Featuring Back-Roads Touring and Luxury Hotel Barge Spirit of Scotland
Join us for a classic journey that delves deep into Britain’s fascinating history and culture. In England we’ll trace the footsteps of famous writers and poets, uncovering the scenic countryside that inspired their greatest works. While in North Wales and Scotland, our journey will take in evocative scenery and dramatic castles – immersing ourselves in age-old traditions as we go.
And after 12 days of sightseeing on your own, private tour, it will be time to board your exclusive Luxury Hotel Barge for a magical 7-day cruise along the magnificent Caledonian Canal that provides some of the best inland cruising in the world.
- Discover Britain’s literary greats at the Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm and Rydal Mount – William Wordsworth’s family home
- Explore some of Britain’s most spectacular regions including the Cotswolds, Snowdonia National Park, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District
- Explore the medieval Shambles and Snickelways of York
- Immerse yourself in the grandeur and opulence of Castle Howard
Tour of the Tomatin whisky distillery with a private tasting | See Eilean Donan and Urquhart castles | Tour Cawdor Castle and gardens, home of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play | Extraordinary River, canal and loch cruising & excellent walking opportunities Majestic Falconry Display on the banks of Loch Ness | Visit Glencoe, scene of treachery between the Campbell and MacDonald clans
• 6 Nights’ accommodation in airconditioned, en suite cabins
• All gourmet meals aboard and ashore
• Selected regional wines
• Champagne welcome
• Open bar
• All excursions and admittance fees
• Use of bicycles
Tuesday, Day 1: London
An epicenter of rich history and innovation, London is where we’ll meet for the start of our incredible journey. Tonight, we’ll get to know one another over a delicious welcome dinner. Accommodation: Wellington Hotel by Blue Orchid (or similar) D
Wednesday, Day 2: London to Oxford to Cotswolds
After breakfast, we’ll leave the capital behind us and set a course for the ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford – where an orientation tour of this medieval university town awaits. Then: it’s off to the Cotswolds, where we’ll spend some time exploring charming villages full of honey-coloured cottages. Accommodation: Three Ways House Hotel (or similar) B
Thursday, Day 3: Cotswolds to Stratford-Upon-Avon to Cotswolds
There will be plenty of time to enjoy this morning at your leisure before we board the mini-coach and make tracks to Stratford-upon-Avon – the picturesque Tudor market town where William Shakespeare was born. We’ll have some time to follow in the Bard’s footsteps on an orientation tour before pressing on to the rolling hills and panoramic views of the Cotswolds. Accommodation: Three Ways House Hotel (or similar) B
Friday, Day 4: Cotswolds to Worcester to Denbighshire
We’ll discover more about the crusades of saints and kings on a visit of Worcester Cathedral before our road turns towards the rugged ancient landscapes of Wales this afternoon. This evening, we’ll dine together in Denbighshire. Accommodation: The Mulberry Inn (or similar) B, D
Saturday, Day 5: Denbighshire to Snowdonia National Park to Denbighshire
Prepare for a soul-stirring sight this morning – the magnificent Snowdonia National Park (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is our next stop. Boasting 823 square miles of captivatingly diverse landscapes, Snowdonia National Park is an area steeped in culture and local history. We’ll spend the day exploring the park together before returning to the hotel for a sumptuous dinner. Accommodation: The Mulberry Inn (or similar) B, D
Sunday, Day 6: Denbighshire to Liverpool to York
Today’s itinerary has a distinctly musical theme. After breakfast, we’ll leave Wales behind us and move on to Liverpool – the welcoming (and fiercely proud) city that gave birth to The Beatles. What better way to get into the ‘Beatlemania’ spirit than a visit to The Beatles Story museum? Toes still tapping, we’ll round off the day in York where we’ll have the evening to spend at our leisure. Accommodation: The Churchill Hotel (or similar) B
Monday, Day 7: York
We’ve a full day to spend getting to grips with York, starting with an orientation tour of the Old Town. There are centuries of history to uncover along the medieval Shambles and Snickelways – and plenty of photo opportunities to be claimed! This evening is ours to spend at leisure in town or back at the hotel. Accommodation: The Churchill Hotel (or similar) B
Tuesday, Day 8: York to Castle Howard to Lake District
Today we’ll rewind to the glory days of the English country estate with a self-guided tour of the magnificent Castle Howard. Our path will then take us through Yorkshire Dales National Park, passing by rivers, tiny villages and centuries-old stone walls. The invigorating Lake District will be the spectacular conclusion to the day’s journey. Tonight, we’ll come together to share a delicious meal at the hotel. Accommodation: The Waterhead Hotel (or similar) B, D
Wednesday, Day 9: Lake District
What better way to spend the day than discovering the Lake District’s historic highlights? Our first stop on the shores of Lake Windermere will be Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm – the place where she wrote many of her beloved children’s stories. This afternoon, we’ll visit the charming Rydal Mount and Gardens, the historic family home of William Wordsworth. Later, a scenic lake cruise awaits. We’ll take to the water to soak up the awe-inspiring scenery of this spectacular region before returning to our accommodation for the evening. Accommodation: The Waterhead Hotel (or similar) B
Thursday, Day 10: Lake District to Scottish Borders
Today we’ll visit Birdoswald Roman Fort in Cumbria. Located on the longest continuous stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, here we’ll take some time to uncover centuries-old history and admire the awe-inspiring vistas before pressing on to the Scottish Borders. This evening we have a cultural treat in store! A traditional haggis dinner and bagpipe demonstration will signal that we have arrived in Scotland. Accommodation: Woodland House Hotel (or similar) B, D
Friday, Day 11: Scottish Borders to Abbotsford House to Rosslyn Chapel to Edinburgh
After a visit to the grand Abbotsford House and beautiful Rosslyn Chapel, we make our way to beautiful Edinburgh. Accommodation: Eden Locke (or similar) B
Saturday, Day 12: Edinburgh
Today is yours to enjoy all Edinburgh has to offer at your leisure. Accommodation: Eden Locke (or similar) B
Sunday, Day 13: Edinburgh to Spirit of Scotland
Enjoy the morning in Edinburgh before being transferred to your Luxury Hotel Barge, Scottish Highlander, where a Champagne Welcome awaits you. Then, perhaps an early evening stroll to the sea lock with wonderful views over the Moray and Beauly Firths. Dinner on board
MONDAY, DAY 14: MUIRTOWN TO DOCHGARROCH
Our first cruise will take us up the Muirtown lock flight and through the Tomnahurich swing bridge, with an option to walk alongside River Ness to the hamlet of Dochgarroch. After lunch on board, we visit Culloden Moor, scene of the last major battle on British soil in 1746 where English Government troops faced the Highlanders of “Bonnie Prince Charlie”. Next, it’s on to Tomatin Distillery, established in 1897 in the hills south of Inverness. We are given a fascinating description of the maturing and ageing process of their whiskies, each with its distinctive characteristics, followed by our special tasting of several single malts. Dinner on board.
TUESDAY, DAY 15: DOCHGARROCH TO FORT AUGUSTUS
This morning we enjoy a visit to Cawdor Castle*, forever immortalised in Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play”, Macbeth. The picturesque gardens have been listed amongst the top 100 in the UK. The castle contains a superb collection of tapestries, pictures and furnishings and the Dowager Countess of Cawdor still lives there for part of the year. If time allows, then we take a tour of Clava Cairns, a pre-historic clan chieftain burial site dating back to 2,000 B.C and setting for the Outlander TV series. After lunch onboard, we cruise through Loch Dochfour and across Loch Ness, where en-route we pass Urquhart Castle, navigating closely beneath its spectacular 13th century ruins, before continuing our cruise to Fort Augustus. Dinner on board.
WEDNESDAY, DAY 16: FORT AUGUSTUS TO KYTRA
After breakfast, we visit the private Highland Club, a spectacular exclusive set of residences and a former 19th century Benedictine Monastery. Here we are treated to a falconry and birds of prey demonstration* on the banks of Loch Ness, and the majesty of the swooping birds against the backdrop of the sweeping Scottish Highlands is not easily forgotten. There is time to explore the pretty village of Fort Augustus before lunch on board, after which our cruise takes us up the “flight of locks” and then on to our pretty mooring at Kytra. This evening we dine ashore at a local restaurant.
THURSDAY, DAY 17: KYTRA TO LAGGAN
This morning’s cruise can be partially walked as we cross the very scenic Loch Oich, perhaps stopping en-route for a spot of fishing, and onto the pretty Laggan Avenue. As we approach Laggan, our Highland Piper may greet us with a stirring rendition of traditional Scottish music. After lunch on board we take in some of the finest scenery Scotland has to offer as we drive to one of its best known and most photographed castles, Eilean Donan, which has featured in movies such as “Highlander” and James Bond’s “The World Is Not Enough” and overlooks three sea lochs. Dinner on board.
FRIDAY, DAY 18: LAGGAN TO BANAVIE
Our final cruise today will see us cross Loch Lochy to Gairlochy, where we rejoin the canal and continue on to Moy Bridge, the last fully hand-operated bridge on the waterway. From here it is a short cruise to our mooring at Banavie beneath Ben Nevis and a stroll from Neptune’s Staircase leading down to Loch Eil. After lunch on board, our tour today takes us to the dramatic scenery and mystical battlefield of Glencoe, famed for one of the darkest days in Scottish history when soldiers of the Campbell clan massacred 30 members of Clan MacDonald. If time permits, we can also visit the ruins of Old Inverlochy Castle. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
SATURDAY, DAY 19: BANAVIE
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Inverness.
*Please note, the excursion to Cawdor Castle is only possible between early May and the end of September. A visit to Fort George will replace it either side of these dates.
Note: This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.