Thu, July 12: Depart Indianapolis for your overnight flight to London, England.
Fri, July 13: Arrive in London. Transfer to the Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel. In the afternoon take an orientation tour to view some of London’s main attractions, including Westminister Abbey and Buckingham Palace. Tonight enjoy a welcome drink and dinner in the hotel with your fellow travelers. (Meals: D)
Sat, July 14: Discover more of London at your own pace on an open-top bus tour, walk and river cruise, using a bus voucher provided by your guide. Visit the Tower of London on a guided tour in the afternoon. (B)
Sun, July 15: Leave London for a drive through the Cotswolds, a delightfully hilly region with honey-colored stone houses, many dating back to medieval times. See Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. Continue to Liverpool, where you’ll take a Beatles-themed tour to see the sights and sounds of places that influenced the Fab Four. Check into the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool for one night. (B,D)
Mon, July 16: Travel north through the heart of the celebrated Lake District to enjoy the stunning views of shimmering lakes, gentle hills and valleys. In Bowness-on-Windermere visit the world of Beatrix Potter, author of the Peter Rabbit stories. Visit the quaint village of Grasmere to tour Dove Cottage, where William Wordsworth penned some of his most popular lines. Cross the border into Scotland and stop at Gretna Green, once the popular place for eloping couples from England. Drive through the Borders region to Edinburgh and check into the Radisson Blu Hotel for two nights. Tonight dine in a local restaurant. (B,D)
Tue, July 17: Explore central Edinburgh’s “New Town” with its Georgian houses in the morning. Visit the Royal Mile where the medieval houses are clustered, then tour the ancient Edinburgh Castle high above the city. The castle complex is home to the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny (on permanent loan from England), a 13th-century chapel, a military museum and much more. Look for the graffiti on the walls of the prison that captured men from the American Revolutionary hero John Paul Jones’ American Navy left. The rest of the day is yours to explore Edinburgh on your own. (B)
Wed, July 18: Leave Edinburgh and head to the Scottish Highlands. Stop along the way for a display of sheep herding by trained dogs at Leault Farm. Tour Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre where Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army were defeated in a bloody battle by the British in 1746. It was the final confrontation of the Jacobite Rising which supported the Catholic Stuart kings. Check into the Columba Hotel in Inverness. Tonight enjoy a Ceilidh (pronounced “KAY-lay”), a social gathering with Scottish singers, piper and dancers. (B,D)
Thu, July 19: Travel south through more Highland scenery. Cross the mountain pass of “Rest and Be Thankful” and past Loch Ness. Take a scenic lake cruise on Loch Lomond. Continue to Glasgow and enjoy a short orientation tour. Overnight at the Menzies Glasgow Hotel. (B,D)
Fri, July 20: An early morning departure through the pastoral countryside of the Southern Uplands takes you to Cairnryan, a major British military port in WWII, where you’ll board a ferry for the short ride across the North Channel to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Take a brief tour of Belfast before traveling south along the eastern coast of Ireland to Dublin. Check into The Croke Park Hotel, with your evening free for dinner and to explore the city. (B)
Sat, July 21: In the morning tour Dublin city center with a local guide, visiting public buildings, gardens and lively shopping streets. View elegant Georgian squares lined with townhouses with colorful doors. Enter Trinity College to view the 8th-century beautifully illuminated gospel manuscript of the Book of Kells. This evening head to the Abbey Tavern for dinner and a show. The 16th-century Abbey Tavern is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland and is located in the fishing village of Howth near Dublin. Return to your hotel in Dublin afterward. (B,D)
Sun, July 22: Depart Dublin and head for the center of Ireland, stopping to view the church ruins atop the Rock of Cashel. Continue south to tour Blarney Castle in County Cork, where you’ll have an opportunity to kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.” Tour the Blarney Woolen Mills. Drive west to County Kerry, where the scenery becomes more mountainous. Check into The Brehon Hotel in Killarney and relax before dinner. (B,D)
Mon, July 23: Discover the scenic Dingle Peninsula, made famous by two movies, “Ryan’s Daughter” and “Far & Away.” Tour the Blasket Centre in Dunquin, which honors the unique community that once lived on the Great Blasket Island. The island’s residents were a completely Irish-speaking population who were evacuated from the island in 1953. Return to Killarney with free time before and after dinner at your hotel. (B,D)
Tue, July 24: Travel up the River Shannon Estuary to Floynes to visit the Flying Boat Museum, the landing place for Pam Am Clippers in the early days of commercial flights. Visit the village of Bunratty then head to the western coast to view the Cliffs of Moher, an impressive wall of rock that rises 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Overnight in Galway at the Hotel Meyrick, overlooking Galway Bay. (B,D)
Wed, July 25: Leave Galway to drive to Clonmacnoise, a monastic settlement founded in 545 A.D. Enjoy the scenery with round towers, Celtic crosses and church ruins as you return to Dublin for your last evening in Ireland. Check into the Clontarf Castle Hotel and celebrate the trip at a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers. (B,D)
Thu, July 26: Depart for Dublin Airport for flights back to Indianapolis. (B)
Hotels in England:
Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel, London. Located in the West End of London, this 4-star hotel has the atmosphere of a smart and exclusive club. West End theaters and opera houses are nearby, as are numerous central London art galleries and museums, including the British Museum. Highlights: luxurious guestrooms are ergonomically designed for comfort • Italian marble bathrooms • A/C • in-room coffee/tea makers and mini-bars • complimentary high-speed and Wireless Internet access • restaurant & bar • 24-hour room service • fitness center.
Hilton Hotel, Liverpool. Stylish, modern hotel in downtown Liverpool, next to the Liverpool One shopping center. Highlights: modern, comfortable guestrooms • A/C • in-room coffeemaker • wireless Internet access • restaurant • bar • 24-hour room service • fitness center.
Hotels in Scotland:
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh. A 4-star hotel on the Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, it mixes historic charm with modern comfort. Edinburgh Castle is only a few minutes walk up the street. Highlights: elegant, contemporary guestrooms • in-room coffee/tea makers and mini-bars • complimentary high-speed wireless Internet • restaurants • bar/lounge • 24-hour room service • fitness center • sauna • indoor pool • spa.
Columba Hotel, Inverness. A luxury Victorian hotel with views over the River Ness and up to Inverness Castle. Highlights: lavish guestrooms • in-room coffee/tea makers • wireless Internet access • restaurant • bar/bistro • fitness center • spa.
Menzies Glasgow Hotel, Glasgow. A four-star luxury hotel in the heart of Glasgow. Built on the site of a historic Rice Mill, the hotel incorporates the original building. Highlights: spacious Feng Shui guestrooms • A/C • complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access • restaurant • lounge/bar • 24-hour room service • fitness facility • steam room • indoor pool with Jacuzzi • spa.
Hotels in Ireland:
The Croke Park Hotel, Dublin. A luxury hotel close to the Dublin city center and across from the Croke Park Stadium. Highlights: large, luxurious guestrooms with pillow-top beds •A/C • complimentary high-speed Internet access • restaurant & bar • coffee bar • fitness center.
The Brehon Hotel, Killarney. Winner of Ireland’s “Best 4 Star Hotel Award” in 2011, The Brehon Killarney is located adjacent to Killarney National Park. Highlights: stylish guestrooms with marble baths • in-room sparkling and still water • complimentary wireless Internet access • restaurant • bar • lounge • 24-hour room service • award-winning spa with complimentary relaxation time.
Hotel Meyrik, Galway. Originally opened in 1852 as the Railway Hotel, this hotel in the heart of Galway has been modernized but retains its Victorian elegance and style. Highlights: modern guestrooms • in-room coffeemaker • complimentary wireless Internet access • restaurant • two bars, including a sports bar and music venue • room service • fitness center • spa.
Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin. A luxury Dublin hotel located on the site of a 12th-century castle near Dublin Harbour. The current castle was built in 1837, has been updated and modern wings added. Highlights: lavish guestrooms with pillow-top beds • A/C • in-room coffee and tea makers • in-room mini-bars • wireless Internet access • restaurant • two bars • 24-hour room service • fitness facilities.