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19 Day British Isles Quest & Highlands of Scotland – APT

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    19 Day Small Group Tour & Cruise from London to Edinburgh with APT

    After a gallivant across the British Isles, head inland and delve into the wild landscapes and fascinating history of the Scottish Highlands by coach and rail. From windswept beaches, the Loch Ness monster and single malt whiskey, to clashing clan battles, castles and antique steam trains, the untamed moors of the Highlands beckon explorers far and wide.

    Day By Day

    Day 1 Arrive London
    Welcome to London! We meet you on arrival and transfer you to your hotel. Your first night is left open for you to explore this iconic city at your own pace. Stay: Mayfair London or similar

    Day 2 London, Plymouth, Embark Ship
    The morning is off to an exciting start. Fuel up on breakfast before we transfer you to your ship, the MS Hebridean Sky, in Plymouth. Take some time to settle in to your spacious suite, or head out on deck to watch the scenery drift by. Tonight, gather with your crew and fellow travellers to celebrate the journey ahead with a welcome dinner. Stay Eight Nights: MS Hebridean Sky


    Day 3 Isles of Scilly
    Wake up to the aquamarine waters and white sand beaches of the Isles of Scilly, an unexpected tropical delight in the middle of the Celtic Sea. It’s within this archipelago off the coast of Cornwall that you discover Tresco Island. Here, you’ll have the chance to disembark and explore. There’s no shortage of picture-perfect landscapes; see rocky outcrops and pristine beaches while you’re here. It’s then time for your first Signature Experience of the trip.
    Signature Experiences:
    Visit Abbey Gardens for a guided tour. More than 20,000 species of exotic plants flourish in this historic garden, which was established in the 1830s.


    Day 4 Waterford, Kilkenny
    Set your sights on the southeastern coast of Ireland this morning. We drop anchor in Waterford, a city famous for Waterford Crystal, world-renowned flint glass. Set your feet on solid ground and hop on a coach to Kilkenny. This is the heart and soul of medieval Ireland, and it’s yours to enjoy with free time. Walk along cobbled lanes and discover hidden passages, perhaps explore Kilkenny Castle, built over a millennia ago. Or, delve into the town’s famous craft scene and peruse ceramics, jewellery, candles, stone carvings and more, all lovingly made by hand. Return to your ship for lunch, before your exploration continues. It’s time to visit the House of Waterford Crystal, and learn about the process and history of glass making which began in 1783.


    Day 5 Dublin (Evening Departure/Overnight)
    Discover cobbled streets, classic pubs, medieval castles and cathedrals. Dublin has it all, and we’re making a beeline for it. The morning is yours to shape with your choice of sightseeing.
    Freedom of Choice:
    You might like to visit the world-famous Guinness Storehouse which has been brewing Guinness since 1759. Or, join a sightseeing tour across the city. Perhaps your interest lies in ancient castles, in which case you may like to visit Malahide Castle and Gardens. The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 12th century. Alternatively, tour Trinity College and see the ninth-century Book of Kells in the Old Library.


    Day 6 Isle of Man
    Arrive on the Isle of Man. Travel to Tynwald Hill in the little village of St John’s, and onwards to the west coast town of Peel. Discover castle ruins while exploring on your own. This afternoon, perhaps enjoy time to explore Douglas. Or, take the electric mountain railway to Snaefell, the highest point on the island. On a clear day, you might see the coastlines of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.


    Day 7 7Belfast
    Northern Ireland calls. In Belfast, step back in time with a visit to the Titanic Museum, to learn the story of this famous ship’s creation in the early 1900s. The afternoon presents the freedom to spend it how you wish.
    Freedom of Choice:
    Perhaps discover Belfast’s history through a guided Black Cab tour of its many sites. Or, visit St George’s Market, which has been running since 1604. Sample fresh produce, talk to the friendly vendors, listen to live music and browse the unique souvenirs.


    Day 8 Londonderry (Evening Departure/Overnight)
    Officially named Londonderry, coined by locals as Derry, we berth here this morning. See the famous walls which wrap around the city. These are the only ones in Ireland which still remain intact. Head out to the Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage-listed natural wonder. Over 40,000 basalt columns create rugged stepping stones into the Atlantic Sea. You are then free to craft your own afternoon with your choice of sightseeing.
    Freedom of Choice:
    You may like to learn the history and artistry behind concocting the perfect Irish coffee with a connoisseur. Or, simply take time to explore Derry independently.


    Day 9 Iona, Staffa & Lunga (Evening Departure/Overnight)
    Our adventure brings us to the Isle of Iona, off the western coast of Scotland. More than 40 Scottish kings, as well as kings from around the world, are buried here amid the island’s tranquillity and natural beauty. With time to explore, you might like to visit Iona Abbey, one of the oldest Christian religious centres in western Europe. Or take things slow and go for a wander along the beach. It’s back on board and onwards to the striking Isle of Staffa. Here, you’ll enjoy a Signature Experience. Your final stop today is Lunga, home to grey seals, razorbills, kittiwakes and puffins.
    Signature Experiences:
    Weather permitting, hop into a Zodiac for a closer inspection of the famous Fingal’s Cave. See the curious hexagonal rock formations of the cave which open up to a 70-metre tall cavern.


    Day 10 Disembark Ship, Oban, Isle of Eriska
    Disembark your ship in the horseshoe bay of Oban where we’ll be waiting for you to board a coach bound for the picturesque Isle of Eriska. The Isle of Eriska derived its name from the surge of Norse invasions in the 10th century. We have planned a very special stay for the next two nights on your very own private island. Stay Two Nights: Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island
    Signature Experiences:
    Stay in a traditional Scottish Baronial style mansion on your very own private island and savour a fine dining experience.


    Day 11 Isle of Eriska, Glencoe
    Today you’ll visit one of the most enchanting glens in Scotland, Glencoe. Here you’ll discover rolling green hills, cosy pubs serving the finest Scotch whiskey and a steam train featured in the Harry Potter films. See the famous mountain range, the Three Sisters. Discover deep gorges and crashing waterfalls. Learn about the Glencoe Massacre which took place in this area in 1692. Return to your island for another fine dining experience.


    Day 12 Isle of Eriska, Fort William, Mallaig, Isle of Skye
    Today you’ll stop in the picturesque town of Fort William where you’ll admire magnificent mountain scenery and evergreen forests. On your way to the bustling ferry port town of Mallaig, take a photo stop opportunity at Glenfinnan Viaduct. Mallaig is the perfect spot to stretch your legs. Stroll around the harbour, chat with the locals, or sit and watch the fishing boats bob in the harbour. A ferry takes you onwards to the Isle of Skye. Stay Two Nights: Duisdale Isle of Skye Hotel


    Day 13 Isle of Skye
    Wake up to soaring mountains and sparkling lochs, rugged sea cliffs and expansive moors. Isle of Skye certainly boasts stunning scenery. A tour includes the Dunvegan Castle and Gardens, home to the MacLeod Clan for 800 years. Aboard your coach, drive along dramatic Trotternish Ridge. Make sure to have your camera at the ready to snap the jagged peaks and unique rock formations.


    Day 14 Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Inverness
    Witness the drama of Scotland’s landscapes as we travel to Inverness. Pass the immense mountain range of the Five Sisters of Kintail. Legend tells of five sisters who turned into mountains waiting for five Irish princes who vowed to come to Scotland to join the sisters in marriage. Continue along the peninsula of Knoydart, stopping en route at the famous viewpoint over Loch Garry for captivating views. You’ll also visit Loch Ness and hear all about the mysteries surrounding the famous loch. Your day ends in Inverness, capital of the Highlands. Stay Two Nights: Inverness, Ness Walk Hotel


    Day 15 Inverness, Ullapool
    Begin your day with a tour of the picturesque fishing port of Ullapool, nestled on the shores of Loch Broom. Wander amid the whitewashed cottages that are dotted along the harbourfront and drink in the pristine surrounds.


    Day 16 Inverness, Cairngorms National Park, St Andrews
    What better way to kick off your day’s explorations than with a tasting at a local whiskey distillery? Learn about the production process while enjoying a sample. Afterwards, venture into the heart of the Highlands to Cairngorms National Park. As the largest national park in the UK, you may stumble across castles, gardens, mountains, ancient native trees, lochs and cascading waterfalls, as well as local wildlife. Spend the rest of your afternoon exploring the park. Hop back in your coach and continue to St Andrews. For dinner, choose where you’ d like to dine. Stay Two Nights: Fairmont St Andrews
    Freedom of Choice:
    Feast on simple and delicious Italian food at La Cucina, or order high quality pub fare at St Andrews Bar & Grill.


    Day 17 St Andrews
    The seaside town of St Andrews has certainly made a name for itself thanks to its medieval streets, a historic university and famous golf courses. This morning, join a walking tour around the town, passing the University of St Andrews and it’s immaculate grounds, the colleges of St Mary’s and St Salvatore’s and the Museum of the University of St Andrews. The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure.


    Day 18 St Andrews, Fife, Edinburgh
    After breakfast it’s time to head on the road again with Edinburgh in your sights. On the way make a stop at the fishing village of Crail. Take a wander through the Dutch-style cottages, cobblestone lanes, quaint churches while breathing in the briny sea air. You also call in at Fife before continuing on to your final stop at the cool and quirky Edinburgh. Stay: The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square


    Day 19 Depart Edinburgh
    Your trip ends after breakfast with a transfer to the airport.


    Trip Inclusions

    Countries Explored:

    • England
    • Ireland
    • Northern Ireland
    • Scotland

    Journey Highlights

    • Discover white sand beaches and aquamarine waters of the Isles of Scilly, an unexpected tropical paradise
    • Formed over 60 million years ago and steeped in Irish mythology, uncover the World Heritage-listed Giant’s Causeway
    • On the largest of the islands in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, visit Dunvegan Castle and drive along the Trotternish Ridge

    Cruise Inclusions

    • Experiences in 23 destinations
    • Freedom of Choice Inclusions in five locations
    • Expert APT expedition leader and team
    • Return airport transfers, porterage and gratuities

    Included Meals

    • A wide range of onboard beverages
    • Locally inspired dining – a total of 41 meals


    • 8 nights aboard the intimate MS Hebridean Sky

    Trip Notes

    • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
    • Moderate Zodiac Activity – This tour includes occasional use of Zodiacs for sightseeing and accessing some ports
    • Prices are for land/cruise only. Flights not included