David McGuffin's Exploring Europe Logo
Duration: Aug 3 2017 - Aug 19 2017
Location: SCOTLAND - WALES - IRELAND
Price: $4469 + air
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Your Adventure Starts Here!

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The Isle of Iona

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EDINBURGH CASTLE

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CONWY CASTLE

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LOADS OF FUN!

  • TOUR OVERVIEW

    TOUR OVERVIEW

    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.

    Crossing the Irish Sea, we will kick off in Dublin, where you’ll get a solid introduction to Irish history, culture, and charm. Then let’s head out into the countryside to experience three distinct regions featuring Kilkenny, Dingle, Doolin, and Galway.

    Your Adventure Starts Here!

  • TOUR ITINERARY

    DAY 1:  Welcome to Edinburgh

    After airport formalities, meet your Exploring Europe guide for introductions, a warm welcome and a wee dram of spirits. 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.  Enjoy lunch on your own and an opportunity to experience the National Museum of Scotland.  Finally, visit the historic Edinburgh Castle, the “birthplace” of the city with its spectacular views and vistas.  Enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. 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: Across the Irish Sea

    Today, we will travel across the Irish Sea to Ireland.  Once in Dublin, enjoy a guided driving and walking tour of Dublin’s compact city center.  We will make time for a stop at the famous Guinness Brewery for a look at the production process and a visit to the panoramic Gravity Bar for your first taste of an authentic pint of the stout brewed here in Dublin. You’ll get your fill with a traditional dinner at a favorite Dublin pub. We’ll also include a two-day “Hop-On-Hop-Off” Bus Pass entitling you to free sightseeing and transportation around Dublin.  Later, check into our hotel where you’ll have the remainder of the evening to relax and settle in. Ferry or Flight: 2 hours.  Driving: 1.5 hours. Walking: Light. Sleep 2 nights in Dublin. Lunch.

    DAY 11: Dublin City

    After breakfast, enjoy a tour of Trinity College followed by a look at the “illuminated” Book of Kells.  The afternoon is scheduled to be event-free for you to experience more of Dublin on your own.  We’ll meet tonight for dinner at a restaurant featuring traditional songs, music, stories, and dance. Walking: moderate. Dinner.

    DAY 12: Glendalough and Kilkenny

    Following breakfast, leave the big city behind and begin your journey around the island.  The first stop is the ancient monastic site of Glendalough, located in the beautiful Wicklow Mountains.  We’ll take a peaceful walk along the lakes and through the forest while learning about the monastery and its role in history.  Then, travel to the university town of Kilkenny where you will have some free time to experience the town, castle, cathedral and shops.  Finally, experience a tastebud tingling dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant this side of Tuscany.  Driving: 4 hours. Walking: moderate. Sleep 1 night in Kilkenny.  Dinner.

    DAY 13: Kilkenny to Dingle

    Cutting across southern Ireland from east to west, we’ll eventually make our way to Dingle.  Once settled in our hotel, we’ll take a driving and walking orientation of town followed by free-time to do some exploring on your own.  Tonight’s menu features a selection of fresh and sumptuous locally sourced products.  After dinner, join the fun at a pub for a traditional music session or live folk music. Driving: 5 hours. Walking: Light. Sleep 2 nights in Dingle. Dinner.

    DAY 14: The Dingle Peninsula

    Experience some of Ireland’s wildest natural beauty and oldest pre-historic settlements on our driving tour of the Slea Head. Enjoy endless fields of “40 shades of green”, rock-crashing waves and all the sheep you’ll ever want to count. Back in Dingle, you’ll have the afternoon and evening for shopping, dinner, and music on your own. Want to play a round of golf or go horseback riding?  We can help make arrangements.  Driving: 3 hours. Walking: moderate.

    DAY 15: The Cliffs of Moher and Doolin

    After a breathtaking drive through the coastal mountains, we will ferry across the River Shannon to County Clare.  Experience the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher where you’ll find yourself teetering on the edge of a series of 600 foot cliffs perched on the North Atlantic. Once in Doolin, enjoy some free-time to visit the craft shops, take a walk, or simply relax.  We’ll stroll down to the local pub for an organized Irish whiskey tasting followed by dinner.  Then grab a seat and settle in for some of the best traditional music on the island. Driving: 3 hours. Walking: Moderate. Sleep 1 night in Doolin. Dinner.

    DAY 16:  The Burren and Galway

    We’ll take a scenic drive along the Atlantic coast around Galway Bay and through the rocky terrain known as the Burren. Many liken this to the surface of the moon. Once in Galway City, enjoy an overview driving tour of the city’s highlights. Then, you’ll have the remainder of the day to do some exploring on your own.  Here you can pass the time shopping, wandering in the pedestrian area, listening to local musicians and enjoying life. Later, we’ll meet of dinner to cap off your Celtic travel experience. Driving: 3 hours. Walking: Light. Sleep 1 night in Galway.

    DAY 17: Heading Home

    After breakfast, we will get you to Shannon Airport for your return flight to the USA.

  • WHAT’S INCLUDED

    Transportation provided by coach, mini-bus, train, flights and ferry in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

    One-way flight or ferry from Wales to Ireland.

    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.

    Tours and admissions to the following attractions, experiences, and sightsIRELAND: Comprehensive Dublin coach and walking tour covering all the essential sights in the City ▪ Trinity College and Book of Kells tour ▪ Dublin Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Pass ▪ Wicklow Mountain driving tour ▪ Glendalough monastic site orientation and tour ▪ Kilkenny orientation walk ▪ Dingle Town walking tour ▪ Slea Head coach tour ▪ Blasket Island Centre entrance ▪ The Cliffs of Moher experience ▪ Galway walking and driving tour ▪ traditional music session almost nightly.  SCOTLAND:  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 ▪ Stirling orientation driving tour  ▪ Glasgow orientation information.  WALES: Conwy walking tour ▪ Conwy Castle entrance ▪ Bodnant Gardens (weather permitting) ▪ Trefriw Woolen Mills ▪ Blaenau Ffestiniog Slate Mine ▪ scenic steam train rides 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 2017.

    $100 discount if making all payments by check, cash or bank draft. The $400 initial deposit may be made by credit card and still qualify for this discount.

    Single rooms for solo travelers are available for an additional fee.

    Please note – You are responsible for the cost of your drinks at all group dinners and for any additional costs incurred while sightseeing on your own.

  • KEY TO WALKING & PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

    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.

  • SIGN UP FOR THIS TOUR

     

    To reserve a seat on this tour you must agree to our Tour Conditions (in the PDF Application below) and provide us with a deposit of $400 per person. We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and PayPal for all tour deposits and payments.  Additionally, we accept personal checks (US banks only), bank drafts, and money orders made payable to David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe (in US dollars).

    STEP 1: COMPLETE AN APPLICATION

    Open this fillable PDF Application and complete your tour sign up  information.

    Return the application by way of:

    – email – bookings@davidmcguffin.com

    – FAX – 1-800-570-1351

    – USPS snail mail – Exploring Europe, 4026 Hidden Acre Rd, Middleburg, FL 32068

    STEP 2: MAKE YOUR DEPOSIT PAYMENT

    -Submit your payment by check or money order and send along with the tour application to or office at the address listed above.

    -Email the tour application and credit card information as an attachment to bookings@davidmcguffin.com

    -Submit you payment at our online secure website by clicking the “Sign Up Now” button below AND follow up by completing the fillable PDF Application and sending to or office via one of the methods mentioned above.  In this case, there is no need to provide credit card information on the fillable application.

     

     

    STEP 3: FINAL PAYMENT

    Your final tour payment is due in our office at least 90 days prior to the start of the tour.  The due date is noted on your tour confirmation letter and invoice. If you sign up for a tour less than 90 days before its departure, the entire tour price must be paid, and the deposit portion ($400) is non-refundable.

    We offer a $100 discount if all payments (beyond the initial $400 deposit which may be paid with a credit card) are made by check, cash, bank draft, or money order.

    Deposits for tours are refundable for two weeks from the date we receive it in our office. Additionally, deposits received in 2016 for any 2017 tour departing after April 1 are 100% refundable through January 5, 2017. After these dates, deposits are not refundable for any reason and will be forfeited if you cancel your tour reservation. All cancellations must be in writing. Cancellations will be effective on the date the written notification is received by David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe, Inc. by mail, e-mail, or fax.

    Once we receive your application and deposit, we will send you a confirmation over e-mail (or written notification if no e-mail address is provided). If you would like to talk to a tour expert before signing up, please give us a call at 800 570-1351 or e-mail us at tours@davidmcguffin.com.

Edinburgh is loaded with history and is entirely walkable, just walk slowly.  The old middle ages-era town straddles a pedestrian road known as “The Royal Mile.”  It begins at Holyrood Palace (at the bottom of the hill) and rises 1.2 miles upward to the Edinburgh Castle.  It is my favorite town in Scotland. Your Adventure Starts Here!

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Small Group: Only 6-24 passengers. 
  • Experience two Celtic cultures.
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  • Gourmet Dining at some of David’s favorite restaurants featuring fresh local-sourced products.
  • Traditional music, plenty of pubs, and loads of fun.