Day 1: New Zealand – – London
Leave New Zealand behind as you head to the airport and depart on a flight towards London.
Day 2: London
Welcome to England! You land in London today. Take the airport shuttle service included in your tour into the centre of the city and find your way to the hotel. You have the remainder of the day as free time.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: London (B)
Get to know London and its dazzling collection of world-recognised landmarks and monuments aboard a Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour. You might also make time to check off some quintessential English experiences, such as a roast dinner in a cosy pub; afternoon tea with scones and finger sandwiches; a picnic in one of the city’s sprawling green parks; or time a visit to coincide with the Changing at the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Walk along Pall Mall, admire the window displays at Harrod’s, or book last-minute tickets to a show at the West End.
Optional: Day Tour to Canterbury, Dover and Leeds Castle
Get out of the city on an outing south of London to the county of Kent. Visit Canterbury, a city that was once a major pilgrimage site of the Middle Ages, and see its medieval centre and collection of historic churches. Stop in Dover, a small town overlooking the English Channel, and see Leeds Castle on the return to London. Additional cost applies.
Day 4: London – – Southampton (B)
Today, in your own time, catch a train to Southampton. Use your BritRail Pass to purchase your ticket. This journey takes about 90 minutes and sees you pass through pretty countryside along the way. Arrive in Southampton and leave your bags at the hotel until check in. In the meantime, get out to soak up the sights of this port city, such as the SeaCity Museum, Tudor House & Garden, or the Southampton City Art Gallery.
Day 5: Southampton – – Bath (B)
Depart Southampton after you’ve breakfasted at the hotel, and board a train that whisks you to Bath. You may even have time to disembark the train for a whirlwind visit in Salisbury, home to its famous namesake cathedral. Continue to Bath, the largest city in Somerset.
Day 6: Bath (B)
Have a whole day of free time to dive into Bath’s history, culture and sights. This Georgian city is famed for its appearances in Jane Austen novels, as well as its iconic terraced houses along Royal Crescent and The Circus. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also home to the ruins of ancient Roman baths. You might even change into your swimmers to experience the baths for yourself. Other sights to see include Bath Abbey, Pulteney Bridge, the Fashion Museum and the Victoria Art Gallery.
Optional: Day Tour to Stonehenge, Cotswold Villages and Avebury
Be in awe of the mystery and lore of England’s most famous rocks on an excursion to Stonehenge. Ponder the meaning behind this stone formation, and travel through picturesque Cotswold Villages along the way. There is also a stop to the stone circle at Avebury; though this circle may be lesser known than Stonehenge it is still one of England’s foremost prehistoric sites. Additional cost applies.
Day 7: Bath – – Bristol – – Cardiff (B)
Cross the border from England into Wales as you travel aboard a train from Bath to Cardiff. You may have time to hop off the train to see some parts of Bristol, too. Arrive in Cardiff and find your way to the hotel. The evening is at leisure.
Day 8: Cardiff (B)
The day is yours to see and experience the capital of Wales however you like. Learn about local history at the Gothic Cathedral, dive into Welsh culture at the National Museum Cardiff, or wander along the waterfront at Cardiff Bay and stop for a drink or meal at one of the bars or restaurants.
Day 9: Cardiff – – Manchester (B)
Jump back across the border in England as you journey north to Manchester. Opt to stretch your legs by hopping off the train in Birmingham, the second most populous city in the United Kingdom. Chocoholics will want to make a beeline for Cadbury World, or you can learn about the city’s industrial legacy at the Black Country Living Museum. Continue to Manchester afterwards. Avid football fans might seek out the hallowed grounds of Old Trafford or Etihad Stadium, while history buffs can head to the Science and History Museum, located inside an 1830s railway station.
Day 10: Manchester – – Leeds – – York (B)
Your exploration of England’s north takes you to York. You will be travelling aboard the TransPennine Express, and arrive into a beautiful city that promises a bounty of things to do and see. Perhaps begin by learning about York’s heritage as an outpost of the Roman Empire and then a Viking stronghold. The JORVIK Viking Centre offers a particular insightful experience. Clamber up the tower of York Minster, see the 14th-century houses that line The Shambles, or find a restaurant or café serving up traditional regional fare such as puddings, Wensleydale cheese, and Yorkshire curd tarts.
Day 11: York (B)
Swap the streets of the city for the idyllic Yorkshire countryside as you take a guided tour and excursion into the Yorkshire Dales. This region is home to a beautiful national park, as well as a cluster of quaint villages, interesting museums and verdant green valleys. Return to the city in the afternoon.
Day 12: York – – Newcastle upon Tyne (B)
Board a train headed to Newcastle upon Tyne. This city, commonly referred to as simply Newcastle, had a major part to play in the Industrial Revolution and was a crucial shipbuilding and manufacturing hub. Today, it is a true modern metropolis with a thriving arts and culture scene. One of the city’s icons is the hill-perched Angel of the North, as well as the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
Day 13: Newcastle upon Tyne – – Edinburgh (B)
Say hello to Scotland today! Catch a train to the Scottish capital city and immediately begin exploring this much-loved destination. Edinburgh offers so much to its visitors, from world-class museums and galleries, to top restaurants, bars and boutiques. Its historic sites are impressive too, including Edinburgh Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse. Embark on a guided tour of the Castle to learn about this old fortress and its role in the Scottish history books. Indulge in a local tipple with a nip of Scotch whisky, or tuck into traditional Scottish fare such as haggis, tablet, sticky toffee pudding, or bangers and mash.
Day 14: Edinburgh – – Glasgow – – Edinburgh (B)
Use your BritRail Pass to make a day trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Some of the most popular things to see in Glasgow include Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Cathedral and Glasgow Science Centre. There are almost 20 other museums in Glasgow, plus a number of breweries and distilleries. Return to Edinburgh in the evening.
Day 15: Edinburgh (B)
This is the final full day of your Great British Rail Adventure and you have it as free time to squeeze in any last-minute sightseeing around Edinburgh. Stock up on tartan or Scottish shortbread for souvenirs, make the walk up to Arthur’s Seat using one of five marked paths.
Day 16: Edinburgh – – New Zealand (B)
It is time to leave Britain behind and make your way to the airport using your Airlink Shuttle Bus transfer ticket (included in your tour package).
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the hotel to your next travel arrangements.
Day 17: New Zealand
Arrive back in New Zealand.