ENGLAND, WALES & SCOTLAND
This adventure delves deep into Britain’s history and culture. In England, we celebrate ‘Great British Puddings’ and trace the footsteps of writers and poets. While in North Wales and Scotland, our journey takes in spectacular scenery and dramatic castles.
The Back-Roads Difference
Our group meets in London, but we soon leave the capital behind for the ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford. A guided walking tour provides the perfect introduction to this most English of cities, taking in the hallowed halls of one of the historic colleges. Then it’s off to the rolling green hills and honey-stone villages of the Cotswolds – England’s bucolic heartland. We visit a working 18th century woollen mill to learn about an industry steeped in regional heritage. As a welcome treat, tonight’s dinner is at the world famous Pudding Club, where we become classic dessert connoisseurs. (D)
This morning we follow the crusades of saints and kings as we tour Worcester Cathedral. Founded over 1,000 years ago, the cathedral houses ancient medieval texts, as well as the tomb of the infamous King John. Our road then turns towards the rugged, ancient landscapes of Wales. En route, we stop to explore the town of Much Wenlock and UNESCO protected Ironbridge Gorge. We continue to Denbighshire where we settle in for a two-night stay in the Welsh countryside. (B, D)
Soaring mountains. Deep, green valleys. Shimmering lakes. It’s time to soak up the splendour of North Wales’ Snowdonia National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. After working up an appetite, we visit the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre for a tour and cookery demonstration, followed by lunch. We stop in Llangollen, a small town situated on the River Dee, before we return to our hotel for a delicious dinner. (B, L, D)
Today we swap beautiful countryside for timeless towns and cities. A walking tour of Chester takes us along streets lined with striking black and white Tudor buildings. Then we journey east across the Pennine Hills, with glorious views waiting around every bend in the road. After paying homage to some of Britain’s literary greats at the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, we continue to York – historic capital of northern England and our home for the next two nights. (B)
From the Romans to the Vikings, York has been an important pin in the map for thousands of years. This morning your tour leader introduces the old town, before leaving you free to explore at leisure in the afternoon. You could browse the boutiques lining The Shambles. Stroll the Roman city walls. Or climb to the roof of York Minster for a birds-eye view over the city rooftops. (B)
Experience the glory days of the English country estate at 18th century Castle Howard – renowned as one of the country’s finest historic houses. Our path then takes us through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, where we pass rivers and dells, tiny villages and hills criss-crossed with centuries-old stone walls. The spectacular conclusion to the day’s journey is the Lake District, where we enjoy a two-night stay. (B, D)
Today we trace the literary heritage of one of Britain’s most beautiful national parks. Our first stop, on the shoes of Lake Windermere, is Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm, where she wrote many of her beloved children’s stories. Then we drop by Dove Cottage, once home to William Wordsworth. It was on one of the poet’s walks from here that he came across the sight that inspired his famous poem, Daffodils. Afternoon sees us take to the water on a lake cruise, before returning to our accommodation for a relaxing evening. (B)
The lakes disappear in the rear-view mirror as we journey from Cumbria along Hadrian’s Wall. We explore Birdoswald Fort, one of the finest Roman sites on the wall, before travelling through the sweeping scenery of the Scottish Borders. A traditional Scottish dinner provides us with a warm welcome to the third and final country on our adventure. (B, D)
Our tour may end today, but there are still plenty of sites to enjoy. Morning sees us strolling through the walled gardens of Abbotsford House, the former home of writer Sir Walter Scott. And afternoon has us uncovering the mysteries of Rosslyn Chapel, immersed in legend and featured in The Da Vinci Code. That brings us to Edinburgh, where our tour comes to a close in style in Scotland’s historic capital. (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 Nira Caledonia Edinburgh, 10 Gloucester Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6EF.