Grand Tour of Britain & Ireland (9050)

18 Day Tour from London to London

2021 Tour Details View 2022 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; 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 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.

Small-Group Discovery

Select Cosmos 2021 Europe tours are limited to an average of just 24 guests per tour. There’s always room to roam with extra space between you and other travelers—while still getting up close and personal to the experiences you’ve been dreaming of. Small-Group Discoveries include all the features of a traditional Cosmos European tour, complete with expert Tour Director, Driver, and Local Guides who ensure that your health and safety is our top priority. A Small-Group Discovery Europe vacation is the perfectly sized tour—without the crowds.

Headsets throughout the tour except London
Save $300 per couple on select 2021 air-inclusive Europe vacations on American Airlines/British Airways/Iberia/Finnair*
Grand Tour of Britain & Ireland map

 Photo Highlights

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

 Meals

 Meals & Itinerary

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

 Itinerary

Day 1 ARRIVE IN LONDON, ENGLAND

Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, there is 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: 169 mi/ 272 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: 169 mi/ 272 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–CAERNARVON, WALES–LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

Take the ferry across the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey with its tongue-twisting names. Explore North Wales on the way to Caernarvon where the castle saw the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales. Overnight in Liverpool, of Beatles fame and once the departure port of the great transatlantic liners.
Today’s Distance: 180 mi/ 290 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–HIGHLANDS

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 HIGHLANDS–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 to 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 24 and August 07, 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


Transportation:

Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach with free Wi-Fi; round-trip Irish Sea crossings by day ferry

 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 5 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

No matter what you’re into: food, wine, history, art, music or anything else, we give you the freedom to personalize your vacation with optional excursions that speak to your interests.

When you book your excursions with us, you can be assured that every optional excursion that we offer coordinates with the free time that you'll have in your destination, so you'll never have conflicts between included and optional activities. Our team of travel experts carefully selects each optional excursion that we offer to ensure that you receive the highest quality at a great value. Our tried-and-true partners have a finger on the pulse of the city in which they operate so they deliver the very best experiences. We offer experiences you cannot create on your own and because you’re booking with us, we coordinate all your transportation and timing needs.

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). Optional excursions are available for purchase on our MyCosmos site 90 days prior to the tour start date.

Price Ranges

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

 Private Touring

Private Touring: Cosmos European Private Touring enables you to experience all of the attractions, sights and highlights of your selected Cosmos tour as a private experience - delivered just for you and your traveling party. With Private Touring, you'll have your own dedicated Tour Director, your own private transportation and driver, and your own professional local guides. All with greater flexibility in pace and your experience. For your selected tour, there will be additional per-person cost for the size of your party - from 1 to 24. This additional supplement is reduced with each traveler you add to your party. Here's a sample of the additional cost:

6 guests in a party: $3,906
18 guests in a party: $787*

Contact Cosmos or your preferred travel agent for pricing for your specific party size as well as any other information on Cosmos Private Touring.

*Supplement pricing is per person (USD) and will be added to the standard published price for your given departure date and is based on availability. Supplement price is valid for 2021 travel year. Occasionally some included and optional activities & excursions may be operated with other guests. Additional restrictions may apply. Not applicable for custom groups. No Group allowances or promotions are available on Private Touring. Published itineraries only. Note that blackout dates may exist where the Private Touring option is not available.


* 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 International 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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