Day 01, U.S. - London
Depart the U.S. on overnight flight to London.
Day 02, London
Arrive London; Shared coach transfer included to your hotel is included. You are free to enjoy London independently today. (Please note, hotel check-in is generally between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. If you are arriving into London early - the hotel will be happy to hold your luggage until your room is ready).
Day 03, London - Touring Begins - Shrewsbury
Make your way to the London departure point. Tour departs from London at 9:15 am. We make our way to William Shakespeare's birthplace Stratford on Avon, home to the Tudor thatched cottage and gardens of his wife, Anne Hathaway. Continue onto the World Heritage site of Ironbridge. Set in a stunning forested gorge on the river Severn this historic valley boast the world's first ever iron bridge and a host of attractions to choose from. From here we travel to the beautiful riverside town of Shrewsbury for the next two (2) nights (on some dates the accommodation may be in Chester).
Day 04, Touring - Shrewsbury
Our tour takes us into the heart of North Wales. We travel through beautiful green valleys and lovely little towns and visit the picture book medieval castle of Conwy, built by Edward I in the late 13th Century. We will explore the impressive mountain scenery of the Snowdonia National Park including the huge Dinorwic slate quarries and the dramatic Pass of Llanberis in the shadows of Snowdon Wales' highest peak. We then travel back through the borderlands into England.
Day 05, Touring - York
To the northeast of Shrewsbury lie the hills of the Peak District National Park with a mixture of stunning scenery and beautiful little villages. We take a scenic route through the park to the village of Castleton. From here we travel east out of the hills to the wonderful historic city of York where you will spend the next three (3) nights.
Day 06, Touring - York
Today we have a choice of things to do. Spend the whole day at leisure exploring the medieval heart of York or alternatively you could join your guide on a half day excursion into the Yorkshire Dales visiting the historic market towns of Knaresborough or Ripon and some of the attractive little villages and beautiful countryside of the Eastern Dales, followed by a free afternoon in York. We will leave the London based tour here and be picked up tomorrow by the tour bus from Edinburgh. Our driver/guide will let us know all the details of pickup times for the next day.
Day 07, Touring - York
Our journey begins in the late morning when we head for the magnificent North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Lunch will be in Whitby, a bustling fishing port and the inspiration for the fertile imagination of author Bram Stoker. After lunch, and free time in Whitby, we travel to the fishing village of Robin Hood's Bay, a perfectly preserved conservation village of winding lanes and narrow alleys before returning towards York. *The minicoach cannot access the main village because of local restrictions. The coach will drop us at the top of the village and we must walk down (and back up!) a steep hill to reach the old village center.
Day 08, Touring - Keswick
Today we head west into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Continuing west we travel through the Northern Dales an area of outstanding natural beauty. Throughout the day we will have the opportunity to taste the flavors of Yorkshire when we visit the town of Masham, home to two of Yorkshires best known breweries, and the cheese-making center in historic Hawes. Our day then takes us high up into the remote hills of the Yorkshire Dales before descending into the lively market town of Keswick where we will be dropped off at our accommodations. Evening is free to explore this charming town (in July overnight may be in Windermere rather than Keswick).
Day 09, Touring - Keswick
After breakfast we head out of town to the mysterious Castlerigg standing stones, thought by many to have been built over 5,000 years ago and the scene of ancient rituals. We travel on to the shores of Ullswater before continuing south over the narrow and winding Kirkstone Pass. A stop in Windermere then on towards Coniston Water after which we arrive at the picturesque conservation village of Hawkeshead. After free time to explore the village we take the narrow country lanes north towards Grasmere, which Wordsworth described as “the loveliest spot that man hath found”. In the late afternoon we return to Keswick.
Day 10, Touring - Edinburgh
Leaving the lakes behind us we start our climb of Hartside Pass which stands at over 1900 ft. We follow the route of the old sheep drovers between England and Scotland. Stopping at Hadrian's Wall, built by Emperor Hadrian to keep the Scots out of the Roman Empire. We cross into Scotland and continue on to the Border town of Jedburgh for refreshments in the shadow of the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey. Our final stop is at the world famous Scott's View, encompassing outlooks of the River Tweed and the Cheviot Hills that broadly form the Scottish-English border before continuing north to Edinburgh arriving approx at 7:00 pm. Our tour ends at Waverly Bridge in Edinburgh, where you will make your own way back to your pre-booked hotel.
Day 11, Edinburgh - Home
After breakfast, transfer from your hotel to the Airport for your return flight to the U.S.