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Victoria, MN

12 Day Essential Britain

London to London

On this Essential Britain tour you’ll experience some of Britain’s most fascinating towns as you travel through England, Wales, and Scotland stopping for overnights in London, Plymouth, Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, and York. 

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Majestic scenery, fascinating towns, special treats, an expert Tour Director bringing these destinations to life, and so much more are offered on this spectacular Britain vacation. Be sure to grab your camera so all you have to do is sit back and relax as you experience these wonderful destinations.

Day 1

Welcome to London! Uniformed guides will be waiting to welcome you. After checking into your hotel and an afternoon at leisure, we recommend our optional Taste of London excursion with dinner, followed by a guided illumination cruise on the Thames River.

Day 2

Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and depart London at 8 am. First, try to unravel the mystery of prehistoric Stonehenge. Explore the visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then take the shuttle to the stone circle and admire the magnificence of the monument up close. Continue on through Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, and head to Plymouth, where you follow in the footsteps of Drake, Raleigh, and the Pilgrim Fathers with a  Cruise on Plymouth Sound, one of the world’s great natural harbors. You will also have time at the historic Barbican to see the Mayflower Steps. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner with wine at your hotel.

Day 3

A day full of West Country sights as you head through Poldark’s Cornwall. After viewing St. Michael’s Mount, take photos at Land’s End before exploring the popular seaside resort of St. Ives. Back in Plymouth, why not join an optional excursion into Dartmoor National Park for an evening of storytelling at a local pub?

Day 4

At Glastonbury, hear about its associations with King Arthur, and in elegant Bath, see the amazing excavations of the ROMAN BATHS, with time to explore further on your own. Stay the night in Cardiff, the Welsh capital. You might want to join an evening of Welsh entertainment and dinner tonight.

Day 5

Your journey through Wales takes you north along the Taff Valley and Brecon Beacons National Park, and via the ancient market town of Builth Wells to Chester. On your walking tour, see the Roman remains, the characteristic black and white half-timbered buildings, and the famous two-tiered arcades called the “Rows.” Spend the night in Liverpool; you may wish to join an optional city tour this afternoon.

Day 6

Start the day with a visit to the award-winning Beatles Story, an atmospheric journey into the life, times, culture, and music of the “Fab Four.” Later, focus on the tranquil Lake District, considered to be the finest of England’s national parks. Take a break in Wordsworth’s beloved Grasmere and try original Grasmere Gingerbread. Then, head north for the Scottish border and stop at Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples, and take part in a Wedding Re-enactment. Overnight in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.

Day 7

Follow the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond, then proceed via Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe, Fort William, and the “Road to the Isles.” At Mallaig, board your Ferry for the crossing to the Isle of Skye, the largest island of the Inner Hebrides and famous for its dramatic landscapes. Return to the mainland and trace the shores of Loch Ness on the way to the Highland capital.

Day 8

Main features today: the battlefield of Culloden Moor; the Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry; St. Andrews; and over the elegant Forth Road Bridge to Edinburgh. Tonight, an optional Scottish evening with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and the Ceremony of the Haggis.

Day 9

Morning city sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town” and the famous scientists, inventors, and novelists who lived there. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels, then explore Holyrood Palace (when available). Later, a unique optional excursion: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia once the perfect royal residence for glittering state visits and family holidays. Dinner rounds off this optional evening. For departure numbers July 29 through August 19 tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned Military Tattoo.

Day 10

his morning at Alnwick Castle the choice is yours: visit the Castle itself, the opulent ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, featured in Harry Potter and Downton Abbey, or explore Alnwick Castle, where the fountains and waterfalls are a breathtaking feature. Next, make your way to York, England’s most complete medieval city. Here, stand in front of the great structure of the Minster, then follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles.

Day 11

On the last leg of your journey, stop at Stratford-upon-Avon to take pictures of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and visit Shakespeare's Birthplace. On return to London at about 3:30 pm, a Shownight Theater Evening would be an incredible finale to your vacation.

Day 12

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Please note - these are sample itineraries - they are subject to change/availability