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Authors of Britain and Ireland

Some of the tour’s sights.


home of charles dickens

james herriot in thirsk

robert burns home

Rydal Mount


Thoor Ballylee

When you think of Britain and Ireland many things come to mind. Classic novels have to be at the top of most people's list of must see and experience in this corner of Europe. This tour travels through England, Scotland, Wales and finally to Ireland to explore the works of people like Dickens, Shakespeare, Burns, Dylan Thomas and WB Yeats.Other authors are missing from this tour and can easily be added, people like Roald Dahl, JM Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, Rosemunde Pilcher, Daphne du Maurier, Ian Fleming, JK Rowling, Catherine Cookson, MC Beaton, Agatha Christie, TE Lawrence and Jane Austen. When you stop to think about it the list is actually very impressive!




Day 1 – London

Arrival Heathrow meet with our guide. Transfer to Windsor Castle for a guided tour which will take in the State Apartments and St George's Chapel. Following our guided tour, enjoy a cooked brunch in elegant surroundings overlooking the river Thames. After brunch, continue your journey into London, terminating at the hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to explore London or perhaps go hunting for some literary bargains in one of London's many bookstores. Overnight London


Day 2 – London

This morning we enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of London's bustling West End. During our tour we will see the highlights including the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus and Buckingham Palace. The highlight of the tour, however, is a visit to magnificent Westminster Abbey, the crowning place of British monarchs since 1066 and home to Poet's Corner, the burial place of an idiosyncratic collection of British writers. We then head off into Kent and to the town of Rochester where Dickens grew up. Victorian author Charles Dickens is famous for his dramatic novels which paint colourful pictures of life in Victorian England. The area greatly inspired his writings and Dickens enthusiasts may well recognize places described in his books. Overnight Surrey


Days 3 – Oxford & Cotswolds

After breakfast we join our tour coach and tour guide and depart. Through the scenic Chiltern countryside to the university city of Oxford, known as the 'City of Dreaming Spires'. Oxford University has a list of former students that reads like a writers "Who's Who". R.D.Blakemore, Evelyn Waugh, C.S.Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Tolkein and Shelley amongst other, all studied here. Kenneth Graham is buried in the city and the manuscript of "Wind in the Willows" is part of the huge Bodleian library. Early afternoon arrival in Stratford-upon-Avon, hometown of our most famous playwright William Shakespeare. We include a visit to his birthplace and take a tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Overnight Stratford-upon-Avon


Day 4 – York

This morning we continue north to York, where upon arrival we enjoy a walking tour of the historic city centre. Romans, Vikings and then the Norman's stamped their mark on the city, a highlight being York Minster. Today, York is a bustling city, but its historical connections are always apparent as you wander through the narrow streets and tiny alleys, where rickety old buildings lean at acute angles and overhang the quaint cobbled streets. Overnight York


Day 5 – Herriott & Bronte

Our full day excursion today traces the lives of two of Yorkshires literary institutions, James Herriott and the Bronte sisters. Our first stop this morning is in Thirsk. Those who are familiar with the amusing tales of James Herriott's life as a country vet, will recognise Thirsk as the "Darrowby" of the novels. We visit "Skeldale House" and see the surgery as it was in the days when Herriott trained here as a vet. The surgery is now the new "World of James Herriott Museum". Following our visit, we enjoy a scenic drive through Yorkshire Dales to the hilltop village of Haworth. It was in the parsonage here that Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte spent most of their brief and unhappy lives. The Parsonage is now a museum tracing their lives and works. Weather permitting maybe take a stroll over the windswept moor land which inspired Emily's classic "Wuthering Heights". Overnight York


Day 6 – Edinburgh

Early departure this morning to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. Edinburgh, one of the world's most attractive and spectacular cities. Edinburgh offers many spectacular views, the best of which is from the ramparts of the castle that you will experience from your included visit. Stroll down the Royal Mile to visit the Scottish Writers Centre, dedicated to Stevenson, Scott and Burns.

Overnight Edinburgh


Day 7 – Auld Robbie Burns

Our first stop today is Alloway to visit the one-room thatched cottage where Burns was born in 1759. The original of "Auld Lang Syne" and many other Burns documents are on display in the adjacent museum. Also visit Auld Alloway church and the Burns Monument overlooking Brig o'Doon, the bridge mentioned by Burns in his narrative poem Tam o'Shanter.  Next we head off through the heart of Galloway to Dumfries, where we visit the house where Scotland's most famous romantic poet spent the last few years of his life. The Robert Burns house (set in Burns Street) is a shrine and museum of manuscripts and mementoes where the poet wrote some of his best-known verses. The Burns Mausoleum in nearby St. Michael's churchyard contains his tomb. Overnight The Lake District


Day 8 – Wordsworth & Peter Rabbit

Today we tour the beautiful Lake District, a source of inspiration for many of the most creative of England's writers and artists. We drive to Hill Top, a tiny 17th century house that once belonged to the author Beatrix Potter. Next stop is Grasmere, where a visit is arranged to Dove Cottage, home of the poet William Wordsworth. The cottage houses a fascinating collection of Wordsworth memorabilia. More free time this afternoon before we head off to Rydal Mount, Wordsworth's home for the last 37 years of his life and still in the ownership of the Wordsworth family today. We enjoy an exclusive private tour of the house and garden led by Richard Wordsworth (or other family member), after which we retire to the drawing room for a recital of some of the great man's most famous works, to the accompaniment of wine and local Lakeland Gingerbread.

Overnight the Lake District


Day 9 – Chester & Wales

We wave goodbye to the Lakes this morning and head south to the historic city of Chester, and then on to Wales. We continue south through the magnificent Welsh border countryside, pausing in Hay on Wye, "The Town of Books" and then through some of the more industrialised areas of Wales until we reach Swansea. Wales' most famous son, Dylan Thomas, grew up in Swansea and later called it an "ugly, lovely town".  Overnight Swansea


Day 10 – North Wales

This morning we will drive a bit further round the peninsular until we reach Laugharne, where we will visit Dylan's Boathouse. Here he wrote "Under Milkwood".  Afterwards we head north and there sort of Llandudno. We will visit the Alice in Wonderland Centre, where we learn about the real Alice—Alice Liddell  that Lewis Carroll based his stories on. Overnight North Wales


Day 11 – Dublin

This morning we depart our hotel and cross over the Menai Straits to the Isle of Anglesey. Here we head for Holyhead and the ferry to Dublin, birthplace of such literary giants as Wilde, Shaw, Joyce and Beckett. There will be an afternoon city tour with a literary flavour, with particular emphasis on its Georgian architecture, saluting Oscar Wilde's modernistic sculpture facing his first home in Merion Square. Visit the Birthplace of George Bernard Shaw in the humble neighbourhood of Synge Street and then onto the Dublin Writers Museum in Parnell Square, which traces Ireland's rich heritage of writers and literary figures and Trinity College to see the illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kells and enjoy the stunning Old Library. Overnight Dublin


Day 12 – Bloomsday & Sligo

This morning the emphasis is on Joyce's Dublin, beginning with a talk in the James Joyce Centre before we continue via Sandymount Strand, skirting Dublin Bay to Sandycove to visit Joyce's Tower, where "stately, plump Buck Mulligan" intoned the legendary novel's opening lines on June 16, 1904. We depart to Ireland's northwest to Sligo, birthplace of WB Yeats. Overnight Sligo


Day 13 – Yeats Country

Spend the day on a personal tour of Yeats Country accompanied by a member of the Sligo Yeats Society. Begin with a drive around Lough Gill by "Dooney Rock" and "Sleuth Wood" and then stop for a visit to Parke's Castle, a restored plantation castle of the early 17th century and enjoy some poetry readings overlooking the Lake Isle of Innisfree "and I shall have some peace there". Continue to Glencar Waterfall "where the wandering water gushes" and Hazelwood "To the waters and the wild". Leaving Lough Gill we head north to visit Drumcliffe, the site of an ancient monastic settlement founded by St. Colmcille in the 6th century. Enjoy a tour of the church, built in 1809 and recently restored, where WB Yeats, is buried in the adjoining churchyard and the headstone on his grave bears the epitaph he himself wrote just a year before his death "Cast a cold eye on life, on death -  horseman, pass by". Overnight Sligo


Day 14 – Galway

After breakfast we commence our journey south to Galway, known as the "City of the Tribes"  You will have time to stroll through Galway's narrow streets where you can visit Kenny's Bookstore, a treasure trove of antique books. Overnight Galway


Day 15 – County Clare

Travel south towards Co Clare "Land of Castles". We visit Thoor Ballylee once the home of WB Yeats and then onto nearby Coole Park, the former estate of Lady Gregory who was co-founder of the Abbey Theatre and took an eminent part in the early 20th Century Irish literary revival. Lady Gregory's guests included Yeats, Shaw, and O'Casey and their initials can still be seen on the famous autograph tree in the grounds. Leaving the west of Ireland we will travel back to Dublin where there will be some free time this afternoon in the city. Farewell dinner in the Dublin Writers Museum. Overnight Dublin


Day 16 – Depart

Travel by coach with accompanying guide to the airport for departure.


This is a sample itinerary

Our tours are tailor made to the exact specifications of the group planner. Please contact us for your custom quotation and itinerary.

Photo: Jim Wight

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