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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

Experience the best of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales on this in-depth exploration tour of the British Isles. In between time in the major cities—London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Cardiff—visit some of the historic towns and witness some of the breathtaking scenery.On any tour through Britain and Ireland, you’d expect to visit ancient ruins, majestic castles, and historic sights. That’s why Cosmos has included visits to prehistoric Stonehenge; Bath, known for its Roman ruins and baths; Edinburgh Castle, dating to the 12th century, where you’ll admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels; Hadrian’s Wall, the remains of the fortifications built by the Romans 2,000 years ago to defend against marauding northern tribes; the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620; the battlefield of Culloden Moor, where in 1746, the last battle was fought on British soil; and more.You’d also expect to see stunning scenery and lush landscapes on a Britain and Ireland tour. That’s why Cosmos has included a drive around the Dingle Peninsula, a dramatic drive passing seaside villages, ancient monuments, and views of the Blasket Islands; a drive on the 100-mile Ring of Kerry, with its rugged and magnificent landscapes; the spectacular 668-foot Cliffs of Moher, where rugged cliffs drop into the ocean; a scenic drive along North Wales coast to England’s tranquil Lake District, recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status; and drives through rich dairy farmland. In the Scottish Highlands, drive through the rolling terrain interspersed with lochs (lakes), picturesque towns, and the sparkling coastline. Watch for Nessie at Loch Ness, Scotland’s largest lake.Bustling cities, smaller towns, historic sights, breathtaking landscapes, and much more are offered on this incredible Britain and Ireland tour.

  1. Day 1
    ARRIVE IN LONDON, ENGLAND
    Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, there is time to rest or to start exploring the lively British capital. Uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
  2. Day 2
    LONDON
    What’s your pleasure? Today is devoted to exploring on your own or enjoying our exciting program of optional activities. You may choose to join a Local Guide for an optional morning sightseeing tour of the city’s famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall’s mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister’s Downing Street residence, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. Later, maybe visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its spectacular Crown Jewels. Tonight, we recommend our optional Taste of London excursion with dinner, followed by a guided illumination cruise on the River Thames. (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    LONDON–STONEHENGE–WIDECOMBE–PLYMOUTH
    Meet your Tour Director and travel companions to depart at 8 am for the West Country. Cross the chalky terrain of Wiltshire and visit Stonehenge, one of England’s most intriguing mysteries. Explore the visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument from up close. In the heart of Dartmoor National Park, ghostly setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, visit quaint Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Later, in Plymouth, hear about Sir Francis Drake and see the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked in 1620.
    Today’s Distance: 222 mi/ 356 km (B,D)
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  4. Day 4
    PLYMOUTH–GLASTONBURY–BATH–CARDIFF, WALES
    Via Glastonbury and its legends of King Arthur to the elegant city of Bath, famed for its amazing Roman relics and Georgian buildings. Cross the spectacular Severn Bridge into Wales and head for the capital, Cardiff. Here, an orientation drive introduces you to all the major attractions: Cardiff Castle, Cathays Park, Millennium Stadium, and the stately civic buildings. Tonight, why not join an evening of Welsh entertainment and dining?
    Today’s Distance: 188 mi / 303 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    CARDIFF–TENBY–TRAMORE, IRELAND
    Enjoy vistas of rich dairy farmland this morning on the way to the pretty seaside resort of Tenby. Then, on to Pembroke, departure point for the ferry across St. George’s Channel to Ireland. Arrive at Rosslare in just under four hours.
    Today’s Distance: 169 mi/ 272 km (B,D)
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    TRAMORE–BLARNEY–KILLARNEY
    Today, discover why Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle.” Drive along the southern coast, passing Cork, the country’s second-largest city. Stop in Blarney, famous for its Stone of Eloquence, with time to see the castle, and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. Continue to the popular resort of Killarney.
    Today’s Distance: 134 mi/ 216 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  7. Day 7
    KILLARNEY. RING OF KERRY EXCURSION
    At Killorglin, join the road known as the Ring of Kerry for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive featuring sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly painted farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and spectacular views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. Back in Killarney, a special optional adventure: take a horse-drawn jaunting car along the national park lakeshore for pictures of Ross Castle.
    Today’s Distance: 100 mi/ 160 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  8. Day 8
    KILLARNEY–DINGLE PENINSULA–ADARE–LIMERICK
    Breathtaking scenery this morning on the Dingle Peninsula, where the 32-mile Slea Head drive affords magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. See the Blasket Islands and hear about the way of life and unique literary achievements of its inhabitants prior to their evacuation in 1953. Then, travel via Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages, to Limerick. Tonight, consider joining an optional medieval banquet at a historic castle.
    Today’s Distance: 154 mi/ 249 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  9. Day 9
    LIMERICK–CLIFFS OF MOHER–GALWAY–DUBLIN
    Take a scenic route this morning via the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren on the way to the port city of Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan district with vibrant shops and a busy café and bar culture. Continue across the mighty Shannon before arriving in Dublin. The optional dinner suggestion is a fun Irish cabaret evening with dinner, dance, and songs.
    Today’s Distance: 234 mi/ 377 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  10. Day 10
    DUBLIN
    A day in the “Fair City” starts with an orientation drive through Eire’s capital, including statue-lined O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The afternoon is at leisure. Later, why not join an optional dinner at the Guinness Storehouse? (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  11. Day 11
    DUBLIN–CAERNARFON, WALES–LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND
    Take the ferry across the Irish Sea to Holyhead on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey with its tongue-twisting names. Explore North Wales on the way to Caernarfon where the castle saw the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales. Overnight in Liverpool, of Beatles fame and once the departure port of the great transatlantic liners.
    Today’s Distance: 130 mi/ 209 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  12. Day 12
    LIVERPOOL–LAKE DISTRICT–GRETNA GREEN, SCOTLAND–GLASGOW
    Drive into the tranquil Lake District, often considered to be the finest of England’s national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, visit Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Travel through the history-steeped Lowland Hills to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.
    Today’s Distance: 237 mi/ 381 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  13. Day 13
    GLASGOW–FORT WILLIAM–INVERNESS–CULLODEN MOOR–HIGHLANDS
    Skirt the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond and head through wild Rannoch Moor into the Highlands. Pass through Glen Coe, where the MacDonald Clan was massacred in 1692, to Fort William beneath Ben Nevis. Then, the Great Glen for vistas of the Caledonian Canal, Loch Lochy, and Loch Oich. Follow the banks of Loch Ness, home of the timid and timeless Nessie. Continue via Inverness, the Highland capital and, on the way to tonight’s destination, stop at the battlefield of Culloden Moor with its memories of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
    Today’s Distance: 209 mi/ 336 km (B,D)
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  14. Day 14
    HIGHLANDS–PITLOCHRY–ST. ANDREWS–EDINBURGH
    Drive through more spectacular Highland scenery for a stop in the pretty Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry. Then, travel via Perth and Dundee before crossing the Tay Bridge to St. Andrews, whose Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, has given us the rules of golfing. Continue through Fife and over the mighty Forth Road Bridge to spend the next two nights in Edinburgh. A suggestion for this evening: enjoy a traditional Scottish night out, with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis.
    Today’s Distance: 169 mi/ 272 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  15. Day 15
    EDINBURGH
    A full day to enjoy the Scottish capital. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town,” home to famous scientists, inventors, and novelists. In the “Old Town,” visit Edinburgh Castle to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. Later, consider an optional tour with dinner. For departures July 19 & 26 and August 2 & 9, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  16. Day 16
    EDINBURGH–JEDBURGH–YORK, ENGLAND–LEEDS
    At Jedburgh, see the abbey ruins before heading towards the Cheviot Hills and the English border. Travel through wild Northumberland National Park and, on the way, see a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes. In York, England’s most complete medieval city, stand in awe in front of the great structure of York Minster, then follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles. Overnight is in Leeds.
    Today’s Distance: 220 mi/ 355 km (B,D)
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  17. Day 17
    LEEDS–STRATFORD-UPON-AVON–LONDON
    In Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, take photos of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and explore the town at your own pace. After returning to London around 4 pm, how about celebrating the success of your tour with an optional night out on the town?
    Today’s Distance: 237 mi/ 385 km (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast
  18. Day 18
    LONDON
    Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

Headsets are available on tour except for London
Meals:
Full English breakfast daily, 4 Dinners

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Accommodations

London: Novotel London West
Plymouth: Leonardo Hotel Plymouth
Cardiff: Mercure Cardiff North Hotel
Tramore: Majestic Hotel
Killarney: Killarney Court Hotel
Limerick: Limerick City Hotel
Dublin: Maldron Hotel Merrion Road
Liverpool: Leonardo Hotel Liverpool
Glasgow: Leonardo Inn Glasgow West End
Highlands: Strathspey Hotel
Edinburgh: Novotel Edinburgh Park
Leeds: Holiday Inn Leeds Garforth

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Questions & Answers

Question: Do you include a walk-about of Buckingham Palace on this tour?

A Buckingham Palace tour is not included on this itinerary but may be offered as an optional excursion.

Question: Does the trip of British Isles, 18 days include travel from and to airport from London hotel?

Transfers are not included and can be purchased at time of booking.

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
3.9
Accommodations
3.3
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 58 reviews - currently showing 13 reviews with comments only

Cosmos UK Grand tour reviews Overall good itinerary, but too ambitious. Necessitated long days in a coach, early starts and very short stops in most of the places visited. Very large group (41) that did not always want to be together in a friendly manner. Since no food or drinks were allowed on the bus, we had a mid-morning comfort stop that was way too long, as a result we ended up with a very short time at lunch time that included food, comfort and independent visit of the town we stopped in (the purpose of that day). We were dumped in the town with little time on our own without any local maps or knowledge of what we could see in the short amount of time. We were expecting guided visits in most places, that's what we paid for. What a disappointment. We booked most of the optional excursions, some were great (Windsor Castle, Evening cruise on the Thames, Ring of Kerry, Scottish Evening, others were average or a waste of time and money (Killarney Pub Evening. Our Guide and driver were great, however the huge amount of information she gave us orally was lost or forgotten by the time we stopped in a particular town. Less but critical information each time would have been easier to absorb. Out of all the hotels 2 were excellent (London West Novotel, and the Majestic in Tramore, 3 were awful (Plymouth Leonardo,Cardiff Mercure, and Leeds Holiday Inn). The rest of the hotels were barely acceptable, not the kind of hotels we expected from a Cosmos tour. Since most of the hotels were away from town, dinner was included. Most dinners were mediocre buffet food. The breakfast buffets were along the same line, barely edible. Quantity does not replace quality. A big disappointment. Our first Cosmos in the Canadian Rockies last fall was fabulous. This was our second Cosmos tour. We probably will not book another one because of our experience.

Beautiful tour. The tour guide was attentive and very knowledgeable. The coach driver was experienced and knew exactly where to go. Always amazed at driving skills and maneuvering the coach in tight places. Always book the optional excursions. They are worth every penny.

One hotel - Craiglynn was not a 3 star and should be taken off your list - otherwise all hotels were as expected.

We were very pleased with our Cosmos tour.

Overall, the trip was excellent and well-planned regarding a good coverage of two countries. Some complaints are related to the quality of food during prearranged dinners in the hotels. Otherwise, the entire trip and organization by the tour director was just perfect! The driver was excellent, too.

Our tour director was excellent! She was on top of everything and very helpful when needed. She was an encyclopedia of information. We would love to have her as a tour director again. One note: We lost our camera at Bath. When we reported it to our tour director, she called immediately back to the Cosmos head office. With their diligent help, our camera was waiting for us at the end of the trip - with all of our pictures and memories. The itinerary was superb! We were sorry we did not have more days, and decided that next time we will book more. The bus driver was unbelievable the way he could handle the bus. He always found the best spots for drop off/pick up. We have never felt so safe with a driver. The hotels, stops for meals, rooms, shopping, extra tour events were very well planned and rounded the trip out nicely. We will definitely refer Cosmos and Affordable Tours to friends and family. One suggestion: Optional name tags for everyone. We had a really good tour group; a lot of us are staying in touch after the trip. It just took us a while to get to know each other and remember names. Name tags would have helped.

Tour directors and driver did an excellent job. Overall it was a great trip.

Affordable Tours and Cosmos were excellent. The trip was exactly as advertised and better.

Britain is a fairly expensive place to visit. Using this tour allows one to experience so much of it very efficiently and therefore a very good buy.

Cosmos provides excellent service for your time and money. Hotels were sometimes not up to expectations.

Trip was great. Food was just OK, but consistent with Great Britain. Minor complaints about itinerary - too little time here, too much time there, etc. Better advance notice could be given of the optional excursions on the tour, and how much they would cost. We felt they were too expensive for the value.

Our tour guide is highly commendable. She is so knowledgeable in history of the places and very helpful to all our questions and problems encountered. So far, with my 6 travels in Europe and 3 in Asia & Asia Minor she is the best. Very well experienced and planned our daily tour accordingly. Our tour driver was also the best. Courteous and professional in dealing with his passengers.

I was very, very disappointed when they changed the last hotel room from the Novotel to the Kensington Close. My husband said it wasn\'t a room it was a closet. To get the second cot (not twin bed) in, the area was taken from the bathroom. When you sat on the toilet both elbows would touch the wall. Being there was just a runway down the center the only chair was under the TV, only if you were headless could you use it! It was just kind of a sour way to end a great trip.

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