15 Day The Best of Britain & Ireland – Cosmos
Cosmos Coach Tour starting in London and finishing in London
England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales – experience them all on this comprehensive vacation. Your adventure begins with a full day to enjoy exciting optional tours in London before heading to Oxford. A walking tour takes in the colleges where Britain’s elite receive their education, then experience the exquisite Cotswolds, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, and Lady Godiva’s Coventry. Continue to York, England’s most complete medieval city, for a walking tour. See a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes, and enter Scotland for two overnights in regal Edinburgh. Here, your sightseeing tour with a Local Guide includes a visit to Edinburgh Castle to see Scotland’s Crown Jewels. Travel south through the Lowlands to Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Continue through the Lake District, considered the finest of England’s national parks, visiting Wordsworth’s charming Grasmere and driving along beautiful Lake Windermere, the largest of England’s lakes. Enjoy a walking tour of 2,000-year-old Chester and drive into Wales through breathtaking Snowdonia National Park, Betws-y-Coed, and over the Llanberis Pass to the Isle of Anglesey. At Holyhead, board a ferry for Dublin, Ireland’s capital, where an orientation drive shows you the main attractions. Head west via Galway to the spectacular 668-foot Cliffs of Moher. Take a break in Adare, known for its remarkable thatched cottages, then enjoy breathtaking views on your drive along the spectacular Ring of Kerry. After an overnight in the popular resort of Killarney, travel to Blarney, famous for its castle and Stone of Eloquence. Leave Ireland and take the ferry back to Wales for an orientation drive of Cardiff, the capital city. Returning to England, stop in the Georgian city of Bath, famous for its Roman ruins, and marvel at enigmatic Stonehenge. Your tour ends back in London with free time – a memorable trip!
Day By Day
Day 1 Arrive In London, England
Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, there’s time to rest or to start exploring the lively British capital; uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
Day 2 London
What’s your pleasure? Today is devoted to exploring on your own or enjoying our exciting program of optional activities. You may choose to join a Local Guide for an optional morning sightseeing tour of the city’s famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall’s mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister’s Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. Highlights include a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard (if held). Later on, maybe visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its spectacular Crown Jewels, and tonight, a leisurely cruise on the Thames River would be fun! (B)
Day 3 London – Oxford – Stratford-Upon-Avon – Sheffield
Meet your Tour Director and travelling companions and depart at 8 am for a memorable day of sightseeing. In Oxford, a walking tour takes in the colleges where Britain’s elite receive their outstanding education. Then, travel through the lovely Cotswold Hills to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon- Avon. Take photos of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. Your overnight destination is Sheffield. (B/D)
Day 4 Sheffield – York – Durham – Newcastle
This morning, head north to York, England’s most complete medieval city. Stand in front of the great structure of York Minster, then follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles. Next, visit Durham, a captivating city with winding cobblestone streets and a prominent peninsula crowned with the dramatic Durham Cathedral and Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop for the night in Newcastle, once an important centre for the wool trade and coal mining, now a vibrant, modern city. (B/D)
Day 5 Newcastle – Jedburgh, Scotland – Edinburgh
See a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defence against marauding northern tribes, then motor through wild Northumberland National Park to the Scottish border. Stop for photos at Jedburgh, with glimpses of the house of Mary, Queen of Scots. In Edinburgh, sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town” and famous scientists, inventors, and novelists. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. A suggestion for this evening: a traditional Scottish night out with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis. (B)
Day 6 Edinburgh
Your choice today: an optional morning excursion to Rosslyn Chapel, made world-famous by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, and also one of Scotland’s most remarkable buildings. You will have ample time to visit the 15th-century medieval chapel and the visitor centre, and also to take photographs of the ruins of Rosslyn Castle. Later, another unique optional opportunity: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia, which was once the perfect royal residence for glittering state visits and family holidays. Tour five decks and see how the Royal Family and crew of 240 lived and worked on board. Dinner rounds off this optional evening. For departure numbers 0731 through 0821, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO. (B)
Day 7 Edinburgh – Gretna Green – Lake District, England – Chester – Wrexham, Wales
South through the history-steeped Lowland Hills and a visit to Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Drive through beautiful scenery in the Lake District, considered to be the finest of England’s national parks. Visit Wordsworth’s Grasmere, then follow the shores of Lake Windermere. In Chester, the historic county town on the Dee River, your walking tour takes in the Roman remains, black and white half-timbered buildings, and the two-tiered shopping arcades called the “Rows.” (B/D)
Day 8 Wrexham – Llangollen – Betws-Y-Coed – Dublin, Ireland
A scenic North Wales drive via Llangollen, home of an annual national competition for poets and musicians, and through the incomparable landscapes of Snowdonia National Park. Pause at lovely Betws-y-Coed before heading over spectacular Llanberis Pass and, finally, cross Britannia Bridge to the Isle of Anglesey. Take your photos at tongue-twisting Llanfair and at Holyhead, board the FERRY for the Irish Sea crossing to Dublin. (B)
Day 9 Dublin
A day in the “Fair City” starts off with an orientation drive through Eire’s capital and includes statue-lined O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy Dublin at leisure. Why not join an optional dinner evening at the Guinness Storehouse? (B)
Day 10 Dublin – Galway – Cliffs Of Moher – Ennis
Head for dairy farm country in the centre of the “Emerald Isle.” Stop in Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan centre with colourful shops and a busy cafe and bar culture. Then, cross the limestone plateau of The Burren to visit the spectacular 204-metre (668-foot) CLIFFS OF MOHER before heading for Ennis, county town of Clare. Tonight’s optional opportunity: an optional banquet at Knappogue Castle. (B)
Day 11 Ennis – Adare – Ring Of Kerry – Killarney
Stop for photos in Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages and monastic ruins. In County Kerry, join the road known as the RING OF KERRY for a 160-kilometre (100-mile) coastal panoramic drive. Focus your camera on sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly coloured farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. Later, in Killarney, discover why this is such a popular resort. (B/D)
Day 12 Killarney – Blarney – Dungarvan – Tramore
Across the Kerry Mountains and through County Cork to Blarney, famous for its magical Stone of Eloquence. Time to see the castle and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. After lunch, drive past Cork, the country’s second-largest city, and via Dungarvan to Tramore. Tonight, maybe an optional pub tour before dinner at your hotel. (B/D)
Day 13 Tramore – Cardiff, Wales
An early start for the short drive to Rosslare. In just under four hours, you cross St. George’s Channel by FERRY to South Wales. Continue through rich dairy farmland to Cardiff, where an orientation drive introduces you to the capital’s major attractions: Cardiff Castle, Cathays Park, Millennium Stadium, and the stately civic buildings. Tonight, why not join an evening of Welsh entertainment and dinner? (B)
Day 14 Cardiff – Bath, England – Stonehenge – London
A day packed with highlights begins as you cross the spectacular Severn Bridge into England. Stop in the elegant Georgian city of Bath, famous for its Roman relics, before visiting STONEHENGE, still an intriguing mystery. Explore the stunning visitor centre with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument up close. After returning to London around 3:30 pm, how about celebrating the success of your tour with a night out on the town? (B)
Day 15 London
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
- INSIDE VISITS AND SPECIAL FEATURES: Shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.
- SIGHTSEEING: Visits to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, Durham, Hadrian’s Wall, Jedburgh, Edinburgh Castle, tickets for Edinburgh Military Tattoo (departure numbers 0731 through 0821), Gretna Green, Grasmere, Llangollen, Betws-y-Coed, Llanfair, Galway, Cliffs of Moher, Adare, Killarney, Blarney, Bath, Stonehenge; orientation drives in Dublin, Cardiff; walking tours in Oxford, York, Chester.
- SCENIC HIGHLIGHTS: Cotswold Hills, Northumberland National Park, Scottish Lowlands, Lake District, North Wales and Snowdonia National Park, The Burren, Ring of Kerry and Lakes of Killarney, Salisbury Plain.
- GUIDES: Local Guide for city sightseeing in Edinburgh; Host service in London. Professional Tour Director while touring.
- TRANSPORTATION: Private first-class air-conditioned motorcoach. Round-trip Irish Sea crossings by day ferry.
- HOTELS: Rooms with private bath or shower, hotel taxes, porterage, tips,and service charges.
- MEALS: Full English breakfast (B); 5 three-course dinners (D) with choice of menus.
- 14 Breakfasts
- 5 Dinners
- Hotel Classifications: Superior First Class (SF), First Class (F), Moderate First Class (MF), Superior Tourist (ST), Deluxe (D), Moderate Deluxe (MD), Best Available (BA), National Park (NP)
- London Kensington Close (ST) or Novotel London West (F), Sheffield Jurys Inn (F), Newcastle Jurys Inn (F) at Gateshead, Edinburgh Kings Manor (ST), Wrexham Ramada Plaza (F), Dublin Jurys Inn Custom House (F), Ennis Auburn Lodge (ST), Killarney Killarney Court (F), Tramore Majestic (ST), Cardiff Novotel (F)
- Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
- Prices are for land/cruise only. Flights not included.