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Britain & IrelandCountry Roads
Duration: 12 days Visiting: England, Scotland
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.
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, see the Palace of Holyroodhouse - the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty, the Queen and visit the castle, home of Mons Meg, the Stone of Destiny and the Honours of Scotland, Scotland's glittering Crown Jewels. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The City of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built above one of Britain's 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.
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.
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast.
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.
Edinburgh has more eateries per head than any other city in the UK and your Travel 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 40.00
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
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
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
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
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
Today we'll visit the spectacular Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was baptised and also where he is buried. We'll also see Stratford's medieval guildhall and attend a lesson at Shakespeare's schoolhouse before enjoying scones with cream and a glass of bubbly.
Adult Price: GBP 25.00
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
Edinburgh (Traditional) - Scotland
Macdonald Holyrood Hotel is situated in Edinburgh’s beautiful old town, within walking distance of the Scottish Parliament building.
Windermere (Contemporary) - Scotland
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.
The Stratford/Stratford Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon.
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.
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.