2017 Scotland, Lake District, & Wales


Sunday, June 25, 2017, Fly from USA

Monday, June 26, Arrive in Glasgow

After arrival and picking up luggage and clearing customs, transfer into the Jurys Inn, Glasgow. You should have received specific instructions by email on how to make the transfer to the hotel. Your room may or may not be ready until the afternoon. Use your Hop On, Hop Off bus pass (provided) to orient yourself to Glasgow.  Overflowing with style and culture, Glasgow offers a blend of internationally-acclaimed museums and galleries, stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, fabulous shopping and superlative wining and dining .The city tour will take you from George Square in the city centre past the impressive Glasgow Cathedral –the only mainland Scottish Cathedral to have survived the Reformation intact- to the West End to admire Glasgow’s historic university buildings before returning to the city centre for some free time and shopping. Dinner, bed & breakfast in the Jurys Inn, Glasgow +44 141 314 4800. 

Tuesday, June 27, Glasgow

Continuing to use your Hop On, Hop Off bus pass, plan to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery which is one of Scotland’s most popular museums. With 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries displaying an astonishing 8000 objects, the extensive collections are wide-ranging and internationally significant. Do not miss Salvador Dali’s “Christ on the Cross”. The RBS Exhibition Gallery and the community exhibition space both have a running program of temporary exhibitions and displays. Please note that some temporary exhibitions are subject to an entry fee.
Also, you might want to visit the Glasgow Cathedral. Standing at the east end of Cathedral Street in Glasgow, and not far from where Castle Street becomes High Street is Glasgow Cathedral. One of the few Scottish medieval churches to have survived the Reformation unscathed, Glasgow Cathedral is truly magnificent, full of beauty and wonder. Yet any visit to Glasgow Cathedral is also tinged with sadness, for it brings home just how much was forever lost to the nation in the orgy of vandalism that destroyed or defaced so many other Scottish churches in the period from 1560.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast in the Jurys Inn, Glasgow.

Wednesday, June 28 Falkirk Daytrip

Today we will be joined by our guide and coach driver. and take a daytrip to visit the Falkirk Wheel, The Falkirk Wheel is an exceptional feat of modern engineering and is already being recognised as an inspirational sculpture for the 21st Century. Designed to reconnect the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, this remarkable and elegant mechanical marvel is the only rotating boatlift in the world. Visitors can enjoy ‘The Falkirk Wheel Experience’ using special “trip” boats at the site and the distinctive new visitor centre gives an absolutely sensational viewpoint from which to see The Falkirk Wheel in action. The Falkirk Wheel lies at the end of a reinforced concrete aqueduct that connects, via the Roughcastle tunnel and a double staircase lock, to the Union Canal. Boats entering the Wheel’s upper gondola are lowered, along with the water that they float in, to the basin below. At the same time, an equal weight rises up, lifted in the other gondola.
Enjoy a photostop at The Kelpies They are The Kelpies, designed by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, are the largest pair of equine sculptures in the world. The Kelpies are feats of engineering, each made with 300 tonnes of structural steel, and are monumental tributes to the horse power heritage that was vital to the early industries of central Scotland.
Visit Callendar House Callendar House dates from the 14th century. It is set in the nationally-important historic designed landscape of Callendar Park, which also contains a section of the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site. The House’s permanent displays are The Story of Callendar House, a history covering the 11th to the 19th centuries, The Antonine Wall, Rome’s Northern Frontier, and Falkirk: Crucible of Revolution 1750-1850, tells how the local area was transformed during the first century of the industrial era. In the restored 1825 Kitchen, costumed interpreters create an exciting interactive experience with samples of early-19th century food providing added taste to stories of working life in a large household. The Park Gallery offers a changing program of contemporary visual art exhibitions, while different aspects of cultural heritage are explored in the 2nd Floor Galleries temporary exhibition space. Falkirk Archives are based here with the search room occupying the House’s Victorian library.
Return for overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast in the Jurys Inn, Glasgow.

Thursday, June 29, Loch Lomond to Dunkeld

This morning depart Glasgow for Dunked by coach via Loch Lomond Loch Lomond has the largest surface area of fresh water in the UK. The Loch is 24 miles long and five miles wide and at its deepest point is some 600 feet deep. On the Loch there are approximately 38 Islands, some of them inhabited and there is even a Hotel on one, Inchmurrin. Loch Lomond must be the world’s most famous Loch and has been much written about, both in song and verse. The area is renowned for its beauty and tranquility and offers picture postcard views around every corner. Enjoy the impressive panorama of Loch Lomond, which is often referred as one of Scotland’s most beautiful and most famous lake. Numerous verses and songs have been written about this area.
Stop at Luss for a photoshop followed by a visit to the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre is located within the boundaries of the first National Park in Scotland, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. There are over thirty birds of prey, representing more than twenty species. Birds of all sizes, the Little Owl, Kestrels, Buzzards, Hawks, Falcons and Eagles, including “Orla”, their Golden Eagle. Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre takes pride in customer care. Operating as a fully licensed zoo, the centre has a responsibility to educate members of the public on native species, and the global plight faced by many birds of prey.
Travel past Fort William and Loch Lomond to Dunkeld and check in at our hotel.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at the Dunkeld House Hotel. +44-1350-727-771 (When you click on the link, make sure you click on the Hotel Details link.)

Friday, June 30,  The Cairngorms

Today visit the Cairngorms National Park Cairngorms National Park covers 4,500 sq km of stunning mountains, green forests, friendly villages and picturesque lochs across four regions. Cairngorms National Park is home to five of the UK’s six highest mountains and 55 mountain summits over 900 m, of which 43 are Munros.
Visit Blair Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. It enjoys one of Scotland’s finest settings in the heart of Perthshire. Visit the castle and enjoy a tour of 30 rooms and the fascinating collections they contain. As one of the first private homes to open to the public in Scotland, Blair welcomes more visitors than any other. Discover the castle, its extensive collections and beautiful gardens. Blair Castle has a long and illustrious history, throughout which it has accumulated many fascinating historical artefacts, including antique furniture, art, period dress and arms and armour.
Next, we will visit the Highland Folk Museum The Highland Folk Museum brings to life the domestic and working conditions of earlier Highland peoples. Visitors to this living history Museum can learn how our Scottish Highland ancestors lived, how they built their homes, how they tilled the soil and how they dressed, in a friendly and welcoming environment. An award winning visitor attraction, the Museum not only encapsulates human endeavour and development in Highland life from the 1700s to the present day, but offers an opportunity to explore a beautiful natural setting, home to red squirrels and tree creepers, within the boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park.
Return to Dunkeld..
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at the Dunkeld House Hotel.

Saturday, July 1, Pithlochry

Depart Dunkeld and journey to Pitlochry. We will visit Dunkeld Cathedral which is beautifully situated beside the River Tay, Dunkeld is Scotland’s most romantic cathedral. The nave and bell tower, dating from the 1400s, fell into ruin at the Protestant Reformation of 1560, but the 13th-century choir became the parish church, and has remained so to the present day. There are interesting early 16th-century wall paintings in the ground floor of the bell tower, and numerous fine memorials in the choir, including the effigy of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan (c.1343–1405), the notorious ‘Wolf of Badenoch’.
Next, we visit Blair Athol Distillery Established in 1798, Blair Athol Distillery is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. Blair Athol Distillery stands at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, and produces a 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky with mellow deep-toned aromas, a strong fruity flavour and a smooth finish. You can see the distillers utilising the most valuable of local resources, the crystal clear waters of the Allt Dour.  After absorbing a few secrets of the distillers’ art on a leisurely conducted tour, you can mull over the distinctive character of the finished article as you sip your complimentary dram. 17.150hrs Depart from the distillery to Dunkeld with arrival back at hotel approximately at 18.00hrs.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at the Dunkeld House Hotel.

 Sunday, July 2, Edinburgh

En-route to Edinburgh, we will visit Scone Palace. Once the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in the history of Scotland. A breathtakingly beautiful seat of power and mystery and the rightful home of the celebrated Stone of Scone – also known as the Stone of Destiny. Scone Palace is regarded as a national treasure and is revered as the historic jewel in the crown of Scotland. Today, Scone Palace is the home of the Earls of Mansfield. There is so much to see and enjoy at Scone Palace, the history, an outstanding collection of antiques, paintings and rare art-facts. Even its grounds, as splendid as the Palace itself, are renowned throughout the world. Right above the River Tay, Scone Palace overlooks the routes north to the Highlands and east through Strathmore to the coast. The Grampian mountains form a distant backdrop, and across the river stands the city of Perth.
We then continue to Edinburgh. Upon arrival enjoy a panoramic tour of Edinburgh city Edinburgh is one of the world’s finest cities. Its magnificent architecture shifts from the lofty buildings of its medieval Old Town, as they tumble down the Royal Mile, to the graceful houses of the Georgian New Town. City tour including the Georgian New Town and photo stop on Calton Hill to admire the splendid views of the city and the historic Old Town. Overlooking it all perches Edinburgh Castle, the medieval fortress which dominates the city’s skyline.
Visit Edinburgh Castle The most famous of Scottish castles has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret’s Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial after the First World War The castle houses the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O’ Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.  It is here that in the 11th Century, Queen Margaret, directed the defence of her adopted homeland two decades after the same Norman had slaughtered her brother and the nobles of Saxon England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Margaret, who was known for her saintly deeds and devotion to Christ, died during the siege and her body was lowered down the walls to prevent its capture and desecration by the Normans.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore the Scottish Capital.
Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at he Dunkeld House Hotel.

Monday, July 3, Dunkeld to Kendal & the Lake District

This morning leave Dunkeld for Kendal and the Lake District via Ullswater. Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at the Castle Green Hotel,+44 1539 734000, Kendal 

Tuesday, July 4, Bowness

This morning enjoy a circular drive of the lakes to Coniston Water.
Lunch under own arrangements at Ambleside.
Visit Dove Cottage and Wordsworth Museum Dove Cottage was William Wordsworth’s first family home and little has changed since the 18th century. Explore the cottage and its many original features and get a feeling of what it was like to be around when the great man was producing his famous works. The adjacent Wordsworth Museum explores the writer’s turbulent yet fascinating life – his tragic childhood and travels through the French revolution – that influenced his writing. You can also see original samples of his work and special ever-changing exhibitions.
In the afternoon enjoy a cruise on Lake Windermere  A 45 minute circular cruise from Bowness, enjoy contrasting scenery of mountains, wooded shorelines and lovely tranquil bays.(Assuming good weather. If rainy, we will come up with a more appropriate activity.)
Time permitting we will explore Bowness-on-Windermere ,a sprawling tourist town on the shore of Windermere, about halfway along the 12 mile length of the lake between Waterhead at the North end, and Lakeside at the South end. It developed after the opening of the railway line from Oxenholme and Kendal to Windermere in 1847. The Victorian influence can be seen everywhere – in the late 19th century, wealthy businessmen from Lancashire built large residences overlooking the lake, and many of these have now been converted to hotels. People come to enjoy the lake for sailing and watersports, or just to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the area and the town’s delightful setting. Return to Kendal with overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at the Castle Green Hotel, Kendal.

Wednesday, July 5, Bowness to Betws-y-Coed via Chester

On our way to Betws-y-Coed, (Pronounced Betsy Coed)  we will stop in Chester for a walking tour of the city. Chester is a historic city that has played a big part in English and Welsh history since it’s foundation as a Roman fort in AD79. Modern day Chester still shows off a fascinating past through the impressive architecture of the city centre. On your orientation tour you will see the Roman amphitheatre, Saxon cathedral, Norman castle, Medieval town centre and Victorian town hall of one of the best preserved walled cities in Britain. The historic city of Chester was founded by the Romans in AD79, and still shows many signs of its long
Visit Chester Cathedral Chester Cathedral is a truly remarkable building, with a history spanning almost two thousand years. According to legend, a prehistoric Druid temple existed on this site, which was succeeded by a Roman temple dedicated to Apollo; when Christianity became the state religion of Rome in the fourth century AD, the pagan temple may have become a Christian church. Enjoy free time to explore the city.
Continue on to Betws-y-Coed, overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at Royal Oak Hotel in Bewts-Y-Coed +44 1690 710219.

Thursday, July 6, Betws-y-Coed

After breakfast depart for a day trip to the Snowdonia National Park
Lakes, castles, waterfalls, and steam railways create a surreal experience right out of Lord of the Rings. Local signs are often both English and Welsh and many aspects of traditional Welsh life, including food, clothing, and crafts, are still to be found. The region is very popular for hiking, mountaineering, white-water kayaking, and other outdoor pursuits. It features Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.
First, we will take the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon Since 1896 over 12 million people have taken the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon, Wales’ largest mountain. This ‘rooftop of Wales’ stands at 3,560ft and is surrounded by legend. Some believe that the mountain is the burial place of the giant ogre Rhita who was defeated by King Arthur and that his knights still sleep beneath the mountain today. At the summit is a visitor centre and café. Then we will visit the National Slate Museum The National Slate Museum is sited in the Victorian workshops built in the shadow of Elidir mountain, site of the vast Dinorwig quarry. Here you can travel into the past of an industry and a way of life that has chiselled itself into the very being of this country. The Workshops and Buildings are designed as though quarrymen and engineers have just put down their tools and left the courtyard for home, while an array of Talks and Demonstrations including slate-splitting give you a real insight into quarry life.
Finally, we will visit Electric Mountain Located close to the picturesque and protected Snowdonia National Park, the natural topography of the area provides and ideal location for pumped storage production. It is remarkable that despite the enormous scale of the construction project, there is very little visual evidence that a unique engineering achievement exists within the locality. Electric Mountain above the lake is hollow, hiding the largest pumped-storage hydro-electric power station in Europe. Take an underground tour of an awesome space that generates green, clean power. Return for overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at The Royal Oak Hotel in Betws-y-Coed.

Friday, July 7, Llandudno Great Orme Cable Car & Conwy Castle 

Today travel to Llandudno and enjoy a ride on the Llandudno Great Orme Cable Car. Then we visit Conwy Castle. Conwy castle is a gritty, dark stoned fortress which has the rare ability to evoke an authentic medieval atmosphere. The first time that visitors catch sight of the castle, commanding a rock above the Conwy Estuary and demanding as much attention as the dramatic Snowdonia skyline behind it, they know they are in the presence of a historic site which still casts a powerful spell. Conwy, constructed by the English monarch Edward I between 1283 and 1289 as one of the key fortresses in his ‘iron ring’ of castles to contain the Welsh, was built to prompt such a humbling reaction. Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at The Royal Oak Hotel in Betws-y-Coed.

Saturday, July 8, Bodnant Gardens & Penrhyn Castle

Today visit Bodnant Garden. Bodnant Garden is one of the most spectacular and admired gardens in Britain. It was created by successive generations of the McLaren family, but was primarily the creation of the 2nd Lord Aberconway (Henry McLaren) who gave it to the National Trust in 1949.
Then visit Penrhyn Castle. This enormous 19th-century neo-Norman castle sits between Snowdonia and the Menai Strait. It’s crammed with fascinating items, such as a one-ton slate bed made for Queen Victoria, elaborate carvings, plasterwork and mock-Norman furniture. A collection of Old Masters paintings is part of the castle’s treasures. The house even includes a slate bed. An Industrial Railway Museum and doll museum are located in the old stables.. The 24.3 hectares (60 acres) of grounds include parkland, an exotic tree and shrub collection as well as a Victorian walled garden. Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at The Royal Oak Hotel in Betws-y-Coed

Sunday, July 9, Betws-y-Coed to Dublin

After breakfast, 9:00 am coach transfer to Holyhead in time for the 11:50 ferry, At this point we say goodbye to our UK driver and guide. Upon arrival in Dublin Port at 13:39, coach transfer to The Morgan Hotel. Tonight we will enjoy a welcome dinner at Taylor’s Three Rock (or similar) Taylors Irish Night is a rip roaring night of traditional Irish song and dance, accompanied by a great selection of quality Irish food to delight the palate. The resident band and professional Irish dancers provide breath-taking performances for their audience and never fail to entertain. The night will begin with a delicious traditional four course Irish dinner, including an Irish coffee, followed by the traditional Irish band accompanied by a cast of professional Irish dancers. Entertained by the likes of The Mighty Ghosts of Erin, Coscan or Doc Savage, guests are truly in for a good night. Bed and breakfast in The Morgan Hotel, Dublin.

Monday, July 10, Farewell or stay on either for two more nights in Dublin or for the entire Ireland Tour

After a final breakfast, transfer to airport for flight home or stay on for the Ireland tour. OPTION: Spend two more nights in Dublin, price TBA.

Dublin Extension, Monday, July 10

I have sent out vouchers with specific directions on how to use it to get into the city. Day free to explore the city with your Hop On, Hop Off Bus Pass. (Be sure and print the voucher to give to the driver that I sent you earlier.) You can get on and off at any of the 33 stops dotted at the most popular sites around the city.  Hop on-hop off. Easy and relaxing. And if you have time and stamina, visit the National Museum of Ireland The National Museum houses artefacts which date from 7,000 BC to the 20th century. The Kildare Street site is home to artefacts from Viking times displayed alongside Celtic masterpieces and it houses one of the largest collections of Bronze Age gold in the world. The centrepiece of the collection is the Ardagh Chalice, which dates back to 800 AD. The museum also includes an exhibition dealing with Ireland’s struggle for independence from 1916-1922. The Museum has many excellent displays. Of particular note are the Brighter Hoard, Tara Brooch, Ardagh Chalice and the Derrynaflan Hoard. The museum has a pleasant cafe and bookstore. Our hotel is located in The Temple Bar area, one of Dublin’s liveliest spots. Enjoy your stroll around the area. Early dinner (6:00) at nearby Luigi Malones, bed & breakfast at the Morgan Hotel in Dublin.

Dublin Extension, Tuesday, July 11

After breakfast at the hotel, we will depart at 8:45 to walk to Trinity College & Book of Kells. (Entrance included.) Thomas Burgh built the Old Library building in the 18th century. Today it houses one of Ireland’s most illustrious books, the 9th century “Book of Kells”. Before viewing the famous book visitors pass through an excellent exhibition based on the Book of Kells and other important books written in monasteries around Ireland from the 9th century. After viewing the Book of Kells visitors are invited to visit the Long Room built in 1745. Once the principal library of the University, it now contains over two hundred thousand books and manuscripts of the Trinity’s oldest volumes. Brian Boru’s harp said to be the “ oldest harp in Ireland” and a copy of the 1916 proclamation, one of the most important documents relating to Irish history are also on display in the Long Room. Trinity was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1st on grounds confiscated from an Augustinian priory and is the oldest University in Ireland. The Campanile, erected in 1852, was built on what is believed to be the centre of the monastery. Built to further the education of the ruling Anglo-Irish families, restrictions were imposed to prevent Catholic from attending courses. These restrictions were not fully lifted until the 1970’s. Trinity however admitted women in 1902, earlier than most British universities.  Most of the main buildings off the main square were built during the Georgian period, some of which replaced older buildings.  Within its walls, you will be able to admire Parliament Square and its 18th Century edifices. Trinity College has had many famous students such as Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett who later became a lecturer in French at the university.  The Inter-denominational Church is very much worth a visit, should it be open during your visit.

Continue using your Hop On, Hop Off pass for the rest of the day. Consider visiting the National Gallery of Ireland. Opened in 1864 the National Gallery of Ireland houses some fine pieces, from artists such as Jack B Yeats, Rembrandt, El Greco, Goya and Picasso. More than 600 works are on display in the gallery and, although there is much emphasis on Irish landscape and portraits, every major school of European painting is well represented.  A Caravaggio ~ the Taking of Christ, was rediscovered in a Dublin Jesuit study in 1990 and it now proudly hangs in the Italian room of the Gallery. The gallery has 4 wings. The Dargan wing houses the imposing Shaw room lined with full-length portraits and illuminated by a series of spectacular Waterford crystal chandeliers. The Central Milltown Rooms were added in 1899 and house the Russborough House collection, while the North wing was added in 1964 and it houses British and European artists.  The Millennium wing was added in 2000 to accommodate a visiting Impressionist exhibition.
7:00 dinner at Quay’s Restaurant, bed & breakfast at the Morgan Hotel in Dublin

Dublin Extension, Wednesday, July 12

After a final breakfast, transfer to airport for flight home.


Name Arrival Return
Laurence Barker 25 June, UA 161, 7:30A (EWR)  Ireland
Dale Fleishman & Ron Jenkins 26 June, UA 161, 7:30A (EWR) 12 July, AC1929, 10:45 (TOR) 
Greg & Judy Parks 26 June, AA 768, 7:05A (PHL) 10 July, BA831, 7:20  
Robert & Luisa Price 26 June, AA 768, 7:05A (PHL)  Ireland
Gail Jarratt & Sharon Budd 26 June, FI 430, 10:40A (SB) 26 June, Train (GJ)  Ireland
Gretchen Quinn & Kelly Clark 26 June, AA 768, 7:05A (PHL) 12 July, AA723, 11:20 (PHL)
Jim Ernest & Sue Edwards 26 June, BA 1476, 11:30 (LHR) Independent travel
Roy & Diane Ellis 26 June, BA 1482, 13:25 (LHR) 12 July, BA 833, 8:35 (LHR)
Sara & Charlie Lewis 26 June,  BA 1482, 13:25(LHR) 12 July, BA 5958, 9:45 (LHR)
Carrol Smith & Mary Ann Griffin 26 June, BA 1482, 13:25 (LHR) 12 July, BA 5958, 9:45 (LHR) (MAG) Ireland (CAS)
Becky Smith & Rebecca Marti 25 June, KLM1477, 16:05 (AMS) (RM)
26 June, UA 161, 7:30A (EWR) (BS)
12 July, DL177, 10:45  (RM)
12 July UA 127, 12:25 (BS)
Pam Bainbridge & Jeanne McCann 26 June, DL 466, 11:15 (JFK) 12 July, 9609, 5:55A (AMS)
Julie Johnson & Sally Bovett 26 June, DL 466, 11:15 (JFK) 12 July, 9609, 5:55A (AMS)
Antoinette Acone & Paddy Irwin 26 June, UA 161, 7:25, (EWR) (AA) BA 1482, 13:25(LHR) (PI) 12 July, BA 5958, 9:45 (LHR) Ireland