5 Days - UK Tour
Bringing together the varied countryside and rugged coastlines with the contrast of the bustling city, this captivating insight into Northern Ireland is not to be missed. Begin to understand the divided history of Belfast with a tour of its most significant landmarks and murals. Not forgetting the maritime significance of this incredible city, with a visit to the Titanic Experience, and the stunningly manicured gardens of the Stewarts - noted to be some of the best in the world. We also see the more rural parts of Northern Ireland, with scenic drives along the Antrim Coast, Lough Strangford and Giants Causeway, finishing off with a sample of the areas favourite drink - true Irish whiskey.
Change your booking free up to 45 days before travel;
Covid Cancellation protection included as standard;
Happy by day two or you can go home with a full refund;
Discover the history of the capital on a guided tour of Belfast;
Step back in maritime history at the Titanic Experience;
Enjoy a scenic drive along the Antrim Coast to Giants Causeway;
Experience Irish whiskey on a Bushmills tour and tasting;
Enjoy some of the best gardens in the world at Mount Stewart;
Four nights in four-star accommodation with breakfast;
Make your way to your hotel in Belfast this morning, looking out for the stunning sights of Northern Ireland’s capital as they come into view. Whether you prefer to make your own way there by car or would like to go by train or private car, our helpful travel desk team would be more than happy to help you organise trains, flights or a private car to suit your arrangements. Our hand-picked hotels are always thoughtfully chosen for their location, amongst luxurious touches, facilities or perhaps a special story behind them. The Europa Hotel is no different: with its central location and list of famous guests over the years.
Later on this morning, we embark on a guided tour of Belfast to learn more about what makes this capital so special and worthy of being voted the best place to visit in 2018. A city once divided, our guide will delve deeper into the history and politics, understanding the different sides and how they live together in the peace process, which make Belfast what it is today.
Iconic sights on the East side include the Cathedral Quarter and the Grade A Listed Parliament Building, with its striking architecture and grand steps. Not forgetting the City Hall, Grand Opera House and CS Lewis Square, where you’ll spy carefully crafted sculptures of characters from The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe. You’ll also find lavishly decorated pubs dotted around Belfast, such as the famous Victorian Crown Liquor Saloon, with its ornate tiled frontage, original features dating back to the 1800s and carved mahogany booths.
To begin to understand the city’s past in more depth, we also get under the skin of the culture by visiting Catholic populated Falls Road and Protestant dominated Shank Hill Road, which run parallel to one another. Our guide will also share stories from the Peace Line Wall, which was built to keep the Nationalists and Loyalists apart but in turn separated the communities. And of course we will also have a chance to see the famous murals and learn the meanings behind them.
This evening you are free to make reservations to enjoy your first of many dinners in the city. While in Belfast, be sure to sample the incredible locally caught seafood, such as mussels and herring, as well as potato-based dishes, including champ, apple bread and Irish stew.
After an Irish breakfast, we start the day by heading to the Titanic Experience. Belfast really came into its own in the Industrial Revolution, wealthier from ship building, lining making and tobacco exports. Today, memories of this affluent time are found in the likes of the iconic Samson and Goliath twin gantry cranes, an imposing sight along the portside. You can see this influence throughout the city hall, banks and other historical buildings, as your mind wander to what life would have looked like some 200 years ago.
With the maritime heritage running through the veins of Belfast, no visit would be complete without a visit to the award winning Titanic Experience. We explore the history and legacy of the Titanic, what it meant to the people of Belfast and the story of those who were on the fateful ship itself. As well as a series of 9 interactive galleries, you can even walk the deck of the last remaining vessel of the White Star line. The afternoon is free to explore – so what’s it to be? Perhaps head to the Ulster Museum, where exhibits range from the prehistoric to modern masterpieces, wander St. George's Market for a bargain, head to the Botanic Gardens with its Palm House and the Tropical Ravine, or simply amble along the Lagan river for a spot of people watching.
This morning, prepare yourself for one of the most famous coastal trips in the world, as we embark on the Antrim coast road. We head out by the side of the Belfast Lough, the key to the prosperous ship building industry, passing though Carrickfergus with its arresting Medieval castle. Varied scenery turns from verdant green farmland, rugged coastlines and curved bays as we follow the coastline north. Be on the look out for the glens of Antrim, of which there are 9 in total, as the scenery changes before your eyes from neat, fertile valleys and charming villages to wildly beautiful, rugged vistas.
It’s amazing what we can see today now the A2 road has been established, as the isolated glens would have previously been harder to access. A happy consequence, this helped to preserve the beautiful Gaelic language, as one of the last places in Northern Ireland is spoken. Across the countryside, evidence of tough lives of farmers and rural inhabitants are found in many abandoned cottages – seemingly in the middle of nowhere – it’s truly a wonder how people managed to eke out a living on the rugged landscape.
We continue our fascinating Irish voyage through breathtaking Ballycastle, a port and also at the mouth of 2 of the Glens of Antrim. Look out for Rathlin island, Northern Ireland’s last inhabited island.
The next highlight to come into view is the magical Giants Causeway. As you take in the surrounding area of outstanding national beauty, it’ll come as no surprise this geographical wonder is acknowledged as a UNESCO heritage site. Its basalt hexagonal columns have spawned many legends, notably Finn McCool, fabled hunter-warrior in Irish mythology. We go on to discover more about this fascinating spot, as we pay a visit the state-of-the-art visitors centre, illuminating the science behind the site as well as the fairytales that have been weaved along the way.
Of course a visit to this part of Ireland wouldn’t be complete with a tasting of the famous tipple. We continue onward to Bushmills distillery, one of the oldest licensed distilleries in the world. Founded in 1608, we discover the illustrious craft of making triple distilled whiskey on a guided tour with the chance to try a dram at the end. We then return to Belfast for a free evening to get to know this wonderful city further.
After another breakfast at the hotel, we head south this morning to the shores of delightful Lough Strangford. Wildlife lovers might want to bring their binoculars or favourite camera, as this is truly a haven for wildlife. The largest inlet in the British Isles, there are seventy islands dotted along its many picturesque islets, bays and coves.
Our destination has been voted one of the top gen gardens in the world: Mount Stewart. Deserving of its UNESCO listed status, these stunning gardens have been home to the famous Stewart family for over 250 years.
The house itself is a real treasure trove of history, and you can get a true sense of the family’s place in history as you wander its many handsome rooms. The gardens in fact are arranged in rooms too: from the exquisite Italian garden, The Shamrock, the “Sunk” garden, the Dodo terrace and the Spanish Garden to name just a few. You’ll have plenty of time to lose yourself in this spectacle of fine horticulture before returning to Belfast in the mid afternoon.
After breakfast, return home with wonderful memories of Northern Ireland.
Touring Holidays with Riviera Travel
Outstanding tour managers, friendly local guides, meticulously crafted itineraries, personalised experiences and honest pricing policy are just some of the reasons to book an escorted tour with Riviera Travel. Boasting an award-winning reputation, the brand has been delighting travellers for 35 years and is proud to currently hold two Which? Recommended Provider awards, including Escorted Tour Provider and River Cruise Provider. Riviera Travel is also consistently recognised by customers and the industry for excellent service and value for money and has recently been awarded ‘Best Value for Money’ by Travel Weekly.
When you choose a Riviera Travel holiday, every detail of your river cruise or escorted tour is personally considered by travel specialists. The experts behind the brand go to great lengths to curate each holiday, ensuring you can enjoy the very best of your chosen destination and have plenty of free time to explore at your own pace. What’s more, Riviera Travel is fully bonded by ABTA and ATOL and you can fully relax with the brand’s no surcharge guarantee.
Riviera Travel offers a wide range of thrilling escorted tour itineraries for every type of traveller. Whether you want to see the iconic sites of Prague, go on a solo traveller adventure in Paris or relax with a soak in Iceland’s famous geothermal spa, Riviera Travel promises to give you the best European tour experience possible. The brand also offers amazing worldwide escorted tours, which means you can voyage to Antarctica, stay in the heart of New York City or even go on a guided safari in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. And remember, insightful guided tours and visits are all included in the price and you can enjoy scheduled flights from a choice of UK airports or Eurostar travel.
When it comes to the local guides and tour managers, Riviera Travel chooses specialists that are not only extremely friendly and knowledgeable but also have flair for engaging audiences and sharing eye-opening insights. Ancient ruins, historic towns and unfamiliar landscapes all come to life when you’re in the company of one of the guides or managers, and each one will make you feel as though you’re travelling with a friend who knows the best secrets of every destination.
Once you’ve booked your Riviera Travel escorted tour, you can rest assured that the cost of your holiday will not increase as there are no hidden costs at all. As Riviera Travel’s pricing is transparent, clear and includes essentials such as taxes and fuel supplements, you can book with confidence knowing that your holiday offers exceptional value. You do, however, have the option to upgrade and add hand-picked highlights to your itinerary to make your trip extra special. And if you choose a solo tour, all prices are fully inclusive with no single supplement to be added and you’ll still have a room all to yourself.