2017 Highlights of Britain - St Andrews to Land's End 15 Days / 14 Nights
Your vacation starts at your Windsor hotel at 2:30 pm when you meet your tour director. Visit Windsor Castle, residence of The Queen and the largest inhabited castle in the world. Meet your tour director and trip participants over a welcome drink. After dinner take a brief walk around this compact and historic town with a local guide.
Drive to Salisbury Plain to marvel at the prehistoric circle of vast monoliths of Stonehenge and learn about the primitive builders who managed to create such an enduring monument. Stop in Salisbury, a charming old city where the cathedral boasts the tallest spire in England. 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 as well as servants’ quarters. Back in Plymouth see the Mayflower Steps and cruise to Royal William Yard, former Royal Navy buildings which now host restaurants for independent dining.
Drive to the coastal village of Marazion for photos of the majestic outline of St Michael’s Mount, an important pilgrimage destination. Drive 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. Enjoy lovely views and gardens with exotic and native plants. Return to Plymouth in time for dinner.
Travel north to explore Bath, popular for its natural hot springs with the Romans 2,000 years ago. Tour the wonderfully-preserved Roman Baths and Pump Room, renowned for mineral-rich hot springs. Drive to Cardiff for a sightseeing tour around the city center. Tour Cardiff Castle before sitting down for a Welsh banquet with dinner and some lively entertainment.
Drive through the Brecon Beacons National Park to Hay-on-Wye, a town famous for books. 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. Travel through Cheshire to your hotel, located near Chester.
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 picturesque streets and see the smallest house in Britain. Drive to Chester where another walking tour 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, and the poet, William Wordsworth. Stop in the charming village of Grasmere, where Wordsworth lived and 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 planned streets and elegant Georgian houses where many famous writers and inventors lived. See the Royal Mile with its narrow medieval houses and tour Edinburgh Castle to see the Crown Jewels of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny. 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 and a walking tour to visit the picturesque ruins of St Andrews Castle and Cathedral. Spend some free time to have a browse around the town. Back in Edinburgh, head to a nearby tavern for dinner with your group.
Drive south to Jedburgh for a look around and see the ruined Jedburgh Abbey. Continue to York for a walking tour to appreciate narrow medieval streets, especially the Shambles and visit the mighty York Minster, which is famous for its stained glass windows. In the evening dine in a centuries-old pub with plenty of atmosphere and take a lighthearted ghost walking tour afterwards.
Travel on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway by vintage locomotive. Stroll around the picturesque harbor, winding streets and quaint buildings of Whitby. Tour the elaborate chambers of Castle Howard, an imposing 18th century mansion where “Brideshead Revisited” was filmed and sit down to a cream tea.
Travel to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace to see an exhibition about his life and work. Walk through the furnished house where he was born and see how the family would have lived. Drive through the Cotswolds and onwards to your hotel in London.
Take a panoramic London tour to see famous landmarks including Piccadilly Circus, Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Visit the mighty Tower of London to see the many fortresses, Beefeaters and the Crown Jewels. The afternoon and evening are free.
Your program ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
All components of this tour (hotels, meals, visits and attractions) for 2017 are subject to change until finalized in September 2016.
(Updated March 28, 2016)