Day 1 : Journey to Stratford-upon-Avon and on to 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 : Cross Hadrian’s Wall and onwards to Edinburgh
We venture north to the medieval riverside town of Durham, whose exquisite 11th-century cathedral sits imposingly alongside Durham Castle watching over the 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 : Jurys Inn Holiday Inn
Day 3 : Discover Enchanting Edinburgh
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 ancient relics. Tickets to see the spectacular Edinburgh Tattoo are included on departures that coincide with performance dates.
Day 4 : Venture into the 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 700-year-old Swilcan Bridge. We continue our journey and visit picture-perfect Pitlochry, on the edge of the Ben Vrackie and Cairngorms National Park, before arriving at your hotel in the Scottish Highlands where you'll dine tonight.
Accommodation : Highlander
Day 5 : Onwards to Loch Lomond and Glasgow’s Rich Legacy
The arresting 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. Next, we’ll Dive Into Culture at Stirling Distillery and sample a wee dram. We arrive in Glasgow later 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 : Novotel
Day 6 : Explore the Lake District and Journey to Liverpool
Today's first stop is in the runaway wedding capital, Gretna Green where eloping couples would exchange their vows over the Marriage Anvil. Returning to England, we Connect With Locals, joining farmer John and his wife Christine for lunch at a Be My Guest experience 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 : Through the Beautiful Welsh Countryside to Discover 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. Visit the Shropshire market town of Ludlow with some time to explore on your own 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 : Soak up Bath and Stonehenge then off to 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.