Scotland, Lakes, Wales and the Cotswolds
May 20 - 31, 2022
3,980 per person (based on double occupancy) Includes all breakfasts, 3 lunches and 5 dinners - All guided excursions, entrance fees, all ground transport and transfers, Meet and greet at the airport in Edinburgh and porterage in and out of the hotels.
Please meet your Tour Director, Timothée the next morning at the Edinburgh Airport
Overnight Hotel Apex Waterloo
A sightseeing tour of historic Edinburgh with a local guide is the perfect place to begin any Scotland and England travel. Enjoy an introductory tour to this city of cobbled streets, Georgian architecture and trendy life-styles Your tour includes a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland (If her Majesty is not visiting), and a tour of famed Edinburgh Castle, built into rugged rock above the city skyline. Following a free afternoon in Edinburgh and lunch as you please, join us this evening for a journey through the aromas and flavors that lead to a perfect Single Malt Whisky. At the "Scottish Whisky Experience", you will learn the history of Scotland's most famous export, hear the stories behind the craft and enjoy tasting and dinner.
Overnight Edinburgh – Hotel Apex Waterloo -Meals B, D
The journey to the Highlands starts with a trip west passing through the vibrant city of Glasgow and across the River Clyde, before turning north towards the Trossachs National Park. On the way, the scenery around you will begin to evolve from the gentle inclines and fields of the Lowlands in to the rugged beauty of the Highlands.
Following the banks of the largest loch in Scotland, Loch Lomond, we will arrive at our first stop in Luss. With its petite sandstone cottages, neatly kept and tucked away from the passing traffic - taking a stroll through the village is like taking a trip back in time. Once we’ve explored and picked up refreshments we head onward into the hills.
There are plenty more lochs and sights to be seen as we wind our way up to our next destination on the banks of Loch Fyne; Inveraray. This distinctive town was established at the tail end of the 18th century by the 3rd Duke of Argyle, who’s family still live in the ancestral home. There is much to do in the town including a visit to Inveraray jail for a thoroughly entertaining look at crime and punishment in Scottish society. Or visit the Dukes home, Inveraray Castle, with its jaw dropping halls and beautiful gardens it can easily enthrall you for hours.
We then continue north towards Glencoe. As the miles roll by the scenery continues to grow more stunning and surprising. The roads twist and turn through the mountains which were formed millions of years ago by massive volcanic activity and devastating ice ages, leaving geological marvels. As we go, there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for photos. Stopping at the newly re-built Glencoe Visitor Centre you can learn more about the various features we will pass and the fascinating history of the area, it’s a story 420 million years in the making.
Overnight Edinburgh – hotel Apex Waterloo
Your will leave Edinburgh this morning for the lovely village of Roslin (30 mn). There, you will have the opportunity to visit Rosslyn Chapel. Dating back to 1445, the chapel gained worldwide fame thanks to the increasing interest in Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.
Continue your journey into the heart of the Scottish Borders. This area is rich in hills, valleys, rivers, and moorland. Explore the fascinating Jedburgh Abbey founded by David I in around 1138 for Augustinian canons along with its visitor centre and surrounding herb garden.
Lunch served at a local restaurant in Jedburgh.
This Afternoon, on the way to the Lake District, stop at Birdoswald Roman Fort, the ruins of a fort along the Hadrian’s Wall. The Romans came, they saw, but they couldn’t quite conquer. After centuries of raiding, plundering, and fighting the ancient north of Britannia, they decided to build a wall. But this isn’t just any wall, it’s an astounding achievement. It showcases the might of the ancient Roman Empire and illustrates how the Roman's interacted with tribal Britain. Late afternoon, travel to the Lake District.
Overnight at a Hotel in the Lake District. Armathwaite Hall Hotel or similar
In the late morning, you will go to Dove Cottage, best known as the home of the poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy Wordsworth from December 1799 to May 1808, where they spent over eight years of "plain living, but high thinking"
This Afternoon, stroll along the path in front of Levens Hall and you will find a small wooden gate leading into the Gardens. What awaits you, hidden behind the high stone wall, remains largely unchanged since the 17th century and is truly spectacular. Dating back to the 1690s, the ten acres of Gardens retain original features including the world’s oldest topiary gardens. This surreal and unique collection of ancient box and yew trees, in abstract or geometric shape, rises up from a beautiful display of underplanting, populated with an ever-changing array of over 30,000 bedding plants.
Pub Night – Overnight at a Castle Hotel in the Lake District - Armathwaith Hall Meals B
Huge, strong and first built by the Romans, discover the power of walls built to keep ancient invaders out on a visit to the small city of Chester, one of England's best preserved walled cities. The town is nearly completely encircled by broad walls which still offer grand views from atop.. Lunch and early afternoon in the walled city of Chester which is renown for its medieval heritage and its wealth of half - timber buildings. Join us tonight for a lovely dinner at the Bodnant Welsh Food center where artisan chefs are devoted to sharing the best of Welsh cuisine using locally sourced ingredients.
Overnight Wales – MacDonald Craxton Wood Hotel or similar - Meals B, D
Mighty Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the setting for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969, sets a remarkable scale this morning. Constructed to endure, the palace was begun circa 1283 by Edward I as symbol of English power over the Welsh. Enjoy a guided tour of the Castle and some free time for lunch in the adjacent town.
This afternoon explore the walled city of Conwy on your own, choose to climb the 8 towers of the castle there, or walk on the ramparts or simply enjoy a stroll along the waterfront.
Overnight Wales – MacDonald Craxton Wood Hotel or similar– Meals B
Depart Wales for Stratford upon Avon and Shottery
Enjoy a lovely walking tour of Stratford Upon Avon, Shakespeare birthplace.
You will see Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Family home of the woman Shakespeare married in 1582) in the village of Shottery, Hall’s Croft (One of the finest surviving Jacobean (early 17th century) town houses in England (and one of the best preserved family homes of Shakespeare), as well as the Holy Trinity Church (resting place of Shakespeare). Enjoy your free time in town for lunch or tea.
Overnight at a Manor House in the Cotswold – Lygon Arms - Meals B
Today Visit Highclere Castle, the “Real” Downton Abbey and enjoy some free time relaxing at your hotel. In case the Castle is closed for private function we will visit another historical property and enjoy high tea. Overnight Moonraker Hotel – Meals B
This morning stop at the village of Chipping Campdem for a stroll through this beautiful Costwolds village. You will then enjoy a scenic drive though the English countryside on our way to Bath. You will enjoy a lovely lunch in Bath. Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa and developed more than a thousand year’s later into a lavish resort by the 18th century British aristocracy, Bath today reigns as a magnificent Georgian townscape crafted from native limestone. Architecturally, it ranks among Britain’s finest cities and enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status. You will learn why on a city tour with a local guide that takes in the 18th century terraced houses known as the Royal Crescent and the Circus, distinctive elements of British urban planning that were later incorporated in the city of London. View the elegant Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey, where the first king of England was crowned.
Overnight Moonraker Hotel - Meals BL
Depart early for London Heathrow Airport – Meals B