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Secret Isles of Great Britain and Ireland

Program Number: 21677RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/30/2015 - 5/14/2015;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: England/Ireland
Price starting at: $7,595.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 35; 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

Discover the remote and remarkable outlying islands of England, Scotland and Ireland on this expedition voyage. Experience the tranquility of uninhabited islands, the mystery of prehistoric ceremonial sites and the timeless traditions of small island towns.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven terrain and stairs. Must be able to get into and out of smaller landing craft.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

London (England), 2 nights; aboard Sea Explorer, 9 nights; Edinburgh (Scotland), 2 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-4: Arrival London (England) / coach to Portsmouth to embark Sea Explorer:

An expert-led London excursion includes lunch at a traditional pub. Lodging: Four-star hotel in South Kensington.

Day 5: Guernsey & Sark:

Walk through St. Peter Port, Guernsey’s capital, or take a scenic drive along the coast. Stroll through Sark’s enchanting La Seigneurie Gardens and see the island by horse-drawn carriage.

Day 6: Isles of Scilly:

Go ashore on idyllic Tresco to discover the subtropical Tresco Abbey Gardens. Find a Bronze Age monolith known as the Old Man.

Day 7: Garnish Island & Bantry Bay (Ireland):

On tranquil Garnish Island, stroll through the Ilnacullin Gardens. Visit Bantry House, a historic mansion ringed by gardens.

Day 8: Aran Islands:

Close-cruise the Cliffs of Moher, which tower 390 feet above the ocean. Step ashore on Inishmore to find the prehistoric fort Dun Aengus.

Day 9: Tory Island:

The Irish language and old traditions are alive and well on Tory Island, population 133. Residents introduce you to their music, dance and storytelling.

Day 10: St. Kilda (Scotland):

Navigate to this spectacular archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the ruins of a medieval blackhouse village.

Day 11: Isle of Lewis:

Examine the prehistoric Callanish Standing Stones, the Dun Carloway broch (an Iron Age tower) and the blackhouse village at Garenin.

Day 12: Canna & Rum:

On Canna, look for sea eagles and falcons. Spot beautiful wildflowers and keep an eye out for red deer as you walk Rum’s nature trail.

Days 13-15: Oban / disembark / coach to Edinburgh / departure:

Learn about traditional Scotch whisky production at the Oban distillery. Absorb spectacular views of the Highlands en route to Edinburgh. Discover the capital’s medieval Old Town. Lodging: Centrally located hotel in a historic building.

Sea Explorer

Within its five decks, the Sea Explorer offers 57 staterooms, beautifully appointed public areas and the highest standards of service and food. This private yacht-like cruise ship fits only 114 passengers at capacity plus a crew of 72, making for an intimate cruise experience. The Sea Explorer is outfitted with the most current navigational and communications technology as well as with retractable fin stabilizers for smooth sailing despite its size.

Meals and Lodgings
   Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square
  London, UK:England 2 nights
   Sea Explorer
  Sea Explorer, At Sea 9 nights
   Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)
  Edinburgh, UK:Scotland 2 nights
 Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Ship Information: N/A
  Contact info: 8 Northumberland Avenue
London, NA WC2N 5BY UK:England
phone: +44 (0)20 7839 9333
  Facility amenities: Free High Speed Internet Access LCD TV Complimentary coffee and tea Alarm Clock radio with iPod dock Complimentary exercise equipment & 24 hour key access Fitness Room Room Service Self Service Laundry Facilities
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact RS Travel Services to book additional nights.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Sea Explorer
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The deluxe Sea Explorer is an all-suite yacht accommodating up to 114 guests. Built in 1992 and refurbished and redecorated in 2005, it has 57 suites. This small ship offers several advantages that mass cruiseliners cannot match. It can dock or anchor almost anywhere and are not limited to large commercial ports. The Sea Explorer can slip into small towns and tiny fishing villages. The ship's 70 officers and crew ensure personalized service.
  Ship Information: Passengers: 110 Crew: 70 Length: 297 feet Beam: 50 feet Draught: 16 feet Gross tonnage: 4200 Speed: 14.5 knots Ice Class: 1C Registered: Marshall Islands Year built: 1992 (refurbished in 2005)
  Contact info: Noble Caledonia
2 Chester Close
Belgravia, London, FL SW1X 7BE UK:England
phone: +2077520000
  Room amenities: All suites are outside suites with private facilities. Please note that all suites have a shower, but none have baths. All suites have the following facilities: - Television - CD/DVD Player - Telephone - Electronic Safe - Hair dryer - Shampoo, hand soap, and shower gel - Heating and air-conditioning (individually controlled) - Mini-refridgerator - Bathrobes for use on board. All bathrobes will be collected for laundering the day before disembarkation - Ample closet space
  Facility amenities: - Bar - Gym - Library - Lounge - Outdoor Bar - Outdoor Jacuzzi - Sun Deck - Laundry Service
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the stylish West End of Edinburgh’s city center, the Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor hotel combines a historical 1860s listed building with a chic and modern interior. Housed over two buildings – the main building and the Townhouse annex - the hotel boasts modern decor, yet retains stunning traditional features such as beautiful coving, ceilings and ornate staircases. Situated only 200 meters from Haymarket train station and a short walk from popular attractions including Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street and the Royal Mile, this unique Edinburgh hotel is the perfect base to explore Scotland’s capital.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: Grosvenor Street Haymarket
Edinburgh,  EH12 5EF UK:Scotland
phone: +441312266001
  Room amenities: •Clock Radio w/ MP3 Connection •LCD Flat Panel TV •Night Lights in Bathroom •Non-Smoking •On-Demand Movies •TV-Cable •TV-Standard Network •Work Desk with Adjustable Lamp •Automatic Door Closer •Double Locking Doors •Electronic Locks •Electronic Smoke Detector •Safe •Bathroom Amenities •Hairdryer •High Speed Internet Access •Iron •Iron/Ironing Board •Tea/Coffee Making Facilities •Telephone - Auto Wakeup
  Facility amenities: •Audio/Visual Equipment Rental •Express Mail •Fax •Meeting Rooms •Modem •Office Rental •Photo Copying Service •Printer •Secretarial Service •Baggage Storage •Elevators •Florist •Foreign Currency Exchange •Laundry/Valet Service •Lounge •Luggage Hold •Multi-Lingual Staff •Room Service •Safety Deposit Box For Your Accessibility Needs The Following Features Are Available: •Accessible elevators •Accessible meeting rooms •Braille elevator •Emergency pull cords bedside bed available •Emergency pull cords in bathroom available •Evacuation chair available to help evacuate a disabled person •Induction Loop System available at reception •Induction Loop System available in the meeting rooms •Inflatable chair available to assist in getting in and out of a bath •Level or ramp entrance into the building •Public Areas/Facilities accessible for physically challenged •Rooms accessible to wheelchairs (no steps) •Service support animals welcome •Visual alarms for hearing impaired in public areas •Wheelchair ramp for lobby/reception access .
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBD Contact Road Scholar Travel Services to book additional nights.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program starts upon arrival in London, England on the morning of Day 2. You will be staying at Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square that night.
  End of Program:
This program will end in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Day 15. You will be staying at Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar) the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. A valid passport is required. Please check to be sure it is valid or six months after the end of the tour and that it has sufficient space for entry and exit stamps, not including the amendment and endorsement pages.
  Parking availability:
Driving to the site is not recommended
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  London
  Transportation to site: All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar and are arriving on the program start date will be transferred from London Heathrow Airport to the program hotel. If you did not purchase your air through Road Scholar, you may join the designated group transfer as long as your flight arrives before or at the same time as the group flight. Taxis, buses and trains are available from the London Heathrow Airport to the city centre.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Edinburgh
  Transportation from site: There will be one group transfer from the hotel to Edinburgh Airport on the morning of Day 15. All participants are welcome to join this transfer. The designated group transfer time will be sent with your final program materials, approximately 5 weeks prior to the start of your program.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Flights Depart
(Thursday, April 30)
 Evening: Flights to London, England depart North America.

Day 2: Arrivals / London, England
(Friday, May 1)
 Arrive To: Flights arrive in London, England. Transfer to the program hotel. London, England. Check-in time at the hotel is at 3:00. Although we will try to secure an early check-in for participants arriving before 3:00, we cannot guarantee that there will be availability. Luggage storage will be available.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon meet with your group for introductions, a review of the program itinerary and site orientation.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: London, England
(Saturday, May 2)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Depart the hotel with an expert guide for an introduction to London.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local pub.
 Afternoon: After lunch you will have some free time to explore London independently.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in London.
Accommodations: Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: London / Portsmouth / Embark MV Sea Explorer
(Sunday, May 3)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Check out of the hotel and transfer by coach to Portsmouth Harbor. With a local expert, explore the historic Portsmouth Dockyard, home to the Royal Navy.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the MV Sea Explorer. Embarkation begins at 4:00 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Guernsey and Sark, Channel Islands
(Monday, May 4)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Arrive this morning on Guernsey, the 'Island of Flowers'. There will be the option of a walking tour of St Peter Port including a visit to Castle Cornet, a 12th century battlement which guards the entrance to St. Peter Port Harbour. Alternatively, enjoy a panoramic drive during which we will seet he beautiful coastline and beaches and also visit the Little Chapel, built in 1914 as a miniature version of the famous basilica at Lourdes and covered in fragments of shattered china.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship as you sail towards Sark.
 Afternoon: On the island of Sark Zodiac craft will bring you ashore for a visit to the enchanting Seigneury Gardens. Horse drawn carriages take you around this peaceful, traffic-free island which is alive with the songs of chaffinches, skylarks and mistle thrush.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Tresco and St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
(Tuesday, May 5)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Spend the morning on traffic free Tresco, walking its idyllic lanes from the beach to the famous sub-tropical Abbey Gardens. Defying the Atlantic weather, this miracle of a garden is the perfect spot for a morning of plant and bird spotting.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship as you sail towards St Agnes.
 Afternoon: The delightful, tiny, community of St Agnes, the most south westerly community in the UK, offers marvellous coastal walks. The small island of Gugh lies across a narrow sandbar and here you will find a single stone monolith called the 'Old Man of Gugh' which dates back to the bronze age.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Garnish Island and Bantry Bay, Ireland
(Wednesday, May 6)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: From the berth in Glengariff, spend the morning at Garnish Island and the beautiful Ilnacullin Gardens. These remarkable gardens owe their existence to the creative partnership, some seventy years ago of Anna Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. The sheltered position and the Gulf Streem is favourable to the growth of ornamental plants, many normally only found in sub-tropical or Mediterranean climates.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, choose to relax on board the ship or visit the Bantry House, overlooking Bantry Bay. You will explore the house, one of the finest historic houses in Ireland, along with the gardens.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Aran Islands, Ireland
(Thursday, May 7)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: This morning cruise by the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. Rising to 213 meters and over 5 miles long, they are home to an estimated 30,000 birds including Atlantic Puffin, razorbills and choughs.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: A little further up the coast and some 30 miles from the Galway Coast are the Aran islands. Call into the largest, Inishmore and explore some of the early Christian sites. The island was a place of monastic study from the earliest Christian times. Also see the dramatic stone fort of Dun Aengus, parts of which date back some 3000 years.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Tory Island, Ireland
(Friday, May 8)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: After a morning at sea arrive at Tory Island located off the Northwest coast of Ireland and home to 150 or so Gaelic speakers. Although only 14 miles offshore, it feels like many more and island life here is full of traditions. Meet some fo the local community in the village hall and enjoy some of their legendary story telling, music and dance. Tory island is also famous for migratory birds; sea birds nest here in large numbers and a puffin colony nests on the northern cliffs. Look out for guillemots, kittwakes, fulmars, storm petrals and manx shearwaters whilst the corncrake has become a main attraction on the island.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Afternoon is at leisure.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: St Kilda, Outer Hebrides
(Saturday, May 9)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Arrive at first light in St. Kilda, a remarkable uninhabited archipelago some fifty miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. The largest island, Hirta, once supported a population of over 200, but the last islanders left in the 1930s. The Medieval village has been restored by the National Trust for Scotland and offers a marvellous link with the past.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Stornaway, Isle of Lewis
(Sunday, May 10)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: On leaving the island capital of Stornaway, head across the island to the beautiful west coast. Described as Scotland's Stonehenge, the Callanish Standing Stones date from around 3000BC. There are a total of 32 stonesin a circular and avenue design. The stones stand like a petrified forest on the flat top of a peninsula which reaches out into East Loch Roag. Visit the Dun Carloway Pictish Broch, probably built sometime in the last century BC, it would have served as an occasionally defensible residence for an extended family complete with accommodation for animals at ground floor level. It would also have served as a visible statement of power and status in the local area. Our final stop is Gearrannan Blackhouse Village - a reconstructed settlement of traditional black houses where people and animals lived in close proximity. The houses are made using dry stone masonry and have thatched roofs, distinctively weighted down with rocks. Visit the small museum, enjoy a display of typical crofting activity such as weaving and take in the views at this dramatic site on the wild Atlantic coast.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, sail past the Shiant Islands, a group of little islands located a few miles off the shores of Lewis. This is an excellent place to spot seals and hopefully White Tailed Eagles.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Canna and Rum, Inner Hebrides
(Monday, May 11)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Spend the morning on Canna which has a tiny agricultural and cattle rearing population. From a walk along the cliff top we may see Golden Eagles, White-tailed Eagles and Peregrine Falcons.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Sail during lunch to the adjoining island of Rum which is a nature reserve. Walk the nature trail, a beautiful area of wild flowers and typical Scottish island scenery.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Oban, Scotland / Transfer to Edinburgh
(Tuesday, May 12)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Disembark the ship this morning, and spend the morning exploring the seaside resort town of Oban. Coach to the top of Battery Hill to see McCraig's Tower, overlooking Oban Bay. Next, visit Oban Distillery, to learn how traditional Scotch whiskey is produced from one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Continue to coach to Edinburgh through the Scottish highlands. The driving time from Oban to Edinburgh is approximately 3 hours, but the views will be well worth it.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Edinburgh with a panoramic drive through this historical city, including both the Old and New Town. Later, check into your hotel. Afternoon at leisure.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in Edinburgh.
Accommodations: Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Edinburgh, Scotland
(Wednesday, May 13)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Depart the hotel this morning for an exploration of Edinburgh. You will start the morning at Edinburgh Castle. Perched above Edinburgh on Castle Rock, the castle dominates over the city. Continue exploring the sites along the Royal Mile ending at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own to explore the local fare.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some free time to independently explore Edinburgh.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15: Departures
(Thursday, May 14)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flights returning to North America.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  London British Museum
England's largest museum and one of the oldest in the world, this famous museum boasts vast Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman, European and Middle Eastern galleries, among many others. Begun in 1753 with a 'cabinet of curiosities' bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane to the nation on his death, the collection mushroomed over the ensuing years partly through plundering the empire. Among the must-sees are the Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering Egyptian hiero­glyphics, discovered in 1799; the controversial Parthenon Sculptures, stripped from the walls of the Parthenon in Athens by Lord Elgin (the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire), and which Greece wants returned; the stunning Oxus Treasure of 7th- to 4th-century-BC Persian gold; and the Anglo-Saxon Sutton Hoo burial relics. For additional information, visit
  London Eye
The London Eye began spinning at the southwestern end of Jubilee Gardens in 2000. Not only has it fundamentally altered the South Bank skyline but, standing 135m tall in a fairly flat city, it is visible from many parts of the city. A ride – or 'flight', as it is called here – in one of the wheel's 32 glass-enclosed eye pods holding up to 28 people draws 3.5 million visitors annually. At peak times (July, August and school holidays) save money and shorten queues by buying tickets online. Alternatively, visit before 11am or after 3pm to avoid peak density. A ride takes 30 minutes and, weather permitting, you can see 25 miles in every direction from the top. Together with its 23m-tall spindle, the hub of the London Eye weighs 330 tonnes, more than 20 times the weight of Big Ben. For additional information, visit
  Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
The original Globe theatre was erected in 1599. Rival to the Rose Theatre, all was well but did not end well when the Globe burned down within two hours during a performance in 1613 (a stage cannon ignited the thatched roof). Its present-day incarnation is the vision of American actor and director Sam Wanamaker who sadly died before the opening night in 1997. Admission includes the exhibition hall and guided tour of the theatre (departing every 15 to 30 minutes), faithfully reconstructed from oak beams, handmade bricks, lime plaster and thatch. Tours shift to the nearby Rose Theatre instead when matinees are being staged in season. From April to October plays are performed, and while Shakespeare and his contemporaries dominate, modern plays are also staged. As in Elizabethan times, seatless 'groundlings' can watch in all-weather conditions for the best views. There's no protection from the elements and you'll have to stand, but it's an unforgettable experience. For additional information, visit
  Tower of London
One of London's four World Heritage Sites, the Tower offers a window on to a gruesome and quite compelling history. In the 1070s, William the Conqueror started work on the White Tower to replace the castle he'd previously had built here. By 1285, two walls with towers and a moat were built around it and the defences have barely been altered since. A former royal residence, treasury, mint and arsenal, it became most famous as a prison when Henry VIII moved to Whitehall Palace in 1529. The most striking building is indeed the central White Tower, with its solid Romanesque architecture and four turrets. Today it houses a collection from the Royal Armouries, including Henry VIII's commodious suit of armour. On the 2nd floor is St John's Chapel, dating from 1080 and therefore the oldest church in London. To the north stands Waterloo Barracks, which now contains the spectacular and newly redisplayed Crown Jewels, including the platinum crown of the late Queen Mother, set with the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light) diamond and the Imperial State Crown. On the far side of the White Tower rises the Bloody Tower, where the 12-year-old Edward V and his little brother were held 'for their own safety' and later murdered. Sir Walter Raleigh did a 13-year stretch here, when he wrote his History of the World. On the small green in front of the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula stood Henry VIII's scaffold, where seven people, including Anne Boleyn and her cousin Catherine Howard (Henry's second and fifth wives) were beheaded. Enjoy an entertaining free guided tour with any of the Beefeaters (Yeoman Warders). Hour-long tours leave every 30 minutes from the bridge near the main entrance. Book online for cheaper rates for the Tower. For additional information, visit
  Victoria & Albert Museum
The Victoria & Albert Museum has the finest collection of decorative art and design ever assembled and galleries are being redeveloped and reinvented all the time. Visitors are particularly drawn to the fashion displays and the Islamic and Asian galleries with their carpets, ceramics, and ornate arms and armour. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

Author: Samuel Johnson, James Boswell

Description: Written when Johnson was 63 and Boswell 32 in 1773 (when they had been friends for ten years), these travel journals were the result of a three-month trip to Scotland. Johnson observed Scotland, and Boswell observed Johnson.

Fodor's London's 25 Best

Author: Louise Nicholson

Description: This slim guide to London (with handy full-color maps) has everything you need to know for a short visit to the city, including recommended sightseeing, restaurants, hotels and shops.

Great Britain and Ireland Map

Author: HEMA Maps

Description: A nicely detailed map showing both Great Britain and Ireland at a scale of 1:800,000.

Pocket Guide to the Birds of Britain and North-West Europe

Author: Chris Kightley

Description: A compact field-friendly guide to the birds found in the British Isles and the Faroes, Scandinavia and Northwest Europe.

Scotland, A Concise History

Author: Fitzroy MacLean, Magnus Linklater (Contributor)

Description: This richly illustrated survey brings Scottish history up to the present through its romantic figures and bloody battles. With 250 well-integrated illustrations, this revised fourth edition includes a newly added chapter on Scotland’s place in the 21st century.

Sea Room, An Island Life in the Hebrides

Author: Adam Nicolson

Description: Nicolson explores the nature, history and magic of three remote islands in the Outer Hebrides in this affecting memoir. Tiny islands surrounded by serious tides, the Shiants nonetheless make their mark with 500-foot basalt cliffs, seabird and seal colonies and a long history.

Seamanship, A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles

Author: Adam Nicolson

Description: Nicolson offers an engrossing account of a coastal voyage from Cornwall, along the western coast of Ireland, out to the Faroes and to Orkney in this brief hymn to the sea.

Stone Voices, The Search for Scotland

Author: Neal Ascherson

Description: Ascherson writes with verve and insight on the centuries-old impulse toward nationhood in Scotland in this absorbing portrait, interweaving history with archaeology, myth and his own interviews and travels.

Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage

Author: Tim Robinson, Seamus Heaney (Introduction)

Description: A richly layered hymn to Arainn, largest of the Aran Islands, Robinson's adopted home.

Sun Dancing, A Vision of Medieval Ireland

Author: Geoffrey Moorhouse

Description: This wonderfully inspired combination of scholarship and historical fiction, set at the monastery on Skellig Michael, carries the reader back to Ireland's early monastic tradition.

The Aran Islands

Author: J.M. Synge, Tim Robinson (Introduction)

Description: A much-loved turn-of-the-century account of the islands (as contrasted with mainland Ireland), drenched in the Celtic soul of the Irish.

The British Isles, A History of Four Nations

Author: Hugh Kearney

Description: The Celts, Romans, Vikings, Normans and modern immigrants all make an appearance in this Canto Classics edition of Kearney's elegant and revisionist history of not just the English but also of the Scots, Welsh and Irish.

The Crofter and the Laird

Author: John McPhee

Description: McPhee packs up his family and returns for a year to his ancestral land on the Isle of Colonsay in this lyrical, appreciative portrait of place and traditional ways of life in the Hebrides.

The Story of England

Author: Christopher Hibbert

Description: Beautifully illustrated with color pictures, chronological charts, royal genealogies and maps, this popular history of English politics, economics and culture from the Neolithic Age to the 1990s is an excellent travel companion.

Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster

Author: William W. Starr

Description: Beginning and ending in Edinburgh and making stops at Glasgow, Culloden, Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye and more, William Starr follows hilariously in the footsteps of Boswell and Johnson across Scotland.

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