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#1 Posted : Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)

Posts: 10

I did not see a discussion topic on this tour, so thought I would start one...

We did a lot of research before we decided on this tour of England and Scotland to ensure we could see the right sights, for the right length of time, and for a reasonable price. We had traveled with Gate 1 before, but each trip has its own cultural idiosyncrasies, and often it depends on the quality of the tour leader, so there were a few apprehensions. However, everything went tick-tock, even better than expected, from the original booking to the return home. Flights and transfers were booked as part of the package, and everything was excellent. We even lucked out on the weather, as we had only one afternoon of continuous rain for our tour in May.

Unlike other tours we have taken, we had two tour managers, one for England and another for Scotland, with Edinburgh- about midway- being the place where they changed. Each was quite different in their approach and personality, but each was very knowledgeable and competent in their area of expertise, sharing immense information about the culture and history of each country. As well, a first for us was that the tour group changed, with some joining the tour in London after having finished one of Ireland, some ending the tour in Edinburgh, or others - like us - continuing into Scotland. It made for a wide mix of travel mates, but there wasn't the social cohesion you would expect on a continuous tour.

We stayed at seven different hotels throughout our tour, mostly of the Thistle or Jury's Inn chain, and each providing clean and comfortable stays throughout our entire trip. Each hotel had a large range of amenities, and were rich in either comforts or charm or both. Check-in and check-out were immensely easy, especially with only 29 of us on the Scotland half of our tour. The best part is that most all the hotels were in the centre of town, within easy walking distances of restaurants, shops, cafes, bars, museums or historical sights. It allowed us the freedom to expand our tour independently, or just be able to check out the landscape up close, on our own time. We have traveled with other tour companies, and this has not always been the case. We had several included dinners at the hotel with our tour, and all breakfasts. Each was excellent, never a disappointment.

We saw many historical sights as part of our tour, places like Stonehenge, Loch Ness, Edinburgh Castle, St. Andrew's Golf Course and so much more. We also purchased optional tours that included The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Tower of London, dinner and tour in Lacock, of Harry Potter fame, and a Scottish night of dinner and dance. Each was exceptional. Booking in advance, we were able to get a little discount compared to booking while on the tour (though that option was still available). In many respects, the tour can be as busy as you want it to be, depending on what you want. Sometimes a local tour guide provided the half-day city tour, other times our own tour guide did the honours. Sometimes we used portable 'whisperers' or phones to listen to a recorded message at each numbered spot of interest for walking tours, and other times it was a drive-by sightseeing tour with commentary on the bus .

There was lots to see and do on each travel day, as well. Some were very long days. For instance, we came into Liverpool quite late, then had an included dinner at the hotel, making it too late to visit the Beatles Story (last tour at 4:30 p.m.). On the up side, the landscape during the travel days was amazing. We had many stops enriched with historical importance (where William Wordsworth was buried), or cultural significance, or places that were simply memorable (farm house owned by Beatrix Potter to have tea and scones). Commentary was provided during the trip by the tour director. One guide played Scottish music on the bus in the area of the Isle of Skye and Loch Lomond. The other guide read words or phrases coined by Shakespeare during our trip through Stratford-on-Avon. Each place was enriched with historical and cultural significance.

The coaches were very comfortable, with lots of room. The drivers (they also changed with the tour directors) were excellent. When carry-on bags could not fit on the overhead areas within the bus, the drivers were very accommodating about putting them underneath during travel days.

We did so much in less than two weeks, it is overwhelming to take it all in. You almost need to do this twice.c64d7cc0-a3de-42d1-9d33-681f0e7913f5.JPG86f61f1a-24ca-49e5-b0f6-b92a4ff1077a.JPG00570c14-84be-4c4b-ba81-7285e4060b2c.JPGe57ba164-3f15-4a8c-aad8-e06b364055db.JPG9c81cb2c-10a6-4d52-b2ed-57340488786d.JPG6afab089-a218-4830-86be-629702681153.JPG98bc07bb-78a8-46c3-ab10-b0c01e2df612.JPG01fb1005-d32d-449a-85af-ef1fd402a8d4.JPG3299fa24-5760-47d6-ae12-2b318d822b71.JPGc64d7cc0-a3de-42d1-9d33-681f0e7913f5.JPG86f61f1a-24ca-49e5-b0f6-b92a4ff1077a.JPG00570c14-84be-4c4b-ba81-7285e4060b2c.JPGe57ba164-3f15-4a8c-aad8-e06b364055db.JPG9c81cb2c-10a6-4d52-b2ed-57340488786d.JPG6afab089-a218-4830-86be-629702681153.JPG98bc07bb-78a8-46c3-ab10-b0c01e2df612.JPG01fb1005-d32d-449a-85af-ef1fd402a8d4.JPG3299fa24-5760-47d6-ae12-2b318d822b71.JPGc64d7cc0-a3de-42d1-9d33-681f0e7913f5.JPG86f61f1a-24ca-49e5-b0f6-b92a4ff1077a.JPG00570c14-84be-4c4b-ba81-7285e4060b2c.JPGe57ba164-3f15-4a8c-aad8-e06b364055db.JPG9c81cb2c-10a6-4d52-b2ed-57340488786d.JPG6afab089-a218-4830-86be-629702681153.JPG98bc07bb-78a8-46c3-ab10-b0c01e2df612.JPG01fb1005-d32d-449a-85af-ef1fd402a8d4.JPG3299fa24-5760-47d6-ae12-2b318d822b71.JPG
#2 Posted : Thursday, May 30, 2019 8:41:22 PM(UTC)

Posts: 0

I and a friend will be doing the 18 day Ireland, England and Scotland tour in Sept.. Your post helped me out on questions I had. Being my first big travel, I'm a nervous traveler. Thank you for info. Less nervous 😉

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