Please note: This is a fast paced discovery tour
Day 1: Australia – – London
Depart Australia today to begin your British getaway!
Day 2: London
On arrival in London you will be transferred to your hotel. After check-in the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 3: London (B)
After having breakfast, we start a walking tour passing key London attractions: Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, Whitehall, St. James’ Park, Buckingham Palace and the River Thames. In the afternoon, we will visit the British Museum, and will enter St Paul’s Cathedral if we have enough time. You can also enjoy the scene of Tower Bridge and Tower of London while sitting on the coach. The Tower of London is an historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It has played a prominent role in English history and served variously as a palace, an armoury, a treasury, a prison, the home of the Royal Mint, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England, and has been setting to many bloody battles among British monarchs.
Day 4: London – Cambridge – York (B)
After breakfast, it is time to visit the nation’s acclaimed educational institution: Cambridge University. In addition to a strong academic atmosphere, Cambridge is where many luminaries started their dreams and hopes for the future with the sight of the pastoral landscapes, picturesque rivers and architecture. The University of Cambridge includes King’s College and Queens College, and is set among the most rural of bridges. We proceed to York, a true medieval melting pot of Roman, Saxon, and Viking culture. The city is mostly intact from the middle ages and shows the rustic side of Britain. We visit York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe. Then we will step up onto the York city walls, dating back to Roman times. For those keen to discover the little grass-roots shops, there will be time to wander around.
Optional Tour: Enjoy a Cambridge Punting on the river Cam
Day 5: York – Edinburgh – Glasgow (B)
After leaving York, Edinburgh is next on our places to visit. We expect to arrive in Edinburgh in the afternoon. Edinburgh is Scotland’s compact, hilly capital. It represents the best in Scottish heritage. Wooden barrels of golden single malt whiskey, tartan kilts and Scottish bagpipes will make you grow fond of this warm and lively nation of quirky characters. Upon arrival, we first visit Edinburgh Castle, set volcanic rock, where once inside we will admire the royal crown and jewellery. We then continue this royal trail with a visit to Holyrood Palace, City Hall and the Royal Parks.
Day 6: Glasgow – Gretna Green – Lake District – Manchester (B)
In the morning, we drive straight to the Lake District, located in the northwest of England. On the way, we will stop in Gretna Green, which is a village in the south of Scotland famous for ‘runaway marriages’, which began in 1754. Due to its romantic wedding traditions dating back over centuries, Gretna Green is one of the world’s most popular wedding locations. After that we continue our journey to the Lake District. The Lake District National Park is the most visited national park in the United Kingdom. Each year tens of thousands of visitors travel here to see the thousands of years of geological changes reflected in the intricate natural beauty, lakes, valleys, mountains, waterfalls and natural carved out planning. Then we drive to Manchester, a fashionable, socially buzzing and dynamic city. This city is not only well known for being a city of sport, the headquarters of Manchester United, but also England’s most productive industrial city. Football fans can enjoy a pilgrimage to the Manchester United Old Trafford grounds or catch a training game. Food lovers can pick a scrumptious restaurant in the nearby Chinatown.
Optional Tour: You can choose our optional boat cruise on Lake Windermere
Day 7: Manchester – Stratford Upon Avon – Bichester Village – London (B)
A breath-taking drive will take us to the famous English playwright and poet William Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. This is also where acclaimed Hollywood blockbuster movie – ‘Shakespeare in Love’ was filmed. From the cobble-stoned streets to the drinking dens, theatres and road signs, everything is to do with Shakespeare. It is heaven for those who are romantically inclined. Our most anticipated outing for today must be the now infamous outlet shopping centre – Bicester Village. For your fix of designer clothes, sporting goods, jewellery, household items and children’s clothing etc., Bicester Village is home to more than 130 fashion and lifestyle boutiques, including Gucci, Armani, Prada, Calvin Klein, Dunhill, DKNY, Burberry, Paul Smith, Bally, Clarks and so on, each offers savings of up to 60%, all year round. We dare you not to be persuaded.
Day 8: London – – Paris (B)
After breakfast we will drive to the sea crossing between Dover and Calais to board the ferry across the English Channel. After around one and a half hour by the ferry crossing, we will arrive in France and then drive back to Paris for our overnight.
Day 9: Paris – Lucerne (B)
After boarding the luxury coach in Paris, sit back and enjoy a scenic journey across classic French countryside en route to mountainous Switzerland. You’ll pass through Basel, which is located at the point where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, before arriving at the picturesque lakeside city of Lucerne, nestled at the foot of the snowcapped Swiss Alps. Here you’ll get to see Lucerne’s famous landmarks, including Chapel Bridge, the Water Tower, and some wonderfully preserved Baroque and Gothic architecture, followed by some free time to shop or take pictures.
Day 10: Lucerne – Milan – Venice (B)
Head south from Lucerne through spectacular Switzerland and into northern Italy, where your first stop will be Milan, fashion capital of the world. Your orientation tour will introduce you to the city’s iconic sights, including the vast Duomo, a gothic cathedral. You’ll also see the planet’s oldest shopping mall, the 19th century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where you can wander among the boutique shops and take lunch in one of the refined cafes. After enjoying the many delights of Milan, you’ll head to another vintage Italian city: Venice.
Day 11: Venice – Rome (B)
Spend the morning in the company of a knowledgeable local guide as you explore Venice, the most magical of cities. Begin with a waterbus ride to San Marco Island, a memorable crossing of the lagoon that gives you a real taste of the city’s charm as you approach the dreamy spires and distinctive waterside buildings. Once on the island you’ll be led around some of Venice’s best-known locations, beginning in the Piazzo with the Basilica di San Marco, a stunning piece of Byzantine architecture. You’ll also see the legendary Bridge of Sighs, which appears on many a postcard or picture of Venice and connects the old prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. Afterwards you’ll have a chance to see some traditional Venetian craftwork at close quarters with a demonstration by Murano glassblowers; their exquisite creations make excellent souvenirs. This afternoon we make our way to Rome.
Optional Tour: The ultimate Venice activity is to ride through the maze of waterways on a gondola, and for most people this optional excursion is a must. Step aboard, relax and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Day 12: Rome – Vatican City – Arezzo (B)
Your day in Rome starts with a visit to the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, which lies at the heart of the Italian capital. Here you’ll marvel at St. Peter’s Basilica, home to Pope Francis and arguably the most significant site in Christianity. The exquisitely beautiful Basilica has been present here for almost 1,700 years and contains a bewildering collection of paintings, frescoes and design crafted by some of humanity’s most famous artists, which you can explore.
Optional Tour: You can choose to add on the optional Sistine Chapel tour to view Michelangelo’s famous painted ceiling.
Next you’ll see the famous Trevi Fountain, the lavish Baroque showpiece where people flock to throw coins into the water – an action which is said to ensure that you’ll return to the city again one day. After lunch, take a step even further back in time as you visit Italy’s unrivalled Roman relics.
Optional Tour: An optional guided tour of the Colosseum, built in AD 72, is highly recommended. Includes a guide and ‘skip the queue’ pass. History comes to life as you imagine yourself witnessing gladiatorial combat inside the spectacular amphitheatre.
Alternatively you can walk at your leisure around the outside to admire the facade of this ancient wonder. After the Colosseum, get up close to the nearby Arch of Constantine, which dates back to the fourth century AD, then spend some further free time enjoying Rome, sampling the rich and creamy delights of ‘gelato’ (Italian ice cream). Next, you can choose to visit the magnificent Basilique Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri near Piazza della Republica or do a bit of shopping at the Mitsukoshi Department store before transferring to Arezzo in the late evening.
Day 13: Arezzo – Florence – Pisa – Genoa (B)
Your voyage of cultural discovery continues as you get to know Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and home to some fabulous architecture and fine art. Begin the day by taking in a wonderful panoramic overview of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo, which boasts glorious vistas over the red roofs, Arno river and ancient city walls out towards the surrounding countryside. Next you can see a demonstration of the traditional craft of leather working at close quarters in a local workshop, and you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase some of the high-quality leather items for which the city is famous. From here you’ll enjoy a guided walk around Florence’s many highlights, including the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno, the Piazza del Duomo and Campanile Tower. You’ll pass the Uffizi Gallery, which contains one of the most notable art collections in Florence. You’ll have free time to see the city further, to shop or to watch the world go by from a streetside cafe, before travelling on to your next destination, Pisa. Here you are free to wander, but be sure to have your camera ready to get a shot of the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, the famous bell tower in the ‘Square of Miracles’, which also contains the centuries-old Cathedral and Baptistery.
Day 14: Genoa – Monaco – Nice – Cannes – Avignon (B)
A breath-taking drive along one of Europe’s most famous stretches of Mediterranean coastline awaits as you say arrivederci to Italy and head for Monaco. This small principality, an enclave in France, is chic and beautiful, home to the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix. A walking sightseeing tour here takes you to the grand Prince’s Palace, where you’ll have some free time to soak up the refined atmosphere, before continuing on to view the 1920s Courthouse, the cliffside Oceanographic Museum, and the Cathedral, where Grace Kelly is buried. We then travel a little further to visit the famous Fragonard Perfume Factory. Here you’ll be taken on a fascinating guided tour around this working factory. Next it’s Nice, where you’ll stop for lunch to sample some excellent local cuisine and warm-hearted hospitality. Your journey continues to Cannes, where many a movie star has enjoyed the sweet smell of success. Be sure to take the opportunity to snap some photos of the Palais des Festival, home to the city’s annual international film festival, before transferring to Avignon Nord.
Day 15: Avignon – Paris (B)
Take a well-earned rest today as you sit back and enjoy great views of the changing rural charms of the French countryside on the journey north to Paris, where your tour finishes.
Day 16: Paris – – Australia (B)
After breakfast enjoy the morning at leisure before you are transferred to Paris airport to board your overnight night to Australia.
Day 17: Australia
Arrive home today