This 10-day custom itinerary is perfect for anyone with a love of UK heritage. On this trip, you'll visit some of the grandest palaces and churches in the nation, which cumulatively represent many millennia of history and culture. It's a fascinating architecture tour that allows you to see a number of places where key historical figures ruled and reigned, from Buckingham Palace to Edinburgh Castle.

Highlights

  • Discover London’s royal heritage
  • Tour the charming university city of Cambridge
  • Enjoy the historic city of Edinburgh

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London - See the Sights City of London
Day 2 Discover London’s royal heritage City of London
Day 3 Visit Windsor Castle City of London
Day 4 Travel to Cambridge Grantchester
Day 5 Stroll Cambridge University and Around Grantchester
Day 6 Tour the Ely Cathedral Grantchester
Day 7 Travel to Edinburgh Edinburgh
Day 8 Walk in the Footsteps of Royalty at Holyrood Palace Edinburgh
Day 9 Discover Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh
Day 10 Farewell to the UK  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in London - See the Sights

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge, London

Welcome to the capital of England!

With its nightlife, culture, history, and world-class dining scene, London is the perfect place to kick off your U.K. vacay. You'll arrive in style, too, with a private transfer from the airport to your hotel in central London. Likely you'll be a bit jet-lagged from your flight, but the perfect remedy for that is to get out and explore! Hit the streets on a double-decker bus, in a black cab, or even on foot. 

In a relatively short amount of time, you can visit any number of iconic city sights. There's a host of parks, historic buildings, museums, promenades, bridges, and plazas, such as Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. Wherever you decide to go, know that in this city, there's fun and excitement to be had around every corner.

Day 2: Discover London’s Royal Heritage

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Today, you'll visit some of London's most famous palaces, castles, and cathedrals on a luxury driving tour of the city. This, of course, includes a stop at Buckingham Palace (exterior only) as well as Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Princess Diana married Prince Charles in 1981. 

We can also tailor the itinerary to suit your specific interests so you can visit the locales that appeal to you. It's the most personalized way to see the royal and religious landmarks that have been an integral part of Britain's heritage from antiquity through to present-day.

Day 3: Visit Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

Today you will travel to Windsor Castle, located on the outskirts of London. Sitting on 13 acres of well-manicured grounds and boasting a whopping 1,000 rooms, this 11th Century castle/palace is an architectural marvel of Georgian and Victorian design. It's been a royal residence dating back to every monarch since Henry Ist and was, in fact, a favorite stay for Henry VII.  More recently, the castle hosted the 2018 Royal Wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, better known to us commoners as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. 

On a tour of the castle, you'll see royal portraits depicting those famous monarchs from the House of Tudor, as well as many other highlights. These include the royal wedding exhibition, State Apartments, and St. George's Chapel. The latter is an impressive example of a medieval Gothic architectural style and has hosted many royal marriages, notably from the reign of Queen Victoria and later.  You'll also be able to stroll all those acres of glorious English gardens surrounding the property.

Day 4: Travel to Cambridge

The Cambridge city skyline

Next, you will travel by private car on a 1.5-hour journey north to the charming university city of Cambridge. This is a historic city (it was founded all the way back in 875 ACE) surrounded by rolling green hills, family farms, and country villages. Cambridge itself is best known for its globally-renowned university, which was established in 1209 ACE and has its fair share of famous alumni including Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking.

In the afternoon you will have two options for activities, both delicious. You'll travel a few minutes outside the city to the Cambridge countryside and Chilford Hall Vineyard, which sits on 20 acres of fertile grapevine-producing soil. You can opt for a tour of the vineyard followed by a tasting of award-winning wines, or you can instead take afternoon tea outdoors on the lovely grounds of Chilford Hall's visitor center.

Day 5: Stroll Cambridge University and Around

Cambridge University

After breakfast, you'll head to the city's namesake university for a guided walking tour. There's nothing quite like strolling the hallowed halls and expansive grounds of a historic and venerable learning institution like Cambridge. On this private tour, you'll also visit the various university buildings, such as King’s College, Trinity Hall, Pembroke College, and more. It even includes a relaxing stroll along the River Cam

After a break for lunch, you'll hop back in the car service and drive just outside the city of Cambridge to Anglesey Abbey. This stately country house was founded first as a priory in the 12th century before its conversion to a private residence around the year 1600. You'll tour the reconstructed rooms of this historic home as well as portions of the 98 acres of its landscaped grounds, which feature manicured gardens and a working 18th-century watermill that to this day produces wholemeal flour.

Day 6: Tour the Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral

Today we have a special treat for you as you step away from the hustle and bustle of central Cambridge and escape to the countryside. Nestled in this bucolic region of Cambridgeshire is the charming city of Ely. Here, you will enjoy a special tour of the 11th-century Ely Cathedral, a stunning example of Romanesque/Norman architecture and one of the UK’s top attractions. 

Formally an abbey church, the cathedral is now the principal church of the Diocese of Ely. Its rich history actually dates back even further, to 673 ACE when a Northumbrian king established a monastery on the site. The intervening years saw destruction by invaders, a re-founding as a Benedictine community in 970, and finally the building of the present structure in 1081. It still functions as a typical church, with daily masses and even daily choral performances.

Day 7: Travel to Edinburgh

The Edinburgh skyline with the famous castle in the background

After breakfast, your luxury travel experience continues as you head north into Scotland and its incomparable capital of Edinburgh. You'll travel by rail and therefore have ample opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the English countryside as it passes outside your window. Once you arrive you'll be struck by the city's palpable history, which is evident in its architecture and on its streets.

Edinburgh was founded as a medieval "burgh" in the 12th century and has been officially recognized as Scotland's capital since the 15th century. Many medieval buildings from this area remain, including and especially Edinburgh Castle, the 12th-century royal fortress that dominates Edinburgh's skyline and anchors the city.

Day 8: Walk in the Footsteps of Royalty at Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace

Today, you'll enjoy a special tour of Holyrood Palace, which is the official residence of the Queen when she is in Scotland. The palace sits at the bottom of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, which is the most famous stretch of road in historic Old Town Edinburgh. Each year, the queen traditionally spends one week at the palace at the end of June, hosting the ceremonial Presentation of the Keys of the City of Edinburgh, which takes place in the palace forecourt. 

Holyrood boasts luxurious State Apartments on the first floor while the Queen and royal residences are located on the second. Besides these, a tour of the palace also includes other historic rooms like the bedchamber of Mary, Queen of Scots as well as the Great Gallery, which is the largest room in the palace and is decorated with 110 portraits of Scottish monarchs from throughout history. During the tour, your expert guide will offer insight into Holyrood's architecture and construction, as the palace dates back to 1501 and was built on the site of a former abbey. You will also have free time to explore the palace’s landscaped gardens.

Day 9: Discover Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

This is a special day as you'll be visiting the most iconic attraction in Edinburgh: the historic castle. It's a dominating fortress located atop Castle Rock, a basalt cliff formed by a volcanic eruption over 340 million years ago. This fortress/palace was the seat of royalty since its construction in the 12th century, and it frequently changed hands between Scottish and British monarchs during and after the wars for independence. From the late 18th century to the beginning of the 19th, Edinburgh Castle was used as a jail for Britain's military prisoners, and in 1927 part of it was turned into the Scottish War Memorial to honor the nation's casualties of WWI. 

On a guided tour of the castle you'll see all the highlights, including St. Margaret's Church, which was founded in the year 1130 ACE by King David I to memorialize his mother, Saint Margaret. Tour highlights also include the War Memorial, the Royal Apartments (once home to Mary, Queen of Scots), the Great Hall (once used by royals for state ceremonies), and the Crown Jewels. These include pearls and jewels once owned by Mary, Queen of Scots, a scepter gifted to King James VI by Pope Alexander the VI, as well as a display featuring the Stone of Destiny, a mythic sandstone block which was used in the coronation of many monarchs starting with King Edward I.

Day 10: Farewell to the UK

Goodbye, England!

And so your grand tour of UK palaces, castles and cathedrals comes to an end. Today you will enjoy one final perk in the form of a transfer by private car service from your hotel to the airport, where you'll catch your flight home. Until next time!