2017 Great British Cities 9 Days / 8 Nights
Land in Edinburgh. Transfer to your hotel and spend the day relaxing in your lovely manor house hotel on the outskirts of Edinburgh. You may like to explore central Edinburgh a little on your own. At 6:30 pm meet your tour director and fellow travelers right in your hotel for a Scottish evening with dinner followed by a ceilidh, a traditional party with bagpipe music.
Explore central Edinburgh this morning, starting in the 200-year-old “New Town” with wide, planned streets and elegant Georgian mansions where many famous writers and inventors lived. See the Royal Mile with its narrow medieval houses which extends from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Edinburgh Castle and walk along part of it to see the tall buildings and the wynds or alleyways between them. Tour Edinburgh Castle perched high above the city and see the Crown Jewels of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny. Enjoy wonderful views of the city from the ramparts. The rest of the day is free. On August 6 to 20 departures, experience the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Travel north to St Andrews, famously known as the “Home of Golf” and location of Scotland’s oldest university. Take a panoramic drive around the town to view the layout and some of the golf courses. A gentle walking tour will bring you into the picturesque ruins of St Andrews Castle and Cathedral. Spend some free time to have a browse around the town, shop at some of the golf specialty stores and maybe even try a round of pitch and putt. Back in Edinburgh, head to a nearby tavern for dinner with your group.
Drive south through the charming hilly countryside of the Borders and past some of the market towns. Stop in Jedburgh for a look around the town and see the ruined Jedburgh Abbey, one of many picturesque ruins in this area. Continue to York for a walking tour to appreciate narrow medieval streets, especially the Shambles where the houses almost form an arch across the street. Visit the mighty York Minster, which is famous for its stained glass windows and memorials to many prominent people. In the evening dine in a centuries-old pub with plenty of atmosphere and take a lighthearted ghost walking tour afterwards.
Travel at a leisurely pace to admire the scenery when you board the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s vintage locomotive. Arrive in Whitby, a lovely fishing town. Stroll around the picturesque harbor, winding streets and quaint buildings. If you like to take photos, this is an ideal place as everywhere throughout the town you can find delightful scenes. Drive to Castle Howard, a magnificent 18th century residence set in 1,000 acres of breathtaking landscape in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the heart of North Yorkshire. Tour the elaborate chambers where “Brideshead Revisited” was filmed and sit down to a cream tea with freshly-baked scones. Return to your hotel in York in time for dinner.
Travel south by highway to Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare’s Birthplace in the center of the town. William Shakespeare was born in this house and lived here until he was old enough to marry and spend the first five years of family life here with his new wife, Anne Hathaway. Here you will discover the world that shaped the man as you look through an exhibition about his life and work. Today the house is furnished as it would have been when he lived and worked there. Drive through a part of the scenic Cotswolds region, renowned for picturesque villages built of honey-colored stone with charming gardens. Arrive in London where the evening is at leisure.
This morning take a panoramic London tour to see some of the famous landmarks including Piccadilly Circus, Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Visit the mighty Tower of London to see the many fortresses, Beefeaters in their elaborate uniforms, ravens that inhabit the Tower and the dazzling Crown Jewels. The afternoon and evening are free for independent activities and dining.
Today plan your day as you wish as you travel around London on your own and choose the places that interest you. Use your voucher for an open-top bus tour around famous landmarks. There are a number of different bus routes as well as a walking tour and a River Thames cruise so you will have plenty of interesting areas to explore.
Your tour ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
All components of this tour (hotels, meals, visits and attractions) for 2017 are subject to change until finalized in September 2016.
(Updated May 11, 2016)