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Edinburgh’s imposing profile of black rock hills and rugged medieval fortifications stands in stark contrast to its cultured, quirky, and playful spirit. Why not add extra time to delve deeper into the U.K.’s second-most popular destination after London? Revisit Scotland’s dramatic history at Edinburgh Castle. Wander the tangle of medieval Old Town, and the neoclassical district of New Town, which together form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dart into the quaint shops, inviting pubs, and fascinating museums that line the Royal Mile. A highlight will be your included excursion to the fabled fairways of St. Andrew’s, the home of golf. Our perfect mix of included touring and leisure time allows you to discover the best Edinburgh has to offer.
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Fly to Scotland
You’ll board an overnight flight to Edinburgh, Scotland today, arriving on Day 2.
Arrival in Edinburgh
Upon arrival, if you purchased Vantage air, you’ll be transferred to your centrally located hotel from the airport. After settling in you may join our orientation walk to get acclimated to the immediate vicinity around your hotel. Remember also to take advantage of the hospitality desk during your stay, where you can plan activities; or use our complimentary Concierge service to do so in advance. A Welcome Dinner is included at the hotel tonight.
Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, Royal Yacht Britannia
The unforgettable city of Edinburgh unfolds before you as we ride and walk on a half-day city tour. Highlights of the Old Town include Edinburgh Castle, set high above the city on Castle Rock, and St. Margaret’s Chapel. Built around 1130, it is the oldest surviving building in town. Fast-forward to 18th-century as you explore the New Town, with its elegant neoclassical and Georgian architecture. Both districts are together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When Queen Elizabeth II and Price Philip set sail to visit their far-flung dominion, they did it on board the Royal Yacht Britannia. You'll come aboard to inspect this elegant vessel, which often a hosted a retinue of more than 45 guests. It still features the furnishings and décor favored by the Queen when the ship was launched in 1953. The balance of your day is free. Your Vantage City Host will be happy to assist with tips, directions, and making reservations.
Optional Stirling Castle tour, or explore the capital city on your own
Today is at your leisure. Perhaps you’ll explore the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official Edinburgh residence, or check out rare species of plants and trees at the Royal Botanic Garden. If you love history and great architecture, join our optional tour to Stirling Castle. Dramatically set on a craggy promontory, it was a favored home of the Stewart kings and queens and an important defense during Scotland’s Wars of Independence.
Travelers joining you on your base tour will be arriving throughout the day. You’ll meet them this evening during your Welcome Reception and Dinner. (See Day 2 of your base cruise tour itinerary)
Spend a memorable half day visiting Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s most historically significant manors, sitting high on volcanic rock and offering wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. Stirling Castle was a hotbed of Scottish history — this was the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the site of her coronation. Learn about the history of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and the battles fought here during the Game of Thrones-esque Wars of Independence. With lots of interesting things to see and do here, the Stirling Castle experience is a must for any visitor to Scotland.
The home of golfing: St. Andrews
Later this afternoon you’ll join your larger base tour group and proceed with Day 3 of your expedition cruise tour. But first, you have one more adventure to enjoy as part of your optional pre-trip extension: an included morning excursion to St. Andrews, the delightful seaside “home of golf” and site of Scotland’s first university. Admire the charming cobbled streets and green cathedral grounds before returning for a leisurely afternoon in Edinburgh. By the time you return to your hotel this afternoon, you will have experienced all the main tour inclusions as well as your two extra extension days. Enjoy the balance of the day free.
Canada’s capital, stunning Ottawa, is the nation’s most prosperous and educated city, a showcase of fine architecture, beautiful outdoor spaces, and a cultural hub that boasts seven national museums and a plethora of shops, restaurants, universities, theaters, and so much more. Set at the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau, and Rideau rivers, its setting is as gracious as its welcoming, easygoing vibe. The city invites outdoor exploration with its lovely parks and gardens, including the wildlife-rich Parc Omega, and the central Rideau Canal, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique design and cultural significance. Along the way to Ottawa, you’ll enjoy a delicious taste of Canada when you lunch at Fairmont Le Château Montebello for a true Québécois feast.
Travel overland to Ottawa, visit Parc Omega
Depart for Montreal and enjoy a unique experience in the heart of nature in Montebello. Visit Parc Omega and discover Canada’s wildlife such as moose, elk, bison, wolves, bears, and many more, all within their natural environment. Upon arrival at the park, you will board the Omega bus and drive around the 15-kilometer
marked path with an animal guide, specifically trained for sharing their knowledges about the beautiful species and quickly spot the ones that are usually difficult to see. Some animals will greet you at the bus, open the windows and feed them with carrots if you’d like! Enjoy the ride and admire Canada’s wildlife … you will certainly come back with unperishable memories. Next, you will transfer to the luxury Fairmont Le Château Montebello, the world’s largest log cabin. After a delightful lunch, you will have some time to walk around the resort before traveling to Montreal to check in at your hotel.
Celebrate Canada’s beauty and history in Ottawa
Ottawa may well be one of the world’s most beautiful capitals, with its monumental Parliament Hill overlooking a mantle of gorgeous waterways, parks and falls. You’ll discover its highlights on this morning’s city tour.
Your city tour brings you past the War Memorial that stands on Confederation Square, one of Canada’s national historic sites. Then, at the ByWard Market, Ottawa’s oldest and largest open-air farmers’ market, you’ll be tempted by more than 260 stalls selling fresh local fare and gifts. Maybe you’ll sample a BeaverTails pastry, a scrumptious cinnamon and sugar-dusted fritter that got its start in Ottawa. Traveling along Sussex Drive, you’ll see the Prime Minister’s residence, then continue to stately Rockcliffe Park and the adjoining city of Gatineau, with its impressive Museum of Civilization. Heading back to town, you’ll cross the UNESCO-listed Rideau Canal, which slices through the heart of downtown and is a popular recreation area always filled with bikers or skaters. You’ll also see Major’s Hill Park, a peaceful green oasis in the heart of downtown Ottawa, and the city’s crowning glory, Parliament Hill, a collection of enormous sandstone, Gothic Revival buildings including the iconic, 302-foot-high Peace Tower.
The afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps you’ll return to the ByWard Market for some last-minute shopping, take a sightseeing cruise along the Ottawa River, or browse the National Gallery of Canada. Be back in time to bid adieu to your new travel friends at this evening’s Farewell Dinner at your hotel.
Depart for home
After breakfast you’ll transfer to the airport and fly home.