Three of the British Isles' most scenic countries combine on a holiday that showcases the best of these Celtic beauties. Beginning in Scotland, explore the majestic Highlands before travelling to both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, nations boasting incredible cultures and histories.
We begin our Celtic adventure in Edinburgh. This evening, we enjoy dinner at our hotel. On Day 2, we take the train from Edinburgh to Inverness. On arrival, we visit the Glen Ord Distillery for a tour and whisky tasting. Day 3 includes a journey up to Kyle of Lochalsh on the Kyle Line, where we visit Eilean Donan Castle. After exploring, we return to our hotel via scenic Loch Ness.
After breakfast, we transfer by coach to Mallaig, stopping off en-route at the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre. There is some free time in Mallaig before we board the Jacobite Steam Train and travel to Fort William. On Day 5, we rejoin the West Highland Line, journeying from Fort William to Glasgow.
We travel to Cairnryan to join the ferry* over to Belfast, where we immediately embark on a guided coach tour of the city. After the tour, we check into our hotel. Our excursion on Day 7 is to the Giant's Causeway, stopping off at Carrickfergus Castle for some free time en-route. We also enjoy lunch in Ballycastle. Our time at the Giant's Causeway is at leisure to explore before we return to our hotel.
* Please note: your luggage will travel on the ferry with you, rather than via our luggage service.
Today we visit Hillsborough Castle, where the Queen resides while visiting Northern Ireland. After time to look around, we coach to Dublin where we board the train to Cork. On Day 9, we explore Ireland's most famous castle, Blarney Castle. First built in 1446, the most famous attraction here is the Blarney Stone. Also known as the Stone of Eloquence, kissing the stone is said to give a person the 'gift of the gab'. This evening, we're treated to a holiday highlight as we're whisked off to watch a Celtic Steps show, enjoying an evening of traditional Irish dance and music.
We take a full-day coach trip around the stunning Ring of Kerry today, enjoying views of some of the most dramatic mountain and coastal scenery in the whole of Europe. We visit the Kerry Bog Village Museum to learn more about Ireland's rural heritage, before a ride on the Jaunting Cars. The Jaunting Cars have been a traditional mode of transport here since the early 19th century, and a trip on them is like stepping back in time.
On Day 11 we transfer to Tarbet, crossing to Killimer by ferry. Here, we visit the striking Cliffs of Moher, a beautiful stretch of cliffs which tower over the crashing waves below, and are home to some fascinating, rare seabirds. We then travel to the Burren Centre to learn more about the local history of the area.
After a relaxed morning on Day 12, we travel by rail to Dublin, where there's some free time to discover the city. This evening, we enjoy dinner at the famous Merry Ploughboys Pub. On Day 13, we take the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, where our tour ends.
*Please note: your luggage will travel on the ferry with you, rather than via our luggage service.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
Many of our journeys in Ireland are on board Irish Railways' new Intercity trains. These smart, modern trains are comfortable and air conditioned. Other journeys are on board Irish Railways' regional services. The Intercity trains include on board Wi-Fi and power points, and on these trains we travel through the stunning Irish scenery. Irish railways operate on a very unique track gauge of 5 foot 3 inches - the only other place in the world where this particular gauge can be found is in Australia.
Experience the wonder of steam, on undisputedly one of the great railway journeys of the world - The Jacobite Steam Train. Commencing it's journey in view of the imposing Ben Nevis, The Jacobite Steam Train journeys through stunning scenery between Fort William and Mallaig; taking in beautiful villages, Lochs Morar & Nevis and crossing the majestic Glenfinnan Viaduct, of Harry Potter fame.
The Kyle Line takes us on one of the most scenic rail journeys in the British Isles, travelling between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh.
On leaving Inverness, the line hugs the shores of the Beauly Firth before heading north to Dingwall. From here, the line immediately turns inland and climbs over the Highlands. As a result of a dispute with the landowners of the time, the builders of the railway were forced to make a sharp detour around Strathpeffer. After a steep climb to Black Rock the line descends through beautiful wooded hillsides until it reaches Garve on the shore of Loch Garve. On a still clear day this loch perfectly mirrors the surrounding hills and trees. From Garve station the line climbs up to the broad straths leading to the West Coast before climbing to the summit of the line at Luib.
The line then descends to the magnificent scenery of Loch Carron, where it twists and turns in and out of the loch side inlets. Plockton station and village, with yachts anchored in the shelter of its beautiful bay, is the next passing point, and was the location for the BBC Television series 'Hamish Macbeth'.
The final section of the journey is perhaps the most dramatic (and the most expensive), as it was carved through the solid rock that leads to Kyle Pier. Kyle of Lochalsh ("strait of the foaming lake") sits at the entrance to Loch Alsh, opposite Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye. The two villages were formerly connected by a ferry service, but this was replaced by the Skye Bridge in 1995.
Please note: some of our tours travel on this route in reverse from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness or travel just part of this route. See individual tour for details.
Also known as 'the Iron Road to the Isles', a journey on the West Highland Line is an epic rail adventure that takes passengers through some of the world's most beautiful and dramatic landscapes. In fact the line has twice been voted the world's best rail journey by readers of Wanderlust magazine.
Running from Glasgow's Queen Street station, the train runs through the city's outskirts and on to Helensburgh. From here the train begins its ascent into the famous Highlands.
Soon the train skirts the beautiful Loch Long, followed by the immense Loch Lomond, as it makes its way up the ever-increasing gradients. The journey continues alongside the Loch - Britain's largest body of inland water - whilst winding through pretty wooden slopes.
Continuing northward through charming isolated villages, the train then climbs more than 500 feet (150 m) in just five miles, before arriving at the tiny hamlet Crianlarich. Here the West Highland Line splits into two branches. One continues to Fort William and Mallaig, the other heads west to Oban.
Located close to the city centre and a railway station, is our hotel, the 4-Star Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre. This excellent hotel is the perfect base from which to conduct our explorations, and comes with a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, and a well-equipped fitness centre. The rooms are decorated in light colours, and come with en-suite bathrooms throughout. Other amenities in the rooms include a television, a hairdryer, complimentary toiletries, a minifridge, tea & coffee-making facilities, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
The 4-Star Clayton Hotel Silver Springs is conveniently located just a short drive away from Cork city centre. Guest rooms are newly refurbished, and boast elegant décor, with wide-screen televisions and complimentary Wi-Fi. The Lobby Bar is perfect for relaxing in on an evening, with a bar menu and a selection of Irish whiskeys on offer.
Located in the very heart of Dublin city centre, The Address Connolly Hotel is the perfect base for exploring this gorgeous capital. The main Ilac shopping centre is also accessible from the hotel, perfect for a day of leisure in this city.
This 4-star hotel offers free Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions and tea & coffee making facilities for guests. You can ensure a relaxing stay with the North Star Hotel's Scandinavian saunas and fully equipped gym, free to use after a busy day seeing the sights!
The Kimpton Charlotte Square is a 4-Star hotel in Edinburgh, overlooking some of the most beautiful private garden squares. The hotel is situated at the heart of the city's New Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The rooms are furnished with tuckboxes, robes, and yoga mats to ensure maximum comfort for all guests. The hotel has a spa service (payable locally), an indoor pool, fitness centre, fixed wine hour in the evenings, and dry cleaning and laundry services (payable locally). The hotel is happy to supply guests with a mobile phone charger, lip balm, a coffee maker, straightening or curling irons, deodorant, and a host of daily use products.
The Cruachan Hotel in Fort William is a 3-Star hotel overlooking Loch Linnhe and the Morven Hills beyond. The hotel has a terrace offering panoramic views of the loch and surrounding landscapes, while each en suite room has a bedside lamp, hairdryer, Wi-Fi access, tea & coffee making facilities, a spacious desk area, and an iron and ironing board (on request). The inhouse restaurant serves diverse cuisine, and the bar offers a variety of drinks that can be enjoyed alongside the tranquil views.
Conveniently located with easy access to Galway city centre, the 4-Star Clayton Hotel is a contemporary hotel with comfortable guest rooms. All rooms come well-equipped, with a television, a desk, air-conditioning, and tea & coffee making facilities. On-site, there's a leisure centre with a swimming pool and a sauna, and the comfortable Enclosure Bar serves a selection of drinks and bar snacks on an evening.
Set in a 19th century rice mill in in the centre of Glasgow, the 4-Star Hallmark Hotel is our base whilst here. Here, there is ample opportunity to relax, with a restaurant, a bar, a lounge, a gym with state of the art exercise equipment, a swimming pool, and a spa offering a range of beauty and massage therapies (payable locally). The well-appointed rooms come with complimentary toiletries and Wi-Fi, a television, air-conditioning, and tea & coffee-making facilities.
The welcoming 3-Star Glen Mhor Hotel enjoys a picturesque location on the banks of the River Ness, close to Inverness Castle and the railway station. This comfortable, family-run hotel has a bar and bistro, whilst the rooms come equipped with a telephone, television, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Boasting a fantastic location in its own parkland beside a sprawling lake, the 4-Star Castelrosse Hotel in Killarney is the perfect base from which to explore this beautiful region. Guest rooms are elegantly decorated, with complimentary toiletries, tea & coffee making facilities, and a desk. On-site, guests can enjoy a visit to Mulligans Bar and Lakeview, where there are fantastic views across the Lower Lake and an excellent drinks menu featuring Irish whiskies, a range of spirits, and international and local beers.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
To arrange for a second suitcase to travel door to door, just let us know when you book. Prices start from £65 per bag (size and weight allowances may vary depending on airline polices), Please call for more details.
We can book UK rail tickets from your local station to and from the starting/finishing destination of your tour, such as York, London, Edinburgh, and Harrogate. Please call one of our Tour Advisors to discuss your requirements.