Day 1 : London – Stratford-upon-Avon – York
Indulge your love of theatre and poetry this morning as we travel to romantic Stratford-upon-Avon, made famous by its favourite son, William Shakespeare, whose extraordinary works have been admired by audiences for over 500 years. View Anne Hathaway's thatched cottage and visit Shakespeare's Birthplace and Visitor Centre for insights into the life of the 'Bard of Avon', before exploring the charming cobblestone streets of his hometown. Continue to the ancient cathedral city of York where we will enjoy an orientation walk to view its ancient city walls, picturesque Shambles and magnificent 800-year-old Minster. Join your Travel Director and fellow travel companions this evening for a memorable Welcome Reception and delicious local pub fare.
Accommodation : Holiday Inn
Day 2 : York – Durham – Edinburgh (2 Nights)
We venture north to the medieval riverside town of Durham, whose exquisite 11th-century Durham Cathedral sits imposingly alongside Durham Castle watching over the medieval streets below. We cross what was once the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, Hadrian's Wall, before enjoying a scenic drive through the soul-stirring landscapes of Northumberland National Park. Admire spectacular views of the windswept Cheviot Hills as you cross the Scottish border, stopping to admire the 12th-century ruins of Jedburgh Abbey en route to Edinburgh.
Accommodation : Holiday Inn/Jurys Inn
Day 3 : Edinburgh Sightseeing and Free Time
Fall in love with the enchanting city of Edinburgh as you join a 'Local Specialist' to discover what lies behind its medieval façades. Ramble up the Royal Mile and enjoy astounding views of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament. Visit Edinburgh Castle perched atop Castle Rock overlooking the city. Spend some free time this afternoon strolling through Edinburgh and admiring medieval relics. Tickets to see the spectacular Edinburgh Tattoo are included on departures that coincide with performance dates.
Day 4 : Edinburgh – St. Andrews – Pitlochry – Scottish Highlands
Cross the Firth of Forth to the ancient Kingdom of Fife and St. Andrews. This famous golf course is renowned for its 18th hole and 800-year-old Swilcan Bridge. We continue our journey into the dramatic Scottish Highlands, where we'll 'Dive Into Culture' at a whisky distillery and sample a wee dram. Visit picture-perfect Pitlochry, on the edge of the Ben-Y-Vrackie and Cairngorms National Park, before arriving at your hotel in the Scottish Highlands where you'll dine tonight.
Accommodation : Highlander
Day 5 : Scottish Highlands – Spean Bridge – Glencoe – Loch Lomond – Glasgow
The arresting natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands provides a stunning backdrop for today's leisurely drive to Glasgow. View the World War II Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge and admire views of Britain's highest mountain - Ben Nevis. See Glencoe, the site of a bloody massacre in 1692 following the Jacobite Uprising, and travel to the 'bonnie' banks of Scotland's prettiest loch, Loch Lomond. We arrive in Glasgow this afternoon where our orientation will take us past St. Mungo's Cathedral and George Square, lined with statues and monuments dedicated to famous British subjects, including Robert Burns and Sir Robert Peel.
Accommodation : MacDonald Crutherland House
Day 6 : Glasgow – Gretna Green – Lake District – Liverpool
Today's first stop is in the runaway wedding capital of Gretna Green where eloping couples would make their vows over the Marriage Anvil. Returning to England, we 'Connect With Locals', joining Farmer John and his wife Christine for a 'Be My Guest' lunch in the company of Highland cows. See beautiful Lake District landscapes and skirt the romantic shores of Lake Windermere, the largest lake in England, arriving in edgy Liverpool of 'Fab Four' fame for an evening at leisure.
Accommodation : Mercure Atlantic Tower
Day 7 : Liverpool – Wye Valley – Bristol
Traverse the pretty Welsh countryside this morning and stop in an area of outstanding natural beauty - the Wye Valley, with its characteristic limestone gorge scenery and dense woodlands. View the spectacular ruins of the world-famous Cistercian abbey in Tintern before arriving in Bristol to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge and SS Great Britain, the world's first ocean-going luxury liner. As the curtain comes down on a memorable journey through England and Scotland, we enjoy a Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant with our Travel Director and newfound friends.
Accommodation : Mercure Holland House
Day 8 : Bristol – Bath – Stonehenge – London
Returning to London, we visit the UNESCO-listed city of Bath to admire its elegant Georgian façades and the Roman baths from which the city takes its name. Emerging from the Salisbury Plain, the imposing monoliths of Stonehenge are our final stop before continuing through the lush Wiltshire and Hampshire landscapes to London, where our amazing holiday comes to an end.