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Best of England, Wales and Scotland


Where can you find the birthplace of Harry Potter, mountainous national parks, rolling countryside and medieval architecture? The UK of course! This three-week adventure will take you through some must-see sites in England, Wales and Scotland. Take a punt through Oxford, explore the beauty of the Cotswolds, walk Cardiff and discover popular filming locations of The Doctor, stroll through the majestic beauty of Snowdonia National Park, be inspired by The Beatles’ past in Liverpool, hike the stunning Lake District National Park, hit the town in Glasgow, support local communities in picturesque Edinburgh (JK Rowling’s favourite writing spot), travel through the undulating landscape of the Scottish Highlands and Cairngorms National Park and discover the untouched and stunning Isle of Skye.

19 days, from

$7,760

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: BMSBC
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  United Kingdom
Accommodation: Hotel (16 nights), Guesthouse (2 night)
Transportation: Train , Private vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 18 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Take one of the world’s most scenic train journeys as you travel to the Highlands on the world-famous West Highland Railway, crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct of Harry Potter fame. Then explore the birthplace of the novels in Edinburgh.

  • Nothing beats getting to know a place on your own two feet, so get your walking shoes on for explorations of Portree Bay, Creag Bheag and Fort William with views of the UK’s highest peak – Ben Nevis – in all its glory.   

  • Take a ferry to the Isle of Skye, soak up the fresh sea air and mountain views and taste your way through the local whisky. Then, take a day trip through the stunning landscapes and medieval castles of Skye.    

  • Discover cities Cardiff in Wales and Liverpool in England with leader-led walking tours, the best way to discover the city! In Cardiff, explore Dr Who filming locations and in Liverpool, tune in to everything The Beatles.   

  • From the gorgeous Cotswolds, walk the famous Lon Gwyrfai path in Snowdonia National Park, and explore the rolling hills, woodlands and picturesque villages. Then, travel to the mountainous landscape of Lake District National Park, taking a relaxing walk along Windermere Lake.  

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: London

Welcome to London! England’s capital and largest city stands on the River Thames and has a history spanning back to the time of the ancient Romans. There’s lots to see and do in this bustling metropolis, so it’s recommended that you arrive a couple of days early to explore the city. Your trip begins with a welcome meeting tonight at 6 pm. After, you’re free to hit a West End show or find a fancy restaurant for dinner with a view.

Day 2: Oxford

After breakfast this morning, take a train to Oxford – established in the 12th century, this city revolves around its prestigious university of the same name. The architecture of the city’s medieval centre led poet Matthew Arnold to the nickname 'City of Dreaming Spires'. When you arrive, enjoy a spot of punting – a timeless Oxford tradition of taking a leisurely boat ride (or punt) upstream. Pass along gorgeously green gardens and admire the city from the water. Then, you have a free afternoon to explore at your own pace. You might like to visit the famed college campuses or the Botanic Gardens, where you can picnic for lunch.

Day 3: Oxford

After breakfast this morning, you have the day free to explore Oxford. If you haven’t already, it’s highly recommended that you take a tour of the University of Oxford, with its many prestigious libraries and historic buildings. Then, you might want to explore Oxford Castle and Prison or the Ashmolean Museum – the university’s museum of art and archaeology. Then, maybe check out Blenheim Palace – a 300-year-old country house in Woodstock and the only non-royal house in England to hold the title of palace. Tonight, why not reconnect with your group and find a spot of dinner?

Day 4: Moreton-in-Marsh

Enjoy breakfast and then take a day trip to the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. Designated as the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this region rises from the meadows of the upper Thames and is a beautiful place to spend a leisurely afternoon. Explore the English countryside and the peaceful beauty of the local villages. This area is also known for its distinctive local yellow limestone buildings, including medieval-looking cathedrals and thatched homes. If the weather is right, today is perfect for a picnic lunch in the park with your group. Tonight, you’re free to make your own dinner plans. Spend the night in Moreton-in-Marsh.

Day 5: Cardiff

After breakfast, take a train to Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. Enjoy some free time for lunch and then take a walking tour with a local guide – calling all Dr Who fans, this one is for you! Explore various filming locations and a few of the city’s hotspots related to The Doctor, all within Cardiff’s city centre. After you walk in the footsteps of David Tennant, Jodie Whittaker and Matt Smith, you’ll have the afternoon free to explore, time travel or visit Cardiff Castle – which has stood for almost 2000 years. Tonight, relax in your hotel, enjoy a Dr Who marathon, or find a great spot for dinner with your group.

Day 6: Snowdonia National Park

Wake up nice and early this morning for breakfast at your hotel and then take a private transfer to Beddgelert – a village nestled in the Snowdonia area of Wales and translating to Gelert’s Grave. This community was named after the legend of Gelert the dog, who Prince Llywelyn left to guard his child. The prince found the dog covered in blood and assumed he had turned on the child, thus killing him. Tragically, the prince realised that Gelert had saved the child from a nearby wolf. Stricken with grief and remorse, the prince gave his heroic hound a ceremonial burial by the river, and to this day, thousands visit the cairn of stones that mark Gelert’s grave. When you arrive in this riverside village, take a scenic hike on the Lon Gwyrfai path to Rhyd Ddu. Winding through some of the best parts of Snowdonia National Park, this trail will wind through Welsh plantations, ancient woodlands and viewpoints spanning across the valley. An included group lunch will break up the walk, and after, you’ll take a private transfer to Bangor – the oldest city in Wales. When you arrive, the rest of the afternoon is free. Relax at your hotel or visit one of the many cathedrals in the city.

Day 7: Liverpool

Have breakfast this morning at your hotel and then take a train to Chester – another cathedral city first founded as a Roman fortress in the 1st century. Take a boat cruise along the River Dee and sightsee this ancient city, with its red sandstone Roman walls, from the water. Enjoy some free time for lunch and then take a train to Liverpool in northwest England. Enjoy a free evening when you arrive – maybe hit one of the many pubs and spend a night with some local Liverpudlians.

Day 8: Liverpool

After breakfast, hit the streets of Liverpool – famously, the hometown of The Beatles. You’ll take a Beatles-themed walking tour of the city with a local guide, exploring the waterfront, the famous architecture of the Georgian Quarter, local pubs where the Fab 4 began their musical journey, and maybe even the childhood homes of Paul and John. Explore some local music shops, record stores, and other famous locations tied to the historic musical geniuses while learning about the history of Liverpool itself. After, maybe grab a pub lunch with your group before enjoying a free afternoon to explore on your own.

Day 9: Lake District National Park

After breakfast this morning, you’ll take a train to Windermere, in the famous Lake District of England. A mountainous region and national park, this area is popular for its stunning scenery, glacial ribbon lakes and historic literary association. Enjoy some free time for lunch, exploring the town of Windermere and then take a guided walk with your trip leader along the Windermere west shore of the lake – by far, the most popular natural lake to explore in the district. This lake is also the largest in the country! Extend your walk this afternoon, relax in your hotel or find a quaint spot for dinner with your group – the evening is yours.

Day 10: Lake District National Park

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel this morning with your group. You have a free day to explore the Lake District National Park today – your trip leader will have many suggestions for hikes, short walks and activities in the area. You might like to take a boat tour, very popular on Windermere Lake, or take a drive to Beatrix Potter’s home in Near Sawrey. You could also choose to visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle – a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to the Neolithic period. There’s so much to see and do in this gorgeous national park, it’s a nature-lover’s paradise!

Day 11: Edinburgh

After breakfast, take a train to Edinburgh, Scotland this morning. The birthplace of Harry Potter, Edinburgh is a hilly city that has captured the hearts and minds of many. When you arrive, you’ll take a walking tour with your trip leader. Explore the medieval Old Town, with Edinburgh Castle looming above, then head into the Georgian New Town, with its beautiful gardens and neoclassical buildings. After that, you have the afternoon free. Maybe explore the castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels, or head to Arthur’s Seat, an imposing peak with sweeping views over the city in Holyrood Park. You can also book a Potter-themed walking tour to further explore the city and learn about JK Rowling’s inspirations and writing locations and even visit the grave of the original Tom Riddle! Maybe grab dinner tonight with your group at one of the local favourites.

Day 12: Glasgow

Today morning after breakfast, make your way to the train station and travel to Glasgow. You'll be given all necessary tickets and instructions, but please note your trip leader will not travel with you. Glasgow is a city full of character, history and flair and has recently been designated a UNESCO Creative City of Music. Widely recognised as a significant international musical centre, it is the largest music economy in the UK after London. An interesting place to check out is the Riverside Museum with their interactive displays. These exhibitions highlight Glasgow’s transport history as a major port city in the 18th and 19th centuries. Maybe you'd like to stroll along the river Clyde’s banks and hang out at the Glasgow Green. Attend a welcome meeting at 6 pm with your new group and then after, maybe get acquainted over dinner – Merchant City is a great area for a ‘fish supper’ or a pint.

Day 13: Fort William

Leave the city behind this morning as you take the train to Fort William. This is no ordinary ride, so make sure you’ve got a good view out the window – the West Highland Line has some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland. The urban landscape is quickly replaced with a windswept panorama of the untouched Highlands as the line skirts the edge of Loch Lomond and ascends from Crianlarich to Upper Tyndrum and wild Rannoch Moor. Arrive in the early afternoon with time to explore the town with your leader. Visit nearby Old Inverlochy Castle, on the banks of the river that feeds the loch. This is on the site of possibly the oldest castle in Scotland. Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the Isles, looms in the distance, and you can take a gondola to the top of one of the smaller peaks in the Nevis Range for incredible elevated views of this wild region. Enjoy a free evening to enjoy Highland hospitality and maybe try some great local produce for dinner.

Day 14: Glenfinnan / Isle of Skye

Complete your journey on the West Highland Line – one of the world’s most spectacular scenic railroad lines – soaking in the scenery as the train winds along the coastline and across the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct. The viaduct is one of the best-known in Scotland as it plays a part in Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express route. The train line ends at the port town of Mallaig, and you’ll hop off the train and onto a ferry – as the Scottish song goes – over the sea to Skye. When you reach the isle – the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago – you’ll take a private transfer along the winding roads past the Cuillin mountains to Portree, the capital of Skye that sits on the loch of the same name. Enjoy some free time to explore this colourful port, then join your leader in a local bar for a pre-dinner whisky tasting. You’ll get an inside insight into what makes this region the home of some of the best whisky in the world.

Day 15: Isle of Skye

This morning, it’s time to explore the Isle of Skye, beginning with a hike around Portree Bay with your leader – there are few better ways to wake yourself up after an evening of whisky tasting than fresh sea air and mountain views. Then, take a private minibus tour around Skye – driving in a loop around the northeast coast, home to some of Skye’s most iconic landscapes. Take in the Trotternish Peninsula and then visit Dunvegan Castle – a striking 13th-century castle and gardens nestled in stunning natural surroundings on the MacLeod Estate. Learn about its history and explore the walled gardens surrounding it – maybe even stop for afternoon tea at the café, where they serve delicious cakes!

Day 16: Loch Ness / Highlands / Inverness

This morning, travel from Portree to the famous Loch Ness, crossing the Skye Bridge to return to the mainland. On the way, you’ll stop by the memorable sight of Eilean Donan Castle. This castle, first inhabited in the 6th century, is perched on an island where the three great sea lochs meet and is an iconic Scottish image. You’ll also stop in Fort Augustus on the shores of Loch Ness to check out the fantastic valley and head out on an included boat cruise. You’ll also see Cherry Island, Fort Augustus Abbey and, maybe if the conditions are right, the famous resident monster. Continue to Inverness, the capital of the Highlands and your base for the next two nights.

Day 17: Inverness

This morning, start the day by hopping on a local bus to nearby Culloden Battlefield, located on the outskirts of Inverness. In April 1746, it was here that the last great battle on British soil was fought and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite rebellion came to a bloody end. The battlefield is fascinating to walk around and exudes sombreness even today. Back in the city centre, take a walk alongside the River Ness. This local’s favourite weaves over some small islands in the river before crossing a graceful pedestrian suspension bridge and finishing close to a local arts centre that looks up at Inverness Castle. The rest of the day is free to explore. Maybe visit a local whisky store, catch a local gig, do some souvenir shopping or hop on a train to nearby Cairngorms National Park to explore the village of Aviemore.

Day 18: Edinburgh

Today, you’ll board a local train from Kingussie to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. You might cross the iconic Forth Bridge (not all trains take this route) – a UNESCO World Heritage-listed cantilever structure completed in 1890. Edinburgh is a medieval-like hilly city full of charm and character, with the imposing Castle guarding from above. Edinburgh is designated a UNESCO Creative City of Literature, being the birthplace and home to world-famous writers, poets and playwrights, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Walter Scott and JK Rowling. This afternoon, set off on a walking tour with an Edinburgh local. Your guide has been trained by Invisible Cities, an inspiring social enterprise that supports and trains locals who have experienced homelessness to become tour guides. See the top sights from a different angle, including the Scottish Parliament buildings, Royal Mile and Canongate Cemetery, and give back to the community. The rest of the afternoon is for your leisure – maybe stroll around the Old Town, get acquainted with the fairy-tale Dean Village or head out to portside Leith for eclectic shopping and some great restaurants. In the evening, why not get your group together for dinner and spend the night sharing stories and memories of your adventures?

Day 19: Edinburgh

With no activities planned for today, you’re free to leave any time after breakfast. If you wish to spend more time in enigmatic Edinburgh, we don’t blame you – with a history of over 10,000 years, there’s so much to see and do – just speak to your booking agent.