The mists of dawn clear over the moss cloaked fells. Tentative rays of sunshine caress the fronds of bracken and a clement breeze rustles the meadowsweet from slumber. Over hill and down dale, ramblers will wander lonely as clouds, admiring mountain reflections in glassy tarns. Across the dewy pastures, furtive eyes chase Peter Rabbit down his burrow under the drystone wall.
Having previously travelled extensively within Australia and overseas both with tour groups and independently we were absolutely blown away with the quality and service provided on this tour, our very first “Captains Choice Tour”.
R & R Stephenson, Back of Beyond by Private Plane
From pomp and ceremony to a good old fashioned pint, the UK brings us a taste of fine tradition and the rugged good looks of Scotland’s highlands and islands. While Ireland’s emerald enchantment adds her own fair Celtic brush strokes to these green and pleasant lands. Your adventure begins aboard our Emirates flight departing for London via Dubai.
We roll out the red carpet with a flourish during your stay at one of London’s most exclusive addresses, The Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair. Where etiquette and elegance are the toast of London Town, we indulge in a lavish Welcome Dinner in the hotel’s enviable surroundings.
If the best things come in small packages, Britain’s pocket size certainly works to our advantage today as we explore further than you might have imagined.
Answer London’s calling, exploring more on one of our hand picked Select Options.
Fortified by a fine English breakfast, we farewell The Dorchester and ready our sea legs for marine adventure, coast hopping around the British Isles aboard the MS Hebridean Sky. Before arriving in Portsmouth, there’s time to meander through the cathedral city of Winchester on a walking tour. Strolling cobbled streets, you’ll find that behind this well-heeled city’s scholarly air lies the stuff of myth and legend. In the Great Hall of Winchester Castle, a round table hints at Arthurian legacy. Throughout the ages, the Norman cathedral has presided over royal coronations, wedding and funerals and is now the final resting place of Jane Austen.
A pause for a pub lunch and a spot of shopping eases us back into our onward journey, before we board the MS Hebridean Sky in the maritime town of Portsmouth this evening, where our first delicious dinner at sea awaits.
Arriving in the Channel Islands nudging the coast of France, you’ll wake to views of Guernsey or ‘The Island of Flowers’.
History beckons with a chance to explore the cheery harbour of St Peter Port and its 12th century Castle Cornet battlements. Or an island drive takes us to Sausmarez Manor’s subtropical gardens and sculpture displays, entwined in a ravishing show of nature. On our return, Guernsey’s Little Chapel is a mini mosaic topped homage to Lourdes in France and a worthy stopping point.
Back on board, a lunchtime cruise and island hop brings us to neighbouring Sark, propelled by Zodiacs to its tranquil shores. Prepare to wind back the clock as horse drawn carriages populate Sark’s traffic free wayfares. Our gentle island exploration leads us up La Seigneurie’s enchanting garden path before we head home for dinner on board.
Casting away to Cornwall today, smugglers’ coves and misty moors leap to mind, as well as tea and scones with lashings of clotted cream!
‘Y Ddraig Goch’ : the red dragon and Welsh national emblem can be seen flying on the flag of castles throughout Wales. Here we think of the warm timbre of brass bands, male voice choirs and the guttural sounds of this nation’s mother tongue.
All aboard for dinner, we set sail for the Emerald Isle as evening falls.
Cutting across the Irish Sea, we find that a cheerily cosmopolitan Dublin serves up a distinctly 21st century flavour. But Dubliners still have the kiss of the blarney, with their infectious wit, love of a foot stomping ceilidh and a creamy pint of Guinness!
We arrive in the Lake District today, where a patchwork of velveteen fields smooth the way to soft mountain peaks and glassy lakes.
William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter are among the many writers and artists who’ve eulogised the brooding beauty of Cumbria’s fairest face, and we’re in for a treat as we discover England’s largest National Park today.
Folklore, Celtic crosses and Viking burial grounds – not to mention the home of the famous TT Motorcycle race. The Isle of Man is sure to cast its magic spell on you. And we explore it together on a full day of touring.
Step back in time aboard the island’s beautifully preserved steam train on our way to Port Erin, where Castletown, Peel and Ramsay await on our morning drive. After lunch in Peel, we trundle our way to Laxey the scenic way aboard a vintage tram, admiring picture postcard views of Snaefell Mountain. We will also meet the acquaintance of a true local hero, Lady Isabella, the world’s largest water wheel, before returning to port.
At the gateway to Gaelic greats, Belfast is a city of note which, as we discover, has enjoyed an urban renaissance of late.
Cruising amid the Inner Hebrides archipelago, after which our trusty ship was named, we set sail for the fair isle of Iona, the symbolic centre of Scottish Christianity, where we will see the island’s ancient abbey. Later, we circumnavigate the dramatic coastline of Staffa, coming face to face with the imposing Colonnades, lauded as the mythical home of giants.
Back on board, the next stop is Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. Enjoy the sights of this quaint town before it’s back on board the ship to welcome staff from a local distillery for a whisky tasting.
A morning sail takes us to Stornaway, the windblown capital of the Outer Hebrides. Described as Scotland’s Stonehenge, the Callanish Standing Stones date from around 3,000 BC. We discover Dun Carloway Pictish Broch, a true relic of the Iron Age, before visiting the Gearran Blackhouse Village and enjoying a traditional Scottish crofting display. This afternoon our Zodiacs cruise around the spectacular basalt cliffs of the Shiant Isles. Another ideal place to spot sea birds, seals and even white tailed eagles.
Steeped in Norse legend and the whisper of Viking ghosts, you can tell the Orkneys once belonged to Norway. All ashore at the islands’ capital, Kirkwall, we take a drive back to ancient times, to the Standing Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar. Dating back almost 5,000 years, these sites will not disappoint; nor will the village of Skara Brae.
This proud Highland city shelters in an inland harbour, which is just a short drive from legendary Loch Ness.
We say goodbye to our trusty ship and tour Edinburgh Castle and Royal Mile before transferring to Glasgow airport for our Emirates flight home.
Touching down in Australia, home is where the heart is. But those far flung British isles have stolen away with our fondest memories.
Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.
Sightseeing in each destination is included. Select Options even allow you to tailor aspects of the touring to your individual tastes when there are multiple touring options.
Relax on deck
Cruising is a tough life! Why not relax on deck and watch the scenery float by with a warm cuppa in hand.
The Dorchester Hotel
The Dorchester, superbly located in the centre of London overlooking Hyde Park. Spacious, luxurious and elegant, each room features specially commissioned fabrics, antique furniture and exceedingly comfortable beds, while our white marble bathrooms are said to feature the deepest baths in London.
Based on per person, twin share in Standard Suite – from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane flying with Emirates. Prices from other cities are available on request.
Cruise & Land Only guests join in London for dinner on Day 2 and depart Edinburgh after breakfast on Day 16.
Supplements (Add to base tour cost, per person twin share)
Superior Suite $570
Premium Suite $1,300
Corner Suite $2,110
Deluxe Balcony Suite $3,160
Owner’s Balcony Suite $4,010
Hebridean Suite $7,550
Single suites are limited. Please enquire for additional single supplement upgrade costs.
Belmond Royal Scotsman Post Tour Option
Per person, twin share $4,930
Single Supplement $2,990
Please request or download a brochure for deck plans.