Duration: 18 Days
Experience the best of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales on this in-depth exploration tour of the British Isles. In between time in the major cities—London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Cardiff—visit some of the historic towns and witness some of the breathtaking scenery. On any tour through Britain and Ireland, you’d expect to visit ancient ruins, majestic castles, and historic sights. That’s why Cosmos has included visits to prehistoric Stonehenge; Bath, known for its Roman ruins and baths; Edinburgh Castle, dating to the 12th century, where you’ll admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels; Hadrian’s Wall, the remains of the fortifications built by the Romans 2,000 years ago to defend against marauding northern tribes; the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620; the battlefield of Culloden Moor, where in 1746, the last battle was fought on British soil; and more.
You’d also expect to see stunning scenery and lush landscapes on a Britain and Ireland tour. That’s why Cosmos has included a drive around the Dingle Peninsula, a dramatic drive passing seaside villages, ancient monuments, and views of the Blasket Islands; a drive on the 100-mile Ring of Kerry, with its rugged and magnificent landscapes; the spectacular 668-foot Cliffs of Moher, where rugged cliffs drop into the ocean; a scenic drive along North Wales coast to England’s tranquil Lake District, recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status; and drives through rich dairy farmland. In the Scottish Highlands, drive through the rolling terrain interspersed with lochs (lakes), picturesque towns, and the sparkling coastline. Watch for Nessie at Loch Ness, Scotland’s largest lake. Bustling cities, smaller towns, historic sights, breathtaking landscapes, and much more are offered on this incredible Britain and Ireland tour.
Adventure is knocking with everything you need for perfectly affordable touring. Cosmos includes hand-selected accommodations, guided sightseeing, and seamless transportation between destinations—with value-minded travel lovers in mind. Explore with expert Cosmos Tour Directors and Local Guides, complimentary headsets, private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach with free Wi-Fi and a return Irish Sea ferry crossing. Enhance your free time to explore like a local with your CosmosGO mobile app! Headsets are available on tour except for London.
Departures July 19 & 26, and August 08 & 09 include the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Please note: Itinerary is based on 2024, and is subject to change. Full details will be confirmed in 2024.
Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, there is time to rest or to start exploring the lively British capital. Uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
What's your pleasure? Today is devoted to exploring on your own or enjoying our exciting program of optional activities. You may choose to join a Local Guide for an optional morning sightseeing tour of the city's famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall's mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister's Downing Street residence, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. Later, maybe visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its spectacular Crown Jewels. Tonight, we recommend our optional Taste of London excursion with dinner, followed by a guided illumination cruise on the River Thames. (B)
Meet your Tour Director and travelling companions to depart at 8 am for the West Country. Cross the chalky terrain of Wiltshire and visit Stonehenge, one of England's most intriguing mysteries. Explore the visitor centre with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument from up close. In the heart of Dartmoor National Park, ghostly setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, visit quaint Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Later, in Plymouth, hear about Sir Francis Drake and see the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620. Today's Distance: 222 mi/ 356 km (B,D)
Via Glastonbury and its legends of King Arthur to the elegant city of Bath, famed for its amazing Roman relics and Georgian buildings. Cross the spectacular Severn Bridge into Wales and head for the capital, Cardiff. Here, an orientation drive introduces you to all the major attractions: Cardiff Castle, Cathays Park, Millennium Stadium, and the stately civic buildings. Tonight, why not join an evening of Welsh entertainment and dining? Today's Distance: 188 mi/ 303 km (B)
Enjoy vistas of rich dairy farmland this morning on the way to the pretty seaside resort of Tenby. Then, on to Pembroke, departure point for the ferry across St. George's Channel to Ireland. Arrive at Rosslare in just under four hours. Today's Distance: 169 mi/ 272 km (B,D)
Today, discover why Ireland is called the "Emerald Isle." Drive along the southern coast, passing Cork, the country's second-largest city. Stop in Blarney, famous for its Stone of Eloquence, with time to see the castle, and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. Continue to the popular resort of Killarney. Today's Distance: 134 mi/ 216 km (B)
At Killorglin, join the road known as the Ring of Kerry for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive featuring sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly painted farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and spectacular views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. Back in Killarney, a special optional adventure: take a horse-drawn jaunting car along the national park lakeshore for pictures of Ross Castle. Today's Distance: 100 mi/ 160 km (B)
Breathtaking scenery this morning on the Dingle Peninsula, where the 32-mile Slea Head drive affords magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. See the Blasket Islands and hear about the way of life and unique literary achievements of its inhabitants prior to their evacuation in 1953. Then, travel via Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages, to Limerick. Tonight, consider joining an optional medieval banquet at a historic castle. Today's Distance: 187 mi/ 301 km (B)
Take a scenic route this morning via the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren on the way to the port city of Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan district with vibrant shops and a busy cafe and bar culture. Continue across the mighty Shannon before arriving in Dublin. The optional dinner suggestion is a fun Irish cabaret evening with dinner, dance, and songs. Today's Distance: 208 mi/ 334 km (B)
A day in the "Fair City" starts with an orientation drive through Eire's capital, including statue-lined O'Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. The afternoon is at leisure. Later, why not join an optional dinner at the Guinness Storehouse? (B)
Take the ferry across the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey with its tongue-twisting names. Explore North Wales on the way to Caernarfon where the castle saw the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales. Overnight in Liverpool, of Beatles fame and once the departure port of the great transatlantic liners. Today's Distance: 180 mi/ 290 km (B)
Drive into the tranquil Lake District, often considered to be the finest of England's national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, visit Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Travel through the history-steeped Lowland Hills to Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. Today's Distance: 237 mi/ 381 km (B,D)
Skirt the "Bonnie Banks" of Loch Lomond and head through wild Rannoch Moor into the Highlands. Pass through Glen Coe, where the MacDonald Clan was massacred in 1692, to Fort William beneath Ben Nevis. Then, the Great Glen for vistas of the Caledonian Canal, Loch Lochy, and Loch Oich. Follow the banks of Loch Ness, home of the timid and timeless Nessie. Continue via Inverness, the Highland capital and, on the way to tonight's destination, stop at the battlefield of Culloden Moor with its memories of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Today's Distance: 209 mi/ 336 km (B,D)
Drive through more spectacular Highland scenery for a stop in the pretty Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry. Then, travel via Perth and Dundee before crossing the Tay Bridge to St. Andrews, whose Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, has given us the rules of golfing. Continue through Fife and over the mighty Forth Road Bridge to spend the next two nights in Edinburgh. A suggestion for this evening: enjoy a traditional Scottish night out, with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis. Today's Distance: 169 mi/ 272 km (B)
A full day to enjoy the Scottish capital. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old "New Town," home to famous scientists, inventors, and novelists. In the "Old Town," visit Edinburgh Castle to admire Scotland's Crown Jewels. Later, consider an optional tour with dinner. For departure numbers July 19, July 26, August 2 and August 9, tickets are included for tonight's performance of the world-renowned Military Tattoo. (B)
At Jedburgh, see the abbey ruins before heading towards the Cheviot Hills and the English border. Travel through wild Northumberland National Park and, on the way, see a section of Hadrian's Wall, the Roman coast-tocoast defense against marauding northern tribes. In York, England's most complete medieval city, stand in awe in front of the great structure of York Minster, then follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles. Overnight is in Leeds. Today's Distance: 220 mi/ 355 km (B,D)
In Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon, take photos of Anne Hathaway's Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. After returning to London around 4 pm, how about celebrating the success of your tour with an optional night out on the town? Today's Distance: 237 mi/ 385 km (B)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)