Grand Tour of Britain & Ireland (9050)

18 Day Tour from London to London

2020 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 Tudor 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 along North Wales coast to Chester; England’s tranquil Lake District, recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status; 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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Grand Tour of Britain & Ireland map

 Tour Highlights

STONEHENGE
Visit the prehistoric monument
DARTMOOR
Visit Widecombe-in-the-Moor
PLYMOUTH
See the Mayflower Steps
GLASTONBURY– BATH
Visit the elegant Georgian city
CARDIFF
Orientation drive
TENBY–PEMBROKE–ROSSLARE
by ferry
BLARNEY
Visit the famous village
KILLARNEY
Visit the popular resort town
RING OF KERRY
Scenic peninsula drive
DINGLE PENINSULA DRIVE
See the Blasket Islands
ADARE
Admire the thatched cottages
CLIFFS OF MOHER
Savor the spectacular views
GALWAY
Visit the seaside town
DUBLIN
Orientation drive
DUBLIN–HOLYHEAD
by ferry
CHESTER
Walking tour
LIVERPOOL
Visit the maritime city
LAKE DISTRICT
Drive through the UNESCO World Heritage landscape
GRETNA GREEN–
FORT WILLIAM–
CULLODEN MOOR
See the battlesite
PITLOCHRY
Visit the Highland resort town
ST. ANDREWS
Visit the home of golf
EDINBURGH
Guided sightseeing, visit Edinburgh Castle
JEDBURGH
See the abbey ruins
HADRIAN’S WALL
See a section of the Roman remains
YORK
Walking tour
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
Discover Shakespeare’s home town

Guides:

Host Service in London

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
  • The English Lake District

Transportation:

Transportation:
Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach with free Wi-Fi; 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, including admission charges where applicable.

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 residence, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. Later, maybe visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its spectacular Crown Jewels. Tonight, we recommend our optional Taste of London excursion with dinner, followed by a guided illumination cruise on the Thames River.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 3 LONDON–STONEHENGE–WIDECOMBE–PLYMOUTH

Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions to 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.
Today’s Distance: 222 mi/ 356 km

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 4 PLYMOUTH–GLASTONBURY–BATH–CARDIFF, WALES

Via Glastonbury and its legends of 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 dining?
Today’s Distance: 188 mi/ 303 km

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 5 CARDIFF–TENBY–TRAMORE, IRELAND

Enjoy 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.
Today’s Distance: 242 mi/ 390 km

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, with time to see the castle, and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. 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.
Today’s Distance: 134 mi/ 216 km

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.
Today’s Distance: 99 mi/ 158 km

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 8 KILLARNEY–DINGLE PENINSULA–ADARE–LIMERICK

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 Limerick. Tonight, consider joining an optional medieval banquet at a historic castle.
Today’s Distance: 187 mi/ 301 km

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 9 LIMERICK–CLIFFS OF MOHER–GALWAY–DUBLIN

Take 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 dinner, dance, and songs.
Today’s Distance: 208 mi/ 334 km

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 afternoon is at leisure. Later, 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.
Today’s Distance: 186 mi/ 300 km

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 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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.
Today’s Distance: 237 mi/ 381 km

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. Pass through 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.
Today’s Distance: 209 mi/ 336 km

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 14 GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY–PITLOCHRY–ST. ANDREWS–EDINBURGH

Drive through more spectacular Highland scenery for a stop in the pretty Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry. Then, travel via 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.
Today’s Distance: 169 mi/ 272 km

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", visit EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. Later, join an optional tour of the former Royal Yacht Britannia. 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 25 through August 15, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 16 EDINBURGH–JEDBURGH–YORK, ENGLAND–LEEDS

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 is in Leeds.
Today’s Distance: 220 mi/ 355 km

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 17 LEEDS–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?
Today’s Distance: 237 mi/ 385 km

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 a Tour Director. We’d like you to meet one of our Tour Directors, who average over a decade of experience and are representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.

TOM BURTCHAELL

Escorting tours for more than 4 years

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

 Optional Excursions

 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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