showcase tour of Britain and Ireland awaits you. Discover fascinating and historically rich attractions while traveling across alluring countryside. Two-night stays in five of the overnight cities allow for a moderate pace and a comprehensive focus on the many highlights of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
This tour makes stops in Oxford, home to the first established university in Britain in 1167; Stratford-Upon-Avon, where half-timbered houses and thatched-roof cottages create a truly English setting; York, where “The Shambles,” one of the most picturesque streets in Britain offers unique shops, cafes and restaurants; Edinburgh, with countless attractions to entertain you after your morning guided tour; Gretna Green, known for the secret weddings performed by the town blacksmith; Liverpool, birthplace of the Beatles; Caernarfon, where you’ll view one of the castles built by Prince Edward I; Dublin, the capital city of the Republic of Ireland will excite you with a local guide and entrance into St Patrick’s Cathedral; Killarney, the scenic Irish countryside of County Cork, gateway to the ‘The Ring of Kerry’; Blarney Castle with its thickly constructed 17th century fortification; Waterford, origin of the beloved Irish Crystal; Cardiff, the capital city of Wales; Stonehenge, a mysterious monument dating back to about 1500 B.C.; Bath, the elegant spa town where the Romans harnessed the natural hot springs 2,000 years ago; and London, home to popular sights such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Royal Parks and Buckingham Palace.
Refer to “Preparing for your Departure” in your Trip Documents for easy check-in procedures. Take time to relax on your transatlantic flight with the assurance that Image Tours has taken care of all the details.
Upon arrival, clear passport control and collect your luggage. Refer to your “Arrival Instructions” page in your Trip Documents for directions on where and when to meet your tour manager. During the motor coach transfer to your hotel in Warwickshire, make a brief stop in Oxford where Henry II established the first university of Britain in 1167. Tonight at your hotel, join your fellow travelers for a “Welcome to Great Britain/Get- acquainted” dinner. (Dinner)
Views of the unspoiled countryside known as the Cotswolds clearly confirm you have arrived in England. Gentle hillsides, peaceful meadows, and charming villages with old stone buildings characterize this region. The first stop today is Stow-on the-Wold, offering antique shops and a chance to get a souvenir photo with your hands in the village’s authentic stocks. Then it’s on to Stratford-Upon Avon, where half-timbered houses and thatched-roof cottages create a truly English setting. Tour the town, which includes a picture stop in front of Anne Hathaway’s cottage and a visit to the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Enjoy some free time in Stratford Upon-Avon or join the optional Warwick Castle excursion to the 1,000-year-old castle. Return to your Warwickshire hotel for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Drive north via the Nottingham area. Around lunch time, arrive in the historic city of York and spend the afternoon exploring the sights that most interest you. “The Shambles” is one of the most picturesque streets in Britain with unique shops, cafés and restaurants. York also boasts the most complete example of medieval city walls still standing in England today. Walk along sections of the city walls for exceptional views. Be sure to visit York Minster Cathedral, the largest Gothic church in England. In the late afternoon, travel through North Yorkshire to Darlington for hotel check-in and dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
A morning drive takes you to Hadrian’s Wall, a fascinating Roman monument nearly 2,000 years old. Visit one section of the 70-plus mile structure at the location of Chester’s Roman Fort. Shortly after crossing the border into Scotland, stop in Jedburgh where you will be treated to an English Tea with cakes and finger sandwiches. Following tea, use your free time in Jedburgh to visit the Mary Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh Abbey, or do some shopping at the Woollen Mill. A late afternoon arrival at your Edinburgh hotel provides time to freshen up and relax. Dinner is independent, or join the optional Scottish Dinner Show excursion. (Breakfast, English Tea)
Start the day with a guided tour of Edinburgh. After the tour, a good place to spend your free time is along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town. As you walk past the classic old houses, you may wish to stop at one of the unique attractions such as the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh Castle, Writer’s Museum, Gladstone’s Land (the oldest surviving house in Edinburgh), Museum of Childhood, or the high-tech Our Dynamic Earth Museum. Edinburgh offers many options for tonight’s independent dinner. For tours visiting Edinburgh during the first two weeks of August, Image Tours includes attendance to the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a spectacular show, by military bands, performed to sold out crowds. (Breakfast)
Travel southeast to the border town of Gretna Green for a visit to the Old Blacksmith’s Shop. Gretna Green became well known for “run-away weddings” officiated by the blacksmith. Starting in 1754, English couples would cross the border to be married under the liberal terms of the Scottish laws. Following your visit to Gretna Green, travel back into England and on to Liverpool, the birthplace of the Beatles. A 4:00pm arrival at your Liverpool hotel provides time to explore and shop. Your tour manager will offer an optional Magical Mystery Tour excursion highlighting landmarks made famous by the Beatles. Dinner is independent tonight so that you may choose to dine at the hotel or at one of the pubs, restaurants or live music venues along Mathew Street. Here you will find the replicated Cavern Club, where the Beatles regularly played during their early years. (Breakfast)
This day is devoted to the sweeping landscape of Northern Wales. After a morning stop in Betws-y-Coed, continue through the thick pine forest into Snowdonia National Park, a mountainous region with rough but beautiful terrain. At Caernarfon, view one of the castles built by Prince Edward I. A quick independent lunch will allow time to climb the castle’s tower (£10.00 admission fee). After the motor coach crosses the Menai Bridge onto the Isle of Anglesey, it is a must to stop and take a picture of the town with the longest name, which we abbreviate here as Llanfair P.G. An independent dinner allows you the choice of dining while you ferry from Wales to the Republic of Ireland or at a pub upon arrival in Dublin. (Breakfast)
The capital city of the Republic of Ireland offers much to keep you busy and entertained. A local guide joins you this morning to provide insight into the city’s history and to point out the popular landmarks including Dublin Castle, Trinity College and the Guinness Brewery. Entrance into St. Patrick’s Cathedral is included. Following the city tour, the afternoon is free for individual pursuits. A popular attraction is the Book of Kells at the Trinity College Library (€11.00 admission fee), an ornately decorated and meticulously scribed edition of the Gospels from 800 AD. Equally popular are the tours of the Guinness Brewery (€20.00). Tonight’s dinner is independent, or join the optional Irish Dinner Show excursion. (Breakfast)
The area west of Dublin has become known as the center of the Irish horse breeding and training industry. After touring the Kildare National Stud Farm, visit the Japanese Gardens of Tully House. As you continue toward western Ireland, relax and enjoy the scenic land of meadows, glens and crystal clear rivers. Your independent lunch stop will be in one of the friendly country villages along the way, where bakeries will offer you tea sandwiches; or small, family-owned pubs will serve up hearty Irish dishes. Then it’s on to your County Kerry hotel, hosting you for dinner this evening and a two-night stay. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Travel to the Iveragh Peninsula, also known as “The Ring of Kerry,” for a day of spectacular coastal landscapes. The day will include photo stops as well as lunch at one of the seaside villages. Before arriving in Killarney, make a stop at one of the sheep farms to experience a sheep dog demonstration. Killarney offers everything from excellent restaurants to local pubs for an independent dinner. After dinner, return to your County Kerry hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch)
One of the highlights of the tour will be a visit to Blarney Castle. You’ll see the thickly constructed (18 feet thick) 17th-century fortification, and have time to walk the impressive grounds. You may also choose to stretch upside-down to kiss the Blarney Stone in the hopes of gaining the gift of eloquent speech. Enjoy an independent lunch at one of the charming restaurants in the village of Blarney. An early afternoon arrival in Waterford allows for time to explore the town on foot or participate in the optional Waterford Crystal Experience excursion before having dinner at your hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
An early morning departure is necessary to reach the ferry in Rosslare. As you ferry from Ireland to Wales, you will have time for an independent lunch on board. Leaving the ferry, view the varied scenery along the coastal road between Pembrokeshire National Park and the Wye Valley. By mid-afternoon, arrive in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. Take a stroll through the 56-acre Bute Park, relax over afternoon tea at a cafe, or participate in the optional Cardiff Castle excursion. Continue to your hotel near Cardiff for check-in and dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Crossing the mouth of the River Severn, return to England for a tour of Bath, the elegant spa town where the Romans harnessed the natural hot springs 2,000 years ago. An included visit to the Roman Baths Museum reveals the advanced engineering developed by the Romans. Then, it is on to mysterious Stonehenge. Dating back to about 1500 B.C., one can only speculate how the stones reached the site and how they were moved into place – some weighing 45 tons! Upon arrival in London, check in and enjoy a relaxing “Farewell Dinner” at the hotel. Tomorrow, the entire day will be devoted to sightseeing in the British capital. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today begins with a guided bus tour of London’s famous landmarks such as the Royal Parks, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square. Following the city tour, you will have a few hours to pursue one or two of your personal interests. If you have a specific destination in mind, the Tube system (Underground) is easy, fast and economical. Your tour manager will also provide suggestions for some of central London’s most popular attractions. You might wish to lunch amongst the bustling shops and street performers of Covent Garden. Or, visit The National Gallery including works of art by da Vinci, van Gogh, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Picasso, and more. Located nearby, the London Eye Ferris wheel provides unique views of the city. In the evening, London offers numerous options for dining and entertainment. Or, join your tour manager for the optional London Dinner & Theatre excursion. (Breakfast)
Transfer to the London airport for the return flight home. (Breakfast)