11 Days — Scotland & England
Day 1: USA / SCOTLAND. We begin our British Isles journey by boarding our trans-Atlantic flight to Scotland.
Day 2: Welcome to Scotland. Arrive at Edinburgh Airport and meet your guide and driver and enjoy a panoramic tour of Edinburgh, the inspiring capital of Scotland. From the historical closes of the Old Town to the larges avenues of New Town, explore an outstanding city of contrasts and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along its main thoroughfare, Princes Street, you will witness the most unique sight of Edinburgh Castle, majestically dominating both Old and New Town. See Calton Hill and its National Monument, rightfully giving Edinburgh its nickname: the "Athens of the North". Visit Edinburgh Castle, a stronghold for over 3000 years. In its dominating position overlooking the capital city, the grandeur and historical significance of Edinburgh Castle has made it a globally famous icon of Scotland and part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. Visit St. Giles Cathedral – where John Knox was pastor from 1560, the historic City Church of Edinburgh. With its famed crown spire, it stands on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood house. Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, it is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland's chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen). Enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel and overnight.
Day 3: Edinburgh - Perth. This morning, after breakfast, we drive to St. Andrews and en-route enjoy a photo stop at the Forth Rail Bridge. The Forth Bridge is a Scottish icon that is recognised the world over for its magnificent structure, its distinctive design and red oxide-coloured paint. Then we continue our drive to St. Andrews and visit its Castle. On a headland to the north of St Andrews stand the ruins of the city’s castle, the main residence of the bishops and archbishops of St Andrews - the focal point of the Church in Medieval Scotland. Today, a siege mine and counter-mine can be explored, and the ‘bottle dungeon’ viewed. Some of the key moments leading up to the Scottish Reformation in 1560 were played out within its precinct. Also, visit St. Andrews Cathedral. The remains of what was Scotland’s largest and most magnificent church still show how impressive St Andrews Cathedral must have been in its prime. St Andrews Cathedral dominated the history of the medieval Church in Scotland, from its construction in the 12th century until the Protestant Reformation in 1560. Continue to Perth and on arrival visit Scone Palace. Once the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in the history of Scotland. Drive to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Perth to Oban. After breakfast depart Perth for Oban. En-route visit Stirling Castle. One of Scotland’s grandest castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture, Stirling Castle commands the countryside for many miles around. Continue your journey and enjoy a photo stop in the small town of Callander. Callander is a bustling tourist town situated on the River Teith, near Stirling, and is often described as the gateway to the Highlands. The pretty town of Callander lies immediately south of the Highland Boundary Fault which is historically a meeting point between the Highlands and the Lowlands. Drive through Trossachs National Park to Oban. Every year thousands of visitors enjoy the beauty of the National Park with its lochs, rivers, woodlands, mountains and historical sites. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in the Oban area.
Day 5: Iona. After breakfast at your hotel we take a ferry to the beautiful Isle of Mull for a day trip. Take the ferry from Oban to Craignure, on arrival in drive to Fionnphort where you will board the ferry to Iona as foot passengers. When arrived on the island visit Iona Abbey. Iona is a holy isle, an enduring symbol of Christianity in Scotland. Today, the Iona Community continues the tradition of worship first established by St Columba 1450 years ago. Iona Abbey is one of Scotland’s most historic and sacred sites. While on the Island enjoy your packed lunch. Enjoy some free time on the Island for exploring. Return to Oban by taken the ferry from Iona to Fionnphort, drive to Craignure and climb aboard the ferry that will take you to Oban for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Oban to Glasgow. After breakfast, depart Oban for Glasgow. En-route enjoy a photo stop in Inveraray. Next enjoy a cruise on Loch Lomond. The Loch Lomond Cruise offers cruises throughout the year allowing you to experience the beauty, tranquillity and adventure on Loch Lomond ~ the jewel in Scotland’s first National Park. Afterwards, continue your drive to Glasgow and on arrival enjoy a panoramic city tour. Discover Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, with a panoramic city tour. From the magnificent St Mungo Cathedral to the People's Palace and Glasgow Green, explore Glasgow rich past as a religious centre and one of the most important industrial cities in Britain. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Glasgow and Dumfries. This morning visit Glasgow Cathedral, one of the few Scottish medieval churches to have survived the Reformation unscathed. Glasgow Cathedral is truly magnificent, full of beauty and wonder. Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow's Art Gallery and Museum, an imposing red sandstoned building, first opened in 1901. Kelvingrove also houses a superb collection of paintings by (among others) Botticelli, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh & Picasso. After an absence of several years, Salvador Dali's world-renowned painting Christ of St John of the Cross makes a welcome return to the first floor of the West Gallery. Continue towards Dumfries visiting Drumlanrig Castle en-route, the ‘Pink Palace’ is its affectionate name. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 8: Dumfries to York. Depart Dumfries for the historic walled city of York, but en-route visit Birdoswald Roman Fort, the perfect place to see the longest continuous remaining stretch of this magnificent World Heritage Site, Hadrian's Wall. Continue on to York enjoying a visit to York Minster, a medieval masterpiece of stone and glass at the heart of the historic city of York. Records of this much-loved cathedral date back to the baptism of King Edwin of Northumbria in a wooden church on this site in the year 640. The Minster is now the seat of the Archbishop of York, the Head of the Northern Province of the Church of England and second only to the Queen. As well as exploring the cathedral with a self-guided or guided tour, one can visit the Undercroft – a new interactive journey through the history of the Minster and it is also possible to ascend the 275 steps of the Central Tower for stunning views of the city. Services and evensong take place daily. Dinner is on our own arrangements tonight.
Day 9: York to London. Depart York for the global city of London and en route enjoy a brief panoramic tour of Cambridge, a university heritage dating back as far as 1209. The city of Cambridge is steeped in tradition and, as its colleges have been added piecemeal by royal and aristocratic patrons over the centuries. The prestigious University of Cambridge, which dates back to the 13th century, gives the town an academic gravitas while simultaneously providing it with a youthful and exuberant population. Continue to London stopping to enjoy a visit at John Wesley’s Chapel, Home and The Museum of Methodism. Then, check into the hotel. Dinner is on our own arrangements tonight.
Day 10: London. This morning, enjoy a panoramic city tour of London - discover the iconic landmarks, architectural and cultural diversity, and fascinating history that makes London the most visited city in the world. Your London sightseeing tour will take you on a non-stop precession of recognizable landmarks including The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, and Marble Arch and much more. Visit Westminster Abbey. The Gothic masterpiece of Westminster Abbey has been at the heart of British history since the formation of the Abbey by Edward the Confessor in 1065. Visit the Tower of London, nearly 1000 years of history and intrigue. The Tower of London has been used at various times as a palace, barracks, military stronghold, zoo and most famously as a prison incarcerating famous names like Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes. This evening, enjoy a Farewell dinner at the hotel, prior to our last overnight.
Day 11: Depart London. After breakfast we transfer to the airport for the flight home – the end of memorable journey.