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The Eden Project

Falmouth, England, United Kingdom
Full Day Uphill Sections
Departing from the pier at Falmouth, your route takes you through Cornwall's city of Truro, offering a view of the three-spired cathedral, then cross the peaceful countryside of small villages, granite farmhouses and hedged fields before arriving at Eden. On arrival at the Eden Project, near St Austell, you will have approximately three hours to visit this dramatic global garden at your leisure.

Departing from the pier at Falmouth, your route takes you through Cornwall's city of Truro, offering a view of the three-spired cathedral, then cross the peaceful countryside of small villages, granite farmhouses and hedged fields before arriving at Eden. On arrival at the Eden Project, near St Austell, you will have approximately three hours to visit this dramatic global garden at your leisure.

The Eden Project opened in April 2001 and is the world's largest global garden. The effect is breathtaking: a cultural melting pot of global plants, both wild and cultivated, are housed in a glass dome large enough to fully enclose the Tower of London in its 60 meter deep crater. The Garden of Eden contains plants and trees ranging from the Amazon to West Africa to Malaysia and is the only one of its kind anywhere in the world.

As well as the outdoor landscape, there is a chance to visit the biomes – giant conservatories with cathedral-like qualities. The Humid Tropics Biome allows you to experience the sights, smells, and sheer scale of the rainforest in the world’s largest conservatory, whilst the Warm Temperate Biome showcases the world from the Mediterranean to South Africa and California, demonstrating how the plants thrive on drought and poor thin soils. Learn about the inter-relationship between men and plants throughout history and marvel at the interesting displays and retail outlets. Following a day indulging the senses re-board your motorcoach for the journey back to the pier.

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St. Michaels Mount

Falmouth, England, United Kingdom
Half Day Extensive WalkingCobbled StreetsSignificant StepsUphill Sections
Transfer from the ship to Marazion before arriving at St Michael’s Mount, a place described as the jewel in Cornwall’s crown. Separated from the mainland by a causeway covered by sea at high water, St Michael's Mount beats to a pace of life ruled by weather and tides.

Transfer from the ship to Marazion before arriving at St Michael’s Mount, a place described as the jewel in Cornwall’s crown. Separated from the mainland by a causeway covered by sea at high water, St Michael's Mount beats to a pace of life ruled by weather and tides.

Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims over the ages who have looked out over the rocky ledge on the western side of the island. It was here, according to legend, a vision of the Archangel St Michael appeared to some fishermen in the year 495. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, the invaders were struck by the similarity of the mount to their own Mont St Michel off the Normandy coastline, whose monks were invited to build a smaller abbey here in Cornwall. During Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, St Michael’s Mount was turned into a coastline defence to protect England from feared French invasion. In 1659, the Mount was purchased by Sir John St Aubyn whose descendants turned the fortress into a magnificent residence and still reside in this ancestral home today.

Enjoy a guided tour of the Castle on St Michael’s Mount followed by some free time to take photographs and soak up the scenery. There are also some wonderful shops around the harbour area – the perfect place to buy a memento of your day.

Cross back over to Marazion and spend some free time in this tranquil, beautiful coastal town. Enjoy stunning views towards the Lizard Peninsula as you marvel at its clean, sandy beaches before re-boarding your coach for the return journey back to Falmouth.

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Slapton Sands and the Forgotten Heroes of D-Day

Dartmouth, England, United Kingdom
Half Day
The idyllic town of Dartmouth in Devon, situated at the mouth of the River Dart, is not only home to the Royal Navy from its very earliest days but also the ideal stepping off point for a look at some of the less talked about aspects of the D-Day landings.

The idyllic town of Dartmouth in Devon, situated at the mouth of the River Dart, is not only home to the Royal Navy from its very earliest days but also the ideal stepping off point for a look at some of the less talked about aspects of the D-Day landings.

Every suitable beach and slipway along this stretch of coastline was utilised to stage the D-Day landings. Based on its similarity to much of the French coastline, Slapton was selected for a vast rehearsal prior to the actual landings.

Join your local guide today for a visit to Slapton Sands, site of one of the most unfortunate episodes to take place in the build up to the D-Day operations. Hear a D-Day expert explain the significance of this remote stretch of beach and visit the Memorial given by the United States to the local inhabitants in gratitude for them evacuating their homes to make way for war wounded. Continue to Torcross to see one of the Sherman tanks brought up from the beach. Afterwards, return to Dartmouth for a walking tour of this fascinating town and free time to enjoy the surrounds before joining the tender back to the ship at your leisure.

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Medieval Totnes and Buckfast Abbey

Dartmouth, England, United Kingdom
Half Day
Visit a Medieval town that remains to this day a thriving market town, and travel to a fascinating nearby Abbey, lovingly rebuilt in recent times. On the edge of the moor lies Buckfast Abbey, a thriving community of Benedictine monks. The original 11th century Buckfast Abbey fell into ruin after the dissolution of the monasteries.

Visit a Medieval town that remains to this day a thriving market town, and travel to a fascinating nearby Abbey, lovingly rebuilt in recent times. On the edge of the moor lies Buckfast Abbey, a thriving community of Benedictine monks. The original 11th century Buckfast Abbey fell into ruin after the dissolution of the monasteries. In 1882, four monks returned, and in 1906 they began the monumental task of rebuilding the church themselves. It took them 31 years – a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that only one of them had previous building experience. Now only the absence of the patina of age distinguishes this splendid church – a mix of early English and Norman styles – from the original fabric

A presentation and exhibition explains the monks' achievement and their present-day work. Famed for its stained glass, fine examples of the monk’s own work adorn the Abbey. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the abbey, the gardens and the produce shop, which sells everything from bees wax to the much enjoyed monastic beverage, meade.

Afterwards, head to the thriving medieval town of Totnes. Choose to explore with your guide and ascend the steep hill to the wellpreserved castle, or enjoy some time to shop in the eclectic selection of quaint ancient stores in the town’s narrow streets.

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Panoramic London

London (Tilbury), England, United Kingdom
Half Day
From the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square, at the heart of London’s theatre district and the city’s quiet parks with their trees and lakes, to the grandeur of Buckingham Palace and the living history of Westminster Abbey, London’s fascination is its variety.

From the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square, at the heart of London’s theatre district and the city’s quiet parks with their trees and lakes, to the grandeur of Buckingham Palace and the living history of Westminster Abbey, London’s fascination is its variety.

Old and new stand side by side. History, pageantry and tradition mix with the modern, eccentric and avant-garde, offering something for everyone. This leisurely tour is a great way for you to obtain an overall impression of one of the most lively and interesting cities in the world. Our tour itinerary takes us on a circular itinerary around the capital where we view the highlights from the comfort of the coach.

We see Westminster, Whitehall and St James’s section of London, crossing Westminster Bridge, and passing by the neo-Gothic Parliament buildings presiding over the banks of the River Thames and its adjacent 320-foot clock tower of Big Ben. From Parliament Square, we look across to St Margaret’s Church, scene of society weddings.

Standing adjacent is the architectural and masterpiece of the 13th to 16th centuries – Westminster Abbey. Your guide will point out the main external features of the building and you will be able to take photographs of the outside.

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UNESCO World Heritage Site

Greenwich

London (Tilbury), England, United Kingdom
Half Day
This leisurely guided tour begins with a stroll through Greenwich Royal Park to the world-famous Observatory, spiritual birthplace of GMT and traditional home to the Prime Meridian of global longitude. This hugely important line is represented on the ground by a brass strip and is one of London’s most popular attractions, where standing astride it one can truly be said to be in both eastern and western hemispheres at the same time

This leisurely guided tour begins with a stroll through Greenwich Royal Park to the world-famous Observatory, spiritual birthplace of GMT and traditional home to the Prime Meridian of global longitude. This hugely important line is represented on the ground by a brass strip and is one of London’s most popular attractions, where standing astride it one can truly be said to be in both eastern and western hemispheres at the same time.

A walk past the National Maritime Museum then leads us to The Queen’s House, commissioned in 1616 by the wife of James I, Anne of Denmark. Designed by Inigo Jones, this masterpiece is the first Palladian building to be built in Britain and became the inspiration for many other classical houses and villas over the subsequent two centuries. Originally used as a private retreat and “House of Delights”, it is now an active venue for the appreciation and exploration of art, including a collection of paintings owned by the National Maritime Museum.

The finally destination is the Old Royal Naval College, considered to be the “finest and most dramatically-sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles”. Founded in 1694 as the Royal Hospital for Seamen, the Old Royal Naval College is a superb example of Baroque landscape, designed by some of the greatest architects of their day, including Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this enormously popular attraction is now managed by the Greenwich Foundation.

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A Visit to Greenwich

London, England, United Kingdom
This leisurely guided tour begins with a stroll through Greenwich Royal Park to the world-famous Observatory, spiritual birthplace of GMT and traditional home to the Prime Meridian of global longitude. This hugely important line is represented on the ground by a brass strip and is one of London’s most popular attractions, where standing astride it one can truly be said to be in both eastern and western hemispheres at the same time.

This leisurely guided tour begins with a stroll through Greenwich Royal Park to the world-famous Observatory, spiritual birthplace of GMT and traditional home to the Prime Meridian of global longitude. This hugely important line is represented on the ground by a brass strip and is one of London’s most popular attractions, where standing astride it one can truly be said to be in both eastern and western hemispheres at the same time.

A walk past the National Maritime Museum then leads us to The Queen’s House, commissioned in 1616 by the wife of James I, Anne of Denmark. Designed by Inigo Jones, this masterpiece is the first Palladian building to be built in Britain and became the inspiration for many other classical houses and villas over the subsequent two centuries. Originally used as a private retreat and “House of Delights”, it is now an active venue for the appreciation and exploration of art, including a collection of paintings owned by the National Maritime Museum.

The finally destination is the Old Royal Naval College, considered to be the “finest and most dramatically-sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles”. Founded in 1694 as the Royal Hospital for Seamen, the Old Royal Naval College is a superb example of Baroque landscape, designed by some of the greatest architects of their day, including Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this enormously popular attraction is now managed by the Greenwich Foundation.

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Stirling Castle

Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day Significant Steps
Dramatically perched atop a 250-foot extinct volcano, Stirling Castle dates from the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was the principal residence for Scotland's monarchs. The castle's turbulent history is populated with a host of celebrated figures in Scotland's history, such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots.

Dramatically perched atop a 250-foot extinct volcano, Stirling Castle dates from the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was the principal residence for Scotland's monarchs. The castle's turbulent history is populated with a host of celebrated figures in Scotland's history, such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots. A great symbol of Scottish independence, this royal residence and fortress affords magnificent views from its rocky cliff. A self-guided tour takes you into the vast Great Hall, which dates to the Middle Ages and has been restored to its former glory. See the central turreted gatehouse, the great Parliament Hall, and the Royal Chapel, one of the earliest Renaissance buildings in Scotland. Photo opportunities abound as you immerse yourself in Scotland’s history; there are excellent views of the town of Stirling and the site of the battle of Bannockburn. After your tour, you will then have time to browse for souvenirs in the castle's gift shop before returning to Aegean Odyssey.

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The Royal Mile

Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day Extensive Walking
Alive with culture and history, the capital of Scotland is a thriving UNESCO World Heritage Site. This walking tour of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh's oldest and most historic street, will take you from the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, a route rich with medieval buildings, statues and monuments lining both sides of the street.

Alive with culture and history, the capital of Scotland is a thriving UNESCO World Heritage Site. This walking tour of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh's oldest and most historic street, will take you from the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, a route rich with medieval buildings, statues and monuments lining both sides of the street.

The city's dominant landmark is the 12th-century castle atop its rocky, extinct volcanic perch, which affords magnificent views of the city. From here we will walk to Castle Hill, which has a unique collection of ruins, before continuing down Royal Mile to see beautiful Gladstone's Land, a superb example of early 17th-century architecture featuring an outside staircase, arcaded ground floor, oak shutters, leaded glass windows and crow-stepped gables.

The charming Lady Stair's House, also constructed in the 17th century, was once a private home, but today houses a literary museum devoted to the works of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

We will then walk through the elegant district of Cannongate, with its quaint Tollbooth that is now a museum detailing life in 18th-century Edinburgh. The design on this building has a delightful series of small, delicate turrets. Finally, standing proudly at the end of Royal Mile, is the magnificent Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen while in Scotland. This ornate, baroque palace is famously known as the home of Mary Queen of Scots and within its walls many dramatic episodes of her turbulent reign unfolded.

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Castle of Mey

Scrabster, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day Significant Steps
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, first saw Barrogill Castle in 1952 while mourning the death of her husband, King George VI. Falling for its ruined isolated charm, and hearing that it was about to be abandoned, she decided to purchase it and return the castle to its original name of Mey.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, first saw Barrogill Castle in 1952 while mourning the death of her husband, King George VI. Falling for its ruined isolated charm, and hearing that it was about to be abandoned, she decided to purchase it and return the castle to its original name of Mey.

It took two years to renovate the Mey and its parkland, including the delightful garden that, thanks to the twelve-foot high ‘Great Wall of Mey’, is protected from the fierce winds and salt spray blowing in from the Pentland Firth. Indeed the Great Wall was so successful, The Queen Mother even managed to nurture her favourite rose, Albertine, here.

As part of your guided tour of the castle and gardens, you will be able to learn more about why this property was so close to The Queen Mother’s heart, and also about Prince Charles’ commitment to the future of the Castle of Mey today.

We will then make a brief stop at Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on the British mainland, which is a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reserve and home to a lighthouse built by Robert Stevenson in 1831, before returning to Scrabster.

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Bettyhill & the Highland Clearances

Scrabster, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day
Bettyhill owes its very existence to one of the darkest episodes in the history of the Highlands, when landowners ruthlessly cleared their lands of tenant farmers to make way for more lucrative sheep – a period that came to be known as the Highland Clearances. Between 1811 and 1821, a total of 15,000 people were evicted from the estates of their landowner, George Leveson-Gower, who would later become known as the reviled Duke of Sutherland.

Bettyhill owes its very existence to one of the darkest episodes in the history of the Highlands, when landowners ruthlessly cleared their lands of tenant farmers to make way for more lucrative sheep – a period that came to be known as the Highland Clearances. Between 1811 and 1821, a total of 15,000 people were evicted from the estates of their landowner, George Leveson-Gower, who would later become known as the reviled Duke of Sutherland.

Nearby Rosal was another village brutally emptied of its crofting inhabitants during the clearances. However, in an unusual move by the Duke’s wife, Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, at her behest the village of Bettyhill was subsequently built in order to house the displaced crofters.

Today, we will visit the older part of the village, before taking a tour of the Strathnaver Museum, housed inside the old parish church, to learn more about the Clearances and their devastating effect on the population of the Highlands.

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John O'Groats & Duncansby Head

Scrabster, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day
This scenic drive takes you along the northern coast of the Scottish mainland to the medieval Canisbay Kirk, a beautifully maintained, startlingly white church that for centuries has served as a landmark for shipping, thanks to its position near turbulent waters.

This scenic drive takes you along the northern coast of the Scottish mainland to the medieval Canisbay Kirk, a beautifully maintained, startlingly white church that for centuries has served as a landmark for shipping, thanks to its position near turbulent waters.

We will then visit the most north-easterly point of the Scottish mainland, Duncansby Head, where the scenery is spectacularly dramatic, with views of sea-stacks over the Pentland Firth towards Orkney.

The tour will then end with a stop at the small coastal village of John o’ Groats, the most northerly inhabited settlement on the island of Britain. This famous location is renowned as the starting point for many who embark on the famous 'End to End' journey to Land's End in England, some 876 miles away.

After a stroll around the village, there will be time for some shopping and to have a cup of tea before returning to Scrabster.

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Castle Cornet & Town Walk

Guernsey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom
Half Day Extensive WalkingUphill Sections
St Peter Port has a fascinating history. A busy port since Roman times, its deep, safe anchorage and relative remoteness from France has made the town the Channel Islands’ premier harbour. It is a picturesque town with cobbled streets and narrow alleys filled with Regency buildings.

St Peter Port has a fascinating history. A busy port since Roman times, its deep, safe anchorage and relative remoteness from France has made the town the Channel Islands’ premier harbour. It is a picturesque town with cobbled streets and narrow alleys filled with Regency buildings.

Our first destination will be Castle Cornet, originally built on an island and now reachable by a 19th-century raised walkway. The castle dates from the 13th Century and was built on the site of Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements for use as a fortification against the French following the English loss of Normandy. Since then it has been partially destroyed and rebuilt many times to guard the entrance to the harbour and offer a sea defence between the islands of Herm, Jethou and Guernsey, and towards Sark over many centuries. 

After your guide has taken you around the key highlights, you will have free time to enjoy the ‘Story of Castle Cornet’ exhibition or explore the castle and some of its four small gardens within the walls, including the apothecary’s garden, kitchen garden and ornamental gardens. The castle contains a number of other interesting museums including the Maritime Museum, the Story of Castle Cornet Museum, the 201 Squadron RAF (Guernsey's Own) Museum and the Militia Museum. You will then be able to return to Aegean Odyssey with your guide or on your own through the town.

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Scenic Island Drive

Guernsey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom
Half Day
This panoramic tour of the Island of Guernsey showcases its beautiful coastline of rocky cliffs and wild sandy bays. Before that, however, we will travel inland along some winding country lanes to visit the delightful Little Chapel, possibly the smallest church in the world, where we will make a short photo stop to admire this fascinating building, beautifully decorated with seashells, pebbles and colourful pieces of broken china.

This panoramic tour of the Island of Guernsey showcases its beautiful coastline of rocky cliffs and wild sandy bays. Before that, however, we will travel inland along some winding country lanes to visit the delightful Little Chapel, possibly the smallest church in the world, where we will make a short photo stop to admire this fascinating building, beautifully decorated with seashells, pebbles and colourful pieces of broken china. Built in 1914 by two brothers to replicate the grotto at Lourdes, the chapel is a true labour of love that took three attempts to get right.

We will then continue to the wild cliffs at Pleinmont Point, on the south coast of the island, then west towards the broad sandy bays of Rocquaine Bay, with the Martello Tower of Fort Grey, Vazon Bay and Cobo Bay other highlights, before we return to St Peter Port.

This panoramic tour of the Island of Guernsey showcases its beautiful coastline of rocky cliffs and wild sandy bays. Before that, however, we will travel inland along some winding country lanes to visit the delightful Little Chapel, possibly the smallest church in the world, where we will make a short photo stop to admire this fascinating building, beautifully decorated with seashells, pebbles and colourful pieces of broken china. Built in 1914 by two brothers to replicate the grotto at Lourdes, the chapel is a true labour of love that took three attempts to get right.

We will then continue to the wild cliffs at Pleinmont Point, on the south coast of the island, then west towards the broad sandy bays of Rocquaine Bay, with the Martello Tower of Fort Grey, Vazon Bay and Cobo Bay other highlights, before we return to St Peter Port.

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Abbey Gardens

Tresco, Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
Half Day Extensive WalkingUphill Sections
Tresco is best known for its Abbey Gardens that were laid out by the remarkable Augustus Smith, a wealthy merchant banker who purchased the islands from the Duchy of Cornwall in the mid-1830s. Work on the gardens commenced in 1834 on the site of the old Benedictine Abbey, and by building tall windbreaks, Augustus Smith (a botanist and plant collector) was able to channel the weather up and over the network of walled enclosures he built around the Priory ruins.

Tresco is best known for its Abbey Gardens that were laid out by the remarkable Augustus Smith, a wealthy merchant banker who purchased the islands from the Duchy of Cornwall in the mid-1830s. Work on the gardens commenced in 1834 on the site of the old Benedictine Abbey, and by building tall windbreaks, Augustus Smith (a botanist and plant collector) was able to channel the weather up and over the network of walled enclosures he built around the Priory ruins.

The three terraces he carved from the rocky, south facing slope looking towards St Mary's were thus able to maximize the generous climate that Tresco enjoys thanks to the prevailing effects of the Gulf Stream. The climate is mild, with sunshine hours generally greater than the UK average. The rainfall is also less, while winter frost and snow is unexpected.

Something of a perennial Kew Gardens, but without the glass, Tresco seems able to shrug off the salty spray and Atlantic gales, to host around 20,000 exotic plants, many of which would stand no chance on the Cornish mainland, less than 30 miles away. Yet even during the winter equinox more than 300 plants will be in flower here. All in all, the garden is home to species from 80 countries, ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa, which is why today it remains a major attraction of the islands.

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Anglesey's Coastline

Holyhead, Wales, United Kingdom
Half Day
In a region with a rich history of Viking, Celtic and Medieval settlers, this half-day tour will begin at the very western point of the Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Môn in Welsh) near the tiny islet known as South Stack. Separated from Holyhead by 30 metres of turbulent sea, the Stack is home to a glorious lighthouse and, during the summer months, to over 4,000 seabirds, including puffins, fulmars, guillemots and razorbills, which you may be able to spot during your time here.

In a region with a rich history of Viking, Celtic and Medieval settlers, this half-day tour will begin at the very western point of the Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Môn in Welsh) near the tiny islet known as South Stack. Separated from Holyhead by 30 metres of turbulent sea, the Stack is home to a glorious lighthouse and, during the summer months, to over 4,000 seabirds, including puffins, fulmars, guillemots and razorbills, which you may be able to spot during your time here.

The tour will then continue south along the coast, through the old capital of North Wales, Aberffraw, to the village of Newborough, before reaching the town with the longest name in the world – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – which means, 'The Church of St Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the Church of St Tysilio near a red cave'. However, the name is usually shortened by locals to Llanfairpwll, or Llanfair PG. One of Llanfairpwll's unusual claims to fame is that the British Women's Institute movement was founded here in 1915.

From Llanfairpwll, we will drive along the Menai Strait to Beaumaris, for an outside view of the Castle. This beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site is the last and largest of the castles to be built by King Edward I in Wales. After spending some time here, we will then continue along the coast road, through the most northerly village in Wales, Cemaes, set on Anglesey's wildest and most unspoiled stretch of coastline, before heading back in a southerly direction to Holyhead.

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Caenarfon Castle

Holyhead, Wales, United Kingdom
Half Day Significant Steps
Caernarfon is one of the historic centres of Wales that secured its place in tradition soon after King Edward I began building the castle and walled town here in 1283. One year later, after his son, the future King Edward II, was born within its precincts, according to legend, the infant was immediately presented to the people of Wales as their prince.

Caernarfon is one of the historic centres of Wales that secured its place in tradition soon after King Edward I began building the castle and walled town here in 1283. One year later, after his son, the future King Edward II, was born within its precincts, according to legend, the infant was immediately presented to the people of Wales as their prince.

When in 1301 Edward was formally invested as the first English Prince of Wales, he was also endowed with the rule and revenues of the Crown’s Welsh lands. From then onwards, the eldest son of the sovereign is customarily known as the ‘Prince of Wales’. On 1st July 1969, almost seven centuries later, Prince Charles was formally invested at Caernarfon by his mother Queen Elizabeth II as the twenty-first in this long line of Princes of Wales and heirs to the throne.

Your tour of Caernarfon Castle will give you a fascinating insight into one of the most impressive of all the castles built by Edward I, which is thought to have been modelled on those of Constantinople. This stronghold had to be capable, if occasion required, of accommodating the household of the king’s eldest son along with his council, his family, guests and all those who attended them. Arguably the finest castle in Britain, it has two main gatehouses, and though the Queen’s Gate was never completed, the King’s Gate has been cited as the supreme British example of the immense strength of medieval fortification.

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Inveraray Castle

Oban, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day
This scenic drive from Oban to Inveraray will take you along the shores of the narrow Loch Etive to Taynuilt, which boasts some fine views over the mighty Ben Cruachan, the highest point in Argyll and Bute.

This scenic drive from Oban to Inveraray will take you along the shores of the narrow Loch Etive to Taynuilt, which boasts some fine views over the mighty Ben Cruachan, the highest point in Argyll and Bute. Driving over the Pass of Brander you will see Loch Awe and the striking ruins of Kilchurn Castle, before you arrive at Inveraray, in the wooded Glen of the Aray, on the unspoilt shores of Loch Fyne. Just a short distance from here is the imposing castle, located in 16 acres of parkland, since it was built in the 18th century it has been home to each successive Duke of Argyll and has also been used as a location in Downton Abbey. Combining Baroque, Palladian and Gothic architecture, this beautifully-presented country house has a fine collection of family portraits and tapestries, French 18th-century furniture and an impressive armoury. The formal gardens have recently become open to visitors, so you may also take a stroll around these before we return to Oban.

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Scottish Highlands and Glencoe

Oban, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day
Departing Oban, this scenic drive will take you through the picturesque scenery of the Pass of Brander to the tip of Loch Awe, with views of Kilchurn Castle, before continuing to the village of Tyndrum, which translates as “the house on the ridge”.

Departing Oban, this scenic drive will take you through the picturesque scenery of the Pass of Brander to the tip of Loch Awe, with views of Kilchurn Castle, before continuing to the village of Tyndrum, which translates as “the house on the ridge”.

From here the route climbs to one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe, Rannoch Moor, before arriving at majestic Glencoe, scene of the infamous 1692 massacre, which occurred in the aftermath of the Jacobite uprising. These days the mountains surrounding the valley provide some of the finest climbing and walking in Scotland. Here we will visit the award-winning Glencoe Visitor Centre to learn more about the history, geology and nature of the region, before continuing onwards along Loch Linnhe for views over the islands of Lismore and Mull.

Finally, we will pass Castle Stalker, a tower house situated on its own islet that is set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains which some may recognise from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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Scenic Skye

Portree, Scotland, United Kingdom
The colourful harbour of Portree has a name meaning “Port of the King” – an epithet it was given following a visit by James V in 1540. This tour will take you from the port into some of the most delightful and spectacular Scottish island scenery to be found in the northern kingdom.

The colourful harbour of Portree has a name meaning “Port of the King” – an epithet it was given following a visit by James V in 1540. This tour will take you from the port into some of the most delightful and spectacular Scottish island scenery to be found in the northern kingdom.

A turbulent geological history has given the Isle of Skye a dramatic variety of terrain, from the rugged volcanic plateau of northern Skye to the ice-sculpted peaks of Britain’s most dramatic mountain range, the Cuillin, where the hillsides are scattered with sheep and cattle as well as the ruins of traditional crofts. The island’s most famous historical association is with Bonnie Prince Charlie who, after famously fleeing to its shores disguised as a maidservant in 1746, is said to have claimed, “even the Devil shall not follow me here!”

During your scenic tour your guide will take you further into the fascinating history of this magical island, before your return to Portree.

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Dunvegan Castle & the Cuillins

Portree, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day
One of the greatest and most renowned of the Hebridean strongholds, Dunvegan Castle, on the west coast of Skye, has been the seat of the chiefs of the Clan MacLeod since the 13th century, making it the only castle to have been continuously owned and occupied by the same family for a period spanning eight centuries.

One of the greatest and most renowned of the Hebridean strongholds, Dunvegan Castle, on the west coast of Skye, has been the seat of the chiefs of the Clan MacLeod since the 13th century, making it the only castle to have been continuously owned and occupied by the same family for a period spanning eight centuries.

On this tour, you will see some priceless heirlooms within its walls, many of which have been passed down through the hands of the MacLeod chiefs since medieval times, including such treasures as the Dunvegan Cup, the mysterious Fairy Flag and Rory Mor’s Horn. You will also have time to explore the gardens and the waterfall known as Rory Mor’s cascade, before enjoying a scenic drive back to Portree with views over the dramatic Cuillin Mountains.

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Isle of Skye and Museum of Island Life

Portree, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day
This scenic drive will take you to the northernmost area of the Isle of Skye, the Trotternish Peninsula, location of the Quiraing, or Trotternish landslip, and our first destination, the curious rocky outcrop known as the Old Man of Storr.

This scenic drive will take you to the northernmost area of the Isle of Skye, the Trotternish Peninsula, location of the Quiraing, or Trotternish landslip, and our first destination, the curious rocky outcrop known as the Old Man of Storr.

After the Old Man, we will then journey north to Kilt Rock, a dramatic 200-foot-high cliff that is marked with an almost tartan-like pattern by rock strata and features a waterfall tumbling down to the pebbled shore below. Here you will be able to absorb the scenery and take photographs, before continuing past the crofting township of Staffin overlooking sandy Staffin Bay, to the northern tip of the island.

Along the way your, guide will provide more information on the fascinating history of the island’s geography and social history – in particular, its crofting history, as well as some of the Celtic myths and legends – until we arrive at the settlement of Kilmuir, where you will visit the fascinating Skye Museum of Island Life, which consists of seven traditional thatched cottages offering a unique insight into life on the island in the 19th century. Opened in 1965, the aim of the museum was to completely preserve a township with each cottage depicting the conditions that Victorian crofters faced.

Finally, we will drive through the pretty coastal village of Uig on our way back to Portree.

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Corbridge and Chesters Roman Fort

Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Half Day
The sleepy English village of Corbridge is an unassuming hamlet with historic ties to Roman Britain, when it provided safe passage over the River Tyne, to the south of Hadrian’s Wall. Today Coria, as it was likely then known, is a place of cobblestone streets lined with quaint eateries and local shops.

The sleepy English village of Corbridge is an unassuming hamlet with historic ties to Roman Britain, when it provided safe passage over the River Tyne, to the south of Hadrian’s Wall. Today Coria, as it was likely then known, is a place of cobblestone streets lined with quaint eateries and local shops. The market square features an early 19th-century stone water fountain installed by the Second Duke of Northumberland, who took part in the American War of Independence, while the Parish Church of St Andrew is believed to have been consecrated in 676AD.

 

After enjoying a stroll around this delightful village, your tour of Northumberland’s Roman heritage continues to one of the most northerly Roman military outposts in Britain, the cavalry fort at Chesters. This remarkable archaeological site dates from 124AD, when it was added to a section of the newly built Hadrian’s Wall. Over the next three hundred years approximately five hundred cavalrymen would be garrisoned here at any one time, until the Romans withdrew from Britain in the 5th-century and the site fell into ruin.

 

With a few dramatic exceptions, only the lowest parts of the walls have survived stone-robbing or ploughing, but Chesters remains the most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain, with areas that are extraordinarily well-preserved, including the baths, steam room and officers’ quarters. Also on display in the site’s museum are a wonderful array of relics and inscriptions, all of which were found either at the fort or along Hadrian’s Wall.

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Delightful Durham - Cathedral and Castle

Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Half Day
In the 19th-century the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott was so moved by the beauty of Durham he wrote a poem about it that is now immortalised in stone upon its most picturesque bridge: “Grey towers of Durham,” he declared, “Yet well I love thy mixed and massive piles, Half church of God, half castle ‘gainst the Scot, And long to roam those venerable aisles, With records stored of deeds long since forgot.”

In the 19th-century the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott was so moved by the beauty of Durham he wrote a poem about it that is now immortalised in stone upon its most picturesque bridge: “Grey towers of Durham,” he declared, “Yet well I love thy mixed and massive piles, Half church of God, half castle ‘gainst the Scot, And long to roam those venerable aisles, With records stored of deeds long since forgot.”

Scott wasn’t the only artist to be captivated by the city. In 1830, J. M. W. Turner painted the cathedral from a perspective that placed the bridge of Prebends in the background. During the same period trees had recently been planted along the banks of the meandering River Wear, between the ruins of the outer castle wall. The result is an enchanting view that has remained relatively unchanged for nearly 200 years.

During your time in this peaceful UNESCO World Heritage city you will wander through Durham’s hilly cobblestone streets to the cathedral, where your guide will explain more about the history of this remarkable building. Afterwards there will be plenty of time to explore the riverside shops and cafes, or to enjoy a relaxing stroll across Palace Green to the castle. Since 1840 this medieval complex has been home to University College Durham, which is part of Britain’s most prestigious University after Oxbridge. Although in regular use, it remains open to the public and can be viewed on scheduled tours throughout the day.

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Bamburgh Castle and Holy Isle

Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Full Day
The northern regions of Britain are home to more castles than anywhere else in the nation, but few are as dramatic as the castle of Bamburgh, which sits atop a high bluff overlooking the Lindisfarne and Holy Islands.

The northern regions of Britain are home to more castles than anywhere else in the nation, but few are as dramatic as the castle of Bamburgh, which sits atop a high bluff overlooking the Lindisfarne and Holy Islands.

In his stories of Arthurian legend, the 15th-century writer Thomas Malory believed Bamburgh to be the location of Sir Lancelot’s mythical fortress, Joyous Gard. Between 411AD and 1066AD the site was certainly held by the Saxons, but it was the Normans who built the current stone keep in the 12th-century, around which the modern castle is based. During the Wars of the Roses Bamburgh was the first fortress in England ever to fall under cannon fire, although it survived the assault relatively unscathed. Since the 19th-century it has been inhabited by the Armstrong family, who have painstakingly restored it to its rightful place as one of the most picture-perfect castles in Britain.

After exploring Bamburgh’s many halls, your tour continues to Holy Island, which played a significant part in the development of Christianity across northern England. It was here that the Irish monk St Aiden first stepped ashore in Northumberland in 635AD and built a monastery from which to spread the word of his religion. Today the priory lies in ruin but wandering through its remains will provide a palpable sense of what life was like during the mediaeval period and reveal why Lindisfarne has remained such a world-renowned Christian sanctuary in the centuries since St Aiden’s demise. After some free time and lunch on the island, your tour will then return to Aegean Odyssey in Tyne.

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York and York Minster

Hull, England, United Kingdom
Half Day
Founded by the Romans, conquered by the Vikings, York is a place where history awaits you around every corner and there is always something surprising to discover. During this guided tour of its narrow streets, medieval ramparts and gatehouses known as bars, you will soon come to realise why the city is a ‘must see’ for anyone visiting Yorkshire.

Founded by the Romans, conquered by the Vikings, York is a place where history awaits you around every corner and there is always something surprising to discover. During this guided tour of its narrow streets, medieval ramparts and gatehouses known as bars, you will soon come to realise why the city is a ‘must see’ for anyone visiting Yorkshire.

At the centre of the old town is the Cathedral of Saint Peter, more commonly known as York Minster. The origins of this magnificent building go back to 637AD when the first of several churches was completed on the site; but it wasn’t until 1220 when work began on an ambitious new structure that would eventually become one of the biggest and most beautiful cathedrals in northern Europe.

York Minster is renowned for having the largest collection of medieval stained glass in Britain, with 128 windows constructed from some two million individual pieces. During World War I and World War II every window was removed and placed into storage to ensure their safety for generations to come.

During your guided tour of this wonderful ecclesiastic masterpiece you will be able to climb the 275 spiralling steps of the central tower, passing medieval pinnacles and gargoyles along the way, for spectacular views across the city and the Yorkshire countryside beyond. Afterwards, free time will be available to explore the shops and cafes of the quaint old town, before your return to Aegean Odyssey in Hull.

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Heartbeat Country

Hull, England, United Kingdom
Full Day
Riding on a steam train through the rolling green countryside of north Yorkshire is one of the most magical experiences you can have in England. On this tour you will board a vintage railway in the quaint market town of Pickering and be transported to the idyllic village of Goathland, which will be instantly recognisable to fans of the television series Heartbeat as “Aidensfield”, or to Harry Potter aficionados as Hogsmeade, the final stop on the Hogwarts Express.

Riding on a steam train through the rolling green countryside of north Yorkshire is one of the most magical experiences you can have in England. On this tour you will board a vintage railway in the quaint market town of Pickering and be transported to the idyllic village of Goathland, which will be instantly recognisable to fans of the television series Heartbeat as “Aidensfield”, or to Harry Potter aficionados as Hogsmeade, the final stop on the Hogwarts Express.

Disembarking here you will find the train station virtually unchanged from its Victorian heyday, although the décor is now designed to recreate the post Great War era of the 1920s. Heading into the village, you guide will take you to all the familiar Heartbeat locations, including the Aidensfield Pub, Scripps’ Garage and the shops on the green which featured in many of the show’s 372 episodes.

Boarding another vintage train, your final stop will be the seaside town of Whitby, famous the world over as the place where Count Dracula’s ship ran aground during a storm in the classic horror novel by Bram Stoker. During your time here you will have the opportunity of visiting a dedicated Heartbeat Exhibition and your guide will also reveal more popular filming locations from the series. After which, there will be plenty of time to enjoy some lunch and a little shopping, before your return to Aegean Odyssey by coach.

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Panoramic London

London, England, United Kingdom
Half Day

From the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square, at the heart of London’s theatre district and the city’s quiet parks with their trees and lakes, to the grandeur of Buckingham Palace and the living history of Westminster Abbey, London’s fascination is its variety.

Old and new stand side by side. History, pageantry and tradition mix with the modern, eccentric and avant-garde, offering something for everyone. This leisurely tour is a great way for you to obtain an overall impression of one of the most lively and interesting cities in the world. Our tour itinerary takes us on a circular itinerary around the capital where we view the highlights from the comfort of the coach.

We see Westminster, Whitehall and St James’s section of London, crossing Westminster Bridge, and passing by the neo-Gothic Parliament buildings presiding over the banks of the River Thames and its adjacent 320-foot clock tower of Big Ben. From Parliament Square, we look across to St Margaret’s Church, scene of society weddings.

Standing adjacent is the architectural and masterpiece of the 13th to 16th centuries – Westminster Abbey. Your guide will point out the main external features of the building and you will be able to take photographs of the outside.

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The Eden Project

Falmouth, England, United Kingdom
Full Day Uphill Sections
Departing from the pier at Falmouth, your route takes you through Cornwall's city of Truro, offering a view of the three-spired cathedral, then cross the peaceful countryside of small villages, granite farmhouses and hedged fields before arriving at Eden. On arrival at the Eden Project, near St Austell, you will have approximately three hours to visit this dramatic global garden at your leisure.

Departing from the pier at Falmouth, your route takes you through Cornwall's city of Truro, offering a view of the three-spired cathedral, then cross the peaceful countryside of small villages, granite farmhouses and hedged fields before arriving at Eden. On arrival at the Eden Project, near St Austell, you will have approximately three hours to visit this dramatic global garden at your leisure.

The Eden Project opened in April 2001 and is the world's largest global garden. The effect is breathtaking: a cultural melting pot of global plants, both wild and cultivated, are housed in a glass dome large enough to fully enclose the Tower of London in its 60 meter deep crater. The Garden of Eden contains plants and trees ranging from the Amazon to West Africa to Malaysia and is the only one of its kind anywhere in the world.

As well as the outdoor landscape, there is a chance to visit the biomes – giant conservatories with cathedral-like qualities. The Humid Tropics Biome allows you to experience the sights, smells, and sheer scale of the rainforest in the world’s largest conservatory, whilst the Warm Temperate Biome showcases the world from the Mediterranean to South Africa and California, demonstrating how the plants thrive on drought and poor thin soils. Learn about the inter-relationship between men and plants throughout history and marvel at the interesting displays and retail outlets. Following a day indulging the senses re-board your motorcoach for the journey back to the pier.

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Ancient Treasures

Kirkwall, Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day Archaeological Site
To the west of Kirkwall, on Orkney’s largest island, the gentle rolling landscape gives way to Mainland’s Neolithic heartland as you travel into an area with a wealth of pre-historic archaeology that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To the west of Kirkwall, on Orkney’s largest island, the gentle rolling landscape gives way to Mainland’s Neolithic heartland as you travel into an area with a wealth of pre-historic archaeology that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Passing the Standing Stones of Stenness, we will stop at the Ring of Brodgar – a huge ceremonial circle of stones dating back almost 5,000 years – before continuing to the similarly ancient village of Skara Brae, which was occupied from roughly 3180 BC to about 2500 BC.

Here you will see the remarkable dwellings that were revealed from beneath sand dunes by storms only 150 years-ago. There are eight in all, making it the most complete Neolithic village in Europe that also has a beautifully interpreted visitor centre for you to explore.

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The Royal Mile

Edinburgh (Newhaven), Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day Extensive Walking
Alive with culture and history, the capital of Scotland is a thriving UNESCO World Heritage Site. This walking tour of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh's oldest and most historic street, will take you from the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, a route rich with medieval buildings, statues and monuments lining both sides of the street.

Alive with culture and history, the capital of Scotland is a thriving UNESCO World Heritage Site. This walking tour of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh's oldest and most historic street, will take you from the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, a route rich with medieval buildings, statues and monuments lining both sides of the street.

The city's dominant landmark is the 12th-century castle atop its rocky, extinct volcanic perch, which affords magnificent views of the city. From here we will walk to Castle Hill, which has a unique collection of ruins, before continuing down Royal Mile to see beautiful Gladstone's Land, a superb example of early 17th-century architecture featuring an outside staircase, arcaded ground floor, oak shutters, leaded glass windows and crow-stepped gables.

The charming Lady Stair's House, also constructed in the 17th century, was once a private home, but today houses a literary museum devoted to the works of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

We will then walk through the elegant district of Cannongate, with its quaint Tollbooth that is now a museum detailing life in 18th-century Edinburgh. The design on this building has a delightful series of small, delicate turrets. Finally, standing proudly at the end of Royal Mile, is the magnificent Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen while in Scotland. This ornate, baroque palace is famously known as the home of Mary Queen of Scots and within its walls many dramatic episodes of her turbulent reign unfolded.

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Stirling Castle

Edinburgh (Newhaven), Scotland, United Kingdom
Half Day Significant Steps
Dramatically perched atop a 250-foot extinct volcano, Stirling Castle dates from the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was the principal residence for Scotland's monarchs. The castle's turbulent history is populated with a host of celebrated figures in Scotland's history, such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots.

Dramatically perched atop a 250-foot extinct volcano, Stirling Castle dates from the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was the principal residence for Scotland's monarchs. The castle's turbulent history is populated with a host of celebrated figures in Scotland's history, such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots. A great symbol of Scottish independence, this royal residence and fortress affords magnificent views from its rocky cliff. A self-guided tour takes you into the vast Great Hall, which dates to the Middle Ages and has been restored to its former glory. See the central turreted gatehouse, the great Parliament Hall, and the Royal Chapel, one of the earliest Renaissance buildings in Scotland. Photo opportunities abound as you immerse yourself in Scotland’s history; there are excellent views of the town of Stirling and the site of the battle of Bannockburn. After your tour, you will then have time to browse for souvenirs in the castle's gift shop before returning to Aegean Odysse

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