Grand Tour of Britain & Ireland (9050)

18 Day Tour from London to London

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Experience the best of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales on this in-depth exploration tour of the British Isles. Begin your vacation in London with a full day to enjoy the city on your own or to take optional tours, then visit enigmatic Stonehenge with its new visitor center and imaginative exhibitions. Drive through Dartmoor National Park, setting for The Hound of the Baskervilles, and visit Widecombe-in-the-Moor, before arriving in Plymouth, starting point for the Pilgrims’ 1620 voyage. Hear about legendary King Arthur in Glastonbury and explore elegant Georgian Bath, famous for its Roman ruins. Leave England, cross into Wales, and arrive in the capital city Cardiff for an orientation drive. Ferry across St. George’s Channel to Ireland, stopping in Blarney, famous for the legendary “Stone of Eloquence,” and in the popular resort of Killarney. Along the scenic “Ring of Kerry” coastal route, see sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, and the spectacular Lakes of Killarney. Savor more splendid views from the shores of the Dingle Peninsula, and in Adare, take photographs of the lovely thatched cottages. Spend the night in the market town of Ennis before heading west to the spectacular 668-foot Cliffs of Moher. Travel via Galway to Dublin, Ireland’s capital, where you’ll see all the major sights. Cross the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey, then motor to 2,000-year-old Chester in England. Head north through the Lake District, and cross the border into Scotland. Spend the night in Glasgow before traveling into the Highlands. Follow the banks of mysterious Loch Ness on the way to Inverness. Cross Culloden Moor and stop at St. Andrews, the home of golf, founded in 1754. Spend two nights in regal Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, and visit mighty Edinburgh Castle on your guided tour. Continue south to see a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes. Stop in York, England’s most complete medieval city; enjoy time in Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon; and drive through the scenic Cotswolds on your way back to London for the finale of your unforgettable vacation.
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 Destinations & Sightseeing

Inside visits and special features:
Shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.

Sightseeing:
Visits to Stonehenge, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Plymouth, Glastonbury, Bath, Tenby, Blarney, Killarney, Adare, Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Liverpool, Grasmere, Gretna Green, Glasgow, Fort William, Culloden Moor, Pitlochry, St. Andrews, Edinburgh Castle, tickets for Edinburgh Military Tattoo (departure numbers July 23 through August 13), Jedburgh, Hadrian’s Wall, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon; orientation drives in Cardiff, Dublin; walking tours in Chester, York

Guides:

Local Guide for city sightseeing in Edinburgh; host service in London; professional Tour Director while touring

Scenic Highlights:
Salisbury Plain, Dartmoor National Park, Ring of Kerry and Lakes of Killarney, Dingle Peninsula, The Burren, Lake District National Park, Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, Loch Lomond, Northumberland National Park, Cotswold Hills

Transportation:

Transportation:
Private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach; round-trip Irish Sea crossings by day ferry

 Meals

 Meals & Itinerary

Full English breakfast daily; 5 three-course dinners with choice of menus

 Itinerary

Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.

Day 1 Arrive in London, England

Uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.

Day 2 London

What’s your pleasure? Today is devoted to exploring on your own or enjoying our exciting program of optional activities. You may choose to join a Local Guide for an optional morning sightseeing tour of the city’s famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall's mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister's Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard (if held). Later on, maybe visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its spectacular Crown Jewels, and tonight, a leisurely cruise on the Thames River would be fun!

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 3 London–Stonehenge–Widecombe–Plymouth

Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and depart at 8 am for the West Country. Cross the chalky terrain of Wiltshire and visit STONEHENGE, one of England’s most intriguing mysteries. Explore the stunning visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument from up close. In the heart of Dartmoor National Park, ghostly setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, visit quaint Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Later, in Plymouth, hear about Sir Francis Drake and see the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 4 Plymouth–Glastonbury–Bath–Cardiff, Wales

Via Glastonbury and its associations with King Arthur to the elegant city of Bath, famed for its amazing Roman relics and Georgian buildings. Cross the spectacular Severn Bridge into Wales and head for the capital, Cardiff. Here, an orientation drive introduces you to all the major attractions: Cardiff Castle, Cathays Park, Millennium Stadium, and the stately civic buildings. A suggestion for tonight: why not join an evening of Welsh entertainment and dinner?

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 5 Cardiff–Tenby–Tramore, Ireland

Vistas of rich dairy farmland this morning on the way to the pretty seaside resort of Tenby. Then, on to Pembroke, departure point for the FERRY across St. George’s Channel to Ireland. Arrive at Rosslare in just under four hours.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 6 Tramore–Blarney–Killarney

Today, discover why Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle.” Drive along the southern coast, passing Cork, the country’s second-largest city. Stop in Blarney, famous for its Stone of Eloquence. Time to see the castle and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. After lunch, continue to the popular resort of Killarney. Tonight, enjoy the optional outing to Tralee for dinner and a performance at Siamsa Tire, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 7 Killarney. Ring of Kerry Excursion

At Killorglin, join the road known as the RING OF KERRY for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive: sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and spectacular views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. Back in Killarney, a special optional adventure: take a horse-drawn jaunting car along the national park lakeshore for pictures of Ross Castle.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 8 Killarney–Dingle Peninsula–Adare–Ennis

Breathtaking scenery this morning on the Dingle Peninsula, where the 32-mile Slea Head drive affords magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. See the Blasket Islands and hear about the way of life and unique literary achievements of its inhabitants prior to their evacuation in 1953. Then, travel via Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages, to Ennis. Tonight, consider joining an optional banquet at Knappogue Castle.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 9 Ennis–Cliffs of Moher–Galway–Dublin

A scenic route this morning via the CLIFFS OF MOHER and The Burren on the way to the port city of Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with colorful shops and a busy café and bar culture. Continue across the mighty Shannon before arriving into Dublin. The optional dinner suggestion is a fun Irish cabaret evening with dance, song, and laughter.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 10 Dublin

A day in the “Fair City” starts with an orientation drive through Eire’s capital, including statue-lined O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The rest of the day is at leisure. Why not join an optional dinner at the Guinness Storehouse?

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 11 Dublin–Chester, England–Liverpool

Take the FERRY across the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey with its tongue-twisting place names. Follow the North Wales coast to Chester, the ancient county town on the Dee River. See the Roman remains, black and white half-timbered buildings, and the two-tiered arcades called the “Rows.” Overnight in Liverpool, of Beatles fame and once the departure port of the great transatlantic liners.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 12 Liverpool–Lake District–Gretna Green, Scotland–Glasgow

Drive into the tranquil Lake District, often considered to be the finest of England’s national parks. Visit Grasmere, home of poet William Wordsworth, and over the border for a visit to Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Travel through the history-steeped Lowland Hills to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 13 Glasgow–Fort William–Inverness–Culloden Moor–Grantown-on-Spey

Along the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond and through wild Rannoch Moor into the Highlands. Via Glen Coe, where the MacDonald Clan was massacred in 1692, to Fort William beneath Ben Nevis. Then, the Great Glen for vistas of the Caledonian Canal, Loch Lochy, and Loch Oich. Follow the banks of Loch Ness, home of the timid and timeless Nessie. Continue via Inverness, the Highland capital, and on the way to tonight’s destination, stop at the battlefield of Culloden Moor with its memories of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 14 Grantown-on-Spey–Pitlochry–Perth–Dundee–St. Andrews–Edinburgh

Drive through more spectacular Highland scenery for a stop in the pretty Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry. The routing then takes in Perth and Dundee before crossing the Tay Bridge to St. Andrews, whose Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, has given us the rules of golfing. Continue through Fife and over the mighty Forth Road Bridge to spend the next two nights in Edinburgh. A suggestion for this evening: enjoy a traditional Scottish night out with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 15 Edinburgh

A full day to enjoy the Scottish capital. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town” and famous scientists, inventors, and novelists. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. Afternoon at leisure. Later, a unique optional experience: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia, which was once the perfect royal residence for glittering state visits and family holidays. Tour five decks and see how the Royal Family and crew of 240 lived and worked on board. Dinner rounds off this optional evening. For departure numbers July 23 through August 13, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 16 Edinburgh–Jedburgh–York, England–Sheffield

At Jedburgh, glimpse the house of Mary, Queen of Scots, and see the abbey ruins before heading towards the Cheviot Hills and the English border, then through wild Northumberland National Park. On the way, see a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes. In York, England’s most complete medieval city, stand in awe in front of the great structure of York Minster, then follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles. Overnight in Sheffield.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 17 Sheffield–Stratford-upon-Avon–London

In Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, take photos of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. After returning to London around 4 pm, how about celebrating the success of your tour with an optional night out on the town?

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 18 London

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Breakfast Breakfast

 Tour Director

With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.

GEOFF CORDWELL

Years of Experience: 32

No tour is ever the same, because each group of travelers is different-and it's the people that make this job interesting. I love the social aspect of the tours. They are full of like-minded and fun people who always get on well. When you add into the mix a dollop of history, a sprinkling of culture, and the great British and Irish countryside, then you have the perfect vacation!

Tour Director - GEOFF CORDWELL

 Accommodations

LONDON Novotel London West (F)
PLYMOUTH Jury Inn (F)
CARDIFF Park Inn (F)
TRAMORE Majestic (ST)
KILLARNEY Killarney Court (F)
ENNIS Auburn Lodge (ST)
DUBLIN Jurys Inn Custom House (F)
LIVERPOOL Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre (F)
GLASGOW Pond (F)
GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY Craiglynne (F)
EDINBURGH Novotel Edinburgh Park (F)
SHEFFIELD Jurys Inn (F)

 Optional Excursions

The following list of optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.

London
Cardiff
Killarney
Ennis
Dublin
Liverpool
Edinburgh

London

A Taste of London

A Taste of London

A unique chance to combine a traditional London pub experience with a relaxed, night-time river cruise, viewing some of the capital's most beautiful illuminated sights. Enjoy a three-course dinner with several local menu choices, including fish and chips and steak and ale pie at an historic London pub in the City of London. Following dinner you will enjoy scenic views from the comfort of your private cruiser. Highlights include Tower Bridge, St. Paul's and the Houses of Parliament, with commentary from your guide as you cruise along the River Thames.

Approximate value: £74 GBP per person

Afternoon Excursion to Windsor Castle

Afternoon Excursion to Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. One of the official residences of Queen Elizabeth II the castle is still used regularly for ceremonial and state occasions. Visit the magnificent State Apartments furnished with priceless works of art by Holbein, Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck. See wonderful St. George's Chapel the burial place of ten monarchs including Henry VIII and Charles I.

Approximate value: £49 GBP per person

Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews

Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews

Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty The Queen. During August and September when the Queen makes her annual visit to Scotland, the Palace's state rooms are open to visitors. These are the heart of the Palace, lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection which are used for ceremonial occasions and official entertaining. Before entry to the Palace you will visit the Royal Mews, one of the finest working stables still in existence. See the State vehicles, both horse-drawn carriages and cars, used for coronations, royal weddings and State Visits, including the magnificent Gold State Coach which has been used for every coronation since 1821 and was last used for The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Approximate value: £57 GBP per person

Shownight - Beautiful (Monday-Friday)

Shownight - Beautiful (Monday-Friday)

This fully escorted, door-to-door evening excursion includes a gourmet dinner at a first class restaurant. Choose from a tasty 3 course, 3 choice menu with wine and coffee. Dinner is followed by best seats to see the sensational musical BEAUTIFUL. Return transfers are included, and your Local Host accompanies you during this wonderful evening in London's West End. BEAUTIFUL is the untold story of Carole King8217's journey from schoolgirl to superstar; from her relationship with husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin, their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, to her remarkable rise to stardom.

Approximate value: £114 GBP per person

Shownight - Kinky Boots (Monday-Friday)

Shownight - Kinky Boots (Monday-Friday)

This fully escorted, door-to-door evening excursion includes a gourmet dinner at a first class restaurant. Choose from a tasty 3 course, 3 choice menu with wine and coffee. Dinner is followed by best seats to see the sensational musical KINKY BOOTS. Return transfers are included, and your Local Host accompanies you during this wonderful evening in London's West End. KINKY BOOTS is Broadway's huge hearted, high heeled hit and it's coming to London! With songs by Grammy and Tony award winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical celebration is about the friendship we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. With direction and choreography by two time Tony award winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and a book by Broadway legend and four time Tony award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), Kinky Boots is the winner of 6 Broadway Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Choreography. Take a step in the right direction and discover that sometimes the best way to fit in is to stand out...

Approximate value: £114 GBP per person

Sunday City Sightseeing

Sunday City Sightseeing

Morning Sightseeing with a Local Guide includes all the famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben beside the River Thames, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall's mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister's Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, if held.

Approximate value: £41 GBP per person

Tower of London and Crown Jewels

Tower of London and Crown Jewels

The Tower of London is one of the most famous historic buildings in the world. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066-1067, it has been guarded by Yeoman Warders (popularly known as the Beefeaters) since the 14th century. It has been a fortress, a royal palace, a prison, a place of execution, and an armory. It is most famously known as the home to the priceless Crown Jewels, including the solid gold crown used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Imperial State Crown and Sovereigns Sceptre, the incredible Cullinan diamonds, and the Koh-i-Noor.

Approximate value: £46 GBP per person

Cardiff

Welsh Evening

Welsh Evening

Wales is known as the land of song, fun and laughter, and Cardiff is the home of our entertaining evening of Welsh culture including dinner, music, song, poetry and history.

Approximate value: £66 GBP per person

Killarney

Jaunting Car Ride through the National Park

Jaunting Car Ride through the National Park

When visiting Killarney, a jaunting car ride should not be missed! Your "jarvey" will pick you up at the hotel and take you along Killarney National Park, Deer Park and on to Ross Castle on the shores of Lough Lein. There is time to take photographs of the restored 15th century castle in picture perfect setting, before taking a different route back to your hotel. All along the way, the driver will regale you with stories, anecdotes and local gossip.

Approximate value: £10 GBP per person

Killarney Pub Evening

Killarney Pub Evening

There is no better way to experience rural Ireland than to visit a traditional pub on this pre-dinner excursion. A scenic drive will take you to a traditional inn where live music is played. Join the locals in a bit of 'craic' while you enjoy two drinks of your choice and listen to some typical Irish music and songs.

Approximate value: £26 GBP per person

Siamsa Tire National Folk Theatre Performance

Siamsa Tire National Folk Theatre Performance

Irish entertainment in its purest form. This unique experience begins with a visit to Ireland's famous Rose town, Tralee, where you enjoy dinner with wine at a local restaurant. Then, take your seats at the Siamsa Tire National Folk Theatre where the legendary heritage of Ireland is re-enacted in compelling songs and dance. This theater does a truly magnificent job of re-creating Ireland's Celtic roots with glorious visual, musical and magical productions.

Approximate value: £58 GBP per person

Ennis

Knappogue Castle Banquet

Knappogue Castle Banquet

Come and enjoy the famous medieval banquet at Knappogue Castle. Set within a 15th century castle, costumed entertainers welcome you with a goblet of mead before serving a sumptuous four-course feast with wine, the ladies of the castle will entertain you with a program of music, song and dance, taking you on a journey from medieval times to the present day.

Approximate value: £60 GBP per person

Dublin

Guinness Storehouse Visit & Supper

Guinness Storehouse Visit & Supper

Guinness is known the world over - located in the heart of the St James's Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse, a former fermentation plant, has been remodeled into the shape of a giant pint of Guinness. This visit will teach you everything about the world famous beer: from how Guinness is made, to the ancient craft of barrel making in the cooperage. The highlight is the 7th floor Gravity Bar, where you will sample a pint of "the black stuff" and enjoy the breathtaking views across Dublin City. Round the evening off with an excellent buffet dinner with wine.

Approximate value: £55 GBP per person

Traditional Irish Cabaret Evening

Traditional Irish Cabaret Evening

The enchanting evening starts with a three-course dinner with wine and a traditional Irish coffee. Then enjoy an evening of quality entertainment, celebrating the best of everything Irish in comedy, music, song & dance from Ireland's leading entertainers. Enjoy a lively blend of traditional Irish dance, ballads and tunes. The dancers thrill audiences as they twirl and tap with exuberance to the musical accompaniment of the accordion, uileann pipes, guitar and piano. A fun and unforgettable evening.

Approximate value: £64 GBP per person

Liverpool

Liverpool Evening City Tour

Liverpool Evening City Tour

On this lively, informative city tour your Local Guide introduces you to this incredibly vibrant city. Hear why Liverpool was European City of Culture, and is renowned for its glorious maritime history, musical heritage, two of the Premier League's biggest soccer teams and two majestically different cathedrals. See some of the greatest 19th century civic buildings, discover the Cavern and where John, Paul, George and Ringo grew up.

Approximate value: £23 GBP per person

Edinburgh

Royal Yacht Britannia Excursion & Dinner

Royal Yacht Britannia Excursion & Dinner

Enjoy a visit to the former Royal Yacht Britannia, which was used on over 700 overseas visits and sailed over a million nautical miles. Having served royalty and prime ministers and hosted presidents, the last commissioned royal yacht offers a rare opportunity to explore areas not normally seen on a conventional visit to a royal residence; from the bridge through the private and state apartments, from the officer and crew quarters to the engine room. After the visit, dine at a fine local restaurant.

Approximate value: £59 GBP per person

Scottish Evening with Bagpipers and the Ceremony of the Haggis

Scottish Evening with Bagpipers and the Ceremony of the Haggis

No visit to Scotland's capital city would be complete without joining a Scottish evening. A piper welcomes you in traditional Scottish style, then savor a delicious four-course banquet with wine and let your host lead you through an evening of music, song and dance culminating in the traditional Ceremony of the Haggis and the joint singing of 'Auld Lang Syne' written by Robert Burns.

Approximate value: £67 GBP per person

 Know Before You Go

These Know Before You Go travel tips are designed with you in mind, with helpful hints to help you prepare for and enjoy your escorted vacation. They are your guide to getting ready and contain general information on travel documentation, customs, and the country/countries you will be visiting, including budgeting, transportation, climate, languages, and much more. With Globus, you benefit from our experience.



* The "Starting at" or listed price is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare; additional fees/charges are not included. If a price is crossed out, the new price includes a limited time promotional offer(s) – please review current promotions or deals for additional information. Some tours require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Cosmos).

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