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18 Day Romantic Britain & Ireland – Insight Vacations

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    Insight Vacations Guided Tour starting in London and finishing in London

    A wealth of history, dramatic scenery, sacred sites, legend and tradition, all come together, invoking a sense of romance on this tour. Tour Pace:The alternating mix of touring days and two night stays makes for a moderately paced tour. However, Waterford to Cardiff requires an early start in order to catch the morning ferry. From the stately Georgian architecture of Edinburgh’s Roxburghe Hotel, to the 21 story Radisson Blu skyscraper in Cardiff’s city centre, expect a diverse range of hotels.

    Day By Day

    Day 1 From London To Oxford And Then On To Stratford

    This morning, drive to the famous university town of Oxford with its beautiful spires. With time at leisure, why not enjoy a visit to the world famous Ashmolean Museum or just browse through the local indoor market, before continuing via pretty Cotswolds villages to Stratford-upon-Avon. Discover the story of Shakespeare’s early years during a visit to his birthplace. Your cosy hotel is nestled on the banks of the River Avon. Later, join your Tour Director for a warm and friendly Welcome Reception, with drinks and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine. (WelcomeD) Stay: Alveston Manor/Swan’s Nest, Stratford-upon-Avon

    Day 2 Lincoln’s Magna Carta And On To Medieval York

    Travel through the heart of ‘Robin Hood Country’ on your way to visit Lincoln Castle, one of the finest examples of a Norman castle in England. Your tour will include a chance to witness one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta that will be on display to celebrate its 800th anniversary. Later, continue to York, once the Viking capital of Britain. Saunter along the Shambles to reach York Minster, in the heart of this medieval gem. Your hotel lies within the walls facing Clifford’s Tower. (BB/D) Stay: Hilton York

    Day 3 Journey Through The English Lakes To Edinburgh

    Drive through the Lake District National Park, a scenic wonderland of rugged mountains and tranquil lakes, inspiration to a host of English poets. Stop in Wordsworth’s village of Grasmere and see the poet’s grave in the churchyard before crossing the border at Gretna and continuing to the Scottish capital. (FB) Stay: Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, Edinburgh

    Day 4 Through The Trossachs And By Loch Lomond To Glasgow

    In the morning, walk with your local expert inside Edinburgh Castle for spectacular views of the town. Continue down the Royal Mile to the Queen’s Holyroodhouse Palace before crossing over to the ‘New Town’. The afternoon is free to shop on Princes Street. Tonight, selected departures enjoy the Military Tattoo. (FB) Stay: Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian

    Day 5 To St. Andrews And On To The Highland Capital Of Inverness

    Cross the Firth of Forth into Fife and make your way to St. Andrews, the home of golf. After some time to explore, cross the Tay and drive to the charming Victorian resort town of Pitlochry, famous for its salmon leap. Continue via Blair Atholl and over the Grampian Mountains to the sparkling Spey Valley. The Scottish Border Collie is world renowned for its herding abilities. Visit a working Highland farm for a personal insight into the daily life of a shepherd and his dogs. Continue to stately Inverness, where your grand hotel is perfectly placed in the centre of town. Perhaps sit outside and enjoy a quiet drink overlooking the river and castle? (BB/D) Stay: The Columba Hotel, Inverness

    Day 6 Along The Shores Of Loch Ness And Across The Sea To Skye

    First highlight is a stop at Culloden Moor, scene of the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746. Then a drive along the banks of Loch Ness (eyes open for that most infamous inhabitant ‘Nessie’!) Pause for a photo of Eilean Donan Castle, set idyllically on a promontory on Loch Duich. Then hear tales of Flora MacDonald and her vain defence of the Bonnie Prince as you cross the Isle of Skye. (BB/D) Stay: Dunollie, Broadford

    Day 7 Drive By Loch Lomond And On To Glasgow

    Return to the mainland and drive to the Commando Memorial in the shadow of Ben Nevis. Then on through Fort William to absorb the dramatic scenery of Glencoe, the ‘valley of the weeping’, where the dreadful massacre of the MacDonalds took place in 1692. Enjoy a scenic drive along the ‘bonnie banks of Loch Lomond’ en route to Glasgow for an orientation tour. (FB) Stay: Crowne Plaza, Glasgow

    Day 8 Across The Irish Sea To Titanic Belfast

    Bid farewell to Scotland as you cross the Irish Sea and drive to the vibrant Northern Ireland capital of Belfast. Meet your local expert to see the City Hall, Queen’s University and Stormont Castle. RMS Titanic was built in Belfast – follow the story of the ill-fated ship at the new state of the art Titanic Belfast exhibition. (FB) Stay: Europa, Belfast

    Day 9 Travel Through The Mountains Of Mourne To Dublin

    Travel alongside the Mountains of Mourne before crossing the historic Boyne Valley, site of the battle where William of Orange defeated the forces of Catholic King James. This afternoon, on your guided tour of Ireland’s ‘fair city’, see O’Connell Street, historic Phoenix Park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Then experience Ireland’s National and world famous drink with a guided visit to the Guinness Storehouse. Learn how to pour the perfect pint and gain a fascinating insight into the history and traditions behind its production. (FB) Stay: Ballsbridge Executive Rooms/Clyde Court, Dublin

    Day 10 Free Time In Dublin

    The whole of the next day is yours to shop, continue sightseeing or just enjoy a pint of Guinness at the local pub! Maybe take an optional drive to the ruined monastic site of Glendalough? (FB)

    Day 11 Head To Galway, The Cliffs Of Moher And On To Limerick

    Travel west to Galway the ‘City of the Tribes” for an orientation tour. Continue across the limestone landscape of the Burren, to the Visitor Centre at the 700-foot Cliffs of Moher for breathtaking vistas of the Clare Coast. Now it’s on to Limerick. (FB) Stay: George Boutique Hotel, Limerick

    Day 12 Around The Dingle Peninsula To Killarney

    See the 12th century St. Mary’s Cathedral, King John’s Castle and the Treaty Stone before setting off via the picturesque thatched village of Adare, to Tralee. Enjoy more spectacular scenery as you make your way into the great cliffs, wide skies and ocean views of the Dingle Peninsula. Now on to Killarney for two nights. (BB/D) Stay: Killarney Towers

    Day 13 Ring Of Kerry Experience

    A delightful morning excursion takes you around the Ring of Kerry, a world of towering cliffs, lush lakelands and remote villages. Continue through Ireland’s highest mountain range, the MacGillicuddy Reeks, to the three peaceful Lakes of Killarney. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax and enjoy. Choose from a selection of restaurants in Killarney this evening. (BB/DA) Stay: Killarney Towers

    Day 14 Make Your Way To Blarney Castle Then To Waterford

    Visit Blarney Castle, a the home of the famous stone of eloquence. Travel on through the port of Dungarvan to the walled city of Waterford, for a guided visit of the world famous crystal factory a and to meet a master craftsman. (BB/D) Stay: Dooleys Hotel, Waterford

    Day 15 Across The Irish Sea To Cardiff

    Take the ferry across the Irish Sea to Pembroke, continue on to the Welsh capital, Cardiff, famous for its imposing castle and the brilliant Millennium Stadium. (FB) Stay: Radisson Blu Cardiff/Mercure Holland House, Cardiff

    Day 16 Off To Roman Bath, Glastonbury And On To Torquay

    Cross the Severn Bridge to reach Bath. Visit the Roman Baths. Then drive to mystical Glastonbury to view the Abbey, reputedly the legendary burial place of King Arthur. It’s not far now to seaside Torquay. (FB) Stay: Imperial, Torquay

    Day 17 Plymouth And The Cornish Coast Excursion

    In the morning, drive to Plymouth to see the Mayflower Steps, Barbican, Citadel and Plymouth Hoe. Move on to the quaint fishing village of Looe in Cornwall. This evening, enjoy a glass of wine with your Celebration Dinner. (BB/CD) Stay: Imperial, Torquay

    Day 18 Over Salisbury Plain To Stonehenge And Return To London

    Cross Salisbury Plain and stop to visit the mysterious megaliths of Stonehenge. Your tour draws to a close on your return to London’s Thistle Marble Arch Hotel. (FB)

    Trip Inclusions

    Additional Included Highlights

    • Oxford: See the ‘dreaming spires’ and colleges.
    • Lincoln: Visit one of England’s finest Medieval Castles.
    • York: See York Minster, city walls and medieval ‘Shambles”.
    • Lake District: Visit William Wordsworth’s grave in Grasmere.
    • Edinburgh: Enjoy a guided city tour down the Royal Mile past Holyroodhouse and over to the 18C ‘New Town’.
    • St Andrews: Visit the birthplace of golf.
    • Loch Ness: Drive along the shores in search of the monster.
    • Great Glen: View the Commando memorial and Ben Nevis.
    • Glasgow: Enjoy an orientation tour.
    • Glastonbury: Drive past the ruined Abbey
    • Dublin: See O’Connell Street and historic Phoenix Park.
    • Galway: See the Cathedral, Spanish Arch and Eyre Square.
    • Limerick: See King John’s Castle and St Mary’s Cathedral.
    • Adare: See the main street lined with thatched cottages.
    • Waterford: See Reginald’s Tower, the ruined city walls and enjoy a guided visit to the Waterford Crystal Factory and Showrooms.
    • Cardiff: See the castle and Millennium Stadium.
    • Bath: View Bath Abbey and the fine Georgian architecture.
    • Glastonbury: View the Abbey.
    • Plymouth: See Plymouth Hoe, Citadel and Mayflower Steps.
    • Looe: Visit the picturesque fishing village.
    • Scenic drives: Cotswolds, Highlands, Isle of Skye, Dingle, Severn Bridge, Ring of Kerry, Dartmoor.

    Highlight Hotels And Locations

    • Edinburgh: Beautifully refurbished, this former Victorian railway hotel is nestled in the shadow of historic castle.
    • Torquay: Stay at the Imperial Hotel, a favourite haunt of Agatha Christie, who featured it in several of her novels.

    Signature Dining

    • Killarney: Choose from a fine selection of local restaurants on your Dine Around evening.
    • Torquay: Enjoy a rousing end of tour Celebration Dinner.
    • Welcome Reception (WD), 17 full Breakfasts (FB), 1 Dine-Around (DA), 5 three-course Dinners with choice, or buffets, plus tea or coffee (D) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD).

    Signature Experiences

    • Stratford: Visit the timber-framed building where Shakespeare was born and grew up.
    • Lincoln: Visit Lincoln Castle and witness one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta, celebrating its 800th anniversary.
    • Edinburgh: Visit the Castle to view the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg.
    • Edinburgh: For a limited time in August, you are witness to the breathtaking spectacle of the Military Tattoo.
    • Highlands: Visit a working Highland farm and witness sheep dog training.
    • Culloden Moor: Stop at the famous battlefield.
    • Belfast: At the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction, relive the story behind the ill-fated ship.
    • Dublin: Visit the Guinness Storehouse and learn the history and traditions behind its production.
    • Cliffs of Moher: Stop by the Exhibition Centre and look out over the Wild Atlantic Way from these towering cliffs.
    • Killarney: Venture into a world of towering cliffs, lush lake lands and remote villages, as you tour the magical Ring of Kerry.
    • Blarney: It is said that those whose lips caress the Stone are bestowed with the power to persuade, flatter and coax. But to do so, you must dangle from the ramparts!
    • Blarney: It is said that those whose lips caress the Stone are bestowed with the power to persuade, flatter and coax. But to do so, you must dangle from the ramparts!
    • Waterford: A guided visit of the crystal factory.
    • Bath: Visit the Roman Baths, where offerings and curses were thrown to the Roman Goddess Sulis Minerva.
    • Stonehenge: Walk around the strange and awe-inspiring monoliths that have reputedly stood for 5,000 years.

    What’s Included

    • An expert Insight Tour Director – at the pinnacles of their careers, will smooth your way throughout your journey. They are your ‘travelling concierges’, expert guides, consummate organisers and friends in a foreign land.
    • Insight motorcoach – Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight’s luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It’s business class comfort.
    • Personal radio headsets – gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without missing any of your local expert’s fascinating insights and commentaries.
    • Baggage handling everywhere – with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
    • Hotel and restaurant tips included – you’ll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
    • Complimentary WiFi – the majority of Insight hotels have free WiFi access in lobby or bedroom areas. You will also find that WiFi is generally available on most touring coaches.
    • Insight Flourishes – from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
    • London Airport transfer service available