Tour of Britain, Ireland, & Wales -Cosmos

Grand Tour of Britain & Ireland (9050)

18 Day Tour from London to London

2017 Tour Details

Experience the best of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales on this in-depth exploration tour of the British Isles. In between time in the major cities—London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Cardiff—visit some of the historic towns and witness some of the breathtaking scenery.

On any tour through Britain and Ireland, you’d expect to visit ancient ruins, majestic castles, and historic sights. That’s why Cosmos has included visits to prehistoric Stonehenge; Bath, known for its Roman ruins and baths; Edinburgh Castle, dating to the 12th century, where you’ll admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels; Hadrian’s Wall, the remains of the fortifications built by the Romans 2,000 years ago to defend against marauding northern tribes; the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620; Chester, where you’ll see the Roman remains and half-timbered buildings; the battlefield of Culloden Moor, where in 1746, the last battle was fought on British soil; and more.

You’d also expect to see stunning scenery and lush landscapes on a Britain and Ireland tour. That’s why Cosmos has included a drive around the Dingle Peninsula, a dramatic drive passing seaside villages, ancient monuments, and views of the Blasket Islands; a drive on the 100-mile Ring of Kerry, with its rugged and magnificent landscapes; the spectacular 668-foot Cliffs of Moher, where rugged cliffs drop into the ocean; a scenic drive through Snowdonia National Park in Wales; England’s tranquil Lake District, where you’ll stop for a photo at Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake; and drives through rich dairy farmland. In the Scottish Highlands, drive through the rolling terrain interspersed with lochs (lakes), picturesque towns, and the sparkling coastline. Watch for Nessie at Loch Ness, Scotland’s largest lake.

Bustling cities, smaller towns, historic sights, breathtaking landscapes, and much more are offered on this incredible Britain and Ireland tour.
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 Destinations & Sightseeing

Sightseeing:
Visits to Stonehenge, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Plymouth, Glastonbury, Bath, Tenby, Blarney, Killarney, Adare, Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Liverpool, Gretna Green, Glasgow, Fort William, Culloden Moor, Pitlochry, St. Andrews, Edinburgh Castle, tickets for Edinburgh Military Tattoo (departure numbers July 22 through August 12), Jedburgh, Hadrian’s Wall, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon; orientation drives in Cardiff, Dublin; walking tours in Chester, York. Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.

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

The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:

  • City of Bath
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire
  • Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City
  • Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
  • Stonehenge

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

Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, there’s time to rest or to start exploring the lively British capital; 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. 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 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. 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 featuring 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 in 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 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 and take your photographs of picturesque Lake Windermere. Then, visit 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

Skirt the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond and head 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,” home 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 22 through August 12, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 16 Edinburgh–Jedburgh–York, England–Sheffield

At Jedburgh, see the abbey ruins before heading towards the Cheviot Hills and the English border. Travel through wild Northumberland National Park, and 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.

TOM BURTCHAELL

Years of Experience: 1

I was brought up in a house where history and tourism were in the air and inevitably I caught the bug. My first ever tourism and hospitality job was as a young teen and I've been involved since. I have a passion for meeting people and imparting information on landscapes, history, geography and culture. I strive to create positive memories that will last long after the tour has finished.

Tour Director - TOM BURTCHAELL

 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 Parnell Street (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 optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased).

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)


London
Dublin
Liverpool
Edinburgh

London

London Eye
London Eye

London Eye

The London Eye is London's most popular attraction. Night or day the London Eye offers spectacular views of London from high above the River Thames. Famous landmarks to be seen include Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

Price Range: $

Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds

Visit the famous wax models of the rich and famous.

Price Range: $

The London Dungeon
The London Dungeon

The London Dungeon

Delve into the blood-curdling parts of history that your teachers never wanted to tell you. Live actors, scary rides, shows and special effects, transport you back to those black, bleak times. Are you brave enough?

Price Range: $

Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace was once Princess Diana's home. Sir Christopher Wren lavishly improved the original house, turning it into a palace for William III and Mary II. It remained a royal home and was the birthplace of Queen Victoria. The splendid State Apartments and Court Dress Collection are on view to the public as well as special exhibitions.

Price Range: $

Harry Potter
Harry Potter

Harry Potter

This unique tour takes you behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.

Price Range: $$

Sea Life London Aquarium
Sea Life London Aquarium

Sea Life London Aquarium

The London Aquarium is one of Europe's largest displays of aquatic life and home to up to 400 species in over 50 displays, from sharks, stingrays and clownfish, to moray eels, lionfish and sideways walking crabs.

Price Range: $

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

A visit to the home of the old and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, that includes both the museum and a guided tour.

Price Range: $

Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms
Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms

Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms

Visit the underground center of Britain's war effort, which contains the world's only museum dedicated to Sir Winston Churchill.

Price Range: $

River Cruise Experience
River Cruise Experience

River Cruise Experience

Take a London Eye River Cruise and see London from a different perspective. Enjoy a unique 40 minute circular sightseeing cruise on the River Thames with fascinating live commentary that brings the city to life, presented by specialist guides. Highlights include Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

Price Range: $

Dublin

Guinness Storehouse Visit & Supper
Guinness Storehouse Visit & Supper

Guinness Storehouse Visit & Supper

Guinness is known the world over - take this opportunity for a guided tour of the brewery, learn of its history, its role in Dublin life and affiliated trades. As well as the tour, enjoy a pint in the Gravity Bar and take in the 360 degree view before enjoying an Irish-themed dinner.

Price Range: $$

Liverpool

Evening City Tour
Evening City Tour

Evening City Tour

Get a proper introduction to the splendid city of Liverpool on this entertaining private guided tour. Along the way, visit the magnificent cathedral, admire stunning historic civic buildings, hear about the legendary Beatles, and discover the city's glorious maritime history.

Price Range: $

Edinburgh

Royal Yacht Britannia Excursion & Dinner
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, most famously for the honeymoon of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Later dinner with wine and coffee at an excellent local restaurant is included.

Price Range: $$

 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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