Enchanting Ireland and Scotland

Duration: 28 days

21 May - 17 June 2020

As we travel through the rolling countryside of Ireland we sample the medieval heritage and history of this enchanting Isle.  Coastal roads, rugged seascapes and traditional Irish hospitality.  We visit such attractions as the renowned Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle with a chance to kiss the Blarney Stone, Potato famine houses of the 1840’s.  From Ireland we take the ferry to Llandudno, Wales then onto Arrochar, Scotland where we explore some of her many treasures such as historical castles, breath-taking Lochs, (Ness & Lomond), picturesque villages and vibrant cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.  A complete and unique tour intertwined with history, charm and culture.

Day 1
Fly From NZ to Singapore for our overnight stop.

Day 2
We continue our Journey to London Heathrow.

Day 3 
Arrive Heathrow then we make our way to Fishguard on the west coast of England. We board the ferry to Rosslare in Ireland. We overnight here.

Day 4  B & D
We make our way to Waterford. Waterford is the capital of the sunny south east of Ireland, and is Ireland's oldest city with an exciting medieval flavour and riverside bustle, our hotel is on the banks of the river Suir. After settling in you will have some free time to browse. 2 nights.

Day 5  B & D
Guided walking tour this morning in Waterford. After the tour we take a short drive to the delightful seaside village of Tramore. Here is an opportunity to enjoy the scenery – a nice easy day.

Day 6  B
We drive to Blarney Castle with its beautiful gardens, where a kiss of the Blarney stone may bestow the gift of eloquence, before continuing onto vibrant Killarney. 3 nights.

Day 7  B
Today we enjoy the superb scenery around the Ring of Kerry that has come to encapsulate the quintessential image of Ireland. The coastal road threads its way through a series of towns and villages, linked by rugged seascape and lush countryside.

Day 8  B & D
Today we travel around the historic and scenic Dingle Peninsular. Here we will visit the Dubeg Fort 8th & 9th century AD first Phase then second phase 10th & 11th Century AD. Defence features date around 580 BC (late Bronze age) We will take some time out here for lunch at the “Stone Roof Café”. We also visit the “Slea Head Cottages”. The main cottage was built in the 1840’s and was inhabited right through the Irish potato famine from 1845 to 1850. Also, whilst here we see working sheep dogs. A fabulous day that we will finish off with a Jaunting tour around Killarney.

Day 9  B
   After a leisurely breakfast we’ll take a scenic drive to Tarbert where we cross the mouth of the Shannon by ferry then take the coastal road to the world renowned “Cliffs of Moher” where we have included entrée fee to O’Brien’s Tower. After this we travel on to Galway for our overnight stop.

Day 10  B
Today we drive through Dublin, to get our boat to Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey and head to our overnight stop on the seafront of Llandudno, Wales. Our accommodation here is on the wide Victorian promenade just a minute walk away from the pier for an overnight stop.

Day 11  B & D

We leave Wales today and enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery on our drive to Arrochar, Scotland, where our lovely hotel is perfectly situated on the Bonnie Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, overnight stop.

Day 12  B
We take an interesting boat tour on Loch Lomond. After which we take a stunning breathtaking drive thru Glen Coe. Lunch stop here before visiting the historic Fort Augustus. Carry on to the lovely Loch Ness Inn, 3 nights.

Day 13  B
We will travel to Inverness (known as the capital of the highlands) to visit the house of Fraser, famous for kilt-making. “It takes eight yards of material to make one Scottish kilt” here we view the kilt’s being made and we’ll have time to browse this most fascinating Scottish icon. Free time for lunch and browsing then we go to the really interesting Culloden battlefields. Experience Culloden – the day that changed Scotland….. it was here the Jacobite army fought to reclaim the British throne for a Stuart king – Bonnie Prince Charlie. Stand on the field where the fighting took place and feel the emotion of this brutal battlefield. The modern interactive exhibition, which puts you in the heart of the action through the 360 degrees battle emersion theatre.

Day 14  B
We take a boat tour on the Loch Ness (and maybe see the monster). Simply beautiful scenery. Lochness is over 20 miles long – a mile wide and its deepest point is 700ft. The largest lake in Scotland. After which we drive to Cawdor Castle and gardens 600years of Highland history. Cawdor Castle has been the home of the Thanes of Cawdor since the early 14th century. This daunting fortress has a drawbridge, and is the home of the present Earl of Cawdor. Its ancient tower is built around a tree, and a fresh water well inside the house is a glorious reminder of Scotland’s colourful and often bloody history. They have an excellent tearoom here and simply beautiful peaceful grounds and a walled garden for you to enjoy. We will have some leisurely time in this beautiful area.

 

Day 15  B
We leave Leviston for Grantown on Spey founded in 1765, one of the highest points in the highlands. You will have time to familiarise yourself with this picturesque highland township. Our accommodation here has a really good atmosphere and great food, 3 nights.

Day 16  B
Today we are going to Glenmore to visit the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre we take a short walk onto the lower slopes of the Cairngorms to see these beautiful animals roaming freely in their natural habitat. Here we can hand feed some of these remarkable animals and walk freely amongst the herd, as we enjoy the breath taking scenery of the Cairngorms that surround us. These are the only reindeer in Britain to roam freely in their natural environment. They are herded using traditional methods by a team of expert reindeer herders. Don’t forget to have your camera with you.

Day 17  B
We visit Crathie Church – this is simply beautiful, and the Queens Highland retreat of Balmoral Castle Estate where you can wander these superb grounds at your leisure and pay a visit the royal ballroom. You can enjoy really good food here , a huge selection in the spacious tearooms – if it’s a nice sunny day there is plenty of seating outside for you to sit and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a living Castle. On leaving Balmoral we visit the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, where we will enjoy a wee dram! The distillery takes its name from the mountain, Lochnagar. The Royal name was bestowed upon the distillery following a visit by Queen Victoria on the 12th September 1848, her first ever distillery tour, Queen Victoria enjoyed a dram of mature Lochnagar highland single malt scotch whisky and Lochnagar Distillery is to this day still a supplier to Balmoral Castle Estate.

Day 18  B & D
Today we leave the Highlands via Braemar (home of the highland games) and head for Erskine Bridge on the outskirts of Glasgow. Our hotel here is for the next 5 nights.

Day 19  B & D
We go into Glasgow to The National Piping Centre where we will be welcomed by a Scottish bagpiper and have a full guided tour of the incredibly interesting bagpipe museum along with a full demonstration of the bagpipes and an opportunity to play this challenging instrument. Time for lunch and to browse around the shops and sights.

Day 20  B & D
We take an attractive drive to the West Coast and head for Largs a very popular seaside resort renowned for its Nardini’s ice cream (approximately 80 varieties). Here we take a short ferry ride across the Firth of Clyde to Great Cumbrae Island and visit Millport. Millport has Britain’s smallest cathedral, called the Cathedral of the Isles completed in 1851, designed by William Butterfield – one of the leading Gothic revival architects of that era. Here we will do a complete island tour by bus. On our return back to Largs, you will have time to browse and maybe sample the famous ice cream!

Day 21  B & D
We drive into Edinburgh, Scotland’s ancient capital, a magnificent city where we visit “A SHIP LIKE NO OTHER”, the ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA. Britannia is the only ship in the world where the captain was traditionally an admiral. Nowhere on her side will you see her name, yet she is recognised around the world. After the audio tour of the ship we have time for tea/coffee and scones in the stunning Royal Deck Tea Rooms before we disembark. We now visit the renowned Edinburgh Castle which stands at the head of the old town, the site has been occupied since the last bronze age. After our visit to the castle you will have time to browse along the “Royal Mile” before we return back to our hotel at Erskine.

Day 22  B & D
We visit Scotland’s latest attraction “The Kelpies”, home of the amazing horse sculptures. Each of the Kelpies stands up to 30 metres tall and each one weighs over 300 tonnes! Here we do “The Kelpies Tour” a guided tour that will give you the story of the real life working horses of the area and the history of the canals. Stirling Castle is next on our days outing another of Scotland’s important castles dating back from the 15th & 16th centuries. Mary Queen of Scots was crowned here. From the castle you have splendid views of the Wallace Monument. Wallace defeated the English army here in Sept 1297 and was then appointed Guardian of Scotland. The Wallace Monument is seen in the Academy award winning film “Braveheart”. Tonight we enjoy a Scottish night of dancing & music. We experience “The Ceremony of the Haggis”, where the piper addresses the haggis and does a recital of Robbie Burns poetry. We then toast the haggis with a wee dram and sample “neeps and tatties”.

Day 23  B

Today we farewell Scotland and head for the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.  From here we travel to Lockerbie memorial site then stop off at the unique Gretna Green for lunch, where those who would like to take advantage of a quickie marriage can do so!  Now we travel onto the picturesque cobblestone village of Hawes, Yorkshire Dales, for our 3 night stop

Day 24  B & D
Today we enjoy the magnificent famous Lake District.  You will have some free time on Lake Windemere for lunch and browsing before continuing onto Haweshead where we view Coniston Water where Sir Donald Campbell died trying to beat the world speed record in

water in 1967.

Day 25  B
Today we tiki tour around Hawes.  We travel over Buttertubs (stunning rural scenery), also take in Muker (pronounced Mooka) where 

"All Creatures Great and Small" and a "Woman of Substance" were filmed.  We stop at the woollen mills and art and craft shop.  We will be driving through Gunnerside, Langwaith over to Asking and back to Hawes.

Day 26 / 27
Travel up to Heathrow and flight time permitting, we will view the Houses of Parliament, Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch and drive down to Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace.  Photo time!! Our tour comes to an end today at Heathrow.  We can drop you off at Victoria Station, London, or at Heathrow for your return flight via Singapore/New Zealand.

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