Britain and Ireland

Britain & Ireland

Country Roads

Elegance of Great Britain (Summer 2018)

Duration: 13 days Visiting: England, Scotland

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

Menu
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

This journey is a must for those who have a love of literature and Britain. Stately homes, historic castles and beautiful gardens shape a delightful itinerary, evoking a bygone age.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (Please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    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 and the opportunity to get to know each other over a pleasant evening.

  3. Day 3

    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, then wander through the 18th century New Town with its neoclassical Adam facades. Over in the Old Town, visit Edinburgh Castle, home of Mons Meg, the Stone of Destiny and Scotland's crown jewels, known as The Honours of Scotland. At the bottom of the Royal Mile stands the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty, the Queen. 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.

  4. Day 4

    Ardgowan, Gretna Green and the English Lakes.

    Depart the majestic Scottish capital and journey to Ardgowan, set in 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 and Scones. 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.

  5. Day 5 - Relaxed Start

    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.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    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.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    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? In the evening, take the opportunity to mix with the locals over dinner and drinks.

  8. Day 8

    Lincoln’s Magna Carta and on to Stratford.

    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.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Shakespeare's Straford-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.

  10. Day 10

    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.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Bath.

    The City of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built above Britain's only 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, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers as you raise a glass over your Celebration Dinner to commend your wonderful journey.

  12. Day 12

    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. Your journey concludes upon arrival at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch in London.

  13. Day 13

    Homeward Bound.

    Your journey comes to an end after breakfast.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Edinburgh: Walk with a Local Expert within the walls of the Castle to view the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg.
  • York: Walk with your Local Expert to see the might York Minster and wander the maze of cobbled streets to see the Shambles.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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.
  • Stonehenge: Visit the mysterious circle of upright stones, which stands as strong today as it did 5,000 years ago.
  • English Lake District: The best way to enjoy the Lake District is by cruise. Relax as you admire the magnificent views. Board a steam train and journey along the banks of the beautiful River Leven.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Blenheim Palace: Witness a masterpiece of the English Baroque, brimming with priceless art and tapestries.
  • 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.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Ardgowan Estate: You are welcomed by Sir Ludovic Shaw Stewart who will lead you on a tour of his property, set on a 10,000-acre coastal estate. Learn of the histories of the area, the Shaw Stewart family and the house, followed by the delightful and elegant tradition of a Scottish Tea and Scones.
  • York: Enjoy the opportunity to mix with the locals over dinner and drinks.
  • Stratford: Enjoy a traditional Sunday Roast Dinner, with all the trimmings.
  • Dining Summary: 10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 1 Morning Tea (MT), 2 Dinners (D) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

ADDITIONAL 5 STAR 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.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trips. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

Accommodation

 

The Holyrood Hotel

Edinburgh (Traditional) - Scotland

The hotel is situated in Edinburgh’s beautiful old town, within walking distance of the Scottish Parliament building.

Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa

Windermere (Traditional) - England

This hotel, contained in a 17th century building, rests on the shores of Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake.

Hilton York

York (Traditional) - England

Situated in the walls of York, close to the minster and the best York has to offer.

The Stratford Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford (Traditional) - England

The Stratford is an award-winning boutique hotel in the centre of this historic town.

Bailbrook House Hotel Bath

Bath (Traditional) - England

  • A Good Time was had by ALL

    5 out of 5

    Cedar City, United States

    We've been back home just over a month now and every time we reflect on this trip we come up with the same response - it's one of the best vacations we've ever had!! Our Tour Director, Shona, was just beyond fabulous making everyone feel comfortable and providing us with loads of information while keeping us in stitches - amazing lady =) Insight chose good hotels and provided great meals. This was our first trip with Insight AND overseas - it has spoiled us for any other way to travel. Insight sees to all the details which was wonderful, all we to do was show up! The sights that we saw were too numerous to detail but they were all fantastic. This tour is a great one whether it's your first, like us, or your 20th like some of the others in our group.

    3 out of 5 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • Outstanding Tour

    5 out of 5

    St Petersburg (FL), United States

    Knowledgeable, fun and caring tour director. Everything went smoothly. Excellent tour stops. Comfortable and spacious luxury deluxe motor coach. Very good dinners and all-you-could-eat breakfasts. Only negative is all the rooms were very small, except for one hotel - the Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh.

    14 out of 15 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • Review

    5 out of 5

    Warranwood, Australia

    Our Tour was the first I had been on...so I was open in my expectations. From the very first encounter with our Tour Leader, Matthew Lawson, I knew that we were in for a happy and exciting holiday. Our trip was all of this and more ! The coach was extremely roomy and comfortable, travellers rotated seats so that all was fair in terms of seating over the 11 day trip. The selection of places visited was wonderful. I had not been to the UK before and this tour fulfilled my mental images of what it might be like from movies, television and reading, and more. I fell in love with the countryside, the history and the way in which things of great beauty , are preserved. Matt was excellent in his way of imparting knowledge and interesting tidbits as we were leading up to a place of interest. He handled the whole tour with diplomacy, humour and aplomb. He was always positive.He provided us with some lovely little surprises along the way, which were very much appreciated by we travellers. John Bergin is a skilful coach driver...around country lanes and on the busy motorways. He was very good natured and nothing was too much trouble for him, or Matt. I would love to travel with Insight Tours in the future. Anne Button Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

    27 out of 29 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • A Wonderful Experience

    5 out of 5

    Warranwood, Australia

    Right from our first contact with Insight, everything just flowed beautifully. The itinerary turned out to be a superb one. If there were any problems or hitches, we were certainly not aware of them thanks to our great Tour Leader, Matthew Lawson who made everything so easy for all people on the trip. Before starting the tour and meeting up with Matthew we happened to come across a couple of people who had been on an earlier Insight tour. They asked us who our tour leader would be. When we told them, they responded by saying that we were lucky to have Matt as he was a very fine tour leader who had given them a few special unexpected “treats” which turned out to be highlights of their overall tour. Fortunately for us, Matt did the same for us and we’ll never forget such experiences as the “hidden” little backwater village setting, which was only accessible through very carefully negotiating a country lane, leading to a cameo of magnificent thatched roof houses and an idyllic duckpond which brought out all of our cameras, along with the “oohs” and “ahs.” Matt’s brief optional visit, during a “downtime” period to see the famous “Firth of Forth” bridge area was also memorable. He, with the cooperation of his superb driver, John Bergin, also took us on a short highland ridge detour which just “blew us away.” Full credit for the success of this wonderful tour goes to both tour leader and driver (the best driver I have ever encountered) We hope to travel with Insight again. Others on our trip also expressed strong interest in going on a different journey where Matt was leader and that they would certainly check Matt’s participation when they booked. As one would expect, there can be a “fly in the ointment” on any tourism venture. We certainly adjusted to such a person on this tour, noticing Matt’s masterful, subtle and tactful way of dealing with her “complaints” and intrusions with other people. Thanks Insight for the “experience of a lifetime.” Au Revoir. Peter Button Melbourne, Australia.

    20 out of 22 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • Trip of a lifetime

    5 out of 5

    Albert Park, Australia

    The Elegance of Great Britain tour was my first overseas trip outside Australia. I have loved England the land of my father, but never had the opportunity to visit before. My friend Heather was a past Insight traveller and knew this was the way for us to tour. From the day we started our tour in London we were in the capable hands of our amazing guide Matthew. The tour which follows a path to the south to the home of Churchill then onto Winchester with its great cathedral continually took us through the beautiful, green English countryside. As we then headed north to Stratford on Avon the lakes and Edinburgh and then back to London we visited, castles, stately homes, elegant towns, villages, great hotels we were constantly thrilled. Take this tour it is truly magnificent.

    18 out of 19 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • Steve Watson

    5 out of 5

    Blaxland East, Australia

    We had an awesome time, the organisation an planning was excellent, our tour director (Howard O,Donnell) could not have done more for us, his knowledge and professionalism was exceptional, our driver (Jacko Healy) put the bus in places I would have had trouble putting a car into, he also was very professional and friendly. I would definitely recommend Insight to anybody.

    15 out of 16 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • So glad we chose Insight Tours

    5 out of 5

    South Morang, Australia

    I have just returned from the Elegance of Britain tour. I would like to tell anyone who is considering this tour or any other tour with Insight they can't go wrong. With our highly professional tour guide Dylan, who looked after us exceptionally. His wealth of knowledge, and history was unbelievable, and his care and attention towards the group outstanding. I must also mention our talented coach driver Darren. His ability of manoeuvring the coach through tiny country lanes was amazing. He was always at the door to assist you on or off the coach, as being someone with a disability was a God send. I must also mention the comfort of the coach, with ample leg room, just made it so much more pleasant. Highly recommended. Chris and Deb (Melboune)

    24 out of 26 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • Country Roads, and I wasn't singing "take me home".

    4 out of 5

    Santa Rosa, United States

    My husband, and I did the Country Road tour, Elegance of Great Britain. We toured from 9/23-10/7. We had a wonderful time. This was my third Insight trip, and my husbands first. We had a wonderful tour guide, John. Their were 39 terrific people on our tour, from U.S, Canada, and Australia. It is really amazing how much you can fit in, in 15 days (with Insights help). We liked the Itinerary, the Hotels, and the choices that were given. We were so lucky with the weather too, only one bad rain day and that was a travel day(Gordon did a wonderful job driving in the rain). I am glad to be home, but we are still talking about what we saw, people we met, and the food we ate :) Would love to go back and see more of Scotland, and if I do, I will check out Insight first! Thank you for all you do. Smiles, Sheree

    31 out of 35 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • THE MOST FULLFILLING AND AMAZING HOLIDAY

    5 out of 5

    Caversham, Australia

    There is so much I want to say about this holiday , on a personal level it exceeded all my anticipation of what i was going to expect when i got there and that being two reasons . 1. Great Britain is a most wonderful place to visit with its picture perfect little country towns to its beautiful palaces and castle to the amazing architecture of the cathedrals and monuments . 2. My holiday wouldn't have been perfect it not for the most amazing tour director David, the gentleman's knowledge of our tour and historic events , his social mannerism his etiquette his helpful nature combined with our bus driver George who is an amazing driver and friendly and well mannered to a tee . This was my first holiday tour with Insight Vacation and due to its amazing success in my eyes I am already looking forward to planning my next tour with them again next year . Thank you Insight Vacation for a wonderful holiday which in my heart I believe I will never forget and who's memories I will always cherish.

    23 out of 23 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • Wonderfuly enjoyable!

    5 out of 5

    Cypress, United States

    We had a perfectly wonderful time on our tour. Peter, our tour guide was so professional and efficient while still being warm and friendly. He was a joy. This was our first tour ever and it was great to have everything taken care of for us. We enjoyed it so very much.

    19 out of 21 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

  • Thank You!

    5 out of 5

    Cape Town, South Africa

    Thank you to all at Insight Vacations for making this a wonderful holiday. All arrangements were very professional and on time. A special thank you to our Tour Director, Nigel Hannay and coach driver, George for their fantastic service and friendliness at all times. Finally thank you to all my fellow travellers, I am sure they all enjoyed it as much as I did. Best wishes Heather Finch

    20 out of 22 people found this comment useful

    Did you find this comment useful?
    Yes No

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
Destinations

Destinations

Learn more about each of the destinations we visit.

New search

Explore more trips

Need more inspiration? Search through hundreds of more dream vacations.