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Best of England, Sights of Scotland & Best of Ireland Tour

From $4399 (was $4649)

28 Days

36 meals on tour

Passport Required

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Best of England, Sights of Scotland & Best of Ireland Tour

Tour Starts: London

Tour Ends: Dublin

Day 1

Depart for London, England

Your trip to England begins with an overnight trans-Atlantic flight to London.

Day 2

London

Arrive in London, capital city of England and the United Kingdom. This evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers over a welcome dinner in the hotel. Overnight in London. (D) ✦Novotel London West or similar

Day 3

London

Enjoy a morning panoramic city tour where you will see many of London’s renowned sights and landmarks including: Buckingham Palace, The Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the River Thames Embankment. This afternoon you are free to explore the city on your own or take an optional tour to see the Tower of London, famous home to the Crown Jewels, and this evening you may choose to enjoy an optional tour to view central London from the world famous London Eye. Overnight in London. (B) ✦Novotel London West or similar

Day 4

Stonehenge & Bath

Today we head west to Stonehenge, the unique 4,500 year old stone circle. You’ll learn about its history at the visitor center and will take the short shuttle bus ride to see the legendary stones. Later, visit the spa city of Bath, nourished by natural hot springs and designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We’ll visit the Roman Baths, a magnificent temple and bathing complex that still flows with natural hot water. Overnight in the Worcestershire area. (B, D) ✦Holiday Inn Bromsgrove or similar

Day 5

The Midlands

A tour highlight today is a heritage steam train ride on the Seven Valley Railway from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. The sixteen-mile journey takes just over an hour along the line first opened in 1862 - prepare to venture back in time as you experience the sounds and smells of a real steam train. Later we visit Blists Hill, a Victorian town living museum where you will travel back 100 years to experience the sights and sounds of Victorian England. Overnight in the Cheshire area. (B, D) ✦Best Western Everglades Park Hotel or similar

Day 6

Liverpool & York

Today we visit Liverpool, a port city from where over 9 million emigrants left England for a new life in America. You’ll see Liverpool Cathedral and Albert Dock, where we stop to visit The Beatles Story to see how four young lads were propelled from the tiny Cavern Club to becoming one of the world’s most popular bands. This afternoon we arrive in the city of York, where you’ll have free time to explore - take a guided tour of York where you will see the famous York Minster and the medieval walls that surround the city. We will also have time to explore the picturesque cobbled street ‘Shambles,’ lined with 600-year-old wooden framed buildings with roofs that almost touch. Overnight in York. (B, D) ✦Park Inn York City Centre or similar

Day 7

Sherwood Forest & Stratford-upon-Avon

Sherwood Forest, famous for its association with the legendary Robin Hood, is where you’ll see some of the oldest trees in Europe, with many veteran oaks over five centuries old. Take a 15-minute walk to see ‘Major Oak,’ thought to be over 800 years old. Next it’s Stratford-upon-Avon, where we will visit the half-timbered house where William Shakespeare was born in 1564. We continue into the Oxfordshire countryside where we will stay for two nights. Overnight in the Oxford Area. (B, D) ✦Heythrop Park or similar

Day 8

Blenheim Palace & The Cotswolds

Today we visit Blenheim Palace, home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough, birth place of Sir Winston Churchill. Visit the gilded State Rooms and also see The Churchill Exhibition, taking you on a journey of his life. This afternoon, we’ll tour some of the ‘chocolate box’ Cotswold villages known for their local limestone cottages and individual character. Overnight in the Oxford area. (B, D) ✦Heythrop Park or similar

Day 9

Oxford & Windsor Castle

Your day will start with a panoramic and walking tour of Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires and home to one of the world’s most famous and oldest Universities. After lunch there’s an included visit to Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II. You’ll take a self-guided tour, which will include the magnificent State Apartments furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection and St. George’s Chapel, the burial place of 10 monarchs. There will be a short period of free time for exploring the old town of Windsor before we travel the short distance to your hotel near London Heathrow. Tonight, enjoy an included farewell dinner with all your new friends. Overnight in the London Heathrow area. (B, D)
✦Copthorne Hotel Slough or similar

Day 10

London to Edinburgh

Bid farewell to England as you depart from London. You will now travel to Edinburgh to begin your scenic Scotland adventure. A YMT representative will welcome you at Edinburgh airport and transfer you to your hotel while the rest of your day is at leisure.

Day 11

Edinburgh

This morning we take the short drive to Edinburgh for an included panoramic tour of Scotland’s capital city which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sights will include the Royal Scottish Academy, The Georgian House, St. Giles Cathedral, The Scottish Parliament, Palace of Holyroodhouse and Greyfriars Bobby. The highlight and finale of this morning’s tour is the included entrance to Edinburgh Castle where you will see the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny as well as Edinburgh’s oldest building, St. Margaret’s Chapel. Once the tour ends around lunch time, you are free to remain in the city and explore on your own or you may wish to join our afternoon optional tour to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia docked at Leith, Edinburgh’s official port. (B)
✦Best Western Plus Keavil House, Dunfermline or similar

Day 12

Edinburgh to The Highlands

First stop at the iconic Scone Palace in the city of Perth. Scone Palace is the home of the Earl of Mansfield and it has been the seat of parliaments and the crowning place of the Kings of Scots. Robert the Bruce was crowned here in 1306 and the last coronation was of Charles II in 1651. Continue to the Victorian spa town of Pitlochry, known as a gateway to the Highlands where you’ll enjoy some free time. Before you reach your hotel, the scenic drive will take you into and through Cairngorms National Park, home to Britain’s highest and most massive mountain range. (B, D) ✦Hotel Nethybridge or similar

Day 13

The Highlands

In the morning you will visit the historic site of the Battle of Culloden Moor just minutes away from Inverness. Here the scene was set for the big defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish Clans in the spring of 1746. At the Visitor Center enjoy an innovative and interactive exhibit about the battle and the area’s history. No trip to Scotland would be complete without learning about Scotch Whiskey. After an informative tour of a distillery, you will also be able to taste the final product. (B, D) ✦Hotel Nethybridge or similar

Day 14

Loch Ness & Inverness

Enjoy stunning views of Inverness and the Moray Firth as you make your way into the Great Glen, world famous as the setting for Loch Ness. At up to 755 feet, the lake has plenty of hiding space for the mythical Loch Ness Monster, or “Nessie” as she is referred to locally. You’ll take a short scenic cruise on the loch which finishes at Urquhart Castle, where you will have time to explore the ruins dating back to the 13th century. In the afternoon, you will have time to explore the capital of the Highlands, Inverness. (B) ✦Hotel Nethybridge or similar

Day 15

Isle of Skye & Western Highlands

Your tour takes you to the Isle of Skye, one of the Inner Hebrides islands. You will visit the Clan Donald Centre, a heritage center for what used to be the biggest clan in Scotland, ruling the western part of the country and the islands. A short ferry crossing will then take you back to the mainland and you continue to Fort William, near the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis (4,409 feet). (B) ✦Hotel Ben Nevis or similar

Day 16

Argyll & Glasgow

The itinerary takes you farther south along the rugged shoreline and into Argyll. First, you will visit Inveraray Castle, home to the Duke of Argyll, the head of Clan Campbell. An Inveraray Castle has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400’s, although the buildings we see today were rebuilt after a fire in 1877. En route, there will be a short break on the banks of Loch Lomond (the largest loch in Scotland). After leaving the tranquility of the Loch Lomond area, your trip takes you into Glasgow, the biggest city in Scotland. (B)
✦Holiday Inn Express Riverside or similar

Day 17

Glasgow

During a panoramic morning city tour, you will see the remnants of the monastery at Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis, an ancient cemetery in the middle of the city. The tour will also take you to the most popular park in town, the Glasgow Green. You will also visit George Square, named after King George III and the de facto center of Glasgow. Enjoy a free afternoon in this city. This evening there is an included farewell dinner. (B, D)
✦Holiday Inn Express Riverside or similar

Day 18

Edinburgh to Dublin

Today, bid farewell to Scotland, as you fly to Dublin for the next stage of your tour. A YMT representative will welcome you at Dublin Airport and transfer you to the hotel while the rest of the day is at your leisure. Dublin is usually the first port of call for most visitors and this vibrant, colorful city offers a compelling mix of history, culture, traditional pubs, elegant architecture, great shopping and dining. The great thing about Dublin is that the city is compact, so the shops and restaurants, the River Liffey and many of the highlights are all within walking distance of each other and easy to explore on foot. ✦Sandymount Hotel or similar

Day 19

Dublin

This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the highlights of this richly historical city. See the Bank of Ireland, built in the 18th century to house the Parliament; and Leinster House, where the government convenes today. Stop to see famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral, originally built in 450 AD, then rebuilt in 1191. This afternoon is at leisure and you have plenty of time to visit Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, a 9th-century version of the Christian gospels (entrance fee applies) or take a stroll down Grafton Street in the center of Dublin. (B) ✦Sandymount Hotel or similar

Day 20

Dublin to Waterford

Today, we begin our motor coach tour of Ireland heading south to our first destination, the Rock of Cashel – a cluster of historic ruins that sits on a towering hilltop rising 200 feet above the surrounding plains. This afternoon we arrive in Waterford, the oldest city in Ireland and home to the famous crystal. We have an included tour of the factory where you can learn about the manufacturing process, following which there will be time to browse the gift shop and largest Waterford Crystal collection in the world. (B) ✦Tower Hotel, Waterford or similar

Day 21

Waterford to Killarney

This morning we continue on to Cobh, the Titanic’s last port of call in 1912. Learn the history of the town when we visit the Cobh Heritage Centre and watch the multimedia exhibition in the Victorian Railway Station. Cobh was also the departure point for over 2.5 million emigrating Irish, the majority to the US, and you’ll learn their full story as it is told in the exhibition. Next we visit Blarney Castle, one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic castles. Explore the castle, and if you want to climb the 125 steps of the spiral staircase, perhaps kiss the Blarney Stone, so you can, as tradition says, acquire the “Gift of the Gab.” Our tour ends today in Killarney where you spend the next two nights. (B, D) ✦Killarney Oaks or similar

Day 22

Ring of Kerry Excursion

This morning we take one of Europe’s most famous drives, the Ring of Kerry, offering spectacular scenery of lakes and rivers on the Iveragh Peninsula. Back in Killarney this evening, perhaps you’ll want to relax at the hotel or explore the village at your leisure. (B) ✦Killarney Oaks or similar

Day 23

Killarney to Galway

Today our first stop is Bunratty Castle & Folk Park to see one of the most complete and authentic medieval fortresses in Ireland. Built in 1425, the castle was restored in 1954 to its former splendor and contains 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries and works of art. You will have time to wander through the castle where the upper floors and restored rooms are accessible by spiral staircase. There will be time to explore the surrounding park, with its cottages that appear just as they would have in medieval times. Next, we drive through the scenic Burren area, stopping to view the picturesque Cliffs of Moher, with incredible views of the Atlantic. We arrive in the Galway area by late afternoon. (B, D) ✦Clare Galway Hotel or similar

Day 24

Galway to Sligo

Today, we first travel through the beautiful and rugged landscape of the Connemara region, then, on through the quiet hills and maze of gentle lakes and rivers. Next we visit the palatial Kylemore Abbey, majestically nestled at the base of Druchruach Mountain. Our drive continues through Westport, and today’s journey ends late this afternoon when we arrive in the Sligo area. (B, D) ✦Hotel Radisson Blu Sligo or similar

Day 25

Sligo to Belfast

This morning we enjoy a delightful 30-minute visit to Belleek Pottery, learning about the history and creation of delicate Irish porcelain with time to buy souvenirs in their store. Next, we visit the Ulster and American Folk Park, a living history settlement with outdoor and indoor exhibits showing Ireland in the mid- 1800s, and the story of how and why so many Irish immigrated to America. Continues east to Belfast for the next two nights. (B, D)
✦Park Inn Belfast or similar

Day 26

Giant’s Causeway

Today enjoy a scenic excursion all the way to the North Channel of the Irish Sea. We drive along the beautiful coastal road and take in stunning scenery. We spend time exploring “The Giant’s Causeway,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site with remarkable rock formations made up of over 40,000 hexagonal stacks. The stacks are said to be 50 million years old, and some are up to 40 feet tall! (B) ✦Park Inn Belfast or similar

Day 27

Belfast and Dublin

This morning we make an included visit to Titanic Belfast, the new $150 million Titanic visitor experience in the city where the doomed liner was built. Here you will see full-scale reconstructions and learn about her conception, through her construction and launch to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise in 1912. The journey goes beyond the aftermath of the sinking, to the discovery of the wreck and continues into the present day with a live undersea exploration center. We will continue on a panoramic motor coach tour of the city taking in sights such as the impressive Parliament buildings at Stormont, Belfast City Hall and the murals of the Falls Road. In the afternoon we drive south to Dublin for your final evening in Ireland and a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B, D) ✦Sandymount Hotel or similar

Day 28

Depart Dublin for Home

Today, bid farewell to Ireland, taking home a suitcase full of memories and stories to share about your YMT Irish vacation! Note: This tour is not suitable for those who have difficulty walking. The included sightseeing and optional tours will involve walking and standing, steps, stairs and uneven ground at ancient sites and other locations. Accommodations used throughout this tour are commonly situated in rural, scenic areas and local amenities may be limited.

Please note that this is a proposed itinerary; the actual itinerary may vary due to season, special events, or weather. Because our tour arrangements are often made a year or more in advance, YMT Vacations reserves the right to alter the itinerary. Itinerary changes are made to improve your vacation experience, as well as respond to any unforeseen circumstances that mandate alterations. By their nature, all tours vacations involve a certain level of physical activity. While YMT tours have been designed with our guests in mind and are not physically demanding, this tour does include walking and periods of standing during the sightseeing visits. You will also encounter steps and some uneven ground along the way, particularly at older, historical sights.