The Best of Britain & Ireland (9010)

15 Day Tour from London to London

2016 Tour Details View 2017 Tour Details »

England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales—experience them all on this comprehensive vacation. Your adventure begins with a full day to enjoy exciting optional tours in London before heading to Oxford. A walking tour takes in the colleges where Britain’s elite receive their education, then experience the exquisite Cotswolds and Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. Continue to York, England’s most complete medieval city, for a walking tour. Then, on to captivating Durham with its dramatic Cathedral and Castle before your overnight stop in Newcastle. See a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes, and enter Scotland for two overnights in regal Edinburgh. Here, your sightseeing tour with a Local Guide includes a visit to Edinburgh Castle to see Scotland’s Crown Jewels. Travel south through the Lowlands to Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Continue through the Lake District, considered the finest of England’s national parks, visiting Wordsworth’s charming Grasmere and driving along beautiful Lake Windermere, the largest of England’s lakes. Enjoy a walking tour of 2,000-year-old Chester and drive into Wales through breathtaking Snowdonia National Park, Betws-y-Coed, and over the Llanberis Pass to the Isle of Anglesey. At Holyhead, board a ferry for Dublin, Ireland’s capital, where an orientation drive shows you the main attractions. Head west via Galway to the spectacular 668-foot Cliffs of Moher. Take a break in Adare, known for its remarkable thatched cottages, then enjoy breathtaking views on your drive along the spectacular “Ring of Kerry.” After an overnight in the popular resort of Killarney, travel to Blarney, famous for its castle and “Stone of Eloquence.” Leave Ireland and take the ferry back to Wales for an orientation drive of Cardiff, the capital city. Returning to England, stop in the Georgian city of Bath, famous for its Roman ruins, and marvel at enigmatic Stonehenge. Your tour ends back in London with free time—a memorable trip!
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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 Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, Durham, Hadrian’s Wall, Jedburgh, Edinburgh Castle, tickets for Edinburgh Military Tattoo (departure numbers July 31 through August 21), Gretna Green, Grasmere, Llangollen, Betws-y-Coed, Llanfair, Galway, Cliffs of Moher, Adare, Killarney, Blarney, Bath, Stonehenge; orientation drives in Dublin, Cardiff; walking tours in Oxford, York, Chester

Guides:

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

Scenic Highlights:
Cotswold Hills, Northumberland National Park, Scottish Lowlands, Lake District National Park, North Wales and Snowdonia National Park, The Burren, Ring of Kerry and Lakes of Killarney, Salisbury Plain

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, and Buckingham Palace. Highlights include a visit to St. Paul's Cathedral 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–Oxford–Stratford-upon-Avon–Sheffield

Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and depart at 8 am for a memorable day of sightseeing. In Oxford, a walking tour takes in the colleges where Britain’s elite receive their outstanding education. Then, travel through the lovely Cotswold Hills to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. Take photos of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. Your overnight destination is Sheffield.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 4 Sheffield–York–Durham–Newcastle

This morning, head north to York, England’s most complete medieval city. Stand in front of the great structure of York Minster, then follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles. Next, visit Durham, a captivating city with winding cobblestone streets and a prominent peninsula crowned with the dramatic Durham Cathedral and Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop for the night in Newcastle, once an important center for the wool trade and coal mining, now a vibrant, modern city.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 5 Newcastle–Jedburgh, Scotland–Edinburgh

See a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes, then motor through wild Northumberland National Park to the Scottish border. Stop for photos at Jedburgh, with glimpses of the house of Mary, Queen of Scots. In Edinburgh, 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. A suggestion for this evening: a traditional Scottish night out with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 6 Edinburgh

Your choice today: an optional morning excursion to Rosslyn Chapel, made world-famous by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, and also one of Scotland’s most remarkable buildings. You will have ample time to visit the 15th-century medieval chapel and the visitor center, and also to take photographs of the ruins of Rosslyn Castle. Later, another unique optional opportunity: 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 31 through August 21, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 7 Edinburgh–Gretna Green–Lake District, England–Chester–Wrexham, Wales

South through the history-steeped Lowland Hills and a visit to Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Drive through beautiful scenery in the Lake District, considered to be the finest of England’s national parks. Visit Wordsworth’s Grasmere, then follow the shores of Lake Windermere. In Chester, the historic county town on the Dee River, your walking tour takes in the Roman remains, black and white half-timbered buildings, and the two-tiered shopping arcades called the “Rows.”

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 8 Wrexham–Llangollen–Betws-y-Coed–Dublin, Ireland

A scenic North Wales drive via Llangollen, home of an annual national competition for poets and musicians, and through the incomparable landscapes of Snowdonia National Park. Pause at lovely Betws-y-Coed before heading over spectacular Llanberis Pass and, finally, cross Britannia Bridge to the Isle of Anglesey. Take your photos at tongue-twisting Llanfair and at Holyhead, board the ferry for the Irish Sea crossing to Dublin.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 9 Dublin

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

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 10 Dublin–Galway–Cliffs of Moher–Ennis

Head for dairy farm country in the center of the “Emerald Isle.” Stop in Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with colorful shops and a busy café and bar culture. Then, cross the limestone plateau of The Burren to visit the spectacular 668-foot CLIFFS OF MOHER before heading for Ennis, county town of Clare. Tonight’s optional opportunity: an optional banquet at Knappogue Castle.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 11 Ennis–Adare–Ring of Kerry–Killarney

Stop for photos in Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages and monastic ruins. In County Kerry, join the road known as the RING OF KERRY for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive. Focus your camera on sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. Later, in Killarney, discover why this is such a popular resort.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 12 Killarney–Blarney–Dungarvan–Tramore

Across the Kerry Mountains and through County Cork to Blarney, famous for its magical Stone of Eloquence. Time to see the castle and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. After lunch, drive past Cork, the country’s second-largest city, and via Dungarvan to Tramore. Tonight, maybe an optional pub tour before dinner at your hotel.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 13 Tramore–Cardiff, Wales

An early start for the short drive to Rosslare. In just under four hours, you cross St. George’s Channel by FERRY to South Wales. Continue through rich dairy farmland to Cardiff, where an orientation drive introduces you to the capital’s 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 14 Cardiff–Bath, England–Stonehenge–London

A day packed with highlights begins as you cross the spectacular Severn Bridge into England. Stop in the elegant Georgian city of Bath, famous for its Roman relics, before visiting STONEHENGE, still an intriguing mystery. Explore the stunning visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument up close. After returning to London around 3:30 pm, how about celebrating the success of your tour with a night out on the town?

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 15 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 Kensington Close (ST) or Novotel London West (F)
SHEFFIELD Jurys Inn (F)
NEWCASTLE Jurys Inn (F) at Gateshead
EDINBURGH Kings Manor (ST)
WREXHAM Ramada Plaza (F)
DUBLIN Jurys Inn Custom House (F)
ENNIS Auburn Lodge (ST)
KILLARNEY Killarney Court (F)
TRAMORE Majestic (F)
CARDIFF Novotel (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
Edinburgh
Dublin
Ennis
Killarney
Tramore
Cardiff

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

Morning City Sightseeing

Morning 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, and Buckingham Palace. Highlights are a visit to St. Paul's Cathedral and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, if held.

Approximate value: £46 GBP per person

Shownight - Beautiful (Saturday)

Shownight - Beautiful (Saturday)

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: £145 GBP per person

Shownight - Kinky Boots (Saturday)

Shownight - Kinky Boots (Saturday)

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: £145 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

Edinburgh

Excursion to Rosslyn Chapel

Excursion to Rosslyn Chapel

Described as a 'Bible in Stone', the 15th century Rosslyn Chapel is one of the most remarkable buildings and yet at the same time, one of the most mysterious places in Scotland. During your excursion to Rosslyn you will have time to visit the medieval chapel with its exquisite carvings, which have inspired - and intrigued - artists and visitors for generations, as well as the visitor center containing an award-winning exhibition. You might also like to take a short walk to photograph the ruins of nearby Rosslyn Castle.

Approximate value: £19 GBP per person

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

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

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

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

Tramore

Tramore Pub Evening

Tramore Pub Evening

For local Irish flavor, take a scenic drive to a traditional pub with a local musician ready to entertain you and give you wonderful memories of this beautiful country. 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

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

 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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