If Christmas in Ireland and New Year’s in Scotland sounds like your idea of the perfect holiday... Then our UK & Ireland tour is just for you! Come join us as we enjoy the best of England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. As the wheels start turning our exploring starts - in England we see Cambridge and Bath. We also visit Cardiff, the capital of Wales. Liverpool, the iconic home of the Beatles, is our stop before we take a ferry over to the Republic of Ireland.
We have the luck of the Irish on our side as we celebrate Christmas day in the capital city of Dublin! Step back in time as we explore a few castles and historic sites. Join us for a festive Irish dinner - and the opportunity for a pint of Guinness! And as we head into Scotland, we enjoy a Highlands feast! Ring in the New Year by joining the locals at the Hogmanay Festival, the world-famous Scottish celebration. This 13-day trip is filled to the brim with festive fun and cheer!
Photos of the Tour
Why this Trip
- All tour dates are guaranteed to depart.
- No minimum numbers required.
- FREE Wi-Fi in hotels.
- Services of your Expat Explore tour leader.
- Only 10% deposit or minimum $110.00 required and no booking fees.
Itinerary PrintView full Itinerary here
DAY 1: London - Stonehenge - Bath - Cardiff
Welcome to your Christmas and New Year tour! Let’s jump right in and get going… Our first stop is Stonehenge, where you’ll have the option to discover the many myths and legends this ancient archaeological phenomenon has generated over the centuries. We move from one historical site to the next - welcome to Bath! This beautiful and historic city is famous for the Roman baths built during the reign of the Empire. Caerphilly Castle is our next port-of-call as we travel from England into Wales (be sure to get your cameras ready for this 13th Century attraction). Our stop for the night is Cardiff, the capital of Wales, where we’ll enjoy an included dinner together.
DAY 2: Stratford-upon-Avon - Liverpool
We start today off with a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon! This 800-year old market town is the home of William Shakespeare, and you’ll have free time to explore the historic centre and the chance to visit the house where Shakespeare grew up! Then we’re off to the famous British port city of Liverpool. We’ll take a driving tour to see some of the city’s most famous sights, including Albert Dock, Penny Lane and John Lennon’s house. We’ll stop at Strawberry Field, the inspiration for the Beatles single ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. Let the Christmas lights dazzle you as you explore this historic city in your free time this evening. If you’re a football fan, you’ll be delighted to be in the home of Liverpool and Everton football clubs, while music lovers can enjoy the city’s deep connection with the Beatles at the famous Cavern Club live music venue.
DAY 3: Liverpool - Dublin
This morning we take a ferry across the Irish sea to the Republic of Ireland. Once we arrive in the bustling capital city Dublin we’ll take you on a driving tour to show you the famous sights of this 1,000 year-old city, followed by some free time to explore. We recommend a visit to some of the many pubs and bars in the iconic Temple Bar neighbourhood - what’s a trip to Ireland without a pint of the iconic national drink, Guinness?
DAY 4: Dublin - Free day
Merry Christmas to you! Or “Nollaig Shona Duit” as they say in Irish! There is so much to see and do in this beautiful city. Some very brave locals head down to Forty Foot on Christmas morning and have a swim in the Irish Sea. This freezing tradition has been happening for some 250 years! Take a moment to meander through the streets and let the Christmas lights and music remind you that you are enjoying Christmas in Ireland!
DAY 5: Waterford - Blarney Castle - Killarney
We leave the bustling and festive city of Dublin and travel to the oldest city in Ireland, Waterford. This city was first settled by the Vikings in 853, and you’ll have some free time to explore and grab some lunch. Then we move onto the famous Blarney Castle. Will you be brave enough to hang over the edge and kiss the Blarney Stone so you get the ‘gift of the gab’ at this 600-year old castle? We move onto our last stop for the day and our home for the night, Killarney. You will still feel the Christmas spirit around you as you walk through the beautiful town centre, before we receive more Irish hospitality as we enjoy a meal together this evening.
DAY 6: Ring of Kerry
Today we take a stunning scenic drive along the Ring of Kerry. Any trip to Ireland is synonymous with rolling green hills, charming villages and breathtaking coastal views, and the Ring of Kerry absolutely ticks all these boxes. You’ll be blown away by the scenery of this beautiful green valley and scenic stretches of coastline. We’ll stop in picture-postcard villages and gorgeous towns. Here, you can stroll down the high streets, relax in traditional cafés and browse the souvenir shops.
DAY 7: Adare - Limerick - Cliffs of Moher - Galway - Ballina
Today is filled with more epic scenery as we drive up the Wild Atlantic Way coastal road. We include a photo stop in Adare, which is often described as the ‘prettiest village in Ireland’. We’ll then make a quick stop in Limerick so you can take a photo of the 13th century King John’s Castle. We move on to a must-see on any trip to Ireland - the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs rise over 200m above the sea and the views are nothing short of amazing! Our next stop of the day is Galway, where you’ll have free time to explore or take an optional boat cruise along the river. Don’t miss the opportunity to listen to live traditional Irish music in one of the pubs here, before we travel on to our accommodation in Ballina.
DAY 8: Derry - Giant's Causeway - Belfast
We continue on our journey to Northern Ireland! Our first stop is Derry. This city is famous for its 17th Century Derry’s Walls, which remain intact to this day. Next stop is Giant’s Causeway. Get those cameras ready as you come face-to-face with this natural phenomenon. As you climb over the rocks you can decide for yourself which of the many legends and myths which explain its existence are true. Our final stop is Belfast. Your tour leader will take you on a combined driving and walking tour, showing you some of the city’s most famous attractions and learning more about the city’s past. Having pulled off quite a transformation in recent years, Belfast is shaking off its reputation that lingered after the times of The Troubles. Fans of Game of Thrones will be pleased to know that a large portion of the series is filmed here, too!
DAY 9: Stirling - Whisky Distillery - Scottish Highlands
Boarding a ferry in Larne, we’ll sail across the Sea of Moyle to Scotland. Scotland is rich in history - famous battles, towering castles, and Celtic legends, along with a unique and distinct culture. Once back on dry land we'll drive to Stirling and admire the famous Wallace Monument, a tower standing on the summit of the Abbey Craig hilltop. After our visit to Stirling we head north to the Scottish Highlands. We'll stop off at a local whisky distillery, learn more about how whisky is made and try some of the different varieties produced here. Admire the scenery as we travel on to our accommodation in the picturesque Highlands this evening.
DAY 10: Glencoe - Loch Ness - Edinburgh (New Year’s Eve/Hogmanay)
As we explore more of Scotland’s stunning natural landscape we’ll be stopping at the famous Loch Ness. This is said to be the home of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster. Here you can join an optional cruise on the Loch and see the ruins of Urquhart Castle from the water. On arrival in Edinburgh we'll depart on a driving and walking tour to help you get your bearings for the city and plan your free day tomorrow. It is then time to celebrate Hogmanay (the Scots word for the last day of the year) and ring in the New Year! Your tour includes a ticket to the official Hogmanay celebration. Described as ‘the ultimate party’, you will be entertained by street performers, DJs, artists, bands and many other forms of entertainment. The finale will be the fireworks at midnight which will light up the night sky with Edinburgh Castle providing an epic backdrop.
DAY 11: Edinburgh - Free day
Today is a full free day to explore Edinburgh. Revisit some of the places you saw yesterday or take a walk and enjoy the spirit of Edinburgh. Your tour leader can help you with recommendations, including queue jump tickets to Edinburgh Castle. You can spend a few hours here learning about Scottish history and royalty, and there are wonderful views from the top!
DAY 12: Alnwick - York - Yorkshire
Saying goodbye to Scotland, we make for the market town of Alnwick, which is famous for Alnwick Castle. This large castle has featured in many famous films and TV shows, including two Harry Potter films, Downton Abbey, Robin Hood and many more! Next, we travel into the county of Yorkshire and visit it’s capital, York. Home to the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe, York is a charming city of winding cobbled streets, lined with small boutiques selling all manner of fascinating souvenirs and sweet treats. Your Expat Explore tour leader will take you on a walking tour of the city to see its most famous and historic sights, before we head to our accommodation in Yorkshire, where we’ll enjoy an included dinner.
DAY 13: Cambridge - London
It may be the last day of your tour but it’s far from over! On our way back to London we’ll visit the historic and beautiful city of Cambridge. The University of Cambridge was founded here in 1209 and is the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. You can walk where some of the world’s brightest minds have been before. Charles Darwin, John Milton, William Wordsworth, Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking and David Attenborough are all Cambridge alumni. You will also take part in an age-old tradition of punting down the river in a wooden punt boat. We move on to London in the early evening, where we bid farewell.
- 12 nights' accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities. Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room.
- Services of your Expat tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips to ensure that you get the most from your trip. You can also book any of the optional excursions available during your tour with your tour leader – please see the 'Essential Information' tab for more details.
- 12 breakfasts, 6 dinners
- All taxes and fees
- Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)
- Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats, TV for showing DVDs, and toilet.
- 27 Experiences (including guided walking tours, orientation walks, driving tours of cities plus other exciting experiences)
- Free Expat Explore tour souvenir – a memorable gift of your once in a lifetime trip.
Optional ExcursionsOptional excursions are payable in cash currency to your tour leader whilst on tour.
- Roman Baths
- Loch Ness Cruise
- Shakespeare's House
- The Beatles Story & Museum
- Ring of Kerry day-trip
Return customers get 10% off!
If you have traveled with us before you qualify for a 10% rebate. To claim your rebate, simply type your previous Booking Number in the "Special Notes" box at the final Payment step of the checkout.
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- Thanks to the great number of people who travel with us each year, we can negotiate great deals that would be quite impossible for you to find on your own.
Detailed Info Pack
- Tour start & end points
- Pre-departure information
- Pre-tour accommodation
For more information on, starting points & times, emergency contact details, budgeting for your tour & much more you can download our information pack here.
Helpful Pre-Trip Info
On tour costs
Please refer to the tour itinerary above for full details of what activities are included, which meals are included and what is excluded. We would recommend budgeting €25-€40 per day (this excludes optional excursions).
Please note, by default all rooms are twin bed rooms.
- Partners: When you book for more than one person, we will by default group you together in a room (unless you specifically request us not to). If you are unequal numbers (3, 5, 7 etc.) and we are unable to secure a triple room then the the remaining traveler will be roomed with another passenger of the same gender.
- Single Travelers: If you are travelling alone there is no compulsory charge - you will share a twin room with another passenger of the same gender. There is an optional single supplement/private room upgrade available for single travellers who wish to have a private room. This can be added at the time of booking or by contacting our customer services team. Please note that the room provided may be a single room with a single bed.
- Triple Room requests: We can generally provide a triple room on request; however it is not guaranteed to be available in every destination. Please contact our customer services team to request a triple room. Please note that in some hotels, the triple may be a double and a single bed, or the third bed may be a pull-out or bunk-bed. Where we cannot provide a triple room the rooming will consist of one twin room and the third passenger sharing with another single traveller of the same gender.
In some destinations you will have a full free day, where you can choose to join our optional excursions or explore on your own.
Your tour starts and finishes in London. Please have a look at our essential tour help page for detailed information.
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If you have any medical conditions that may be affected by where you sit, please discuss them with your Tour Leader, but note that the seat rotation policy will most likely mean that your request may not be honoured.
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For a relatively small price, travel insurance provides you with the peace of mind so that you can enjoy your tour without any worries. To receive a quote from one of our preferred travel insurance partners, please visit WorldNomads (for all nationalities) or Hollard (for South Africans).