June 10, 2017
|Duration:||14 Days / 13 Nights|
|Single Room Supplement:||Waived|
In order to bring you the greatest selection of destinations and itineraries, Gutsy Women Travel has worked with our partner GCT to reserve space on this 2017 guided vacation. This trip is open to men and women, and will operate with a larger group size than our traditional Gutsy Women departures.
DAY 1 - Depart U.S.Depart from the U.S. today on your flight to London. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.
DAY 2 - London, EnglandA Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and help you transfer to your hotel, where you'll meet your Program Director and your fellow travelers, including those who took our London, England pre-trip extension. The balance of the day is at leisure to relax after your overseas flight or do some exploring on your own. You might consider a visit to the British Museum, which houses antiquities tracing the history of human culture. Its treasures include the Rosetta Stone, the largest collection of Mesopotamian antiquities in Europe, and more than 13 million other historical objects. Or perhaps you'll wander around Covent Garden, an outdoor marketplace since the 17th century, when it was a center for traders and merchants, and today home to some of London's most talented street performers. In fact, Covent Garden is the only part of London where street entertainment is licensed, and performers must audition and sign up for specific time slots in order to perform there. In the early evening, gather with your Program Director and travel companions for a Welcome Drink and briefing, followed by a Welcome Dinner at your hotel.
DAY 3 - LondonBegin your England tour with an introduction to London's major landmarks, including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, on a panoramic tour this morning. Then enjoy the rest of the day, including lunch and dinner, on your own to make your own discoveries. Perhaps you'll visit one of London's many museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum or Tate, a family of four galleries.
DAY 4 - London • Oxford • Cotswolds village tour • CheltenhamAfter breakfast this morning, depart London for Oxford, whose university has educated some of the world's most prominent scholars and statesmen. Set off a walking tour through the city center, passing some of the legendary colleges that have been seats of learning for many prime ministers, great writers, and various scholars, including Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and John Wesley. The University colleges dominate the center of Oxford, as you can see by the spires and the numerous stone walls bordering college buildings. Oxford University was established in the eleventh century, but there is evidence of structured teaching dating back as far as AD 872. Rather than orienting around a central campus, the University is a collection of more than 38 colleges and buildings spread throughout the city. Oxford is also one of the settings for the Harry Potter movies and the Inspector Morse television series. After lunch on your own in Oxford, you’ll travel to the Cotswolds, a verdant landscape of rolling hills and charming country cottages, where you’ll get a taste of quintessential English village life during an included tour. Late this afternoon, transfer to your hotel in Cheltenham, located near the Cotswolds, a verdant landscape of rolling hills and charming country cottages. Dinner is at your hotel this evening.
DAY 5 - Cheltenham • Bath • StonehengeToday's discoveries begin at Bath, where an included tour features a visit to the Roman baths. Bath is named for the springs that well up in this city, producing about 500,000 gallons of water each day at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The lead-lined bath, steps, column bases, and edging stones all date from Roman times. The town later became a prosperous, high-society destination. The striking and elegant architecture of the city, Roman baths, and Georgian terraces inspired the setting for Jane Austen's novel, Persuasion. You'll see the principal sights here and enjoy lunch on your own in the city. Then continue on to Stonehenge, the starkly dramatic stone monument that has engaged the world's imagination for centuries. As one of the world's most recognizable images of a prehistoric culture, Stonehenge creates a powerful impression. In addition to appreciating the unique design and construction, many visitors experience a feeling of uncommon mystery. This evening, enjoy a traditional English experience with an early dinner at a pub. Take in the local scene and sample hearty pub grub over a pint. Return to Cheltenham in the late evening.
DAY 6 - Cheltenham • Snowdonia, Wales • Home-Hosted DinnerAfter an early breakfast, travel to the the Snowdonia region of Wales—stopping en route in the small town of Llangollen in Northern Wales for lunch on your own. The principality of Wales, together with Scotland and England, makes up Britain. Until the time of English King Edward I in the 13th century, this was an independent nation whose Celtic people fiercely defended their sovereignty. Welsh identity remains distinct today, exemplified in the language, which is actually much easier to pronounce than it looks once you learn the sounds associated with the letters. Our destination is the strikingly scenic and mountainous section of Wales called Snowdonia, which surrounds the region's highest peak, Mount Snowdon. Snowdonia is part of the impressive Cambrian Mountains, which are steep-sided and rugged, presenting some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the British Isles. You are staying in Caernarfon, a small historic town right on the coast looking across to the Island of Anglesey. Near your hotel is the medieval castle and walls built by the English after their conquest of Wales. It was here that Prince Charles was formally inaugurated as Prince of Wales in 1969. This evening, you'll be welcomed in by a local family for Home-Hosted Dinner and some of the legendary Welsh hospitality.
DAY 7 - Snowdonia • Optional Welsh Experience tour OPTIONAL TOURSpend the day exploring Snowdonia on your own. Or, join an optional tour that includes a steam train ride on the Ffestiniog Railway from the coast of Porthmadog into the mountains at Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independent narrow-gauge railway in the world. It was built in 1832 to carry slate but has been carrying passengers since 1864. This route will take you through some of Snowdonia's spectacular scenery. Then you'll pay a visit to the village of Portmeirion for lunch, and finish with a visit to a Welsh slate museum. The remainder of the day is yours, and dinner on your own this evening.
DAY 8 - Snowdonia • Chester, England • YorkAfter breakfast, depart Wales for York via Chester. Upon your arrival in Chester, enjoy a short walking tour of this ancient English town with Roman roots and a well-preserved medieval center, followed by free time for lunch on our own. Around AD 60, the Romans expanded their empire in Britain to the banks of the Dee River, where Chester is located. The city today still displays the Roman layout, extending from the Cross, where a Roman fortress stood, to four city gates. In the Middle Ages, commerce on the Dee River, particularly with Ireland, enriched the town in the twelfth and 13th centuries. The prosperity of those times is still evident in one of Chester's unique features: “the Rows,” a series of two-tiered shops along the ancient streets of the historic town center. Chester also holds a significant place in English cultural history as the town where, beginning in the 14th century, mystery plays (public theater depicting biblical events) were presented. Continue on to York after lunch, arriving by late afternoon. Dinner is included tonight at your hotel.
DAY 9 - York • York Minster history tourAfter breakfast, walk through the medieval city to the magnificent York Minster for an exclusive Discovery Series event with a local guide, who will highlight the history of the cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps. The stained glass here is magnificent. The cathedral's Great East Window—created by John Thornton of Coventry and completed in 1408—is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world. It is 76 feet tall and comprises 1,680 square feet of glass. After our visit, you'll set off for a walking tour of the city with your Program Director, where centuries-old city walls enclose the best-preserved medieval town center in England. York's history stretches back into ancient Roman times, when it was called Eboracum and served as the military capital of northern Britannia. Traces of Roman garrisons built before the fifth century are sprinkled throughout the city. By the ninth century, Vikings—from what is now Denmark—had succeeded the Romans, calling the town Jorvik and leaving one legacy you'll still see today: the suffix “-gate”—meaning “street” in the old Viking language—in many street names. Spend the rest of the day as you please, with lunch and dinner on your own. Maybe you'll take in the Shambles—originally the meat-butchering area of York. The cramped, ancient street now houses a variety of shops, and in some areas it is possible for upstairs residents to stretch out and shake hands across the street. Or pay a visit the National Railway Museum, one of the world's best museums devoted to the legacy of steam engines and railway memorabilia.
DAY 10 - York • Optional Whitby & Castle Howard tour OPTIONAL TOURToday is yours to explore at your own pace. Or, join us for an optional tour to Whitby and Castle Howard. After crossing the heather-clad North York Moors National Park, you'll arrive in Whitby, a key setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We visit Whitby Abbey, where, on a clear day, you will have spectacular views over the city itself and the North Sea. It was from this town that the explorer James Cook first set out to sea, and during the 19th century, Whitby was renowned for creating jet jewelry that was a favorite of Queen Victoria’s. On this optional tour, you'll take time in this original whaling port to savor an included Yorkshire lunch of fish and chips. Afterward, you'll head for Castle Howard, one of England’s finest stately homes, still lived in by the Howard family and where much of the filming for Brideshead Revisited was done. Although construction on this Baroque masterpiece began in 1699, it took 100 years to complete. Admire its lavish, treasure-filled rooms—including paintings by Rubens and Gainsborough—and perhaps enjoy a stroll in its famed Rose Gardens. Dinner is on your own this evening.
DAY 11 - York • Farm visit • Lake DistrictThis morning, depart for the scenic Lake District, England's largest national park and home to 16 major lakes. Set amidst the most mountainous region of England, it has been the inspiration for countless writers, from Wordsworth and Keats to Beatrix Potter. As you travel, visit a local farm for an exclusive Discovery Series event in which you'll enjoy a light lunch at a local farming family's historic estate. Arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon, and enjoy dinner here with your fellow travelers later this evening.
DAY 12 - Lake District • Edinburgh, ScotlandToday, set off along the road to Edinburgh, enjoying an included lunch along the way. During your drive, you'll pass through Gretna Green, Scotland's southernmost town that was once popular with couples desiring to elope and marry. By late afternoon, you'll arrive in Edinburgh and check into your hotel, then join your Program Director for a vicinity walk to acquaint yourself with the area around your lodgings. Tonight, dinner is on your own.
DAY 13 - Edinburgh • Optional Scottish Evening OPTIONAL TOURAfter breakfast, enjoy a panoramic tour of Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, the historic center of Scottish culture, commerce, and education. You'll see the unique atmosphere and architecture of Edinburgh's Old and New towns as you pass along the Royal Mile. Your tour includes a visit to Edinburgh Castle, which overlooks the city from a perch atop a long-extinct volcano. A royal dwelling has been located here since the twelfth century, and the castle's St. Margaret's Chapel—the oldest surviving building in the city—dates to this time. Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own. Your Program Director will be happy to make some recommendations. Or, join us for an unforgettable optional evening of Scottish entertainment at the stables of Prestonfield House, set in the heart of Edinburgh. It was built in 1688 by Sir James Dick, one of Scotland's most prosperous merchants. Distinguished guests who visited Prestonfield House during the 18th century include Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Johnson. Today, Prestonfield House is a privately owned hotel. Your Scottish evening includes a selection of typical historic Scottish tunes and melodies played on the accordion and fiddle, accompanied by a variety of singers. There will also be a demonstration of Scottish dancing, the Addressing of the Haggis (during which a Robert Burns poem is recited), and a performance on the Scottish bagpipes. Traditional songs such as "Amazing Grace" and Scotland's unofficial anthem, "Scotland the Brave" will round off the evening. The grand finale includes the audience participating in saying good night by singing "Auld Lang Syne."
DAY 14 - Edinburgh • Optional Royal Scotland tour OPTIONAL TOUREnjoy a full day to make your own discoveries. Or, join our optional Royal Scotland tour, where you’ll follow in the footsteps of British monarchs. Begin with a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia. Commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954, the vessel was perhaps most famously used by Prince Charles and Lady Diana for their honeymoon cruise. Next, explore Holyrood Palace. Its carefully designed additions over the centuries have made it one of the most admired buildings in the British Isles. The palace was completed in 1501 and was the site of the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley in 1565, and of much subsequent intrigue. Less than a year later, the jealous Darnley had Mary’s private secretary murdered here in her presence. Your afternoon is at leisure for independent discoveries. This evening, join your travel companions and Program Director for an included Farewell Dinner.
DAY 15 - Edinburgh • Return to U.S.Return home today, or continue your guided tour of Scotland with our optional Scottish Highlands extension.
DAY 1 - Depart U.S.Depart the U.S. today on your flight to London. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.
DAY 2 - London, EnglandArrive throughout the day in London, England. You'll be met at the airport and accompanied to our hotel, where you are invited to join your Hospitality Desk representative for an orientation walk of the area around your hotel.
DAY 3 - LondonThe day is yours to explore London on your own using your included London Transport Pass. Perhaps you’ll journey to Buckingham Palace to view the official residence of Her Majesty, the Queen. Or you might explore the exhibits at one of London’s many museums. The vast collection of the National Portrait Gallery, near Trafalgar Square, includes the famous Chandos portrait of William Shakespeare. The Tate Britain offers an extraordinary range of five centuries of British art. The Tate Modern features contemporary art, with changing installations that make headlines around the world. The Royal Albert Hall was inspired by the early works of the Romans. This large amphitheater is home to some of the world's finest concerts and musical events, and is a true English monument. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for the Royal Albert Hall in 1867 in memory of her late husband, Prince Albert. Or, perhaps you'll visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, a spacious building full of art galleries and artistic displays. Some of the country's great artistic treasures are here. Entry to the museum is free, as is entry to the adjacent National History Museum and Science Museum, both of which are well worth a visit. Another interesting site is Kensington Palace, built for joint monarchs William and Mary, and once home to Princess Diana and Princess Margaret.
DAY 4 - London • Hampton Court Palace & Gardens tourThis morning, enjoy an included visit to the Hampton Court Palace and Gardens, exploring at your own pace using their audio equipment. Hampton Court was leased by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514, and he began rebuilding and converting it into a lavish palace. Hampton Court became a royal residence when it was turned over to Henry VIII in 1529. A pair of magnificent public rooms remains from Henry's reign: the Great Hall and the Chapel Royal, still a place of worship today. The practical side of royal life is represented by the enormous Tudor Kitchens, the most extensive surviving 16th-century kitchens in Europe, where meals for 1,000 people were once prepared daily. The palace is home to one of the greatest collections of Renaissance paintings in England, housed in the Wolsey Rooms and the Renaissance Picture Gallery. The buildings cover six acres, and there are also more than 60 acres of gardens. The Hampton Court Gardens are a fascinating mix of 500 years of royal gardening history. Originally agricultural land, Cardinal Wolsey created the first gardens; but Henry VIII established the overall structure of the gardens—much as they exist today. Among others, the gardens feature a Privy Garden (the King's private garden, recently restored to its 1702 state with period-era plantings), the Knot, Pond, and Great Fountain Gardens. The Northern Gardens feature a 1702 maze. Here you'll also find the Great Vine—a vine planted in 1768 by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, which is the oldest known vine in the world. It still produces more than 500 pounds of grapes each year. This afternoon and evening, use your included London Transport Pass to make your own discoveries.
DAY 5 - LondonThis morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you'll join fellow travelers arriving for your England, Scotland & Wales Land Tour.
DAY 1 - Edinburgh • InvernessConclude your main England, Scotland & Wales itinerary this morning as you depart Edinburgh and head for Inverness, traveling through St. Andrews along the way. Arriving in Inverness late this afternoon, you’ll have the rest of the day to spend as you choose.
DAY 2 - Inverness • Isle of SkyeFollowing breakfast this morning, depart for the Isle of Skye. Drive along the famed Loch Ness, a fabled lake of many moods—from the sultry to the serene. Beneath its placid surface, the occasional sturgeon has been spotted. And who hasn't heard the tale of the Loch Ness monster, often spoken of but seldom seen? The legend of "Nessie," though never proved to be real, has a long history. Its first reported "sighting" was in AD 565. Not all the wonders of Loch Ness are beneath its surface, however. The area also hosts a vibrant bird population, acting as a flight path for sea birds migrating between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. It is common to see buzzards circling above the banks of the loch, and eagles, though more rare, do make an occasional appearance. Also seen from time to time are the increasingly rare ospreys out fishing for a quick bite or two. You'll also pass Eilan Donan before crossing to the Isle of Skye by bridge (this bridge opened in 1995). The Isle of Skye is considered the jewel of the Inner Hebrides. Often referred to in Gaelic as Eilean a' Cheo (The Misty Isle), Skye beckons with its jagged mountain ridges, placid inlets and bay, and charming villages. Natural beauty is in full abundance here, especially in the form of the Cuillin Mountains, a favorite destination of climbers and hikers alike. These commanding heights can be appreciated at a distance, too, as you journey indented coastlines that wind through verdant hills and moors and through history-rich villages. You may catch a glimpse of local wildlife, so watch for oystercatcher birds.
DAY 3 - Inverness • Optional Historical Highlands tour OPTIONAL TOURToday is yours to enjoy at your own pace. Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, is a thoroughly modern town with ancient roots and will no doubt entice you with its array of offerings. A visit to the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery offers up a vibrant presentation of the heritage of the area, from its archaeology to its natural history. Clan Donald is said to have burned the town at least seven times, while Bonnie Prince Charlie's forces destroyed the fort here in 1745. Peace prevails today in the city's most welcoming environment. Or, join us on an optional Historical Highlands tour to grasp a sense of the past that is so inseparable from this region's identity. We visit Culloden Moor, scene of the last major battle fought on mainland Britain. The final Jacobite uprising, and their efforts to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne, ended here on April 16, 1746, when Government forces led by the Duke of Cumberland crushed the army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. You'll see the reconstructed turf and stone dikes that played a crucial part in the battle. On site you can view the Graves of the Clans, the Well of the Dead, the Memorial Cairn, the Cumberland Stone, and the Field of the English. The Visitor Centre offers a Jacobite exhibition. Our tour also takes us to the 16th-century Brodie Castle, the historic seat of Clan Brodie, one of Scotland’s influential families. The castle is today owned by Scotland’s National Trust, and much of the interior is carefully restored and preserved to resemble things as they might have been in the medieval heyday of the clan. Outside the castle walls, a nature trail offers opportunity for a peaceful stroll through the well-manicured landscape. You'll pause to enjoy an included light lunch at the castle. The evening is yours to make your own discoveries and enjoy dinner on your own.
DAY 4 - Inverness • GlasgowTravel to Glasgow through the scenic landscapes of Glencoe, Loch Lomond, and Trossachs. You'll also pass through the town of Fort William, which is magnificently set against the shores of Loch Linnhe and rolling mountain scenery—and stop for lunch en route. Arrive in Glasgow in the late afternoon, where your Program Director will lead you on a short walk through the city. Dinner tonight is at your hotel.
DAY 5 - Glasgow • Return to U.S.This morning, your Grand Circle Program Director will see you off from the hotel for your transfer to the airport for your flight home.
In order to qualify for the GWT Past Traveler Discount of 5% on the land portion of the trip, you must advise the reservation specialist at time of depositing on your 2017 trip which GWT trip you traveled on (date/name of departure and year) over the past 5 years.
Please note: A $25 documentation fee will be added to the final payment for this trip.
We limit our trips to small groups so we suggest you deposit early to guarantee your spot. View information regarding Air Travel & Transfers here.
Please note this departure is not exclusive to women but will be comprised of Gutsy Women Travel participants co-sharing the overall trip capacity with members of OAT resulting in a larger group size compared to the traditional Gutsy Women Travel trips designed exclusively for women.
Single Room - one person, traveling solo in single accommodation
Double Room - two people, traveling together in same accommodation
Shared Room - one person, traveling solo who would like to share with another passenger and pay the per person "Double" price
Air travel arrangements for Gutsy Women's trip participants are made independently as most women are traveling from various gateway cities within or outside North America. Gutsy Women Travel includes a group transfer (if travelers purchase airfare from our operator) or individuals can book private transportation if desired.
For further information and reservations call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
For online 24/7 booking capability go to gutsywomentravel.com.
Please note: Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.