- Go punting with a picnic in Oxford on the River Cherwell
- Discover York's Roman and Viking past
- Play a round of golf in St Andrews
- Hear the story of The Beatles in Liverpool
- Relax in the thermal waters of Bath
|Day 1||Arrive in London, Transfer to Oxford, Bodleian Library Tour||Oxford|
|Day 2||Punting & Picnic, Harry Potter Tour||Oxford|
|Day 3||Drive to York, Free Time||York|
|Day 4||Historical Tour of York||York|
|Day 5||Drive to Edinburgh, Free Time||Edinburgh|
|Day 6||Edinburgh Food Tour||Edinburgh|
|Day 7||Drive to St Andrews, Walking Tour of the Famous Old Course||St Andrews|
|Day 8||Play at the Carnoustie Golf Course or Spa Day at Old Course Hotel||St Andrews|
|Day 9||Drive to Ambleside, Explore the Lake District||Ambleside|
|Day 10||Canoeing in the Lake District||Ambleside|
|Day 11||Drive to Liverpool, The Beatles Classic Tour||Liverpool|
|Day 12||Drive to Bath, Twilight Spa at Thermae Bath Spa||Bath|
|Day 13||Tour of Roman Baths, Free Time||Bath|
|Day 14||Drive to London, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in London, Transfer to Oxford, Bodleian Library Tour
Welcome to England! After flying into London, you'll transfer to the university city of Oxford, where you can pick up your rental car for your trip. Oxford is a beautiful city with Britain's oldest university, medieval architecture, soaring Gothic spires, cobbled lanes, historic pubs, and fascinating museums.
Day 2: Punting & Picnic, Harry Potter Tour
Start your day by boarding a punt (a narrow flat-bottomed boat) with an experienced punter who will take you out onto the River Cherwell. You'll set off south, passing Oxford's famous Botanic Gardens (the oldest in the UK) and the Magdalen College School fields before going through Christ Church Meadows, where Lewis Carroll taught when he wrote "Alice in Wonderland." Then you'll pass St Hilda's College gardens before returning to the boathouse. If you have longer, you can continue south toward the Isis (Oxford's name for the River Thames), where the river opens up. You'll enjoy a picnic lunch on your trip.
In the afternoon, take part in a tour discovering where the "Harry Potter" movies were filmed. J.K. Rowling applied to study at Oxford University, so she was familiar with the city and walked producers around, pointing out sites they could use. Look out for a statue that looks like Nearly Headless Nick, and Turf Tavern Lane, the inspiration for Knockturn Alley. You'll walk past many of the city's big sites and will go into the Divinity School, where classroom, dance, and infirmary scenes were filmed. Your guide will compare student life in Oxford with that at Hogwarts, plus be prepared for a Harry Potter quiz!
Day 3: Drive to York, Free Time
Today, drive north to York, another handsome, historic UK city. York has Roman roots and a Viking past, and medieval city walls that surround contemporary independent shops and exciting places to eat. Look out for some of its quirky street names, such as Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, and Skeldergate.
Once you've checked into your hotel, stretch your legs by exploring the city center. A good place to start is atop its city walls, while on a sunny day, you could walk alongside the River Ouse. In York's pedestrianized center, step back into the medieval times on the narrow street, The Shambles, with its cobbles, overhanging timber-framed houses, and traditional shop fronts. Walk past York Minster, too (you'll go inside tomorrow), which is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world.
Day 4: Historical Tour of York
Learn all about York's past and discover some of its best sites on a historical walking tour with a professional guide. As you walk through the city's green spaces and narrow lanes and past churches, ruined castles, and abbeys, the city's history will be brought to life. You'll hear all about York's time under the Vikings, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and Normans, as well as the Tudors and the Stuarts.
Day 5: Drive to Edinburgh, Free Time
Set off early today to drive north and cross the border into Scotland to visit its good-looking capital, Edinburgh. Edinburgh's Old and New Towns have UNESCO World Heritage status, with the medieval Old Town being wonderfully chaotic in contrast to its planned Georgian New Town. A highlight is the city's medieval Edinburgh Castle, where you can see Scotland's crown jewels, the Honours of Scotland.
If you're feeling daring, head underground to The Real Mary King's Close to discover the myths and mysteries of a warren of underground streets. You could also climb an extinct volcano, Arthur's Seat, for sprawling views of the city or visit some of Edinburgh's museums and art galleries that house world-renowned works. Other sights to explore include the Royal Mile, the medieval city's main thoroughfare; St Giles Cathedral, that's been a working church for almost 900 years; Holyrood Palace, the King's official residence in Scotland; and Princes Street Gardens, a central green space to relax in.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Edinburgh Food Tour
Scottish food is often stereotyped—think deep-fried Mars bars. On today's Edinburgh food tour, you'll learn that there's much more to it. You'll be led by a chef or food writer, gaining insider access to some of the city's top food shops and meeting owners, tasting artisanal products, and discovering some of the best-kept secrets of Scottish culinary traditions. You'll walk through the area of Stockbridge, stopping at selected shops and market stands. You may visit Scotland's oldest, most famous deli and wine merchant, where you'll discuss the influence that Italian immigrants had, and still have, on Edinburgh's taste.Alternatively, you may stop in the first independent coffee shop in Edinburgh to learn about the renaissance of good coffee in the city. Look at this season's wild game in the window of a butcher's shop, or taste fish from an award-winning smokehouse. And along the way, you'll learn how these products fit into the Scottish diet, culinary traditions, and approaches. You may also discuss how poverty and wealth have influenced Scottish ways of eating and drinking and how Edinburgh and its surrounding areas are becoming a center for fine dining and food trends.
Day 7: Drive to St Andrews, Walking Tour of the Famous Old Course
Head farther north today to the small, coastal town of St Andrews. It's Scotland's oldest (and Britain's third-oldest) university town, a place of pilgrimage, and is renowned for its golfing credentials. After you've settled in, wander around its university buildings and medieval ruins, or take some time out on its white sandy beaches. The sweeping West Sands Beach was made famous by the film "Chariots of Fire."If you are a golf enthusiast, you can join a tour of the world's most famous golf course, the Old Course, with an expert guide. Records show that golf has been played in St Andrews for more than 600 years, although the game's origins may date back to the 12th century. On the tour, you'll walk in the footsteps of some golfing greats and can imagine playing yourself in this fabulous seaside location. You'll walk around the 1st, 17th, and 18th holes at the Old Course.
Day 8: Play at the Carnoustie Golf Course or Spa Day at the Old Course HotelIf you're still hungry for more golf and would like to visit another famous course, you could play a round at the Carnoustie championship course, where eight Open Championships, two Women's Opens, and two Seniors Opens have been held. For a more relaxing alternative, enjoy a spa day at the Old Course Hotel instead. On its Kohler Waters Day Spa Package, you'll be treated to a massage and facial, a light lunch in the spa's café, can work out in its fitness center, and take some time out relaxing in its dreamy spa facilities, which include a hydrotherapy pool, lap pool, sauna, and steam room.
Day 9: Drive to Ambleside, Explore the Lake District
You'll head south back to England today to the pretty town of Ambleside. In the heart of Lake District National Park, it's a great base from which to explore the sights of this beautiful area. You can take a cruise on Lake Windermere from Ambleside or go for a walk to enjoy the natural attractions nearby, such as the 70-foot (21 m) Stock Ghyll Force waterfall, around 1 mile (1.6 km) away. The National Trust-owned Stagshaw Gardens is a similar distance away.
Day 10: Canoeing in the Lake District
Getting out on the water is a must in the Lake District, and today you'll do this in a canoe. As part of your lesson, you'll be shown how to hold a paddle and sit in a canoe the right way. You'll also be taught how to steer your craft—which can be harder than it looks. After your introduction to canoeing and perhaps learning a couple of advanced skills, if you're feeling confident, you'll take to a lake for a memorable voyage. The scenery is fantastic, with hills and mountains at the edge of the water. If it's a sunny day, you could pack a picnic and stop during your trip.After your activity, you'll be hungry, so plan a trip to one of the Lake District's excellent restaurants, which range from gastropubs and fine dining establishments with Michelin stars to more relaxed Italian restaurants. For something different in Ambleside itself, there's an award-winning vegetarian pizzeria, cinema, and jazz bar in one called Zeffirellis.
Day 11: Drive to Liverpool, The Beatles Classic Tour
In the morning, drive south to Liverpool. This vibrant city in the northwest of England has a buzzy waterfront area, the Royal Albert Dock, where you can take in some art at Tate Liverpool or dine in one of its restaurants. You'll be impressed too by the city's architecture—Liverpool has the most listed buildings in a city in the UK outside of London. You could visit one of its two cathedrals and look at the famous Three Graces in Pier Head (The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building, and the Port of Liverpool Building).
Liverpool is perhaps best known around the world as the birthplace of one of the most famous music groups of all time, The Beatles. Today, you'll explore the city with a professional driver and guide, discovering the story of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. You'll learn all about their lives and will hear stories about the Fab Four with anecdotes as you visit sites such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field.
Day 12: Drive to Bath, Twilight Spa at Thermae Bath Spa
Head to the elegant, historic city of Bath in the southwest of England today. Founded by the Romans, who used its hot springs as a natural spa, the whole city has UNESCO status. Once you've settled into your hotel, explore its center, admiring the handsome Georgian architecture, with the Royal Crescent being a highlight. The city also has literary connections, and you can visit The Jane Austen Center and Mary Shelley's House of Frankenstein.
You can't visit Bath without soaking in its thermal waters, so, in the evening, unwind at the Thermae Bath Spa on its Twilight Spa Package. You'll enjoy your spa session flitting between its indoor Minerva Bath, sensory rooms, and its fabulous open-air rooftop pool. You'll also enjoy a meal and drink in the spa's Springs Restaurant.
Day 13: Tour of Roman Baths, Free Time
Make the most of your final evening by eating out in one of Bath's excellent restaurants, which range from fine dining and Indian eateries to pub grub. After your meal, you could watch some live music or comedy at one of the city's venues or take part in a Bath ghost tour to hear spooky stories from its past.
Day 14: Drive to London, Depart
It's the last day of your tour today. After a final morning in your hotel, set off to London Heathrow Airport to return your rental car and board a flight to your onward destination. Until next time!