England, Scotland & Ireland in 16 days
16 DAYS, 15 NIGHTS | Cotswolds, Bath, York, Edinburgh, Scottish Highlands, West of Ireland & Dublin
PRIVATE TOUR ITINERARY
Discover England, Scotland & Ireland in 16 days with your very own chauffeur-guide. You'll enjoy a private-guided walking tours of Oxford, Bath, York, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Dublin. You'll experience the romantic Cotswolds and explore beautiful
mediaeval-walled towns and castles. You’ll learn about the long history of Edinburgh. You'll experience must-see historical sites, and spectacular scenery. You’ll tour the powerfully moving site of the final Jacobite Rising — the Culloden Battlefield. You'll enjoy Gaelic tunes in the music filled bars of Dublin and gourmet dinners at hand-picked restaurants. You’ll cruise Loch Ness and stay in a Scottish Castle. You'll tour the Sky Drive along the Connemara coast, lean into the wind on the very edge of Europe at the Cliffs of Moher, and fortify yourself with a wee dram at the venerable Glenlivet Distillery.
Day 1: Oxford & Blenheim Palace
Today, you’ll depart London for Oxford where you’ll learn all about what makes this renowned university city famous. You'll enjoy a private-guided walking tour and exclusive access to two colleges. In the afternoon, you’ll visit Blenheim Palace, home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Continue your journey to the pretty town of Stow-on-the-Wold in the heart of the Cotswolds for a three-night stay. Stow is an attractive Cotswold village and includes a mixture of quaint shops, tea rooms, local pubs and restaurants set amongst period houses, along with picturesque honey-colored Cotswold stone cottages.
Day 2: Bath
Today, you’ll enjoy a whole-day excursion to Bath. You’ll explore the Roman Baths and then enjoy refreshments in the elegant interiors of the Pump Room, setting of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Afterward, visit Bath Abbey, the Royal Crescent, including the museum No. 1 Royal Crescent, and the Assembly Rooms, built between 1761-71 for the evening assemblies of high society. By late afternoon, you’ll return to Stow via the picturesque village of Castle Combe, the setting of the film War Horse, for dinner at the Castle Inn.
Day 3: Cotswolds
This morning, visit Hidcote Manor & Gardens — the greatest of all gardens, created by the talented horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnston—and the idyllic town of Chipping Campden, featuring a Jacobean Covered Market and back-in-time attractive High Street with plenty of local pubs for lunch. This afternoon, you’ll continue to Chastleton House, a fine unaltered Jacobean manor house with gardens laid out the same way for 400 years, also setting for the costume drama Wolf Hall. You’ll then arrive in nearby Nether Westcote where a luxurious afternoon English tea will be waiting for you at this local treasure, an award-winning restaurant with spectacular views across the peaceful Cotswold valleys.
Day 4: Sudeley Castle
This morning, visit Sudeley Castle, a 15th-century country house where Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth 1, amongst others, all have connections. The centerpiece is the Queens Garden, so named because four of England’s queens — Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I — all admired the hundreds of varieties of roses found here. After some time for lunch in the Cotswold village of Broadway, you’ll continue to the cobblestoned, mediaeval-walled town of York for a two-night stay.
Day 5: York
This morning, enjoy a private-guided walking tour of York. You’ll marvel at York Minster, England's finest Gothic church, and then explore The Shambles, York's wonderfully preserved medieval quarter, as well as the vast Merchant Adventurers' Hall, the medieval guildhall with displays recounting life and commerce of the Middle Ages. The rest of the day is free for you to explore York in your own time. You may wish to visit York Castle Museum (recreation of Victorian life), Fairfax House (a fine Georgian home), Jorvik Viking Centre (depicting Viking life in the city), or the National Railway Museum (the story of rail transport in Britain).
Day 6: Hadrian's Wall & Scottish Borders
Today, depart York north to Northumberland National Park where you’ll travel back in time with a walk along Hadrian's ancient Roman wall. Visit Housesteads Roman Fort, the remains of an auxiliary fort, and the nearby Roman Museum at Vindolanda Fort. From Hadrian’s Wall, you’ll cross the border into Scotland to the Scottish Borders where turbulent stories in Scotland’s long history were played out in the disputed lands where Scotland and England meet. Visit Scott’s View, overlooking the valley of the River Tweed, which is reputed to be one of the favorite views of the great Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott, and Melrose Abbey, the most complete of the Border abbeys and the resting place of Robert the Bruce’s heart. Next, arrive at your hotel in Edinburgh for a 2-nights stay.
Day 7: Edinburgh
Today, you'll enjoy a private-guided tour learning about Edinburgh’s long history. You’ll see how the medieval townhouses along the Royal Mile contrast with the fine Georgian architecture of the 200-year old New Town and learn about many prominent Scottish inventors, doctors and writers for whom Edinburgh is famous. You'll visit the imposing Edinburgh Castle, to tour this historic military stronghold, the birthplace of the city, and soak up the dramatic views. You'll wind your way through the medieval streets, ending with a visit to the impressive Palace of Holyrood, the Scottish residence of the Royal family.
DAY 8: Blackness Castle & St. Andrews
This morning, depart Edinburgh for a visit to Blackness Castle, on the south shores of the Firth of Forth. Mighty fortifications make this 15th-century castle look like a ‘ship that never sailed.’ Blackness was never just a peaceful lordly residence, its enduring roles were as a garrison fortress. You'll then cross the Firth of Forth estuary for the beautiful medieval city of St. Andrews, set on the stunning north coast of the Kingdom of Fife. You’ll enjoy a private-guided walking tour visiting Scotland’s oldest university (founded in 1413), the ruins of the 12th century cathedral and castle, the historic town, packed with history and charm, and the oldest golf course in the world. Next, continue your journey to the Scottish Highlands for a two-night stay in Culloden – a 10-minute drive from Inverness.
DAY 9: Loch Ness & Glenfinnan
Enjoy a cruise along Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle. You’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Highlands as you approach the castle, perched majestically above the shoreline. Continue to Fort Augustus, where Loch Ness meets Thomas Telford’s Caledonian Canal. Next, visit the Glenfinnan Tower Monument, where Bonnie Prince Charles rallied support for the Jacobite Rising of 1746. Continue your journey to Glencoe, site of Scotland's most infamous massacre. Arrive at your accommodation by the shores of Loch Linnhe for an overnight stay.
DAY 10: Rannoch Moor & Stirling Castle
This morning, you'll experience the beautiful and mountainous landscape of Glencoe and Rannoch Moor. Next, visit Stirling Castle, including the newly restored Renaissance Palace (last stronghold of Scotland, besieged by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, and residence of the Stewart monarchs including Mary Queen of Scots and King James). Continue to Edinburgh for an overnight stay.
DAY 11: Cliffs of Moher & Galway
This morning, you'll depart Edinburgh by air for Shannon in southwest Ireland, where you'll be greeted by your Irish chauffeur-guide. Next, continue your journey through County Clare to the sensational Cliffs of Moher where you'll find yourself leaning into the wind on the very edge of Europe, more than 600 feet above the waters of the North Atlantic. This afternoon, explore the intriguing rocky landscape of the Burren and its hardy prehistoric residents. You'll then arrive in the picturesque harbor town of Galway for an overnight stay.
Day 12: Cong & Ashford Castle
Today, visit the charming town of Cong and stroll through the picturesque abbey ruins before arriving at Ashford Castle where you may have the opportunity to enjoy a Hawk Walk — to fly your very own Harris Hawk. You’ll set off into the magnificent woodlands to fly your hawks as they follow you from tree to tree through the woods before swooping down to land on your gloved fist, all with your very own instructor. You'll then arrive in Clifden for a two-night stay at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, in the stunningly beautiful landscape of Connemara.
Day 13: Connemara
Today, an opportunity to relax at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel – surrounded by trees and hills with spectacular views of the Twelve Bens Mountains as well as the sea, You'll also explore the beautifully scenic Connemara coast with a boat tour along the Killary Fjord and a drive along the spectacular Sky Drive.
Day 14: Birr & Tullamore
Today, you'll depart for the picturesque heritage town of Birr, developed around the Birr Castle estate of the Parsons family, the Earls of Rosse. Heaving with history, Birr is one of Ireland’s premier heritage towns and proud of its unique character spanning many centuries. The tree-lined malls and avenues of elegant houses dating from the 1800s tell a fascinating story. The castle itself is the home of the 7th Earl of Rosse, and is not open to the public but the award-winning gardens are. From Birr, continue your journey to Tullamore to learn about how whiskey is made and sample a wee dram before arriving at your hotel in Dublin for a 2-night stay.
Day 15: Dublin
This morning, you'll enjoy a private-guided walking tour learning about Dublin's often calamitous history, from the days of Viking raids to the hard centuries of British occupation, to its remarkable literary legacy, to the modern city of today. Finish with a visit to the stunning Old Library, Trinity College, for an illuminating look at the remarkable Book of Kells, a jolt of Irish creativity that helped pull Europe out of the Dark Ages. The rest of your day will be free to take in some of Dublin's other world-class sights, such as the National Museum, Guinness Storehouse or Dublin Castle.
Day 16: Dublin
Depart for Dublin Airport for your return flight
Just a few tour highlights:
Oxford and Blenheim Palace
Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands
Cliffs of Moher
CHOOSE YOUR ACCOMMODATION:
In this category, we have hand-picked five-star guest houses or smaller luxury hotels. These lodgings are often family owned and offer a truly unique, authentic and welcome atmosphere where you are more likely to engage with local people than in a higher-end hotel. Some tours involve a mixture of both Superior and Luxury Boutique.
Through years of travel experience, we have hand-picked luxury boutique hotels which are not only very comfortable in the traditional sense, but as importantly offer gourmet food and an ambience of lasting memory. All our hotel choices are of unique character, range from 4-star to 5-star, and are either downtown or enjoy a spectacular rural or village setting.
Our detailed offer to you will specify the hotels recommended.
2020 Prices & Dates
Choose your dates. Price is determined by season, accommodation, and the number of people in your group. Prices below are a guideline, and may change in accordance with your individual preferences.
All prices are per person (USD) based on your group size, and double occupancy.
From $6590 per person (group of 6 people)
From $7490 per person (group of 4 people)
From $8990 per person (group of 2 people)
This tour can be customized to your wishes. Simply call, or email us with your specifics and we'll plan a program that's right for you.
Included with this private tour:
15 nights hotel accommodation
7 gourmet 3-course dinners
Luxury afternoon tea
Your own professional chauffeur-guide
Airfare from Edinburgh to Shannon
Airport meet & greet
All entrance fees
Private-guided walking tours
Loch Ness cruise
Scotland, October 2019
We would like to thank you for organizing a great trip that gave us a good overview of the different parts of Scotland. Thank you also for all your efforts as I researched some family history too. We would definitely suggest to anyone your company and appreciate all the attention to details and great communications along the way. Hopefully we can get back sometime soon in the future.
Brian Livingstone - Tennessee
Scotland & England, July 2019
If we had all of the money in the world to purchase a vacation and had all of the time in the world to plan a vacation, we would not have traded it for the vacation that Hugh Barnes and his team at Wanderlust planned for us. It was the absolute trip of a lifetime and one of the best parts of it is that since we were together for 2 weeks; Hugh and his team became like a part of the family. The attention to details, the seamless transitions from place to place, the extra information, and the ability to make last minute changes as we went along are invaluable. Hugh and his team took care of all the flights, all the meals, all the driving and coordination, and provided us with the leeway to tweak things as we went. All we had to do was to make sure that we had ourselves on a plane in Columbus, Ohio to start the trip and Hugh and his team took over from there. We didn’t have to think or worry about anything; we just sat back and enjoyed our vacation. Perfectly seamless. On top of Hugh’s knowledge of the areas and sites that we visited; his connections and network of folks that are part of his team are amazing. Private tour guides in each of the major cites that we visited were all set up for us. The specific guides that Hugh uses have boundless energy and information about specific cities in England, Scotland, and Ireland!! The hotels that he chose for us were amazing. The restaurants that he chose for us were incredible. We could not have scripted a better vacation and we cannot wait to book our next trip to the UK with Wanderlust!!
The decision is easy; there is no other company that we would even consider using again. Hugh Barnes and his team at Wanderlust makes future decisions very easy; just call Hugh!!
Ryan Hatfield and the Hatfield family - Ohio and Georgia
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