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Britain and Ireland Explorer

Operated by: CostSaver

19 Days from $2,750 per person
MAY - OCT 2021
Dunguaire Castle, Galway, Ireland

Countries Visited

United Kingdom, Ireland ...more United Kingdom, Ireland

Locations Visited

Edinburgh, St Andrews, Inverness, Fort William, Glasgow, Gretna Green, Chester, Dublin, Boyle, Belleek, Galway, Shannon, Blarney, Waterford, Cardiff ...more Edinburgh, St Andrews, Inverness, Fort William, Glasgow, Gretna Green, Chester, Dublin, Boyle, Belleek, Galway, Shannon, Blarney, Waterford, Cardiff
  1. Day 1 Arrive London (2 Nights)

    Discover what's 'great' about Great Britain as you kick-start your lengthy love affair with Britain and Ireland in London. After checking in, spend your leisure time exploring the city your way. You could shop up a storm on Oxford Street, board the London Eye for panoramic views of the city or stroll along the Thames soaking up all its pomp and pageantry in preparation for a memorable trip.

    hotel Hilton Olympia
  2. Day 2 London free day

    You may not be royalty, but London rolls out its red carpet today as you enjoy a full free day to explore the city on your terms. There's no shortage of things to do and places to visit, so spend your time wisely embracing all the cosmopolitan verve this multicultural global capital has on offer, from its museums to its monuments, its leafy parks to its lively pubs.

    meals Breakfast
  3. Day 3 London – Stratford-upon-Avon – York – Bradford (1 Night)

    This morning, meet your Travel Director and travel companions before you set off from London. Discover what's 'great' about Great Britain as you kickstart your lengthy love affair with Britain and Ireland in London. The multicultural capital, with all its colour, history and culture, waves you on towards the lush green counties north as you wind your way to Stratford-upon Avon. There's time to explore the town where England's favourite bard was born and laid to rest. You could delve into his life during a visit to Shakespeare's Birthplace and Visitor Centre before continuing your journey to York. Wander through its medieval streets to the city's geographic and spiritual heart, the York Minster. Then walk along The Shambles, a street so old it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Continue to your hotel in Bradford.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Jurys Inn
  4. Day 4 Bradford – Edinburgh (Airth) (2 Nights)

    All that lies between you and bonnie Scotland is Hadrian's Wall. Unlike the barbarians it sought to keep out, you'll have free reign not only to view it, but to cross it bound for the 12th-century ruins of Jedburgh Abbey. See how this symbol of power and authority over 'The Debatable Lands' still impresses today before heading to the Royal Burgh of Airth. This evening, an Optional Experience could see you visit the ancient village of Torphichen where Knights Hospitaller once settled. Time your visit to coincide with the rousing Edinburgh Tattoo with tickets included on certain departures.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Airth Castle
  5. Day 5 Edinburgh sightseeing and free time

    Poets, writers, kings and queens have all found it impossible to resist Edinburgh's allure. From its medieval Old Town to the elegant Georgian façades across the Leith, you'll soon discover why it captured the hearts of so many famous people throughout the ages. Your Local Specialist reveals all the colourful tales of 'Auld Reekie' as your sightseeing tour rolls past the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, perched atop Castle Rock. Explore the city your way during your free afternoon or consider joining one of two special Optional Experiences, boarding the Royal Yacht Britannia for a brush with royalty or exploring what lies behind the impenetrable walls of Edinburgh Castle. Don your tartan if you please this evening. Tonight, you're in for a memorable Optional Experience featuring the skirl of traditional bagpipes.

    meals Breakfast
  6. Day 6 Edinburgh (Airth) – St. Andrews – Scottish Highlands (2 Nights)

    A scenic drive through the ancient kingdom of Fife this morning reveals a time when these lush green hills were under the feudal rule of a Pictish king. Your first stop however is in the seaside town of St. Andrews, most noteworthy for its 15th-century university and inspiring the origins of golf. Put aside your dream of a hole-in-one and head to Pitlochry next, your gateway to the Highlands. You could choose to explore this salmon fishing centre on your own or walk in the footsteps of queens during an optional visit to Blair Castle, home to Europe's last remaining private army. Later, an exhilarating optional encounter with a shepherd and his sheep could be on the cards. But it's the enthusiastic border collies on this Highland farm that are the stars of the show on this Optional Experience.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Carrbridge
  7. Day 7 Scottish Highlands excursion

    Straight out of a scene in 'Outlander', the Scottish Highlands has a mystical air about it which you'll come to discover as you explore its rugged beauty, evocative history and enchanting Highland ways. On your visit to Loch Ness this morning, keep a keen eye out for 'Nessie' before arriving in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Today's poignant highlight is a visit to Culloden, where Bonnie Prince Charlie's brave clansmen fought to keep their traditions alive but were crushed by the Redcoats who subsequently banned everything Scottish. Return to your hotel in the Highlands for dinner.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
  8. Day 8 Scottish Highlands – Glasgow (1 Night)

    With its head in the clouds, Ben Nevis offers a majestic backdrop to today's scenic drive to Fort William, the self-proclaimed 'Outdoor Capital of the UK'. Views of Scotland's highest peak accompany the drive to Loch Linnhe. Continue to Glencoe where the tragic 17th-century massacre of the MacDonalds turned the wild beauty of this valley into a 'Glen of Weeping'. Travel along the banks and braes of Loch Lomond, where an optional cruise experience could take you to Rob Roy's cave, before arriving in gritty Glasgow later today. Your orientation tour of the city will include views of Glasgow Cathedral and George Square where many of Scotland's famous sons are immortalised in stone. An evening of good food and characteristic Glaswegian fun lies ahead if you choose an Optional Experience night out on the toon.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Holiday Inn City Centre Theatreland
  9. Day 9 Glasgow – Gretna Green – Lake District – Wrexham (1 Night)

    Elope to Gretna Green, as many young couples once did to tie the knot over its marriage anvil. While the practice of handfasting was outlawed less than a century ago, this Scottish town remains a haven for romance and runaway lovers. Continue south through tiny northern villages and vast pastures fringed by ancient stone walls to the Lake District. Today's highlight is a stop at Lake Windermere where an Optional Experience brings this 'loveliest spot that man hath found' to life. Board an optional cruise on a boat and take a step back in time aboard an old-world steam train before arriving at your hotel later.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Ramada Plaza
  10. Day 10 Wrexham – Chester – Dublin (2 Nights)

    See the legacy of Roman rule during this morning's visit to the ancient walled city of Chester. You'll view its defensive 1st-century walls and the characteristic black and white half-timbered buildings, famously known as 'The Rows' before heading to the west coast. Cross St. George's Channel to Ireland and its youthful capital, Dublin. You'll arrive just in time for an Optional Experience at a local restaurant-pub that will deliver the craic for which Ireland is so renowned.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Maldron Newlands Cross
  11. Day 11 Dublin sightseeing and free time

    Embrace your playful side on this morning's sightseeing tour through Ireland's whimsical capital with a Local Specialist. View St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin Castle and Trinity College, where the 9th-century Book of Kells, and Ireland's greatest cultural treasure, is housed. This afternoon, explore Dublin your way or join an optional visit to one of the most important monastic sights in Europe. Your Local Specialist will bring the ancient stories of Glendalough to life and show you around the beautiful landscapes of the garden of Ireland. This evening, an optional dinner and cabaret evening will have your toes tapping and taste buds craving another round of Irish coffee.

    meals Breakfast
  12. Day 12 Dublin – Boyle – Co. Donegal (2 Nights)

    Cross the 'Emerald Isle', passing lush green counties as you wind your way north to Bundoran. There's no better way to admire the scenery than joining an optional cruise along the Shannon River. Later, view the ruins of the 12th-century Boyle Abbey before arriving in Drumcliff, where acclaimed poet and playwright, W.B. Yeats was laid to rest. See the self-penned epitaph on his simple headstone urging the horseman to 'pass by'. Later, continue to Donegal, the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Grand Central
  13. Day 13 County Donegal excursion

    Begin your day with views of the 15th-century Donegal Castle, formerly the home of the O'Donnells, one of the most powerful and ancient Gaelic families in Ireland. Leaving civilisation behind for the day, your scenic drive through County Donegal will deliver a multitude of dramatic landscapes. Golden beaches, rugged cliffs and uninhabited islands dot your route so keep your camera at the ready to capture these perfect gifts of Mother Nature. Nothing says sophistication quite like fine porcelain and this afternoon's visit to Belleek Pottery, across the border in Northern Ireland, reveals over a century of craftsmanship and art, the results of which can still be seen on dining tables the world over.

    meals Breakfast
  14. Day 14 Co. Donegal – Galway – Cliffs of Moher – Shannon (1 Night)

    Galway's ancient reputation as a 'place of foreigners' is long gone, but much of its captivating heritage remains as you'll see first-hand during a stroll around Eyre Square. View Galway Cathedral, then leave the city behind for the plunging Cliffs of Moher. Take a deep breath and let the fresh sea air fill your lungs as you peer over the edge of the emerald-topped cliffs to the crashing waves of the Atlantic below. With a squint you may just be able to see the distant Aran Islands, but without much effort you'll spot the curious and colourful beaked puffins which are eager residents of the area. You'll visit the interactive Cliffs Exhibition before heading to your hotel in Shannon.

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel Park Inn Airport
  15. Day 15 Shannon – Dingle Peninsula – Co. Kerry (1 Night)

    See the Ireland you've only encountered in pictures and on the big screen until now. Your scenic drive around the Dingle Peninsula reveals a land of stone monuments, wild beaches and verdant pastures. See tiny Gaelic settlements, colourful fishing villages and landscapes that 'catch the heart off guard', in the words of Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. Later arrive in Tralee in County Kerry, where the Rose of Tralee International Festival attracts 'lovely and fair' Irishwomen from around the world to compete for the crown of 'Rose'. A fitting way to end the day would be to join an Optional Experience featuring toe-tapping Irish music and dance.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel River Island
  16. Day 16 Co. Kerry – Blarney – Waterford (1 Night)

    Kiss the Blarney Stone and acquire the 'gift of the gab' on your visit to Blarney Castle this morning. Show off your silver tongue throughout your scenic drive through Cork to Waterford, Ireland's oldest city. From the ancient Vikings to the Normans, they all made their mark on Waterford, but it is the city's glittering crystal mastery spanning the years since 1783 that have made it world famous. Visit the Waterford Crystal Showroom (when open) to see its artistry before an optional evening of history at a local pub with a Local Specialist and a pint or two of the 'Black Stuff'.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Treacys
  17. Day 17 Waterford – Cardiff (1 Night)

    Board your return ferry to the United Kingdom this morning, arriving in Wales later where its tiny capital Cardiff waits to be explored. Your orientation tour will take you past its Millennium Centre, the National Assembly and the historic Castle at its heart. Join an optional tour of Cardiff Castle followed by an optional evening of Welsh music, culture and humour.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Copthorne
  18. Day 18 Cardiff – Bath – Windsor – London (1 Night)

    There's time to fit in some last-minute sightseeing before returning to London. Cross the Severn Estuary into England and venture to Bath, with its elegant Georgian architecture and the Roman Baths which have given this ancient spa town its name. Visit Windsor and view the world's oldest and largest inhabited castle before shopping for Royal souvenirs. The Queen's favourite weekend home is a sight to behold before you continue to London.

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hilton Olympia
  19. Day 19 Depart London

    It's time to close the curtain on your epic adventure across Britain and Ireland. You'll say cheerio to new friends as you prepare for your return journey home. A London Heathrow Airport shuttle service is available to purchase.

    meals Breakfast
Britain and Ireland Explorer
Price Includes

Dining Highlights

  • 18 Breakfasts
  • 5 Three-course dinners

First class travel Highlights

  • Audio Headsets provided throughout your holiday to enhance your included sightseeing experiences
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach
  • The services of a Local Host at your London hotel.
  • Ferry across the Irish Sea from Wales to Ireland and return
  • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
  • Variety of Optional Experiences
  • City orientation tours
  • An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes
  • London airport transfers are available to purchase. Conditions apply. See airport transfer page.
  • Pick-up and drop-off if you stay at the Costsaver recommended London hotel booked through Costsaver or from the London Reception Centre

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Bath Visit the Georgian spa town
  • Belleek Visit the Belleek Pottery Centre
  • Blarney Kiss the Blarney Stone
  • Boyle View the Cistercian Abbey
  • Cardiff See the Principality Stadium and view Cardiff Castle
  • Chester View the timbered buildings known as the 'Rows'
  • Cliffs of Moher View the cliffs and visit the Atlantic Edge exhibition
  • Culloden Visit the famous battlefield
  • Dingle Peninsula Enjoy the beautiful scenery
  • Donegal View the 15th-century castle
  • Dublin Sightseeing with a Local Specialist. See St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College
  • Edinburgh Sightseeing with your Local Specialist includes Princes Street, the Royal Mile and views of the Castle
  • Galway See Galway Cathedral
  • Glasgow View Glasgow Cathedral and George Square on your orientation tour
  • Glencoe See Glencoe, also known as the 'Glen of Weeping'
  • Gretna Green Visit this town, popular with eloping couples since 1754
  • Hadrian’s Wall View the remains of the Roman wall
  • Inverness Visit the capital of the Scottish Highlands
  • Jedburgh View the Jedburgh Abbey ruins
  • Lake District View Lake Windermere
  • Loch Ness View the most famous loch of them all
  • St. Andrews View the 18th green
  • Stratford-upon-Avon Visit the town of Shakespeare's Birth
  • Waterford Visit the Crystal Showroom (when open)
  • Windsor View the castle
  • York View York Minster and the Shambles

Dates & Prices

Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.

Online Booking Process

August 2021
AARP Members Save $50
Aug 6 Fri
Aug 24 Tue
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Guaranteed Departure This departure is guaranteed
TODAY'S PRICE - Based on twin share
September 2021
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Sep 3 Fri
Sep 21 Tue
AARP Members Save $50
Guaranteed Departure This departure is guaranteed
TODAY'S PRICE - Based on twin share
AARP Members Save $50
Sep 24 Fri
Oct 12 Tue
AARP Members Save $50
Guaranteed Departure This departure is guaranteed
TODAY'S PRICE - Based on twin share
Optional Add-Ons

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.


Dinner And Drive To Historic Torphichen

Enjoy a scenic drive to the ancient village of Torphichen, associated with Scottish kings and Knights Templar. At the Torphichen Inn, your arrival will be toasted by our gracious host before enjoying an excellent dinner of local specialties and entertainment.
Adult Price: £48

Edinburgh Castle Experience

Dominating the skyline of the city, Edinburgh Castle has been on Castle Rock in one form or another since the 12th century. With our Local Specialist, we'll pay a visit to visit the castle, a royal residence until 1633 which is famous for being the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world. Historians have identified 26 sieges in its 1,100-year-old history. We’ll also see the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland and the National War Museum of Scotland.
Adult Price: £25

Royal Yacht Britannia

You’ll explore this magnificent ship, which has played host to some of the most famous people in the world. Now berthed in Leith, you’ll be welcomed on board to discover the heart and soul of this most special of royal residences – the former honeymoon sanctuary for four royal couples.
Adult Price: £23

Whisky Tasting with a Pub Lunch

Scottish whisky and the Capital go hand and hand, as you’d expect from the sheer number of bars and shops dedicated to Scotland’s national drink. Join a whisky tasting, where we'll learn all about the story of whisky and enjoy multiple options for drams. Then we'll enjoy lunch in a local pub.
Adult Price: € 65

Scottish Show With Dinner

Tonight is your chance to put on that tartan and join us for an evening of singing, dancing and bagpipe playing at an internationally famous venue. You’ll enjoy delicious food and wine, join in the singing and watch a Highland dance or two. There's even a chance to sample Scotland’s national dish – haggis.
Adult Price: £62

Scottish Highlands

Pitlochry. Visit Of Blair Castle

Set in its own grounds against a backdrop of glorious scenery, we'll discover the ancient home of the Dukes of Atholl, home to Europe's last remaining private army. Unique amongst Scottish castles, Blair has hosted royalty from Mary Queen of Scots to Queen Victoria.
Adult Price: £20

Highland Farm Experience

Visit a real Highland sheep farm and meet Neil the Shepherd and his border collies. He’ll show you how he uses different whistles to command each dog to carry out different tasks. You’ll also have the opportunity to try your hand at feeding the lambs and discover his training techniques. Weather permitting.
Adult Price: £15

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond Boat Trip

Discover the wild beauty of the 'Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.' As we cruise across the loch, the skipper will share stories of the area and point out Rob Roy's cave as you relax and savor the stunning scenery.
Adult Price: £15


Glasgow City Evening

You'll enjoy a chance to experience a night out in the city of Glasgow. Your Travel Director will take you for an evening of good food, a drink, and undoubtedly interesting conversation.
Adult Price: £37


Private Cruise On Lake Windermere

Enjoy an exclusive cruise on a private boat on England's most beautiful and largest lake, taking in the northern coastline, beautiful houses, gardens and Wray Castle. You’ll see deserted islands, boats and birdlife as you explore the area loved by Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth.
Adult Price: £18

Windermere Cruise And Steam Train Ride

A chance to view the glorious scenery of the Lake District as we cruise across England’s largest lake. Then step back in time as we board the steam train for a short journey from Lakeside to Haverthwaite. Occasionally this experience will be operated in reverse.
Adult Price: £22


Dinner in Dublin City

Come to one of Dublin's most locally-loved restaurant-pubs. You'll enjoy dinner and charming hospitality that this part of the world is renowned for.
Adult Price: € 49

Experience the Ancient Monastic Site of Glendalough

Enjoy a visit to one of the most important monastic sites in Europe, which dates back to the 6th century. Your Local Specialist will tell tales and show you around this sacred area, famous for its tranquil beauty amidst the rolling countryside of County Wicklow, the garden of Ireland.
Adult Price: € 25

Irish Emigration Experience

Join us on a visit to EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum. It's a moving experience, walking with your ancestors and learning how the Irish diaspora influenced the four corners of the world. Afterward, we'll enjoy a taste of the famous Irish Coffee.
Adult Price: € 37

Dublin Dinner and Irish Show

Enjoy an evening of fine food and fun as Ireland’s history unfolds with comedy, song and dance. You’ll be tapping your toes and joining in the show, all in the spirit of Irish humor. And you’ll even be served an Irish coffee to round off your dinner.
Adult Price: € 72

Guinness Storehouse and Pub Lunch

Come with us on a visit to one of Dublin's top attractions; the Guinness Storehouse. We'll learn why this legendary stout is one of Ireland's favorites and discover how Guinness is made. After exploring the seven-story visitor center, we'll finish on the top floor with a pint and a magnificent view of Dublin. Afterward, we'll tuck into a pub lunch nearby.
Adult Price: € 47


Luxurious River Shannon Cruise

The longest river in the British Isles, the River Shannon is immortalized in songs and legends. Come with us for a cruise on this majestic river, through the beautiful rolling countryside of counties Leitrim and Roscommon. You’ll also enjoy refreshments on the luxurious Moon River Pleasure Cruiser.
Adult Price: € 31

Scenic Drive and Dinner

This evening you'll discover the beauty of the land, as we take a scenic drive off the beaten track. Later, enjoy dinner in a local restaurant with a choice of drink included.
Adult Price: € 49


Gaelic Roots

A tour de force of traditional Irish song, music and dance, Gaelic Roots showcases Ireland at its best. Using traditional instruments, Irish dance and time-honored folk songs, this energetic show will have you tapping your feet and singing along in no time.
Adult Price: € 34


Explore Waterford's History and Local Pub

Join us in Waterford, where the history dates back as far as the Vikings. Your Local Specialist will bring the historic area to life through stories and anecdotes; one guest even described the trip as the "best history lesson ever." Afterward, we stop off for a drink in one of the area's oldest pubs for a pint or drink of your choice.
Adult Price: € 24

Irish Folk Fun

During this evening of entertainment, you'll get the chance to experience Irish hospitality in the best folk tradition. Enjoy a drink while locals sing and play music for you.
Adult Price: € 29


Cardiff Castle Tour

You’ll explore this unique castle on a private tour and hear tales about the eclectic refurbishments. Done in the 1800s by architect William Burgess, his influences included Islamic art, Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales and even Aesop's fables. You’ll also walk on the battlements and climb the 1,000-year-old Norman keep for superb views over Cardiff.
Adult Price: £21

Welsh Evening

Enjoy an evening of Welsh music, culture and humor. The venue for the evening is a stunningly-renovated deconsecrated church. After a warm reception, we'll enjoy a first-class meal of seasonal Welsh specialties, sourced and produced locally. Quality wine or soft drinks are included and the meal will be accompanied by our enchanting Welsh harpist. You'll then be entertained by the finest local singers presenting the beautiful music of Wales.
Adult Price: £55

Independent Reviews
Nyla Frye
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
The Travel Guide and Driver are the reason the trip went so well. all the planning that went into scheduling and locations for the sights were all done ahead of time and implemented by those two people to get us there. The passengers were fine, but some didn't seem as engaged as they should have considering they came all the way from Australia. I think the USA passengers interacted better and were in better health to travel on a bus tour such as that. Great scenery, views and educational cultural activities all along the way. Thanks
Great trip and well planned for all to go smoothly.
Trusted Customer
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Absolutely! I would buy again. GET provided a complete and professional travel package for my husband and I.
Great value. The Cost Saver trip was great value for the time spent.
Carol Wartenberg
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Booking was a little crazy at first, but everything worked out and we had a marvelous trip. This was my second tour with them and would use them again for another trip somewhere else!
Response from Grand European Travel:
So sorry to hear that your initial booking was not as smooth as you hoped, but vry happy to see that it all worked out and you were able to enjoy your trip.
Thank you fro bringing this to our attention.
Friday, August 4, 2017
Great trip to Great Britain and Ireland. Saw everything it seems and our guide was great!
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