On this two-week tour, we will soak in legends of adventurous knights and kings, breathtaking landscapes and seashores, picturesque little villages, charming harbors, world famous distilleries, and colorful, old-time pubs of Scotland and Wales.
We’ll take a journey on the majestic Jacobite Express, perhaps better known as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express, and explore the stunning city of Edinburgh, the charming port of Mallaig, and the remote Hebrides islands! As we make our way into Wales, you’ll feel the charm of King Arthur’s land as we visit the mystical Tintern Abbey, once home to the Cistercian priests and an inspiration for many poets, including Wordsworth. Then, onward to Caerphilly castle – one of the best examples of fortified castles in Great Britain – before quenching your thirst for dark ale in one of Cardiff’s oldest pubs. We will also enjoy the beautiful and sophisticated city of Bath and marvel at mysterious Stonehenge.
About our trip guide: Louise Maciejewski
Born in Great Britain, Louise grew up in Oxford, England. She attended St. Clare’s Hall in Oxford, and then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology London, England.
She later applied her artistic skills in an apprenticeship at a renowned fine art conservation studio in Milan. Louise has worked as a Canvas and Panel Painting conservator and Restorer for various auction houses as well as for the Italian Soprintendenza ai Beni Culturali. On-site conservation projects include work on various churches in Turin, Archaeological digs in Spain and a Roman site in Tuscany.
Having travelled widely throughout Europe, she settled in Tuscany where she runs an Organic Olive farm . She also works as a certified tour guide all over Europe.
Fly from the US to Edinburgh, Scotland. If you are booking our early arrival option, you will fly from the US to Edinburg on August 26 instead.
Early arrival option: You will be met at the airport this morning and taken to your hotel in the city centre of Edinburgh. You'll be able to rest before the official beginning of the trip tomorrow night, and you'll enjoy a full day of sightseeing tomorrow (Aug. 28)*
Relax at your hotel after your flight and get ready to meet your fun group of travelers! Tonight we will enjoy a welcome talk and dinner of local specialties. Overnight in Edinburgh.
Early arrival option*: You will spend the day exploring Edinburgh, its castle, the Royal Mile, and the National Museum of Scotland. We will also enjoy tea and pastries at the Elephant House, one of the most beloved tea and coffee houses in Edinburgh. It became famous as the place of inspiration to writers such as J.K. Rowling, who wrote much of her early Harry Potter novels in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle. You will then meet with the rest of the group arriving today, and will enjoy together a welcome talk and dinner. Overnight in Edinburgh.
Today we will drive to Stirling to visit its small center and famous castle, one of the largest and most important in Scotland. Before the union with England, Stirling Castle was one of the most used of the many Scottish royal residences, so much so that several Scottish Kings and Queens were crowned there, including Mary, Queen of Scots. Along the way, we will visit Dunfermline Abbey and the mysterious Rosslyn Chapel. This privately owned medieval building has been at the centre of legends, novels, and theories concerning a connection to Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, and the Holy Grail. As such, it was prominently featured in the novel The Da Vinci Code. Overnight in Edinburgh.
We will leave early this morning and head towards Inverness. On the way, we’ll stop at St. Andrews Links to visit the famous golf course, one of the oldest courses in the world, and have lunch at East Neuk of Fife. In the early afternoon, we will visit Cairngorm National Park, the largest in Britain. Time permitting, we will also enjoy a tasting at the award winning Dalwhinnie Distillery. Overnight in Inverness.
We will have an early morning departure to go on a boat cruise of Loch Ness, where we will learn all about the legends and folklore around Nessie, the famous lake monster, then, we’ll have lunch at a quaint restaurant by Urquhart Castle. After lunch, we will head to Glen Ord distillery for a tasting. Overnight in Inverness.
Today is your opportunity to learn everything about sheep farms in Scotland – you’ll see how wool is processed from fleece to fabric and watch the sheep dogs working. The afternoon is yours to relax, explore more of Inverness and shop, or enjoy a hike. Overnight in Inverness.
We will depart for the Isle of Skye via the Skye Bridge this morning, stopping at Eilean Donan Castle on the way. This afternoon, we will visit the charming fishermen’s village of Armadale and its port. Overnight in Armadale.
We will have an early morning departure from Armadale and board a ferry to the fishing port of Mallaig, where we’ll have a delicious lunch from the fishermen’s daily catch. In the afternoon, we’ll board The Jacobite Express steam train to Fort William. Overnight in Fort William.
Today, we will drive from Fort Williams to Glasgow airport to catch our plane to Bristol. Then, we’ll drive to Cardiff, the capital of Wales. We’ll visit the beautiful Castle of Cardiff and Llandaff Cathedral. We may even have the chance to learn more about the famous Doctor Who. Then, we’ll enjoy a fun group dinner. Overnight in Cardiff.
We have a big day ahead of us today! We will start with a visit to the breathtaking city of Bath (UNESCO site), where we will learn more about its ancient past. The Roman Baths, about 2,100 years old, are amongst the most famous and important Roman remains north of the Alps and mark the beginning of Bath's history as a spa town. We’ll then admire the many beautiful buildings that harmoniously combine Bath’s ancient past with constructions from the Georgian era (1700’s to early 1800’s) and neo-classical influences before we head to Stonehenge, one of the most famous landmarks in Great Britain and a UNESCO site since 1986. This amazing prehistoric monument, built between 3000 and 2000 BC, consists of a ring of standing stones up to 30 feet tall and weighing around 25 tons each! Afterwards, we’ll drive back to Cardiff for a well deserved, relaxing evening. Overnight in Cardiff.
This morning we will head out to Caerphilly Castle, the second largest in Britain (after Windsor). It is the first truly concentric castle in Britain. When it was built in the late 13th century, it was a revolutionary masterpiece of military planning. Today, it is considered one of the grandest medieval buildings in Western Europe. We’ll then visit Tintern Abbey which, in spite of being roofless, remains the best-preserved medieval abbey in Wales. Overnight in Cardiff.
Fly out of Cardiff or Bristol, or extend your trip with a three nights stay in London.
10 nights and 11 days
Price: $3,950 per person in double room
Single room supplement: 650 USD
(Prices based on a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 paying travelers.)
Early arrival supplement: $385 per person in double room