Great Britain (sample)

Tour operated by Insight Vacations

  • Duration: 14 days
  • Route: London to London
  • Countries: England, Scotland, Wales
  • Route: Friday August 8 – Thursday August 21 inclusive

A trip around Britain is a must for any visitor to Europe. Britain’s island location has seen a unique nation form; although technically part of Europe it is by contrast very distinct form anything mainland Europe has to offer. Every day we are reminded of a piece of Britain’s glories past including Bath with it magnificent 18th century Georgian architecture, the Lakes District with it romantic setting being inspiration the writers such as Wordsworth and Coleridge, Glasgow reminding us of Victorian Britain and Edinburgh throwing us back to the wars between England & Scotland. In addition we have visits to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Edinburgh Castle and the Bells Distillery at Pitlochery to name but a few and as well as what is undoubtedly the highlight, tickets to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

In pictures View

Day by day itinerary

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Day 1
London

After a short meeting at the hotel we head off to a London restaurant for a welcome dinner to get to know your fellow travellers. With dinner finished we head off to see London illuminated, we pass through Trafalgar Square to see the National Gallery and Nelsons Column then on to see the lights of Picadilly. The houses of Parliament and St. Stephens Tower, better known as Big Ben, are next followed by Westminster Abbey then on towards Buckingham Palace. A great way to start your tour.

  • Meals: dinner

Day 2
London, Windsor & Eton, Salisbury

This morning we head off to Windsor, home of the mighty Windsor Castle, one of the greatest surviving medieval castles and home to the British monarchy for more than 900 years. This morning is set aside to visit St. George’s Chapel, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Britain, Albert Memorial Chapel, State Appartments and the Queen Mary’s Doll House. After time for lunch in Windsor we are off Salisbury to see its mighty Cathedral, believed to be one of the most beautiful in Britain, and spend the afternoon in the Cathedral Close and Market Square.

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 3
Salisbury, Stonehenge, Bath & Cardiff

Leaving Salisbury we head to one of the most well known sights in Britain, Stonehenge. This ancient memorial rumoured to be built more than 2500 years ago still keeps it’s secrets closely guarded. After time to explore the sight we take a short drive to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath. On our tour we see the Royal Crescent, Royal Circus, Queens Square and Bath Abbey then finish by visiting the elegant 18th century Pump Room and Roman Baths. Free time follows before heading off across the Severn River to Cardiff. Tonight we dine in Cardiff Castle at a medieval banquet full of Welsh food and music.

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 4
Cardiff, Ludlow & Chester

This morning our guide shows us Cardiff Castle, home of the Marquesses of Bute and one of the richest families in 20th ce ntury Britain. Our tour shows us the.... We then head off through the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park to the town of Ludlow. Located in Shropshire and home of the Mortimer family, this is one of Englands most handsome towns dominated its beautiful half-timbered black-and-white buildings. After time for lunch and to explore we’re off to Chester located on the river Deva and once home of the Roman 20th Legion.

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 5
Chester, Liverpool & Lakes District

We start the day with a walk along Chesters famous walls, built in 70 AD, to see the Eastgate Clock, built for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Afterwards it’s down to Chester Cathedral, once a Benedictine Abbey, then onto the Rows, Chesters two tiered shopping street dating back to Roman times. After some free time it’s off to Liverpool. Time for lunch around the Albert Docks will be followed by a tour with a local guide to see the Metropolitain Cathedral (built by a Protestant), the Anglican Cathedral (built by a Catholic), the Port of Lverpool Building and the Cunard Building. A visit to Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without the Beatles so we see the Cavern Club, Strawberry Fields and Abbey Road. This afternoon it’s the Lakes District, to our beautiful hotel in Bowness on Windermere.

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 6
Lakes District at Leisure

Today is a day set aside to recharge the batteries with the idea being to relax in one of the most picture perfect settings Britain has to offer. We begin with cruise across Lake Windermere, the largest of all the lakes, to Lakeside where we will board a steam train for the journey to Haverthwaite. We then head for a beautiful drive stopping for photo’s on Coniston Water, where in 1966 Donlald Campbell set his water speed record of 515km/h (320mi/h) and the on returning back to Bowness we pass through the picturesque village of Ambleside. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure

  • Meals: breakfast

Day 7
Lakes District, Gretna Green & Glasgow

First stop today is the small picturesque village of Grasmere to see the final resting place of the 19th century writer William Wordsworth. Time to visit Wordworth’s grave in the 13th century St. Oswalds church as well wander this most beautiful of Lakes Distict villages. It’s then off over the border into “Bonnie Scotland” with our first stop being Gretna Green where for the past 250 years underaged lovers have been married. It’s then Glasgow where our local guide will show us George’s Square, the Merchants City, the Cathedral & Precincts as well as the building of Glasgow University. The afternoon is free to admire this most magnificent of Scottish cities. Tonight we dine in a restaurant in the city centre to try European dishes given a Scottish twist.

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 8
Glasgow, Fort William & Isle of Skye

Farewell to Glasgow as we head into the “jewel of the British crown”, the Scottish Highlands. Our first stop will be Loch Lomond where we will cruise the largest expanse of fresh water in the United Kingdom. With our skipper and guide we will hear tales of the Loch, clan myths and legends including Rob Roy McGregor. We then continue north through Crianlarich, known as “the gateway to the north” passing Rannoch Moor, used in James Bonds “Skyfall” then onto the moving Glencoe where in 1692 almost 80 members of the Clan MacDonald were slaughtered by soldiers of the Clan Campbell. After time for lunch in Fort William we pass the Glenfinnan Viaduct, used in the Harry Potter films, on our way to Mallaig for our ferry to Isle of Skye where we will spend tonight in the town of Portree.

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 9
Isle of Skye, Loch Ness & Inverness

Leaving Portree we cross the Skye Bridge to Eileen Doonan castle for what is probably one the most romantic of all the Scottish castles. This incredible backdrop was used in the “Highlander” films as well as James Bonds “the World is Not Enough” it also features historically with the Jacobite uprising of 1719. After a visit to the castle head towards Fort Augustus, on the way we see amazing scenery passing Glen Sheil, Loch Cluanie and Loch Garry. Leaving Fort Augustus it’s time to go monster spotting as we drive the banks of Loch Ness, with cameras ready, looking for Nessie the Lochs famed monster. A mid afternoon arrival in Inverness gives us time to explore this capital of the Highlands region.

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 10
Inverness, Pitlochry, St. Andrews & Edinburgh

Leaving Inverness we stop first at Culloden Moor, where in 1746 Bonnie Prince Charlie along with 1200 Highlanders were defeated, changing the Highland way of life forever. We have time to visit the Visitors Centre or walk the Moor the see the sight of one of the most important events in Scottish history. Next we head through the edge of the Cairngorm Mountains to the village of Pitlochery. After lunch it’s time for a wee dram, we’re off to a local whiskey distillery for a tour to see how Scotland makes it most famous export and after a chance to try one…or two. Next on the list is the town of St. Andrews, home of not only Scotland’s oldest University but also the home of golf. After a short tour of the town we then have time to take photos of the Old Course as well as the Royal and Ancient Club House. Lastly it’s over the magnificent Forth Road Bridge and on in to Edinburgh. After time to relax in the hotel we are off to a Dinner and Show to see some of Scotland’s famed Highland Dancers performed along with all your favorite Scottish songs.Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

  • Meals: breakfast

Day 11
Edinburgh sightseeing

With our local guide we drive the “Old” and the “New” Town’s of Edinburgh. Medicine and literature dominate the Edinburgh story as we hear tales from villains to the great thinkers who lived and worked here. We see the buildings of Edinburgh University as well as the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, it’s then Royal Mile to see the Tron Church, where the Scots celebrate hogmonay (the New Year), the Old Parliament buildings and Holyrood Palace, the Queens official residence in Scotland. Last is a visit to the mighty Edinburgh Castle where we see St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, and the Royal Palace which contain the Honours of Scotland (Scottish Crown Jewels) as well as the Stone of Destiny upon which British Monarchs have been crowned for the past 700 years. Tonight we enjoy the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a world famous spectacle of Massed Pipes & Drums. (b)

  • Meals: breakfast

Day 12
Edinburgh & York

After a short morning tea stop in Jedburgh, where Mary Queen of Scots stayed, we cross back into England passing through the Northumberland National Park to visit the University town of Durham. Perched over the River Wear Durham’s monumental Norman Cathedral dating back to 1093 is certainly worth a visit particularly the Galilee Chapel one of the most beautiful parts of the Cathedral. After time for lunch we head into Yorkshire and onto the Viking city of York. Upon arrival we visit Clifford Tower and the remains of York Castle, today one of the most popular museums in England, we then see the 14th century Merchants Adventurers’ Hall, a reminder of the power of the medieval guilds, then its onto the Shambles one of the best preserved medieval streets in Europe. We finish with a stop at the Minster, one of Europe’s Largest and most inspiring Cathedrals and famed because of its stained glass windows with one, the Five Sisters, dating back to the 13th century

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 13
York & Stratford Upon Avon

This morning is free to explore York by yourself, maybe a walk along York’s famed walls for great views over the city, take in the York Viking Museum or the York Castle Museum with its reconstructed Victorian and Edwardian Streets. After a short stop on route we arrive in the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace and final resting place of William Shakespeare. Our orientation tour shows includes Anne Hathaways Cottage, The Bancroft Gardens, Halls Croft, The Swan Theatre as well as the Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare now lays. We finish up with a visit to Shakespeare’s Birthplace before a free afternoon to to explore what is now England’s second most visited city after London. Tonight we head out for a Farewell Dinner to say goodbye to new found friends.

  • Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 14
Stratford Upon Avon, Oxford & London

Our final day sees us head into the beautiful Cotswolds where our morning will be spent at Blenheim Palace. One of Europe’s largest palaces was a gift given to John Churchill for his role in defeating Louis XIV of France. You will have time to see the Great Hall, the State Dining Room as well as the State Apartments before a wander around the impressive grounds. We then continue through the Cotswolds to the town of Oxford. On arrival we will do a short orientation tour showing you the Ashmolean Museum, England’s oldest museum, as well as the colleges of Balloil, Trinity and Exeter then onto the Sheldonian Theatre and the Bodelian Library. We will then head back to London arriving approximately 5:30pm when our tour will finish.

  • Meals: breakfast

From the man in the front seat

For me, Britain holds a special place as when I started doing this job in 1992, I worked my first year solely in Britain & Ireland. In designing this tour I wanted to overcome the same problem most 10 – 14 day tours have, and that is “how to slow it down?” Most 14 day tours that I have done, as well as those I have researched, do Britain & Ireland. This rushed nature was something I wanted to avoid. In keeping within 14 days I wasn’t all that keen on making more 2 night stays as you see less with less variety (particularly in Britain). So I have shortened the driving days where the one night stays occur. This means that all overnight stays that are only one night involve either an early afternoon arrival or a lunch time departure the following day. With this not only will we see many more places but also have more time in each of them to not only visit a city or town but relax and enjoy it.

What do get for my money?

With regards to what is included I would like to highlight a few points. Firstly; there is no optional package or extras when the tour starts, any sightseeing or restaurants which I think should be visited are included with entrances in the package. In theory your free time should be exactly that, free. Secondly; I purposely steered away from including all meals as truly think that people need time to do their own thing, sometimes the best restaurant, café or museum is the one you found that’s not mentioned in any guide book or internet site. In saying that, I have made the included meals very good by using many local restaurants rather than hotel restaurants and including two drinks per person. Thirdly; even though I have the utmost confidence in the staff and agencies I have chosen, I have not included tips for the Tour Driver or Local Guides on purpose as I strongly believe that they should be performance orientated, i.e. deserved. And lastly; I wanted to make this as transparent as possible so at the end I have made a list of things that are not included to help in your budgeting.

Bradley W. Dick

 

Tour highlights

What’s Included

  • 13 nights accommodation in 4-5 star hotels including all service charges and taxes
  • A luxury air-conditioned 40 seater coach with on board rest room and extra leg room
  • 13 full buffet breakfasts
  • 10 three course evening meals with 2 drinks included
  • In depth tours with Local guides in Windsor Castle, Cardiff Castle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh
  • Audio headsets for all guided tours
  • Porterage (1 large bag) at all hotels
  • Premium Highlights (paid entrances); Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Cardiff Castle, Lakes District Brewery, , Lake Windermere Cruise and Steam Train Ride, Eileen Doonan Castle, Pitlochry Whiskey Distillery, Edinburgh Castle, Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford Upon Avon, Blenheim Palace
  • Tips for staff at all included meals
  • Services of a professional Tour Director

What’s not included

  • 3 dinners
  • 13 lunches
  • Any sightseeing not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tour Driver tip (recommended: £2,50 per day / per person) – £35,00
  • Local guides (recommended: £1,00 per person) – £5
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