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Britain & Ireland Explorer

Changing of the Guard
17 Days from $3,596 per person

The leisurely pace and beauty of the Irish countryside is blended with historic English towns, Welsh hospitality and the austere Scottish Highlands for a truly memorable exploration of the British Isles.

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Tour Pace: Active
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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Check into your hotel, then there is time to relax, explore or shop.

  3. An included half day sightseeing tour of London's West End shows you all the major sights - Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. Your Insight Vacations Representative is also on hand today for help and advice.

  4. Drive to Stratford, beautifully situated on the River Avon. Visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare, full of interesting memorabilia and artefacts relating to his life. Continue on to York where you walk within the old city walls to the crooked houses of the Shambles and see York Minster, England's largest medieval cathedral. In the evening, join your Tour Director for a warm and friendly Welcome Reception with drinks and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.

    hotel:Hilton, York.
  5. Stop in Durham to see the castle and Romanesque cathedral. Then view part of Hadrian's Wall, Britain's most impressive Roman monument. Head to the Scottish borders to reach the elegant Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

    hotel:Crowne Plaza Edinburgh Royal Terrace (2 nights).
  6. Walk with your Local Expert inside Edinburgh Castle for spectacular views of the town. Continue down the Royal Mile to the Queen's Holyroodhouse Palace before crossing over to the ‘New Town'. The afternoon is free to shop on Princes Street. In the evening, selected departures enjoy to the Military Tattoo – a colourful mixture of historic battles and military manoeuvres with pipes and drums.

    hotel:Crowne Plaza Edinburgh Royal Terrace.
  7. Cross the Firth of Forth into Fife and make your way to St. Andrews, where golf was born on the Old Course in the 15th century. After some time to explore, cross the Tay and drive to the charming Victorian resort town of Pitlochry, famous for its salmon leap. Drive on via Blair Atholl and over the Grampian Mountains to the sparkling Spey Valley. Later, continue to Inverness and your hotel.

    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:The Columba Hotel, Inverness.
  8. In the morning, take a private cruise on Loch Ness, where you will soak up the scenery, historic monuments and tales of the infamous 'Nessie'. Our route takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in all of Scotland found in the region of Glencoe. Next, drive along the ‘Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond', before crossing the English border. Pass the village of Grasmere, where the poet William Wordsworth is buried, before arriving at your lakeside hotel.

    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Bowness-on-Windermere.
  9. In the morning, discover the beauty of the Lake District; its fells, lakes and valleys combining to make it one of England's best loved regions. Perhaps take a cruise on the tranquil waters of Lake Windermere? Step back into Roman times in Chester. See the city's ancient encircling walls and remarkable 13th century black and white ‘Rows'.

    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:Best Western Premier Queen, Chester.
  10. Continue into Wales, past the massive Conwy Castle before crossing over to the Isle of Anglesey. The village with the longest name in Europe will be visible - see if you are able to read it aloud! From the port of Holyhead, set sail for Dublin in Ireland.

    hotel:Trinity City Hotel, Dublin (2 nights).
  11. Experience Ireland's national and world-famous drink with a guided visit to the Guinness Storehouse before it opens to the public. Gain a fascinating insight into the history and traditions behind its production and enjoy a tasting with a Guinness expert. Later, become acquainted with Dublin's elegant squares during sightseeing with a Local Expert. See famous O'Connell Street, Custom House and Dublin Castle. The rest of the afternoon, you are free to soak up the Irish atmosphere or browse the shops along Grafton Street.

    hotel:Trinity City Hotel, Dublin.
  12. Drive to Ireland's premier thoroughbred horse breeding region for a fascinating visit of the National Stud and acclaimed 100-year-old Japanese Gardens where you can ‘journey through life'. Continue to view St. Patrick's great Rock of Cashel, crowned with the noblest group of medieval monuments in Ireland. Cross the rolling pastures that encircle Tipperary before reaching Killarney. At night, your Dine-Around evening offers you authentic and intimate dining with your friends at a selection of fine local restaurants.

    meal(s):FB, DA
    hotel:Killarney Plaza, Killarney (2 nights).
  13. In the morning, join a delightful trip around the Ring of Kerry, a world of towering cliffs, lush lakelands and remote villages. Get a sense of the unhurried pace of Irish life as you pass through Ireland's highest mountain range and make your way to the three peaceful Lakes of Killarney. In the afternoon, perhaps take an optional ride with the locals on one of Killarney's jaunting cars?

    hotel:Killarney Plaza, Killarney.
  14. Start the day visiting Blarney Castle - home of the famous stone of eloquence, once kissed, never forgotten! Travel on through the scenic port of Dungarvan to the historic walled city of Waterford, for a guided visit of the world-famous crystal factory and to meet a master craftsman. In the evening, after miles of fun and fascinating sights, spirits will be high during your Celebration Dinner. Toast to your newfound friends - Sláinte!

    meal(s):FB, CD
    hotel:Dooleys Hotel, Waterford.
  15. From the port of Rosslare, board your ferry to cross the Irish Sea. A pleasant drive takes you into the rural scenery of Pembrokeshire. Continue past the valleys of South Wales to the Welsh capital, Cardiff, famous for its imposing castle and the brilliant Millennium Stadium.

    hotel:Mercure Holland House Hotel and Spa, Cardiff.
  16. Journey to Bath with its Georgian streets and crescents. Visit the Roman Baths and Pump Room built over the site of Britain's only hot, mineral springs. Then cross Salisbury Plain for a visit to mysterious Stonehenge - no-one can be sure why they were built, or even how prehistoric man could move such huge blocks of stone. Your journey ends back at London's Grosvenor Hotel.

  17. Your journey draws to a close after breakfast this morning. 


30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels


12 Full Breakfasts (FB), 3 three-course Dinners (D); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Dine-Around (DA) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

Signature Experiences


  • Half day sightseeing tours of London’s West End shows you all the major sights - Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.


  • Venture inside the timber-framed building where Shakespeare was born and grew up.


  • Walk with a Local Expert inside the walls of the Castle to view the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg.
  • For a limited time in August, witness the breathtaking spectacle of the Military Tattoo.

Loch Ness:

  • Soak up the scenery and hear tales of the infamous 'Nessie' during a private cruise.


  • Join an equine professional for a behind-the-scenes look at the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens.


  • Venture into a world of towering cliffs, lush lakelands and remote villages, as you tour the Ring of Kerry.


  • Visit the castle and climb the battlements for the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone for the gift of eloquence.


  • Visit the Roman Baths, where offerings and curses were thrown to the Roman Goddess Sulis Minerva.


  • Visit the mysterious circle of upright stones, which stands as strong today as it did 5,000 years ago.
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
13 Apr 17 29 Apr 17 $3,995$3,596pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$3,995 $3,596 pp
20 Apr 17 6 May 17 $4,050$3,645pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,050 $3,645 pp
27 Apr 17 13 May 17 checkmark $4,125$3,713pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,125 $3,713 pp
4 May 17 20 May 17 checkmark $4,125$3,713pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,125 $3,713 pp
11 May 17 27 May 17 checkmark $4,125pp
$4,125 pp
18 May 17 3 Jun 17 checkmark $4,125$3,713pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,125 $3,713 pp
25 May 17 10 Jun 17 checkmark $4,125$3,713pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,125 $3,713 pp
1 Jun 17 17 Jun 17 $4,125$3,713pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,125 $3,713 pp
8 Jun 17 24 Jun 17 checkmark $4,125pp
$4,125 pp
15 Jun 17 1 Jul 17 checkmark $4,125$3,713pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,125 $3,713 pp
22 Jun 17 8 Jul 17 checkmark $4,125$3,713pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,125 $3,713 pp
29 Jun 17 15 Jul 17 checkmark $4,250$3,825pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,250 $3,825 pp
6 Jul 17 22 Jul 17 checkmark $4,250$3,825pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,250 $3,825 pp
13 Jul 17 29 Jul 17 $4,250$3,825pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,250 $3,825 pp
20 Jul 17 5 Aug 17 checkmark $4,250$3,825pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,250 $3,825 pp
27 Jul 17 12 Aug 17 $4,275$3,848pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,275 $3,848 pp
asterisk 3 Aug 17 19 Aug 17 checkmark $4,425pp
$4,425 pp
asterisk 10 Aug 17 26 Aug 17 checkmark $4,425pp
$4,425 pp
asterisk 17 Aug 17 2 Sep 17 checkmark $4,425$3,983pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,425 $3,983 pp
24 Aug 17 9 Sep 17 $4,295$3,866pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,295 $3,866 pp
31 Aug 17 16 Sep 17 checkmark $4,150$3,735pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,150 $3,735 pp
7 Sep 17 23 Sep 17 checkmark $4,150$3,735pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,150 $3,735 pp
14 Sep 17 30 Sep 17 checkmark $4,150$3,735pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,150 $3,735 pp
21 Sep 17 7 Oct 17 $4,095$3,686pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,095 $3,686 pp
28 Sep 17 14 Oct 17 checkmark $4,025$3,623pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$4,025 $3,623 pp

These departures include Edinburgh Tattoo

May 18 departure stays at alternative accommodation of similar standard to Cardiff.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $1,160 p.p.

Triple Supplement: from $140 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $111 per person.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to UK and Ireland must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering the UK or Ireland.

  • The currency in the UK is the Pound (£) and in Ireland is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some money for when you first arrive, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in the UK and Ireland. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • English specialties include fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, sausages, stilton cheese, and scones with clotted cream. Culinary experiences to not to miss include a traditional pub meal, afternoon tea, and full English breakfast.  In larger cities like London you’ll also find restaurants serving a variety of international cuisine.

    Irish national specialties including Irish stew, coddle, potato bread, corned beef and whiskey cake. Be sure to try an Irish breakfast, visit a chip shop for fresh fish and chips, and enjoy hearty lunch at a good local pub. 

  • The climate in the UK and Ireland is temperate, with regular rainfall throughout the year. We suggest packing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress.  A few important items to bring include sturdy walking shoes and a waterproof jacket with a hood. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • Tipping in Britain and Ireland is less common than in the U.S. When dining out, some restaurants will add a service charge of 12.5 percent to your bill, especially for groups.  If a service hasn’t been added, it’s appropriate to leave 10 – 15 percent gratuity.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.


The Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place every year in August and is included on three departures in 2017:

August 3, August 10, and August 17.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, often referred to as "the most spectacular show on earth," is an exciting celebration showcasing the best of Scottish music, dance, and military pageantry.  In 2017 it will take place in Edinburgh from August 4th to August 26th, and is sure to draw entertainers and spectators from around the world. 

Tickets and arrangements have been included on these select departures. Book early as they will sell out quickly!

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