- Enjoy high tea at the world-famous Savoy Hotel in London
- Learn about Scotland's culinary scene on an Edinburgh food tour
- Take a cruise on Loch Ness in search of its famous monster
- Go on a boat trip to the beautiful Isle of Mull
|Day 1||Arrive in London, London Eye Ride||London|
|Day 2||Explore Borough Market, High Tea at the Savoy Hotel||London|
|Day 3||Drive to Bath, Free Time||Bath|
|Day 4||Tour the Roman Baths||Bath|
|Day 5||Drive to the Cotswolds, Explore Villages, Stratford-upon-Avon Visit||Broadway|
|Day 6||Explore the Cotswolds & Oxfordshire||Broadway|
|Day 7||Drive to Bristol, Fly to Edinburgh||Edinburgh|
|Day 8||Edinburgh Food Tour||Edinburgh|
|Day 9||Drive to Pitlochry & the Cairngorms National Park||Pitlochry|
|Day 10||Drive to Inverness, Loch Ness Boat Cruise||Inverness|
|Day 11||Kayaking in the Great Glen, Drive to Oban||Oban|
|Day 12||Boat Trip to the Isle of Mull||Oban|
|Day 13||Drive to Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park||Balquhidder|
|Day 14||Drive to Edinburgh, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in London, London Eye Ride
Welcome to London! England's cosmopolitan capital is one of the world's most visited cities, with a vast number of iconic buildings and landmarks. From museums and art galleries to Royal Parks, much of London's culture is free to enjoy. Big sites you could visit include Buckingham Palace, where you can watch the Changing the Guard and explore the opulent State Rooms, and Westminster Abbey, where William the Conqueror and Queen Elizabeth II were crowned. You could also peek at the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London or learn all about human history, art, and culture at the British Museum.To help you to get your bearings, enjoy 360-degree views over the city from one of the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheels, the London Eye. On a clear day, you can see up to 25 miles (40 km) away. At an impressive 443 feet (135 m) high, you'll be able to spot some of the capital's most iconic landmarks and attractions, such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace.
Day 2: Explore Borough Market, High Tea at the Savoy Hotel
Take a stroll along the banks of the River Thames this morning before wandering around more than 100 food stalls in Borough Market, London's most renowned food and drink mecca. As the city's oldest food market, it has been serving the people of Southwark for 1,000 years, with many of the stallholders themselves being producers. There's everything from seafood to fine wine, Persian sharing plates, to European cheeses. This is the place to treat all of your senses and grab a memorable bite to eat.
In the afternoon, head to the Savoy Hotel for high tea. Afternoon tea has been served at the Savoy since it opened in 1889, and it's now world-famous. You can enjoy this quintessentially English experience in the heart of the hotel, in its glass-domed Thames Foyer, with a pianist playing in the background. You'll be able to choose between an extensive range of more than 30 teas, accompanied by sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream, jam, and lemon curd, plus a selection of delightful pastries. High tea also includes some extra warm savory options such as risotto or seared scallops.
Day 3: Drive to Bath, Free Time
Pick up your rental car and set off early today to drive to Bath. En route, you may want to plan a stop at the largest castle in Britain, Windsor Castle. This is where Prince Harry and Meghan were married. Meanwhile, if you've always dreamed of living in a traditional country house, you could plan a route via Highclere Castle, the backdrop to TV's "Downton Abbey." Another top spot you could head to is the iconic standing stone circle of Stonehenge.
After you've checked into your hotel, explore the UNESCO-listed city of Bath itself. Bath has been a thermal spa destination for thousands of years and has Roman-built baths that you can still visit. Take the time to appreciate its renowned Regency and Georgian architecture in creamy limestone that inspired Jane Austen, who was a resident. Look around Bath Abbey too, which was founded in the seventh century.
Day 4: Tour the Roman Baths
Today, you'll explore the fascinating Roman Baths complex. This is where people of Roman Britain came to worship the goddess Sulis Minerva and to bathe in the city's natural thermal waters. The thermal springs still flow with hot water but due to the water quality, you can no longer swim here. Instead, go to the Thermae Bath Spa, where the water has been treated. While you're here, you can see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva, walk on the original Roman pavements, and look around its museum collection, which includes a gilt bronze head of the Goddess Sulis Minerva.
In the afternoon, go shopping in Bath's center or relax in some of its top-quality restaurants, cafés, or pubs. If you'd like to explore some more of the local area, the 14th-century market village of Castle Combe is around a 30-minute drive away. The postcard-pretty village has been the location for countless films, including Stephen Spielberg's "War Horse."
Day 5: Drive to the Cotswolds, Explore Villages, Stratford-upon-Avon Visit
Visit some of the most picturesque areas in England today, starting in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. This area is dotted with market towns and ancient honey-hued limestone villages. Climb Beacon Hill to reach the unique folly, Broadway Tower. As the second highest point in the Cotswolds, you'll enjoy unrivaled views from here. After you've checked into your accommodation in Broadway, you could enjoy a fine English ale in a historic thatched inn along the Cotswold Way or visit one of England's finest gardens, such as Snowshill Manor and Garden or Hidcote.
Later, head to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Book to see a show by the Royal Shakespeare Company while you're here to embrace the great bard. The highly regarded company has some of the finest theater actors in the world. You could also visit Shakespeare's Birthplace, William's childhood home, which is at the heart of the town.
Day 6: Explore the Cotswolds & Oxfordshire
Spend today exploring more of the local area's sites. You could go on a private tour of the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire, starting at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace. This was the home of the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Admire its Baroque architecture, and explore its formal gardens and landscaped parkland.
If you're visiting in the summer months, you could treat your senses to a trip to Cotswold Lavender to walk among fields of fragrant purple flowers. Or, see rare breeds of British farm animals at Britain's first farm park, Cotswold Farm Park. If you'd like to stretch your legs, plan a walk in the surrounding area, perhaps on part of the Cotswold Way walking trail, which runs from Chipping Campden to Bath.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Drive to Bristol, Fly to Edinburgh
It's time to swap the gentile Cotswolds for the Scottish lowlands today as you drive 1.5 hours south to Bristol, drop your rental car at the airport, and board the short flight to Edinburgh. Scotland's charming capital city is a quirky mix of medieval cobbled alleyways and elegant Georgian design, and its Old and New Towns are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Make sure you visit its royal fortress, Edinburgh Castle, while you're here, which dominates its skyline. And, if you'd like to watch the sunset over the city, Calton Hill is a fabulous spot.
You could explore Holyrood Palace too, the official residence of kings and queens since the 16th century, or stroll along the Old Town's bustling Royal Mile. A vibrant center for culture, art, and history, Edinburgh will be a highlight of your trip.
Day 8: Edinburgh Food Tour
Think of Scottish food, and whiskey and deep-fried Mars bars may come to mind. These stereotypes will be dismantled on today's Edinburgh food tour. Led by a chef or food writer, you'll have insider access to some of the city's top food spots and will learn some secrets of Scottish culinary traditions. You'll walk through the up-and-coming area of Stockbridge, stopping at food shops and market stands best fitted to the season and day. You might visit Scotland's oldest and most famous deli and wine merchant to discuss the influence Italian immigrants had and still have in determining the taste of Edinburgh.
Alternatively, you might visit Edinburgh's first independent coffee shop to learn about the renaissance of good coffee in the city. Or look at this season's wild game in the window of a butcher's shop before tasting game pies. In the market, you may try hot and cold smoked salmon, haddock, trout, and seafood from an award-winning smokehouse. Along the way, you'll examine how these products fit into the Scottish diet and its culinary traditions. You may also discuss how poverty and wealth have influenced ways of eating and how Edinburgh and its surrounding areas are becoming a center for fine dining and food trends.
Day 9: Drive to Pitlochry & the Cairngorms National Park
Pick up your hire car and drive north to Pitlochry this morning to follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria and admire "the best view in Scotland" at the Queen's View, overlooking the picturesque Loch Tummel. You could also pay a visit to the Blair Athol Distillery south of the town for a tour followed by a tutored tasting of six whiskies or the Blair Castle and Gardens, which has been the home of the Atholl family for more than seven centuries.
Pitlochry is an ideal base for hiking and exploring the great outdoors, so you could also plan a walk today. Alternatively, discover Killiecrankie Gorge, which was once the site of one of the goriest battles in Jacobite history and is now a rich conservation area. While you're there, admire the views, marvel at the 18-foot-wide (5.5 m) Soldier's Leap, and learn about the history, geology, and wildlife at the visitor center.
Day 10: Drive to Inverness, Loch Ness Boat CruiseTravel farther north to Inverness today, a historic town on the shores of Loch Ness and the capital of the Highlands. While you're here, see the wonderful Cawdor Castle, a towering castle built around a legendary thorn tree. Visit the town's covered Victorian Market too to buy souvenirs from small, independent shops. Other attractions include the nearby well-preserved Bronze Age Clava Cairns, Culloden Viaduct with its impressive 29 arches, or Fort George and the Highlanders' Museum to learn the story of the Highland Regiments from just after the Battle of Culloden to the present day.
A good way to truly appreciate the castles, monuments, wildlife, and scenery is to take a boat trip on Loch Ness. These legendary waters are not to be missed, and you can spend an hour taking in the gorgeous mountain views as you cruise along the famous loch in search of "Nessie." Look out for the ruins of Urquhart Castle on the shores of the loch, which are swathed in 1,000 years of history.
Day 11: Kayaking in the Great Glen, Drive to Oban
This morning, you'll be kitted out for a half-day kayaking trip and will learn the strokes and techniques needed to paddle and steer your kayak. Once you've got the hang of it, you can go out onto the water, taking in the views of the Great Glen. You will explore the shoreline of the loch and the Caledonian Canal. Weather permitting, you will visit some local landmarks, such as the Well of the Seven Heads and the ruins of Invergarry Castle. After your adventure, drive south through the Great Glen to the small town of Fort William in the shadow of Scotland's highest peak, Ben Nevis.
Near Fort William, you can visit Inverlochy Castle on the bank of the river that dates back to 1280. Or marvel at the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct carrying the railway 100 feet (30 m) above the ground. Carry on to the coastal Oban area, which is truly breathtaking, to check in to your hotel. If time allows, you could experience the flavor of Scotland at the Oban Whisky Distillery or the local Inverawe Smokehouse for traditional smoked Scottish salmon.
Day 12: Boat Trip to the Isle of Mull
Today, enjoy a boat trip to the beautiful Isle of Mull. Spend time in Mull's colorful main town, Tobermory, which has brightly painted buildings along its main street to the pier and hills surrounding the bay. There's a range of wonderful things to do on Mull. Keep an eye out for wildlife, and visit the Tobermory Distillery, which has been producing fine malts since it was established in 1798.
Some boat trips also include a visit to Iona, a tiny island known as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland due to the founding of an abbey here in the sixth century. There's also Staffa, which is known for its remarkable basalt columns, the otherworldly Fingal's Cave, and a great variety of seabirds.
Day 13: Drive to Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park
Drive south this morning to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Here you'll discover beautiful lochs, forests, glens, and breathtaking views from every angle. Take in the scenery on a cruise on Loch Katrine or kayak again, this time on Loch Lomond. For something less energetic, visit the Sea Life or Birds of Prey Center, or tour Scotland's most picturesque distillery at Glengoyne.
Alternatively, drive to Killin to see the beautiful Falls of Dochart running through the small town and find out more about the local folklore and clan history. For a scenic road trip, you could drive to Arrochar, high in the mountains, or head to Aberfoyle on the banks of the River Forth in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park to look around the Trossachs Discovery Center and learn about the mysterious story of Reverend Robert Kirk.
Day 14: Drive to Edinburgh, Depart
Drive back to Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, to spend the last day of your tour exploring and discovering more of its culture. Tick off any of the big sites you didn't manage on your first visit, such as strolling down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace or heading up to Calton Hill to take in spectacular views of the city. There are a number of historical monuments to see here, including the National Monument, which is reminiscent of the Parthenon in Athens, and the City Observatory, which is in the style of a Greek temple.