New Year’s in Edinburgh: England, Scotland & Ireland | EF Ultimate Break
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New Year's in Edinburgh: England, Scotland & Ireland

17 Days  •  6 Cities //@ts-ignore//@ts-ignore115
Travel Style:

Why Go?

Experience castles, pubs and Harry Potter sites galore in the United Kingdom and Ireland's premier cities. Plus, celebrate the New Year at Edinburgh’s three-day celebration, Hogmanay, complete with fireworks, parades and live music. Pair this party with a medley of small towns and booming metropolises, and you have the makings for an unforgettable adventure on the British Isles.

What are the top highlights?

  • Celebrate New Year's Eve in Edinburgh
  • Meet Ben and Abbey in London, AKA Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
  • Escape to the cozy cafe where J.K. Rowling penned her story of a young wizard
  • Pour the perfect pint of Guinness while overlooking Dublin’s skyline
  • Make friends with locals and enjoy live music in the pubs of Ireland and Scotland
  • Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and childhood home, Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • Stand in awe at the Cliffs of Moher, 700 feet above the Atlantic

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers
  • Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
  • Private deluxe motorcoach
  • Ferry between Liverpool & Dublin
  • 13 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
  • Daily breakfast & three-course Farewell Dinner
  • Metro pass for London
  • Entrance to Edinburgh Castle, Guinness Storehouse & other select attractions

Accommodations

You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Click **here **for examples of where you'll stay.

Flights

Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:

  • Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
  • Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
  • Flights are booked with major airlines
  • 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
  • One checked bag included on most flights
  • Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure

Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.

Itinerary

Day 1: Overnight Flight

Board your overnight flight bound for London. Your adventure begins tomorrow, so sit back, shut your eyes, and do as the English do and try and catch some “zeds.”

Day 2: Arrive in London + Welcome Mixer

Welcome to London. Home of the Queen, tea, a wonderfully different form of the English language, and the largest city in Western Europe. Brimming with history and unique architecture, you’ll soon understand why it’s one of the most visited cities in the world.

Today's Highlights:

  • Land at the airport and meet a waiting EF representative.
  • Transfer to your hotel to check in and check out your room.
  • Get familiar with the area around your hotel with an introductory walk with your Tour Director including the River Thames, Trafalgar & Leicester Squares, and Convent Garden.

In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Mixer. Enjoy some appetizers over drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Then it’s on to wherever your new friends and the party takes you.

Day 3: Explore London + Optional London Eye and River Cruise

Go big and go British today as a local guide takes you all around town for the inside scoop on London’s iconic palaces, churches, castles, and yes, even a big old clock.

Today's Highlights:

  • Dive into thousands of years of London’s secrets with a local guide.
  • Immerse yourself in London’s rich history at gorgeous landmarks from the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.
  • Experience a royal ritual during the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.
  • Wave hello to Big Ben, the bell inside the famous clock tower. Though it’s under construction until 2021, rest assured that Ben says hello from behind the scaffolding.

London Eye & River Cruise(extra cost)

See London properly: from air and sea. Fly high on the London Eye: Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, providing panoramic views of all the iconic landmarks. Then, sail down the River Thames with tea & crumpets included.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

**Please now you must add this excursion on at least 2 weeks before departure**

Day 4: Free Day in London

Use this free day to check out and check off anything you may have missed in one of the world’s greatest cities. Dive in and act like you belong with some local slang, try some famous fare (looking at you fish and chips), and explore until you’re too knackered (tired) to continue.

Free Time Suggestions
The British Museum: Discover over 2 million years of human history at this free museum. With over 8 million objects and counting, it is one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in existence—so don’t expect to see it all.
Westminster Abbey: This historic, royal church is the traditional place of coronation and burial for British monarchs. The mainly Gothic façade leads to a gorgeous array of paintings, stained glass, and artifacts. Get yourself a ticket and you’ll be treated to more than just a house of worship.

Day 5: Travel to Liverpool via Stratford-upon-Avon

Board your private coach to Liverpool, home of the Beatles, Liverpool Football Club and waterfront nightlife. En route, make a stop in William Shakespeare’s hometown for lunch.

Today's Highlights:

  • Make your way to Liverpool via private coach.
  • Stop in the little town of Stratford-upon-Avon to tour the house and birthplace of William Shakespeare.
  • Arrive in Liverpool and explore the area including The Cavern Club, where the Beatles played their first gigs, and the childhood homes and haunts that John, Paul, George & Ringo grew up in.

Day 6: Free Day in Liverpool or Optional North Wales Adventure

For being a center of innovation and invention for centuries, Liverpool sure is humble. They only invented the first lifeboat station, the first School for the Blind, and the first High School for Girls after all. (And too many more to type.) Today’s your chance to explore this city on your own and go beyond the Beatles.

Free Time Suggestions

English Breakfast: Start your morning strong with a full fry-up: eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, toast, black pudding, and a cup of tea or coffee. Good luck eating it all!

Albert Dock: Hang out during your free day at Albert Dock, a complex of dock buildings and warehouses with cool museums, restaurants, and bars.

North Wales Adventure(extra cost)

Wales is a hidden gem of a country. This full day trip whisks you to the seaside town of Conwy, the rolling green Snowdonia National Park, and finally, to Betws-Y-Coed to grab a quaint pint and some pub food.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 7: Travel to Edinburgh via Lake District National Park + New Year's Eve Celebration

Board your morning bus, it’s Scotland time! Built on two extinct volcanoes, the capital, Edinburgh, is an enchanting labyrinth of narrow alleyways, cozy pubs, and storybook castles. Feel free to nap, but be sure to peep the English countryside out your window as you pass through the stunning Lake District National Park.

Today’s Highlights:

  • Wind through the hilly lake-studded expanse of Northern England’s Lake District National Park.
  • Make a pit stop for lunch on your own in Windermere—a cute little town that’s home to England’s largest lake.
  • Arrive in Edinburgh and stretch your legs with a little walk around town with your Tour Director.

New Year's Eve in Edinburgh

Celebrate New Year's Eve in Edinburgh! Tonight is yours to do as you please. Party with fellow travelers and locals as you count down to the best year yet.

Day 8: Explore Edinburgh + Optional Scottish Bagpipe Lesson & Dinner

Get an in-depth look at Scottish history and modern day life with a guided sightseeing tour of Edinburgh.

Today’s Highlights:

  • View the Scottish Crown Jewels in Edinburgh Castle.
  • Walk the Great Hall and see the armor, swords and medieval decor that line the walls.
  • Visit the Elephant House Cafe, where the first Harry Potter book was written.

Scottish Bagpipe Lesson & Dinner(extra cost)

Only one thing really sounds like Scotland: bagpipes. Today you’ll learn how to play one yourself. Watch a demonstration by a world-class piper, take a lesson, and let ‘er rip over a three-course dinner and drinks.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 9: Free Day in Edinburgh

Take a day to explore Edinburgh your way. Get your Gothic architecture on, hit the pubs, or try and figure out what exactly haggis is (let us know if you get an answer on that one).

Free Time Suggestions
Brew Lab: This specialty shop serves up delicious artisanal coffee. It’s also the perfect place to sample the wares of some other indie Edinburgh icons, including soup from Union of Genius and cakes from Lovecrumbs.
Arthur’s Seat: Visible from pretty much everywhere in the city, this extinct volcanic peak is a relatively easy hike with a killer view.
Old Town: Walk the winding streets lined with everything from candy-colored shops to local pubs to souvenir shops.

Day 10: Travel to Glasgow via Scottish Highlands + Explore Glasgow

Next stop: Glasgow, Scotland. Edinburgh may be the capital, but Glasgow is the biggest city in the country. You know what they say: the bigger the Scottish city, the thicker the Scottish accent. The best part: you’re getting there in the most kilt-tastic way possible—with a hike through the Scottish Highlands and a stop in a castle on the way. Prepare your eyes for lovely Glaswegian Victorian architecture, and prepare your ears for that delightful accent.

Today’s Highlights:

  • Hike through the Scottish Highlands—a mountainous region that’s so beautiful it should be on display in a giant museum or something.
  • Open the gate and enter Doune Castle to see the phenomenally preserved fortress built in the 1300s, and (much, much) later used as the set for Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Arrive in Glasgow and see what all the fuss is about.
  • Tour Glasgow’s cultural touchpoints that range from “supremely old” to “OMG that is sooo old,” including Kelvingrove Art Gallery, George Square, and Glasgow Cathedral.

Day 11: Travel to Northern Ireland + Explore Belfast

You’ve had some good times in Great Britain (we hope you now see why they don’t just call it Britain), because now you’re off to a different British Isle: Ireland. Specifically, the green and welcoming country of Northern Ireland. A ferry will take all you wee lads and lasses across the Irish Sea and then it’s onwards to explore the capital city of Belfast.

Today’s Highlights:

  • Jig on over to Northern Ireland via ferry and bus.
  • Learn about Belfast’s long struggles caught between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom in a guided tour of the city’s must-see sights.
  • Pass by the infamous dockyards where the Titanic was built over one hundred years ago, and get inside the Titanic Museum to view its very cool exhibits and learn more about the doomed ship.

Day 12: Explore Giant’s Causeway

It’s time to go big—really big. Like Giant’s Causeway big. Some (scientists) say this unique geological formation is result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption, others (everyone else) believe that an Irish giant by the name of Finn MacCool built it—so he could fight a Scottish giant. Either way, it’s a stunningly beautiful spot to watch the crashing sea.

Today’s Highlights:

  • Journey to the end of Northern Ireland to see the Giant’s Causeway—on a clear day you can see Scotland from here.
  • Walk among the nearly 40,000 basalt rock columns of the Causeway.
  • Hang on tight as you cross the nearly 100-foot high Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to a tiny island, and experience nature at the edge of the island of Ireland.

Day 13: Travel to Dublin + Explore Dublin & Guinness Storehouse

Say goodbye to Ireland and hello to… also Ireland. Yep, you’re leaving behind Northern Ireland (and the UK) and headed to Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland (or, just Ireland, as we call it). Today, see the best Dublin has to offer with a local guide on a tour of the city. In the afternoon, tour the Guinness Brewery and order a “pint of Gat” (that’s how the cool kids order a Guinness).

Today's Highlights:

  • Board your morning bus from Belfast to Dublin.
  • Enter St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the 800-year-old church named after the famous saint.
  • Pass by Trinity College, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities, home to the storied library that inspired Hogwarts’ own.
  • Sample Dublin’s natural beauty and urban escape at Phoenix Park—the largest park in Europe.
  • Tour the pint-glass shaped Guinness Storehouse, learn how the famous stout became Ireland’s favorite beer, then enjoy an included one on the house.

Day 14: Free Day in Dublin

Today is a free day in Dublin to do as you please. Take a stroll to St. Stephen’s Green, Grafton Street, and Temple bar, where pub culture, literary history, and all-around charm await. Whatever you do, make sure to make friends with the locals—they’re so friendly and always happy to chat.

Free Time Suggestions

Book of Kells: Head back to Trinity College for a chance to see the Book of Kells—a pristine 1,200-year old illustrated collection of biblical stories—up-close.
Jameson Distillery: Sick of stout? Switch things up in favor of the strong stuff with a guided tour and whiskey tasting at the Jameson Distillery Bow St.

Day 15: Travel to Galway via Cliffs of Moher

You’re off to Galway, a city famous for live music, street performers, and art shows. On the way, stop at the Cliffs of Moher for breathtaking views of the coastline.

Today's Highlights:

  • Gawk at the Cliffs of Moher—limestone walls of rock that dominate the coast for five miles and rise to staggering heights of 700 feet
  • Arrive in beautiful Galway and take it all in on a walk along the banks of the River Corrib, gaze at the picture perfect Galway Bay, then get stoked for a night out in a new town.

Free Time Suggestions
Quay Street: Quay Street is a pub-crawler’s heaven. Pick a starting point, have a pint, and see where it takes you.
Buskers: Busking, or street performing, is basically Galway’s favorite pastime. Catch the best fiddle player you’ve ever seen on one corner, and a blazing banjoist on the next.

Day 16: Free Day in Galway + Optional Aran Islands Excursion + Farewell Dinner

Raise your glass, here’s to one more rowdy day in the British Isles ! We know you’ll make it count. Before heading out for the day, take a moment to reflect on all the Guinness, rolling meadows, hearty food, and craic you’ve had. Ready? Go make some memories!

Free Time Suggestions
Eyre Square: The end of the rainbow in Galway leads to Eyre Square—a bustling center of shops, cafes, and art, though no known pot of gold sightings—yet.
Irish Coffee: Vodka Red Bull’s Irish cousin packs a caffeinated punch of coffee, whiskey, and Bailey’s. Please enjoy responsibly.

Farewell Dinner
Share some last laughs and revisit the best moments of the trip at this included farewell dinner with the group.

Afternoon on the Aran Islands(extra cost)

Take a ferry ride to the Aran Islands, where old traditions and iconic Irish countryside are hanging on strong. Don't miss Dún Aengus, a 2,000-year-old fort with walls that go right to the edge of a cliff high above the sea.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 17: Fly Home

Slán libh, a cháirde!
Translation: Goodbye, friends. Before you head to the airport, make sure to take one more group photo and grab that final drink. But this isn’t goodbye because you can always get the gang back together for another trip soon. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, we have a couple ways to keep your vacation going.

EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS

1. Double the fun
Many of our trips line up back to back. Give us a call and we’ll help you add another destination—and save big while you’re at it.

2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy. During checkout, you’ll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for a $30 fee. We’ll adjust your flights accordingly, but you’ll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside the tour.

Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.

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