Two capitals of two legendary nations, each with their own attractions, their own energy and their own charms, Dublin and London offer the pinnacle experiences of urban life. Their gloriously unique and uniquely glorious histories have so much to recommend them, it’s impossible to choose just one. So why should you?
Arrival in Dublin
Welcome to Ireland, where the strains of the harp mingle with the dashing smiles of its charismatic citizens, always ready with a quick smile and a long story. Tonight sees you at a luxurious hotel in the vibrant heart of the city, mere minutes from the public houses that dot the city and offer a history all their own.
A Day Around Ireland’s Capital City
Explore this incredible capital, with calls to its literary past inscribed on every building, every street corner, on even the streets themselves. Tour as a true Dubliner—you’ll find Dublin one of the very best walking cities on Earth—or on a double-decker tour bus, stopping at every major site and giving you an elevated view of the city’s life.
Explore the lawns and statuary throughout the main yard at Trinity College before wandering the hallowed halls of the Old Library and the stunning beauty of the Book of Darrow and the Book of Kells, feeling the spirit of the Nobel Laureates and famous scribblers that called this majestic school their alma mater. Shrink in the awesome power of Dublin Castle, the stronghold for the British in Ireland for centuries, and marvel at the incredible history of the book and the written word at the near-by Chester Beatty Library, one of the most underrated and unknown museums in the city.
Feel the awe and reverence at Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the two national ecclesiastical edifices of Ireland’s competing faiths, or be humbled by the secular fervor of the rebels of 1919 who were housed in Kilmainham Gaol, now honored by one of the finest exhibits in Dublin. And, of course, discover the ins and outs of the most famous exports from Dublin by touring the Jameson Distillery and enjoying a perfectly poured pint eight stories above the street at the Guinness Storehouse, replete with the best view of Dublin that can be had.
A Two-Day Tour of the Irish Countryside
Ireland tours will fill you with beauty and romance as you dedicate two days to the Irish countryside. You head west into the rugged heart of Ireland, through the rolling hills of the Wicklow Mountains and into the countryside that gave Ireland its deserved appellation, the Emerald Isle. An early train ride gives you an opportunity to see this indescribable land in the glow of the morning sun and prepares you for a day of adventure and discovery. Venture to County Cork and climb the steps of Blarney Castle and osculate the legendary Blarney Stone, endowing your lips with the truly Irish gift of gab.
A delicious and traditional lunch awaits you in Cork city, where you can explore this rebellious city, denounced by Dubliners as uncivilized but prized by its denizens as the true capital of Ireland. Then it’s onward to Cobh, formerly Queenstown, where the unparalleled “Queenstown Experience” Exhibit will give you a sense of Irish life in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the struggles and hopes of emigration and the transient glory of the unsinkable Titanic, who was last docked at Queenstown on her fateful maiden voyage. Your final stop in Killarney will be sure to energize your spirits, as this lively and tidy town features one of the most eclectic mixes of nightlife on the island; and when sleep finally takes you, your comforting accommodations at the local bed and breakfast will be sure to send you straight to Morpheus’s domain.
West to Dingle, East to London
Prepare to traverse the entire country, as today takes you from the western-most point of Ireland back to Dublin in the heart of the Pale. Take a spectacular drive round the singular Ring of Kerry and be swept up in the panoply of nature that will gently and completely take your breath away. Your eyes will feat on the varied hues that are the hallmark of this gorgeous region, from the lush green of the Gap of Dunloe and the deep azure of the Lakes of Killarney, to the red hides of the last wild deer herd in Ireland and the rough grey stone that compose daunting castle keeps.
Stare back east from the Ladies View over the beautiful expanse of Killarney National Park and gaze west to the New World from Dingle Peninsula, the last tract of Ireland before it is swallowed in the mighty Atlantic. A return train takes you to Dublin, where you leave this charming nation and cross its eponymous sea for a visit to its eastern neighbor and its stalwart capital, the great world city of London.
A Tour of London, the Center of the Empire
Greet the London morning with a delicious breakfast before losing yourself to the might and power of the city that was the center of the world for more than two centuries. Your tour of this incomparable metropolis begins at Victoria State, the central hub of London’s rail system with an edifice that matches the grandeur of the height of the British Empire. From here, travel to the iconic Palace of Westminster, the Gothic masterpiece where Parliament meets to handle the affairs of state and where Big Ben, the world’s most famous bell, tolls out the time every hour.
From the political center of London, move on to discover its cultural center, the dashing and verve of the city’s West End, home to the theater district and Piccadilly Circus, powerful monuments like Trafalgar Square, and Downing Street, the residences of the prime minister and his cabinet.
Thence to Buckingham Palace, one of the world’s most stunning palaces, where you’ll witness the pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guards. Recharge with a hearty lunch – and maybe an ale or two – at a traditional London pub before trekking to magnificent Saint Paul’s, the magnum opus of Sir Christopher Wren and the dominant fixture of the London skyline for more than 300 years. Discover the awesome history of this mighty church, which has seen royal weddings and state funerals, and which represented the brave and unconquerable spirit of the British people during the Nazi Blitz of World War II. The bravest and best-winded among you might want to climb the stairs to the base of the dome to gaze over the heart of London and the serpentine River Thames.
Wrap up at the enduring symbol of the British Crown at you tour the ancient Tower of London. Standing in one form or fashion since the first modern King of England staked his claim, the Tower features prominently in a number of English historical narratives, from the Princes in the Tower during the reign of Richard III to the legendary Tower Ravens, whose disappearance or flight from the Tower will signal the fall of the British Crown. But there is fun to be had in this venerable hall as well: try to work a smile or a mere crack in the thorny exterior of the Legendary Coldstream Guards, and dazzle your eyes with the Crown Jewels, including coronation crowns and scepters from George I to Elizabeth II and the supposedly cursed Koh-I-Noor. Your tour ends with a river cruise of the Thames, or a return to Victoria Station with your guide.
Because One Day in London Just Isn’t Enough
Your second day in London goes where to the places you might have missed yesterday, and is sure to wow you even more than the day before. Begin with a ride on the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe that takes more than three and half million people around its massive diameter every year; be sure to arrive at least an hour early, as you might otherwise not get a seat. Next, engage in an older, more established bit of tourism as you explore the interior of Westminster Abbey, London’s most famous mausoleum and the final resting place for some of England’s most celebrated citizens. See Queen Elizabeth and her sister Bloody Mary housed in a common sarcophagus one on top of the other, and two of England’s most famous Edwards, St. Edward the Confessor and Edward I, the Hammer of the Scots. Common men repose here as well: Sir Isaac Newton’s tomb is one of the most impressive in the Abbey, and Poet’s Corner houses the remains of or monuments to the more important names in English letters, from Shakespeare to Spenser, from Browning to Blake, from Dickens to Eliot and Chaucer to Kipling.
Should you want to explore the domain of the world’s foremost playwright, you’ll certainly want to venture to Shakespeare’s Globe, while history buffs must visit the unparalleled British Museum, housing a collection of more than eight million pieces from sites around the world. You’ll be wowed by the impressive assortment of classical Greek and Roman statuary, the extensive cuneiform collection highlighted by the Epic of Gligamesh, one of the world’s oldest surviving works of literature, and the finest assortment of Egyptian objects on the planet, highlighted by the Rosetta Stone, the most famous translator of all time.
The Highlights of South England
Venture beyond the limits of London to the greatest spectacles to be found on the South English plains. Start at Windsor Castle, the longest occupied palace in Europe and home to beautiful and diverse staterooms that are some of the finest examples of Georgian high style in the United Kingdom. Tour the immaculate grounds in and around the castle, and kneel to be knighted at St. George’s Chapel, the headquarters of the Order of the Garter, the highest order of English chivalry. Interred within St. George’s walls are some of the most noteworthy rulers in British history, including the inconstant King Henry VIII and George III, the intended recipient of the American colonies’ Declaration of Independence.
From Windsor you head southwest to the plains of Salisbury and the ancient marvel of Stonehenge. A structure so legendary that its creation has been explained as the work of aliens or wizards, the mysteries of Stonehenge, and its primal inspiration, will be sure to leave a mark on your heart. Whether it was meant as a solar observatory or a meeting place for the ancient druids, a place of sacrifice or celebration, the incredible standing stones are sure to arouse the neo-pagan in even the most stolid monotheist, and leave you questioning if there might be something to this pantheism after all.
Today ends at the unique and unforgettable city of Bath, with the Georgian styling of its Royal Crescent, the ruins of a great Roman temple and, of course, its celebrated hot springs that have been a tourist destination since the time of the Caesars. Take in the spectacular fan vaulting and quaint carvings at Bath Abbey and cross the Pulteney Bridge before taking a quick dip into one of the city’s famous pools. You’ll also be delighted to see how many of the city’s decorated pigs you can find: be sure to keep count, as there are more than 100 in all.
Back for More of Swinging London
Today gives you a final chance to catch all of London that you might have missed, or to return to those places you found truly enchanting. Perhaps you’ll chose seek out the bar at the famous Savoy Hotel, the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous cocktails, after working up a thirst at Harrods, the world’s most famous department store, featuring an incredible storefront and storerooms that are decorated in ways that would make museum curators swoon. You can also enjoy a pleasant afternoon stroll through Hyde’s Park, a beautiful swath of greenery that offers a calming juxtaposition to the commotion outside its walls.
Today sees you saying goodbye to these two fascinating nations that have so shaped the history of the world in which we live. Two fantastic capitals, two unforgettable country landscapes, two peoples that brighten your heart with their warmth and charm, are all sure to add up to one vacation you’ll never want to end.
- Walk the wide and winding streets of Dublin while taking in the history of this ancient city, from the library at Trinity College to the nave of St. Patrick’s, all while engaging with the warm and welcoming locals
- Take the train to County Cork to see the rebellious west, from the fascinating exhibits at Cobh to the legendary Blarney Castle
- Encounter the end of Ireland at Dingle Peninsula and take one of the most unforgettable rides of your life around the one-of-a-kind Ring of Kerry
- Tour mighty London, experiencing the best of the capital’s cultural hotbeds, from the British Museum to the Tower of London
- Stand in awe and reverence in the presence of greatness at Westminster Abbey, tour the recreation of Shakespeare’s own playhouse, and soar above the city in the iconic London Eye
- Discover the ancient allure of Stonehenge, the stolid and puissant Windsor Castle, and the soothing retreat of the spas at Bath
Separated by the Irish Sea and a gulf of culture, London and Dublin are two cities that share much in common, but are each proudly and prominently one-of-a-kind. This 9-day tour gives you a chance to explore the must-sees of these world capitals, as well as the opportunity to discover the high points of the country surrounding them.
Stroll the streets of Dublin and revel in her fun-loving atmosphere as you encounter a panoply of Irish treasures, from the home of Guinness to the incomparable Book of Kells. Head west and lose yourself in the acmes of the Irish countryside like the mesmerizing Dingle Peninsula and the overwhelming Ring of Kerry. Then turn cross into Great Britain and her world famous capital, experiencing the finest of London and southern England, from the grandeur and ceremony of Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London to the eternal esotericisms of Stonehenge.
From the carefree perambulations along Grafton Street to a ride on the Tube from Victoria Station; from the reverential history of the British Museum to the inspiring romanticism of County Kerry; from the lilts of Irish storytellers to the formal and elegant tongues of the English well-to-do, you’ll find the entire spectrum of Western civilization reflected in these remarkable capital cities. If ever you’ve dreamed of visiting two places at once, this vacation was designed for you.
$3,370 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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