SAMPLE - Multi-Country Adventure of Ireland & UK

2 Adults

Summer 2024

Duration: 16 Days / 15 Nights

Overview

Have you ever dreamt of discovering the lush, romantic scenery among the hills and valleys of Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland?  This adventure will immerse you in the rich history and unique cultures of the UK and Ireland as you travel through the wonderful landscapes evocative of times gone by. Paddle in canoes and kayaks, sail in historic steamships and row open fishing boats across lochs and lakes to seek the finest experiences these abundant, green lands have to offer. Immerse yourself in the landscape, history, geology and traditional ways of life with local craftspeople, geologists, naturalists and storytellers along the way.  Stay in luxurious and unique accommodations and sampling the finest local produce the land and sea has to offer.

Highlights

  • Watch for whales on the south coast of Ireland
  • Explore a glaciated hanging valley in Wales guided by an expert local naturalist
  • Travel in style on the oldest steam yacht in the north of England
  • Meet the Keeper of the Books at the oldest public lending library in Scotland

Day by Day

Day 1 - Ireland Arrival

Arriving in Shannon Airport today you will be met by your Irish guide and together you will transfer southwards.  Our first port of call is the charming village of Adare where we will explore the ancient abbey and wander the cottage-lined streets.  Later in Killarney National Park we will join a local boatman for a tour of the famous Killarney lakes with a stunning backdrop, the mountains of the Magillycuddy Reeks, are home to no fewer than six of Ireland’s highest peaks.

Overnight: Kenmare | The Park Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner

Day 2 - Ireland - Exploring Kerry

Today we venture away from Kerry’s mountainous interior to the wilder reaches of its Atlantic coastline.  In a hidden bay, sheltered from the ocean wave’s you will meet a local naturalist who is world-renowned for his knowledge of seaweed but is equally proficient in local history and geology.  You will join him for a lovingly prepared picnic on the shore.  This afternoon you could choose to kayak the tranquil waters of Kenmare Bay back to your hotel or hike a smugglers path along the coast.

Overnight: Kenmare | The Park Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 - Ireland - Local Traditions of West Cork

Traditional techniques are alive and well in West Cork, a verdant green landscape which produces some of the world’s best cheese.  We will visit a ceramicist who fires their pottery using a traditional wood fuelled kiln and lunch on locally produced raw cow and sheep’s cheese.  Later a visit to a whiskey distillery in Midleton, established in the 17th century it still produces some of the finest Irish whiskeys today.

Overnight: Dysert, Ardmore | Cliff House Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 - Ireland - The Copper Coast

We will pick up bikes and follow the Deise Greenway, a 45km traffic free cycle route that follows the path of an abandoned railway between mountains and coast, over viaducts and through tunnels.  Taking this at our own pace we will explore as little or as much of the route as suits with the opportunity to stop at castles, beaches and ancient stone forts along the way.  An outdoor seaweed bath, a cleansing ritual celebrated in Ireland for hundreds of years is the perfect way to relax this evening.

Alternative Option:

Meet the Copper Coast Geopark’s resident geologist for an exploration of the millennia of history in this region, human and natural, from seashore to caves.

Overnight: Dysert, Ardmore | Cliff House Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 - Ireland - Whale Watching

The water’s directly outside your hotel are home to some of the highest concentrations of marine mammals in Europe.  If conditions are right, join a local whale watcher for a cliff top hike keeping an eye out for the many species of whale, dolphins and basking sharks that are often seen from here.  Later check in at Ballyfin, an impeccably restored Palladian mansion where you’ll join a falconer for a hands-on demonstration before dressing in period costume to get into character for dinner.

Overnight: Ballyfin | Ballyfin Demesne
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 - Ireland - Ballyfin Demesne

Relax onsite at Ballyfin- enjoy a range of onsite activities (prior booking required for some) from shooting and archery to their fantastic spa. There are numerous onsite walks, and a picnic lunch can be arranged in their beautiful picnic house.

Overnight: Ballyfin | Ballyfin Demesne
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 - Wales Arrival

Clients can fly from Dublin to Liverpool.  At Liverpool Airport your UK guide meets you and you transfer 2 hours along the north coast of Wales to your country house accommodation near the Snowdonia National Park.

 

Alternative Options for getting from Ireland to Wales:

Clients can choose to take the ferry from Ireland to Wales on the Dublin to Holyhead route. Approx transfer time 5 hours

The clients can transfer by private jet from Birr Airfield in Balinree (30 miles from Ballyfin) and land at Caernarfon airport which is 14 miles away from Ty’n Rhos

The clients could also transfer by helicopter from Ballyfin to Ty’n Rhos direct.

Note: Wilderness Group are not able to arrange plane flights.

Overnight: Llanddeiniolen | Tyn Rhos Country House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8 - Wales - The National Slate Museum and Cwm Idwal

We make our way to the former mining town of Llanberis to visit the National Slate Museum where we have an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the museum getting a glimpse into the importance of slate mining and its link to the history and politics of Wales.  The museum is on the site of the vast Dinorwig quarry that closed in 1969 and the museum is designed as if the quarrymen have just downed tools for the day.  When the site reopened as a museum many of the former quarrymen were employed to recreate their time at the quarry.

Later we hike to Cwm Idwal – a fantastic glaciated hanging valley where Arctic flora grows among great slabs of rock.  The hike is straightforward yet we take in some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the UK.  On our way back to the hotel we stop in at an exclusive gin distillery for our very own cocktail masterclass.

Alternative option:

A high octane day of guided Mountain Biking on the fantastic trails of the Coed y Brenin Forest Park. There are various trails through the forest to suit all abilities.

Alternative option:

Exclusive use of a first class carriage on the Pullman train as you travel the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog.  Enjoy a journey on the UK’s longest heritage railway past the foot of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, and relax in comfort while admiring the stunning scenery.  Your guide will be waiting to pick you up at Porthmadog when you disembark.  This is a morning activity so can be linked in with either a visit to the Slate Museum or a hike at Cwm Idwal in the afternoon and the cocktail class.

Overnight: Llanddeiniolen | Tyn Rhos Country House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 - Wales - The Welsh Language Centre and Tre’r Ceiri Hillfort

A short 45-minute transfer takes to the coast and to the Welsh Language Centre in Nant Gwrtheryn.

This morning we will have a private session with a tutor, learning some basic phrases in welsh before meeting with Dr Carl Clowes, the founder of the Welsh Language Centre, where he will talk all about his life and the reasons for setting up the centre back in 1978.

After exploring the Heritage Centre we can make the most of the outstanding coastal location of Nant Gwrtheryn with a hike down to the sandy beach or an easy ascent to nearby Tre’r Ceiri Hillfort which is thought to have been inhabited between 150 BC and 400 AD.

Alternative option:

A short drive takes us to the beautiful coastal hamlet of Morfa Nefryn where we can take a coastal walk out to the village of Porthdinllean which is only accessible by foot by non-residents.  Here we can have a refreshing drink at a traditional British pub before walking back along the golf course and taking in the views across the Irish Sea.  For the keen golfers in the party there is an option to play a round at the 27 hole Championship Neyfrn Golf Course which spreads down the Llyn Peninsula and offers incredible views.

Overnight: Llanddeiniolen | Tyn Rhos Country House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles | 360 m / 1,181 ft elevation gain | Approx: 3 hrs

Day 10 - England - Travel to the Lake District

Today we transfer to the lush scenery of the Lake District National Park in the north of England. Here you can try out the fun sport of paddleboarding with an expert on the glassy waters of Lake Windermere, the largest lake in the region. This versatile sport has grown in popularity in the last few years and after enjoying testing out techniques and exploring the lake, you will understand why!

You will then make your way to your modern self-contained spa lodge with time to relax and enjoy the views out over the pretty village of Windermere. Before dinner you will be joined by the hotel’s sommelier who will do a wine tasting with you as well as notes on the pairings for your evening meal.

Your transfer today is 3.5 hours driving or this transfer could be made by helicopter as there is a landing pad at The Gilpin Hotel.

Alternative options (instead of paddle boarding):

  • Free time to make the most of the facilities in your private spa suite including steam room and private terrace with hot tub.  
  • If the clients drive then there is the option to stop off at Houghton Tower for a private tour and some lunch before heading onto the hotel in the afternoon. This means there would not be time for the paddling option in the afternoon. Houghton Tower was immortalised by Charles Dickens in one of his short stories in 1854.
  • Round of golf at Windermere Golf Club in the afternoon for those with a golfing passion

Alternative accommodation:

Exclusive use of Gilpin Lake House (can sleep max of 12 people) which has private spa facilities, as well as a swimming pool and then your personal chauffeur, can drive you up to the hotel for dinner or you can have a private dinner or perhaps a BBQ at the Lake House.

Overnight: Windermere | The Gilpin Hotel and Lakehouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11 - England - Ullswater

We transfer to Glenridding today – a former mining village at the foot of Helvellyn, one of the largest peaks in the Lake District.  We board a historic steamship to take us to Howtown on the east side of Ullswater lake.  From here we go ashore and hike along the shores of the lake back to our starting point stopping at a charming tea room on route for tea and cake enjoying wonderful views across the lake.

 

Alternative Option (if clients take the Lake House exclusively – sleeps up to 12):

Your personal chef will join you in the Lake House this morning for a masterclass in creating one of the famous afternoon tea cakes.  Later in the afternoon, your own personal baker can come to the house to bake scones and Irish soda bread with you to enjoy with your evening meal.

Overnight: Windermere | The Gilpin Hotel and Lakehouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12 - England - Brantwood and Coniston Water

We transfer to Coniston Water, a pretty lakeside village where we board a classic steam yacht gondola, the oldest steam yacht in the north of England.  From the plush cabin or the outside deck enjoy the views from the steamer as we sail around the lake.

When disembark we are met by a local expert to accompany you in your explorations of Brantwood – once home to John Ruskin, a poet, revolutionary and conservationist who was renowned in the Victorian era.  The house is now a museum for the arts; full of fine paintings, beautiful furniture and Ruskin’s personal belongings including the desk where he wrote some of his most famous work.

Additional option: 

We have lunch at the cafe where on request (for the petrol heads) we can meet Gina Campbell, daughter of Donald Campbell who was the pilot of Bluebird speed boat that crashed in 1967 while trying to set the world water speed record.

Alternative option:

We take the ferry across Lake Windermere to Wray Castle – which has belonged to the National Trust since 1929 – where we take a private tour and learn more about the history of the castle.  After this we hike south along the lake shoreline to Claife Viewing Station with its colorful stained glass viewing platform and panoramic views over Lake Windermere.  Later we transfer to Brantwood for a private tour and then return to Coniston by steamer.

Overnight: Windermere | The Gilpin Hotel and Lakehouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13 - Scotland - Foodie Foraging & Whisky Tasting

Today you are swept away by helicopter across the border to the southern Highlands of Scotland.  We arrive at our secluded and quirky country house hotel on the shores of Loch Voil in the Loch Lomond National Park.

The afternoon is spent with chef patron Tom who will take us for a walk around the grounds of the hotel and the kitchen garden foraging for tasty treats as we go.  Later Tom will incorporate the delicious ingredients in a lovely meal.  Tom’s parents bought the farmland that the hotel sits on back in 1983 when Tom’s dad Rob bought the farm by signing the back of a cigarette package to clinch the deal.  Tom and his wife Lisa May live on the estate, along with his brother Dick who runs the farm and can often be found walking their dogs, Betty and Tinker.  Tom classes himself as a farmer who has diversified and thinks that sourcing the for season and locality is just how everyone should eat!

Later we are joined by a whisky expert to sample a few fine drams of the uisge beatha (water of life).

Note: With a group of 4 or more clients; during helicopter transfers the client’s main luggage will be transferred separately by van and will therefore arrive at the next destination a few hours later than the clients (small day packs can be taken on the helicopter). 

Helicopter flights are weather dependent, in case of inclement weather the transfer today would be by van (4.5 hours).

Alternative Option:

Enjoy an afternoon of learning the ancient art of woodcarving with a passionate craftsman who will show you how to make a traditional highland cup or perhaps a quaich, which is a two-handled drinking cup whose name derives from the Scottish Gaelic cuach.

Overnight: Lochearnhead | Monachyle Mhor Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 14 - Scotland - Innerpeffray Library & Local Legends

We start the day visiting the oldest free public lending library in Scotland, in this beautiful old building we are hosted by the Keeper of the Books and enjoy a private talk themed around Scottish history.

This afternoon visit the grave of the infamous outlaw Rob Roy, whose life was romanticised in the book by Sir Walter Scott. Then explore the lands that he used to roam as you hike into the lush valley of Kirkton Glen. When you return to the loch shore you will take to the water and explore the sparkling waters paddling open canoes for a fresh perspective on the scenic views.

Enjoy a magical outdoor dining experience this evening with a delicious al fresco meal before gathering round the firepit, perhaps with a wee dram. A local storyteller will regale you with the fabulous tales of Rob Roy’s life and the history of the area before you are transferred back to the hotel.

Alternative Option (instead of Kirkton Glen Hike):

A full day hike to ascend the nearby Munro (mountain over 3000ft) Ben Vorlich for wonderful views over Loch Earn and the mountains of the Loch Lomond National Park.  A good level of fitness plus appropriate hiking attire is required for this option and it will be weather dependent.

Hike details: Distance: 7 miles, Elevation Gain: 985m, Duration:4-6 hours

Overnight: Lochearnhead | Monachyle Mhor Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 15 - Scotland - Edinburgh, The Historic Capital or Glasgow, The Post-Industrial Creative Hub

Today you have the choice of transferring to one of Scotland’s largest cities for your final night.

Head to the historic capital of Edinburgh for an afternoon walking tour to discover the cobbled streets and hidden alleyways of the vibrant Old Town.

For some dates in August, there is an option to watch the world famous Royal Military Tattoo from the Royal box and even have a private dinner in the castle gatehouse before the event (suitable for larger groups).

Extra Optional Activity for Edinburgh:Meet with the owner of 21st century kilts for a demonstration and history of the kilt. There is also an option to purchase and enjoy a tailor-made fitting. Howie Nicolsby is an exceptional designer bringing the traditional Scottish outfit screaming into the 21st century with an altogether more modern and wearable look and he boasts a number of well-known faces among his clientele.

Alternative Option:

Alternatively transfer to Scotland’s largest city Glasgow, once an industrial powerhouse Glasgow has been reinvented as a cultural destination with strong ties to art, design and architecture.  You meet a local guide for an afternoon walking tour of the city with an art and design theme.  Your tour includes buildings designed by world-famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh who was prolific at the turn of the last century.

Overnight: Edinburgh | The Balmoral Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 16 - Depart

You transfer to either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport this morning to make your onward connections.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • 2 nights at The Park Hotel, Kenmare – Suite
  • 2 nights at The Cliff House, Ardmore – Suite
  • 1 night at Ballyfin, Demesne – Deluxe Room
  • 3 nights at Ty’n Rhos, Caernarfon – Superior Super King Room
  • 3 nights at The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Windermere – Spa Lodge
  • 2 nights at Monachyle Mhor, Balquhidder – Feature Room
  • 1 night at The Balmoral, Edinburgh – Deluxe Castle View or Blythswood Square, Glasgow – Suite
  • All meals included in the itinerary from lunch on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 15
  • Services of experienced Wilderness Scotland/Wilderness Ireland guide(s) from Day 1 – 15
  • Ground transportation from Day 1 – 15
  • All guided hikes as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Gratuity for Main Guide
  • Day 1 – Boat tour of the Killarney Lakes
  • Day 2 – Morning with a local naturalist
  • Day 3 – Pottery class and whiskey distillery tour
  • Day 4 – Bike hire
  • Day 5 – Morning of whale watching
  • Day 7 – Ferry from Ireland to Wales including premium lounge access
  • Day 8 – Visit to Slate museum and cocktail masterclass
  • Day 9 – Private Welsh lesson and talk with Welsh Language Centre founder
  • Day 10 – Paddle-Boarding 2 Hour Taster on Lake Windermere
  • Day 11 – Ferry from Glenridding to Howtown
  • Day 12 – Trip on the Steam Yacht Gondola and visit to Brantwood
  • Day 13 – Helicopter transfer, foraging experience and whisky tasting
  • Day 14 – Morning visit to the library
  • Day 15 – Private guided walking tour of Edinburgh Old Town or private guided walking Art & Design tour of Glasgow.
Exclusions Read More
  • Flights (apart from the helicopter transfer on Day 13)
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions