Scottish Military Tattoo with Scotland and Ireland Highlights August 16-30, 2017

August 16 - Depart for Edinburgh, Scotland

Houston, Texas to Edinburgh, Scotland

United Airlines, Flight 462: Depart Houston 01:40 PM; Arrive Chicago O'Hare 04:28 PM

United Airlines, Flight 118: Depart Chicago O'Hare 06:10 PM

August 17 - Edinburgh

Arrive Edinburgh 07:50 AM

Welcome to Edinburgh, Scotland!

Suggested Tour: City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. With great views from the top of the bus, strategically placed stops and an interesting commentary, this City Sightseeing tour is the best way to see the sights of Edinburgh. You can hop-on and off as many times as you like aboard this open-top double-decker bus. There are 14 stops and the entire route takes approximately 60 minutes. The bus departs every 20 minutes from each stop. Tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use. The capital of Scotland since the 15th century, Edinburgh stands on 7 hills creating a dramatic skyline. Travel through the city with ease on this City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off bus tour. Tour highlights include the Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyrood House, the historic Royal Mile and Our Dynamic Earth. ($18.26 per person)

Suggested Tour: Historic Scotland Explorer Pass. Enjoy free entry to 78 of Scotland's top attractions with the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass – a flexible sightseeing pass that allows you to visit the sites that interest you most. Make the most of skip-the-line entry to Scottish showstoppers such as Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle, and visit lesser-known treasures including Fort George. Choose a 3-day pass and sightsee as you wish; includes a saving of 20 percent on an audio tour at Edinburgh or Stirling Castle as well as an information pack and souvenir passport.

The 3-day pass can be used on any three days in a period of five consecutive days from first use. When you redeem your voucher for your Historic Scotland Explorer Pass, you’ll also receive a pack showing the locations of the sites with a souvenir ‘passport’ book; simply ask each site to stamp the book on admission for a memento of your time in Scotland.

The pass include entry to a staggering 78 attractions all around Scotland, from the Orkney Islands in the north to Dumfries and Galloway in the south. Learn about ancient Scottish clans at sites like Skara Brae Prehistoric Village, and discover majestic fortifications and towering turrets at some of Scotland’s finest castles. Scotland’s two top dogs – Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle – are both included in the pass, along with lesser-known treasures such as Duff House and Fort George. ($32.34 per person)

Free Skip-the-Line Entry to Scottish Attractions: Dallas Dhu Distillery; Edinburgh Castle (includes 20% discount on an audio tour); Jedburgh Abbey; Linlithgow Palace; St Andrews Castle; Stirling Castle (includes 20% discount on an audio tour); Urquhart Castle

Free Entry to Scottish Attractions Including: Aberdour Castle and Gardens; Duff House; Dunfermline Abbey and Palace; Fort George; Glasgow Cathedral; Melrose Abbey; Skara Brae Prehistoric Village; St Andrew’s Cathedral

More information: Explorer Pass Map

Accommodations: Ibis Edinburgh South Bridge, Edinburgh (Double Standard with Scottish Breakfast)

August 18 - Edinburgh

Suggested Tour: Rosslyn Chapel, Dunfermline Abbey and Stirling Castle Day Tour from Edinburgh

This is a tour for those want to enjoy Scottish history and culture by visiting some of our most impressive and mysterious sites. We leave from Edinburgh’s most famous street, the Royal Mile, and head towards Dunfermline. You’ll get a chance to photograph and travel over the Forth Road Bridge—a Scottish icon and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our stop in Dunfermline gives you ample time to explore the Abbey Kirk (included with Scottish Explorer Pass) here. It’s a lovely church and is the burial place of Robert the Bruce; you can view his tomb here during the summer season. We’ll also make a quick stop at the sight of the Battle of Bannockburn- the sight of Robert the Bruce and Scotland’s biggest victory—you’ll have the chance to photograph Bruce’s magnificent statue here.

Next we’ll head to Stirling Castle—the reconstructions of James IV’s hall and James V’s palace here have raised the bar for heritage practice worldwide. You’ll have over two hours here to explore the castle (included with Scottish Explorer Pass), see its grand rooms and learn about how life here once was. There are fantastic views from the battlements of the Wallace Monument and over the southern Highlands and the Ochil Hills. You’ll learn the true tale of Braveheart from your guide!

Our final stop of the day is at Rosslyn Chapel (own expense). Dan Brown set the climatic scenes of his novel The Da Vinci Code here you may recognise it from the film of the same name. You could spend hours mesmerised by the intricate carvings here. It is full of mystery and intrigue, and you’ll learn the stories behind individual carvings. You can also take a short walk over a bridge across a stunning steeply-sided valley and stream to the nearby Rosslyn Castle.

Inclusions: Driver/guide.

Exclusions: Entrance fees; Food and drinks; Gratuities (optional).

Accommodations: Ibis Edinburgh South Bridge, Edinburgh (Double Standard with Scottish Breakfast)

August 19 - Edinburgh

Scottish Highlands Day Trip and Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Tour the Scottish Highlands on a day trip from Edinburgh, and then watch the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at night. Capturing the essence of Scotland in one day, the experience offers the perfect combination of Scottish Highland countryside, a whisky distillery tour with a sample and a guaranteed ticket to the Military Tattoo — where festival-style performances and marches take place at Edinburgh Castle’s historical esplanade.

After leaving central Edinburgh, travel by air-conditioned minibus to the city of Stirling to see the historical Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle, one of the largest castles in Scotland. Having viewed each monument from the outside, head further through the scenic Trossachs National Park, hear tales of Rob Roy (the legendary Scottish folk hero), and enjoy impressive views of the untouched nature of the Scottish Highlands.

Travel along the banks of tranquil Loch Earn into the beautiful Highlands region of Perthshire, where you have the option to learn about the production of Scottish whisky on a local whisky distillery tour. Learn about the barley and malt used to produce the peaty notes of a good Scotch, and sample a shot of whisky made on site. Next, explore the peaceful Hermitage pleasure grounds and take a short woodland walk to see some spectacular waterfalls as well as Ossian’s Cave and the River Braan. A break for lunch (own expense) is included either at the whisky distillery or at the Hermitage pleasure grounds.

Return to Edinburgh in the early evening, passing the medieval Dunkeld Cathedral and Forth Bridge, and then enjoy free time to relax and eat dinner (own expense) before making your own way to Edinburgh Castle for the Military Tattoo.

Set on the floodlit esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo includes acts by performers from around the world. The action-packed program features hundreds of Commonwealth participants with appearances from the Massed Pipers and Drums, the Bands of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, cultural troupes, singers and the Lone Piper.

The evening event typically lasts around 1.5 hours and finishes at the esplanade. If you book the experience for a Saturday, the tattoo is followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the city. Food and drink stands can be found on site; just note that any items are at your own expense. ($168.24 per person)

Inclusions: Transport by air-conditioned minibus; Professional guide; Whisky distillery tour, shot of whisky included; Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo ticket; Entrance to a firework display after the tattoo if Saturday date selected.

Exclusions: Hotel pickup and drop-off; Gratuities (optional); Food and drinks, unless specified.

Additional Information: Confirmation will be received at time of booking; The Castlehill location at Edinburgh Castle, where the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place, is reached via a short walk along an old cobbled street of some 262 feet (80 meters) and on a steep incline. Some people may find this difficult. There is another 197-foot (60-meter) walk including several steps before the steeply tiered seating area is reached.

Accommodations: Ibis Edinburgh South Bridge, Edinburgh (Double Standard with Scottish Breakfast)

August 20 - Inverness

Train: Depart Edinburgh 08:32 AM; Arrive Inverness 11:58 AM

Welcome to Inverness, Scotland!

Free Day to Explore Inverness

Accommodations: Penta Inverness, Inverness (Standard with Scottish Breakfast)

August 21 - Inverness

Suggested Tour: Skye and Eilean Donan Castle - Day Tour from Inverness

Sharp geological formations, crumbling coastlines and wind-swept valleys: Skye is mother-nature at her dramatic best. And on this day-tour you explore the best of it in the comfort of a luxury, 16 seat mini-coach. Let our experienced driver-guide take you on a journey through the stories, history, and sights of the island; while also giving you a taste of the most breathtaking scenery that Western Scotland has to offer.

After an 8.00am start, your experienced driver-guide will take you through the spectacular mountains of Wester Ross towards the iconic Eilean Donan Castle (approx. price £7.50). You have time to visit the castle, for approximately 1.5 hours, before we travel over the bridge to the Isle of Skye. We then head through the mountainous heart of the island before arriving in the bustling harbour town of Portree, where you will have approximately 1 hour for lunch.

The afternoon takes you around the world famous natural beauty of the Trotternish Peninsula. Your experienced guide will show you all the most beautiful places this region has to offer, including The Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and Quiraing.

In the early evening (approximately 16.30), we make our way back to the mainland through the stunning and majestic Glen Shiel, along the shores of Loch Clunie towards the Great Glen. The final part of our journey takes us along the banks of mighty Loch Ness, where the legendary monster may wave farewell to your day. ($73.03 per person)

Inclusions: Driver/guide; Small-group tour; Transport by air-conditioned minivan.

Exclusions: Entrance fees (Eilean Donan Castle approximate price £7.50); Food and drinks, unless specified; Gratuities (optional); Hotel pickup and drop-off.

Additional Information: Confirmation will be received at time of booking; Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately; A moderate amount of walking is involved; Personal food and drink allowed.

Accommodations: Penta Inverness, Inverness (Standard with Scottish Breakfast)

August 22 - Inverness

Suggested Tour: Loch Ness Cruise Including Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition

Meet your expert guide at the bus station in central Inverness to begin your tour. Then, leave the city by air-conditioned coach and travel southwest to Clansman Harbor. As you travel, listen to your guide sharing interesting stories and details about Inverness and Loch Ness.

Set on the north shores of what is perhaps the most mysterious stretch of water in the world, Loch Ness’ Clansman Harbor lies at the foot of rambling hills, just a stone’s throw from Inverness’ city center. Here, switch your coach for a cruise boat and take in the stunning natural vistas as you slip away from shore toward the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle. Keep looking out for a glimpse of the fabled Loch Ness Monster as you glide!

Enjoy a 1-hour tour of the dilapidated castle that, in its 500 years as a medieval fortress, has a particularly dark and bloody past. Learn about King Edward I’s invasion in the 13th century, its importance during the Scots’ struggle for independence in the 14th century and the raids from MacDonald Lord of the Isles during the 15th and 16th centuries.

After exploring the ruins, reboard your coach and head to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. Opened over 30 years ago, the multimedia exhibition center boasts seven themed areas that are crammed with over 500 million years of history, mystery and legends of Loch Ness and its famous monster, Nessie.

Following your 1-hour independent visit of the center, enjoy a scenic coach ride back to central Inverness, where your tour concludes.

Inclusions: Local guide; Transport by air-conditioned coach; Cruise to Urquhart Castle; Admission to Urquhart Castle; Admission to Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition

Exclusions: Food and drinks; Gratuities (optional).

Additional Information: Confirmation will be received at time of booking.

August 23 - Edinburgh

Train: Depart Inverness 09:41 AM; Arrive Edinburgh 01:24 PM

Free AFTERNOON to Explore Edinburgh

Accommodations: Brooks Hotel, Edinburgh (Double Standard with Scottish Breakfast)

August 24 - Dublin, Ireland

Aer Lingus, Flight 3551: Depart Edinburgh 09:30 AM; Arrive Dublin 10:50 AM

Welcome to Dublin!

City Sightseeing Dublin 48-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Tour including Dublin City by Night 1-Hour Bus Tour (08:00 PM or 09:30 PM). Step aboard the City Sightseeing open-top, double-decker bus at any of the 28 stops around Dublin city. Cruise Ireland’s ancient capital in style and take in amazing city views from the comfort of your seat.

Travel the red route to hit top Dublin highlights such as the National Art Gallery, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the world-famous Guinness Storehouse, or the yellow route for Trinity College, Parnell Square, Christ Church Cathedral and Dublinia. Buses depart regularly from each stop along the red itinerary route, leaving you free to hop on and off at your leisure.

Enjoy the freedom to use the City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off service as much or as little as you like. Stay on board for a complete city tour, or use the bus to navigate your way to the attractions you’re keenest to see. Informative on-board commentary offers valuable insight into the city’s fascinating heritage and ensures you don’t miss any of the highlights! Your ticket also includes discounts in local food and drink establishments and free extras, such as a 1916 walking tour. Ticket valid for 48 hours from the time of first use for all lines. ($25.11 per person)

Accommodations: Cassidys Hotel, Dublin (Classic Room with Full Irish Breakfast)

August 25 - Dublin

Free Day to Explore Dublin

Accommodations: Cassidys Hotel, Dublin (Classic Room with Full Irish Breakfast)

August 26 - Kerry

Train TBD

Please note: You will need to take a taxi to the castle. It is approximately 10 minutes.

Ballyseede Castle
Accommodations: Ballyseede Castle Hotel CMV, Tralee, Co. Kerry (Standard Room with Full Irish Breakfast)

August 27 - Kerry

Ring of Kerry PRiVATE Excursion (TBD)

Accommodations: Ballyseede Castle Hotel CMV, Tralee, Co. Kerry (Standard Room with Full Irish Breakfast)

August 28 - Dublin

Train TBD

Accommodations: Cassidys Hotel, Dublin (Classic Room with Full Irish Breakfast)

August 29 - Dublin

Suggested Tours

Option 1: Blarney Castle Day Tour from Dublin including Blarney Stone. Discover the wonder of Blarney Castle and Gardens on a full-day tour from Dublin. Kiss the famous Blarney Stone and receive, as legend has it, the gift of the gab for seven years. Enjoy panoramic 360 degree views as you drive through County Cork, and a new additional stop at the wold-famous Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. This tour will show you the very best that the southern capital of Ireland, County Cork, has to offer in a day tour from Dublin. Your first stop will be the world famous Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. One of Ireland's most evocative sites, you can stroll in the footsteps of St. Patrick flanked by ruins, Celtic crosses and round towers. The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster until they donated the complex to the Catholic Church almost 1,000 years ago for use as a cathedral. It is one of the best examples of medieval architecture anywhere in Europe.

Enjoy 1.5 hours of leisure time in the city of Cork, Ireland's southern capital. Highlights include the gourmet English Markets (1788) with a large selection of food stalls representing the best of local produce. Queen Elizabeth II of England thoroughly enjoyed meeting local artisans here on her State Visit in 2011. Also known as the “Rebel City” for its fierce resistance during the War of Independence, Cork has a vibrant Irish atmosphere. Perhaps sample a pint of Murphy's Irish Stout or pick up a bottle of Paddy Flaherty Irish Whiskey.

From Cork, the tour will continue on to Blarney Castle, where you will receive the 'gift of gab' for seven years if you decide to kiss the Blarney stone. You will have time to explore the castle grounds and gardens to discover the Witch's Cave, and spend some time on tax free shopping in the famous Woollen Mills.

As the tour departs for Dublin in the evening, you will meander back though the Golden Vale of County Tipperary, with an estimated arrival time in Dublin of about 9pm. ($54.60 per person)

Inclusions: All taxes, fees and handling charges; Entrance fees; Live commentary on board; Driver/guide; Transport by air-conditioned coach.

Exclusions: Food and drinks; Gratuities (optional).

Option 2: Cliffs of Moher, King John's Castle and the Burren Tour From Dublin. Your full-day tour departs from Dublin for the drive to Ireland’s west coast and beautiful County Clare.The first stop of the day will be in County Limerick. Widely regarded as one of the best preserved Norman castles in all of Europe, and built on an ancient Viking settlement, the 13th-century King John’s Castle will be your first stop of the day. This is a marvellous opportunity to experience life in Ireland during the middle ages.

After a tour of King John's Castle, the tour will stop for lunch at one of the best restaurants on the west coast of Ireland. You will have the option to enjoy a 2-course gourmet meal for an additional €30 and have some time to relax and appreciate Ireland’s finest food before the highlight of the day.

After lunch, you will arrive at the main attraction - the majestic Cliffs of Moher. Rising 820 feet above sea level, the Cliffs of Moher are world famous. You will have ample time to experience the breathtaking views of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as seeing some of the 30,000 colonies of birds who make their home here.

Before returning to Dublin, you will take a coastal drive along Galway Bay, admiring the amazing views of the Aran Islands, Connemara, and the 12 Bens, before stopping at Dunguaire Castle and the picturesque town of Kinvara, best known for its traditional boat, the Galway Hooker. You’ll arrive back in Dublin city at approximately 7:30pm. ($92.81 per person)

Inclusions: All taxes, fees and handling charges; Entrance fees; Hotel pickup and drop-off.

Exclusions: Lunch (additional €30 at one of the west coast's best restaurants); Gratuities (optional).

Accommodations: Cassidys Hotel, Dublin (Classic Room with Full Irish Breakfast)

August 30 - Return to Houston, Texas

United Airlines, Flight 966: Depart Dublin 12:55 PM; Arrive Newark, NJ 03:35 PM

United Airlines, Flight 341: Depart Newark, NJ 06:00 PM; Arrive Houston 08:45 PM

Credits:

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