Tracing the Trail of Lewis and Clark

  • 14 Days | 26 Meals
  • Jul 11 - Jul 24
  • $3,799

Follow the Historic Path of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's Corps of Discovery Expedition

image

Staff on Tour: England & Scotland

Our “England and Scotland” Tour has quickly become one of our absolute best and most popular tours to Europe. I was with our Kansas City passengers, and we enjoyed an easy flight with a stop in Houston, then on to London. Since we happened to be the first group arriving on Day 2, we met our local guide along with several passengers from St. Louis that arrived early, to visit Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. It was a veritable treasure trove of more than 50,000 different plants in its living collection that has over 7 million preserved specimens. Everyone in the group was overwhelmed with the exotic beauty.

On Day 3, we met up with our local guide, Richard, who would be with us until we arrived in Scotland. Also, our extremely talented Tour Directors, Steve and Deb LaFleur, were there to take care of all our needs. We were in great hands; plus, it was an incredibly special group that all blended well together.

We spent two nights in London. Our entire group visited the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. The weather was outstanding and, being a horse lover, I had my picture taken with two mounted police. My favorite visit was seeing The Crown Jewels; to see the largest cut and uncut diamond in the world was overwhelming.

The drive to Stonehenge felt like a ride through the quaint countryside, when suddenly, the mystical Stonehenge appeared. There were campers everywhere that were full of people studying the marvel. On arrival, we took a bus to get much closer to the site, then there was a long walk to the stones. There was a large walking path around the stones which we all took while Richard (our guide) gave us more information and details about the history and the people that built Stonehenge. The sky was very dark and gray that day which made the stones really come alive.

We departed the city of London with a stop at Highclere Castle. This visit was one of the highlights of the tour as so many of our passengers were fans of Downton Abbey, the show that brought the castle international fame. We learned the current owners of Highclere Castle reside in the castle throughout the year but return to a more private cottage when it is open to the public.

On day 4 of the tour, we spent the night in Bath, a city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England. All the houses are required by law to be built with the same material, some sort of gray stone. Bath became popular as a spa town, so we include a tour of the Roman Baths. This was followed by free time to explore the walking streets and enjoy lunch on our own. I know I had the best café Latte with my lunch in Bath! It was a sunny, perfect day to explore and buy souvenirs.

Our next stay was Liverpool, home of The Beatles. We had a large group of people that were so excited to visit The Cavern and the Beatles Museum. At The Cavern, there was a performer, and it was nice to relax, have a drink, and listen to the music. After our tour, and my many purchases of Beatles socks, the group dispersed to have lunch on our own and explore. We all wanted fish-n-chips! I think Liverpool had the best fish-in-chips of anywhere on the itinerary, but most of us all wanted fish-n-chips whenever we had lunch on our own…or if we just wanted a snack! Later, our driver went out of his way and took some of the group to see the Penny Lane sign and the area the Beatles grew up in.

This was my first visit to Scotland, and the rolling lush, green hills were so magical and fascinating. The further north we drove, the hills became more mountainous and foreboding. We arrived in Loch Ness, the medieval area known for the mythical monster “Nessie.” Our cruise on Loch Ness lasted about an hour, and you could sit inside or out; the captain narrated the entire cruise talking about Nessie!

One of my favorite castles was Donan Castle, located on its own island. A piper was playing his pipes upon our arrival. It was like we had stepped back in time. The waters that surrounded this island gave off a mystic view with the majestic splendor of the forested mountain of Kintail in the background.

Now in Scotland, we could not leave without visiting the family owned Glenfarclas Distillery that has been in business for over 150 years. Here we had a tour of the malt whisky distillery with traditional production methods. Our tour ended with a tasting!

One of the things I liked best about Blair Castle was the nine acres of walled gardens. The flowers and colors were all so brilliant and bright. The castle is the ancient seat of the Dukes of Atholl and the current Duke still retains his own private army. This castle was used for the TV series Victoria (2017).

This wonderful tour ended in Edinburgh where there were three festivals taking place! Street performers and vendors were everywhere. The magnificent Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was one of our evening activities. The International performers from across the globe entertained us for several hours but the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Pipes and Drums and Fiddlers were, to me, the most inspiring along with the Lone Piper that ended this glorious show.

While in Edinburgh, we also visited Edinburgh Castle, one of the oldest fortified places in Europe. You will walk in the footsteps of soldiers, kings, and queens when you climb the Castle Hill. Before leaving, we dined on local cuisine at the long-standing traditional Prestonfield House. There were many local Scottish folks there singing and dancing along with the performers, it was special.

This was a wonderful tour, and I could enjoy taking it over and over again, learning something new on each visit. I hope to see some of our Sunrise travelers on future tours in 2024!

---

Victoria Bearss is the Reservations specialist for Sunrise Tours' Kansas City office. For more about Sunrise Tours, click here.

Back to Blog

See it