Highlights
  • Discover enchanting gardens including the subtropical Tresco Abbey Gardens.
  • Explore archaeological sites like the Callanish Standing Stones and medieval blackhouse villages.
  • Residents of Ireland’s Tory Island introduce you to their language, music and stories.

This trip has been discontinued. Instead see

Ireland & Great Britain 2017

Great Britain & Ireland

Heart of Ireland in 8 Days Tour



 

 

Discover the remote and remarkable outlying islands of England, Scotland and Ireland on this expedition voyage. Experience the tranquility of uninhabited islands, the mystery of prehistoric ceremonial sites and the timeless traditions of small island towns


30
Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
87% Recommend

4.5 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 2
Value
4.5 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.5 Lodging
4.3 Transportation
4.4 Meals
4.3
Secret Isles of Great Britain and Ireland

No reviews yet for this trip. Browse other reviews below for Road Scholar .

S

Recommends

Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism. January 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Operator Road Scholar

D

Recommends

Best trip I ever took! October 2016

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Operator Road Scholar

C

Recommends

Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography August 2016

5.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Operator Road Scholar

J

Recommends

Thank you Road Scholar July 2016

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
Read more

Operator Road Scholar

R

Recommends

Thank you Road Scholar! July 2016

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Operator Road Scholar

N

Recommends

Fabulous! July 2016

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.

Operator Road Scholar

Itinerary

Day 1: Flights Depart

In Flight

Evening: Flights to London, England depart North America.

Day 2: Arrivals / London, England

Meals: Dinner

London 

Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square

Afternoon: In the afternoon meet with your group for introductions, a review of the program itinerary and site orientation.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.

Day 3: London, England

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

London  Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Depart the hotel with an expert guide for an introduction to London.

Lunch: Lunch at a local pub.

Afternoon: After lunch you will have some free time to explore London independently.

Dinner: Dinner on your own in London.

Day 4: London / Portsmouth / Embark MV Sea Explorer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and transfer by coach to Portsmouth Harbor. With a local expert, explore the historic Portsmouth Dockyard, home to the Royal Navy.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Arrive at the MV Sea Explorer. Embarkation begins at 4:00 PM.

Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.

Day 5: Guernsey and Sark, Channel Islands

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Arrive this morning on Guernsey, the 'Island of Flowers'. There will be the option of a walking tour of St Peter Port including a visit to Castle Cornet, a 12th century battlement which guards the entrance to St. Peter Port Harbour. Alternatively, enjoy a panoramic drive during which we will seet he beautiful coastline and beaches and also visit the Little Chapel, built in 1914 as a miniature version of the famous basilica at Lourdes and covered in fragments of shattered china.

Lunch: Lunch on board the ship as you sail towards Sark.

Afternoon: On the island of Sark Zodiac craft will bring you ashore for a visit to the enchanting Seigneury Gardens. Horse drawn carriages take you around this peaceful, traffic-free island which is alive with the songs of chaffinches, skylarks and mistle thrush.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 6: Tresco and St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Spend the morning on traffic free Tresco, walking its idyllic lanes from the beach to the famous sub-tropical Abbey Gardens. Defying the Atlantic weather, this miracle of a garden is the perfect spot for a morning of plant and bird spotting.

Lunch: Lunch on board the ship as you sail towards St Agnes.

Afternoon: The delightful, tiny, community of St Agnes, the most south westerly community in the UK, offers marvellous coastal walks. The small island of Gugh lies across a narrow sandbar and here you will find a single stone monolith called the 'Old Man of Gugh' which dates back to the bronze age.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 7: Garnish Island and Bantry Bay, Ireland

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: From the berth in Glengariff, spend the morning at Garnish Island and the beautiful Ilnacullin Gardens. These remarkable gardens owe their existence to the creative partnership, some seventy years ago of Anna Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. The sheltered position and the Gulf Streem is favourable to the growth of ornamental plants, many normally only found in sub-tropical or Mediterranean climates.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: In the afternoon, choose to relax on board the ship or visit the Bantry House, overlooking Bantry Bay. You will explore the house, one of the finest historic houses in Ireland, along with the gardens.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 8: Aran Islands, Ireland

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: This morning cruise by the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. Rising to 213 meters and over 5 miles long, they are home to an estimated 30,000 birds including Atlantic Puffin, razorbills and choughs.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: A little further up the coast and some 30 miles from the Galway Coast are the Aran islands. Call into the largest, Inishmore and explore some of the early Christian sites. The island was a place of monastic study from the earliest Christian times. Also see the dramatic stone fort of Dun Aengus, parts of which date back some 3000 years.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 9: Tory Island, Ireland

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: After a morning at sea arrive at Tory Island located off the Northwest coast of Ireland and home to 150 or so Gaelic speakers. Although only 14 miles offshore, it feels like many more and island life here is full of traditions. Meet some fo the local community in the village hall and enjoy some of their legendary story telling, music and dance. Tory island is also famous for migratory birds; sea birds nest here in large numbers and a puffin colony nests on the northern cliffs. Look out for guillemots, kittwakes, fulmars, storm petrals and manx shearwaters whilst the corncrake has become a main attraction on the island.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Afternoon is at leisure.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 10: St Kilda, Outer Hebrides

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Arrive at first light in St. Kilda, a remarkable uninhabited archipelago some fifty miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. The largest island, Hirta, once supported a population of over 200, but the last islanders left in the 1930s. The Medieval village has been restored by the National Trust for Scotland and offers a marvellous link with the past.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 11: Stornaway, Isle of Lewis

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: On leaving the island capital of Stornaway, head across the island to the beautiful west coast. Described as Scotland's Stonehenge, the Callanish Standing Stones date from around 3000BC. There are a total of 32 stonesin a circular and avenue design. The stones stand like a petrified forest on the flat top of a peninsula which reaches out into East Loch Roag. Visit the Dun Carloway Pictish Broch, probably built sometime in the last century BC, it would have served as an occasionally defensible residence for an extended family complete with accommodation for animals at ground floor level. It would also have served as a visible statement of power and status in the local area. Our final stop is Gearrannan Blackhouse Village - a reconstructed settlement of traditional black houses where people and animals lived in close proximity. The houses are made using dry stone masonry and have thatched roofs, distinctively weighted down with rocks. Visit the small museum, enjoy a display of typical crofting activity such as weaving and take in the views at this dramatic site on the wild Atlantic coast.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: This afternoon, sail past the Shiant Islands, a group of little islands located a few miles off the shores of Lewis. This is an excellent place to spot seals and hopefully White Tailed Eagles.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 12: Canna and Rum, Inner Hebrides

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Spend the morning on Canna which has a tiny agricultural and cattle rearing population. From a walk along the cliff top we may see Golden Eagles, White-tailed Eagles and Peregrine Falcons.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Sail during lunch to the adjoining island of Rum which is a nature reserve. Walk the nature trail, a beautiful area of wild flowers and typical Scottish island scenery.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 13: Oban, Scotland / Transfer to Edinburgh

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Edinburgh  B,L  Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Disembark the ship this morning, and spend the morning exploring the seaside resort town of Oban. Coach to the top of Battery Hill to see McCraig's Tower, overlooking Oban Bay. Next, visit Oban Distillery, to learn how traditional Scotch whiskey is produced from one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Continue to coach to Edinburgh through the Scottish highlands. The driving time from Oban to Edinburgh is approximately 3 hours, but the views will be well worth it.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Arrive in Edinburgh with a panoramic drive through this historical city, including both the Old and New Town. Later, check into your hotel. Afternoon at leisure.

Dinner: Dinner on your own in Edinburgh.

Day 14: Edinburgh, Scotland

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Depart the hotel this morning for an exploration of Edinburgh. You will start the morning at Edinburgh Castle. Perched above Edinburgh on Castle Rock, the castle dominates over the city. Continue exploring the sites along the Royal Mile ending at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Lunch: Lunch on your own to explore the local fare.

Afternoon: Enjoy some free time to independently explore Edinburgh.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.

Day 15: Departures

In Flight

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for flights returning to North America.

Dates & Pricing
Checking price

Price From

$ 7,595

Price Per Day:

$ 506 per day
 
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • 13 nights of accommodations
  • 36 meals: 13 breakfasts, 1 brunch, 10 lunches, 12 dinners
  • 1 Expert-led lectures
  • 10 Field trips
  • Learning led by expert instructors who are authorities in the field of study.
  • An experienced Group Leader attuned to the needs of Road Scholar participants.
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program that you would normally pay yourself.
  • The Road Scholar Travel Assistance Plan, which is purchased on behalf of every participant and provides 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance services coverage.
  • Taxes
  • State-of-the-art QUIETVOX listening devices
Trip Excludes
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
Meals Included:

13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches and 11 Dinners

Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group
Accomodations

Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square

2 nights  London

Sea Explorer

9 nights  Belgravia, London

The deluxe Sea Explorer is an all-suite yacht accommodating up to 114 guests. Built in 1992 and refurbished and redecorated in 2005, it has 57 suites. This small ship offers several advantages that mass cruiseliners cannot match. It can dock or anchor almost anywhere and are not limited to large commercial ports. The Sea Explorer can slip into small towns and tiny fishing villages. The ship's 70 officers and crew ensure personalized service.             

Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)

2 nights Edinburgh

Located in the stylish West End of Edinburgh’s city center, the Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor hotel combines a historical 1860s listed building with a chic and modern interior. Housed over two buildings – the main building and the Townhouse annex - the hotel boasts modern decor, yet retains stunning traditional features such as beautiful coving, ceilings and ornate staircases. Situated only 200 meters from Haymarket train station and a short walk from popular attractions including Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street and the Royal Mile, this unique Edinburgh hotel is the perfect base to explore Scotland’s capital.

Start City
London
End City
Edinburgh

Trip ID#: SecGreRoa

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