2017 Scenic Britain 11 Days / 10 Nights
Your vacation starts at your Windsor hotel at 2:30 pm when you meet your tour director. Visit Windsor Castle, official residence of The Queen and the largest inhabited castle in the world. See the many treasures in the State Apartments and learn about historic events that have taken place throughout many parts of this vast royal residence. Back at your hotel sit down with your tour director and trip participants over a welcome drink and talk about your vacation. After dinner in your hotel, take a brief walk around this compact and historic town with a local guide.
Drive to the west and stop at Salisbury Plain where you will marvel at the prehistoric circle of vast monoliths of Stonehenge. Learn about the primitive builders who managed to create such an enduring monument, where the stones originated and the uses of the site. Stop in Salisbury, a charming old city where the Gothic cathedral dates from 1220 AD and boasts the tallest spire in England. Continue your journey west and arrive at your hotel in Plymouth, where the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from in 1620.
Today drive through Bodmin Moor, an area of unspoiled natural beauty. Stop for photos at Jamaica Inn, made famous by Daphne du Maurier's tale of smugglers. Visit Lanhydrock House to explore this late-Victorian country house with grand rooms for the owners as well as servants’ quarters. Take a walk through the colorful gardens. Back in Plymouth see the Mayflower Steps and cruise to Royal William Yard, former Royal Navy buildings which now host restaurants for independent dining.
Today discover the highlights of Cornwall, the region on the southwestern tip of England. It has many Celtic traditions, including its own language and is for sandy beaches and pretty harbor villages. View the majestic outline of St Michael’s Mount, an important pilgrimage destination, and you will have time to take some photos or maybe walk out if the tide is low. Then continue to Land’s End, the most westerly point of Britain. Visit the Minack Theatre, an open-air arena that was first opened in the 1930s. Walk down the cliff walk to enjoy lovely sea views and gardens with exotic and native plants. Return to Plymouth in time for dinner.
Travel north to Bath to visit the Roman Baths and Pump Room, hot mineral-rich springs that have been popular since Roman times. The fashion of “taking the waters” was revived during the 18th century Regency period when much of Bath’s elegant houses were built. Drive to Cardiff, capital of Wales, for a sightseeing tour followed by a brief walking tour around the bay. Tour Cardiff Castle to see some amazingly opulent, highly decorated rooms. Remain in the Castle for a Welsh banquet with dinner and some lively entertainment.
Drive through the Brecon Beacons National Park, a region of gentle hills. Stop in Hay-on-Wye, a town famous for all the bookstores that line the streets. Continue north through the Shropshire Hills to Shrewsbury, a picturesque town near the English/Welsh border. Take a walking tour with the town crier to see black-and-white buildings that line the narrow streets and learn about the history of the town. Travel through the Cheshire countryside to your hotel, located near Chester. Check in to your hotel and relax before sitting down to dinner.
Today drive to Llangollen and across the Horseshoe Pass for wonderful vistas. Visit a farm to see trained dogs herding sheep and travel to Conwy, a medieval town dominated by a huge castle. Take a walking tour around the tiny, picturesque streets and see the smallest house in Britain. Located on the quay, this was home to a fisherman for many years. Drive to Chester where another walking tour through the town center will reveal medieval black-and-white buildings and Roman walls. Return to your hotel in time for dinner.
Travel through the glorious Lake District, associated with the children’s author, Beatrix Potter, who wrote and illustrated the popular “Peter Rabbit” series of books. She was also an avid sheep farmer. The poet, William Wordsworth lived and worked in the charming village of Grasmere. Take a stroll through the town and see where he is buried. Stop at the Famous Blacksmith’s Shop in Gretna Green, a popular shopping venue for quality Scottish goods. Continue north to your next hotel, set in spacious grounds a few miles outside Edinburgh, for a lively Scottish Evening with dinner and entertainment.
Explore central Edinburgh this morning, starting in the 200-year-old “New Town” with wide, planned streets and elegant Georgian mansions where many famous writers and inventors lived. See the Royal Mile with its narrow medieval houses which extends from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Edinburgh Castle and walk along part of it to see the tall buildings and the wynds or alleyways between them. Tour Edinburgh Castle perched high above the city and see the Crown Jewels of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny. Enjoy wonderful views of the city from the ramparts. The rest of the day is free. On July 30 to August 13 departures, experience the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Travel north to St Andrews, famously known as the “Home of Golf” and location of Scotland’s oldest university. Take a panoramic drive around the town to view the layout and some of the golf courses. A gentle walking tour will bring you into the picturesque ruins of St Andrews Castle and Cathedral. Spend some free time to have a browse around the town, shop at some of the golf specialty stores and maybe even try a round of pitch and putt. Back in Edinburgh, head to a nearby tavern for dinner with your group.
Your tour ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner