Britain and Ireland Explorer

Go behind the scenes on an exploration of all the highlights of Great Britain and Ireland, from the haunt of Shakespeare to Edinburgh’s medieval allure, the sweeping Cliffs of Moher to England’s celebrated Lake District. Come face-to-face with the legacies of the Vikings, Romans and Normans, witness the sites of great tragedies and triumphs, and keep a keen eye out for an elusive monster hidden in a famous loch.
Tour details
Tour Provider Costsaver
Price From
Number of Days
Start Location
London, United Kingdom
End Location
London, United Kingdom
Age Range
Avg. 35+
Group Size
20 to 45
Tour Style
Tour Themes
No specific theme
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Itinerary Open all
London – Stratford-upon-Avon – York – Bradford
Discover what’s 'great' about Great Britain as you kickstart your lengthy love affair with Britain and Ireland in London. The multicultural capital, with all its colour, history and culture, waves you on towards the lush green counties north as you wind your way to Stratford-upon-Avon. There’s time to explore the town where England’s favourite bard was born and laid to rest. You could delve into his life during a visit to Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Visitor Centre before continuing your journey to York. Wander through its medieval streets to the city’s geographic and spiritual heart, the York Minster. Then walk along The Shambles, a street so old it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Continue to your hotel in Bradford.
Bradford – Edinburgh
All that lies between you and bonnie Scotland is Hadrian’s Wall. Unlike the barbarians it sought to keep out, you’ll have free reign not only to view it but to cross it bound for the 12th-century ruins of Jedburgh Abbey. See how this symbol of power and authority over 'The Debatable Lands' still impresses today. This evening, an Optional Experience could see you take in a traditional ceilidh, or time your visit to coincide with the rousing Edinburgh Tattoo with tickets included on certain departures.
Edinburgh sightseeing and free time
Pts, writers, kings and queens have all found it impossible to resist Edinburgh’s allure. From its medieval Old Town to the elegant Georgian façades across the Leith, you’ll soon discover why it captured the hearts of so many famous people throughout the ages. Your Local Specialist reveals all the colourful tales of 'Auld Reekie' as your sightseeing tour rolls past the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, perched atop Castle Rock. Explore the city your way during your free afternoon or consider joining one of two special Optional Experiences, discovering Rosslyn Chapel or exploring what lies behind the impenetrable walls of Edinburgh Castle. Don your tartan if you please this evening. Tonight, choose to visit the ancient village of Torphichen, where Knights Hospitaller once settled.
Edinburgh – St. Andrews – Scottish Highlands
A scenic drive through the ancient kingdom of Fife this morning reveals a time when these lush green hills were under the feudal rule of a Pictish king. Your first stop, however, is in the seaside town of St. Andrews, most noteworthy for its 15th-century university and inspiring the origins of golf. Put aside your dream of a hole-in-one and head to Pitlochry next, your gateway to the Highlands. You could choose to explore this salmon fishing centre on your own or walk in the footsteps of queens during an optional visit to Blair Castle, home to Europe’s last remaining private army. Later, an exhilarating optional encounter with a shepherd and his sheep could be on the cards. But it’s the enthusiastic border collies on this Highland farm that are the stars of the show on this Optional Experience.
Scottish Highlands excursion
Straight out of a scene in 'Outlander', the Scottish Highlands has a mystical air about it which you’ll come to discover as you explore its rugged beauty, evocative history and enchanting Highland ways. On your visit to Loch Ness this morning, keep a keen eye out for ‘Nessie’ before arriving in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Today’s poignant highlight is a visit to Culloden, where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s brave clansmen fought in the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Return to your hotel in the Highlands for dinner.
Scottish Highlands – Glasgow
With its head in the clouds, Ben Nevis offers a majestic backdrop to today’s scenic drive to Fort William, the self-proclaimed ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’. Views of Scotland’s highest peak accompany the drive to Loch Linnhe. Continue to Glenc where the tragic 17th-century massacre of the MacDonalds turned the wild beauty of this valley into a 'Glen of Weeping'. Travel along the banks and braes of Loch Lomond, where an optional cruise experience could take you to Rob Roy’s cave, before arriving in gritty Glasgow later today. Your orientation tour of the city will include views of Glasgow Cathedral and George Square where many of Scotland’s famous sons are immortalised in stone. An evening of good food and characteristic Glaswegian fun lies ahead if you choose an Optional Experience night out on the toon.
Glasgow – Gretna Green – Lake District – Wrexham
Elope to Gretna Green, as many young couples once did to tie the knot over its marriage anvil. While the practice of handfasting was outlawed less than a century ago, this Scottish town remains a haven for romance and runaway lovers. Continue south through tiny northern villages and vast pastures fringed by ancient stone walls to the Lake District. Today’s highlight is a stop at Lake Windermere where an Optional Experience brings this 'loveliest spot that man hath found' to life. Board an optional cruise on a boat and take a step back in time aboard an old-world steam train before arriving at your hotel later.
Wrexham – Chester – Dublin
See the legacy of Roman rule during this morning’s visit to the ancient walled city of Chester. You’ll view its defensive 1st-century walls and the characteristic black and white half-timbered buildings, famously known as 'The Rows' before heading to the west coast. Cross St. George’s Channel to Ireland and its youthful capital, Dublin. You’ll arrive just in time for an Optional Experience at a local restaurant-pub that will deliver the craic for which Ireland is so renowned.
Dublin sightseeing and free time
Embrace your playful side on this morning’s sightseeing tour through Ireland’s whimsical capital with a Local Specialist. View St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle and Trinity College, where the 9th-century Book of Kells, and Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure, is housed. This afternoon, explore Dublin your way or join one of two Optional Experiences to visit important monastic sight in Europe. Your Local Specialist will bring the ancient stories of Glendalough to life and show you around the beautiful landscapes of the garden of Ireland. This evening, an optional dinner and cabaret evening will have your ts tapping and taste buds craving another round of Irish coffee.
Dublin - Boyle - Co. Donegal
Cross the 'Emerald Isle', passing lush green counties as you wind your way north to Bundoran. There’s no better way to admire the scenery than joining an optional cruise along the Shannon River. Later, view the ruins of the 12th-century Boyle Abbey before continuing to Donegal, the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way.
County Donegal excursion
Leaving civilisation behind for the day, your scenic drive through County Donegal will deliver a multitude of dramatic landscapes. Golden beaches, rugged cliffs and uninhabited islands dot your route so keep your camera at the ready to capture these perfect gifts of Mother Nature. Nothing says sophistication quite like fine porcelain and this afternoon’s visit to Belleek Pottery reveals over a century of craftsmanship and art, the results of which can still be seen on dining tables the world over.
County Donegal – Galway – Cliffs of Moher – Shannon
Galway’s ancient reputation as a 'place of foreigners' is long gone, but much of its captivating heritage remains as you’ll see first-hand during a stroll around Eyre Square. View Galway Cathedral, then leave the city behind for the plunging Cliffs of Moher. Take a deep breath and let the fresh sea air fill your lungs as you peer over the edge of the emerald-topped cliffs to the crashing waves of the Atlantic below. With a squint you may just be able to see the distant Aran Islands, but without much effort you’ll spot the curious and colourful beaked puffins which are eager residents of the area. You’ll visit the interactive Cliffs Exhibition before heading to your hotel in Shannon.
Shannon – Dingle Peninsula – Co. Kerry
See the Ireland you’ve only encountered in pictures and on the big screen until now. Your drive around the stunning Dingle Peninsula reveals a land of stone monuments, wild beaches and verdant pastures. See tiny Gaelic settlements, colourful fishing villages and landscapes that 'catch the heart off guard', in the words of Irish pt, Seamus Heaney. Later arrive in Tralee in County Kerry, where the Rose of Tralee International Festival attracts 'lovely and fair' Irishwomen from around the world to compete for the crown of 'Rose'. A fitting way to end the day would be to join an Optional Experience with a show of Irish dancers. Embrace the spirit of old Ireland life and times and enjoy a hearty Irish meal.
Co. Kerry – Blarney – Waterford
Kiss the Blarney Stone and acquire the 'gift of the gab' on your visit to Blarney Castle this morning. Show off your silver tongue throughout your scenic drive through Cork to Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city. From the ancient Vikings to the Normans, they all made their mark on Waterford, but it is the city’s glittering crystal mastery spanning the years since 1783 that have made it world famous. Visit the Waterford Crystal Showroom (when open) to see its artistry before an optional walking tour with a Local Specialist followed by a drink in a pub.
Waterford – Cardiff
Board your return ferry to the United Kingdom this morning, arriving in Wales later where its tiny capital Cardiff waits to be explored. Your orientation tour will take you past its Millennium Centre, the National Assembly and the historic Castle at its heart. Join an optional tour of Cardiff Castle followed by an optional evening of Welsh music, culture and humour.
Cardiff – Bath – Windsor – London
As your epic exploration of five countries comes to an end, there’s time to fit in some last-minute sightseeing before returning to London. Cross the Severn Estuary into England and venture to Bath, with its elegant Georgian architecture and the Roman Baths which have given this ancient spa town its name. Visit Windsor and view the world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle before shopping for Royal souvenirs. The King's home is a sight to behold before you continue to London where your journey comes to an end.
  • 15 Breakfast (B)
  • 5 Dinner (D)
  • An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
  • The services of a Costsaver Local Host if you stay at Costsaver's recommended London hotel
  • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
  • Many meals and daily breakfasts included
  • City orientation tours
  • Audio headsets are provided throughout your holiday to enhance your included sightseeing experiences
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries
  • Extensive variety of Choice Optional Experiences
  • On occasion, hotels of similar standard and location may be utilised.
Departure dates
Start End Availability Price NZD
21 Apr 2024 06 May 2024 onRequest $5,225
05 May 2024 20 May 2024 onRequest $5,253
12 May 2024 27 May 2024 Available $5,275
26 May 2024 10 Jun 2024 onRequest $5,275
02 Jun 2024 17 Jun 2024 Available $4,512
09 Jun 2024 24 Jun 2024 Available $5,308
16 Jun 2024 01 Jul 2024 Available $4,512
23 Jun 2024 08 Jul 2024 Available $4,512
30 Jun 2024 15 Jul 2024 Available $4,722
07 Jul 2024 22 Jul 2024 Available $4,722
21 Jul 2024 05 Aug 2024 Available $5,583
28 Jul 2024 12 Aug 2024 Available $5,583
04 Aug 2024 19 Aug 2024 Available $5,995
18 Aug 2024 02 Sep 2024 Available $5,995
25 Aug 2024 09 Sep 2024 Available $4,792
01 Sep 2024 16 Sep 2024 Available $5,495
08 Sep 2024 23 Sep 2024 Available $5,495
15 Sep 2024 30 Sep 2024 Available $5,495
22 Sep 2024 07 Oct 2024 Available $5,445
20 Apr 2025 05 May 2025 Available $5,748
27 Apr 2025 12 May 2025 Available $5,775
04 May 2025 19 May 2025 Available $5,775
11 May 2025 26 May 2025 Available $5,803
18 May 2025 02 Jun 2025 Available $5,803
25 May 2025 09 Jun 2025 Available $5,803
01 Jun 2025 16 Jun 2025 Available $5,825
08 Jun 2025 23 Jun 2025 Available $5,825
15 Jun 2025 30 Jun 2025 Available $5,825
22 Jun 2025 07 Jul 2025 Available $5,825
29 Jun 2025 14 Jul 2025 Available $6,105
06 Jul 2025 21 Jul 2025 Available $6,105
13 Jul 2025 28 Jul 2025 Available $6,105
20 Jul 2025 04 Aug 2025 Available $6,133
27 Jul 2025 11 Aug 2025 Available $6,133
03 Aug 2025 18 Aug 2025 Available $6,595
12 Aug 2025 27 Aug 2025 Available $6,595
17 Aug 2025 01 Sep 2025 Available $6,595
24 Aug 2025 08 Sep 2025 Available $6,215
31 Aug 2025 15 Sep 2025 Available $6,045
07 Sep 2025 22 Sep 2025 Available $6,045
14 Sep 2025 29 Sep 2025 Available $6,045
21 Sep 2025 06 Oct 2025 Available $5,995