Meals D. This Scotland, Wales and England travel adventure begins: 6:00 PM at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa. Welcome to Edinburgh, Scotland's jewel of a capital city. A transfer is included from Edinburgh Airport to your accommodations at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh, located in the center of the city near historic Edinburgh Castle and elegant shopping. Join us for a fitting welcome to Scotland’s impressive capital city at this evening’s reception and dinner. Lodging Lodging Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh
England Scotland and Wales
Day 2: From Stirling to Edinburgh: Scottish castles, capital sights & whisky.
Meals B, D. AA sightseeing tour of historic Edinburgh with a local guide is the perfect place to begin any Scotland and England travel. A guided visit to Stirling Castle recalls the long and bloody struggle between the Scots and the English for control of the kingdom. Inside, you’ll find elaborately restored color and craftsmanship, reflecting the importance of the arts to its Renaissance-era royal occupants. Back in Edinburgh, enjoy an introductory tour to this city of cobbled streets, Georgian architecture and trendy lifestyles. Your tour includes visits to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland (if Her Majesty is not visiting), and famed Edinburgh Castle, built into rugged rock above the city skyline. Next up is a journey through the aromas and flavors that lead to the perfect Single Malt Whisky. At the “Scottish Whisky Experience,” you’ll learn the history of Scotland’s most famous export, hear the stories behind the craft, and enjoy a tasting. Journeys departing August 5 – 26 will attend an outdoor evening performance of the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Lodging Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh.
Day 3: Extraordinary landscapes en route to England’s Lake District.
Meals B, L, D. Departing Edinburgh, you’ll travel south through landscapes of forest, rivers, castles and country houses to Cumbria, England’s northwestern-most county. In contrast to the long-ago scenes of skirmishes between the Scottish and British that once took place here, Cumbria today is a place of peaceful natural beauty. Sparsely populated, it is best known as the home of England’s Lake District and many a charming town and village; enjoy lunch in a grand manor house surrounded by gracious gardens. Traveling on through landscapes of woods, hills and tranquil fields, you’ll have time for a brief stop in the village of Grasmere. As you please, enjoy the sights of this pretty village of pubs, cafes and the churchyard where England’s poet laureate, Williams Wordsworth, was laid to rest. Or visit tiny Dove Cottage, where Wordsworth wrote some of his most famous poems before continuing on to your Lake District resort. Lodging The Langdale Hotel.
Day 4: Topiary magic at Levens Hall, Windermere beauty.
Meals B, L, D. Living sculpture inspires the imagination today at Levens Hall, a manor house on the banks of the River Kent. Fine furnishings and paintings adorn this stately home, a family residence throughout its history and one of the best preserved Elizabethan interiors in the U.K. Best known for its gardens, Levens Hall is surrounded by an orchard, hedges, a pond, a Willow maze, rose and herb gardens, and thousands of flowers – plus the most extensive topiary garden in the world. Over 100 sculpted pieces, some several hundred years old, date back to their original planting in the 1690s, when this Dutch-style garden was all the rage. Next, enjoy free time on the shore of Lake Windermere, with time to explore the Victorian-Edwardian town of Bowness-on-Windermere (home to The World of Beatrix Potter) or simply enjoy the lakefront views kept abuzz with ferries, yachts and speedboats. Have dinner back at your hotel this evening. Lodging The Langdale Hotel.
Day 5: Walled cities of yore & a taste of modern Wales.
Meals B, D. Huge, strong and first built by the Romans. Discover the power of walls built to keep ancient invaders out on a visit to the small city of Chester, England. Strategically close to Wales and the Irish Sea, Chester is one of England’s best preserved walled cities. The town is nearly completely encircled by broad walls which still offer grand views from atop. After lunch on your own, you’ll head to Colwyn Bay, a seaside resort town on the north coast of Wales where you’ll have time to get settled in at your hotel and take in the idyllic views. Evening brings an outing to Furnace Farm, part of the Bodnant Estate in the Conwy Valley – a place of tranquil mountains, lakes and moorlands. The farm’s 18th-century buildings have been lovingly restored as a home for the Bodnant Welsh Food Center, whose artisan chefs are devoted to sharing the best of Welsh cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy a cooking demonstration, followed by dinner (and stories) with the chef. Lodging The Quay Hotel & Spa.
Day 6: Mighty Caernarfon & medieval Conwy.
Meals B, D. Mighty Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the setting for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969, sets a remarkable scale this morning. Constructed to endure, the palace was begun circa 1283 by Edward I as a symbol of English power over the Welsh. Enjoy a privately guided tour of the castle and then time for lunch on your own in the adjacent town. En route back to your hotel, you may choose to stop to explore the walled city of Conwy, an earlier stronghold of Edward I, on your own. Or return to the hotel for relaxation and spectacular views. Dinner is à la carte at the hotel this evening, where optional outdoor dining includes a view of Conwy Castle and the beauty of the bay. Lodging The Quay Hotel & Spa.
Day 7: England: Shakespeare’s Stratford & the spires of Oxford
Meals B, D. It’s eastward England travel today, where literary history takes the lead. In the village of Shottery, you’ll visit the restored, timber-framed farmhouse and childhood home of Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare. Back in the Bard’s day, it was known as Newlands Farm and had more than 90 acres of attached land; today it’s a museum surrounded by gardens. From here, it’s a short distance to Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born and raised. You’ll visit his birthplace and have time to browse exhibits that tell the story of how his name came to be known around the world, as well as check out the surrounding town at leisure. 2016, incidentally, marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Stratford-upon-Avon's favorite son, who is buried in the town's Holy Trinity Church. Late afternoon, it’s off to the bookish world of Oxford, one of the world’s most famous university towns. A guided orientation walk introduces its cobbled streets, guarded quadrangles, celebrated libraries and archaic traditions of learning. Dinner is at leisure at your elegant hotel, where the bar was frequently used as the film setting for television's famed detective Inspector Morse’s pondering crime conversations. Lodging Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford. Lodging Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford.
Day 8: From Blenheim Palace glory to a Cotswolds’ village.
Meals B, L. A first stop at St. Martin’s Church in Bladon offers an opportunity to visit the gravesite of Sir Winston Churchill. He explicitly chose to be quietly buried here, near his parents’ graves. Then discover a world of Baroque contrast at Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace and Park. The 18th-century palace was built as a celebration of English victory over Louis XIV’s French troops at the Battle of Blenheim. Since the early 1700s, it’s been a home to 11 Dukes of Marlborough (Churchill was the grandson of the seventh). Your private guide will share the history and beauty of the palace and its extensive grounds. After lunch, choose between spending time here to explore further on your own, or depart for nearby Woodstock Village. There you’ll find the charm of the Cotswolds: dove-grey cottages, a church, village green and a park said to have once been Henry II’s royal hunting grounds – and a place of seclusion for his mistress. Back at the hotel, enjoy the evening as you please. Lodging Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford.
Day 9: Ancient Savvy at Stonehenge & Bath.
Meals B, L, D. At Stonehenge, this morning’s self-guided walk around the famous ring of stone (bluestones from Wales and sarsens thought to be from the Avon River, some weighing as much as 50 tons) shares the mystery of its origins. Purposefully put into place some 5,000 years ago, Stonehenge was a massive undertaking requiring the labor of thousands. Bath, one of Britain’s most beautiful cities, is your next destination. Arrive in time for lunch (and live music) at the stylish Pump Room Restaurant, set within the city’s ancient Roman Baths complex. Founded upon natural hot springs, the baths were built for bathing and socializing around 70 AD; they are among the world’s best preserved – as you’ll see on your included tour. Afterward, check in to your tastefully restored Regency-period townhouse hotel located on historic Queen Square, and enjoy dinner à la carte. Lodging Francis Hotel Bath – MGallery Collection.
Day 10: Georgian Bath: Early urban elegance.
Meals B. Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa and developed more than a thousand years later into a lavish resort by the 18th-century British aristocracy, Bath today reigns as a magnificent Georgian townscape crafted from native limestone. Architecturally, it ranks among Britain’s finest cities and enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status. You’ll learn why on a city tour with a local guide that takes in the 18th-century terraced houses known as the Royal Crescent and the Circus, distinctive elements of British urban planning that were later incorporated in the city of London. View the elegant Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey, where the first king of England was crowned. The remainder of the day is free to enjoy this inviting city as you choose. Lodging Francis Hotel Bath – MGallery Collection.
Day 11: Windsor Castle & on to London for a Parliamentary point of view.
Meals B, D. On a morning’s drive toward London travel to Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. Often used as the Queen’s weekend home and to host foreign heads of state, you’ll know if the Queen is in residence when her flag flies from the Round Tower. Your guided castle visit includes St. George’s Chapel, the spiritual home of the oldest order of knights in the world; the grandly furnished State Apartments, home to 39 monarchs (schedule permitting); and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, “an aristocratic home in perfect miniature.” Next, head in to central London to check in at The Savoy, one of the world’s iconic luxury hotels, for a three-night stay. Dinner tonight is an iconic London experience as well. Join us for an exclusive dining experience at historic Carlton House, where you’ll dine in the company of a former MP (member of Parliament) who shares remarks, Q&A, and casual conversation. Lodging The Savoy.
Day 12: London sights & West End delights.
Meals B, D. London travel adventures are filled with history, culture and diversity. On this morning’s city tour you’ll experience its most iconic sights: Big Ben, the famed clock face and bell atop Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower; Buckingham Palace, housing the offices of those who manage the Queen’s affairs and a centerpiece for formal affairs of state; Hyde Park, one of the city’s Royal Parks and a home to the Memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales; and historic St. Paul’s Cathedral, the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren, Britain’s most famous architect. After an afternoon spent as you please pursuing what interests you most, this evening you'll enjoy the dual pleasures of dining at a West End restaurant followed by an evening at the theatre – your choice from elaborate selections of restaurants and shows. Lodging The Savoy.
Day 13: A final day in London – Westminster Abbey and a special farewell dinner. Meals B, D.
Experience monumental London today on a guided visit to Westminster Abbey, site of England’s coronations since 1066, 16 royal weddings, and the final resting place of 17 kings and queens. The church houses not only remarkable tombs and memorials to statesmen, poets, scientists, musicians and others, but is a treasure trove of paintings, stained glass and artifacts. Following the tour, your afternoon is free to pursue what interests you most in London. There are abundant opportunities to pursue art, history, architecture, Shakespeare, Bobbies or simply people-watching. But please save some energy and room for our farewell dinner at The Savoy, where you’ll definitely want to share your thoughts about this amazing journey and your Scotland, Wales and England travel experiences. Lodging The Savoy.
Day 14: Journey Home.
Meals B. This Scotland, Wales and England travel adventure concludes today with an included transfer from The Savoy to London’s Heathrow Airport or Gatwick Airport. Fly home anytime; please allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in.
- In-depth U.K. exploring along "Yellow Roads," from Scotland’s capital city to England’s Lake District, coastal Wales and across the heart of England to London
- Royal history & architectural treasures: Edinburgh, Stirling, Caernarfon, Blenheim & Windsor
- Ancient roots: Wales’ walled cities, Stonehenge & Bath’s Roman Baths
- Literary history & learned traditions: Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon & Oxford
- Tasting discoveries: Scottish whisky, Ambleside ales & a showcase of traditional Welsh foods
- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure
- 28 meals (13 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 11 dinners), service charges, gratuities to local guides, admission fees, taxes and porterage.
Prices based on double occupancy land only and vary on departure dates, subject to availability at time of booking, ask for details.
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Europe England Scotland Wales Local Culture Cultural Journey