Rural Landscapes of Ireland & Britain16 days
97.1% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Small villages, medieval castles, literary enclaves and seaside cliffs—travel through the landscapes of Great Britain and Ireland where hundreds of years of history spring suddenly to life. Beginning with a tour of the Ring of Kerry, head to Blarney Castle and Dublin before crossing the Irish Sea to visit England’s Lake District. Then, turn north to the rolling Scottish Highlands before wrapping up your stay amid Edinburgh’s Georgian architecture and Royal Mile.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
14 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 8 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
You’ll see 40 shades of green in Ireland
The Scots & Irish are equally friendly
You’ll step inside the homes of English authors
The legendary lochs & hills of the Highlands
Scotland’s castles & Georgian architecture
You’ll discover posh cities & remote villages
Overnight Flight1 night
Limerick1 night - hotel info
Drive along winding, backcountry roads to lush County Limerick
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Shannon! A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then accompanies you to Limerick, where you’ll be assisted with hotel check-in. Meet your fellow travelers at an included dinner this evening.
County Kerry2 nights - hotel info
You came for beautiful scenery—here’s 112 coastal miles of it
Today’s 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, a collection of houses from different regions and periods of Irish history. This afternoon, take in unsurpassed 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. Return to your County Kerry hotel this evening.
Kilkenny1 night - hotel info
Kiss the stone and you’ll be waxing poetic in no time
Blarney Castle, Queenstown Story Museum
Begin your day 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 through County Cork. Then, stop in the port town of Cobh, which in centuries past often served as a launch site for ships bound for North America. Here, you’ll visit the Queenstown Story Museum, whose exhibits tell stories of Irish emigration during the past 150 years. Your final destination is Kilkenny, Ireland’s best-preserved medieval town, where you’ll spend the night.
Dublin2 nights - hotel info
Roll along the Liffey and through the largest public park in Europe
St. Canice’s Cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College
This morning, tour a well-known Kilkenny landmark, St. Canice’s Cathedral. Ireland’s second-largest medieval cathedral, St. Canice’s was first established as a monastic settlement in the 6th century, and the cathedral itself was constructed on the same site in the early 13th century. After your visit, your Tour Director leads an informal tour of the sights of Kilkenny. Then, transfer to Dublin, the capital of Ireland. A local guide accompanies you on a comprehensive sightseeing tour of the city. Drive past the River Liffey to Phoenix Park. The largest enclosed public park in Europe, Phoenix Park’s grounds include the Áras an Uachtaráin (Presidential Residence). Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded by Ireland’s patron saint in A.D 450., and then visit Trinity College, where you’ll view the illuminated Book of Kells in the university’s library. Dinner is included tonight.
Explore the urban landscape that gave rise to Ireland’s literary greats
Optional Excursion - Glendalough
Discover Dublin at your own pace today. You might choose to stroll through St. Stephen’s Green or explore the Writers Museum. Or, join an optional excursion to the countryside of Wicklow to visit Glendalough, a romantic glen where St. Kevin founded Ireland’s most important monastery in the 6th century.
Glendalough $29* pp
County Wicklow has some of the wildest and most spectacular mountain scenery in Ireland, as well as many of the country’s most important historic sites. Journey through Wicklow’s captivating landscapes to Glendalough, which became famous throughout Europe as a center of Christian learning before it was sacked by Viking raiders in the 10th century. Here, you’ll see St. Kevin’s Cross, marking the place where the saint lies buried, the remains of the sixth-century cathedral and the remarkable Round Tower, thought to have been used by monks as a place of refuge. Your Tour Director will lead you on a tour of the site followed by free time.
Cheshire2 nights - hotel info
Cross the Irish Sea to visit a castle plucked from a medieval fairytale
From Dublin, ferry across the Irish Sea to Holyhead, Wales. Pass briefly through the Welsh countryside and visit the landmark Conwy Castle before crossing into England. Reach tonight’s destination of Cheshire in time for an included dinner.
Walk among timbered Tudor townhouses and ancient Roman ruins
Optional Excursion - Liverpool & The Beatles
This morning, your Tour Director orients you to the city of Cheshire. Here, you’ll see the largest Roman amphitheater in England. Cheshire was a stronghold of the Roman empire in the 1st century A.D., and its four main streets still lead outward from the site of the original Roman fortress to the four city gates. In the afternoon, consider joining our optional excursion to Liverpool to explore the world of the Beatles.
Liverpool & The Beatles $65* pp
The home of Beatlemania, the city of Liverpool also has a deep British history. Once a small medieval fishing village, the city has grown to become one of England’s most important seaports. On this excursion, follow an expert local guide through the city’s revitalized streets to view such attractions as the Liverpool Cathedral and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Next, visit the Beatles Story Museum for the complete Beatles experience. You’ll also have some free time to explore on your own. Consider checking out the shops on rejuvenated Albert Dock, visiting the Maritime Museum or going to the Cavern Club, where the Fab Four used to play.
Lakes District2 nights - hotel info
Stop by the Brontë’s place before traveling through the Pennines
Brontë Parsonage Museum
This morning, travel past the great cities of the Industrial Revolution onto the moorlands above Halifax, where you’ll visit the town of Haworth and visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which was home to one of the world’s most famed literary families in the mid 1800’s. Next, leave Wuthering Heights and drive through the magnificent Pennines, known as “the backbone of England,” on your way to the green landscapes of the Lake District. Dinner is included this evening.
Within this small cottage, Wordsworth’s inspiration took flight
Optional Excursion - A Day in the Lakes
Today, join your Tour Director for our optional tour, Day in the Lakes. You’ll visit Dove Cottage, home to poet William Wordsworth in the early 19th century. Marvel at the district’s wild beauty as you encounter picturesque views of farmland, forests, fells (hills) and becks (brooks).
A Day in the Lakes $59* pp
Travel through wooded valleys and charming lakeside villages on a day out in the Lakes, a scenic shire once heralded by the Romantic poets. You’ll visit Dove Cottage, home to poet William Wordsworth in the early 19th century. You’ll also enjoy free time in Bowness or Grasmere, as time allows. Continue on to Lakeside, where you’ll embark on a cruise of Lake Windermere, the largest of the region’s lakes.
The Highlands2 nights - hotel info
Leave England on a high note and head to the Highlands
After crossing into Scotland, pass Loch Lomond, whose beauty was commemorated by Sir Walter Scott. Enter the Highlands region and travel through Glencoe, site of the notorious 1692 massacre of the MacDonald clan. Dinner is included tonight.
No matter where you look, find lochs and glens as far as the eye can see
Optional Excursion - Eilean Donan Castle & Isle of Skye
Spend the day at your leisure amid the lochs and glens of the Highlands or opt for an excursion to the enchanting Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye. Seat of the McKenzie Clan, this 13th-century fortress is located on an islet in the middle of Loch Duich. Dinner is included tonight.
Eilean Donan Castle & Isle of Skye $99* pp
After a scenic drive to the coast, hop a ferry and travel to the Isle of Skye, famous for its association with Bonnie Prince Charlie. Visit the stately Clan Donald Centre, which portrays clan life on the island and pays homage to Gaelic culture and Highland history. Make your way back to the mainland and over to the banks of Loch Duich to visit the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, arguably the world's most photographed castle.
Edinburgh2 nights - hotel info
There’s something so charming about the city built on seven hills
Optional Excursion - Scottish Céilidh
Make your way through the scenic mountains and lochs of the Trossachs, countryside of Rob Roy. Stop at Stirling’s crag-top castle, where King James VI once lived. Arrive later in Edinburgh. Built on seven hills and with the sea at its feet, Scotland’s charming capital is one of Europe’s most striking cities. This evening, attend an optional Ceilidh (seasonal), an event featuring traditional Scottish food, music and dancing.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Scottish Céilidh $119* pp
Enjoy a special evening of Scottish tradition as you witness an authentic céilidh, an age-old Scottish celebration. Along with a savory dinner of local favorites, the evening will feature folk dancers, bagpipers, fiddlers and the “Ceremony of the Haggis.” Please note: This optional is seasonal from May to September.
Past and present collide in New Town and along the Royal Mile
Optional Excursion - St Andrews
Follow a local guide through Edinburgh, from the elegant Georgian New Town to the Royal Mile. Your tour includes a visit to Edinburgh Castle, whose fortifications perch atop an extinct volcano crater in the heart of Edinburgh. Here, you can view the Scottish crown jewels as well as the Stone of Scone (now called the Stone of Destiny), which were returned to Scotland in 1997—a full 700 years after an English king stole them away. Afterward, join an optional excursion to the ancient ecclesiastical capital of Scotland (and golf capital of the world), St Andrews. Say goodbye to your travel companions at tonight’s included farewell dinner.
St Andrews $79* pp
St Andrews may be most well-known as the home of golf, but it's also the site of Scotland's oldest university. On this excursion, you'll pass by the 16th-century grounds of St Andrews University, the alma mater of Prince William, who met Kate Middleton here. You'll also pass by the ruins of the town's cathedral and castle. Later, visit the British Golf Museum, where you’ll discover how golf transformed from a Scottish pasttime into a global obsession.
Extend Your Stay
Add London $569*
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 of more than 2,000 years of history.
London3 nights - hotel info
Let a Londoner give you the local low-down
Optional Excursion - Windsor Castle
Join a local guide for a sightseeing tour of London this morning, including views of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Downing Street and the gates of Buckingham Palace. Enjoy a free afternoon discovering London’s neighborhoods or perusing the halls of the British Museum. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Windsor Castle, a 1,000-year-old royal retreat built by William the Conqueror.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Windsor Castle $99* 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.
Open your mind (not your wallet) at the city’s free museums
Optional Excursion - Stonehenge & Oxford
With a full free day in London, you might view the decorative arts on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum or browse the fashionable boutiques on the King’s Road. Or, join an optional excursion outside London to two famous attractions, Stonehenge and the university city of Oxford.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Stonehenge & Oxford $109* pp
Visit the university city of Oxford, home to one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. Tour the charming city and the University of Oxford, taking in the famous spire-studded architecture and rich history. Next, continue on to Stonehenge, perhaps England’s most mysterious landmark. The origin and purpose of this ring of stones, which dates back an estimated 5,000 years, is unknown, though most believe it was a temple and observatory. Take some time to explore the intriguing stone formations and visit the newly opened exhibition and visitor center before heading back to London. Please note: This excursion requires advanced reservation and must be booked by 20 days prior to departure.
Passport & Visa Requirements
This tour includes the following countries: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (on the transfer). 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’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your particular entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
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 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).
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to England, Ireland and Scotland. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
Traditional Irish cooking is simple, relying on meat-based dishes. The traditional Irish stew is always popular choices. Soda bread is delicious and very filling, as are Irish cakes, such as scones and Barm Brack. The thick, black stout 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 European, Asian and Californian influences. 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 equally world-famous. 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. Popular options for the adventuresome palate include Indian, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian, Greek and West African cuisine.
Round-trip flights arrive in Shannon, Ireland, and depart from Edinburgh, Scotland (London on the extension). Transportation from Ireland to Wales (by ferry) is also included. All other transportation is serviced by private motor coach. Dublin and Edinburgh are both best explored on foot, although buses and taxis are available. 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. Don’t miss the chance to explore London on the iconic double-decker buses.
Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) uses 240 volts. Ireland operates on the European-standard 220 volts.
Britain and Ireland both operate on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is five hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST).
The euro (in Ireland) and the British pound are the currencies you’ll be using on tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take credit cards and ATM 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 equivalency 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 equivalency of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
97.1% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
We had an absolutely marvelous trip! Our tour director did a fantastic job of providing us with background information of the sights we saw as well as giving us info of possible activities in our free time. We were treated royally throughout the trip. Thank you so much for a fabulous trip!
Rural Landscapes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England
This was an absolutely beautiful and wonderfully paced tour, and a tour director that was outstanding. (Thank you Rob for everything). Rob was extremely knowledgable about every where on the tour and very helpful to everyone. I loved traveling the rural aspect of these countries, we had no idea just how beautiful it all was. Our accomadations to us were outstanding and the food served for breakfast and dinners awesome, as far as we were concerned meals were far more than we thought they would be...Kudos to all. The pace of the tour was the best, nice and easy and enjoyable. What a great tour to take, thank you Go Ahead for another fabulous tour and tour director. Frank and Judy Sospenzi .
Hotels Need Improvement
Excellent Tour Director - ,Mensel, good food, beautiful scenery, poor hotels and/or poor locations of hotels, and most excursions cancelled.
God Trip - Good Tour Director
This trip covers a lot of territory in two weeks. The countryside is lovely, the views expansive, the castles fascinating, churches and cathedrals are varied and cities are vibrant. Our tour director, Jonathan, was laid back and flexible and still managed to get us everywhere in a timely fashion without fuss. He was extremely knowledgeable and responsive. His quiet suggestions always turned out to be very good ideas. I only wish that we had a day or two more in Dublin and Edinburgh.
Lovely Views, Lovely People
My friend and I went on this tour and we were blessed to be with wonderful people and a very knowledgeable tour guide. I saw the most beautiful scenery, lovely towns and sweet people. It was really to much for my eyes and mind to take in. It was a wonderful tour and I will never forget it and I would use Go Ahead Tours again when I can afford to take another trip. Our trip was around the ring of Kerry in Ireland and we finished up in Dublin and then took the ferry over to Wales, through Chester in Chesshire County then up the side of England in the Lake District, then on into Scotland, the Highlands, Glencoe and we finished up in Edinborough. It was wonderful!
On this tour you will drive through some of the most beautiful landscapes of the British Isles: the poetry of the Lake District, the haunting beauty of the Moors, the majesty of the Scottish Highlands and Lochs. The feelings that these sights evoked in me will remain forever.
Best Tour Director Ever
Our tour to Ireland and Britain was very good. I was apprehensive at all the stops we were making but knew if we wanted the rural experience of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England we would have to stop often. What could have become trying for me became a great experience thanks to our tour director Richard. I have been on more than seven tours, three of them with Go Ahead, and had the good fortune of good tour directors. However, Richard was more than good, he was excellent. His knowledge and expertise coupled with his genuine concern for our level of comfort was exceptional. I felt like my husband and I gained a friend and are truly glad to have met Richard.
I have never taken a tour before, must less one over seas. The Ireland & UK Rural Landscapes was so much fun. I have never seen such beautiful countryside and met such nice and friendly people. I'm having such a hard time deciding which place was my favorite. I've taken so many pictures and made such good memories. Our tour guide Jonathan was wonderful. He was very informative and went over and beyond his duty as a guide. Our bus drivers were fun and full of information as well. They kept us laughing and entertained. I am willing to share pictures once I get them uploaded. So many to choose from. I can't wait to start planning my next trip.
Great Expectations Met and Exceeded
Wow!! After having chatted with friends who recommended Go Ahead Tours, I had great expectations for a wonderful trip exploring the landscapes of Ireland and Great Britain. I had heard that the accommodations with Go Ahead were very good and that being able to avoid lineups with direct entry into sites was lovely, but I had no idea how informative and organized our fabulous tour director Richard would be. I had done some historical reading to better understand the history of Ireland but not Great Britain. Richard did a wonderful job of "pre-teaching" throughout the tour, as our very comfortable bus travelled from place to place, so that when we arrived we were able to appreciate the sites to the full extent. It was so easy to travel free of worry regarding our bags, directions, getting from place to place, where to have dinner. All of the hard thinking and organizing to make the most of each and every day was done for us. One of my favourite things about the trip was the meeting and getting to know other travellers in our group. We had a blast together ! Thanks to the folks who helped me organize our crew before, during and after the trip. You are GREAT!
First but awesome tour
I enjoyed the tour very much. It was very well planned. We had just enough time for walking and touring to keep us interested. The hotel accommodations were good, and the food was excellent. Also, we had excellent weather for that time of year. The only disappointing part for me was the flights over. I would recommend when booking flights at least 2 of the people from the same community be given seats together. I was not booked to sit with my friends on the plane and to me that could have been avoided.