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Elegance of Great Britain

Operated by: Insight Vacations

12 Days from $3,375 per person
Ardgowan Estate

Countries Visited

England ...more England

Locations Visited

Edinburgh, Windermere, Grasmere, York, Haworth, Stratford, Lincoln, Bath ...more Edinburgh, Windermere, Grasmere, York, Haworth, Stratford, Lincoln, Bath
  1. Day 1 Welcome to Edinburgh.

    Welcome to Scotland - land of legends and romance, from the great cultural cities in the south, to the dramatic mountains and misty lochs of the Highlands. On arrival at Edinburgh Airport, transfers depart for your hotel at 09:00, 11:00 and 13:00. Then the rest of the day is yours to relax before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 17:30 for a Welcome Dinner of modern European cuisine and wine at Iris, a chic bistro tucked away in New Town.(Dinner with Wine)

    meals Dinner with Wine
    hotel Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh.
  2. Day 2 Edinburgh, The Capital of Culture.

    Join a Local Expert to see the highlights of the city. Enjoy a drive along Princes Street to the ornate Scott Memorial and see the 18th century New Town with its neoclassical Adam facades. Over in the Old Town, see the Palace of Holyroodhouse - the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty, the Queen and visit the castle, home of Mons Meg, the Stone of Destiny and the Honours of Scotland, Scotland's glittering Crown Jewels. With the afternoon at leisure, why not visit the art treasures in the National Gallery? On select departures, you will also attend the spectacular Military Tattoo - a colourful mix of pipes and drums, dance and display, set against the floodlit backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh.
  3. Day 3 Ardgowan and Gretna Green.

    Depart the majestic Scottish capital and journey to Ardgowan, set on a stunning 10,000-acre coastal estate. Meet Sir Ludovic Shaw Stewart for a tour of the expansive house and learn the histories of the area, the family, the domain and its contents - you may even hear about the ghost! Delight in freshly-made, traditional Scottish tea, scones cakes and a selection of sandwiches. Continue to Gretna Green to see the famous spot where runaway lovers were married over the anvil at the blacksmith's shop. Your travels continues to the picturesque English Lake District and dinner is served at your hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere.(Breakfast / Morning Tea / Dinner)

    meals Breakfast, Morning Tea, Dinner
    hotel Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Bowness-on-Windermere.
  4. Day 4 English Poets and the Lake District Experience.

    Devote the day to a scenic wonderland of rugged mountains and tranquil waters - inspiration to a host of English poets. Visit Wordsworth’s grave in the small churchyard at Grasmere. Appreciate the scenic beauty of the English Lake District on a relaxing cruise admiring the magnificent views of rugged mountains, secluded bays and wooded islands. Then, embark on a nostalgic steam train ride along the banks of the beautiful River Leven.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Bowness-on-Windermere.
  5. Day 5 Windermere to York.

    Enjoy a morning at leisure before travelling through the Yorkshire Dales to arrive at the charming village of Haworth. Visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum, created within the actual home of the Brontë family. Learn about the family's literary legacy and what inspired them from the surroundings of their own home. Your journey continues to York, one of the oldest cities in England. In the evening, you are treated to a private tour of Birdsall House. Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and canapes as you learn about the estate that has been home to the Willoughby Family since 1719 and admire the incredible collection of art and furniture, acquired by the family over the last 700 years. You then take your seats in the stately dining room as you join one of the family members for your Home-Hosted dinner.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hilton York.
  6. Day 6 The Viking city of York.

    Enjoy an exploration of one of Britain’s most historic cities, controlled by the Vikings during the 9th and 10th century and now renowned for its exquisite architecture. Walk within the town walls with a Local Expert to see the huge York Minster, Britain’s largest medieval cathedral. Explore the tangle of quaint, narrow, cobbled streets and see the Shambles. There is plenty of time to further explore on you own, perhaps visit the National Railway Museum housing over 300 years of history, or continue wandering the well-preserved city walls?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hilton York.
  7. Day 7 Lincoln’s Magna Carta.

    Visit Lincoln Castle, one of the finest Norman castles in England. Your tour will include a chance to see one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta. Continue to pretty Stratford, beautifully situated on the River Avon. Your hotel is set in its own private grounds, just a short walk from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the town's wealth of black and white timber-framed buildings.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel The Stratford/Stratford Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon.
  8. Day 8 Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon.

    Discover how William Shakespeare and his incredible works continue to delight audiences today when you visit his birthplace, full of interesting memorabilia and artefacts relating to his life. Later, join your Travel Director for a traditional Sunday Roast Dinner, served with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings.(Breakfast / Dinner)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel The Stratford/Stratford Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon.
  9. Day 9 The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace and Bath.

    An enchanting day awaits in the morning. Cross the beautiful Cotswold hills, a chocolate box scene of golden stone villages with roses round the doors. Visit the magnificent stately home and gardens of Blenheim Palace, the greatest building of the English Baroque. Continue to the elegant Georgian city of Bath, built in amphitheatre style on the surrounding hills. Your Travel Director introduces you to the impressive Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge, both built in mellow local stone. See the angels climbing Jacob's Ladder on Bath Abbey.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Bailbrook House Hotel, Bath.
  10. Day 10 Bath.

    The City of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built above one of Britain's thermal, mineral springs and the key highlight is of course a visit to the Roman Baths. See incredibly well-preserved remains of one of the greatest spas of the ancient world, still flowing with the natural hot water from the springs. With the rest of the day at leisure, why not soak and relax with a visit to Thermae Spa? Alternatively, you may wish to follow in the steps of Jane Austen with a visit to the Jane Austen Centre? In the evening, your Travel Director and fellow travellers at Brasserie Blanc. Raise a glass over your Celebration Dinner to commend your wonderful journey, while enjoying a delicious French-inspired meal accompanied with wine.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Bailbrook House Hotel, Bath.
  11. Day 11 Ancient Stonehenge to London.

    Travel across Salisbury Plain to visit the pre-historic and mysterious Stonehenge, where the strange and awe-inspiring monoliths are reputed to be up to 5,000 years old. Continue into the heart of Wiltshire to reach the city of Salisbury where you have time at leisure to enjoy lunch and explore the city. See the tallest spire in England, atop the medieval cathedral and walk the streets to observe an architectural timeline from the city's medieval walls and half-timbered Tudor town houses to Georgian mansions and Victorian villas. Your journey concludes upon arrival in London where you are at leisure for the rest of the afternoon.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Amba Hotel Marble Arch, London.
  12. Day 12 Homeward Bound.

    Your journey comes to an end after breakfast.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
route_map
Price Includes

Included Insight Services

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival flights are as per the itinerary start date, then arrival transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport. You may purchase transfers to London Heathrow and Gatwick airports on departure day, or when additional night accommodation has been booked through Insight Vacations. Alternatively, please make your own way from/to the airport.

Authentic Dining

  • Edinburgh: Get to know your fellow travellers over your Welcome Dinner of modern European cuisine and wine, at Iris, a chic bistro tucked away in New Town.
  • Ardgowan Estate: Sir Ludovic Shaw Stewart welcomes you to his family castle, set on a 10,000-acre coastal estate. Learn the history of the area, the Shaw Stewart family and the castle itself, followed by a traditional Scottish tea and scones.
  • York: During a private tour of Birdsall House, enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and canapes as you learn about the estate, before taking your seat in the stately dining room to join a member of the Willoughby Family for dinner.
  • Stratford: Enjoy a traditional Sunday Roast Dinner, with all the trimmings.
  • Bath: Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at Brasserie Blanc. Raise a glass over your Celebration Dinner to commend your wonderful journey, while enjoying a delicious French-inspired meal accompanied with wine.
  • Dining Summary: 11 Breakfasts (B), 1 Morning Tea (MT), 2 Dinners (D) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Stay in Style

  • Edinburgh: Macdonald Holyrood Hotel is situated in Edinburgh’s beautiful old town, within walking distance of the Scottish Parliament building.
  • Bowness-on-Windermere: The Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa is contained in a 17th century building and rests on the shores of Windermere, England’s largest lake.
  • York: The Hilton York is situated within the city walls, close to the York Minster and the best this city has to offer.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon: The Stratford is an award-winning boutique hotel in the centre of this historic town.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Edinburgh: A hush descends and eyes turn to the castle. The skirl of the pipes rises and drums crack the night air as a tide of tunics and tartan flood from the drawbridge. For a limited time in August, witness the incredible spectacle of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
  • Edinburgh: Walk with a Local Expert within the walls of the Castle to view the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg.
  • Edinburgh: Your Local Expert reveals why this is Scotland's City of Culture. Explore the city as you travel along Princes Street to see the Scott Memorial, the neoclassical Adam facades of New Town and the official Scottish residence of the Queen, Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • Gretna Green: Visit the spot where once runaway lovers were married.
  • English Lake District: The best way to enjoy the Lake District is by cruise, relax as you admire the magnificent views.
  • English Lake District: Board a steam train and journey along the banks of the beautiful River Leven.
  • Grasmere: Visit the grave of the English poet, William Wordsworth.
  • Haworth: A visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum provides a fascinating insight into the life of the Brontë family and the inspiration behind their marvellous works of literature.
  • York: Walk with your Local Expert to see the might York Minster and wander the maze of cobbled streets to see the Shambles.
  • Lincoln: Visit Lincoln Castle and admire one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta, which is over 800 years old.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon: Learn about the life of William Shakespeare, arguably history's most famous writer, when you visit his birthplace. Then enjoy some time to explore this pretty town with its iconic Tudor houses.
  • Blenheim Palace: Witness a masterpiece of the English Baroque, brimming with priceless art and tapestries.
  • Bath: The Roman Baths have existed for over 2,000 years and are now one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. Learn the importance of this historic site, still used as a center for bathing and socialising.
  • Bath: During your orientation of the city, your Travel Director will show you the Georgian houses, the Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey.
  • Stonehenge: Visit the mysterious circle of upright stones, which stands as strong today as it did 5,000 years ago.
  • Salisbury: During your free time for lunch, take a moment to explore this historical city. See the tallest spire in England, atop the Medieval cathedral and walk the streets to observe an architectural timeline from the city's medieval walls and half-timbered Tudor town houses to Georgian mansions and Victorian villas.
  • Scenic Drives: Fall in love with the English and Scottish countryside as you travel through the English Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the picturesque Cotswolds.

Dates & Prices
Airfare is not included, but can be added to quote upon request
  • Definite Departure
  • Edinburgh Tattoo
Price Discount Availability Price
  • Edinburgh Tattoo: This departure includes the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo event.
Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Trusted Customer
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Service
The people who run and work at Grand European Tours do a fantastic job for their clients. They go out of their way to make travel easy, affordable, and fulfilling. I recommend this company to friends and associate all the time. They're number one in my book.
Vacation
This trip was exceptional in many ways, but I do have one question concerning this tour. My wife and I left the USA on 8-7-17 and yet we were told the actual "tour" started on 8-10-17. Apparently, Insight, a sister company of Grand European Tours, feels that being on your own In London for 2 days is OK for everyone. My wife and I are experienced travelers but we didn't feel comfortable being on our own in London for 2 days. We didn't meet our tour director until the afternoon or 8-9-17 and didn't meet fellow travelers until 8-10-17. I personally don't think that this is a good policy for a company (Insight) advertising guided tours. When we asked about the situation, we were given some flippant excuse about this policy. If this had been our first trip to Europe, we would have been very uncomfortable with this situation.
Mary Comfort
Monday, August 28, 2017
Service
Grand European handled all the details for us and worked out adding extra days at the end in London. We have worked with them for many yeas and they are very efficient.
Vacation
The trip more than met our expectations. We enjoyed the relaxed starts and the amount of free time we had letting us judge how much time to spend in each part of an excursion.
Holly Kellogg
Monday, August 21, 2017
Service
Getting emails through to agent was difficult.
Vacation
I would have rather had more meals on my own. The all inclusive meals became repetitive.
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