England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland - Lock, Stock and Barrel: Luxury Independent Tour

17 Days – Price on request

SUMMARY - WHAT'S INCLUDED IN YOUR TOUR PACKAGE: 

Airport transfer via authentic London taxicab from airport to your hotel, including airport ‘meet and greet’

15 nights in 4 and 5 star hotels - London, York, Edinburgh, Chester, North Wales, and Dublin

Breakfast, daily

Train Transportation

Ferry from the U.K. to Ireland

London Passes and Travel Cards (entrance to major London  sightseeing and pre-paid transportation)Escorted group day tour to Stonehenge, Bath & The Cotswolds

Excellent Seats to a West End Theatrical Production in London

Entrance to Edinburgh Castle

Entrance to the Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh (includes Scotch Whisky Tastings)

Escorted small group day tour to Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands

Welsh Dinner and visit to Organic Farm and Restaurant

Private Tour with Driver/Guide in North Wales

Private Pub Crawl Tour in Dublin

Hop-On/Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus, Dublin - 2 Day Pass

Day tour from Dublin to Co Cork or Co Kerry - your choice

Private airport transfer to Dublin airport upon departure 

For the discerning traveler who enjoys being pampered and wants to see the finer things the United Kingdom and Ireland have to offer, while still fitting in those world-famous sites and attractions, this is the perfect tour package! This luxury, independent tour provides a comprehensive visit to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Across the Pond Vacations is the "invisible" escort you'll never see, but is guiding you every step of the way, ensuring you visit those items on your "must-see" list, and still provide you with an insider's perspective - visiting the "less traveled" path, too.

Day 1 – Departure – You depart on your overnight transatlantic flight.

Day 2 – Welcome to London – Upon arrival, you'll be greeted at Heathrow Airport by your private taxicab driver who will take you, via classic London taxi, to your well-located central London hotel. You'll have a chance to check in, freshen up, and then begin your time in London with London Passes and Travel Cards - the ideal way to see the best the city has to offer on your own (and still feel guided with our expertise). Overnight at a 4-star luxury central London hotel.

Day 3 – London Calling! – A full English breakfast is included with your hotel, daily, whilst in London. Once again, today you can see the top sites of the city with your London Passes and Travel Cards. Check out the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and so much more! This evening, you'll enjoy a top West End theatrical production - and you'll have some of the best seats in the house! Overnight at the same fantastic London hotel.

Day 4 - Southern England in a Day - After a full English breakfast, you'll join an escorted group tour today. You'll visit Stonehenge, Bath, the Cotswolds, and Stratford-upon-Avon on this full-day tour. First stop:  Stonehenge - the most popular prehistoric monument in the world, dating back to approximately 2500 BC. Marvel at the enormous 40 ton stones, some of which were brought from over 280 miles away. Discover the mysteries that surround this ancient monolith! Next, you'll visit Bath, a world heritage site and beautiful Georgian city. You'll have plenty of time to shop and explore before driving through the Cotswolds, taking in breathtaking views of open countryside, to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare and home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. After your visit here (which will include champagne and strawberry scones), you'll head back to London. Overnight at the same great London hotel!

Day 5 - Lots More London - A full English breakfast is included today at your hotel, of course. Today is an excellent day to take in some of London's world famous museums (like the British Museum, the Tate Modern, and the National Portrait Gallery). Is shopping is your passion? Britain's capital won't disappoint, with exclusive stores including Harrod's and Harvey Nichols! Or, if you're the type who finds a gem anywhere, London's many street markets might be the ideal way to spend a few hours (think Portabello Road Market, Borough Market, Camden Market, and more!). The city also has an enormous selection of truly fantastic restaurants, bars, and pubs to satisfy every taste bud, so take advantage of the day here and enjoy! Overnight at the same wonderful hotel in London.

Day 6 - To York - After breakfast, check out of your hotel and take the train (Passes included) north (an approximately 2 hour train ride) to York.  Known for its exquisite architecture and stone-cobbled streets, York has a lot to offer its visitors, including York Minster, the Jorvik Viking Center, the National Railway Museum, The Shambles, and you can even walk the ancient Roman Walls that surround the city, the oldest parts of which date back to the 300’s AD! (Don't forget to enjoy York's Chocolate Trail, too!) York has wonderful restaurants, pubs, and even a nightly ghost walk! You'll overnight in the lap of luxury at a beautiful and centrally located 5-star York hotel.

Day 7 - To Edinburgh - A Continental breakfast is included at your 5-star hotel this morning. After a a bit of sightseeing this morning, you can check out of your hotel and take the train to Edinburgh (an approximately 2-3/4 hour train ride). Upon arrival, check in to your 4-star hotel and begin your Scottish sightseeing! This evening, you'll join in an escorted small group walking tour of Edinburgh's Underground Blair Street Vaults where you'll learn about the city's often turbulent (and sometimes terrifying) history. Your tour will be followed by a bit of "liquid courage" - a drink in the cellar bar following your walk. Overnight at a well-located lovely 4-star hotel in central Edinburgh.

Day 8 - Exploring Edinburgh - After a full Scottish breakfast, you have time to explore Edinburgh, Scotland's Capital, today. We've included tickets for you to see Edinburgh Castle this morning. Perched atop an extinct volcano, this powerful Scottish symbol has been a sturdy fortress for almost 1,000 years, and has a fierce and turbulent history! Explore the castle’s history of battles and sieges, the royalty that lived and died within its walls, and the countless generations that have been inspired by it. This afternoon, enjoy a taste of Scotland's pride - Scotch Whisky (note the different spelling - Whisky, not Whiskey, when in Britain). Take a barrel ride on the Scotch Whisky Experience as you actually become part of the whisky making process. Experience the varying aromas of regional whiskies and enter the vault containing the world's largest collection of Scotch. At the end of your tour, relax in the bar and enjoy an introductory tasting of four single malt whiskies with full tasting notes. This evening, you'll overnight at the same great Edinburgh hotel.

Day 9 - Scotland in a Day - After a full Scottish breakfast at your hotel, you'll join a small group (no more than 16 passengers) on an escorted day tour to Loch Ness, Glencoe, and through the Scottish Highlands. Your tour passes through magnificent Glencoe, scene of the clan massacre of the MacDonalds by the Campbells in 1692, and on through Fort William, the beginning of the “Great Glen” and the Caledonian Canal, which you follow up to Fort Augustus, nestling on the banks of Loch Ness. Here you can enjoy your lunch, a boat trip (Easter to December - subject to availability) (lunch and boat fare on your own) or take a wander along the lochside with spectacular views of the loch. From here you return south to Edinburgh via “Monarch of the Glen” country and Highland Perthshire. Overnight at the same delightful Edinburgh hotel.

Day 10 - To Chester - This morning after your final "Full Scottish," you'll take a train journey from Edinburgh to Chester (approximately 4 hour journey through beautiful English countryside and exciting cities!). Once in Chester, another of the famous Roman walled cities, you have the late afternoon and evening to enjoy. Chester is a classic, contemporary city bursting with must-see treasures amidst 2,000 years of history (not to mention spectacular shopping). Take one of the many walking tours offered within the city's center and learn of Chester's exciting history. You'll overnight at a charming 4-star centrally located hotel.

Day 11 - To North Wales - After breakfast at your Chester hotel, you'll take the train (approximately 1-1/4 hour ride) into North Wales. Wales is an amazingly beautiful country with a very rich history. And, you will stay in a truly unique location - perfect for any "foodie" - the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre. Overnight in a luxurious 5-star farmhouse amidst this organic farm, cooking school, shop and restaurant. Dinner is included this evening, and we recommend taking a class, when available! 

Day 12 - Exploring North Wales - After a delicious Welsh breakfast prepared by your expert staff, you will be treated to a private driving tour of North Wales today. For six hours, you have the company of a professional driver guide who will take you around, customizing your tour to see whatever you'd like to see - whether it be stunning coastlines, sheep-dotted countryside, some of the most incredible castles in the UK, or all of it, your guide is at the ready to take you there and educate you on the area. Upon your return, enjoy dinner again at the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre and a comfortable night in your luxurious farm-house accommodations.

Day 13 - Wales to Ireland - A full Welsh breakfast will set you off right today. You'll get an early start this morning, taking the train to Holyhead, where you can catch the ferry across the Irish Sea and into Dublin. Upon arrival in Dublin, check your bags and take a stroll outside to get a feel for the city, or just relax. This evening, you'll be treated to a unique experience - a Private Dublin pub crawl with a true Dubliner. So many of the Dublin pubs (especially in Temple Bar) are missing one particular element: actual Dubliners! On this tour, your guide will take you to some of the best (and off the beaten track) pubs in Dublin including pubs with rare Irish beers, some of which are unavailable outside Ireland, pubs with authentic traditional Irish music; pubs that epitomize James Joyce's Dublin; and pubs where you can just get a great pint of Guinness. Don't come with an empty stomach, but do come thirsty! Prepare to become a Dubliner!!! Overnight at a well-located 4-star Dublin hotel.

Day 14 - Exploring Dublin - A full Irish breakfast is included at your Dublin hotel. Dublin has so many great sites to see, we wouldn't want to limit your ability to see as much (or as little) as you'd like to experience. So, we've booked for you a Two-Day Pass on the Hop-On/Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus. Your bus' tour guide will entertain, inform, and highlight all the great things to see and do in Dublin to make the most of today and tomorrow! We suggest visiting Trinity College (to see the Book of Kells), Christ Church Cathedral, St Patrick's Cathedral, and of course, the Guinness Storehouse is not to be missed. For the Irish Whiskey lover, there's The Old Jameson Distillery, for tasting and shopping. If you're interested in researching your Irish ancestry, visit the Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum, as well. (Be sure to ask us for recommendations on great places for dinner in Dublin, too!) Overnight at the same wonderful Dublin 4-star hotel.

Day 15 - Exploring Dublin - Part 2 - Once again, today you have a full Irish breakfast, and the Hop-On/Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus at your disposal. Overnight at the same Dublin hotel this evening.

Day 16 - Ireland's South West - Enjoy a fun, full-day escorted group tour to either County Cork and Blarney Castle, to County Kerry and Killarney National Park, or if you prefer, the Cliffs of Moher, or the Giant's Causeway - just let us know. Your departs approximately 7am and returns approximately 6pm. It's a long day, but a FUN one with so many beautiful sights to see in the gorgeous Emerald Isle, and a wonderful group of guides at your service! Overnight at the same Dublin hotel. 

Day 17 - Depart for Home - A private airport transfer will take you from your Dublin hotel directly to Dublin Airport. We hope you've enjoyed your four-country, "Lock, Stock and Barrel" independent tour!   

If any of the above doesn't suit your exact tastes - just let us know. We can easily customize your tour package so it encompasses exactly what you'd like to see and do.

Hotels listed in tour description indicate first choice. Equivalent hotels of same star quality and location supplied if first choice unavailable.

All independent tours can be made into group tours for already assembled groups All tours subject to change.


"The Wonders of Wales"  6 nights/7 days

This small group tour of Wales takes in all of the major areas of Wales including the three national parks, as well as castles galore; ancient Roman sites; Cathedrals, and the capital city of Cardff. It gives a wonderful overview of this enchanting country, and all that it has to offer. Included are 6 nights accommodation in charming accommodations; personal driver guide for the duration of the tour; full Welsh breakfast daily; 3 evening meals and one special afternoon tea; and entrance fees to many wonderful places all over the country.
 It runs from May through October 4th 2015 (call for specific dates) and will also be running the entire season for 2016.

Digital Photography in Snowdonia North Wales


Overview > Summary
With dramatic mountains and seacoasts, ancient fishing villages, medieval castles and 18th-century slate quarries, Snowdonia National Park provides an ideal location for perfecting the art of digital landscape photography. Under the expert tutelage of photographer Jan Chipps, improve your photographic skills while exploring the diverse landscapes at the heart of Snowdonia. From mountainous ranges to sand dunes and islands, seascapes, woodland, Neolithic standing stones, early Christian churches and steam railways, your resulting portfolio will impress.

Highlights

• Take the Llanberis Heritage Trail. 

• Meet local experts from Caernarfon Camera Club, a local quarryman and National Park Rangers and display your work at an exhibition and reception with invited guests. 

• Enjoy a private recital with a harpist.

Activity Notes 

Walking and standing during workshops; some ascents and descents.

Itinerary Summary 

Arrival Manchester (England), coach to Beddgelert (Snowdonia, Wales) 10 nights; coach to Manchester, departure.

Undiscovered Wales


Find yourself surrounded by rolling green hills and quaint alpine villages, embraced by locals that will treat you like friends, and immersed in centuries of Celtic history at epic castles, cathedrals and museums. Travel from the bustling Welsh capital of Cardiff to the seaside town of Caernarfon on this private-guided vacation.

9 DAYS & 8 NIGHTS ,  PRIVATE JOURNEY

London, Cardiff, Brecon Beacons & Caernarfon

Croeso I Cymru! Welcome to Wales! From the bustling yet timelessly charming capital of Cardiff to the Brecon Beacons where hills and valleys are home to unique towns like Hay-on-Wye (a book lover's paradise) and stately homes like Tredegar House, this journey is handcrafted to introduce you to the many pleasures of this often-overlooked part of the United Kingdom. Along the way, learn about Welsh cuisine, tour historic castles, and spend your nights in boutique hotels and regal country estates.

Day 1 Arrive London, England 

Upon arrival in London, you will be welcomed by your Cox & Kings representative and accompanied to your hotel. Your hotel is within easy walking distance of Covent Garden in London's West End district where you can enjoy a wide range of shopping, theater, bars and restaurants.

The Savoy - 1 Night

Day 2 To Cardiff, Wales 

Travel through lush countryside to the Welsh capital city of Cardiff. In the afternoon, walk through the city center with a local historian who spins tales of aristocratic landlords , once the richest men on earth - and their secret ties to the pirates of the Caribbean. Then tour Cardiff Castle with its ornate salons designed by celebrated Victorian architect William Burges.

Cathedral 73 - 2 Nights (B)

Day 3 Cardiff 

After breakfast this morning, travel back in time to St. Fagan's National History Museum, a 100-acre open-air museum, that interprets the colorful and compelling history of Wales through original buildings and complexes, that show how real people lived from medieval times to today. Continue to the Royal Mint to enjoy a private, behind-the-scenes visit to the world's leading export mint. Return to Cardiff for a culinary tour of the city center, savoring a six-course meal that takes you to six different restaurants.

Cathedral 73 (B, D)

Day 4 To Brecon Beacons 

Depart Cardiff for Hay-on-Wye, a charming little town composed entirely of bookshops, which attracts antiquarians and lovers of literature from across the globe. Search for bestsellers or first editions, or just enjoy a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets. Then, take a guided tour of Tredegar House, a majestic Charles II country home set in 90 acres of parkland and gardens. Stop at Penderyn Distillery for a tour and tasting, learning the history of single malt whisky in Wales. This evening, check in to your elegant Edwardian accommodations and savor a sumptuous dinner.

Llangoed Hall - 2 Nights (B, D)

Day 5 Brecon Beacons 

Explore the cathedral town of Brecon, which is known for its atmospheric narrow streets and passageways lined with Georgian and Jacobean shop fronts, as well as for the ancient site where Brecon Cathedral stands today. Then, embark on a peaceful canal boat ride on the Monmouth and Brecon Canal. Later in the afternoon, head to the bustling town of Abergavenny for a Welsh cooking class.

Llangoed Hall (B, D)

Day 6 To Caernarfon

Delve into the world of Welsh literature at the National Library, which is home to an original manuscript of the oldest compendium of Welsh prose texts, the Mabinogian, which has influenced the tales of King Arthur and Merlin. Continue to the Aberystwyth University Museum & Cultural Center, an award-winning arts center that hosts rotating fine arts exhibitions. Tour the strange and wonderful village of Portmeirion, surrounded by the wild Gwyllt gardens. End your day with a special dinner at your luxury country house hotel.

Plas Dinas - 3 Nights (B, D)

Day 7 Caernarfon 

Journey to the best preserved of King Edward I's Ring of Iron Castles, which were constructed to conquer the Welsh. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Caernarfon Castle occupies a superb setting with the mountains of Snowdonia as a backdrop and wonderful views across the Menai Strait to Anglesey. Tour the National Slate Museum, which vividly brings back to life the inheritance of the North Wales slate industry, which roofed the industrial revolution. After a visit to Penrhyn Castle, return through mountainous scenery to your country estate.

Plas Dinas (B)

Day 8 Caernarfon 

Visit the Welsh seaside town of Llandudno with its Victorian-era promenade and a historic art gallery believed to be the first in the world created solely to show the work of women artists. Stroll through the bucolic landscapes of Bodnant Gardens, which were created by five generations of one family. Try your hand at local cooking with a class in creating Welsh cuisine at the Bodnant Food Centre. After exploring Betws-y-Coed, a storybook alpine village of craft shops and tea rooms in the heart of Snowdonia National Park, return to your estate for the evening.

Plas Dinas (B, L)

Day 9 Depart Manchester, England 

This morning, meet your private driver who will escort you to Manchester International Airport for your onward flight.

This are sample itineraries, customized for each client, price upon request.

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.