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Classic Tour of Scotland and Ireland

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  • OVERVIEW
  • ITINERARY
  • HIGHLIGHTS


Classic Tour of Scotland and Ireland

16 Days

A bespoke journey unearths the true spirit of two beautiful countries, Scotland and Ireland. Your chauffeur-guides will ensure you are taken off the beaten track and that you delve into the depths of both Scottish and Irish life.  With local knowledge and a gift for talking like no other nation, they will explain and expand on the country’s rich history and cultural heritage as no book can.

The journey commences on the cobbled streets of the capital city, before continuing to the awe-inspiring scenery of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye.  Across the Irish Sea, the Emerald Isle presents you with the chance to explore the vibrant city of Dublin and to discover the unique charm of County Kerry before concluding in spectacular style in a restored castle.

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HOLIDAY ITINERARY



Day One: Arrive Edinburgh

Day Two: Explore Edinburgh’s Old Town, Edinburgh Castle & the Royal Mile

Day Three: Day tour to St Andrews

Day Four: Travel north to the Highlands

Day Five: Jacobite Steam Train Experience

Day Six: Explore the stunning Island of Skye

Day Seven: Return to mainland and drive to Great Glen and Loch Ness

Day Eight: Spend day exploring the Highlands and its turbulent history

Day Nine: Drive to Inverness for flight to Dublin

Day Ten: Tour of Dublin with private guide

Day Eleven: Visit Co. Kildare and the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens

Day Twelve: Explore the Killarney National Park

Day Thirteen: Follow the coastline around the Ring of Kerry

Day Fourteen: Enjoy a special day discovering the ‘hidden’ Ireland

Day Fifteen: Explore the Burren and a private perfume centre

Day Sixteen: Homeward bound from Shannon Airport

VIEW ITINERARY DETAILS


HIGHLIGHTS

A visual glimpse of the key things to do and places that will be visited on this exciting itinerary

VIEW ALL HIGHLIGHTS


Day One: Arrival in Edinburgh

On arrival at Edinburgh Airport, be met and welcomed by your experienced chauffeur-guide who will provide a safe and comfortable transfer into the city centre.  Edinburgh, sometimes referred to as the “Athens of the North”, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Check into your first accommodation; a stunning, contemporary landmark and the only five-star hotel on the historic Royal Mile.

Day Two: Edinburgh with a Guide

Spend the day exploring Edinburgh’s Old Town with a qualified guide. Visit Edinburgh Castle and step inside the ancient walls and learn of the royalty who lived and died here and their struggles for control of the nation. To follow, walk along the Royal Mile which lies at the heart of the Old Town and is arguably one of the most famous streets in the world. From baroque palaces and famed art galleries to dramatic open spaces and hidden underground streets, there is much to be discovered and your guide will ensure that you experience the very best day possible.

Day Three: St. Andrews – Your Day, Your Way

Enjoy a day tour to St. Andrews, which has its place firmly in the history books as being the home of golf and more recently as where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge first met, whilst studying at the world-renowned university. For the golfing enthusiast, enjoy the opportunity of a private guided walk on the famed fairways of the Old Course or perhaps tee off on the challenging New Course or play the toughest of courses, the Jubilee Course.  Alternatively, explore the ancient town in the company of a qualified guide. Noted sites from Scotland’s history books include St Andrews Castle and St Andrews Cathedral.

Day Four: The Lowlands to the North-West Highlands

Travel north to Glencoe, Scotland’s most famous glen. It lies in the heart of an ancient volcano; glaciers and fiery explosions carved out the rugged and forbidding mountain peaks.  Reserved privately, a local guide will take you on a guided walk.  Tonight you will stay in a stunning Victorian castle nestled in the foothills of mighty Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, amidst the breath-taking beauty of the West Highlands; evergreen forests, magnificent glens and shimmering lochs.

Day Five: Over the Sea to Skye

A very special and scenic day lies ahead as you board the Jacobite Steam Train to experience what has been described as one of the world’s great train journeys. From Fort William, travel along the Road to the Isles, experiencing some of Scotland’s most stunning sea and landscapes. Your journey will take you over the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which are perhaps now best known from the Harry Potter films. Your route continues along a beautiful stretch of Highland coast where, on a clear day, the enchanting Small Isles of Muick, Eigg, and Rhum are visible. At Mallaig, re-unite with your chauffeur-guide and board a ferry to the Isle of Skye.

Day Six: Simply Skye

Spend the day exploring the island with your chauffeur-guide. There is a wealth of places to visit. You may like to visit the Fairy Pools: beautifully crystal clear blue pools on the River Brittle. These famous pools entice visitors from all over the world, as they make some great ‘Wild Swimming’ for those brave enough to enter the cold water.  

Perhaps visit Talisker Distillery, Skye’s only distillery or further north, you may wish to explore Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and the stronghold of the Chiefs of Macleod for nearly 800 years.

This evening, dine in a restaurant that is housed within the bare stone walls of an original crofter’s cottage, which is around 120 years old.

Day Seven: The Great Glen & Loch Ness

Return to the mainland and drive along the Great Glen, surrounded by towering mountains, filled with four impressive lochs and perhaps Scotland’s most famous stretch of water: Loch Ness.   There can be no better way to see the water than from aboard a luxury motor cruiser so enjoy sumptuous platters of Scottish delicacies are served as you sit back and admire the spectacular scenery, including impressive Urquhart Castle, which dates back to the 13th century.

Day Eight: Highland History

Spend the day exploring the Highlands, a region famed for its turbulent history, spectacular scenery and skilled whisky distilling. There is a wealth of places to visit. Perhaps travel to a fairy-tale castle best known for its role in Shakespeare’s Macbeth or enjoy a visit to a Neolithic burial site and standing stones said to be one of Scotland’s most evocative sacred prehistoric sights, believed to be around 4000 years old. You may also like to visit the moving site of the infamous 1746 Battle of Culloden where, in less than 60 minutes, the Jacobites of Scotland lost to the armies of the British throne.

Day Nine: Country to Country

Your chauffeur-guide will transfer you to Inverness Airport where you will board the short direct flight to Dublin. Here, be met on arrival by a local chauffeur-guide who will transfer you to the heart of the city. Check into your accommodation – which is certainly one of, if not the best hotel in Dublin. Its understated listed Georgian exterior gives no indication of the sumptuous, graceful elegance inside. Each guest room has been exquisitely decorated using Irish fabrics and antiques to reflect the architecture and original interiors of the 18th century town houses. The property also provides the perfect backdrop for one of Ireland’s most impressive contemporary art collections, which boasts more than ninety works. Explore the collection with an in-depth audio guide to twenty key pieces in the collection.

Day Ten: Insider’s Dublin

Accompanied by a local guide, begin the day by venturing off the beaten track to explore the heritage of Irish dancing and music. With local knowledge and a gift for talking like no other nation, they will explain and expand on the country’s rich history and cultural heritage like no book can.  Your guide, who comes from a family of Irish dancers, will entertain and educate throughout the experience, ensuring you have a fun time and learn a few dance steps along the way!  

In the afternoon, accompanied by a personal expert guide discover some of the Dublin’s foodie highlights. Though the portions are all sample and starter sized, it is best to skip lunch in order to enjoy the experience to the full!

Day Eleven: The Journey South

Depart Dublin for Country Kildare and pause there to explore The Irish National Stud.  A private guided tour delves into the history of these immaculately-bred stallions, spanning over a hundred years. Watch them at close quarters, marvel at their grace and grandeur while also learning of Ireland’s triumphs on the turf in the widely-acclaimed museum. Following your tour, you may wish to take a stroll in the Irish National Stud’s impressive gardens – The iconic Japanese Gardens. Continue to the south-west corner of Ireland and to County Kerry which has been celebrated for its beautiful scenery since the early 19th century.

Day Twelve: Killarney National Park

Explore the Gap of Dunloe in Killarney National Park; one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of Co. Kerry and indeed Ireland. It stretches approximately four miles through the stunning Macgillycuddy Reeks mountain range. Throughout the experience your local guide will bring the area to life with tales of local history, myths and legends, and a picnic lunch will be arranged for you to enjoy during the journey. You will also visit Kate Kearney’s Cottage and the 15th century Ross Castle.

Day Thirteen: Ring of Kerry

Following the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry is possibly Ireland’s most famous scenic drive. It encounters some of the country’s finest landscapes, weaving around a breath-taking mosaic of rugged coast, steep mountains, medieval ruins, slate-coloured glacial lakes, and welcoming towns and villages. There are numerous highlights and possible pausing places including the awe-inspiring view named “Ladies’ View” in honour of the Royal’s ladies-in-waiting who were mesmerized by the landscape on the same spot.

Day Fourteen: Ireland through the Ages

Discover hidden Ireland at its best: untouched, undiscovered and truly authentic. When not accompanied by our chauffeur-guide, your mode of transport is Ireland’s only skippered motor cruiser.  You will visit a private 16th Century Castle, set on its very own tiny island where you will sample a range of artisan food and drinks, an 18th Century Manor House where you will meet the lady of the manor and sample a wide range of local artisan cheese tastings paired with homemade spiced chutney and organic apple syrup. Finally take a tour of a 21st Century contemporary lakeside villa and enjoy its private collection of Irish Contemporary Art and Sculpture by renowned Irish artists.

Day Fifteen: The Burren

Spend the day exploring the best of the Burren, which takes its name from boireann, meaning ‘rocky land’ in Gaelic. It is truly special – a place full of wonder, beauty and discovery that will be brought to life by your local specialist guide. Continue to a traditional perfume centre situated in a quiet valley in the heart of the Burren.  Reserved privately, your tour with the owner will introduce the plants and wildflowers of the Burren and the chance to discover the olfactory families of the perfumery’s signature scents.

Day Sixteen: Onward Travel – Shannon Airport

Your chauffeur-guide will transfer you to Shannon Airport where you will board your flight for onward travel.

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HIGHLIGHTS

A visual glimpse of the key things to do and places that will be visited on this exciting itinerary

VIEW ALL HIGHLIGHTS

THINGS TO DO

EDINBURGH CASTLE

Known as the “Jewel in Scotland’s Crown”.

TALISKER DISTILLERY

Skye’s only distillery, which can be found situated on the banks of LochHarport, with dramatic views of the Cuillins in the background.

DUNVEGAN CASTLE

The oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and the stronghold of the Chiefs of Macleod for nearly 800 years. It is teeming with historical artefacts which bring bloody clan history to life – the mystical fairy flag and Sir RoryMor’s ceremonial drinking are highlights for many a visitor!

CULLODEN BATTLEFIELDS

The moving site of the infamous 1746 battle where in less than 60 minutes.

TRINITY COLLEGE

Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1, it is home to one of the most impressive libraries in the world, the Book of Kells and the Brian Boru Harp.

THE IRISH NATIONAL STUD

The beating heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred industry. HM, Queen Elizabeth II took a tour here as recently as 2011. Her fascination is understandable, as the farm and its stock were gifted to the Crown in 1917.

JAPANESE GARDENS

Are world-renowned; they were laid out by a Japanese father and son team to symbolise the Life of Man. St. Fiachra’s Garden commemorates St. Fiachra, the patron saint of gardeners.

ROSS CASTLE

On the shores of Loch Leane in the Killarney National Park.

“CRAIG NA UN” STONE CIRLE

Standing stones said to be one of Scotland’s most evocative sacred prehistoric sights, believed to be around 4000 years old.

PLACES VISITED

EDINBURGH

Scotland’s historic capital city. Edinburgh, sometimes referred to as the “Athens of the North”, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress; and the neo- classical New Town, dating from the 18th The harmonious connection of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character and saw it awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1995.

The Royal Mile, which lies at the heart of the Old Town is arguably one of the most famous streets in the world. Today, it is peppered with stores selling cashmere goods and hand crafted silver jewellery. However, in centuries gone by it was a different story: delving into the Old Town is like leafing through the pages of a dusty historical novel, as each era unfolds with its own legends and characters.

GLENCOE

Scotland’s most famous glen.  It is often considered one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in the country and certainly one of the most dramatic; thundering waterfalls tumble down the sides of mountains into sparkling lochs. Scenery and geology aside, the glen has its place firmly in the history books due to its savage history. It was the site of the infamous massacre of Clan Macdonald of Glencoe by government troops in 1692.

ISLE OF SKYE

Unquestionably the most popular isle of the Inner Hebrides. Voted by National Geographic as one of the world’s top five islands, it is rich in history and romance, famed for its natural beauty, traditional charm, breath-taking scenery and wildlife.

DUBLIN

Dublin is steeped in history, with Viking, medieval and Georgian influences all having left their marks. Since the time of the Vikings, Dublin has been the principal gateway to the Emerald Isle. The medieval city, with its intimate knots of small alleys and broad streets south of the river, was developed in Norman times around St Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle, and later came to symbolise British rule in Ireland. The 18th century was the “Age of Elegance”, a time of relative prosperity when the Irish gentry set about remodelling the city into one of elegance, replete with graceful terraces, wrought-iron balconies and fanlight doorways. The city became Ireland’s capital with the establishment of the Republic of Ireland in 1937, and today is regarded as one of the liveliest and most atmospheric in Europe.

KILLARNEY

Located by the three lakes and mountains of the Killarney National Park, Killarney is well known for its excellent shops, restaurants and cosmopolitan appeal. During the summer months, the lively on-street musical entertainment complements the meandering of tourists and locals alike. On bright evenings, one can browse in a bookstore, admire art or savour the delights of homemade ice cream or a finely prepared lobster.

THE BURREN

The Burren is truly is a special place full of wonder, beauty and discovery. It is a karst landscape made up of an extraordinarily rich geological, botanical and archaeological heritage with parts of the region classed as a National Park. This limestone plateau resembles a lunar landscape; in the spring and summer months, great colour abounds against the stark landscape. Ruined forts and castles and numerous prehistoric sites dot the landscape; the region has been aptly described as ‘one vast memorial to bygone cultures’.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

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