In Scotland, explore Edinburgh's hilltop castle, tour coastal St. Andrews and venture to the Highlands; in Ireland, discover Dublin, Blarney Castle, Killarney National Park and the majestic Cliffs of Moher.
Day 1. Arrive Edinburgh, Sctoland
Arrive in bustling Edinburgh and transfer to your hotel. Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner.
Day 2. Castle & Crown Jewels
Tour Edinburgh Castle to view the magnificent Scottish Crown Jewels. Drive the Royal Mile, past St. Giles’ High Kirk, to Holyrood Palace, Queen Elizabeth’s official residence in Scotland (subject to closure for official events).
Day 3. Birthplace of Golf
Drive to St. Andrews, where you walk the legendary Old Course. Later, travel to Pitlochry for lunch at Hettie’s Tearoom and time for shopping. Tonight, enjoy a festive dinner set to authentic Scottish dancing and bagpipe music.
Days 4–5. Heart of the Highlands
Travel to the rugged North Sea coast of the Highlands. Explore the richly adorned Dunrobin Castle and witness falconry in its gardens. Visit the Dalmore whisky distillery, tasting the spirit and meeting with its makers. The next morning, travel to Culloden Moor, where the Jacobite army was defeated in 1746. Cruise the enigmatic waters of Loch Ness, stopping to explore Urquhart Castle and returning along its pretty southern shore. View the cascading Falls of Foyers before returning for dinner at a local restaurant.
Days 6–7. Northern Ireland, The 'Titanic' & Giant's Causeway
This morning, fly to Belfast for a close look at the history of this rapidly changing city. Take a self-guided tour at the interactive Titanic Museum, which features artifact-laden galleries and an ocean exploration exhibit. Next, explore Belfast with a local expert who shares insight into the turbulent history of Northern Ireland. Later, quench your thirst at a historic local brewery, where you enjoy a tour and dinner. The next day, visit the Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and partake in an Irish breadmaking demonstration before lunch. Return to Belfast along the Antrim Coast road, one of Europe's most scenic drives.
Day 8. The Living Past
Depart Belfast for Armagh and see the Two Cathedrals, seats of both Protestantism and Catholicism in Northern Ireland. Then, experience the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, a fascinating tribute to the strength of the bonds between Ireland and America through the centuries. Tonight, check in to your castle hotel in the Republic of Ireland.
Day 9. Wild Connemara
Drive this morning to the charming town of Ballina and see the Dolmen of the Four Maols, a stone tomb that dates back to the Celtic period. Continue through the beautiful landscapes of the Connemara countryside to Westport. Over lunch in a cozy pub, enjoy a true Irish cèilidh (musical gathering) in this home of traditional music.
Day 10. The Famine Years
Visit 18th-century Strokestown Park House for a private tour. While there, explore the Irish National Famine Museum for insight into this sad chapter of the nation's history. Visit Ireland's oldest distillery, Kilbeggan, for a tour and tasting before continuing to your hotel in Dublin.
Day 11. St. Patrick's Cathedral
Explore Dublin this morning, visiting Trinity College to view the eighth-century Book of Kells, one of the most famous illustrated manuscripts in the world. Continue to the fascinating Casino Marino, a jewel of Neoclassical architecture. Spend an afternoon exploring Dublin at leisure, and then gather for a memorable farewell dinner.
Day 12. Departure from Dublin
Transfer to the airport and board your flight.