Why I love Wales
“I well remember my first time in Wales – a short trip to Cardiff with a fellow Kiwi living in London. We were so impressed with the castle that we took the train to Caerphilly the following day for an extra serving. I returned shortly afterwards to walk the extraordinarily beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and I've been back numerous times since and explored most corners of the country. Yet on every visit there's...” Read More
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Royal Palaces Pass: London
Tower of LondonHome to the Crown Jewels, the Tower of London reverberates with dark secrets, where priceless jewels glint in fortified vaults and pampered ravens strut the grounds. Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066, and enlarged and modified by successive sovereigns, the Tower of London is one of the world's most famous and spectacular fortresses. Discover its 900-year history as royal palace and fortress, prison and place of execution, mint, arsenal, menagerie and jewel house.Hampton Court PalaceFlamboyant King Henry VIII developed this majestic palace after acquiring it in the 1520s. The palace has fabulous furnishings, tapestries and paintings, and is set in formal gardens, which include the famous maze and Great Vine.Kensington PalaceGenerations of royal women have shaped this stylish palace and elegant gardens, from Queen Mary to Victoria, and more recently, Diana, Princess of Wales. Today, the palace also houses a stunning collection of fashionable formal dress worn for state and royal occasions.
London City Sightseeing Tour Including Tower of London and City of London
Pop in your state-of-the-art Vox headphones as your tour starts and listen to your guide talking clearly about each site. If you want to wander aside and take photos of attractions, you won’t miss any of the commentary! First stop is a guided tour of Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral. Crowned by the magnificent dome that continues to dominate the London skyline, the cathedral was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. In recent years it has seen the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Lady Diana Spencer and, most recently, the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.Then it's on to the Tower of London, the ancient fortress steeped in centuries of murder and treason, guarded by jet-black ravens. The splendidly dressed Beefeaters will tell you about the Tower's history, including tragic tales of royals and nobles who met their end within its walls. You'll also see the fabulous Crown Jewels, including the 6,000-year-old Koh-I-Noor diamond and impressive coronation regalia. Before you leave the tower, your guide will hand you a ticket for sightseeing cruise to Westminster Pier. The ticket can be used after your tour, or any other day of your choice (up until March 31, 2016). You'll then continue by coach to the City of London, that famous square mile where brash new architecture towers above buildings dating back to medieval times. The Romans founded Londinium here 2,000 years ago, and the city's square mile of narrow streets follows the cramped medieval street plan.You'll see the glorious dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, the elegant Mansion House, home to the Lord Mayor of London, and the nearby Bank of England, known as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, at the heart of the City.St Paul’s Cathedral is closed to the public on Sundays and following dates: December 23 2014, February 4, 18, March 19, April 3 and May 12 2015. On these dates, there will be a photo stop outside the Cathedral and the tour will visit Tower Bridge Exhibition or Banqueting House instead.
Howth Day Trip from Dublin
Meet your guide in central Dublin to begin your 6-hour tour. After a 25-minute train ride, arrive in Howth. Stroll the hilly landscape, taking in the fresh sea air and walking along the cliffs. Let your guide regale you with historical tales of the area, particularly about the Vikings who first arrived in the 9th century. Hear how the name Howth is possibly derived from hǫfuð, an ancient Norse word for ‘head,’ which makes sense as this peninsula is also called Howth Head and was inhabited by Vikings centuries ago. It is home to one of Ireland’s oldest structures, the imposing Howth Castle. Lovers of Irish literature might recall it is the spot where Leopold Bloom proposed to Molly in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses.On clear days, Howth offers a great view of Dublin and, if you squint, you can sometimes see as far as Northern Ireland and Wales. The area also boasts Howth Castle, one of the oldest occupied buildings in all of Ireland. Learn about its intriguing history and its place in Irish culture as you soak up the views. Lighthouses, Viking and medieval ruins, remnants from the Neolithic age and W.B. Yeats’ boyhood home are just a few of the other sights you may see.When you’ve built up a hunger, stop into the Summit restaurant for a traditional Howth seafood meal, which is discounted for your tour group (or feel free to bring your own lunch, if you wish).At the end of the tour, simply hop back on the train for Dublin. Or, if you’re smitten with the real Ireland, feel free to stay a bit longer and sip a pint of beer in one of the great pubs that sprinkle the area.
City Sightseeing Cardiff Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Croeso! A warm welcome awaits you on this City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off bus tour of Cardiff, where you'll hear all about the development of the City and see its fine Civic buildings, the new Bay area and the new Millennium Stadium.You can hop-on and off as many times as you like aboard this open-top double-decker bus. There are 11 stops in total, and the entire route takes approximately 50 minutes. The bus departs every 30 - 60 minutes from each stop. Tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use.
London Old City Walking Tour
Make your own way to Covent Garden in central London to meet your guide and begin your walking tour of historical London. Before you set off, discover how the market at Covent Garden dates back to the 17th century, and hear about its past as one of the capital’s most notorious red-light districts.Continue on to two of London’s most famous streets: the Strand, in the heart of the West End, and Fleet Street, where all of the country’s major newspaper offices were once situated.Next, pause by St Paul’s Cathedral, arguably London’s most iconic landmark. Discover how the eye-catching cathedral has stood as the highest point of the city for more than 1,000 years, and hear about the important services that have been held inside, including the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer. Just a short walk from St Paul’s, you’ll also see the Temple of Mithras, built by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago.Then, make for the Monument, the tallest freestanding stone column in the world. As you follow your guide through the capital’s history-rich streets, learn about the Great Fire of London and see the site of London’s first coffee house, as well as one of the oldest pubs.Soak up the riverside sights by London Bridge, and then make your final stop of the tour at the Tower of London. Hear how William the Conqueror built the imposing palace-fortress in 1066, and learn about its long history as a royal palace, prison and execution place, as well as a royal mint and armory.Your tour then concludes outside the tower, leaving you free to spend the rest of the day as you wish.
5-Day Heart of England Tour from London: North Wales, Stratford-upon-Avon, Buxton and York
Back in the 16th century, none of the inhabitants of Stratford-upon-Avon thought that their sleepy village would one day become one of the most important tourist attractions in the UK, but William Shakespeare, who was born there, certainly changed that. This famous town is the first stop of your 5-day tour from London to the heart of England. You’ll also visit Shrewsbury, where you’ll stay for two nights and York where you will spend two further nights in a 3-star guesthouse or 3-star hotel.On your second day, visit Wales and the beautiful castle of Conwy. Continue through Snowdonia National Park, home to the highest mountain in Wales, and then visit the small spa village of Trefriw plus Llanberis, a favorite destination for lovers of the great outdoord.Continue through the Peak District, a region of stunning landscapes, where you'll visit the small town of Buxton, and then head to Chatsworth House. Spend your final evening in the beautiful city of York. Explore its quaint cobblestone streets and see its magnificent monastery (St Mary's Abbey), and, of course, York Minster. Finally, stop in historic Cambridge on your way back to London. Please note: breakfast is included in your accommodation and you'll have enough free time to enjoy lunch and dinner independently at your own expense.