Day 1: New Zealand – – London
Depart New Zealand today to begin your journey of Britain and Ireland.
Day 2: London
Welcome to London! Upon arrival at Heathrow International Airport, take a transfer to your hotel. Knowledgeable Local Hosts will visit your hotel and assist you in booking London sightseeing trips, arranging tickets, providing departure information and answering any questions that you may have.
Hotel: Park Plaza Riverbank
Day 3: London – Stonehenge – Salisbury – Plymouth (B,D)
Journey west to the Wiltshire landscapes of Salisbury Plain and ponder the myths of the mystical ancient monoliths at Stonehenge which remain largely unsolved to today. Continuing through picturesque Devon, we arrive in the historic naval port of Plymouth, our home for the next two nights.
Day 4: Cornish Excursion (B)
Enjoy an orientation tour and see the Royal Citadel and Mayflower Steps where brave pilgrims embarked on their epic voyage to the New World centuries ago. Meander along the dramatic Cornish coastline to the quaint artists’ retreat of St. Ives and view St. Michael’s Mount with its 17th hilltop century castle overlooking the stunning Cornish scenery.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Dartmoor Excursion And Dinner. A scenic drive across the mysterious moors takes us to the capital of the moors, Princetown. Here you’ll see the infamous prison before driving to a lovely old Inn for a drink and a delicious home-cooked dinner, followed by stories and legends about the area.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Forgotten Cornwall And Dinner. Join us as we catch a ferry across the River Tamar to Cornwall and the village of Cremyll. Tonight you’ll enjoy dinner at an old Cornish inn, the Edgcumbe Arms, with a main course from the Carvery. Afterwards we’ll take a drive along the beautiful coast known as ‘Rame Head’, where you’ll enjoy stunning views.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Plymouth Harbour Cruise. Relax on a boat trip round the harbour of one of England’s most famous seaports. As your skipper commentates, you’ll see the Mayflower steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America, and ships sailed for Australia, New Zealand and Newfoundland and enjoy panoramic vistas of Plymouth Hoe. We’ll also enter the Royal Navy Dockyard where you’ll see some of the modern vessels of the Royal Navy.
Day 5: Plymouth – Bath – Cardiff (B)
Arriving in Bath, we admire the city’s stylish Georgian façades and ancient Roman Baths from which it derives its name before continuing to the vibrant Welsh capital, Cardiff, where you have an evening at leisure to enjoy this modern city’s proud heritage and flavours.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Traditional Welsh Evening And Dinner. Join us for a traditional Welsh country dinner. We’ll take you to a 14th century thatched inn called The Blue Anchor. While you’re eating and enjoying your drink, you’ll be entertained with a performance from a Welsh harpist.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Welsh Evening At Millennium Centre. Enjoy an evening of Welsh music, culture and humour. The venue for the evening is the Welsh Millennium Centre, an iconic building in the fashionable Cardiff Bay area. After a warm reception, you’ll enjoy a first-class meal of seasonal Welsh specialities, sourced and produced locally. Quality wine or soft drinks are included and the meal will be accompanied by our enchanting Welsh harpist. You’ll then be entertained by the finest local singers presenting the beautiful music of Wales.
Hotel: Park Inn by Radisson City Centre
Day 6: Cardiff – Waterford (B,D)
This morning, we explore Cardiff’s iconic sights – the Millennium Stadium, Millennium Centre and Victorian fantasy Cardiff Castle before crossing the Irish Sea to Waterford, most famous for the delicate crystal that graces elegant homes the world over. This evening we dine in our hotel.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Cardiff Castle Tour. You’ll explore this unique castle on a private tour and hear tales about the eclectic refurbishments. Done in the 1800s by architect William Burgess, his influences included Islamic art, Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales and even Aesop’s fables. You’ll also walk on the battlements and climb the 900-year-old Norman keep for superb views over Cardiff.
Day 7: Waterford – Blarney – Co. Kerry (B)
Our first stop today is at the House of Waterford Crystal where we will enjoy a fascinating Cultural Insight demonstration with master craftsmen. In pursuit of the ‘gift of the gab’, we journey to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, before crossing the Kerry Mountains to colourful Kenmare, our home for the next two nights.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Beara Peninsula Dinner. Join us for a scenic drive along Kenmare Bay. Later, we’ve booked a table at one of our favourite local restaurants, where you’ll be served a drink and a delicious meal of Irish seafood specialities.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Irish Folk Theatre and Dinner. Join us as we embrace the folklore and spirit of old Ireland’s life and times, when even the most everyday chore would be celebrated. Siamsa Tire players will cast a charm you’ll remember forever. Beforehand, enjoy a hearty Irish meal in a local restaurant. This experience will be offered for those trips that stay at Tralee.
Hotel: Kenmare Bay/The Ashe
Day 8: Ring of Kerry Excursion (B,D)
Ireland’s enduring natural beauty accompanies our leisurely drive circling the enchanting Ring of Kerry. We pass the fishing village of Waterville, Moll’s Gap and the Black Valley – renowned for being the last place in Ireland without power and telephone networks.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Experience a Jaunting Cart Ride. Enjoy a traditional pony and trap ride through the beautiful Bourn-Vincent National Park. During your journey, your Local Specialist will share fascinating anecdotes about the area and Ireland.
Hotel: Kenmare Bay/The Ashe
Day 9: Co.Kerry – Limerick – Cliffs of Moher – Galway (B,D)
En route to Galway, we stop in Limerick and view St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Treaty Stone and King John’s Castle. We’ll visit the magnificent Cliffs of Moher that plunge into the Atlantic, before arriving in Galway where we’ll spend the night.
Day 10: Galway – Co. Donegal (B,D)
This morning see the great stone Galway Cathedral and stroll through Eyre Square, a tribute to former US president John F. Kennedy, who visited Galway in 1963. Travel to Donegal to see its 15th century castle and enjoy time at leisure before dining at your hotel.
Day 11: Co. Donegal – Londonderry – Giant’s Causeway – Belfast (B)
We cross the Irish border into Northern Ireland, stopping in Londonderry to meander along its 17th century city walls with a Local Specialist who will also show us the street murals of the Bogside. The mythical stepping stones of Giant’s Causeway are our next stop en route to Belfast where we’ll enjoy an orientation, followed by free time to explore the capital city’s sights.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Enjoy Dinner and Drinks in Belfast. Join us for an evening of drinks, good food and true Irish hospitality at one of our favourite local restaurants. One drink included.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Belfast Walk with Fish and Chips. What better way to soak up the atmosphere of this lively city than to join a local specialist for a stroll through its hidden side streets? We’ll have an included drink in a historic pub and continue to a local restaurant for a quintessentially traditional meal; fish and chips
Day 12: Belfast – Dublin (B)
We spend the morning with a Local Specialist ‘Cabbie’ who will take us on a journey through the recent history of Belfast in their Black Cab. Heading south to Dublin later, we see St. Patrick’s Cathedral and other iconic sights in the company of a Local Specialist. Tonight consider an Optional Experience to enjoy the rousing sounds and warm hospitality of a traditional Irish Cabaret performance.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Dublin Dinner and Cabaret. Enjoy an evening of fine food and non-stop fun as Ireland’s history unfolds in a cabaret of comedy, song and dance. The cast will have you tapping your toes and joining in the show, all in the spirit of Irish humour. And you’ll even be served an Irish coffee to round off your dinner
Day 13: Dublin (B)
Beat the crowds and gain entry to the Guinness Storehouse before general admission for a tour and tasting technique demonstration. The rest of the day is yours to explore the charming Irish capital. Amble along Grafton Street with its colourful performers, head to Temple Bar or stroll through Phoenix Park, Dublin’s playground.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Dinner in Dublin City. Come to one of Dublin’s most locally-loved restaurant-pubs. You’ll enjoy dinner and charming hospitality that this part of the world is renowned for.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Experience the Ancient Monastic Site of Glendalough. Enjoy a visit to one of the most important monastic sites in Europe, which dates back to the 6th century. Your Local Specialist will tell tales and show you around this sacred area, famous for its tranquil beauty amidst the rolling countryside of County Wicklow, the garden of Ireland.
Day 14: Dublin – Chester – Liverpool (B)
Cross the Irish Sea to Wales and continue to the ancient town of Chester where your orientation tour will take you past its Roman walls and famous half-timbered Tudor ‘Rows’. Enjoy a Cultural Insight into the life of the local Town Crier before heading to the haunt of the ‘Fab Four’, edgy Liverpool, where we’ll spend the night.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Famous Sights and the Fab Four. Come along on a guided tour of Liverpool. From its glorious maritime past to its famous cultural present, you’ll discover the two magnificently different cathedrals, see Mathew Street, birthplace of The Beatles, and admire the Mersey Sound.
Hotel: Jurys Inn
Day 15: Liverpool – Quarry Bank Mill – Lake District (B,D)
This morning we visit Quarry Bank Mill, a National Trust property that will give us a Cultural Insight into life during the Industrial Revolution. Heading north to the idyllic Lake District, which has inspired poets and writers for centuries, we see Lake Windermere and the spectacular scenery.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Private Cruise On Lake Windermere. Enjoy an exclusive cruise on a private boat on England’s most beautiful and largest lake, taking in the northern coastline, beautiful houses, gardens and Wray Castle. You’ll see deserted islands, boats and birdlife as you explore the area loved by Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Windermere Cruise And Steam Train Ride. A chance to view the glorious scenery of the Lake District as we cruise across England’s largest lake. Then step back in time as we board the steam train for a short journey from Lakeside to Haverthwaite.
Hotel: North Lakes/Castle Green
Day 16: Lake District – Gretna Green – Glasgow (B,D)
The runaway wedding capital of Gretna Green is our first stop today where we’ll tread in the footsteps of eloping couples who would take their vows over the Marriage Anvil. We arrive in Glasgow for an orientation tour including views of the Cathedral and magnificent George Square, lined with statues of Great Britain’s most celebrated sons. This evening, we enjoy a delicious Regional Meal at a local restaurant.
Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn
Day 17: Glasgow – Glencoe – Isle of Skye (B,D)
Journey past the site of the tragic 1692 massacre at Glencoe, known as the ‘Glen of the Weeping’ and see Britain’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis. We’ll view the 13th century Eilean Donan Castle where three lochs meet before travelling to the Isle of Skye.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Loch Lomond Boat Trip. Discover the wild beauty of the ‘Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond’. As we cruise across the loch, the skipper will share stories of the area and point out Rob Roy’s cave as you relax and savour the stunning scenery.
Hotel: Dunollie/Kings Arms
Day 18: Isle of Skye – Loch Ness – Culloden – Scottish Highlands (B,D)
Meander through the scenic Scottish Highlands via Glen Shiel and along the banks of Loch Ness, home to the mythical monster affectionately known as ‘Nessie’. View the site of the bloody Battle of Culloden, where Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army of Jacobites were defeated in 1746.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Highland Farm Experience. Visit a real Highland sheep farm and meet Neil the Shepherd and his border collies. He’ll show you how he uses different whistles to command each dog to carry out different tasks. You’ll also have the opportunity to try your hand at sheep shearing, feeding the lambs and discover his training techniques. Weather permitting.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Isle Of Skye Drive. An opportunity to travel around the Isle of Skye with your Local Specialist. You’ll hear about the way of life on this remote inner Hebridean Island and discover its stories and legends
Day 19: Scottish Highlands – Pitlochry – St Andrews – Edinburgh (B)
We continue south and stop in the pretty town of Pitlochry before travelling to the historic town of St. Andrews, home to one of the oldest golf courses in the world. We cross the Firth of Forth to the enchanting Scottish capital, Edinburgh, our home for the next two nights. During the Edinburgh Festival, tickets to the Edinburgh Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle are included.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Local Dinner Evening. Join us and your travelling companions for a delicious traditional dinner and drink at a local restaurant.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Edinburgh by Night and Dinner. We’ll drive into the old city of Edinburgh to see the city at night with photo opportunities of the Castle and the Grassmarket, famous for historic executions and when possible visit one of the most haunted graveyards and see the grave of Greyfriars Bobby, the famous Skye Terrier. Then, we’ll make our way to a local restaurant for a delicious dinner and drink.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Pitlochry. Visit Of Blair Castle. Set in its own grounds against a backdrop of glorious scenery, we’ll discover the ancient home of the Dukes of Atholl, home to Europe’s last remaining private army. Unique amongst Scottish castles, Blair has hosted royalty from Mary Queen of Scots to Queen Victoria.
Hotel: Leonardo Royal/Holiday Inn
Day 20: Edinburgh (B)
Join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour including a visit to Edinburgh Castle, overlooking the town from Castle Rock. See the quaint Royal Mile, Palace of Holyroodhouse and new Scottish Parliament building.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Dinner And Drive To Historic Torphichen. Enjoy a scenic drive to the ancient village of Torphichen, associated with Scottish kings and Knights Hospitaller. At the haunted Torphichen Inn your arrival will be toasted by our convivial host before enjoying an excellent dinner of local specialties and entertainment.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Rosslyn Chapel. We’ll drive out of Edinburgh to the tiny village of Rosslyn, where you’ll hear the inside story on the famous Rosslyn Chapel. One of Scotland’s most unusual 15th-century buildings, Rossyln is famed for its associations with the Knights Templar, the Masonic movement, and now ‘The Da Vinci Code’.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Scottish Show With Dinner. Tonight is your chance to put on that tartan and join us for an evening of singing, dancing and bagpipe playing at an internationally famous venue. You’ll enjoy delicious food and wine, join in the singing and watch a Highland dance or two. There’s even a chance to sample Scotland’s national dish – haggis
Hotel: Leonardo Royal/Holiday Inn
Day 21: Edinburgh – Alnwick – York (B,D)
Visit the medieval market town of Alnwick before stopping in York where we’ll embark on an orientation walk along the picturesque Shambles and to the York Minster, one of the greatest cathedrals in the world. This evening we enjoy a Be My Guest Farewell Dinner at a grand private home of a Yorkshire family enjoying traditional flavours and hospitality.
Hotel: Novotel Centre/Hotel 53
Day 22: York – Stratford Upon Avon – London (B)
The ‘Bard of Avon’ and his legacy take centre stage as we travel to Stratford-upon-Avon to view Anne Hathaway’s picturesque thatched cottage and visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Visitor Centre before heading back to London this afternoon closing the chapter on an epic encounter with Britain and Ireland.
Day 23: London –– New Zealand (B)
Bid London farewell today as you take a transfer to the airport for your homeward flight.
Day 24: New Zealand
Arrive home today.