- David’s Blog
This tour begins visiting my favorite destinations in Scotland. Enjoy the grandeur of Edinburgh and its cliff-hanging castle, St. Andrews (the home of golf), and the vast rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands. We’ll wrap up our tour on the west coast visiting the port town of Oban, the remote Hebrides Islands, and Loch Lomond.
In England, experience the serenity and beauty of the Lake District. Then enjoy three days in North Wales experiencing medieval castles, quaint villages, beautiful gardens and steam locomotives.
Plus, there are options to extend your tour to LONDON & PARIS or IRELAND. You'll find more information below.
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Optional Single Supplement: $700
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DAY 1: Welcome to Edinburgh – Let’s plan to meet at 2:00 p.m. in our hotel lobby for introductions and a warm welcome. Then, enjoy an orientation walk around the famous Royal Mile. You will receive a Hop-On-Hop-Off Edinburgh Bus Pass providing you free transportation and a comprehensive open-top bus tour of Edinburgh for the duration of your stay. Later, we will meet for a group dinner to get to know one another. Walking: moderate. Sleep 2 nights in Edinburgh. Dinner.
DAY 2: Edinburgh - Today, we will see the best of Edinburgh on foot by strolling the Royal Mile featuring its historic buildings, narrow alleys and hidden courtyards. We’ll begin with a visit to the historic Edinburgh Castle, the “birthplace” of the city and affording spectacular views and vistas. The remainder of the day is totally yours to explore more of Edinburgh on your own. Perhaps you’ll want to visit the National Museum of Scotland, take another of the three HOHO bus tours, visit Holyrood Palace, hike up Carlton Hill or Arthur’s Seat, enjoy “high tea” in a cafe or do some shopping on the Royal Mile or in the new town. The possibilities are endless. Walking: moderate.
DAY 3: St. Andrews and the Highlands — Today, cross the famous Firth of Forth and travel through the Kingdom of Fife to St. Andrews, the home of golf and the famous Old Course. St. Andrews is equally important for its medieval town and cathedral. After lunch, we will head across some of the most scenic mountains in Scotland on our way to the Highlands. We’ll set up for the evening in a little village where you can enjoy dinner and lots of peace and quiet. Driving: 4 hours. Walking: moderate. Sleep 1 night in the Scottish Highlands. Dinner.
DAY 4: The Highlands and Oban - Experience the wild rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands today as we make our way to Fort William, drive along Loch Linney, and ultimately to the coastal town of Oban. Enjoy a group dinner featuring fresh-caught seafood and a quiet evening in town. Driving: 5 hours. Walking: Light. Sleep 2 nights in Oban. Dinner.
DAY 5: The Hebrides Isles — Today, we will board the ferry to the Isle of Mull and eventually Iona, the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland. Here, you will have several hours to experience the 800-year-old abbey where the Book of Kells was written and fabricated by the local monks. Enjoy some time on your own to experience the island. Finally, return to Oban for an event-free evening and a chance to kick up your heels at a local pub. Boat: 3 hours. Driving: 2 hours. Walking: Moderate to Light.
DAY 6: Loch Lomond and England — Following breakfast, we will take the “low road” down toward Loch Lomond and eventually to the Lake District National Park in England. Here, enjoy a short orientation of our peaceful little village and plenty of time to wander, take a walk or simply relax. Sleep 1 night in the Lake District. Driving: 5 hours. Walking: Light.
DAY 7: Northern Wales – After breakfast, we will drive into Northern Wales and set up near the coastal town of Conwy. Enjoy an orientation walking tour and a visit to the hilltop Conwy Castle. We will meet later for dinner at a favorite restaurant. Driving: 4 hours. Walking: Light. Sleep 3 nights in or near Conwy. Dinner.
DAY 8: Sights and Attractions to the south of Conwy – We will begin by visiting the colorful Bodnant Gardens (weather permitting) where you can spend several hours enjoying the flora and fauna, walking the miles of trails and relaxing. Next, we will visit a working woolen mill in the village of Trefriw where you’ll learn how raw wool is transformed into fabric. We will end our day in the delightful village of Betws-y-Coed, a picture-perfect setting with lots of shops, waterfalls, wooded paths and cafes. Then, it is back to our B&B for a free evening. Driving: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.
DAY 9: Trains, Slate Mines and Castles – Enjoy a visit to Caenarfon Castle, the home of the Prince of Wales and a look around the bustling town center. Then we will hop on an old- fashioned train powered by a steam locomotive to explore Snowdonia National Park. We will finish up our sightseeing with a visit to a slate mine near the village of Blaenau Ffestiniog. After a busy day, you’ll enjoy our grand farewell dinner to cap off your Celtic tour experience. Train: 2.5 hours. Driving:2 hours. Walking: Moderate. Dinner.
DAY 10: Heading Home – After breakfast, we will get you to the local train station or Manchester airport. Or, why not consider extending your travels and join us in London and Paris or Ireland. See below for details.
This itinerary is subject to change.
Transportation provided by mini bus or motorcoach from your first hotel in Edinburgh to either the local train station or airport in North Wales.
Hand-picked accommodations in centrally located hotels, guesthouses, and B&B’s. All meeting David’s highest standards of quality. All rooms have private en-suite bathes.
All tips and gratuities to guides, drivers, restaurant and hotel staff.
Guaranteed Small Group consisting of 6-24 travelers.
All breakfasts and dinners as noted in the itinerary.
Traditional and gourmet dining experiences at some of David's personal favorite restaurants. Eating well is a priority and you’ll enjoy fine regional fare featuring the best the locale has to offer.
Water is included with all meals. Tea and coffee are served following the meal. You are responsible for the cost of any additional drinks at all group dinners and while dining on your own.
Tours and admissions to the following attractions, experiences, and sights Edinburgh driving and walking tour, Edinburgh Castle admission and guided tour, Edinburgh Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Pass, walking tour of St. Andrews, Oban orientation stroll, Isle of Mull and Iona cruise and coach/walking tour, Orientation and driving tour in the Lake District, Conwy walking tour, Conwy Castle entrance, Bodnant Gardens (weather permitting), Trefriw Woolen Mills, Blaenau Ffestiniog Slate Mine (weather permitting), scenic steam train ride in Northern Wales, Caernarfon orientation walk and castle entrance and much more (itinerary specifics are subject to change).
A fulltime Exploring Europe guide and local experts dedicated to bringing to life the art, history, and culture of the tour destinations.
David’s printed tour handouts detailing each day’s historical and cultural experiences.
Free luggage tags and David’s custom designed drawstring backpacks.
Our Unconditional Tour Price Guarantee that once locked in, will never change.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance providing full coverage for emergency medical, baggage loss, and trip delay from the moment you depart for your tour.
$50 Tour Alumni discount for each McGuffin tour you’ve taken prior to 2018.
Single rooms for solo travelers are available for an additional $700.
The Best of London and Paris tour provides an opportunity to settle in and experience two of Europe’s major capital cities. London presents a relatively stress-free introduction with non-stops flights from North America, almost no language-barrier and easy transportation. All this coupled with our comprehensive itinerary and an opportunity to experience some of the best theatre in the world makes London a perfect beginning to this tour. The EuroStar high-speed train will zip you from London to Paris in less than three hours. In Paris, we’ve included all the major tourist sights and must-see attractions, but there is also plenty of time to slow down and enjoy the experience.
This tour kicks off with a driving and walking tour of Dublin, where you’ll get a solid introduction to Irish history, culture, and charm. Then we will head out into the countryside to experience three distinct regions. You’ll visit ancient monastic sites, fairy forts, and charming villages. Enjoy some of the best fresh local food on the island all seasoned with traditional Irish music. This tour provides in depth tour experiences in Dublin, Kilkenny, Blarney, Dingle, The Cliffs of Moher and Doolin, Galway, the Aran Islands and more.
Ireland is the land of forty shades of green, all the sheep you’ll ever want to count, and a warm welcome on every doorstep! It is a mystical place, full of fairy forts, stone circles, ancient passage tombs, and superstitions that run deep. During the “Dark Ages” it was the home of saints and scholars who carried on teaching and learning while the rest of Europe struggled just to survive. Furthermore, Celtic heritage is proudly displayed in traditional music, the Irish language, and Gaelic sports. This Taste O’Ireland tour is the perfect match of sightseeing and cultural experiences packed into nine days offering a worry-free taste of the history, culture, music, and cuisine of Ireland
Walking and Physical Activity: We have planned this trip to provide maximum tour experiences by foot, boat, and vehicle. The basic nature of Europe does require some degree of physical activity to get out and see the sights, especially in the countryside. To help you plan, we’ve included a daily projection of physical activity. Here is our key for our walking activity ratings:
Light – Walking done on level surfaces with some small hills and elevation gains. In most cases, the bus will drop-off and pick-up at nearby locations. Two miles or less of required walking during the day.
Moderate – Walking done on paved and gravel paths. To enjoy the full tour experience, some up and down hill walking is to be expected. Four to five miles of walking per day.
Strenuous – Walking done on rugged and rocky paths with some steps and stairs. Up to six miles of walking per day.
Your Choice – No matter what your walking ability, we will help you find alternative ways to enjoy and experience all Europe has to offer. To get the most out of our tours you should be able to operate at the light level everyday with spurts of moderate and strenuous.
Submit your review
Our overall experience was everything I hoped for. The specific attractions on the itinerary were very effective in making me feel I had experienced Scotland and Wales. Our traveling companions were delightful, and we had just the right mix of planned events, free time, togetherness, and independence. Our new friends and we added two tours - the underground vaults in Edinburgh, and the distillery in Oban. Both were great, and I recommend them. Of the planned excursions, I was most intrigued with the slate mine (I know that’s a surprise, given my focus on textiles; I thought the woolen mill was great, too). The drives through the Highlands and Wales were unforgettable, and the stay at Groes Inn was the best way to wrap up the tour. I will recommend this tour!
BEST OF SCOTLAND, WALES AND IRELAND - Our tour guide was always willing to answer questions, had excellent navigation and driving skills and was always accommodating. Our favorite part of the tour was seeing Edinburgh Castle.
SCOTLAND, August 2017 - This was a very well thought out and directed tour. It met all of our expectations. My favorite moment was seeing the lights at night on Edinburgh Castle. I can't imagine a tour being any better.
BEST OF IRELAND AND SCOTLAND, May 2015 - We loved traveling with Charlotte in Ireland and David in Scotland. We were always amazed by the beautiful scenes of nature and the ancient historical sites on the tour. We always enjoy experiencing the local cuisine. The nature scenes like the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher were our favorite. We loved getting to know Charlotte and laughing a lot!!!
IRELAND AND SCOTLAND - I have never had a vacation with so many wonderful memories. Being able to walk around Dublin and see and experience wonderful people and try their great food dishes was great. I loved the history, magnificent buildings, awesome churches and The Hills. I am a walker now. My favorite part of the trip had to be Scotland; the beehive at the top of what I called a mountain. I had to stop a couple of times to get to the top but I made it. I was so impressed with the places David chose to take us on this trip. From our accommodations to food to entertainment. From planned excursions to off-the-road stops, we could not have asked for a better person to lead us. I loved each hotel. They each held their own charm, from very modern to country charm of a B&B. I loved waking to the calls of cows and horses to the busy street sounds. I enjoyed each meal. I never thought about beans being a breakfast food before. Now I have them once a week. My best memory of dinner was taking a private boat to go have dinner on my birthday; this was another WOW day for me. The proud moment when you find a Clan with your last name and to learn how hard it was on past generations and the reason for so many leaving their homeland to come to America. I could not be more proud of those people. Thank You, David!
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Join David as he shares impromptu moments from his travels in the United kingdom and Ireland. Watching these short 60 second segments are a great way to experience David's travel style and adventures. Watch David's Explore the United Kingdom and Explore Ireland and Scotland.
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