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British Isles two-week tour

Also, look at our four-week itinerary visiting other cities.


We are providing full descriptions of the tour to help you plan your own trip. With the detailed descriptions here you can do the trip yourself following this detailed itinerary. This tour includes the major destinations

It is not difficult because you will be taken care of with efficiency and friendliness in the hotels, trains, restaurants, shops and on the street. We have carefully planned and conducted this tour many times and are now giving away the secrets of how you can do this tour on your own. Go for it.

Leisurely tour visiting: London, Bath, York, Lake District and Edinburgh, and in Ireland exploring the rural west and southern shores, visiting Galway, Connemara, Kilarney, Dingle, Kinsale and Dublin.

You are travelling at a fine level of comfort in this comprehensive tour, staying in lovely centrally-located hotels and riding trains on the high-speed Intercity express service. In Ireland we shall have a customized private van tour that will bring us to remote unspoiled areas, using excellent hotels again. Our relaxed pace will spend 2 nights in most locations so you can have a good look around without being in a rush.

Fly to London. Day 1,2

LONDON Day 3,4,5: We shall have three days to explore the capital city in all its grandeur, with an ambitious look at some of the most interesting highlights of London. Come along with us on a comprehensive walk through some of the most interesting parts of town. We will walk through the heart of town in Piccadilly Circus, St. James, Leicester Square, and Trafalgar Square. This will bring us through grand examples of the finest urban architecture, and into many fine shops along the way. Afterwards there are various choices: for the art lovers, a visit to the National Gallery, right next to our hotel, and the British Museum would be very rewarding. For the shoppers, an expedition to Oxford Street and Bond Street is in order.

We start out with an orientation walk to show you the fascinating features of this neighborhood all around the hotel in the heart of London. Leicester Square, just two blocks from the hotel, is one of the most exciting centers of London. We then walk a few blocks over to Covent Garden, filled with unique shops, restaurants, lots of sidewalk entertainment, marvelous buildings and vast pedestrian zones. Then we conclude our walk with a look at Soho, walking along Old Compton Street, and then through the small Chinatown and back to our hotel.

London Palace

The next day we enjoy another morning walk then view the famous Changing the Guards ceremony. The pomp and circumstance of this ritual is great fun, with the redcoat soldiers in their tall black hats parading to the bouncy rhythm of a marching brass band. We get to St. James Palace for the first phase, then stroll through beautiful St. James Park to arrive at Buckingham Palace just in time for the climax of the event, watching the big marching band going by.

London Tower Bridge

In the afternoon we take a half-day tour on the open-top motorcoach, passing the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, St. Pauls, and highlights of the West End. This evening you really should take in one of the hit musicals or comedies in the exciting theater district along Shaftesbury Avenue. Perhaps you would also enjoy a final round of some pubs for the incomparable British ales or stout. An alternative would be a relaxing meal at one of London's better restaurants, followed by an evening stroll around our hotel's neighborhood in Leicester Square, an ever-busy urban marketplace filled with people having fun. Third day is free for you to do as you wish, or come along on some more walking adventures.

BATH Day 6, 7: Today we explore the spa resort of Bath, which takes its name from the elaborate Roman-built baths and pump room which we shall visit in this well-preserved 18th century town, lined with elegant "Georgian" townhouses that form one of the most perfect and beautiful urban patterns in the world. Bath is second in popularity to London itself in any proper tour of England, for it abounds with sightseeing opportunities.

Bath Circus

We will enjoy a city tour in an open-top bus that takes us around the center, as well as into the surrounding areas to give us an overview of town from the surrounding hillsides. And we will provide a walking tour of the center of town to show you the beautiful layout of this well-planned town. The visual harmony of this splendid collection of cream-colored stone row-houses reaches a climax in the Royal Crescent, and the thriving town center bustles with modern shops inside the 200 year-old buildings. One fascinating option you will want to try is the Roman Bath exhibit, which features a walk through the ancient hot water system and many related artifacts. It shows you how the Romans civilized this remote outpost 2,000 years ago, with such innovations as central heating, town planning, swimming pools, and healing waters. In the evening you might take in a live show in the town theater, which features major stars from London's West End in an intimate setting, with charming cafes and sidewalk restaurants nearby for before or after refreshments.

Cotswolds scene

On the second day in Bath you may take an optional day-trip into the Cotswolds, including Bibury, Stow on the Wold, the Slaughters and other beautiful villages with the chance to have a Cotswold cream tea and a countryside walk.

Alternatively you could choose a full day tour to Stonehenge, Avebury, Lacock and Castle Combe. See white horse chalk carvings, thatched cottages, Meriton from BBC's Pride & Prejudice and Harry Potter's parents' house, with an optional lunch in a traditional 700 year old pub. The following morning we travel for four hours on the fast Intercity express train across the British midlands to York.

York Shambles

YORK Day 8,9: the best-preserved medieval town in England. We will enjoy a guided bus tour of its most famous features, and our walking tour will show us the heart of this town, with the cobbled alleys, antiques shops, fish & chip joints, open markets, and 13th century walls, amongst the finest in Europe. We will spend two nights here which gives you a chance to thoroughly enjoy York. In town, "the Shambles" is the narrowest shopping street you will ever see, and it is part of an extensive network of medieval pedestrian lanes perfect for sightseeing and shopping, which are honored traditions in this ancient market town. This truly is the closest you will get to the medieval period in England, for the surrounding wall has protected this town from modernization, just as it protected the villagers from attack 700 years ago. Now, we are welcomed as visitors by the friendly shopkeepers and residents.

York market

There are several outstanding museums here. One of the major attractions is the Jorvick Museum, re-creating life in the Viking days. This town was conquered by the "barbarian" invaders from Scandinavia in the Dark Ages, and now you can ride in a shuttle car that will take you through actual archaeological excavations that recreate life in those days. There is also the famous Castle Museum with its extensive 19th century displays, including shop-fronts, home interiors, carriages, all manner of goods and utensils, costumes, and the whole variety of life in the previous century. Housed in what had been a prison, this is a historic collection that will keep you busy for hours. You can walk on the wall that surrounds this medieval town, and gain views over the ancient rooftops.

York Minster

But the grandest sight of all is the York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in England. It is truly a sight to behold, rising majestically over the ancient stone walls of this jewel of a town - it is the crowning glory! Inside the Minster you will be amazed by the stained glass windows, the largest in England, and the soaring roof that towers above, hundreds of feet high. Castle Howard, one of the most extravagant of all stately mansions, is another optional excursion you might enjoy from York.

LAKE DISTRICT Day 10,11: We continue by motorcoach across Yorkshire and the English countryside to the picturesque Lake District. Along the way we shall stop. take pictures, enjoy some short strolls and can have something to eat and drink. This route will bring us through the beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Dales and Herriot Country. The green rolling hills of Yorkshire, patterned with stone walls and sheep pastures, dotted with quaint villages will truly delight you.

Lake District

We will spend two nights at Windermere, the most popular and attractive town in the Lakes. We will enjoy an included half-day ride in a minivan into the countryside to see the surrounding areas. This ride will show you some beautiful mountains, various ancient archaeological sites, many sheep grazing in the bucolic hills, deep blue lakes, and some rustic pubs in the scattered villages. Some of the options you can go for include a cruise on Lake Windermere in the peaceful setting of mountains and forests, and a visit to Grasmere and Dove Cottage, the former home of the poet Wordsworth. Windermere is a fine place to just relax with a pleasant stroll along the shores of this poetic lake. Nature walks - or shopping in town, you will find plenty of things to keep you entertained in this popular vacation spot.

Edinburgh skyline

EDINBURGH, Scotland Day 12, 13, 14: Scotland's City of Culture. Leaving Windermere, we enjoy another picturesque ride for several hours through rolling green farmlands on our way north to Edinburgh, a city of historical and cultural variations. A guided sightseeing tour of this elegant city gives you a fine overview of the "New Town," laid out in the 18th century Georgian style as one of the first master-planned cities in Europe. We also tour the much older Royal Mile, with its medieval cathedrals, castles, palaces, and crooked old lanes. The back alleys of this part of town were among the most densely populated neighborhoods in Britain five centuries ago, and now they have been yuppyfied, with the new young workers moving in and making this a very trendy neighborhood once again.

In the New Town, where most of the action is today, shopping on Princes Street can be further enhanced with a pub-crawl on nearby Rose Street. We will visit the National Gallery of Fine Arts together and see one of the best collections of old masters in Europe. An option you might consider is a visit to Edinburgh Castle, which sits majestically on top of the hill overlooking the heart of town. In the evening there are various opportunities to catch a traditional night of musical entertainment, complete with dinner. Scotland's capital is one of the world's favorite cities -- everyone has a different reason to love it.

Edinburgh Palace

We are staying here for three nights so that you can spend one full day on an optional trip to the Scottish Highlands. Rolling along on our comfortable motorcoach tour, you soon arrive in the Highlands and visit its famous lake, Loch Ness. This area is surrounded by lush natural beauty, with the steepest, greenest mountains in Great Britain, watered by numerous streams, waterfalls and lakes. It is a land of history and legends, with classic castles scattered in various states of repair, and much older ancient stone monuments dating back to the time of the Druids in the Stone Age. Back to Edinburgh in time for dinner.

That completes our two-week tour of the UK.