ENGLAND, WALES & SCOTLAND
This comprehensive journey is tailored to those who want to fully experience British history and culture. In England we celebrate ‘Great British Puddings’ at the world-famous Pudding Club, visit Yorkshire's finest historic house and explore Bronte and Wordsworth country. In north Wales we wind our way through the hidden valleys of Snowdonia National Park and in southern Scotland we visit mysterious castles and stately homes.
The Back-Roads Difference
A Tour For All Seasons
Britain is a year round destination so why not discover the highlights of England, Wales and Scotland when there are fewer visitors around? During the festive season this tour will visit York’s bustling Christmas market and Castle Howard, which is decked out in Christmas decorations personally chosen each year by the Honourable Simon and Mrs Howard. At the end of each day, relax by the fire in one of Britain’s traditional pubs, as you enjoy hearty food and tasty beers.
For seasonal variations of this itinerary, please see notes below in blue.
There is no better introduction to England than Oxford, the ‘city of dreaming spires’. We visit one of its imposing university colleges and enjoy a walk through the city. Later, at a traditional 18th century woollen mill, we learn about the industry that is the cornerstone of Cotswold heritage. We then drive to the delightful Three Ways House Hotel. Tonight’s dinner is at the world famous Pudding Club. (D)
Overnight: Three Ways House Hotel (or similar)
In Worcester visit one of England’s quietest but most interesting cathedrals, then explore the town of Much Wenlock. Later see the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ironbridge before driving to Llangollen where we stay two nights at Bryn Howel Hotel, or similar. (B, D)
Overnight: Bryn Howel Hotel (or similar)
In north Wales we explore Snowdonia National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty. At the Bodnant Food Centre’s Cookery School, a professional chef will demonstrate how to make two Welsh themed dishes, which we will then enjoy for lunch. Back in Llangollen enjoy an evening at leisure. (B, L)
Overnight: Bryn Howel Hotel (or similar)
Enjoy a walking tour of Chester this morning. We then continue east across England’s backbone, the Pennine Hills, to the Bronte Parsonage at Haworth. Next we continue to York, the historic capital of northern England. Stay two nights at the Churchill Hotel. (B)
Overnight: Churchill Hotel (or similar)
This morning our tour leader takes us through the old city, pointing out its highlights. This afternoon enjoy free time to explore York independently. (B)
Overnight: Churchill Hotel (or similar)
Drive to the magnificent 18th century Castle Howard, Yorkshire’s finest historic house and estate. Later enjoy a scenic drive through the wonderful Yorkshire Dales National Park, before arriving at the Waterhead Hotel in Lake Windermere, our base for the next two nights. (B, D)
Overnight: Waterhead Hotel (or similar)
24-Nov-15: Day 6 York – Castle Howard – Lake District
Today we enjoy one of Britain’s most beautiful national parks. Crossing Lake Windermere, our first stop is Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm. This afternoon, we visit Dove Cottage, once home to the poet William Wordsworth and the inspiration for his Daffodils poem. After a short cruise on the lake we return to our accommodation. (B)
Overnight: Waterhead Hotel (or similar)
Driving through Cumbria, we follow Hadrian’s Wall until we reach Birdoswald Roman Fort, one of the best Roman sites on the wall. We then travel to the Scottish Borders and enjoy a traditional three-course Scottish banquet together tonight. Stay overnight at Comlongon Castle, or similar. (B, D)
Overnight: Comlongon Castle (or similar)
Explore Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott. This afternoon we visit one of the most mysterious sites in Scotland, Rosslyn Chapel, which was featured in the best-selling film The Da Vinci Code. Our final destination is Edinburgh, where our tour concludes. (B)
Pick-Up & Drop-Off
This tour commences from the Grange Wellington Hotel, 71-72 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PA at 8.30am. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure.
The tour finishes at 5:30pm at The Place, 34-38 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3HU and 5:45pm at Nira Caledonia, 10 Gloucester Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6EF.
Back-Roads Touring have hand-picked an extensive portfolio of quality properties across Europe and to ensure the very best experience on each of our tours hotels may vary to those listed in this itinerary.
Mobility: All of our tours involve walking and require our guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility.
If we are unable to visit any market listed above, due to changes in opening times, we will substitute this with an alternative activity.
“The trip exceeded all expectations. The scenery and back roads were picture perfect. The small group allowed us to all sit together for meals. The guide, Roddy, was an excellent driver, very knowledgeable and made everything interesting.”
“The tour ticked all the boxes for me. We saw iconic English countryside, castles and cathedrals. Roddy was great: a good sense of humour, knowledgeable and a gem at turning jokes into real life stories! A true Back-Roads experience!”
“This trip has exceeded all expectations. This has been a much longed for trip that has only increased our future plans for a lot more travel. The problem being that we can’t decide which one to do next.”
“Philip certainly made the “Back-Roads” experience ring true. I’m so glad we chose to travel this way as we have experienced the small villages and seen the England countryside in its glory!”
"Amazing food and great accommodation. The small group formula and the flexibility it provides makes this a winner. Would not consider a full sine bus tour after this experience."
“I have wanted to visit the UK for years and finally I had the opportunity to come here. This was the most amazing experience, due David’s enthusiasm, caring, knowledge, kindness and super driving skills on such narrow roads! I can’t imagine anyone would do a better job! Thank you David and Back-Roads.”
“As a single traveller this has been fantastic. Love the 9am starts! Love the decent sized rooms as a single traveller. Love David’s eagerness to make us feel part of the group and to make sure everything is okay.”
"I recommend Philip Hamilton to everyone. Backroads Touring is probably the best holiday I’ve ever experienced. Went to locations that I would never had done if I wasn’t on the tour. Fantastic, great fun meeting new people."
"Very impressed with David, an asset to the Company. He was a walking talking encyclopaedia with his knowledge of towns, villages and districts. The touring exceeded my expectations. Very pleased with accommodation and enjoyed the small villages and countryside. On previous visit to Great Britain in a large coach they could not access aspects as Backroads."
“I think this Back-Roads tour is a perfect itinerary with every aspect beautifully worked out. It far exceeded expectations, due in great part to the cheerfulness, helpfulness and knowledge of our guide, Pip. We also loved that Pip entertained us with music!”
“David is an excellent guide with extensive knowledge of the area. He is very personable and made everyone feel comfortable in our group. The service he provided for us in making certain our experiences were positive was admirable and much appreciated. Great trip!”
“Back-Roads takes us to places we would never find on our own. We have enjoyed two Back-Roads tours and both have been excellent. Wonderful tour guide/driver and great tour group of 14-15 people from several different countries. We’ll do a third tour!”
“As far as our driver/guide goes, it’s hard to decide which part of his expertise was better than the other. I thought his driving was incredibly safe. I never once felt anxious or insecure, but his guiding was exquisite!”
“Take an exceptional group of people and add a guide who treats people like adults and has the foresight and confidence to let them find their own identity as a group - and you have the ingredients of a magical 9 days filled with spontaneous moments and unforgettable experiences. This tour ticked all the boxes. My highlight of the tour were the people, the people, and the people! It is very difficult to choose my favourite local experiences, but one of the best were Cotswolds Wool, Pudding Club and the Lake District.”
|"Feel blessed to have enjoyed this journey under the guidance of Graham… He truly added to everyday with his stops along the way and the knowledge that he provided. Also feel very fortunate to have 13 new friendships - group size was perfect and we enjoyed the experience together - Thank you!"|
“We just completed Highlights of Britain and we could not have been more pleased with our experience from start to finish. Our tour leader was fantastic and regaled us with historical insights peppered with funny anecdotes that truly made history come alive. His relaxed yet organized manner put us immediately at ease and we began to bond as a group. I have always dreamed of visiting England because of my love of English literature. Our youngest son Peter grew up surrounded by all things Peter Rabbit, so my tour of Hilltop and Hawkshead were memorable. My husband was mesmerized by the building of Hadrian's Wall and exploring the turrets of Conwy Castle. The marvellous balance of twisty little roads bordered by hedgerows and stone walls, charming accommodations and delicious meals all contributed to our overall enjoyment. The large mini-coach windows and comfortable seats allowed us see, up close, a new born lamb wagging its tail as it nursed, the moors and bracken of Wales and breath-taking beauty of the Lake District. I am sure each member of our group brought away different memorable moments that will be with them forever. I will cherish my warm memories of sunlit green fields, the cadence of our tour leader’s voice as we rolled along and the camaraderie and laughter of our new friends through the long Minnesota winters. Thank you!”
"Excellent first ever experience of travelling on a group tour (I was a bit worried but everything was great)."
“We have had a delightful tour- comfortable accommodation, excellent service, great company, delicious food and great sight- seeing and information. Thank you, Philip and Backroads. We will be happy to travel with you again.”
"We loved the variety of experiences on the tour. Pip was a very safe and thorough driver/ guide. He also made sure we had all we needed to be comfortable- comfort stops, refreshment times, wonderful times to wander + enjoy places. He was clear in making sure we knew what was happening each day. He is a thoughtful, well informed guide with an obvious love for the UK!"
"Our first bus tour, the bench mark has been set very high. I will travel with Back-Roads again if we come this was again. Graham was a fantastic tour guide and driver, I felt very safe and we saw so much. Thank you!"
“This tour exceeded my expectations. John and Giovanni are both excellent tour leaders. Information was given excitingly and interestingly. Was a real Back Roads experience- over back roads with spectacular views. Thank you to all those involved in creating these wonderful Back Roads experiences. You have done an amazing job with itinerary, guides, venues, vehicle and wonderful companionship and friendship on the tour.”
“We kind of knew what we wanted and once we came across backroads… bam! That's it! I had some “must sees” and wanted a small group. Backroads fit the bill perfectly. Our guide (John) is excellent. He is fun, knowledgeable and professional. Ten out of ten! My highlight of the tour was getting out of the cities and seeing the "real" country. My favourite experience was Castle Comlongon. Phil (Owner) has real pride in his establishment.”
“With Back-Roads you see so much beautiful countryside. The smaller bus gets you where no large coaches could go. Being based in one hotel for more than one night was a deciding factor. Giovanni was outstanding, he is a great asset to the company.”
“Wonderful way to tour! Our tour guide brought history alive. We have all come away with a greater understanding of British History and way of life. Loved travelling along the back roads to see amazing scenery.”
“An excellent tour! Wonderful variety of history, geography, topography and local experiences. An excellent guide/ driver. I never felt uncomfortable for a moment even on the narrowest road or the highest mountain. As a guide he was knowledgeable, witty, considerate + patient. I would tour with him again.”
“We loved everything about our tour. It was exactly what we hoped for and enabled us to see the "real" UK (which was our goal). Graham Norton did a fabulous job of it all; he made the trip. He struck the delicate balancing point between keeping us on schedule but also relaxed.
My highlight of the tour was Beatrix Potter's farm. My favourite local experience was the stop at the Three Horseshoes Tavern.”
“Take an exceptional group of people and add a guide who treats people like adults and has the foresight and confidence to let them find their own identity as a group - and you have the ingredients of a magical 9 days filled with spontaneous moments and unforgettable experiences. This tour ticked all the boxes.
My highlight of the tour were the people, the people, and the people! It is very difficult to choose my favourite local experiences, but I loved The Pudding Club.”
Paula & I had a wonderful time on the Back Roads "Highlights of Britain" tour and are now keen to do another one :-) Your guiding and driving were outstanding and made the tour the great experience it was for us and the rest of the group. We were amazed at the Britain we saw which we had no idea was so beautiful and extensive. The countryside is vast and varied and Britain is not completely covered in towns and cities. So much for Coronation Street and Eastenders! Thank you for the great introduction to a 'hidden Britain'.
We are safely home again after a long flight from Vancouver. All is well here and our fridge is now covered in new magnets of various UK places we visited. Befofre we left London for Vancouver we found a wine shop with Black Sheep ale and toasted you and the UK for a grand visit !
Thank you again for a wonderful time.
"This was our first Back-Roads tour and it was a lovely experience. We are now recommending this tour company to our friends due to their excellence.
My highlight of the tour was the stay at Comlongon Castle as well as at the Wild Boar Hotel."