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Day 1 - Depart North America

Day 2 - Arrival in Glasgow, Scotland
Arrival in Glasgow, Scotland.  Glasgow is Scotland´s largest town and in 1990 was chosen as “European City of Culture”.  The name Glasgow is derived from the Gaelic term “Glas ghu” which means “lovely green place”.  This is evident by the many parks and green areas. Check-in at the Millenium Glasgow Hotel for the next two nights.  We end this evening with a welcome dinner and introduction meeting.

Day 3 - Guided sightseeing tour of Glasgow
After breakfast at our hotel, we have a guided sightseeing tour of Glasgow with time for a self-guided tour of the many museums and art galleries. For the August tour, we will head to Edinburgh to attend the annual Military Tattoo. Back to Glasgow.

Day 4 - Depart Glasgow to Inverness
After breakfast at our hotel we depart Glasgow and head north for Inverness, the chief town of the Highland Region.  In the 12th century, MacBeth´s banquet, which Shakespeare immortalized in his play, is supposed to have taken place at the castle here. Enroute, we will stop in Pitlochy to visit the Salmon Ladder and have time for lunch. Check-in at the Royal Highland Hotel for the next two days.  We will have a traditional Scottish evening to end our day.  

Day 5 - Depart Inverness to Isle of Skye
We depart from Inverness this morning headed toward the Isle of Skye where we will have a very scenic drive today, while the roads get smaller and smaller. We visit the remote Dunvegan Castle. Afterwards, back to Inverness.

Day 6 - Scenic ride through the Scottish Highlands
We enjoy a scenic ride through the Scottish Highlands, as we travel north. There will be stops enroute at Glenmorangie Distillery, Glen Ord Distillery, Caithness Glass and Dunrobin Castle. We will also have the opportunity for lunch in Helmsdale. We will check-in at the Station Hotel in Thurso.

Day 7 - Day trip to the Orkney Islands
Depart for a day trip to the Orkney Islands which are separated from the mainland by the Pentland Firth. Our coach will transfer us to the ferry at John O’Groats. Then you will be picked up by a local coach with a driver guide who will give you an excellent tour of the island. We will visit Skara Brae, Maes Howe, the Italian Chapel and Kirkwall. There are a total number of 67 islands which are a popular destination for nature-lovers, anglers and bird watchers. The first settlers on the Orkneys were erecting their simple dwellings at the very same time that the pyramids were being built in Egypt.  Not to be missed during our visit here is a chance to sample the local smoked cheeses and lobster. Back to Thurso.

Day 8 - Depart Northern Scotland to Inverness
We depart Northern Scotland and will return to Inverness. In the afternoon, we enjoy a Loch Ness cruise today. The controversial Loch Ness Monster is first supposed to have been encountered by an Irish missionary in the 6th century.

Day 9 - Drive to Fort William
We depart Inverness and drive to Fort William which is the main resort in the district of Lochaber. Fort William´s main attraction is Ben Nevis, which at 4406 feet is the highest point in all of Great Britain.  The meaning of the mountain´s name is most likely “covered in a cap of mist” which is certainly true on many days of the year.  On a clear day, the view from the summit is magnificent and extends in all directions for up to 150 miles meaning you might even be able to see the coast of Ireland.  

Day 10 - Spectacular travel day
We depart this morning for a long travel day, but most spectacular scenery. We pass famous places like Glencoe, Rannoch Moor and Loch Lonond. A good shopping stop in Scotland will be at Moffat. In the afternoon, we arrive in Carlisle, our overnight for the next two nights.

Day 11 - Explore the Lake district
Explore the Lake district today, which was designated a national park in 1951 and is an area of incomparable beauty.  It covers a distance of some 30 miles from north to south and 25 miles from east to west and has 16 lakes with numerous small reservoirs. We will visit Grasmere, which is a small lake almost circular in shape with a lonely green island in the middle.  Wordsworth lived to the south of the village and is now buried there. We will visit one of his Lake District homes, Rydal Mount with a beautiful garden. If we ask nicely, the curator will do a poetry-reading and wine session for us. We will continue our excursion by driving past Ullswater, where Wordsworth was inspired to write “Daffodils”, over to Kirkstone Pass, and down into Windermere, where Beatrix Potter’s house is open to the public. Later on, back to Carlisle.

Day 12 - Head to the Holyhead in Northern Wales
We start the day by heading to the Holyhead area in northern Wales where we will tour the Caernarfon Castle, where Charles was crowned Prince of Wales.  Afterwards we will take a ferry over to Ireland.  Dublin hotel check-in for the next two nights.

Day 13 - enjoy the entire day in Dublin´s “Fair City”
We enjoy the entire day in Dublin´s “Fair City”  which will include visits to St. Patrick´s Cathedral, Bank of Ireland, O´Connell Street, Grafton Street and Phoenix Park.  Afternoon free for leisure explorations on your own. Overnight in Dublin.  

Day 14 - Depart Dublin to Killarney
Another scenic day! We depart from Dublin headed toward Killarney where we will spend the next two nights. Enroute we will visit the ecclesiastical site of Cashel, where we enjoy a guided tour of the historic spot where St. Patrick preached. Overnight in Killarney.

Day 15 - Scenic drive on the Ring of Kerry
Today we enjoy one of the world´s most spectacular and scenic drives on the Ring of Kerry. Overnight in Killarney.

Day 16 - Depart Killarney to the city of Cork
We depart Killarney, headed to the city of Cork where we will visit the historic Blarney Castle. An opportunity to visit the Blarney Woolen Mills will be provided. Afterwards we travel through the picturesque “Golden Vale” to Waterford, home of the world-famous Waterford Crystal Factory.   Overnight in Waterford .

Day 17 - Wales and Bath
We depart Waterford this morning and ferry to Wales and its capital, Cardiff.  We follow this with travel to the town of Bath for a visit to the Roman Bath Museums and the elaborate 1st century spas.  Overnight in Bristol for the next two nights.

Day 18 - Day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon
Today we enjoy a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of William Shakespeare. On the way, we will drive along Cotswold Hills, one of the prettiest areas of England.  We will visit Shakespeare´s birthplace and also his wife´s childhood home, Anne Hathaway´s thatch-roofed cottage. Back to Bristol.

Day 19 -  Stonehenge Salisbury
We depart Bristol and head over to Stonehenge, the mysterious formation that dates back to the Stone Age.  Afterwards we visit the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral before traveling to London where we will overnight for the next three nights.

Day 20 - Guided tour of London
We begin the day with a guided tour of London where we will see the Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and also the changing of the guard, if held.  The afternoon is free for exploration on your own.  In the evening we will enjoy a theater performance.  Overnight in London.

Day 21 - Windsor Castle
We begin the day by traveling to the small town of Windsor.  Windsor is dominated by its castle, built on a chalk hill, which for more than 900 years has served as the Royal Family’s summer home.  Windsor Castle is one of the world’s most beautiful residences and is also the world’s largest inhabited castle.  In the afternoon we visit the Kew Gardens, these botanical gardens being a world famous institution.  There were created in 1759 and one of their highlights are two massive Victorian glasshouses. Join everyone this evening for a farewell dinner.  Overnight in London.

Day 22 - Back to North America
Depart hotel for Heathrow for flight back to North America.

 





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