Day 1: Beirut - London
Meet and assist. Transfer to hotel.
Day 2: London
After a hearty English breakfast, morning sightseeing with a Local Guide includes all the famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben beside the Thames River, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall’s mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister’s Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. Highlights are a visit to ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL (except on Sundays) and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, if held. Free time in the afternoon for independent activities or to join an optional excursion to Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its fabulous Crown Jewels. Later, maybe an optional dinner followed by a cruise on the Thames River?
Day 3: London - Stonehenge - Bath
Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and depart at 8 am for a memorable day of sightseeing. First, try to unravel the mystery of prehistoric STONEHENGE. Explore the visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then take the shuttle to the stone circle and admire the magnificence of the monument up close. Cross Salisbury Plain and head for the elegant Georgian city of Bath, where you see the amazing excavations of the ROMAN BATHS. You will also have time to explore the town further on your own. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner with wine at your hotel.
Savor vistas of the Cotswolds on your way via the medieval market town of Stow-on-the-Wold to Stratford-upon-Avon. Time here to visit SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHPLACE and for pictures of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. The afternoon is dedicated to North Wales. Take a stroll in picturesque Llangollen, home of an annual international contest for poets and musicians. Spend the night at Chester, the historic county town on the Dee River.
Day 5: Chester - Grasmere - Gretna Green, Scotland - Edinburgh
This morning’s walking tour includes the Roman remains, black and white half-timbered buildings, the cathedral, and the two-tiered shopping arcades called the “Rows.” Focus now on the tranquil Lake District, considered to be the finest of England’s national parks. Take a break in Wordsworth’s beloved Grasmere, and try original GRASMERE GINGERBREAD. Then, head north for the Scottish border. On the way through the history-steeped Lowland Hills, stop at Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. In Edinburgh, don’t miss our optional Scottish evening with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and the Ceremony of the Haggis.
Day 6: Edinburgh
Morning city sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town” and famous scientists, inventors, and novelists who lived there. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels, then explore HOLYROOD PALACE (when available). The afternoon is free to enjoy the Scottish capital at your own pace. Later, a unique optional experience: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia, once the perfect royal residence for glittering state visits and family holidays. Dinner rounds off this optional evening. For departures July 31 through August 22, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO, a vast spectacle of massed Scottish pipe bands that takes place in an arena on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.
Day 7: Edinburgh - Abbotsford - Jedburgh - York, England
First on today’s agenda is Sir Walter Scott’s ABBOTSFORD HOUSE for a fascinating guided tour. Melrose Abbey and the ruins at Jedburgh are pointed out on the way to the English border and Northumberland National Park. South now to 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.
Day 8: York - Stamford - Cambridge - London
Leave Yorkshire and its associations with James Herriot, and drive through the richest farmland in Britain. Pause in the market town of Stamford before arriving in the beautiful university city of Cambridge. Return to London around 3:30 pm. Free for the rest of the afternoon / evening.
Day 9: London - Beirut
Transfer to airport, flight back to Beirut.