Whether you’ve already been or are now planning your first trip, the UK and Ireland are travel destinations that remain in our imaginations. Atmospheric castles, fairy-tale villages, bucolic countryside, and enduring literary traditions are just some of the reasons why travelers can’t get enough of these iconic places. (The rest of them you’ll just have to find out on one of our UK or Ireland tours.) The best time to book your next (or first) trip there is during our Black Friday sales—we’re offering savings on so many tours. And to inspire some British, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish wanderlust, we’ve rounded up our travelers’ favorite itineraries to these fabled destinations (one of them includes haunted hills). So, if you’re looking for the best trips to Ireland or the best UK vacations at great prices, you’ll want to jump on these deals now.
See the best of Great Britain
On our 15-day Grand Tour of Great Britain: Scotland, England & Wales tour, discover British majesty in some of the most storied cities of the island: You’ll get to take a peek at the Scottish crown jewels in Edinburgh, feel the warmth of Scouser hospitality in Liverpool, stand in awe of history at Stonehenge, and marvel at medieval castles in Cardiff. All of that before you get immersed into the trendsetting energy of London. A tour that takes you around the country, hitting both icons and lesser-known destinations? It’s the best way to travel around the UK.
Traveler Pat has us convinced this is one of our best UK vacations: “This tour is non-stop historical surprises. Edinburgh is enchanting. Liverpool is lively and Beatles fans will relish in musical memories. Stratford-upon-Avon will delight Shakespeare devotees. Bath is famous for its over the top Roman baths. Stonehenge will boggle your mind,” she said.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
Planning a trip to Ireland? Why not time it around St. Patrick’s Day, one of the most joyous days in the calendar, and make it a trip for the ages? On the actual day of the celebration in Dublin, we give you free time to enjoy it your way—whether that means joining in on the parade or partying at a local pub. But this 11-day St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland: Traditions of the Emerald Isle tour will also take you through the medieval alleys of Kilkenny, to the legendary Blarney Stone, around the breathtakingly beautiful Ring of Kerry, and along the towering Cliffs of Moher. We’ll even add in a whiskey tasting (or two).
“My trip was so much fun,” said traveler Starr. “The Irish are lovable and fun. Go Ahead provided a unique, well planned tour of so many places.”
Soak up London's regal style
Some may say that the best way to visit England is to go beyond London. But, sometimes, a city is so impressive, so alluring, that we are all too happy to devote an entire week to discovering its myriad secrets. London is one such city. During your seven-day London: The City Experience tour, our Tour Director will show you the English capital’s must-see attractions such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s Cathedral to give you the lay of the land. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to check out everything that’s on your London wish list at your own pace. As traveler Dashay said of her London tour, “It was a great mix of sightseeing and having free time to explore the city on your own.”
This itinerary includes two free days, which you can fill up with museum visits and fabulous shopping. Or perhaps you’ll want to add an excursion, like an afternoon tea experience or a day trip to Stonehenge. On the last day, your group will ride the London Eye for sweeping views of the city. From there, you’ll head to a farewell dinner where you and your new friends can trade travel stories from your week in London—and maybe start planning another trip to England.
Go Wild on the Emerald Isle
The best trips to Ireland should always include a bit of its west coast, which is known for wild, rugged natural terrain. But because we love that part of the island so much, we created this 10-day Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way tour to show off the best of this region. It includes bucket-list-worthy excursions, such as exploring County Donegal’s waterfalls, lakes, and mountains and joining an archaeologist for a tour of Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery.
Take traveler Michelle’s word for it. “This is such a beautiful trip highlighting the wild scenery of the Atlantic Coast and a bit of Northern Ireland,” she said. “I would recommend this for the traveler who has previously visited Ireland and wants something more in depth and a bit more remote than most of the typical Ireland tours.”
Get spooked in Dublin, Edinburgh, and London
If you think the capital cities of the UK & Ireland are just for historic castles and rousing pubs, think again. Each has a spooky, sinister side that’s worth exploring, too. On our nine-day Haunted Halloween Tour: Dublin, Edinburgh & London tour, you’ll get the classic attractions paired with spooky experiences that hint at potentially haunted happenings in these great cities. In Dublin, you’ll tour St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ireland’s largest church, and explore the grounds of the Hell Fire Club. In Edinburgh, you’ll get to celebrate Halloween by partaking in the legendary Samhuin Fire Festival, a modern interpretation of an age-old Celtic tradition. And in London, you’ll explore the city’s icons by day and retrace Jack the Ripper’s steps at night.
“Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and this tour did not disappoint,” said traveler Jason. “One of the highlights was the Hellfire Club excursion. Hiking up a small mountain at night to visit an abandoned hunting lodge? Spooky!”
Get your fill of Scotlands stunning castles
Planning a trip to Scotland should include as many castles as you want. And that’s exactly what we wanted for our 10-day Edinburgh & the Scottish Castles tour. Every history buff knows that no two castles are made the same. Once you’ve explored Inveraray Castle in the Highlands, Urquhart Castle near Loch Ness, and Blair Castle in Perthshire, you may be an expert on the topic yourself. But this immersive Scotland vacation is about more than just castles; you’ll also get to meet a professional bagpipe player to learn the tricks of the trade, sail along Loch Ness (keep those eyes peeled!), and visit a historic whisky distillery.
“It's impossible to see every inch of a country, but this tour gives a good balance of seeing the cities and the Highlands,” traveler Josephine said. “I was not expecting the Highlands to be so beautiful, I could have spent a month touring the islands. Scotland has so much to offer.”
Get the best of both worlds in Scotland and England
If you ask us, the best way to visit England is to add a little bit of Scotland in the mix. On our 10-day Highlights of Scotland & England: Edinburgh to London tour, you’ll get to make your way from the top of the isle all the way to the bottom—hitting unforgettable stops along the way. Think of it as a UK two-for-one that bundles together Georgian-style architecture, the world’s largest collection of medieval stained glass, Shakespeare’s family home, and an ancient engineering marvel. There’s plenty to see, but there’s also plenty of free time so that you can customize some of the days as you see fit—turning it into one of the best UK vacations ever.
“This tour is a great look into Scotland and England. Great amount of time in each city with a great little in-between stops along the way,” said traveler Carmen. “Awesome views of the English and Scottish countryside as well as time in the cities. Perfect blend of both worlds.”
Discover the thrill of solo travel in Ireland
Planning a trip to Ireland but having trouble finding someone to join you? Why not join our eight-day Ireland for Solo Travelers tour instead? Flying solo has become one of the most popular ways to travel these days, and when you go with us, you’re not actually going to be alone. You’ll be among like-minded adventurers when you explore Blarney Castle, chug a pint of Guinness, and fall in love with the Cliffs of Moher. And if you decide on the Dublin extension, too, then merriment with brand-new travel buddies continues in the rugged Wicklow Mountains National Park. You’ll also have a free day in the capital to dig even deeper into its Irish charm.
The best trips to Ireland are always the ones that end with new friends. Take it from traveler Susan: “I was blessed with a wonderful group of traveling companions. Each person had a special story and contributed something special to the tour,” she said.