Britain and Ireland Tour - The Best of UK and Ireland- XGBI
All the very best of the UK and Ireland in one 14 day tour of 5 countries. Explore England, Whales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. This tour combines the finest highlights of all the destinations, explore legendary landmarks, medieval castles, rolling green hills, fabulous culture, history and beautiful scenery.
Start point: London. End point: Dublin
DAY 1: London - Cambridge – YorkshireThis morning we depart London for in Cambridge, your first adventure will have you punting along the river in traditional style, taking in the stunning scenery and epic, historical buildings in the most relaxing way. Simply wonderful. The afternoon sees you continuing your rural journey towards York, a mecca for history buffs and lovers of fine architecture and culture. Your tour offers fascinating insights, stories and history of the city. Tonight enjoy dinner in a traditional English pub with plenty of choices on the menu, including English favourites such as fish and chips, or bangers and mash (sausages with creamy mashed potatoes). This is also home of the Yorkshire Pudding -in fact not a pudding but a side dish made from a mix of eggs, flour, and milk and served with beef and gravy. It’s a staple of the traditional British roast.
Experiences include: Cambridge River Punting. We visit this historic city renowned for its leading university. Savour the history and marvelous views as we punt along the river.Walking tour of York. Take a walking tour round this historic walled city with your Our Explore tour leader.Dinner in a traditional English pub
DAY 2: Hadrian's Wall - Jedburgh – Edinburgh
Get ready to experience places of historical battles, religious significance, ancient architecture and royal ruins. Your first stop of the day is the iconic Hadrian’s Wall. Built by hand in 122 AD, its creation is extremely significant in the history of Great Britain, and it is one of the most visited cultural landmarks in the UK. Not too far away lies the border town of Jedburgh. Famed for its links to royalty and historical warfare, you will have an opportunity to explore the city and take in the amazing architecture, which speak for populations passed. The Jedburgh Abbey ruins are incredible, and a visit is highly recommended. As you journey through Scotland, relax and enjoy the beautiful landscape drifting past. The capital city is waiting, and your Our Explore tour leader will introduce you to Edinburgh on an evening driving and orientation walking tour.
Experiences include: Hadrian's Wall. Visit Hadrian’s Wall on the border between England and Scotland.Visit to Jedburgh. Located on the border between Scotland and England, Jedburgh has a long history of royal connections and historic warfare. Explore the Abbey ruins and soak up the centuries of history in this amazing place. Edinburgh Orientation Tour. Arrive in the capital of Scotland, and experience the sights and sounds on an evening driving tour and orientation walking tour of this magnificent city.
DAY 3: Edinburgh
Today, you are free to explore the city as you wish, and there is so much to see and do. Known as the cultural capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is blessed with stunning grey stone buildings, along with architecture, art galleries, memorials and higher education faculties. Take a step back in time, and wander around the authentic, unchanged cobbled streets of the Royal Mile, and meander down to the Grass Market, to a row of pubs where public hangings used to ‘entertain’ the crowds. Edinburgh Castle is well worth the entry fee, and requires a few hours to explore and learn about Scottish history and royalty - there are wonderful views from the top. For those wishing to shop for souvenirs, Princes Street attracts shoppers from all over the world. The city comes alive at night, in the bars and pubs in the city centre.
DAY 4: Loch Ness - Scottish Highlands
Just over halfway through your Great Britain tour, you are now heading north to the Scottish Highlands, where we offer you an optional excursion that could change your life. Embark on a 1 hour cruise of Loch Ness, (home to ‘Nessie’ the Loch Ness Monster - see if you can spot her and take in the impressive ruins of Urquhart Castle as you drift past on your boat ride). Once back on the road, prepare for boldness and the symbol of the highlands. Rising out of the ground like a waking giant, behold the grandeur of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Whilst in the region, you will visit Glencoe – a spectacular Glen (Scottish for a deep valley in the Highlands) where the massacre of Glencoe took place in 1692 - one of the most fascinating yet saddest stories encompassing Scotland’s history. Your day will wind down with a well-earned whisky tasting at one of Scotland’s oldest, licensed whisky distilleries in Fort William, before continuing to our hotel in the Scottish Highlands.
Experiences include: Whisky tasting at one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries in Fort William. As we head back south behold the grandeur of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, and Glen Coe, a spectacular glen with a fascinating history. Loch Ness - prepare for your breath to be taken away by the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands. You’ll have some free time where you may choose to embark on a cruise of Loch Ness – see if you can spot Nessie and the ruins of Urquhart Castle.
DAY 5: Lake District – Liverpool
We head across the border, bound for Liverpool - the home of The Beatles and two world-famous premier league football clubs. On the way, you can soak up the last of the Scottish landscape, before reaching the picturesque Lake District for a lunch stop – the views are stunning. We arrive in Liverpool late afternoon, where you have the evening free to explore. Upon checking in at the hotel, head to one of the many local pubs for dinner. For Beatles fans, there are a myriad of locations that were significant to developing the world-class pop act, which shaped modern music as we know it. The Beatles played hundreds of shows at the Cavern Club, the perfect place to enjoy your time in Liverpool.
Experiences include: Experience the Lake District of England. Here, you will have free time for a comfort stop in the beautiful village of Grasmere (or similar), where the author William Wordsworth lived, in the Lake District.
DAY 6: Stratford-Upon-Avon – Wales
This morning, we will take a driving tour of Liverpool, where you will be shown the sights, before we venture on to the birthplace of William Shakespeare - Stratford-upon-Avon. An orientation tour will allow you to explore the quaint, historical village, and then you will have some free time to explore on your own. There are numerous Shakespearean attractions and fascinating historical locations to visit. For those who wish to delve into the life of Shakespeare more intimately, we can arrange an optional excursion for you to visit the home where he grew up as a child, where he also lived with his wife when they were newlyweds. Sliding into south Wales, we take a photo stop at Caerphilly Castle, a medieval fortification built in the 13th Century, ranked the second largest castle in the UK and surrounded by artificial lakes. Continuing to the Welsh capital of Cardiff, you have an evening to enjoy the local nightlife on offer.
Experiences include: Liverpool driving tour - take a driving tour and see the Albert Dock, Anfield football stadium and a variety of locations connected to the Beatles. Visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare - Stratford-Upon-Avon. You will have free time to wander the city and visit the Shakespearean attractions. Caerphilly Castle Photo stop - on our way to Cardiff we stop off for a quick photo stop at this impressive 700-year old castle. Visit to Cardiff - we continue to the Welsh capital where you have some free time to spend the evening as you wish.
DAY 7: Bath - Stonehenge – London
The road from Wales to London is littered with history, stunning scenery and architectural delights. First stop for the day is Bath – a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring some of the finest architecture in Europe. Join us on an orientation tour of the town, and learn about the historical significance of the region, including the natural hot springs that supply the Roman baths - visited by over 1 million international tourists every year. Continuing on the last legs of your journey, you have an optional excursion that could have you unravelling one of the worlds’ greatest mysteries. Stonehenge - see this ancient and awe-inspiring structure. Our last stop is in London.
DAY 8: Dublin
Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight then depart England for Ireland and the start of your Irish tour. Meet up with your tour leader and fellow travellers, do a spot of sightseeing or just relax. Big enough to keep one amused, but small enough to cover in a relatively short time, Dublin boasts an extraordinary history, rich heritage and a touch of indulgence. Enjoy. Tonight at dinner you’ll get more information on the second half of your tour. While in Dublin make sure to try a pint of Guinness - a hearty stout beer. Enjoy it with a pub meal like Steak and Ale pie.
Experiences include: After arriving in Dublin, make your own way to the start hotel. Dublin is a relatively compact city, so you can easily explore the history and culture on foot.
DAY 9: Belfast - Giant's Causeway - Derry/Londonderry
Today, we set off from Dublin on our first day of travel. Your tour leader will give you an introduction to the history of Ireland, and, as we’re headed into Northern Ireland it’s particularly important to learn about topics like the Rising, the Civil War and the Fight for Independence, along with The Troubles. Although peaceful now, this is an important part of Ireland’s history, particularly the north. We’ll stop first in the famous city of Belfast, where we’ll have an orientation tour. After some free time, we head to Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge for a photo stop, and visit the famous Giant’s Causeway - legend has it that the causeway was built by an Irish giant named Finn McCool, so that he could challenge his Scottish rival Benandonner to a battle. Our last stop for the day is the riverside city of Londonderry / Derry, where we spend the night.
Experiences include: Enjoy an orientation tour of Belfast, our first stop on the tour.Photo stop at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which links the mainland with the tiny island of Carrickarede. Spanning 20 meters, the bridge is suspended 30 meters above the rocks below. Enjoy the spectacular Cliffside views.The Giant’s Causeway is one of Ireland’s most famous sights, a natural geological wonder that is the result of ancient volcanic activity in the area. Or perhaps a giant did actually build it as the legend suggests… Either way, we’ll stop here and give you the chance to explore it for yourself.
DAY 10: Derry/Londonderry – Galway
Heading out from Londonderry / Derry, we make our way to Galway, joining up with the famous Wild Atlantic Way - the longest coastal drive in the world, and probably the most scenic. We’ll make a comfort stop, and then will arrive in Galway in the early afternoon. Enjoy some free time in this arty, bohemian city that boasts a vibrant ambience, thanks to its large student population. With students making up a quarter of the population, you’ll find plenty of bars and cafes, some of which will feature live music. Check out the remnants of the medieval town walls, or take a stroll down the promenade to Salthill, on Galway Bay, source of the area’s delicious well-known oysters.
Experiences include: Free time in Galway. Enjoy the bohemian vibe of this lively town, where you’ll find plenty of bars and cafes. Look out for live music. Alternatively, find the remnants of the medieval city walls or walk down the promenade to Salthill on Galway Bay.
DAY 11: Cliffs of Moher - Limerick – Killarney
First up today, we have one of the highlights of the tour – the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. Here, we’ll have the chance to capture a few spectacular photos of this natural wonder, which rises over 200 meters above the churning sea. We then make our way to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The present version of Bunratty Castle was erected in the early 1400s, though several constructions preceded it, dating back to the 10th Century. Adjoining the castle is Folk Park, a reconstructed traditional Irish village complete with cottages, weavers, pie-makers, a forge and a working blacksmith. We stop for lunch in Limerick, with its fascinating castle, traditional pubs, art museum and a thriving café culture. Before the last leg of the tour to our hotel in Killarney today, we stop off in Adare for photos, and you’ll marvel at what’s often called ‘Ireland’s prettiest village.’ Catch a glimpse of the perfectly-preserved thatch cottages, which today are home to craft shops and restaurants. We arrive in Killarney, where you can reflect on the day over dinner with your fellow explorers.
Experiences include: The Cliffs of Moher: we’ll stop at the Cliffs of Moher for the chance to get some photos of the spectacular view. Bunratty Castle: a beautiful 15th Century tower house in County Clare and a piece of Irish history, with the original structure dating back to the 10th C. Folk Park adjoins the castle, and here you’ll get a peek at a traditional Irish village, complete with cottages, weavers, pie-makers, a forge and a working blacksmith. Adare: ideal for a photo stop, this place is often called ‘Ireland’s prettiest village’ and features perfectly preserved thatch cottages, craft shops and restaurants.
DAY 12: Ring of Kerry
Keep your camera fully charged and at the ready – it’s going to be a day of stunning scenery. The famous ring of Kerry is our stamping ground today, home to breath-taking coastal views, emerald-green pastures and charming villages – including Caherciveen and Kenmare, where we’ll make comfort stops. Both Caherciveen and Kenmare are quaint and pretty – take the opportunity to amble down the high street of Kenmare and try the culinary treats on offer from the cute cafes, bars and restaurants. Finally, Muckross House and Gardens is a stunning Victorian mansion in the heart of Killarney National Park, where we’ll have the option of heading into this stunning house and garden to enjoy the scenery.
Experiences include: An incredible day of sightseeing awaits as we drive one of Ireland’s most scenic roads. Take in breath-taking coastal views, emerald-green pastures and charming villages. We will take comfort stops at both Caherciveen & Kenare. These are quaint and gorgeous towns. Amble down the high street of Kenmare and take advantage of the culinary treats on offer from the cute cafes, bars and restaurants. We then stop at Moll’s Gap, amazing scenery and beautiful green valley.
DAY 13: Blarney Castle – Dublin
Journeying back to Dublin and leaving the Wild Atlantic Way, we stop at Blarney Castle, where you’ll have the chance to kiss the famous Blarney Stone and gain the ‘gift of the gab’. We’ll stop at Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city - medieval Ireland. Returning to Dublin, celebrate the last night of your tour with an optional Irish music evening, including dinner and a show at the Merry Ploughboy Irish Music Pub, winner of the “Best Music Pub” in Ireland. Located in the Irish countryside, it’s an authentic experience, in a pub run by traditional musicians who specialise in of Irish music and dance.
Experiences include: On our way back to Dublin we stop at Blarney Castle, where you can kiss the famous Blarney Stone and hopefully gain the ‘gift of the gab.’We also stop in Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city - the atmosphere of medieval Ireland.
DAY 14: Dublin: The tour concludes after breakfast.
Flights from London to Dublin
13 nights accommodation in twin room
30 included experiences
Free Wifi in hotels
Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats and toilet
All road taxes and fees
Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days).
- From $4399 per person twin share. Single supplement + $1795