Start your tale of two islands in London, exploring such cities as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin and Cardiff, as well as the scenic Yorkshire Dales and rugged Ayrshire Coast.
ORIENTATION of York, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bath
VISIT Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, Edinburgh Castle, Gretna Green, the Irish National Stud farm and Japanese Garden, the Waterford Crystal Showroom, the Roman Baths in Bath and the ancient stone circle at Stonehenge
VIEW York Minster, Glasgow Cathedral and George Square and Kilkenny Castle and Gardens
SEE the Principality Stadium in Cardiff
First Class Travel Highlights:
Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing
Daily breakfast and up to half your evening meals
Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
The services of a Brendan Vacations Local Host at your London hotel
Use of Brendan Vacations's London Reception Centre offering a range of services including tickets for day trips and local attractions
Ferry across the Irish Sea from Scotland to Northern Ireland
Ferry across the Irish Sea from Ireland to South Wales
Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
Optional Experiences and free time
All porterage and restaurant gratuities
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
VIP entry to many sights
London bids you a warm welcome to its regal traditions and centuries-old heritage. Ramble through its Royal Parks relaxing after your journey, or take to its streets to admire elegant façades merged with the modern verve of a global capital that marches to its own multi-cultural tune.
London – Stratford-upon-Avon – York – Harrogate
Join your Travel Director today and delve into centuries of history - tales of star-crossed lovers, tragic kings and Roman emperors are brought to life as we visit Stratford-upon-Avon and follow in the footsteps of Shakespeare. Visit his Birthplace and the Visitor Centre, before embarking on a scenic drive north to the Viking city of York, where we'll enjoy an orientation walk around its historic streets. View the cobbled Shambles, see the ancient city walls and the magnificent York Minster. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Reception in our hotel in the Victorian spa town of Harrogate, our home for tonight.
Harrogate – Lake District – Gretna Green – Glasgow (2 Nights)
We journey through the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the beautiful Lake District, which has inspired poets and writers for centuries. A highlight on our journey is England's pretty Lake Windermere, which we'll pass as we continue through countryside made famous by the poet William Wordsworth. We'll cross the border to the runaway wedding capital of Gretna Green. Here eloping couples would tie the knot over the Marriage Anvil. We drive through the Southern Uplands to vibrant Glasgow. Tonight, consider joining an Optional Experience to Braveheart Country for a fabulous dinner and Scottish entertainment.
From the cultural capital of Glasgow to enchanting Edinburgh, with its exquisite medieval façades, our encounter with Scotland will see us join a 'Local Specialist' for a memorable sightseeing tour. We'll visit Edinburgh Castle, perched atop Castle Rock overlooking the city, and see the Royal Mile, the elegant Palace of Holyroodhouse and the new Scottish Parliament. Admire the elegant Georgian architecture in the New Town and amble through the secret lanes of Auld Reekie before returning to Glasgow this evening. Enjoy views of Glasgow Cathedral and George Square before a delicious meal at a local restaurant.
Glasgow – Belfast – Dublin (2 Nights)
Follow the rugged Ayrshire coast, past the island of Ailsa Craig, the stepping stone from Ireland to Scotland. Board the ferry to Northern Ireland, then join a 'Local Specialist' to explore the crossroads of British and Irish culture in Belfast. We'll view City Hall and the dock where the Titanic was built. This evening, we arrive in the vibrant capital of Ireland where we'll spend the next two nights.
Dublin Sightseeing and Free Time
Gain insights into the centuries-old tradition of Guinness brewing and enjoy a Storehouse tour and tasting technique demonstration. Drive through the pretty streets of Dublin with a 'Local Specialist' to admire the stately Georgian Squares, Trinity College and St. Patrick's Cathedral, the tallest church in Ireland, before spending the rest of the day exploring the sights alone. Ramble through Temple Bar or Grafton Street, famous for its colourful street performers. This evening, consider joining an Optional Experience to a rousing Irish cabaret performance.
Dublin – Kildare – Kilkenny – Waterford
We 'Dive Into Culture' this morning and gain insights into rearing world-class thoroughbreds at the Irish National Stud Farm established in 1946. Enjoy a guided walk through the farm and take some time to stroll through its tranquil Japanese Gardens, regarded as the best in Europe. Admire the imposing medieval castle at Kilkenny before some free time for lunch. Our next stop sees us 'Dive Into Culture' yet again to witness the delicate craft of Waterford Crystal. We'll watch master craftsmen at work during a tour of the workshop and see the exquisitely crafted pieces in the showroom.
Waterford – Cardiff
An early start to the day sees us cross the Irish Sea to Wales by ferry and continue our journey to the Welsh capital of Cardiff to view the Millennium Centre, National Assembly and historic Cardiff Castle, at the heart of the city. This evening, we 'Connect With Locals' in the idyllic Welsh countryside, joining a local family for a Farewell 'Be My Guest' Dinner.
Cardiff – Bath �� Stonehenge – London
Traversing the Severn Estuary into England, we arrive in the glorious UNESCO-listed Bath, with its elegant Georgian façades and world-famous Roman Baths from which the city derives its name. Journey across the scenic landscapes of Wiltshire, paying a visit to the mysterious monolithic stone circle at Stonehenge, then return to London.
Say farewell to your travelling companions at the end of your holiday, as you prepare to fly home with wonderful memories.