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The Best of Britain
Edinburgh ... Hadrian's Wall ... York ... Stratford-upon-Avon...
Stonehenge ... London
Day One – US Departure: Today we begin our journey to Europe.
Day Two – Edinburgh: After connecting in our gateway city, we will arrive in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh. We will be met by our tour manager and motor coach and, as we motor to our hotel we will be oriented to our visit.
Day Three – Edinburgh: Often called the Athens of the North, Edinburgh is truly a city of natural beauty and cultural heritage in equal measure. During our city tour this morning we will see Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, St. Giles Cathedral, the Scott Monument and hear the stories of Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Greyfriars Bobby, Robert Burns. The afternoon and evening are at leisure to stroll Princes Street, Grassmarket and the Royal Mile.
Day Four - Edinburgh (Highlands Excursion): Today's excursion reveals some of the most spectacular and breathtaking of the British Isles as we drive into the Highlands of Scotland. We will visit a whisky distillery en route to Loch Lomond, where there will be time for lunch amidst the stunning scenery. Later we will visit the village of Aberfoyle in the heart of the Trossachs National Park, before returning to Edinburgh for our overnight.
Day Five – Edinburgh / Hadrian's Wall / Durham / York: Following breakfast we will depart Edinburgh to the English border and the place, which 2000 years ago was the northern limit of the Roman Empire. Along almost 80 miles during the reign of Emperor Hadrian a massive defensive wall was built to protect the northern boundary from invasion and significant remains can be seen today. We will pause to explore the remains of Roman Britain near Corbridge, before we continue south to Durham - a city built around a sandstone peninsula, with a Norman cathedral which ranks as one of the most important in England and houses the tomb of St. Cuthbert. The prince-bishop resided in the adjoining castle, which now serves as one of the colleges of Durham University. We will arrive in York in the early evening for our overnight.
Day Six – York: It is here that Roman, Viking and medieval history converge. Our morning walking tour will visit York Minster, stroll the old meat market of the Shambles, with its overhanging timber framed houses, the maze of quaint cobbled streets, or walk the medieval city walls. Following free time for lunch, this afternoon we will visit Castle Howard, the Baroque masterpiece of John Vanbrugh home to the Howard Family for 500 years and one of the the finest historic house and stately homes in England – it is one of just ten on the list of Treasure Houses of England. We will return to York for our overnight.
Day Seven – York / Chester: Following breakfast this morning, we will depart York drive across country. In the early afternoon we will arrive in the city of Chester, where 2000 years of history stretch back to the Romans. During our walking tour we will enjoy Chester Cathedral, the distinctive black and white Tudor architecture, walk Chester Walls and follow the Roman roads.
Day Eight - Chester (Wales Excursion): Today's excursion takes us into Wales and first to Bodnant Garden. No tour of the British Isles would be complete without a visit to one of the gardens for which the British are so famous. Bodnant Gardens were created by five generations of the Aberconway family and are dominated by water, stone and woodland – a true reflection of the Welsh landscape. We will see Conwy and Llandudno as we take the scenic route through the Snowdonia National Park on the return journey to Chester.
Day Nine – Chester / Stratford-upon-Avon: Today we will drive to Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of William Shakespeare, England's national poet and playwright, known as the Bard of Avon. We will visit his birthplace, his wife Anne Hathaway's Cottage, his mother Mary Arden's House and Shakespeare's grave in the Holy Trinity Church. Our visit will provide not only an insight into the life of one of the all time giants of literature, but also into the era of Elizabeth I. There will be some free time in the afternoon to continue exploring before our overnight in the Stratford area.
Day Ten - Stratford / Stonehenge / Windsor / London: Following breakfast we will depart Stratford and drive to Stonehenge, the most recognized symbol of Britain’s prehistoric heritage. While its purpose remains the subject of debate, its impact is without equal. In the afternoon we will visit Windsor and its Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and official residence of Her Majesty the Queen. In the early evening we will arrive in London.
Day Eleven - London: British capital, seat of government and royal residence, London is the most visited city in the world. Small wonder with so much to see - Westminster Abbey with the tombs of kings, queens and heroes; the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben; Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard; St. Paul's Cathedral, Whitehall, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. Our morning sightseeing will be an orientation to this historic city and the afternoon free to continue individual exploration.
Day Twelve – London: The whole day is free to continue exploring London - the Cabinet War Rooms, Imperial War Museum, the British Museum with its priceless collection of treasures, Harrods, the Tower of London and its Crown Jewels are just some of the choices. Dinner and overnight in London.
Day Thirteen - London / USA: Today we begin our journey home.