BEST OF BRITAIN 9 DAYS FROM $1,898 US Details below or
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Join us on this 9 day tour for the Best of Britain to include Scotland, Cardiff, Oxford, York and a Beatles tour to name but a few of the wonderful areas to visit
Day 1 - Heathrow Airport & Windsor Castle Start your tour at Heathrow Airport with a transfer to your hotel in Windsor. At 2:30 pm depart your hotel to visit Windsor Castle, residence of The Queen and the largest inhabited castle in the world. See the lavishly decorated State Apartments and courtyards. In the evening meet your tour director and trip participants over a welcome drink to discuss your itinerary before dining in your hotel. (D)
Day 2 - Cotswolds & Shakespeare's Birthplace Head out into the English countryside today and travel through the delightful Cotswolds. This region was important in the Middle Ages when the wool produced was vital to the economy. Most of the villages date back centuries and are built in the local warm-toned stone. Stop in one of the villages to take photos before driving to Stratford-upon-Avon. Here visit Shakespeare's Birthplace to see an exhibition about his life and work. Then enter the house where he was born to see rooms furnished as they would have been in his day. Drive north to Yorkshire and check in to your charming traditional hotel in central Harrogate. (B, D)
Day 3 - York Minster & Scottish Evening Drive to nearby York for a walking tour through medieval streets to see black and white half-timbered houses, which contain centuries of history. Stroll along the Shambles, one of narrowest alleyways where the overhanging upper floors almost form an arch across the street. Tour the stately York Minster, which towers over the old city and is renowned for its magnificent stained glass windows. Travel north through the Northumberland National Park and pause in Jedburgh, a marketing town with picturesque abbey ruins. Continue through the pleasant, hilly countryside of the Scottish Borders to Edinburgh where your historic hotel is set in spacious grounds a few miles outside the city. In the evening enjoy a Scottish dinner with musical entertainment. (B, D)
Day 4 - Edinburgh Castle & Guided City Tour Explore central Edinburgh this morning, starting in the 200-year-old "New Town" with its planned streets and elegant Georgian houses where many famous writers and inventors lived. See the Royal Mile where the medieval houses are clustered closely together with some as high as 11 floors. Tour the massive Edinburgh Castle to see the Crown Jewels of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny and enjoy great views right across the city. The afternoon is free for independent activities. You may like to visit some of the many museums or browse in the little shops along the Royal Mile. On August 04 to 18 departures watch the spectacular Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which takes place on the Castle Esplanade. (B)
Day 5 - Lake District & Beatles' Liverpool Stop in Gretna Green, the first village across the border from England where since 1754 young couples have crossed into Scotland to be married at the Old Blacksmith's Shop. It is still a popular wedding place to this day. Drive through the Lake District, a region associated with Beatrix Potter. See stunning views of lakes, gentle hills and valleys. Stop in Grasmere where William Wordsworth penned some of his popular lines and you can see his grave in the village churchyard. Continue to Liverpool to visit The Beatles Story where you can hear their music and learn about their lives and work in a lively exhibit. Check in to your centrally-located hotel and after dinner you may head to the world-famous Cavern Club. (B, D)
Day 6 - Tintern Abbey & Cardiff Castle Banquet Drive south through Shropshire, one of the most unspoiled parts of rural England and close to the Welsh border. Stop in Ludlow, a town that can trace its origins back 900 years, to see the huge castle and old black-and-white houses. Continue south through the lovely Welsh countryside to visit the picturesque ruins of Tintern Abbey, founded in 1131, in the River Wye Valley. It was a prosperous Cistercian abbey which grew and thrived until it was dissolved by order of King Henry VIII in 1536. In the 18th century it became a popular haunt of the poet, William Wordsworth. Continue to Cardiff, the youngest and fastest-growing capital city in Europe. In the heart of the city visit Cardiff Castle, which dates back nearly 2,000 years. See the 19th century fairy-tale apartments with ornate decorations and then enjoy a great Welsh banquet right in the Castle. (B, D)
Day 7 - Roman Baths & Stonehenge Take a panoramic tour around the highlights of Cardiff including the older buildings as well as the iconic Wales Millennium Centre. A short drive will bring you to the spa city of Bath, popular for its natural hot springs with the Romans 2,000 years ago and again in the 18th century Regency period. View the stately town houses, the Pulteney Bridge and many other fine Regency buildings. Visit the Roman Baths and Pump Room, wonderfully preserved after two millennia, with hot springs still sending out healing waters. At Salisbury Plain marvel at the prehistoric circle of vast monoliths of Stonehenge and learn about the primitive builders who managed to create such an enduring monument. Continue into London and check in to your hotel. (B)
Day 8 - Tower of London & Tour Today explore London on an independent open-top sightseeing bus tour - you have a choice of routes around London's famous landmarks so you may get on and off wherever you wish. There is also a walking tour and a River Thames cruise. Be sure to use your included voucher to visit the Tower of London to view the magnificent Crown Jewels, guarded by Beefeaters in distinctive Tudor uniforms. There is no shortage of great things to see and do and the bus routes go through many popular shopping districts, if you wish to buy souvenirs. In the evening you are free for dinner. (B)
Day 9 - Tour Ends Heathrow Airport Travel to Heathrow Airport by independent transfer in time to check in for your flight home. (B)
B: Breakfast; D: Dinner
Highlights: Scottish Evening - Get a flavor of Scotland with a dinner of Scottish specialties, including haggis, and a lively show with songs, stories and a display of traditional step-dancing.
Cardiff Castle Banquet - Spend an unforgettable evening of Welsh hospitality in the historic surroundings of Cardiff Castle, which dates back centuries. Enjoy the very best of Welsh food, with complimentary wine, entertainment and the warmest of welcomes from your hosts.
Oxford University - A stroll through Oxford is the best way to see this amazing city, its history, university, famous people and odd traditions. See some of the most famous colleges, many founded in the 13th and 14th centuries and learn about the unique collegiate system of tutorial. See where some Harry Potter films and TV productions of Inspector Morse and Lewis were made.
York Minster - Travel back in time and see the evocative hidden backwaters and historic streets of the city. Stroll through the "Shambles" and other narrow medieval streets, learn about the Roman influence and see the Roman and medieval city walls, ending your walk at the famous York Minster.
Windsor Castle - Windsor Castle is an official residence of The Queen and the largest occupied castle in the world. A Royal home and fortress for over 900 years, the Castle remains a working palace today. Walk through the many courtyards to visit the magnificent staterooms and St. George's Chapel.
The Beatles Story in Liverpool - Located on the waterfront in the Fab Four's hometown of Liverpool, the award-winning Beatles Story museum is an atmospheric journey into their life, times, culture and music. See how four young lads from Liverpool were propelled to the dizzy heights of worldwide fame and fortune to become the greatest band of all time.
Gretna Green - For over 250 years Gretna Green in Scotland has been the name synonymous with romance and weddings. Hear the story of Gretna Green and the history of weddings inside the fascinating exhibition and enjoy a snack or lunch and shop for quality souvenirs.
Hotels: Superior First Class
Harte & Garter Hotel - Windsor This hotel is an amalgamation of two 14th century inns, combined in the 19th century to form a traditional Victorian hotel. The property presents a combination of classical styles with modern facilities. The hotel has 79 stylish and individual bedrooms, with some offering stunning views of Windsor Castle. The Tower Bar & Brasserie serves classic British cuisine and the former stables now house a state-of-the-art spa. Windsor (1 night)
The Yorkshire Hotel - Harrogate This old-style hotel has been refurbished recently and offers delightful public rooms. 80 bedrooms include flat screen TV, free wireless internet connection, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer and 24 hour room service and many have views of 'old town' Harrogate. The hotel's stylish Hg1 Brasserie & Bar is very popular for dining and relaxing with a drink. Location: In the heart of the spa town of Harrogate with all the shops and cafes within walking distance. Harrogate (1 night)
Macdonald Houstoun House Hotel, Uphall - near Edinburgh This is the perfect country retreat, once visited by Mary Queen of Scots and the historic building has the classic grace of a 16th century tower house. 70 guest rooms blend luxury and character. The Tower Restaurant has an AA Rosette for excellent local ingredients, expertly cooked in season while the cosy Vaulted Bar is the perfect spot for a drink or afternoon tea. Work out in the Vital Health and Wellbeing Club and Spa. Location: Set on 22 acres of beautiful woodlands, the hotel is just west of central Edinburgh, near the motorway and with public transportation nearby. Uphall, near Edinburgh (2 nights)
Marriott Liverpool City Centre Hotel Beautifully decorated during a recent refurbishment and featuring luxurious bedding with cotton-rich linens and fluffier pillows. After a day of museum hopping or shopping, enjoy a swim in our indoor pool or a relaxing dinner at Olivier's. Keep your exercise on track while working out in our leisure club. And, stay in touch with colleagues with WiFi in the hotel. Liverpool (1 night)
Maldron Hotel Cardiff This new 12-story hotel, opened in 2011, is one of Cardiff's tallest buildings with panoramic views over Cardiff Bay. The Cardiff Hotel Bar is open for drinks and casual food throughout the day. Stir Bar & Restaurant overlooking Mill Lane offers an array of dishes to tempt your taste buds. 216 guest rooms provide every amenity for a comfortable stay. Cardiff (1 night)
Thistle Kensington Gardens - London This hotel has the best of London right on the doorstep and has been recently refurbished to the highest standards. All 175 rooms are air-conditioned and offer every modern convenience for a comfortable stay. You can enjoy a drink or snack in The Brasserie throughout the day. Location: 104 Bayswater Road, overlooking Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Queensway and Lancaster Gate tube stations are both within a short walk. London (2 nights)
Tour Includes: Airport transfers at start and end of tour
Sightseeing by luxury coach
Professional tour director
8 nights in hotels listed
Full breakfast daily (B) except on day 1
5 dinners (D) including
- Welcome dinner in Windsor
- Scottish evening
- Welsh Banquet at Cardiff Castle
- 2 table d'hote dinners
Welcome get-together drink
Walking tour of York
Tours of Edinburgh and Cardiff
London open-top bus tour with a visit to the Tower of London
Reserved seats for Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on August 4 to 18 departures
Visits and admissions to Windsor Castle, Shakespeare's Birthplace, York Minster, Edinburgh Castle, Old Blacksmith's Shop at Gretna Green, Beatles Story, Tintern Abbey, Cardiff Castle, Roman Baths & Pump Room and Stonehenge
Deluxe carry-on backpack, ticket wallet, luggage tags & strap
All local taxes, hotel service charges & porterage for one suitcase per person
DEPARTURE DATES April - November
PRICES From approx $1,898 US per person based on double occupancy
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