British Explorer Small Group Tour
8 day / 7 night tour
Britain’s breathtaking beauty is waiting to be discovered on this relaxed one-way journey from London to Edinburgh. Explore the rolling countryside and quaint villages of the Cotswolds, the soaring peaks of the Snowdonia National Park and the majesty of the Isle of Skye. Visit the heritage cities of Chester, York and Edinburgh too. All of this plus the many benefits of travelling in a small group makes this tour the ideal way to experience the real Britain.
Price range: £895 - £1,260
Small Group Tour - travel in an intimate group of just 16 passengers
Chester - take a walk along the Roman walls and see the half-timbered buildings of The Rows
Conwy - discover this delightful market town and visit mighty Conwy Castle, built for King Edward I
York - enjoy a full day at leisure to experience this historic city your way
Isle of Skye - explore the majestic scenery of this famed island including the stunning Cuillin Hills and the lunar landscape of Trotternish
Movie locations - Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and Rob Roy
Guest house accommodation included - hotel upgrade option available
Our tour begins by leaving the hustle and bustle of London behind. We head westwards through the Chilterns to reach Cirencester, where there is free time here to discover the second-largest city in Roman Britain.
The Cotswolds are famed for their natural beauty and honey painted villages. We’ll tour through this picturesque region making a stop along the way so you can soak up the atmosphere. Ironbridge, as the name suggests, is home to the world’s first iron bridge. It spans the River Severn and offers wonderful views over the wooded Severn Valley.
When we arrive in Chester the rest of the day is free for you to explore on your own. Why not take a pre-dinner stroll along the Roman walls that surround the city or enjoy discovering the history of the Shropshire Union Canal. If you are lucky you might see a narrowboat ascend the Northgate Locks, the deepest in the country.
Overnight: Chester (2 nights)
After a leisurely breakfast there is free time to discover more of Chester. A “must-see” are The Rows, an arcade of half-timbered galleries that provide shopping on two levels. Some date from the 13th Century and are unique in the World.
From Chester we travel into Wales and the stark beauty of the Snowdonia National Park. We’ll travel through the Llanberis Pass, a landscape of mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls.
Conwy is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Britain. Its narrow cobbled streets and attractive harbour are just waiting to be explored. During our time here take in the views of its impressive castle built by King Edward I.
Today we start by exploring the wild and lonely Peak District National Park. The elegant spa town of Buxton was built as a rival to Bath in the 18th Century. The health-giving waters have been popular since Roman times.
The market town of Bakewell is our next stop. It’s famous as the home of the Bakewell pudding, traditionally made with flaky pastry, jam, eggs and almond paste. If you have a sweet tooth there are several shops to try, each one claiming that their recipe is the best. Only you can be the judge!
Palatial Chatsworth House is the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The interior contains priceless artworks by, amongst others, Rembrandt and Van Dyck. Outside, the magnificent landscaped grounds by Capability Brown and Joseph Paxton are full of secluded walks, greenhouses and water fountains.
Later this afternoon we’ll make our way to York, our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: York (2 nights)
Today is completely free so you can discover the historic city of York. Founded by the Romans, York grew to become a great Medieval City and has played an important part in England’s history ever since. You can head out on your own, join your driver/guide for a walking tour or do both. The choice is yours.
In olden days the population of York was protected by its massive walls that encircle the city centre. Why not get a different perspective on this fascinating city by taking a stroll along the ramparts. Likewise, the River Ouse flows through centre of the city and the popular boat cruises provide a more leisurely sightseeing opportunity.
Gothic York Minster is the largest medieval cathedral in Northern Europe and is an awe-inspiring place to visit. Later explore The Shambles, an ancient cobbled street where the 14th Century timber houses lean so much they almost touch each other.
After a busy day of sightseeing why not make a stop at the institution that is Bettys for afternoon tea. This English tradition features delicious cakes and pastries all washed down with a pot of fine-blend tea.
Please note you will leave this portion of your tour on arrival in York. You will join a new group of travelling companions and meet your new driver-guide tomorrow (day five).
After breakfast we bid farewell to York and make the journey through the rugged Pennine scenery to reach the attractive market town of Richmond, whose Norman Castle towers dramatically over the River Swale. There is time to visit the castle or browse the stalls in the market square.
We make our way through Northumbria to reach the border town of Alnwick. There is free time here to visit 11th Century Alnwick Castle, home to the Percy Family and the star of many a movie including the Harry Potter series. Alternatively spend time exploring the eclectic range of shops and buildings in the town centre.
Enjoy amazing coastal views as we make our way across the border into Scotland and head for Edinburgh, our home for tonight.
Please note you will leave this portion of your tour on arrival in Edinburgh. You will join a new group of travelling companions and meet your new driver-guide tomorrow (day six).
Leaving Edinburgh behind we head westwards to Loch Lomond, where the Lowlands end and the Highlands begin. We will travel the entire length of the “bonnie, bonnie banks” and as we do you can spot some of the 38 islands that are scattered across the loch.
Our journey across desolate Rannoch Moor provides a dramatic entry into Glen Coe, known as the “Glen of Weeping” after the infamous massacre of the MacDonald Clan in 1692. You’ll hear the tragic tale when we make a stop to savour the beauty of this incredible valley.
Make our way to Fort William then onwards through the Great Glen to reach iconic Eilean Donan Castle. This fairy-tale castle stands on its little island and we’ll make a stop here so you can explore the castle for yourself and enjoy the views from the ramparts.
Later we make our way across the Skye Bridge to reach the “Magical Isle”, our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: Isle of Skye (2 nights)
Today we spend a whole day exploring the beauty and history of the Isle of Skye. Enjoy wonderful views of the stunning Cuillin Mountains that dominate the landscape of the island. Later we’ll explore the Trotternish Peninsula where we’ll see a dramatic landscape of unusual rock formations including the Old Man of Storr and The Quirang. We’ll stop to capture the view of Kilt Rock, whose basaltic columns resemble the pleats in a Kilt.
Portree is an attractive fishing port and the main community on the island. There’s a stop here for lunch. Why not enjoy some freshly-landed fish and chips down at the harbour?
This afternoon explore Iron Age Dun Beag Broch, a well preserved ancient fort that overlooks Loch Bracadale. Next travel to the Sleat Peninsula, known as the garden of Skye to enjoy a whisky tasting before returning to your accommodation.
After breakfast we return to the mainland and make the scenic drive to Loch Ness where you can visit Urquhart Castle and take a cruise on the loch. Will Nessie make an appearance?
Keep your camera close, just in case! On the outskirts of Inverness lies evocative Culloden Moor, where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hopes of capturing the British Crown came to a bloody end in 1746. There is time to visit the award-winning visitor centre to hear the story of the battle and its chilling aftermath.
Our tour continues southwards to Pitlochry, a popular Victorian tourist resort, then onwards to journey’s end in Edinburgh.
With an average of just 16 passengers (and never more than 20) a Small Group Tour will provide a more intimate and flexible travelling experience. These tours are carefully planned to travel off the highways so you’ll discover quaint villages and picturesque vistas that other tours just can’t access. All the small group tours that we feature are operated by purpose built luxury minicoaches that feature air-conditioning, panoramic windows, wifi, usb charging points and comfortable seating. Each group is led by an experienced driver/guide who will entertain and inform you with stories of our history, nature and folklore. Comfortable guest house accommodation with en-suite bathrooms, tv and other amenities is included in the price of all tours. You can choose to upgrade to hotel accommodation, at extra cost, if you wish. A delicious Scottish breakfast is included each morning of your stay. If you’ve got more time to spare a series of extraordinary itineraries has been created by combining one or more shorter tours. Seamless in operation these unique holidays allow you to discover even more of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. A feature of these tours is that you will travel with a different driver/guide and fellow travellers for each portion of the itinerary.
To give you complete choice admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour. The tour itinerary has been designed to provide sufficient time for you to visit these attractions:
If you click on the links above they will provide you with more information on each attraction including current admission prices. In some cases a special discount is offered to tour passengers, your driver/guide will provide details if this applies.
Please note that credit/debit cards are not always accepted so it is recommended that you carry sufficient cash with you should you want to make a visit.
We offer lodgings that have been specially selected to enhance your touring experience. The guesthouses and B&Bs are family run and offer comfortable accommodation in bedrooms that have en-suite bathrooms, tv, tea/coffee making facilities and other amenities. Bedding, towels and basic toiletries are provided. Some guesthouses and B&Bs offer enhanced facilities such as a resident’s lounge where you can relax with other guests. On many tours you have the option of up-grading to hotel accommodation. Generally they are a minimum of 3 stars with bedrooms featuring en-suite bathrooms, television, tea and coffee making facilities and other amenities. All our hotels have comfortable lounges where you can enjoy morning coffee. Most have restaurants offering a selection of Scottish and international dishes. Many have lively bars where you can relax and re-live the days experiences with your fellow passengers. Accommodation is spread throughout the communities that we stay in. Hotels are normally centrally located and the guesthouses/B&Bs seldom more than a 10/15 minute walk from the town or village centre. The coach will drop you off at or close to your accommodation each night and will pick you up in the morning, after breakfast.
The average number of travellers on a Small Group Tour is 16.
Scotland and England are part of the United Kingdom so there are no Border formalities and you’ll not need a passport.
From Caffe Nero
126 Brompton Road
London SW3 1JD
Tour ends in Edinburgh on day 8
Check-in: 08:45 hrs
Tour Departs: 09:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 19:00 hrs
Concession discount applies to adults aged 60 years and above; students and children aged 3 to 15 years inclusive.
We’re really sorry but children aged under 3 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
The price of this tour includes guest house accommodation with en-suite bathroom. You can up-grade to hotel accommodation at extra cost during the booking process.
One medium sized suitcase/bag per person (maximum weight: 15 kilos)
In order to give you maximum flexibility admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.