Day 1 :
Depart from North America
- Flight to Scotland:
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.
Day 2 :
Travel to Edinburgh
- Arrive in Glasgow:
Our 24-hour tour director will meet us at the airport and remain with us until our final airport departure. We will have use of a private coach and driver while touring for the next nine days.
- Stop in Stirling:
On our way to Edinburgh, we will stop in the medieval town of Stirling, which grew up around one of Scotland’s most important fortresses. The Old Town is still surrounded by its original 16th century walls. The town served as the backdrop for one of William Wallace’s 13th century battles and continued to be of strategic importance in the Jacobite uprisings.
- Tour Stirling Castle:
Tour Stirling Castle, which dates from the Middle Ages and was an important seat of two kings; James IV and James V. View the Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, presenting an excellent exhibit of colors, pipe banners, and regimental silver. The castle provides a wonderful view of the Wallace Monument.
- Continue to Edinburgh:
Edinburgh is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most attractive cities, due primarily to its impressive medieval and Georgian districts and surrounding Lothian Hills. It is as famous for the arts as it is for its long and turbulent history. Both the Old and New towns are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Hotel check-in:
For the next two evenings we will enjoy the convenience of our centrally-located Edinburgh hotel, where daily breakfast will be included.
Sample local fare in an Edinburgh restaurant.
Day 3 :
- Visit Edinburgh Castle:
The Castle is filled with history, legend, and lore. Our visit will include St. Margaret's Chapel, the State Apartments, the Great Hall, and the Crown Chamber, which houses the Honours of Scotland (Scottish Crown Jewels).
- St. Giles’ Cathedral:
Visit St. Giles’ Cathedral, which was at the center of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. John Knox, who had been appointed as Minister of Edinburgh, preached here from 1560 to 1572, and eventually St. Giles’ would become the first Presbyterian Church in Scotland. Behind the cathedral is John Knox’s Grave, which we will also try to see as it has been paved over in the centuries since his death.
- First Concert Performance:
Your first concert performance is today in Edinburgh. Venue options include St. Giles’ Cathedral or Tynecastle High School. Additional venues include Queens Hall, South Leith Parish Church, or St. Peter’s Church.
Tonight we will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 4 :
Travel to Yorkshire
- Travel from Edinburgh to Yorkshire:
En route to Yorkshire we will visit Hadrian's Wall and Durham.
- Hadrian's Wall:
Explore the world famous Hadrian's Wall, the fortress wall defining the extent of the Roman Empire. The Wall is entirely in Northern England, is 73 miles in length, and winds through Northumberland and Cumbria.
Durham, in the northeast of England, is well known for its magnificent Norman Cathedral and its 11th century castle. The name ‘Durham’ comes from the Old English ‘dun,’ meaning hill fort, and the Old Norse ‘holme,’ which translates to ‘island.’
- Durham Cathedral:
Visit Durham Cathedral, the greatest Norman structure in England, completed in 1133. The cathedral is one of Britain’s most architecturally innovative buildings, and, as such, it was one of the first World Heritage Sites in the country and remains one of the most beloved cathedrals in England.
- Arrive in Yorkshire and check in to hotel:
For the next two nights, our base will be in the York area. Breakfast and dinner will be included at the hotel.
Day 5 :
- Walking Tour of York:
Take a walking tour of York, through the medieval and historic parts of the city. Visiting York is like walking through a living museum. Its medieval structures are impressively preserved in its timbered houses and winding, cobbled streets, surrounded by the remains of the city walls. Founded by the Romans in AD 71, York was, for a long time, a strategic point used by both Saxons and Vikings.
- Visit the Jorvik Viking Centre:
This re-creation of part of the old Viking city, discovered many feet below present ground level, was reconstructed to appear as it stood in AD 948. A ‘time car’ will take us back through the ages and detail this unique aspect of York’s history.
- Visit York Minster:
The origins of the Minster trace back from the early 7th century. The building features stunning stained glass from the Middle Ages.
- Second Concert Performance:
Your second concert performance is today in York. Venue options include York Minster, The Church of St. John, St. Sampson’s Centre, All Saints Church, St. Michael le Belfrey, and the National Centre for Early Music. Castle Howard is also a rewarding concert setting for high level choirs and instrumental groups.
Day 6 :
Journey from Yorkshire to Oxford
Oxford has long been an important stopping point on central routes from the north of England to London, but it is more well-known as the home of England’s first university. With its spectacular architecture and famous scholars, including some of the world’s most important writers, the university is a uniquely integral part of Oxford and of England as a whole.
- Walking Tour of Oxford:
Take a walking tour to view many of the colleges that make up Oxford, as well as the Sheldonian Theater and the Bodleian Library. Each of the buildings we pass has a long history and is associated with notable literary alumni, including Geoffrey Chaucer, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, and Evelyn Waugh.
- Visit Christ Church College:
Christ Church College, Oxford’s largest and grandest Renaissance College, was founded in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey. The college’s Christ Church Cathedral is the smallest in England.
- Hotel check-in:
We will continue to the Oxford area, our base for the next night. Breakfast and dinner will be included at the hotel.
Day 7 :
Journey to London
London is the largest city in Europe: quite a feat, considering its location on a relatively small island. London's location is perfect for an administrative, communications, and trade center, as the Romans realized when they founded their city in AD 1st century. London is filled with countless historic and cultural treasures that meld seamlessly in this exciting, contemporary city.
- Walking Tour of London:
During our time in London we will exploring the areas of Westminster and Whitehall, including Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade, Parliament Square, Downing Street, St. James’s Park, and Buckingham Palace.
- Hotel check-in:
For the next three evenings, we will enjoy the convenience of our centrally-located London hotel, where daily breakfast will be included.
- Free Time and Dinner:
We will have some free time for shopping and exploration. We will enjoy our evening meal together in a local restaurant.
Day 8 :
Get Lost in London...
- Westminster Abbey:
Visit Westminster Abbey, where English kings and queens have been crowned since 1066. Our Blue-Badge Guided Tour will include the Royal Chapels, containing the tombs of the English monarchs, as well as Poets’ Corner, featuring memorials to many famous British literary figures.
- River Tour:
Enjoy a Thames River Cruise, a relaxing way to view many of London’s most magnificent sights. Our trip will take us past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and under the famous Tower Bridge.
- Visit the Tower of London:
One of Britain’s most fascinating and important historical structures, the Tower of London was begun as a fortress by William the Conqueror. The Tower is now primarily associated with the legendary figures imprisoned and executed here over the centuries. Our visit includes the armories, a display of instruments of torture and execution, and the breathtaking Crown Jewels Exhibit.
This evening we will dine in a local restaurant near to Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, two of London’s most vibrant and lively areas.
Day 9 :
- Explore the British Museum:
The British Museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of art and artifacts in the world. Highlights of our visit will include: the Rosetta Stone, the discovery of which led to the deciphering of hieroglyphs; the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens; and the Sutton Hoo Treasure.
- Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral:
St. Paul's Cathedral is Sir Christopher Wren’s Renaissance-style masterpiece. Our visit will include an ascent to the Whispering Gallery, an acoustic marvel in which the faintest whisper can be heard clearly on the opposite side, plus time at the American Memorial Chapel. If we are lucky, we will be here when the massive organ fills the entire cathedral with breathtaking music.
- Third Concert Performance:
Your third concert performance is today in London. Venue options include St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar, St. James in Piccadilly, and St. Sepulchers, all of which are excellent musical venues for sacred repertoire. For groups that prefer a smaller ecclesiastical venue options include Church of St. Anne & St Agnes, St. Dunstan’s College, Dulwich College, Ruislip Garden School, Branch Hill House Residential Home, the North Hall at Covent Garden, Ingestre Residential Home, the great Southwark Cathedral, Royal Hospital Chelsea, American School, King’s College School, Kneller Hall, Royal Military School of Music, George Inn, Hinde Street Methodist Church, Chelsea and Westminster Arts, St. George’s Church in Tolworth, Blackheath Halls, St. John’s Hospice, and Holy Trinity Church on Prince Consort Road. Outdoor venues include Tower Bridge Park Parade, Parliament Square, or Covent Garden.
We will enjoy our last dinner together in London at a local restaurant.
Day 10 :
- Depart from London:
Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as our tour director accompanies us to the airport on our final day.