuary before the onset of married life in the world's most photographed family. Now berthed in Leith, you are welcomed on board to discover the heart and soul of this most special of Royal residences.

Adult Price: GBP 23.00

Code: EDI0003

Historic Working Farm Visit

Enjoy a guided visit to an authentic 19th-century farm. We'll see Shire horses and explore the largest collection of Steam Engines/Vintage Tractors in the Lake District. We'll learn the technique for milking their prized Jersey Cows and also how they make butter from the milk. Then, we'll have free time to wander around the farm before indulging in some "Homemade Refreshments". A truly unique experience awaits.

Adult Price: GBP 22.00

Code: LAK0006

Dinner and Ghost Walk

Beginning with a drink and a delicious meal in a local restaurant, you'll then discover tales of murder and mystery from the 2000-year-old Roman city of York as you take a stroll with the local ghost hunter.

Adult Price: GBP 40.00

Code: YOR0001

Stratford Dinner

Enjoy an evening of cosy comfort in an historic country English pub that dates back to the 1600s. Dinner includes a three-course menu with some traditional favourites washed down with a local ale or glass of wine.

Adult Price: GBP 32.00

Code: STR0001

Royal Shakespeare Company - Behind the Scenes

Discover the fascinating history of the Royal Shakespeare Company. We'll explore the private and public areas of this storied theatrical institution and then enjoy afternoon tea.

Adult Price: GBP 24.00

Code: STR0002

Georgian Walking Tour & Afternoon Tea

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bath is a unique city bursting with history from the Romans to 18th-century Georgians. There's no better way to bring the history of this beautiful city to life than with a knowledgeable Local Expert. You´ll discover some of Baths most celebrated landmarks, beautiful Georgian houses, and charming cobbled alleyways. Complete the experience in true British style with an afternoon tea in the oldest house in Bath dating back to 1482. Try a local speciality - the famous Sally Lunn bun - a favourite of residents and visitors alike, including Jane Austen!

Adult Price: GBP 28.00

Code: BAT0001

Accommodation

 

Amba Marble Arch London

London (Traditional) - England

Located at the west end Oxford Street and just 2 minutes' walk from Hyde Park, Amba Hotel Marble Arch (formerly the Thistle Marble Arch) is less than a mile from London's famed West End.

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
10940 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 14 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: it covered wide area in a short time you could choose what you wanted to do

    Service: good organisation of the tour the problems I had are beyond your control

  • 09 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: So many great sites and lots of time to explore on our own.

    Service: Rose, who met us at the hotel in London was friendly and helpful and assisted us the following day with a smooth transition onto the train to Edinburgh! Matt, our tour director was the best! Knowledgable, friendly, helpful, generous and a great sense of humour!! Thank you Matt :)

  • 19 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Birdsall, Ardgowan and Sr Ludie, and Blenham Palace alone made the itenery. Birdsall was excellent in particular. Only real disappointment was the train ride which was described in glowing terms in the description of the tour. I suggest you only say there is a train ride and then there is less disappointment. Even with train ride I can recommend the itinerary. I also suggest that you talk to dining people at McDonald Hotel at Windmere for poor service. They said we couldn’t have dinner napkins because we were a tour group. Again this was NOT Insight people but hotel staff. Please do not make my name available publically. Please let Insight know my name so I can be reimbused for transfer to airport to go home which Insight misscheduled. Our flight left before when the transfer was scheduled.

    Service: Whatever we asked for we either got or an explanation was provided. Hotel dining staff in Windemere demonstrated poor service but this was NOT Insight staff. They refused to give us dinner napkins because we were a travel group. Further there was a mix up on when our transfer to the airport for our flight back to the USA. Insight scheduled our transfer for 10:50 am when our flight left at 10:38 am. We figured out the error at the last minute and by just throwing our clothes in our luggage, skipping breakfast and shower, brush teeth etc and paying for a hotel car to take us to airport we just made the flight. We sure would like to get reimbursed for the transfer which was not scheduled right so we could not use it!!!

  • 19 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We loved having all 2 night stays. In fact, this is why we chose this tour. The only place that wasn't enjoyable was Stonehenge because it was so crowded. If another ancient site could be substituted, it would be much better.

    Service: We took the Elegance of Great Britain tour in June 2018 and loved it! Everything was well planned and very enjoyable.

  • 19 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Loved the relaxed pace of this vacation. It was nice to have things to do, it was equally nice to have lots of free time in each city. 2 nights per city is now my preferred trip style.

    Service: We had a great vacation, our tour director was great and very attentive to our needs and wants.

  • 10 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: I really enjoyed all of the places we visited, however, there were some aspects of this itinerary that might have some people considering alternate vacation plans. We found most of the included dinners suffered from one or two problems. One appeared to be staff that was unprepared to handle the size of our tour group and/or the food was very substandard and in one location, downright inedible.

    Service: Our Tour Direction and Bus Driver were excellent. The tour director was very knowledgeable about the places we visited and was readily available and willing to help with any situation or just to share information. The bus driver was pleasant, safety conscious, and kept the coach sparkling clean, inside and out!

  • 07 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great itinerary loved, the Castles, Places, and learning more about the Authors and English history. Would love to see more of Scotland, like Sterling Castle & and Isle Of Skye. Maybe one more day in London to see Tower Of London. Loved the dinners & Lunchs at the estates.

    Service: Awesome!

  • 05 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: I loved the Birdsall manor home that we toured and had dinner in, the Lincoln castle was great (altho we needed A LOT more time to see it), and the tour and tea at Ludo's manor was excellent.

    Service: It was a well-planned trip, the guide was very good, and the sites were fun.

  • 05 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Wonderful tour, but I feel that we needed a full day in London.

    Service: Always there, always to answer my questions and give helpful suggestions

  • 05 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We just enjoyed all of it. It was a good balance of Scotland and England. We liked the relaxed starts.

    Service: Our guide and driver were both great.

  • 01 July, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Did not enjoy Ardgowan Estate as we were under the impression we were to see the gardens, spent a long time listening to a lecture instead. We were also rushed at Stonehenge, 2 hours didn't allow for a full experience.

    Service: Overall the trip was good, our director was organized and attentive however, our taxi at the end of the trip (pre-booked) with you was 45 minutes late. We had to make several calls and were frustrated as we had a flight to catch. Someone dropped the ball. Meals were too late in the day and service was astonishingly slow.

  • 23 June, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Overall a wonderful arrangement of stuff to see and appreciate the time and distance factors that go into organising these trips.some of the tour talks could have been shorter,and would have loved to have walked from one village to another to grasp the closeness of the villages in some areas like we see on escape to the country on tv.

    Service: David Parry was excellent and also Paul the coach driver.Both men very professional,punctual,caring.lovely coach,comfortable and overall I would recommend insight to others.I appreciate that going on a tour such as this there is a mix of people and personalities,but it does take the shine off the trip when certain customers don’t want to join in and complain about everything.It makes it hard on the tour guide but David did very well.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. 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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