9 Day Highlights of Britain (2015)

Back-Roads Small Group Tour starting in London and finishing in Edinburgh

Countries Visited: England  Wales  Scotland 
2015 Back-Roads UK & Europe Summer Tours
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Operator: Back-Roads
Reviews: (5)
Style: Small Group    Email a Friend
Duration: 9 Days    Compare Tour
From: London to Edinburgh    Save to Shortlist
Tour Code: BRSLED

Tour Description

This comprehensive journey is tailored to those who want to fully experience British history and culture. In England we celebrate ‘Great British Puddings’ at the world-famous Pudding Club, shop at Chester’s Rows and explore Bronte and Wordsworth country. In north Wales we wind our way through the hidden valleys of Snowdonia National Park and in southern Scotland we visit mysterious castles and stately homes.

The Back-Roads Difference:

  • Visit a traditional 18th century Cotswold woollen mill
  • See one of England’s quietest but most interesting cathedrals in Worcester
  • Enjoy a free day in medieval York
  • Stay overnight in a restored 15th century medieval Scottish Castle
  • Explore the back roads of some of Britain’s most iconic regions including the Cotswolds, Snowdonia National Park, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

Tour Inclusions:

  • 8 nights’ accommodation
  • Driver/tour leader
  • Mini-coach transportation
  • Full English breakfast daily
  • 4 x evening meals
  • Yorkshire Ale brewery tour
  • Included Entrances: Christ Church College, Cotswold Woollen Weavers, Conwy Castle, Bronte Parsonage, Castle Howard, Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop Farm, Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage, Birdoswald Roman Fort, Abbotsford House & Rosslyn Chapel

Tour Combines With:

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London – Oxford - Cotswolds
After London, there is no better introduction to England than Oxford, the ‘city of dreaming spires’. We see the grandest of all Oxford’s colleges, Christ Church, once the home of Lewis Carroll but more recently used in the Harry Potter films, before enjoying a guided walk of the city. After lunch we drive to a traditional 18th century woollen-mill in the Cotswolds, to learn about the industry that represents the cornerstone of Cotswold heritage. We then continue through quaint villages to our delightful Cotswolds accommodation. Tonight we will have dinner together at the world famous Pudding Club. Stay: Three Ways House Hotel (or similar) (D)
Cotswolds – Worcester – Ironbridge – Chester
This morning we drive to Worcester to visit one of England’s quietest but most interesting cathedrals. We continue north to the town of Much Wenlock - the birthplace of the modern Olympics, followed by a short drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ironbridge, to see the first arch bridge in the world to be made out of cast iron. We finish our day in Chester. Stay: Crabwall Manor Hotel & Spa (or similar) (B/D)
Chester – Snowdonia National Park – Chester
Today we travel into Wales to explore Snowdonia National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty. We experience narrow mountain passes, see gushing streams, cascading waterfalls, sheep covered uplands and verdant and hidden valleys that some claim to be the resting place of the real King Arthur. Stay: Crabwall Manor Hotel & Spa (or similar) (B)
Chester – Haworth – York
This morning we explore Chester, seeing its medieval walls and Chester’s Rows, Britain’s first shopping mall. Our journey continues east across England’s backbone, the Pennine Hills, to the Bronte parsonage at Haworth. After seeing what inspired the sisters to write the likes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, we continue to York, the historic capital of northern England. Stay: Churchill Hotel (or similar) (B)
After breakfast your guide will take you through the old city pointing out its highlights including the city walls, York Minster, and the famous Shambles. This afternoon you have free time to further explore York independently. Stay: Churchill Hotel (or similar) (B)
York – Whitby - Lake District
Today we drive to the magnificent 18th century Castle Howard, Yorkshire’s finest historic house and estate, which has been home to the Howard family for over 300years. We then enjoy a scenic drive through the wonderful Yorkshire Dales National Park, stopping at a traditional Yorkshire brew house to sample award-winning ales. Our final destination is Lake Windermere, our base for the next two nights. Stay: Wild Boar Hotel (or similar) (B/D)
Lake District
Crossing Lake Windermere, our first stop is Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm. Afterwards, we wind our way through the beautiful back roads of this striking region, stopping for lunch in one of the countless picturesque villages in the area. This afternoon, we visit Dove Cottage, once home to the poet William Wordsworth and inspiration for his Daffodils poem. After a short cruise on the lake we return to our accommodation. Stay: Wild Boar Hotel (or similar) (B)
Lake District – Scottish Borders
This morning we travel through the forgotten county of Westmorland to Alston, which claims to be the highest market settlement in England. Driving through the lovely scenery of Northumberland, we follow Hadrian’s Wall until we reach Birdoswald Roman Fort, one of the best Roman sites on the wall. Tonight we stay in a restored 15th century medieval Scottish castle, where we will also enjoy a three-course Scottish banquet together. Stay: Comlongon Castle (or similar) (B/D)
Scottish Borders - Edinburgh
Travelling north we briefly stop at the ruins of Hermitage Castle for photos before visiting Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott. Designed by Scott himself, the house holds an impressive collection of historic relics including Rob Roy’s gun and sword. This afternoon we visit one of the most mysterious sites in Scotland, Rosslyn Chapel, which was featured in the bestselling film The Da Vinci Code. Our final destination is Edinburgh, where our tour comes to an end. (B)

Pick-up and Drop off
This tour commences from the Grange Wellington Hotel, 71-72 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PA at 8:30am. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure. Drop-off 5:30pm at The Place, 34-38 York Place Edinburgh, EH1 3HU. Please bear in mind that drop-off time is an estimate only – traffic can be unpredictable!

Back-Roads Touring have hand-picked an extensive portfolio of quality properties across Europe and to ensure the very best experience on each of our tours, hotels may vary to those listed in this itinerary.

All of our tours involve walking and require our guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility.

9 Day Highlights of Britain (2015) Reviews

Tour reviews from past clients of Global Journeys. 5 Reviews. Average Rating 4.6 of 5.

Backroads bus tour was excellent, far exceeded our expectations. The historical knowledge of our tour driver was exceptional. Accommodation superb, food great, all areas visited were interesting, countryside beautiful. Could not fault the tour.

Overall Rating
Value For Money
Coach Quality
Global Journeys Experience
Tour Guide
Included Excursions
Tour Pace

Loved the Highlights of Britain trip in its entirety. The coach was extremely comfortable and the tour leader excellent and so full of interesting information. I would recommend this trip to others without hesitation.

Overall Rating
Value For Money
Coach Quality
Global Journeys Experience
Tour Guide
Included Excursions
Tour Pace

Backroads tour of Highlights of Britain was a pleasant surprise. The group was small, similar in age and outlook and worked well together. The guide come driver was very well informed and absolutely part of the team. We never felt rushed and we all had a great time. We would certainly consider booking another trip of this type with you.

Overall Rating
Value For Money
Global Journeys Experience
Tour Guide
Tour Pace

Our driver/guide was very good but didn't stop enough for us to take photos especially as we travelled through the Cotswolds. The hotels were all good except for the hotel in the Lake District where the service was very poor.

Overall Rating
Value For Money
Global Journeys Experience
Tour Guide
Tour Pace

Very laidback, driver very friendly and made good suggestions other than what was on the itinerary for us to see. Suited us, as we wanted to visit villages and see the countryside. Accommodation and meals were a good standard, especially breakfasts.

Overall Rating
Value For Money
Global Journeys Experience
Tour Guide
Tour Pace

Back-Roads Touring has over 25 years experience in small group tours of the UK and Europe. With a maximum of 16 people per tour, you can be assured of a more intimate and relaxing travel experience.
Region: UK & Ireland Guided: Driver Guide Average Age: 40-60
Style: Small Group Coach: 4 Star Flights: Not Included
Accommodation: Various Max Group Size: 18 (Avg. 10) Airport Transfers: Available
Hotels: Central - Mostly Free Coach WiFi: No Tips: Optional on Tour
* Source: Back-Roads for tours in UK & Ireland . Some variances may occur on this tour and information is provided as a guide only.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who goes on a Back-Roads tour?

They are mainly English-speaking and in the main come from Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and Hong Kong. We do have other nationalities join occasionally but all tour commentaries are in English. We believe that our tours appeal to individuals who enjoy culture, good food, meeting like-minded people, exploring local regions and want a more relaxing style of travel. We welcome first time travellers, however, also find that many of our passengers have travelled with us before and continue to do so.

Are Back-Roads tours guaranteed?

Unlike most other tour operators, once we've accepted your booking, you've paid your deposit, we promise that we won't cancel your tour unless forced to do so by circumstances beyond our control. If you've invested your dreams in us, we'll make them a reality. On rare occasions when there are less than 4 people booked on a tour, we'll give you the opportunity of cancelling without cost or transferring to another Back-Roads Touring tour with more participants.

What is the typical age of a Back-Roads client?

There tends to be a fairly wide range of ages, but broadly our clients are in the 40-65 age group. Our tours are designed principally for adults, but we will consider accepting children aged 12 or over on request. Please note that triple and family rooms are not always available.

What grade of hotel does Back-Roads use?

We generally use 3 star / 4 star standard accommodations ranging from guest houses, country inns, town centre hotels and the occasional castle! But rather than going by the official grading (which is based solely on the facilities available rather than the standard), we base our choices on quality. So on occasions we might use what is officially a 2-star hotel, but one which we know to be much better than a lot of higher-graded hotels! In all properties the rooms have ensuite bathrooms.

What kind of room should I book?

A very important point to note when you are booking is that we need to know whether you want a twin room (two single-sized beds in a room) or a double room (one standard-sized bed for two people). You need to tell Global Journeys at the time of enquiry what your choice is as the room types are not interchangeable.

Do we dine at the hotels?

All breakfasts are taken in the accommodations. We have a minimum of a two-course cooked evening meal at many of them but on occasion, to add variety to your tour experience, we also dine out at local pubs and restaurants. When we dine out it is understandably to a budget but in the rare circumstance of a client wanting something special you are able to contribute to, and supplement, the budget. Wines and other alcoholic drinks are not included but tea/coffee is included.

I am a single traveller. Is it possible to share a room? Why must I pay a single supplement?

We do not “match up” single travellers, because we find that in a small group scenario this does not work. And it is very unlikely that another single traveller on the same tour will have a similar request. All hotels will charge extra for a single room, even though this might be smaller than a double room, sometimes with a smaller bed, though in some hotels the single traveller will have a double room for their own use.

What sort of vehicle do we travel in?

You'll be travelling in our comfortable 16-seat Mercedes Sprinter mini-coaches, or 7 or 9-seater Mercedes Vitos, depending on the numbers on a tour. All seats have seatbelts and all seats are forward facing. Luggage is stored in a rear compartment. All vehicles are air-conditioned or with forced air vents and PA systems. The coaches may vary in Europe when we have to hire in the coach, however, they will always be comfortable mini-coaches.

How many people will be on my tour?

The maximum number we carry is 16 and the minimum 4. Your guide will usually implement a daily seat rotation exercise on the vehicle so you can get to know your fellow travellers better and see from a different perspective each day.

What meals are included?

Delicious breakfasts are included daily – English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish breakfasts in the UK and Ireland and European breakfast in mainland Europe. We also include some dinners, either in the hotel or in a local restaurant. We ensure that you have some free evenings for you to explore the local cuisine. One thing to remember, dinner times in Europe are likely to be later than you might be used to, 7.30 at the earliest and often later in France, Italy and Spain. In Europe dinner is a leisurely experience!

How much walking on a tour?

In cities, walking tours are offered by your guide. On European mainland tours there is considerable walking as many historic cities prohibit motorised transport and we have to park some distance out of the centre. On most tours there are opportunities for some extended walking, often from the accommodations we use.

Am I expected to leave gratuities?

It is common in the UK & Europe to leave a small gratuity in restaurants and cafes if you have received good service (typically 10% on top of the bill). It would also be usual to give your tour guide a tip at the end of the tour if he/she has done a good job. The amount is entirely at your discretion, and is not mandatory, but it is always much appreciated.

Can you explain what a driver/guide companion is?

Our well-educated and knowledgeable guides, from all backgrounds and walks of life, have all in addition passed a stringent government test allowing them to drive our vehicles and conduct tours. The small nature of our groups means that he/she becomes your travelling companion rather than just a tour guide, which makes for a much more rewarding experience. On some tours in mainland Europe (e.g. Italy and Spain) we will often use a driver in addition to a guide as this makes for better operation of the tour in these particular areas.

Where can I find out more information on Back-Roads?

We have a dedicated section on our website providing more detailed information on Back-Roads Tours including FAQ's on what you need to know before, during and after your travel; as well as information on their touring style, and a comprehensive search facility to enable you to easily find more of their tours. Read more> (NB: This link will take you away from this tour itinerary page).

Arrival & Departure Information

Please note most tours start at 08:30am on Day 1 of your tour or at 6pm. If departing in the morning, we advise you stay in the hotel the previous night so you are ready to meet your guide in the morning. If your tour commences in the evening, you may not require pre-tour accommodation and instead arrive during the day at your leisure. Please check your itinerary. Most tours complete early evening. We cannot usually drop you off at the airport, so we suggest you book your flights departing the following day of the tour to ensure you do not miss your flights due to unforeseen circumstances.

Terms & Conditions:

Yep, all the boring small print! We still recommend you read it though, as no one likes surprises!

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02 Jul 2015 10 Jul 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
07 Jul 2015 15 Jul 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
09 Jul 2015 17 Jul 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
14 Jul 2015 22 Jul 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
16 Jul 2015 24 Jul 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
21 Jul 2015 29 Jul 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
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15 Sep 2015 23 Sep 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
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22 Sep 2015 30 Sep 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
29 Sep 2015 07 Oct 2015   AU $3,395 AU $4,095 AU $135 AU $3,260  
01 Oct 2015 09 Oct 2015   AU $3,265 AU $3,895 AU $130 AU $3,135  
08 Oct 2015 16 Oct 2015   AU $3,265 AU $3,895 AU $130 AU $3,135  
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