Highlights of England, Scotland & Ireland 12 days
85.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
From glens and lochs all the way to London, explore the captivating emerald landscapes and cultural hubs that define Great Britain and Ireland. Journey from England’s cosmopolitan capital through the highlands of the Lake District to Edinburgh, whose city streets have been declared masterpieces of urban planning. Then, make your way to the Emerald Isle, where you’ll grab a pint (or a few) with Dubliners and make your way through the beyond-scenic Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
10 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
London’s many world-class, free museums
The unmatched charm & wit of the Irish
Edinburgh’s unique Georgian architecture
Guinness tastes best in Dublin
The authentic local pub culture
Storybook-worthy emerald landscapes
Overnight Flight1 night
London2 nights - hotel info
Cheerio—welcome to the city of palaces, pubs and sprawling parks
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Touch down in London, England’s magnificent capital. After clearing customs and collecting your bags, look for the Hotel by Bus desk. They will be providing your transfer to your hotel. This afternoon is free to explore London on your own or relax in your hotel room. Meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner this evening.
To Buckingham and beyond, take to London’s streets like a local
An expert local guide leads this morning’s guided sightseeing tour of London. Highlights of the panoramic tour include views of Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the Big Ben clocktower, the Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus and a stop outside St. James’s Palace, where you might glimpse the ceremonial Changing of the Guard (seasonal and weather dependent). After your sightseeing tour, join an optional afternoon excursion to Windsor Castle, the centuries-old retreat of Britain’s Royal Family.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Windsor Castle $85* pp
Led by a Blue Badge Guide, you’ll travel to Windsor for a guided visit to the world’s largest and longest-inhabited castle. Founded by William the Conqueror in 1070, Windsor has been the British Royal Family’s preferred retreat for the past 900 years. Step inside the State Apartments and St. George’s Chapel (closed Sundays), where the Knights of the Garter ceremony takes place. View the exhibit of royal treasures on display within the castle. You’ll then have time to stroll through the town of Windsor and have a look at Eton College, a prestigious prep school attended by Princes William and Harry. Please note: Windsor Castle is occasionally closed when in use by the Royal Family; a visit to Henry VIII’s Hampton Court will be substituted when necessary.
Edinburgh2 nights - hotel info
Through rolling green countryside, past misty lochs, onward to Edinburgh
Leaving London this morning, you’ll journey by train through the English countryside to the lochs and hills of Scotland. As you approach the Scottish capital, you’ll pass under the dramatic Edinburgh castle; its foundation dates back to 850 B.C. After hotel check-in, the afternoon is free to uncover Edinburgh on your own. For a quick orientation of the city, begin at the Central Train Station, walk down Princes Street—lined with world-class shops—and then climb the hill to the Castle. Tonight, enjoy an included dinner.
Stroll the Royal Mile and stride through a masterpiece of urban planning
Despite some changes to its landscape in the late 20th century, Edinburgh—much like Prague, Florence and Vienna—has managed to avoid the large-scale modernization that has transformed most major cities and has retained its medieval beauty. Dating as far back as 850 B.C., Edinburgh really gained prominence in the 11th century under the reign of David I, who founded the abbey at Holyrood. Today, an expert local guide leads a sightseeing tour from the elegant Georgian New Town to the Royal Mile (both are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites). You’ll see Holyrood Palace, the quaint shops of the Mile and Edinburgh Castle, where you’ll see the Scottish crown jewels. This afternoon, you might wish to continue your exploration of Edinburgh on your own or join our optional Abbotsford House & Melrose Abbey excursion.
Abbotsford House & Melrose Abbey $69* pp
Travel through the Scottish Borders region to Abbotsford House, the 19th-century estate of Sir Walter Scott. The poet designed his home in the Romantic style to imitate the elaborate baronial estates of British aristocrats. Today it serves as a museum for the Scottish memorabilia and artifacts that Scott collected throughout his lifetime. The excursion then continues with a visit to the ruins of Melrose Abbey, one of the most impressive of the four Borders abbeys.
Cheshire1 night - hotel info
Discover the emerald green landscapes that inspired Wordsworth
Dove Cottage (seasonal)
This morning, travel through the emerald green landscapes of the Lakes District, whose meadows are dotted with grazing sheep. You’ll marvel at the district’s wild beauty as you encounter picturesque views of farmland, forests, fells (hills) and becks (brooks). Visit Dove Cottage, where Poet Laureate William Wordsworth lived for several years. Dinner is included this evening in Cheshire.
Dublin2 nights - hotel info
Cross the Irish Sea to the hometown of Joyce, Wilde and Yeats
Travel through the untamed wilderness of Wales to Holyhead, where you’ll board a high-speed ferry across the Irish Sea. Disembark the ferry in Dublin, the cosmopolitan Irish capital city spanning the River Liffey. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for check-in. The afternoon is free to begin exploring Dublin. Tonight, opt for an evening of music and dance at our Traditional Irish Evening.
Traditional Irish Evening $99* pp
Enjoy this special evening of Irish food, music and live entertainment. Dinner will be served first, giving you a taste of traditional Irish dishes. You’ll then be treated to a live show of Irish music and dance. Join in the fun as you enjoy a merry and memorable night. Please note: The specific venue and day of the week for this optional may change due to availability.
From the Book of Kells to back of pubs, explore the heart of Dublin
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College
A professional local guide leads your comprehensive sightseeing tour of Dublin. First, drive past the River Liffey to Phoenix Park. The largest enclosed public park in Europe and twice the area of New York’s Central Park, the Phoenix’s grounds include the Arás an Uachtaráin (Presidential Residence) and Dublin Zoo. You’ll also see Temple Bar and Dublin Castle. Then visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded by Ireland’s patron saint in the 5th century A.D., and Trinity College, where you can view the illuminated Book of Kells in the university’s library. Enjoy a free afternoon in Dublin.
County Kerry2 nights - hotel info
The Irish Gift of Gab is yours for the taking (brogue not included)
Today’s journey begins with a visit to Blarney Castle. This 15th-century fortress is known above all else for the legendary Blarney Stone, said to grant magical powers of eloquence to those who kiss it—which you can attempt by climbing the steep staircase to the top of the parapet and leaning out of the battlements. Continue on to County Kerry this evening.
Keep your camera ready as your make your way through the Ring of Kerry
Today’s included excursion takes you around the Ring of Kerry, a 112-mile coastal route that covers some of Ireland’s most spectacular scenery. Pass the pristine Lakes of Killarney and gaze across Dingle Bay to Dingle Peninsula. Stop in the town of Killarney and at Bog Village, where you may choose to tour the open-air museum and see the simple cabins in which locals lived during the Great Famine. This afternoon, enjoy unsurpassable views of the Skellig Islands. Then continue to the picturesque village of Sneem, the “Knot in the Ring,” where brightly painted cottages surround the cozy market green, before returning to your starting point in the Ring.
Limerick1 night - hotel info
Stand in awe as you gaze down from 390 feet above the deep blue sea
This morning, marvel at some of western Ireland’s most mesmerizing coastline and the striking Cliffs of Moher. Continue on to Limerick, where you can relive memories of the day during this evening’s Farewell Dinner.
Flight homefor a day
Extend Your Stay
Add London $259*
A city that loves to be explored, London beckons with world-class (and often free) museums and galleries, quirky shops, outstanding restaurants, royal pageantry, charming neighborhoods, and an unconquered heritage with more than 2,000 years of history.
Overnight Flight1 night - hotel info
London2 nights - hotel info
Today is free to explore (literally, check out all the free museums)
Venture into the city today to immerse yourself in the infinite wonders of London. You might visit the British Museum to view its incredible collection of antiquities. For art, take in the exhibits at the National Gallery and the Tate Galleries. Alternatively, take part in our optional tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral & Westminster Abbey.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
St. Paul's Cathedral & Westminster Abbey $115* pp
Compare and constrast two of Britain's most famous churches, whose rich history provide an unparalleled look into the country's past. First, visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, the second largest church building in the United Kingdom and seat of the Bishop of London. The English-Baroque style cathedral is globally renowned for its magnificent dome and glittering mosaics. Continue on to Westminster Abbey, a Gothic church located near the Houses of Parliament. Since 1066, every royal coronation, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII, has taken place at Westminster Abbey. The abbey also serves as the burial ground for Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton.
Passport & Visa
This tour includes the following countries: England, Scotland and Ireland. In order to enter these countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There are no major health risks when traveling to England, Ireland and Scotland. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health- care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
For traditional English fare at a reasonable price, try a pub meal. Stilton cheese, steak and kidney pie, and Cumberland sausages are specialties. Sip afternoon tea with delicious finger sandwiches and scones at Harrods for the ultimate in English tradition. Modern-day London also boasts an array of ethnic restaurants unmatched by almost any other city in the world for its diversity. Popular options for the adventurous palate include Indian, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian, Greek and West African cuisine. Specialties of Scotland include kippers, smoked salmon, Scotch broth, venison, shortbread, oatcakes, and haggis (made of sheep innards). As in Ireland, sometimes the best (and least expensive) meals are found in pubs. Whisky is a favored local spirit, and Scottish ales are world-famous. Traditional Irish cooking is simple, relying heavily on meat-based dishes. Pubs serve up hearty lunches, and the traditional Irish stew, bacon and boiled cabbage are always popular choices. Soda bread is delicious and very filling, as are Irish cakes, such as scones and Barm Brack. The thick black beer known as Guinness is a national institution in its own right. In recent years, Dublin has seen something of a culinary revolution, and the city now boasts an impressive array of new restaurants offering exciting cuisine with continental Europe, Asian and Californian influences.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in London and depart from Dublin. Your transfer upon arrival in London is provided by Hotel by Bus transportation, and you can find them at a desk when you make your way through customs and baggage. A flight is also included from Edinburgh to Dublin. Included transportation on tour is by train (from London to Edinburgh) and by private motor coach. Dublin and Edinburgh are both best explored on foot, although buses and taxis are plentiful. In London, you can’t get around without using the legendary, 12-line “tube,” connecting all the districts and attractions. You might want to mix up travel on the tube with some walking and bus travel. It’s a lot more fun to explore London on the iconic double-decker buses.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
The British pound and euro (in Ireland) are the currencies you will use on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
85.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
Exactly What You Make Of It
My fiance and I recently completed the Highlights of England, Scotland, and Ireland tour, and were nothing but thrilled with the results. Our tour director, David, could not have been nicer, more knowledgeable, or more understanding. We felt it was the perfect blend of guided and self-determination touring, which let us experience a general overview of each location at the hands of an experienced guide, and then having enough time to do the things that were important to us. To anyone going in the future, if you have time and in the inclination in Edinburgh, climb Arthur Seat!
The countries are magical. Daffodils, spring lambs, and gorse. It was a dream come true.
Great Memories and Pictures
This was my first real trip to Europe and I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was an awesome adventure! Our guide David was great and the local guides for the day trips were very good as well. The history they shared was amazing and made me realize how 'short' our history is in the US. The time we had in each area was definitely long enough to get a feel for each place and take plenty of pictures. There was also plenty of time for 'retail therapy'. We chose this particular type of tour so that we could get a taste of where and what we would like to see on our next trip; I would recommend adding a couple days in the beginning to be able to see more of London on your own. With the trip to Windsor (well worth it) you don't have much free time. The scenery was great and we were definitely blessed with good weather. If you love beautiful gardens and castles and old churches/cathedrals, then this is the trip for you.
Great trip to the UK
Overall the trip and accomofations were great. We had an awesome tour guide that made our trip very enjoyable and packed full of interesting details. I personally would have done the trip in reverse, which would have avoided an extra flight. Made lots of great new friends.
Our recent trip to England, Ireland & Scotland was in a word - FABULOUS. From the onset, Go Ahead Tours was extremely helpful and accomodating with arranging this tour. The information provided prior to our departure was most helpful in making us feel organized, comfortable and confident. Everything just seemed to fall into place with no surprises. The highlights for us were the beautiful countrysides and landscapes, in addition to the rich history of the countries we visited. Although kept very busy, we were happy and tired at the end of each day knowing we hadn't wasted a minute. It will take some time to absorb all that we saw. We attribute the success of our tip to our tour director - Ailbee Coffey. He was absolutely phenomenal. He was an absolute wealth of knowledge about everything "UK". In addition, he was patient, respectful, friendly, accomodating, diplomatic, considerate and humurous. We will always be grateful for his part in making this trip such a memorable one. And, I would be remiss if I didn't compliment the two bus drivers - Alistair and Paddy. All three gentlemen are a credit to Go Ahead tours and the countries they showcase. Although we experienced a few disappointments, they are so insignificant in the bigger picture. However, because this is a review I will mention that one 'included' dinner (London) was less than satisfactory with regard to variety, and our room at Rossett Hall (Wrexham Co) was not prepared on our arrival. (I walked into a room that had not been cleaned and whose shower did not work properly). A chat with reception remedied the problems very quickly. This trip ended all too quickly. We came away feeling there was so much more to see and do, but recognize that this trip was to introduce us to the highlights of these beautiful countries...and it did just that. Our hope is to some day return to pick up where we left off. Thank you Go Ahead Tours!
I enjoyed the free time we had in each country. I got to do things that were not included on the tour . In England I rode thr eye this was fantastic you got to see all of London from the sky. I also got tickets to see the Billy Elliot play on our free night. In Scotland I got to walk the Royal Mile eat in a pub and do shopping with ease. In Ireland I enjoyed our night out to an Irish pub for dinner and a show this is a must to do.
A good tour
A nice tour, but not one of my favorites for the simple reason that there was too much time in Ireland and not enough in England and Scotland. Our guide, Cornelius, was great - very entertaining - but we had waaaay too much time on the bus, overall. Good, comprehensive trip though for those interested in learning a bit more about the three countries. I wish we'd had more time in Edinburgh and the Lake District, though.
The Best of England, Scotland & Ireland
This tour was great! It is amazing how much you are able to do and see in such a short time.
At Long Last
I had wanted to go to Europe for quite a long time, but my husband, whom I love dearly, wanted to see more of the United States before even thinking of traveling to Europe. However, when our daughter & son-in-law and some of their friends invited us to join them, he said "yes". Thanks for making my dream come true. On one of the lower questions, my answer should be - with my spouse and with an organization/group
Never Off The Bus
If you want to see the UK and Ireland at a very fast pace pick this tour. This is strictly a sightseeing tour. If you do get off the bus, most of the time, it is for a bus driver 45 minute break required by law in a shopping mall. When I got home, I was disappointed at my pictures as all of them were blurry as they were all taken from a moving bus.The accomodations were not up to my expectations in that they were in what seemd to be unsafe and run down areas of town. Or, outside of town far enough travel to town expesnsive, time consuming and inmpractical. The choice or restaurants for the welcome dinner was outrageous. I had just gotten finished 4000 miles to London, England and ended up eating dinner in a tiny Italian spot with painted black light and paited walls to iluminate the light. The menus were limited, and not up to what I thought Go Ahead Tours would provide. The first day in Scotland we toured by bus Edinburgh and the Edinburg castle which was very nice, however we did not sign up for any afternoon excursions by Go Ahead and were left on our own a mile and a half from our hotel in the poruing rain with not offer from our tour director to get us back to our hotel. That was not appreciated.