Scotland is one of the most wild and beautiful places in the world. Just the name conjures the sound of haunting bagpipes, treasured family tartans and the strong traditions of Clans. Along our travels we uncover stories of the fallen monarchs and bloody battles as we marvel at the breathtaking scenery, magnificent castles and unique architecture.
Ireland – it is said, once visited, is never forgotten. ‘Céad míle fáilte’ - ‘a hundred thousand welcomes to you’! The Irish landscape is legendary (there really are fifty shades of green!) and the history is fascinating. Ireland’s greatest asset is its people - known for their hospitality and friendliness (and a keen sense of humour).
- Edinburgh, including the Royal Yacht Britannia
- Scone Palace
- Dalwhinnie Distillery
- Stirling Castle
- Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
- Belfast, including the RMS Titanic Experience
- Giant’s Causeway
- Ring of Kerry
- Irish Dinner Banquet
- Sheep Dog demonstration
- Powerscourt Gardens
*** Those joining our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.
Day 1: Departure
We depart for Scotland, via Dublin.
Day 2: Edinburgh
We arrive in Scotland and transfer to our hotel in Edinburgh. Tonight is our Welcome Dinner.
Day 3: Edinburgh
On our city tour of Scotland’s capital (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) we see The Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle and we visit the Royal Yacht Britannia - noted as the UK's no.1 attraction by Trip Advisor. The yacht was home to The Queen and Royal Family for over 40 years, sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world.
Day 4: Fort William
We visit Scone Palace, one of Scotland's most important stately homes. For centuries it was the seat of parliament and the crowning place of Scottish Kings (including Macbeth and Robert The Bruce). The Palace houses a fine collection of antiques, paintings and rare artifacts, and the grounds are world renowned. Our afternoon visit is Blair Athol Distillery - standing at the gateway to the Highlands, it is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. We’ll see how they make their single-malt whiskey, and naturally we’ll try a wee dram! We end in Fort William for a 2-night stay.
Day 5: Loch Ness / Fort William
Our first stop is the pretty village of Fort Augustus, which lies on the shore of Loch Ness straddling the Caledonian Canal - the 19th century engineering marvel that connects the east and west coasts of Scotland. We then board our Jacobite Cruise along Loch Ness to the foot of Urquhart Castle, and we’ll have time to visit this magnificent 1000-year-old ruin. Later we’ll drive into the village of Drumnadrochit where we enjoy a lovely dinner and special Highland Performance in the heart of this Highland community.
Day 6: Stirling / Glasgow
We travel through the Trossachs National Park, which boasts some of the world’s most stunning scenery, as we make our way to Stirling Castle - an essential part of any visit to central Scotland. We will learn about the castle’s historical importance and marvel at its magnificence as it sits on its high volcanic rock, visible for many miles in every direction. Later we arrive in Glasgow for a 2-night stay.
Day 7: Glasgow
With a rich culture and history, Scotland’s largest city has transformed from a poverty stricken, over-populated city to one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. Today’s tour will include visits to the magnificent 12th century Cathedral, and the renowned Piping Centre, where we explore 300 years of Great Highland Bagpipe heritage, and have an opportunity to try the bagpipes ourselves!
Day 8: Belfast
We ferry over to Belfast (Northern Ireland), and plunge into Irish tradition with a Traditional Music Trail tour. With two professional musicians as your guides, we walk through cobbled alleyways, past famous landmarks and on to private bars in some of the city’s oldest buildings. At each stop we will be treated to a performance of traditional tunes, songs and stories.
Day 9: Giant’s Causeway
This morning we visit the world’s largest Titanic Visitor attraction, and learn about the ill-fated liner through state-of-the art displays. Then we drive north, admiring the lovely views of this scenic area (the Game of Thrones was filmed here). We stop at the Giants Causeway, huge columns formed by volcanic activity 60 millions years ago.
Day 10: Dublin / Wicklow
We head south to Ireland’s capital - Dublin. Our city tour will take in the statue-lined streets, elegant Georgian Squares and the townhouses boasting the famous coloured doors. There will be free time in Dublin for shopping, sightseeing or to enjoy a pint in one of the many pubs! At the end of the day we proceed to our hotel in Wicklow for a 2-night stay.
Day 11: Wicklow
We drive through the rugged and romantic scenery that Ireland is famous for, to Glendalough, known for its spectacular scenery, rich history, archaeology and abundant wildlife. Then we visit Powerscourt Estate, listed #3 in National Geographic’s finest gardens of the world. This evening we go out for a rousing evening of Irish food and entertainment!
Day 12: Kilkenny
We begin with a sheepdog demonstration - during which the the instructor will explain each command in the dog training technique - a perfect opportunity to experience the true essence of Irish country living. Later we arrive in Kilkenny - a city rich in heritage and craft. We will have free time to explore.
Day 13: Cashel / Killarney
Our first stop is the Rock of Cashel, where medieval Irish kings were crowned. See the 12th century Cormac’s Chapel with its Romanesque decorations. The next stop is Blarney - an opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone or shop at the Woolen Mill. Then we proceed to Killarney for a 2-night stay.
Day 14: Ring of Kerry / Killarney
We embark on Ireland’s most popular scenic drive, the Ring of Kerry. The winding route reveals breathtaking sights of coastal views, beaches and cliffs. We also visit the Skellig Experience to learn about the nearby islands where early Christian Monks lived in austere conditions.
Day 15: Foynes / Kildare
We first visit the Flying Boat Museum, to learn about transatlantic passenger flights and taste Irish Coffee which was invented there. Then we proceed to our 4-star country hotel in County Kildare. Enroute we will stop in Kildare Town - one of the oldest towns in Ireland with 1500 years of history. Today this vibrant town offers a wide selection of shops and cafes. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
Day 16: Home
We fly home, direct from Dublin to Toronto.
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