Best of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Itinerary Name: Best of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
No. of days: 16nights/17days
Places Covered: London (2nights)- Oxford (2nights) Bath (1night) - Manchester (2nights) - Edinburgh (2nights) - Belfast (2nights) - Dublin (2nights) - Cardiff (1night) - Bristol (1night) - London (1night)
Days 1: Arrival in London: Arrive in London early morning. Transfer to you hotel. After some rest and enjoying an old-fashioned English breakfast, embark on a sightseeing tour of London, one of Europe's best metropolises.
Take the Tube, London’s metro subway train, to reach Westminster Abbey, a large and most notable religious building in whole of United Kingdom. This has been the traditional place of coronation and burial site for the English, and later British monarchs. Check out the fan-vaulted Henry VII's Chapel, the shrine to Edward the Confessor, and Poets' Corner, where many literary laureates are buried.
Close to Westminter Abbey is the Houses of Parliament and the famous London landmark Big Ben. You can reach these taking a stroll. Looks at these and continue walking north along Whitehall. You will pass by 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the prime minister. Reach Trafalgar Square, the hub of London and its most famous square.
Very near to Trafalgar Square is the National Gallery, where you can see some of the works of the famous painters of England. You can have lunch at the nearby Covent Garden.
Later, reach Charing Cross Station and walk along the Mall. You can reach Buckingham Palace, the residence of the present Queen. If it's late summer, you might even be able to visit the palace when the queen is away. Make it a point to visit the Tower of London. There are actually about 20 towers which bring British history to life. The Crown Jewels, the Bloody Tower, and the Traitor's Gate are all on the premises.
Have dinner at one of the many restaurants and return to the hotel for a good overnight sleep.
Day 2: London: Start the sightseeing tour of London from a tour to the British Museum. This is considered as of the best in the world. It has a great collection, amassed during the time when Britain used to be a colonial power.
After the Museum, move to the City or Square Mile, the financial district of London. This is the home of major financial institutions of the world. Apart from banking and insurance companies, one can see offices of those dealing in foreign currency and bonds. One can see the offices of Bank of England, London Stock Exchnage and London Bullion Market. Have lunch at one of the several restaurants here.
Head to St. Paul's Cathedral, the masterpiece of architect Sir Christopher Wren. From the top of the cathedral once can have a great panoramic view of London. Visit Tate Modern, an art gallery situated at the south side of the Thames. Later, go for a ride on London Eye, the world's largest observation wheel and most popular ride in London. On a clear day it is said to provide a panoramic sweep of at least 40km.
Days 3: Oxford: This town can be reached by almost 1.5 hours train ride from London. This town is famous for its University – the Oxford University. The town is absolutely jam packed with incredible buildings, largely in the form of the Oxford Colleges.
Have lunch at the Turf Tavern, a place visited by almost all who have visited or lived in Oxford, starting from Elizabeth Taylor to Bill Clinton to famous Indian personalities. Go for a two-hour walking tour, which starts from the Oxford Tourist Information Centre. This is the best way to know more about the famous University. In the afternoon, climb Carfax Tower and get a panoramic view of Oxford City.
Have dinner and retire to your room. Overnight in Oxford.
Day 4: Oxford – Cotswolds – Oxford: Start in the morning to visit incredibly picturesque Cotswolds area, spread over an area of 40km by 145km in south central England. It has a range of rolling hills which rise from the meadows of the upper Thames. There are quaint villages and rolling countryside with country pubs, greenery all around village greens and cricket ovals. Return to Oxford after spending whole day there. Overnight in Oxford.
Day 5: Oxford – Bath: Start, after an early breakfast, for a nearly two-hour train ride to Bath, a town set in the rolling countryside of southwest England, known for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture. The town was initially built by the Romans in the 1st Century AD.
Check into hotel on arrival in the city and go out for a full day sightseeing.
In the 18th century, under George III, Bath developed into an elegant town with neoclassical Palladian buildings, which blend harmoniously with the Roman baths. Number 1 Royal Crescent is a Palladian row of houses that is often used as a film location today. This house offers a peek into what the interiors look like, in the form of a museum. Overnight in Bath.
Days 6: Bath - Manchester: Start early morning to take a 3.5 hours train ride to reach Manchester, hub of cotton industry in the 19th and early 20th century, is a nice place to explore. There are a number of wonderful shopping places yearning for your attention. Besides, there are museums and art galleries to be explored. The city is also home to some architectural highlights.
Natives will claim Manchester to be the best place for music in the whole of England. Take a tour under the streets of Manchester and hear tales of ghosts and hauntings, as you experience an aspect of the city that few locals even know about. Fletcher Moss park and Parsonage Gardens are also nice places to spend some time at.
Overnight in Manchester.
Day 7: Manchester – Peak District - Manchester: Go from Manchester to enjoy Peak District National Park, first national park of the UK in 1951. This is spread mostly in northern Derbyshire but also includes parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and Yorkshire, was the first national park of United Kingdom, made so in 1951. Enjoy the quaint villages and beautiful walks and visit lovely country houses.
If time permits, go on to see Warwick Castle, one of the best preserved castles in England. Head to Manchester and check into a hotel. Overnight in Manchester.
Day 8: Manchester – Edinburgh: Check out from Manchester hotel and start for Edinburgh, capital of Scotland. This is a more than 4.5 hour’s drive, but by train it takes less than four hours. There are several trains available between these two cities.
Transfer to a hotel on arrival in Edinburgh. Later, go to Holyrood, home to the Scottish Parliament and take a free guided tour. If the Parliament is in session, you can observe proceedings from the public gallery.
Go on to visit Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks in the heart of Princes Street, the Scott Monument. This was constructed in 1846 to commemorate Edinburgh born writer Sir Walter Scott, renowned for his historical novels. Climb some 287 stares to reach its summit from where the views overlooking the capital and surrounding countryside are tremendous
Also visit St Giles' Cathedral which is open all year round. This magnificent cathedral, with incredible stained glass windows, on the High Street contains memorials to around 200 distinguished Scots.
Towards the evening, try and get tickets for one of the country’s most iconic comedy clubs – The Stand. Finally, visit George Street, home to some of Edinburgh’s trendiest, shops, bars and restaurants. Have dinner and taste Scottish Whiskeys. Overnight in Edinburgh.
Day 9: Edinburgh: Start the day quite early with a visit to Arthur’s Seat, a 251m high extinct volcanic summit. It can be reached in 30 minutes by walking. But it can also be reached by bike or car. Later, after some rest and relaxation and a hearty breakfast, go on to visit National Museum of Scotland. This houses collections from the nation’s culture, history and people. It gives a good glimpse into Scottish history, from the primeval age right up to the modern era.
Later, move on to visit Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh’s most popular and famous attraction. An ancient stronghold, Edinburgh Castle has been home to royalty for hundreds of years. Try to be there at a little before 1pm to witness the shooting of the One o'clock Gun. This is a tradition going on since 1861 (except on Sundays).
Take a gentle stroll in Princes Street Gardens located at the base of Edinburgh Castle. Explore this lovely public park, which divides the city into Old and the New Town, with its seasonal floral displays, monuments and statues. Later on, one can choose to visit National Galleries of Scotland or Royal Botanic Garden.
Edinburgh is one of the best places for those interested in shopping or window shopping. The West End Village, a few minutes’ walk from the city centre, but away from the hustle and bustle is a picturesque haven of individual boutiques, quirky accessory stores, and unique gift shops.
In the evening go for some theatre show and have nice drink and return to the comforts of the hotel room after a nice dinner.
Days 10: Belfast: Northern Ireland, not being far, it is best to include it in the tour program. Drive to Cairnryan, a small village in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. This is a three hours drive from Edinburgh. Cairnryan is connected to Northern Ireland through ferries. This is a ferry ride of roughly 2.5 hours. On reaching Belfast, transfer to hotel.
Have lunch and after some rest, set out to explore Belfast. In the afternoon, visit world’s biggest Titanic museum. Take a tour of the city, visiting the arty Cathedral Quarter. Have a look at the Albert Clock, Belfast’s own leaning tower of Pisa. You can also go on to see the murals of the Protestant Shankill Road and the Catholic Falls Road. A look at the magnificent Tudor Gothic Queen’s University building is also worth.
Make a visit to St George’s Market, built in 1890-1896, and the only surviving covered Victorian market in Belfast. It was named the UK's best large indoor market of 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities. There's an infinitely tempting range of local, continental and specialty foods here. You can enjoy anything you want in dinner listening to live music.
Retire to your room. Overnight in Belfast.
Day 11: Belfast: Take a full day sightseeing tour of Belfast. Belfast is home to some of the best golf courses in the world. It is also a place with excellent pubs. Make a visit to Tower Museum. Also visit the Giant’s Causeway; some 37,000 basalt column formation. This is said to have been formed as a result of a huge subterranean explosion 60 million years ago. Visit Old Bushmills Distillery, claimed to be the world’s oldest distillery, in operation since getting a license from James I in 1608.
Make it a point to visit the Saint Patrick Centre. This interpretive centre, the only one in the world devoted to him, has a stunning glass atrium to reduce its impact on the cathedral behind and his alleged grave. Carrickfergus Castle is also a nice place to visit. This imposing castle was built by John de Courcy in 1177 as his base after he conquered eastern Ulster. After being garrisoned continuously for over seven centuries, the British Army handed it over to the new Government of Northern Ireland in 1928.
There are other castles to be explored. After an exhaustive day, have a nice dinner at one of the restaurants. Overnight in Belfast.
Day 12: Dublin: Check out from Belfast hotel after breakfast and take a train to reach Dublin, capital of Dublin. Check into a hotel in Dublin on arrival.
There are so many things to explore in Dublin. Dublin is on located on Ireland’s east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey. Dublin has some excellent looking medieval buildings. Some of these include the 13th-century Dublin Castle and imposing St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191.
Go on to visit St Stephen's Green, a public park which was once used as a ground for whippings and punishments. Spread across the green's lawns and walkways are some notable artworks. Most famous of this is the monument of Wolfe Tone , the leader of the abortive 1798 rebellion. This is also dubbed as 'Tonehenge'.
Take a trip down to the Dingle Peninsula, kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, and gaze at the Cliffs of Moher. Visit National Museum and National Gallery and make a visit to Trinity College.
Enjoy dinner at a restaurant. Overnight in Dublin.
Day 13: Dublin: Go for a full day sightseeing of Dublin visiting Museum of National History, Chester Beatty Library, Guinness Storehouse and many more architectural gems. Have a relaxed evening and interact with the Irish people, well known for their love of a good time! Overnight in Dublin.
Day 14: Dublin - Cardiff: Check out from Dublin and move to the airport and catch a flight to Cardiff, the capital and largest city in Wales. Check into a hotel on arrival in the city.
At Cardiff you can explore museums, galleries and castles. There are sporting venues and Welsh culture to observe and enjoy. You can explore National Museum Cardiff, spectacular Cardiff Castle and the impressive Principality Stadium, all settled within the city centre, on foot.
Go on to visit Farmer’s Market, a popular place for food lovers. St Fagans National History Museum is also a good place to visit. This is located in a pretty village on the outskirts of the city. Over 40 buildings, from an Iron Age Celtic village to a row of ironworkers’ houses have been painstakingly rebuilt in 60 acres of beautiful gardens, with many traditional crafts and activities taking place in front of your eyes.
Have dinner and overnight stay in Cardiff.
Day 15: Cardiff – Bristol: Check out in the morning and cross the enormous Severn estuary over the impressive Severn road bridge to reach Bristol, a city and a county in South West England. The place is full of all sorts of interesting items of historical interest.
Bristol has been an important English port for over a thousand years. Bristol has played a big role in Britain’s sea faring history, from early explorers and traders, to the dark years of the African slave vessels, to filling Australia with immigrants.
Take a trip round the SS Great Britain, built in 1843, and designed by the once engineering genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel – the man who almost single-handedly revolutionised both engineering and public transport in the UK. SS Great Britain was the first steamer to cross the Atlantic.
Take a guided boat tour along the harbour and visit Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. A visit to Bristol Zoo is not a bad idea. Make a visit to some of the impressive looking churches of the city.
Have a nice dinner. Overnight in Bristol.
Day 16: Bristol - Stonehenge – London: after breakfast from Bristol for Stonehenge – a drive of around one hour. Stonehenge, situated in Wiltshire, England, is one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe. Explore the ancient landscape on foot and step inside the Neolithic Houses to discover the tools and objects of everyday Neolithic life. It is amazing to see how people carried so big rocks so far from actual quarries in an age when they had nothing but just hands as tools.
Later visit Salisbury and enjoy the cathedral there. This cathedral has the highest cathedral spire of any church in the UK. After this move on to London, a drive of a little more than two hours, and check into a hotel. Overnight in London.
Day 17: London – Onward Destination: Check out after breakfast and catch flight to your desired destination. If time permits, go for shopping or spend time in one of the several public parks in London.