A Luxury House Tour of The Scottish Borders and Yorkshire Dales
in a Ramble Through the Autumn Countryside.
September 27th - October 12, 2024
16 Days on a small intimate tour of two of my very favourite places anywhere in the UK, the Scottish Borders and Yorkshire. We will make our way through the Autumn colored countryside and lovely villages, towns and cities of The Borders and The Yorkshire Dales. We will spend one week near Melrose in a Magnificent B-listed Edwardian Arts & Crafts house nestled amidst spectacular landscaped grounds, with stunning original features including solid oak panelling, stained-glass windows and open fires. Beautiful traditional features blend effortlessly with contemporary touches creating a country property of elegance and character. Our second week will be spent Pately Bridge, a traditional Dales town with beautiful riverside walks and views that will take your breath away. This stunning Grade II listed building is in the heart of Nidderdale in the southeastern region of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The Scottish Borders of Scotland are often overlooked and they are so spectacular. You will love the quaint villages, breathtaking countryside and the visits to some of our favourite places including Sir Walter Scott's Abbotsford, Traquair House, Mellerstain House, Thirelstane Castle, Paxton House and Bowhill House. If you are a fan of James Herriot and the 'All Creaters Great and Small' book series or if you just enjoy wandering up hill and down dale through spectacular Yorkshire countryside then this is the tour for you! We will visit some of our favourite Yorkshire stops including Skeldale House where James Herriot had his veterinary practice and where he also lived with his family. We will visit the Wensleydale Cheese Factory, home to Wallace and Gromit's favourite cheese, the City of York, the spectacular Skipton and the romantic ruin of Reviealx Abbey. Join us of for an unbelievable ramble through the breathtaking countryside of the Scottish Borders and Yorkshire!
This is a beautiful tour covering two spectacular regions of the United Kingdom. Relax in luxury accommodations and take in all the breathtaking beauty of the beautiful countryside and small villages. Price includes 16 nights luxury country house accommodation, 11 dinners, 12 lunches and breakfast each morning, all activities, sightseeing and entrance fees as listed in itinerary, all taxes, fees and service charges. Guided minibus travel with airport drop off and luggage handling. Please contact us in regards to special diets or dietary restrictions before you book.
$8795 per person.
$995 single supplement.
$500 per person deposit.
Pre Tour - September 26th - Arrive into Edinburgh International Airport and spend the day at our airport accommodation getting rested up before the tour starts the following morning. Overnight near Edinburgh Airport.
Day 1 - September 27th - This morning we meet at our Edinburgh International accommodation and then make our way into the Borders near Melrose. It will be a long journey but we will make some stops and enjoy the scenery along the way. Our journey will take us to Peebles, made a Royal Burgh in 1152 by King David I of Scotland, Peebles has for many years been a market town cherished by locals and visitors alike, valued for its picturesque and unspoilt character. Nestled amongst the rolling Border hills in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the gorgeous Borders town of Peebles straddles the glorious River Tweed - world renowned for its salmon fishing. Then we make our way just outside of town for Afternoon Tea at our favourite Borders location. Next it is just a short journey further on toward Innerleithen to Traquair House. Dating back to 1107, Traquair was originally a hunting lodge for the Kings and Queens of Scotland and later a refuge for Catholic priests in times of terror. The Stuarts of Traquair were strong supporters of Mary Queen of Scots and the Jacobite Cause without with unwaivering loyalty. Today Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair lives here with her family. We then get settled into our home for the next week before a Welcoming Dinner. Overnight near Melrose. (B,L,D)
Day 2 - September 28th - We will have a relaxing day today just staying in the local vicinity. We start with a visit to Thirlestane Castle, home to the Maitland Family, one of the most able and famous in Scotland. The history of Thirlestane dates back to at least the 13th century, when a large Border fort was built on the site to defend the approach to Edinburgh from the south. The central part of the present Castle was completed in 1590, remodelled in the 1670s, and then again in the 1840s. While here we will have Afternoon Tea. Following tea we will visit Mellerstain House, one of Scotland's grandest Georgian houses designed and built by William and Robert Adam. It continues to be the residence of the Earl and Countess of Haddington. The interior decoration is opulent in a way that only the Georgians knew how to do. The rooms retain their period colour schemes, with ornate ceilings, marble busts, lots of original furniture and a large collection of paintings by Van Dyck, Ramsay, Gainsborough and many more. We then return home for a light supper. Dinner and Overnight near Melrose. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - September 29th - This morning we head to the coast to visit Paxton House, one of the finest examples of Neo-Palladian architecture in Scotland, was completed in 1763 for Patrick Home of Wedderburn, a member of one of the most important families in the Scottish Borders, with the primary aim of impressing a Prussian lady he aspired to marry. This was sadly not to happen and Patrick never lived in the house. Our tour of Paxton House, led by one of our trained guides, will follow the story of how the house was built and later bought by Patrick’s cousin Ninian Home in 1773. Ninian has his own rags to riches story from a disinherited father through travels in America and the Caribbean to his fortune made in sugar and nutmeg fuelled by the slave trade. After a seaside lunch at St. Abbs we make our way to St. Abbs Head National Nature Reserve. The village of St Abbs has a thriving fishing harbour, providing a home for six lobster boats who bring in daily catches of lobster and local edible crabs known as Poos! Then we visit the reserve with its breathtaking coastal headland with dramatic cliffs, famed for its seabird colonies We will get close-up views of the feathered residents at this ‘seabird city’ from spectacular cliff-top vantage points and be awed by the dramatic cliffs overlooking crystal-clear waters. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight near Melrose. (B,L)
Day 4 - September 30th - This morning we make our way to Sir Walter Scott's Home, Abbotsford. We will explore this historic house and discover a treasure trove of intriguing objects and unusual artefacts which inspired Scott’s greatest poems and novels. We will learn about Scott’s life and achievements in the exhibition and wander through the beautiful formal gardens and tranquil woodlands that wind along the River Tweed. We will have lunch here in the tearoom before spending some time in Melrose, a picturesque town of Melrose is located next to the River Tweed at the foot of the triple peaks of the Eildon Hills. The area around Melrose is thought to have been inhabited for thousands of years with the Romans arriving in AD79 or 80 and building a fort nearby named Trimontium 'Place of the Three Hills’. The Three Hills Roman Heritage Centre houses the Trimontium Museum which is dedicated to Roman life in Scotland. We will visit the Museum before returning home where the Scottish Dream Tours Team will prepare our famous afternoon tea for an early dinner. Overnight near Melrose. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - October 1st - Today we will take in the Border Abbeys including Melrose, Dryburgh and Jedburgh. Melrose, probably Scotland's most well know ruin. King Robert the Bruce's heart is buried in the abbey courtyard. This was the first monastery of the Cistercian order established in Scotland. The Cistercians were drawn to this fertile spot beside the River Tweed because of its intimate associations with the holy men St Aidan and St Cuthbert, whose monastery lay downriver at Old Melrose. Next is Dryburgh Abbey, which enjoys a mystical setting on the River Tweed. The graceful ruins of Dryburgh Abbey nestle in wooded seclusion gives you an immediate understanding of why the contemplative life of a medieval monk was attractive. Sir Walter Scott is interned here. We are then off to Jedburgh where we will have lunch before we visit Jedburgh Abbey. The abbey was established as a priory of Augustinian Canons around 1138. They came here from St Quentin Abbey, near Beauvais, France. Augustinians were priests who lived a secluded and contemplative life, but who went forth from their cloister to minister to the people. Jedburgh eventually possessed about 20 parish churches. And then home for dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Melrose. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - October 2nd - This morning we make our way to Bowhill House to discover the fascinating Scottish Borders home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Our guide will help us to delve into the history of the Scott’s of Buccleuch and admire the world-renowned Buccleuch Art Collection, with works by Canaletto, Gainsborough, Reynolds and many more. Explore rooms with magnificent interiors led by our friendly, knowledgeable local House Guides. The tour will give you an insight into the history of the house, art and family who still live there. !uestions are very welcome as the guides love to highlight areas of specific interest. We will then lunch in the lovely village of Selkirk before visiting the Borders Distillery at Hawick. The Borders Distillery building is an award-winning conversion of the former Edwardian electrical works, and it is proud to be the first Scotch Whisky Distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837. During our whisky distillery Tour, you will be guided through the production areas, learning the whisky making process as you go along. You will find out how we use local barley to distil Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Kerr’s Gin, and Puffing Billy Steam Vodka. Of course, we will finish with a dram in the distillery bar. Dinner and Overnight near Melrose. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - October 3rd - As we are at the half way point of the tour, the entire day will be at your leisure and will be spent in and around our lovely home enjoying the house and grounds of this Magnificent B-listed Edwardian Arts & Crafts house nestled amidst spectacular landscaped grounds, with stunning original features including solid oak panelling, stained-glass windows and open fires. Beautiful traditional features blend effortlessly with contemporary touches creating a country property of elegance and character. Superbly designed with large parties in mind, the study with snooker table, large reception hall, and an extra seating area on the first floor provides ample space for everyone to spread out. With patio doors to the garden from both the dining room and kitchen, the outdoors is never far away, and with open fires in the reception hall, study and lounge there is ample space for everyone to grab a seat in front of the crackling flames. The nearby village is within walking distance and has an abundance of shops, pubs and restaurants. Overnight near Melrose. (B)
Day 8 - October 4th - Unfortunately our stay in the Scottish Borders is at its end and with an early start we make our way toward Yorkshire and our new home. Our first stop along the way will be Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle. We will have a tour of the museum which was reated over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes. Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in. The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods. Following our tour of the museum will will have Afternoon Tea before we make our way further south to Darlington, a large market town in the Tees Valley, on the border between County Durham and Yorkshire. Darlington came to prominence as the location of the first commercial passenger railroad, in 1825. The Head of Steam Darlington Railway Museum displays 'Locomotion No. 1', the original steam engine used by George Stephenson for the first railway run and we will stop to see it. Then on to our new home on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Dinner and Overnight Yorkshire. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - October 5th - After a long day yesterday we will stay fairly close to home today. Our first visit will be to Ripley Castle. In 2009 the Ingilby family celebrated 700 years at Ripley Castle. For any family to occupy the same house for 700 years is truly remarkable. All those letters, deeds and documents that tend to get lost, damaged or thrown away when you move from one house to another have survived, and give a unique record of the family’s history, their births, marriages and deaths, their trials and their tribulations, during the course of the last sevencenturies. It gives some indication how the family survived, despite plagues, civil wars, attempts at regicide, religious and political conspiracies, broken marriages, inept heirs and, yes, numerous periods of dire economic hardship! We will have afternoon tea in Ripley before making our way to Knaresborough. The exact origins of this market town of ancient walkways, cobbled alleys and secret passageways are shrouded in mystery and yet, Knaresborough has carved out a real character for itself with a Tudor prophetess, once royal castle, magnificent viaduct and breathtaking countryside views. Standing proudly above the River Nidd, this pretty little town has a lot to offer visitors from near or far. A pleasant place to spend an afternoon on the delightful promenade with a coastal feel despite being more than 60 miles from the sea making a great place to enjoy an ice-cream or indulge in the tradition English pastime of ‘simply mucking about in boats’. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight Yorkshire. (B,L)
Day 10 - October 6th - This morning we take in some of my favourite James Herriot countryside. There are four dales -Arkengarthdale, Swaledale, Wensleydale, and Coverdale that lay closest claim to Herriot connections and we will spend the next two days exploring them. a he road ascending out of Askrigg traverses a widespread, gently sloping green valley with swelling hills dotted with farms and woods, typical of Wensleydale which is tamer than the dales on either side. This pastoral area has, since the 16th century, been an area of dairy farms. Askrigg was the “set” for Darrowby in the TV series. The road running through the village is lined with 18th and 19th century stone houses. The village also claims the “Drover’s Arms”, a favourite haunt of Tristan Farnon.We will take in Swaledale Road with moors on either side, one of the most beautiful of all the Dales’ drives. Waterfalls tumble down hillsides to feed the Swale River, one of the fastest flowing in England. We will make a stop in Hawes for Lunch and a Tour at the Wensleydale Cheese Factory. A visit to Wensleydale is not complete without a visit to the Cheese Tasting Room! As we make our way back to toward home we take in the view from Gunnerside looking down into Swaledale. It was a favourite of Herriot’s. Here is where the real glory of the dale is seen. Stone walls, farms and hay barns dot the landscape. We then make our way to Richmond Town sitting high on a hilltop above the Swale River and was Herriot’s best-loved town in the Dales. He said, “Richmond appeals to me as just about the most romantic and charming town in the country”. Pub Dinner Outing and Overnight Yorkshire. (B,L,D)
Day 11 - October 7th - This morning we make our way to Thirsk which is the Darrowby of Herriot's novels. Upon arriving into Thirsk we first stop at Skeldale House at 23 Kirkgate, the actual residence and surgery in James Herriot's Darrowby which now houses The World of James Herriot Museum. The museum encompasses the very essence of the world renowned vet James Herriot. It offers visitors an unforgettable interactive experience of the life and times of a man, who became a national celebrity after the airing of the BBC drama "All Creatures Great and Small". After lunch we make our way back toward Richmond taking in the Dales’ sites most associated with Herriot TV Series is in dramatic Arkengarthdale, the most northerly Pennine Dale, whose watersplash is shown in the opening credits of the TV show. The narrow bridge in the same scene frames Langthwaite, a tiny village of gray stone, weathered with the years. We then make our way to Reeth on the slopes of Calver Hill at the head of Arkengarthdale and Swaledale. Reeth’s shops, pubs, and houses portrayed various locations in filming. A house overlooking the village green became Skeldale House in the first movie. After some time to look around we then make our way back toward home before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Yorkshire. (B,L,D)
Day 12 - October 8th - This morning we head east to Pickering where we board the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to the seaside town of Whitby. We will explore a bit first in Pickering, an ancient market town and civil parish in the Ryedale District, historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, it sits at the foot of the moors, overlooking the Vale of Pickering to the south. The railway ride to Whitby provides some 18 miles of preserved steam railway running through the spectacular scenery of the North Yorkshire Moors. We'll pass through Goathland Station better known as Hogsmeade in Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. Once we reach the lovely seaside village of Whitby, you will want to stop for Fish and Chips and Ice Cream before exploring this delightful village and its esplanade. Many flock to Whitby for its boutique shops and quirky streets, where you will find unique Whitby Jet Jewellery and other fascinating items. You may even want to take one of the many boat rides around the harbour. We then take the train back to Pickering where we will have dinner before returning home. Dinner and Overnight Yorkshire. (B,D)
Day 13 - October 9th - Today we will take the train into York, a walled city founded by the Ancient Romans. Its huge 13th-Century Gothic Cathedral, York Minster with its medieval stained glass and two functioning bell towers. We will have a tour of the Minster before stopping for Afternoon Tea. We then visit York's Chocolate Story with a tour of the factory. We will learn how a simple cocoa bean is transformed into the finest chocolate and also discover the history of some of York’s most iconic chocolate brands. Then it’s time to master the Secrets of the Chocolatier, as we create hand-made chocolates before seeing how their very own experts do it. Watch the Chocolatiers as they showcase the art of chocolate-making and sample the fruits of their labour, fresh hand-made chocolates. You may then want to take in the City Walls that form a walkway on both sides of the River Ouse. The Monk Bar Gate houses an exhibition tracing the life of 15th-Century Plantagenet King Richard III. You will be able to find some dinner in York and then we make our way back home. Overnight Yorkshire. (B,L)
Day 14 - October 10th - This morning we make our way into the North Moors National Park with our first stop being Mount Grace Priory. This ruin of a 14th-century Carthusian Priory is England's most important, best preserved and most accessible of the medieval Carthusian Houses. It is amazing to visit individual monks cells which reflect the isolation of living as hermits and only coming together in the chapel only for the nocturnal liturgical hours, Sundays and feast-days. We then take one of my most favourite drives through Osmotherly and Hawnby and on to the lovely village of Helmsley. After exploring the village we will have Afternoon Tea at the Black Swan Hotel. This afternoon we visit the spectacular ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. Hidden in the deep River Rye Valley, the beautiful and tranquil abbey ruins reflect nearly one thousand years of spiritual, commercial and Romantic history. Rievaulx was one of the first Cistercian abbeys to be founded in England in around 1130, and after the dissolution, became the centre of commercial activity for many years. The abbey then entered its Romantic period when its picturesque ruins became a beacon for poets, painters, and scholars. We then return home for Dinner and Overnight Yorkshire. (B,L,D)
Day 15 - October 11th - This morning we start our journey south toward Manchester with a few stops along the way including village of Harrogate, the definitive boutique spa town in the heart of Yorkshire and what Agatha Christie's claimed to be her favourite spa town! Expect exquisite gardens, beautiful parks, handsome tree-lined boulevards and a chance to lose yourself in the vibrant charm and elegance of this North Yorkshire destination. After thoroughly exploring this delight town we will stop at our favourite place in Harrogate for Afternoon Tea. Then we are off to Skipton to visit Skipton Castle. At the top of Skipton's main street stand the massive twin towers of the 900 year old Skipton Castle, one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England! We will explore every corner of this impressive history-rich castle, which withstood a three-year siege during the Civil War. You can explore the Banqueting Hall, the Kitchen, the Bedchamber and Privy and climb from the depths of the Dungeon to the top storey of the Watch Tower! We then make our way to just outside of Manchester Airport. Farewell Dinner and Overnight near Manchester. (B,L,D)
Day 16 - October 12th - This morning we are back to Manchester International Airport for the flight home.