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Great British Encounters Tour

Best trip I have ever been on. I have traveled with many tour companies but none compare to the itinerary, information, and professionalism of this company.

Marijo W, 8 Feb 2018

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Great British Encounters OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

7 days

London to London

ON REQUEST

Country(ies): Great Britain

Tour type: Shoestring

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 51

Accommodation: 2 to 3-star hotels

Meals:

Transport: A/C coach

Highlights: Punting on the River Cam, Historic York, Edinburgh, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Whiskey tasting, Liverpool, Birthplace of Shakespeare, Cardiff, Architecture of Bath, Stonehenge

This short but comprehensive tour of Great Britain packs in all the major sites and includes Cambridge, York, Edinburgh, Loch Ness, Liverpool, Cardiff, Stonehenge, Bath and so much more.

Starting in the world-famous city of London we head north via the University town of Cambridge for a traditional punt on the River Cam, before taking in the architecture of York, including the famous York Minster. Continuing north via Edinburgh this action packed tour explores the scenic highlands of Scotland, including Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle and Whiskey tasting at Fort William.

Returning south we stop off in Liverpool for a taste of Beatles mania and continue on to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of the most famous bard of all, Shakespeare.

Next stop is Wales and its capital Cardiff before we return to England and the quaint provincial town of Bath with its wonderful architecture and famous abbey. Finally we stop by for a visit to one of England's most famous landmarks, the enigmatic standing stones at Stonehenge, before heading back to London.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 London to Cambridge & York

Depart London and drive to the ancient university city of Cambridge. Enjoy a fun punt along the river and savour the history and views of the town and colleges. Continue north York, a stunning walled city steeped in history and culture.

OVERNIGHT:

York/Leeds hotel

MEALS:

Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 2 Hadrian's Wall to Jedburgh to Edinburgh

Prepare yourself for a day of history, scenic views and beautiful countryside with stops at Hadrian's Wall, the town of Jedburgh famed for its royal and historic warfare links and impressive abbey, and the Scottish border. Arriving in Edinburgh, complete the day with a guided evening city walk.

OVERNIGHT:

Edinburgh hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Edinburgh, free time

Edinburgh is a stunning city, steeped in history, beautiful architecture, lively pubs and loads of shopping. Walk the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile down to the Grass Market, or check out the Botanical Gardens or Edinburgh Castle. The National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo, the National War Museum of Scotland and Holyroodhouse Palace provide other options.

OVERNIGHT:

Edinburgh hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 Edinburgh to Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle

Leaving Edinburgh, you can see the National Wallace Monument, commemorating the real story of 'Braveheart'. Next, prepare to be stunned by the beautiful Scottish highland scenery on a long but rewarding scenic drive. There is free time to stretch your legs and get some Highland fresh air, and to join the optional 1-hour cruise at Loch Ness (look out for the monster!) or see the ruins of Urquhart Castle. The day ends with a whiskey tasting at one of Scotland's oldest whiskey distilleries in Fort William, before overnighting at a classic Scottish Highland hotel.

OVERNIGHT:

Scottish Highlands hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Highlands - Loch Lomond - Liverpool

Our scenic Highlands tour continues, passing Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, and Glencoe - a spectacular glen with a fascinating yet tragic historical story. Once back in England, we stop in Keswick in the Lake District, before finishing in Liverpool - a city known for its maritime history, musical heritage, two premier league football teams and of course the Beatles. There are great restaurants, bars and clubs to try this evening, including the Cavern Club, where the Beatles made their name.

OVERNIGHT:

Liverpool hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Liverpool to Stratford upon Avon to Wales

Start with a 'Magical Mystery Coach Tour' of Liverpool, taking in locations significant to the Beatles, including the Albert Dock, Anfield Football Stadium and Penny Lane. Next stop is Stratford-Upon-Avon - the birthplace of William Shakespeare, where you can explore the town and visit major Shakespearean attractions. The day finishes in the capital of Wales, Cardiff, with a short orientation tour of the centre and free evening.

OVERNIGHT:

Cardiff hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 Wales to Bath to Stonehenge to London

Leaving Wales and the sights of Caerphilly, we enjoy a guided walking & coach tour of Bath - a UNESCO World Heritage site with some of the finest architectural sights in Europe. Then continue to Stonehenge, an ancient and awe-inspiring structure, which has mystified scientists, tourists and historians for centuries. Finally we return to London where extra nights are available to explore this amazing city.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


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Included:
  • 6 Nights accommodation in twin rooms
  • Breakfast and dinners included as per itinerary
  • Public transport used during some sightseeing tours
  • Modern air-conditioned luxury motor-coach with reclining seats
  • Local taxes, baggage handling fees, hotel tips & service charges
  • Experienced tour leader & local guides
  • Sightseeing as described

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available from Encounters Travel)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for tour leader
  • Any other items not mentioned above

Gallery


Dates and Prices

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

Ibis Budget

Ibis Budget

Leeds


The Ibis Budget hotel is the perfect low-cost hotel for both business and leisure; situated within walking distance of Leeds' famed shopping districts, vibrant night life and business parks.

Local rating

Our rating

The Ibis Budget hotel is the perfect low-cost hotel for both business and leisure; situated within walking distance of Leeds' famed shopping districts, vibrant night life and business parks. The hotel offers 218 contemporary 'Cocoon' bedrooms all with en-suite showers, air-cooling, and flat screen TVs. Free WIFI throughout. 24 hour Reception offers a wealth of sweet and savoury snacks, as well as a large selection of beverages. 100% non-smoking.

Ibis Budget Edinburgh Park

Ibis Budget Edinburgh Park

Edinburgh


Welcome to ibis budget - essential comfort at a budget price. ibis budget Hotel Edinburgh Park is perfect for a City Break in Edinburgh - only a 5-minute walk to Gyle Centre tram stop with frequent service to the city centre (only in 15 minutes).

Local rating

Our rating

Welcome to ibis budget - essential comfort at a budget price. ibis budget Hotel Edinburgh Park is perfect for a City Break in Edinburgh - only a 5-minute walk to Gyle Centre tram stop with frequent service to the city centre (only in 15 minutes). 161 Cocoon rooms for up to 3 people. En-suite shower, air-cooling and flat-screen TV. Free WIFI throughout. 24/7 reception. 24/7 sweet/savoury snacks/drinks. Good value Continental breakfast buffet.

Arrochar Hotel

Arrochar Hotel

Loch Ness


On the banks of Loch Long, The Arrochar Hotel boasts impressive views and free Wi-Fi. Situated at the foot of the Arrochar Alps, it also has a traditional Scottish restaurant.

Local rating

Our rating

On the banks of Loch Long, The Arrochar Hotel boasts impressive views and free Wi-Fi. Situated at the foot of the Arrochar Alps, it also has a traditional Scottish restaurant.

Set in a former coaching inn, The Arrochar features spacious rooms with modern en suite bathrooms. All rooms offer tea and coffee making facilities, and many have wonderful mountain views.

The restaurant serves a traditional menu, featuring local specialities from the Scottish Highlands. The cosy bar area offers a wide selection of fine malt whiskies.

Just a mile from Arrochar and Tarbet Railway Station, Arrochar Hotel is only 2 miles from Loch Lomond. Glasgow centre can be reached in under an hour, and Argyll Forest Park is a 5-minute drive away.

Ibis Hotel

Ibis Hotel

Liverpool


Ibis Liverpool Albert Dock is less than 10 mins walk to the city centre and directly opposite the world famous Albert Dock. Also within walking distance to the Liverpool Echo Arena and BT convention centre.

Local rating

Our rating

Ibis Liverpool Albert Dock is less than 10 mins walk to the city centre and directly opposite the world famous Albert Dock. Also within walking distance to the Liverpool Echo Arena and BT convention centre. Shopping at Liverpool One and the nightlife are all in close proximity to the hotel. 127 modern guest bedrooms, each with wireless internet access and freeview TV.

The cafe serves light meals 24 hours a day. The friendly bar is perfect for a nightcap. Lime St station is just a few minutes drive from the hotel.

Premier Inn Cardiff North

Premier Inn Cardiff North

Cardiff


On the A48, just off the M4 motorway, only 5 miles from Cardiff's city centre, the hotel offers great value, with free parking and spacious, comfortable and modern en suite rooms.

Local rating

Our rating

On the A48, just off the M4 motorway, only 5 miles from Cardiff's city centre, the hotel offers great value, with free parking and spacious, comfortable and modern en suite rooms.

The Premier Inn Cardiff North has good access to the M4 and the region's major roads. Newport is less than 9.9 miles away.

The hotel has a 24-hour reception desk and all of the rooms have satellite TV and telephone/modem points. Some rooms can take 2 adults and up to 2 children (under 16 years). The 2 children also get a free full breakfast when accompanied by an adult eating a full breakfast.

An all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast is available each morning and includes scrambled, fried, poached or boiled eggs, and pork or vegetarian sausages. There is also a wide continental selection.

Light, bright and contemporary, the on-site restaurant offers good food and drink at great-value prices. There are 2 widescreen TVs and a pool table.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

We use good quality mid-range branded hotels for this tour at the 2-3 star level.

Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. We will endeavour to give all couples a private double room. Single travellers should expect to share a twin room with another traveller of the same sex. Single room supplements are not available on this tour due to limited hotel allocations

  2. Transport
This tour features a comfortable air-conditioned 50 seater coach with a toilet and communication mic system on board.

  3. Transfers

The tour does not include a transfer from London Heathrow airport to your hotel. There are excellent transport links from London Heathrow, including the London Underground, which is cheap, fast, efficient, and gives you a great introduction to getting around the city.


  4. International Flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Airport transfers are not included in our tours in Great Britain, though we can arrange these as an extra option if you wish.

  5. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

You should expect a minimum group size of around 10 passengers, and a maximum of 45.

An Encounters Travel tour leader will accompany you throughout the tour, and specialist local guides will be used in various locations for the sightseeing tours.


  6. Entrance Fees

The tour price includes entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the itinerary and covered in the Extras section above. You will need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit that are not listed in the main tour itinerary.


  7. Tipping

Tipping on this tour is optional, but you may therefore wish to tip guides, your tour leader and driver at the end of the tour. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and will provide you with more information and suggested amounts in our pre-departure pack.


  8. Great Britain Health Recommendations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

For up to date health information & vaccination requirements for the UK we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic.


  9. Passports and Visas - Great Britain

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

Many nationalities (including New Zealand, Australian, USA, Canadian, European) do not need a visa to visit the UK for tourist purposes. Other nationalities may require a visa.


  10. Dates & Prices

We run limited small-group departures on this tour, normally starting on a Wednesday. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and in our brochures. Please check the website for the most up-to-date prices and any special offers available.


  11. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  12. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.


  13. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  14. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  15. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  16. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign

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