Highlights of Britain and Ireland Tour

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Total Trip:

10 Days
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Countries Visited:

England, Ireland
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Places Visited:

London, Cardiff, Waterford, Kilkenny, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Gretna Green, Grasmere, York, Leeds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, Windsor, Fishguard
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Your custom-tailored highlights of Britain and Ireland tour takes you on a journey through the British Isles and Ireland, showing you their interconnected, yet diverse histories, from Celtic mythology to Roman ruins, English kings to treasured scenery. The sunlight shines through stories etched into the colorful stained glass windows decorating York’s historic abbey. An imposing castle stands atop a cliff overlooking Edinburgh. Images of the Titanic fill the harbor at Belfast. Whispered histories

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Magic of London

London has been the seat of power of England, Britain, and the British Empire for a millennium, reaching as far as India and China, and as locally as the streets surrounding the House of Parliament. The city has an incomparable collection of history and modernity, blending antique buildings with contemporary restaurants pushing the boundaries of traditional British cuisine. Refurbished buildings containing rare bookshops hold a first edition Price and Prejudice. You arrive in the city and find the energetic streets refreshing.

Boutique shops and cafes line cobblestone alleys; opulent department stores and arcades fill with Londoners enjoying the hours after work. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to your luxurious hotel centered in the heart of London. The remainder of the day is yours to stroll around the city as you please, visiting the banks of the famous River Thames and enjoying the gentle breeze of the brushes against the historic waters and the contemporary rails of the Millennium Bridge.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Day 2

Meeting the Bard

In the morning, a fresh English breakfast greets you. The savory taste of eggs, bacon, beans, and mushrooms gets you ready for your first day exploring Britain. Your guide meets you in the morning, and you watch the turrets of the London Tower and the steeples of Westminster Abbey fade behind the lush rolling hills of the English countryside. To the northwest of the city is the hometown of William Shakespeare, known as Stratford-upon-Avon. The charm of the town comes from its traditional ambiance set in timber-styled homes with sloping tiled roofs.

The Avon River has a quiet current brushing against the edges of the city. In summer and spring, delightful flowers blossom in the gardens. Your guide points out the house where the celebrated bard grew up. Fans of Shakespeare have visited the house since the 19th century, some going so far as to scratch their names into the windows. The interior has been restored to present traditional Tudor style rooms, often enhanced by the presence of certain Shakespearean characters presenting themselves for the enjoyment of passerby.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 3

Lakeside Romance

The Gothic spires of York Minster contrast the vibrant hues cast by the stained glass windows decorating the walls. After breakfast, your guide leads you out of York and into the stunning York Dales. Villages dot the countryside, decorating the lush hills rolling into the distance. You pass over the dales and arrive at the breathtaking scenery of the Lakes District, notable for the sensational landscape and as a favored escape to the Romantic writers such as Lord Byron and Percy Shelly. Lake Windermere is the largest lake in the district, stretching 10.5 miles. The lushness of the countryside shines against the reflective waters of the ancient glacial lake.

The scent of evergreen and pine lingers in the air. In the village of Grasmere, you discover the endless charm of a traditional English town, including the preserved relics of poet William Wordsworth. His cottage sits behind a waist-high wall made of stones. The thatched roof dangles over blossoming flowers and foliage. Lively trees surround the white-stone cottage like an elegant natural frame. You continue northbound, passing through the quiet treasure of Gretna Green, and over the border into Glasgow, Scotland.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Historically Rich, Capital Wealth

In the morning, the sunlight washes over the Victorian architecture side-by-side with modern twists. Your guide escorts you on a full day excursion to the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh, where the majesty of Scotland’s past comes into view. Upon entering the city, it is impossible not to notice Edinburgh Castle adorning Castle Rock and dominating the city’s skyline. Georgian architecture borders the Royal Mile connecting Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. Cobblestone walkways turn into narrow alleys winding around historic buildings. Fireplaces roar inside cozy pubs.

Antique stores fill antiquated buildings sunken below the raised streets. Your guide leads you through the gates of Edinburgh castles, constructed in the 12th century. However, a castle has watched over the city from Castle Rock since 850 BC. The forecourt leads to the Portcullis Gate where a lion shield adorns the arched entryway. The power of the structure remains and continues to marvel visitors from around the world. A 17th century iron cannon known as Mons Meg looks over the city from the ramparts, aiming outward with continued intimidation.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 5

Orienting Ireland

Your day begins in Glasgow, surrounded by the rugged beauty of the once industrial city. After breakfast, you venture to the harbor for a short ferry ride to the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast. The city remembers its past, understanding its history, but the tension has evaporated, leaving a renewed and unique cityscape to enjoy. Luxury apartments line the old Lagan shipyards. Taxi tours lead locals along the contemporary walls that divided Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. Your guide leads you to Titanic Quarter, the former shipyards that once constructed the RMS Titanic, located on the eastern edge of the River Lagan.

The Titanic Belfast Center is located in an angular, glistening building commemorating the word’s most famous, and also infamous, luxury ocean liner. The exhibits bring the Titanic to vigorous life, animating photos, projecting a soundtrack, from the horn of the ship to the music the band played. A high-tech encompassing recreation of the shipyards takes you through the sights, sounds, and aromas of the city during its rise to industrial stardom in the 20th century. Catch the scent of the sea and sounds of welders working through the day.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Desirable Dublin

Dublin’s millennium of history shows itself immediately, draped in the stone buildings and meandering cobblestone streets. Traces of a Viking past date to the 9th century, overpowered by medieval cathedrals and castles, until brushed with opulence during the 18th century. Georgian architecture creates a handsome cityscape along the River Liffey. A full Irish breakfast meets you in the morning, accompanied by flavorful soda bread. You venture out into the city of luxury, history, and modernity, following your guide to Trinity College.

The university remains Ireland’s most prestigious and was established in the 16th century by Elizabeth I. The erudite ambiance lingers from the days when the elite were educated on philosophy and the importance of empires. The architectural beauty remains. Doric columns decorate the entryway to Examination Hall. A central pediment adorns Regent’s house. Neo-Classical elements preserve the integral history of the campus and add to the proud traditions of the University, its students, and surrounding Dublin.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

Castle of Kilkenny

Today you move away from the mixture of past and present cultures of Dublin, and journey into the Ireland of your imagination at Kilkenny. Bits of fossilized seashells fill gray limestone and reflect the sun along the buildings of Kilkenny City. It is a picture perfect medieval city of narrow lands and ancient buildings, wedged between a dramatic castle and a graceful cathedral situated on the banks of the River Nore. The castle was erected in-between the late 12th and early 13th centuries by William Marshal.

Three out of the four original towers survive. Rows of windows provide natural light into the gray-stoned structure. When you reach the Long Gallery, you find a display of portraits commemorating the Butler Family, the oldest portrait dating back tot the 17th century. Celtic mythology decorates the timber roof, and a Carrara marble fireplace enhances the elegance of the room. More than 49 acres of parkland frames an enchanting view of Mount Leinster in the distance. The scent of freshly blossomed roses emanates from the rose garden manicured to resemble a Celtic cross.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Across the Irish Sea

In the morning, the Irish Sea has a depth of color, layered with azure and Aegean. You board the ferry and arrive in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The ultramodern waterfront is emblematic of a city looking forward. The ancient fort reminds the city and its inhabitants to always remember where they came from. The music scene has erupted into popularity, along with the chic crowds spilling into the contemporary rugby stadium to cheer on the national team. You reach Cardiff Castle and ascend the picturesque medieval keep, standing on a small knoll with a rugged stone walkway and a stairwell leading to the entrance.

The castle was constructed in the late 11th century over a 3rd century Roman fort. The outer shell houses a variety of romantic additions over the centuries, including a Victorian-era clock tower and an extravagant banquet hall. The castle practically epitomizes the history of Cardiff inside the walls; the waving Welsh flag with the emboldened dragon gracing its center. The scent of the stone mixes with the fresh grass surrounding grounds. The clock tower rises 131 feet above the level land. It feels like a fantasy, decorated with Norse gods, mahogany, and mirrors.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Comparing Grace

In the morning, you leave behind the seaside grandeur of the blended past and present of Cardiff. After visiting the quaint Georgian city of Bath, you continue to Windsor, the oldest and largest continuously inhabited castle in the world. Glamor and pomp exude from Windsor town near the castle, filled with elegant boutique shops and exquisite cafes. The castle was constructed in the 11th century and has remained in use since its inception. The walkway leading to the castle is a single wide-lane lined with bulging, dense trees.

The castle overtakes 13 acres of land with features encompassing fortifications, a palace, and the small town of Windsor. Georgian and Victorian designs are most prevalent with embellishments of Gothic architecture combining tradition with a modern aesthetic. The middle ward has a stone keep raised 50 feet above the landscape and is fortified to create an extravagant picture of nobility set against the backdrop of the English countryside. The Round Tower creates an imposing height and silhouette overlooking the main gate. When the guard changes, the military band plays loudly, and the guards stomp their feet with verve, their red uniforms shining in the late-morning light.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 10

Away from the British Isles

In the morning, the sounds of London return to the streets, beginning with the peel of Big Ben. The sunlight shimmers on the surface of the River Thames; the current brushes underneath the shadows of the London Tower Bridge. The grace and elegance, along with the diversity of British history, has shown itself each and every day of your island exploration. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to Heathrow International Airport but instead of returning home, you could always stay a while longer to see more of captivating cultures of Europe.

If the prospect of extending your luxury adventure is appealing to you, consider browsing our other England tours.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Discover the postcard-perfect castles in the British countryside that look as though they were taken straight from a storybook
  • Stroll along the quiet streets of Shakespeare’s Home Town at Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Come face to face with elegant crystals in a Waterford Crystal Showroom
  • Witness the exquisite colors in the stained glass windows at the famous York Minster
  • Traverse the historic cobblestone streets of Edinburgh, from the charming Royal Mile to famous Princes Street
  • View the spectacular Roman bathhouse in the enchanting English city of Bath
  • Experience the interactive building of the Titanic at the Titanic Belfast Experience, where the luxury liner was built  
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Detailed Description

Photos of reflective lakes and fairytale castles become real on your 10-day journey across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Wales. Rugged coastal cliffs show their majesty. Shakespearean allure proves charming in London and Stratford-upon-Avon. Historic cities grow from Roman ruins and nearby opulent palaces. Your adventure of the highlights of Britain and Ireland tour begins with your arrival in London. Your private transfer meets you at Heathrow International Airport and escorts you to a luxury hotel located in the heart of the city.

The remainder of the day is yours to explore the wonderful history of the city gracing the shores of the River Thames. The following day, your guide meets you at the hotel and leads you out of the city, northbound to Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.  Consider learning more about your luxury England travel agents who strive to make your trip memorable and extraordinary to the highest degree. Continue to the captivating medieval city of York to tour the narrow streets and Gothic cathedrals. Next, you travel through the Yorkshire Dales and into the picturesque scenery of the Lakes District. Visit local villages before continuing through Gretna Green along the Scottish border, and into Glasgow. 

Discover the beauty of Edinburgh on a full day guided tour, taking you along the charming cobblestone streets of the old city. You travel along the Ayrshire coast and ferry across to Belfast, Northern Ireland, visiting City Hall and the exhilarating Titanic Belfast Experience en route to the Irish capital of Dublin. Explore the beauty of Dublin, from its past, to present, on a half-day tour leaving you the remainder of the day to enjoy the marvels of the city at your leisure.

Next, experience the enchanting countryside of Kilkenny and the fairytale castle decorating the landscape. At the House of Waterford Crystal, you enter into an exquisite showroom displaying a cast of elegant pieces. Traverse the Irish Sea by ferry to the Welsh capital of Cardiff, which boasts stunning modern architecture brushing against antique buildings. Then find yourself in the quaint streets of Bath brimming with Georgian architecture and a Roman bathhouse, along with the extravagance of Winsor Palace. On your final morning, you can relax with a full English breakfast at your lavish London hotel, where your private transfer will escort you to Heathrow International Airport. 

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Starting Price

$3745 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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