Elegance of Great Britain

Britain & Ireland

Country Roads

Elegance of Great Britain (Summer 2019)

Duration: 12 days Visiting: England, Scotland

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

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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

    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 of modern European cuisine and wine at Iris, a chic bistro tucked away in New Town.

  2. Day 2

    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.

  3. Day 3

    Ardgowan and Gretna Green.

    Depart the majestic Scottish capital and journey to Ardgowan, set on 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, scones cakes and a selection of sandwiches. 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.

  4. Day 4 - 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.

  5. Day 5 - 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, you are treated to a private tour of Birdsall House. Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and canapes as you learn about the estate that has been home to the Willoughby Family since 1719 and admire the incredible collection of art and furniture, acquired by the family over the last 700 years. You then take your seats in the stately dining room as you join one of the family members for your Home-Hosted dinner.

  6. Day 6 - 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?

  7. Day 7

    Lincoln’s Magna Carta.

    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.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Shakespeare's Stratford-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.

  9. Day 9

    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.

  10. Day 10 - 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, your Travel Director and fellow travellers at Brasserie Blanc. Raise a glass over your Celebration Dinner to commend your wonderful journey, while enjoying a delicious French-inspired meal accompanied with wine.

  11. Day 11

    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. Continue into the heart of Wiltshire to reach the city of Salisbury where you have time at leisure to enjoy lunch and explore the city. See the tallest spire in England, atop the medieval cathedral and walk the streets to observe an architectural timeline from the city's medieval walls and half-timbered Tudor town houses to Georgian mansions and Victorian villas. Your journey concludes upon arrival in London where you are at leisure for the rest of the afternoon.

  12. Day 12

    Homeward Bound.

    Your journey comes to an end after breakfast.

Highlights

 

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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.
  • Edinburgh: Walk with a Local Expert within the walls of the Castle to view the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg.
  • Edinburgh: Your Local Expert reveals why this is Scotland's City of Culture. 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.
  • Gretna Green: Visit the spot where once runaway lovers were married.
  • English Lake District: The best way to enjoy the Lake District is by cruise, relax as you admire the magnificent views.
  • English Lake District: Board a steam train and journey along the banks of the beautiful River Leven.
  • Grasmere: Visit the grave of the English poet, William Wordsworth.
  • 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.
  • York: Walk with your Local Expert to see the might York Minster and wander the maze of cobbled streets to see the Shambles.
  • 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: 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.
  • Bath: During your orientation of the city, your Travel Director will show you the Georgian houses, the Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey.
  • Stonehenge: Visit the mysterious circle of upright stones, which stands as strong today as it did 5,000 years ago.
  • Salisbury: During your free time for lunch, take a moment to explore this historical city. See the tallest spire in England, atop the Medieval cathedral and walk the streets to observe an architectural timeline from the city's medieval walls and half-timbered Tudor town houses to Georgian mansions and Victorian villas.
  • 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

  • Edinburgh: Get to know your fellow travellers over your Welcome Dinner of modern European cuisine and wine, at Iris, a chic bistro tucked away in New Town.
  • Ardgowan Estate: Sir Ludovic Shaw Stewart welcomes you to his family castle, set on a 10,000-acre coastal estate. Learn the history of the area, the Shaw Stewart family and the castle itself, followed by a traditional Scottish tea and scones.
  • York: During a private tour of Birdsall House, enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and canapes as you learn about the estate, before taking your seat in the stately dining room to join a member of the Willoughby Family for dinner.
  • Stratford: Enjoy a traditional Sunday Roast Dinner, with all the trimmings.
  • Bath: Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at Brasserie Blanc. Raise a glass over your Celebration Dinner to commend your wonderful journey, while enjoying a delicious French-inspired meal accompanied with wine.
  • Dining Summary: 10 Breakfasts (B), 1 Morning Tea (MT), 2 Dinners (D) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Edinburgh: Macdonald Holyrood Hotel is situated in Edinburgh’s beautiful old town, within walking distance of the Scottish Parliament building.
  • Bowness-on-Windermere: The Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa is contained in a 17th century building and rests on the shores of Windermere, England’s largest lake.
  • York: The Hilton York is situated within the city walls, close to the York Minster and the best this city has to offer.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon: The Stratford is an award-winning boutique hotel in the centre of this historic town.

INCLUDED INSIGHT 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.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are 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

 

Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh.

Edinburgh (Traditional) - Scotland

Macdonald Holyrood Hotel is situated in Edinburgh’s beautiful old town, within walking distance of the Scottish Parliament building.

Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Bowness-on-Windermere.

Windermere (Contemporary) - Scotland

Hilton York

York (Traditional) - England

The Hilton York is situated within the city walls, close to the York Minster and the best this city has to offer.

Bailbrook House Hotel

Bath (Historic) - England

Located on 20 acres of grounds, heading into the gorgeous Bath countryside, the Bailbrook House Hotel is still only a 10 minute drive from the centre of historical bath. The hotel underwent a £10 million restoration to convert the early 19th century-built Mansion House residence and the historic Bailbook Court into a contemporary hotel. The perfect blend of modern and heritage, design and style, will ensure your stay is truly elegant.

Amba Hotel 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.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11450 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 11 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We enjoyed the itinerary but felt that a visit to the Cotswolds would have been better than Gretna Green which was really just a place to shop.

    Service: The tour guide was friendly, organised and knowledgeable as well as very well spoken.

  • 05 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Excellent trip. The sights were fabulous, the food great and the company was exceptional. We all got along like a big family.Our tour director was super. The only problem was at our last destination in London. We were told to grab a bag, run into the hotel and check in. There was no place for the bus to park and our tour director was off duty and some of us were in a lurch, as there were check in problems. After talking with other people on other Insight tours, the same thing happened to them at other London hotels. This needs to improve. It leaves a negative image of our last day on tour.

    Service: Every time that I called my questions were answered.

  • 29 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Enjoyed the varity of excurisions.

    Service: We did several things that appeared unique to this tour.

  • 18 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: As this was our first trip to Great Britain we were in awe of everywhere we went

    Service: As this was our first Insight Vacation plus first Coach Tour, we were completely satisfied with trip. Our Travel Director - Peter Askew was fantastic with his knowledge of area & overall trip. Danny, our Coach Driver was great also. Nothing was too much trouble to either of them.

  • 11 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: See above comments in Customer Service section.

    Service: Damien Partridge (our guide)and Jason (our bus driver) were great. Liked having included dinners not in the hotels but sometimes in local restaurants. Was disappointed that some optional tours ran without minimum and others were cancelled - eg. Britannia. Not enough notice to do it on your own. Dinner and tour of Birdsall House was amazing. Bronte House was also great. It was fun having Damien and Jason join us at tour dinners. They are both very knowledgeable and professional. Day 12 - Ancient Stonehenge to London was a disappointment. We were asked to take any bag when we arrived at Marble Arch to help. Most people did not do this and it was very chaotic. Bags delivered to wrong rooms or not all until you went and searched for them. Service had ended. Realize Jason had other commitments and needed to go. Damien also left group, Seems like Insight dropped the ball on organization. In our past experiences, Tour Director is available until the guests leave on final day which was Day 13! People are paying for expert guidance and service. It was unfortunate that was the way this otherwise organized and pleasant tour ended.

  • 11 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We enjoyed all the areas covered on our tour.

    Service: Every day was a special day with amazing scenery and/or sites. Our guide and driver were great! The bus and hotels were very comfortable.

  • 10 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It would have been better if it has covered Cotswolds village

    Service: We are quite pleased when they responded to some of our concerns promptly.

  • 10 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: More time needed in some places.

    Service: We did not receive an email from our Tour Director prior to our trip as we usually do. reached out to CS & they responded promptly.

  • 07 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Excellent pace with 2 nights each location.

    Service: Would definitely travel with them again. The only reason for not giving 5 stars is that some of the included dinner meals were low quality, one was actually inedible. Both Peter and Danny were awesome.

  • 29 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It was great and I saw a lot of the UK which I would not have seen otherwise

    Service: This was my first tour and I had a great experience and looking forward to y next tour. The tour guide and driver were great.

  • 27 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: A good balance of cities and more rural areas visited.

    Service: I would highly recommend them. They always encouraged questions and comments.

  • 27 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Beautiful countryside & historical & cultural stops. Loved the itinerary, our guide Nigel, and our group clicked, having a lot of fun! We’d recommend this trip for sure & will use Insight again!

    Service: Itinerary was stellar and our guide Nigel was outstanding! We had about half our group from Australia, & the rest from USA + Canada and they were a fun group to travel with. We’re thinking if going to Switzerland next year with Insight! I’d attach photos, but we aren’t home yet as we’re still enjoying England until Sat. When we fly home. We added 5 extra days in London for day tours and then took a train back to Lincoln fir 3 dats to do Family genealogy at their Archives Office.. so glad you included a stop here to see the Castle + Cathedral as it’s a lovely city! All in all a wonderful trip! Thank you!

*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.