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Northern Voyage: From Scottish Isles to Icelandic Fjords

Program Number: 21679RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/18/2015 - 6/3/2015;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: England/Ireland
Price starting at: $9,595.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 43; 15 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 12 Lunches, 15 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

The natural drama of Iceland has been celebrated in literature from the Sagas to Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Experience it yourself on this voyage to fjords, huge ice caps and active volcanoes. Look for whales, white-beaked dolphins and seabirds. Begin your adventure by exploring Scotland and the Faroe Islands.

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

Glasgow (Scotland), 1 night; Edinburgh, 2 nights; aboard Sea Explorer, 12 nights.

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

Day 2: Arrival Glasgow (Scotland):

A city excursion includes the Kelvingrove Art Museum, housed in a magnificent Victorian building. Lodging: Comfortable airport hotel.

Days 3-5: Coach to Edinburgh (Scotland) / coach to Aberdeen to embark Sea Explorer:

Explore Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town including imposing Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. Visit Balmoral Castle, a Royal Family residence. Lodging: Centrally located Edinburgh hotel.

Day 6: Orkney Islands:

Experience Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Prehistoric sites here include two ceremonial stone circles and a well-preserved village.

Day 7: Streymoy (Faroe Islands):

Today the ship navigates north to the Faroe Islands. Journey to the medieval village of Kirkjubour, site of the oldest wooden house in Europe.

Day 8: Mykines:

Discover this lovely island home to thousands of Atlantic Puffins. Stroll through the charming little village that is the island’s only settlement.

Day 9: Hofn (Iceland):

Marvel at Vatnajokull, Iceland’s largest glacier — it covers 8% of the country, including several volcanoes. Watch icebergs being calved into a lagoon.

Day 10: Mjoifjordur & Nekaupstadur:

Sail into this “Narrow Fjord” of the East Iceland wilderness. Visit the fjord town of Nekaupstadur and its small museum.

Day 11: Husavik:

Iceland’s volcanic geology is revealed in the Myvatn Lake region. Witness and learn about lava fields, boiling mud pools, craters and steam vents.

Day 12: Akuyeri:

This town’s mild climate allows it to have the world’s northernmost botanical garden. Sail through beautiful Eyjafjordur, the country’s longest fjord.

Day 13: Siglufjordur & Grimsey:

Discover picturesque Siglufjordur town and learn about the “herring boom.” Continue to Grimsey, an island bisected by the Arctic Circle.

Day 14: West Fjords:

Today the ship sails Iceland’s remote, spectacular West Fjords. Close-cruise soaring cliffs and, weather permitting, step onto an uninhabited island.

Day 15: Breidafjordur:

Sail past cliffs home to millions of Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills and other seabirds. Keep an eye out for whales and seals in shallow Breidafjordur bay.

Day 16: Snaefellsnes:

This peninsula is dominated by the glacier-topped volcano Snafellsjokull, a national symbol of Iceland. Explore the small fishing village Arnarstapi.

Day 17: Reykjavik / disembark / departure

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
   Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel
  Edinburgh, UK:Scotland 1 night
   Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)
  Edinburgh, UK:Scotland 2 nights
   Sea Explorer
  Sea Explorer, At Sea
Edinburgh, UK:Scotland
Sea Explorer, At Sea
12 nights
 Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel offers excellent accommodation right on the doorstep of Glasgow Airport, and is also just seven miles from the cosmopolitan city centre of Glasgow, with great connections. This purpose-built contemporary Airport Hotel is ideal for both business and leisure. Each of the 108 rooms are comfortable and stylish and feature all the necessary creature comforts required to guarantee a restful and stress-free stay. The hotel’s location and accessibility makes it an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area. Glasgow central station and Buchanan Bus Station are both just 15 minutes drive away whilst Paisley Gilmour Street Station is only 1 mile. With the airport within easy access you can take the Airport shuttle bus straight into Glasgow city centre, and the service operates 24 hours a day. With the hotel just next to the M8 junction in just minutes you can be enjoying the sea views and coastline along the mouth of the Clyde with views of the West Coast. Head in the other direction and you can be in the city centre in just 15 minutes, or Edinburgh in just over a hour!
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: Marchburn Drive, Glasgow Airport Business Park
Abbotsinch,  PA3 2SJ UK:Scotland
phone: +44 (0)141 843 4800
  Room amenities: Every room comes fully equipped with an en-suite bathroom with shower facilities, satellite TV with pay to view movies, direct dial telephone with internet access, hairdryer, trouser press, iron and ironing board and tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: •24 Hour Front Desk •Airport Shuttle available from 4am - 12noon (extra charge) •Hotel is now completely Non Smoking •Free High Speed Internet in Public Areas. •6 Accessible & adapted bedrooms (interconnecting rooms for carers are also available) •Family and Interconnecting rooms available •On Site residents parking (Overnight Car Parking Charge £4.00)
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Depends upon availability Please contact RS Programming Department for more information
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 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

 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

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program starts upon arrival in Glasgow, Scotland on the morning of Day 2. You will be staying at Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
This program will end in Reykjavik, Iceland on the morning of Day 15. You will be staying at Sea Explorer 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:  Edinburgh
  Transportation to site: All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar will be transferred from the Glasgow 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. The designated group transfer time will be sent with your final program materials, approximately 5 weeks prior to the start of your program.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Sea Explorer
  Transportation from site: There will be one group transfer from the ship to the 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
(Monday, May 18)
 Evening: Flights to London, England depart North America.

Day 2: Arrivals / Glasgow, Scotland
(Tuesday, May 19)
 Arrive To: Flights arrive in Glasgow, Scotland. Transfer to the program hotel. 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: Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Glasgow, Scotland / Transfer to Edinburgh
(Wednesday, May 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, has a history stretching back to earliest times. Stone Age canoes unearthed along the banks of the River Clyde suggest early fishing communities. Explore the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Located in the park of the same name, this popular museum - the most visited in Scotland - is housed in a magnificent Victorian construction. The building is only a small part of the Palace of Fine Arts of the 1888 International Exhibition. Celtic druids were among the first identifiable religious tribes to inhabit the area. It's likely they would have traded with the Romans who, circa 80AD, had a trading post in Cathures, the earlier name for Glasgow. In 143AD the Romans erected the turf-built Antonine Wall stretching from the Clyde to the Forth to separate Caledonia to the north from Britannia to the south, but the wall was soon abandoned.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch the coach will depart for Edinburgh (approximately 1 hour drive). Check into the hotel for 2 nights.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Edinburgh, Scotland - The Royal Mile
(Thursday, May 21)
 Breakfast: 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 the city of 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: After lunch you will have some free time to independently explore the shops, restaurants, and sites of interest along the Royal Mile.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Edinburgh / Aberdeen / Embark MV Sea Explorer
(Friday, May 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart Edinburgh for Aberdeen, where Sea Explorer awaits. En route, stop at Balmoral Castle. Located in Royal Desside, in Aberdeenshire, Balmoral Castle has been one of the residences of the British Royal Family since 1852, when it was purchased by Prince Albert. The Castle serves as the private residence of The Queen and her family during the summer holiday period in August and September. The Castle is located on the large Balmoral Estate which aims to protect the environment while contributing to the local economy.
 Lunch: Arrive in Aberdeen for lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, see the city of Aberdeen with a local expert. Learn the history of the “Silver City Beside the Sea” and explore the fine granite architecture that Aberdeen is known for. Embarkation begins at 4:00 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
(Saturday, May 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: This morning, head into the west of Mainland, Orkney's largest island. Pass through the gentle rolling landscape and into the Neolithic Heartland of Orkney; an area designated as a World Heritage Site due to its wealth of pre-historic archaeology. See the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar; a huge ceremonial circle of stones dating back almost 5000 years. Continue to the 5000-year-old village of Skara Brae and see the remarkable dwellings revealed from beneath the sand dunes by storms only 150 years ago.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring Kirkwall.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Torshavn, Faroe Islands
(Sunday, May 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Enjoy a morning at sea before we arrive in the Faroe Islands at lunch time.
 Brunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: From the berth in Torshavn, join a guided tour over the hills to Kirkjubour the islands oldest cultural center where you will see the ruins of the 13th century St Magnus Cathedral and the 11th century church, still in use. We also visit the 900-year old "Roykstovan", the old bishopric, considered to be the oldest wooden house in Europe.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner

Day 8: Mykines, Faroe Islands
(Monday, May 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Today we will use the Zodacis to explore the westernmost islands of the Faroes. One of the loveliest of the archipelago, Mykines is wonderfully green and its single village with bright turf roofed houses and turf streets is a delight. One of the best walks in the Faroes can be found here at "Lundaland" (land of the puffin) on the islet of Mtkinesholmur, which is connected to Mykines by a small bridge.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we hope to explore the huge caves of Vagar that have been created by the Atlantic Ocean as we sail back to Scotland.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Hofn, Iceland
(Tuesday, May 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Today, see the shimmering white Vatnajokull Glacier, Europes largest glacier, sometimes called an icecap. The 600-meter thick ice surmounts active volcanoes, one of which erupted in 1996, creating a crater on the surface of the glacier, a most unusual phenomenon.
 Lunch: Enjoy a lunch of local seafood.
 Afternoon: Watch the glacier which calves icebergs into the land-locked lagoon of Jokulsarlon.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Mjoifjordur & Nekaupstadur, Iceland
(Wednesday, May 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: This morning you will enjoy the benefits of your small ship as you explore the lesser known fjords in the south east of Iceland. At first light cruise through Mjoifjjordur and enjoy the remote wilderness of the area. The hope is to land at the small town of Nekaupstadur for a chance to visit the excellent museum which features the local art gallery, Museum of Natural History and Maritime Museum. The more active can hike to the avalanche barriers behind the town, offering great views of the surrounding areas.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring Nekaupstadur
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Husavik, Iceland
(Thursday, May 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: From Husavik, travel by coach to the lake Myvatn-Krafla area, a fine example of the volcanic world with lava fields, boiling and steaming mud pools and steam vents of sulphur and craters. The area illlustrates the sheer magnitude of Iceland's faroes at work. The lake itself with beatiful natural rock formations and hot springs, is also a unique ecosystem and the largest migratory bird sanctuary in Europe.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue exploration of Husavik.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Akuyeri, Iceland
(Friday, May 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: This delightful town on the north coast of Iceland is not what you would expect to find in such a remote location. In summer months the gardens and windowboxes are ablaze with color and in the botanic garden species from Africa, China and the Mediterranean grow alongside specimens from Alaska, Greenland and species indiginous to Iceland. You will also have time to explore the townto visit Art Alley where artisans keep their workshops and galleries, or to the local church with its beautiful views over the fjord.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Stay out on deck as you sail along the beautiful Eyafjordur while keeping an eye out for whales. If conditions allow, you will have the opportunity to explore the area by Zodiac.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Siglufjordur and Grimsey, Iceland
(Saturday, May 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Siglufjordur is an unbelievably picturesque town that enjoys an idyllic setting in a small fjord backed by mountains. Here in the early 1900s, a booming exonomy due to the herring industry resulted in a prosperous town with some marvellous Icelandic architecture. Stroll through the town and visit the Herring Era Museum.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: The Arctic Circle bisects Grimsey Island which is known for its tiny community, basalt cliffs and large variety of birdlife.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Western Fjords, Iceland
(Sunday, May 31)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: This morning Sea Explorer will sail through the Western Fjords, an isolated by spectacular area of Iceland. Cruise around the north coast of Iceland at the Hornbjarg Cliffs. These stunning cliffs rise 534 meters from the sea and this is one of the largest centers for puffins in Iceland.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: This afternoon board Zodiacs to explore the Isafjordur and Jokulfjordur and, whilst the itinerary will be dependent on local weather conditions, we hope to land on Vigur Island or find a remote landing for a nature walk.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Breidafjordur, Iceland
(Monday, June 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: This morning we hope to sail to the Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Europe and home to millions of birds, including puffins, northern gannets, guillemotts and razorbills.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue to sail through this spectacular area, exploring the small islets where thousands of birds can be observed. Also, keep an eye out for whales.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Snaefellsnes, Iceland
(Tuesday, June 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Our final day in Iceland sees us at the Snaefellsnes Peninsula dominated by the Snaefellsjokull volcano which is regarded as one of the symbols of Iceland. Again, you will board Zodiacs to land in some of the more remote areas.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Arnastapi is known as the setting for Jules Verne's "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and is a stunning location with columnar basalt, ravines and grottos and magnificent lava formations. The cliffs between Arnastapi and Hellnar become a natural reserve in 1979 and are home to Arctic tern, kittiwake and fulmar.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Reykjavik, Iceland
(Wednesday, June 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Disembark the ship and 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

Bradt Guide Faroe Islands

Author: James Proctor

Description: A practical guide to the North Atlantic islands, essential for anyone contemplating an extended visit. With islands maps, city plans, and detailed information on what to do and where to go throughout the archipelago.

Eyewitness Guide Scotland

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This compact, illustrated travel guide features color photography, excellent maps and a region-by-region synopsis of Scotland's attractions.

Far Afield

Author: Susanna Kaysen

Description: Susanna Kaysen's charming novel about a social anthropologist off on a grant to study the residents of the Faroes wonderfully evokes the people, culture and windswept landscapes of the North Atlantic archipelago.


Author: Armann Hoskuldsson, Thor Thordarson

Description: This geologic companion to Iceland covers rifting of the crust, volcanic eruptions and glacial and other geologic activity in detail.

Iceland Adventure Map

Author: National Geographic Maps

Description: A detailed map at a 1:465,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper.

Iceland Imagined

Author: Karen Oslund

Description: This cultural and environmental history explores the geography, literature, language, culture, politics and symbolism of Iceland, Greenland, northern Norway and the Faroe Islands.

Iceland, Land of the Sagas

Author: Jon Krakauer (Photographer), David Roberts

Description: Krakauer and colleague Roberts hike and climb around Iceland in this classic travel narrative, reissued as a paperback and featuring Krakauer's color photographs. The book interweaves the natural and cultural history of the island with the authors' own adventures.

Independent People, An Epic

Author: Halldor Laxness

Description: Rich in local color, this great mock-epic by the Icelandic Nobel Prize-winner features the indelible Bjartur of Summerhouses, a hard-headed, independent-minded sheep farmer.

Insight Guide Iceland

Author: Insight Guides

Description: This guide emphasizes culture and history, with wonderful photographs, maps and essays from experts.

Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic

Author: Carl Christian Kinze

Description: A guide to the marine mammals of the North Atlantic featuring 250 color illustrations.

On Glasgow and Edinburgh

Author: Robert Crawford

Description: A history and guide, Crawford's lively account, drawing on a wealth of historical and literary sources, affirms what people from Glasgow and Edinburgh have long doubted -- that it is possible to love both cities.

Orkneyinga Saga, The History of the Earls of Orkney

Author: Hermann Palssom, Paul Edwards

Description: A fusion of myth and legend, circa A.D. 1200, by an unnamed Icelandic author. The medieval chronicle has its center of action among the Orkney Islands, describing their conquest by Norwegian kings during the Viking expansion of the ninth century.

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.

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.

The Vikings, Lords of the Seas

Author: Yves Cohat

Description: An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations.

Through the Eyes of the Vikings, An Aerial Vision of Arctic Lands

Author: Robert B. Haas

Description: In this captivating collection of oversized aerial photographs, Haas (Through the Eyes of the Gods) reveals the surprising diversity of color and life in the arctic landscape, including Norwegian fjords, Alaskan tundras and Swedish waterscapes.

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