Tips for Travelling to Britain and Ireland!

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hbieser / Pixabay

Travelling to Britain and Ireland has become an attractive option for many people since Brexit.

The low British Pound and Euro has made the exchange rates very favourable indeed for those travelling from abroad.

Some may not be quite sure what to expect so see some handy tips below for when visiting Britain and Ireland:


chafleks / Pixabay

Coach Tours


Depending on what coach tour company you travel with, on average, most British and Irish tours have around 40 passengers but can hold a maximum of 50 passengers.

Most tours travel during the daytime only. Departures can be early and are often very early on the first day if leaving from London.

 There is rarely any travel longer than 3 hours without a stop for sightseeing or a break. Tours are all planned and well paced to maximize sightseeing.

Most coaches have restrooms and make frequent rest/bathroom stops, usually at 2-hour intervals or less, for the comfort of all passengers.

The majority of coaches are not accessible for the physically disabled so travellers should be able to get on and off the coach unaided. However, most tour operators allow you may bring a light-weight foldable wheelchair if needed.

Again, depending on the Tour Company, children over a certain age are permitted to travel on coach tours and usually get a discount on non budget holidays.

Hotels on Tour

Olichel / Pixabay

British and Irish hotels usually come in 3 classes – first class (3 star), superior first class (4 star) or deluxe (5 star).

First class tours use these 3 options while budget tours often use hotels away from the centre of towns.

Bedding options are usually a choice of single, twin, double or triple rooms.

You will usually pay a single room supplement for a single room or you can opt for a twin share with another guest of the same gender to save money.

For a twin room you get 2 separate single beds. For a double you get a double bed which is king size or bigger.

If there are three people sharing a room then a triple room will usually have a double and one twin bed.

Most rooms should have TVs and hairdryers plus a shaver outlet in the bathroom.

Check-in times vary between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm depending on the individual hotel.


 Documents Needed

jackmac34 / Pixabay

To enter Britain, a passport valid for the duration of your stay is required, except for EU Nationals holding a valid national ID card.

Visas for the United Kingdom are required by many outside of Europe.

Exceptions include Australian, New Zealand, Malaysian, Singapore, Canadian and US citizens.

 If you are not a citizen of the UK or Ireland, then you will require a passport and possibly a separate visa to visit Ireland.


 Currency & Credit cards

Different currency is used in Britain and Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland uses the euro, while in Britain and Northern Ireland the pound sterling is used.

In Ireland there are seven euro notes in denominations of €5 to €500 and eight euro coins used.

In Britain and Northern Ireland pound sterling comes in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50 and eight coins including £1 and £2.

High denomination bills are not readily accepted for exchange, even in banks, so it is better to carry smaller denominations.

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Britain and Ireland.

American Express and Diners Club cards are less commonly accepted.

It’s always a good idea to use credit cards to avoid carrying large sums of cash.

Advise your bank that you are traveling overseas to ensure that they don’t block your credit cards as this can sometimes happen.



Mother’s Day Getaway!


Mother’s Day is on Sunday 6th March in 2016, the one day when we can truly show appreciation to our wonderful mothers.

Mother’s Day is a day that has been chosen especially  to celebrate mothers and all mother figures in every shape and form.

From grandmothers, great grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers-in-law, everything they do for us through their love can be shown to be appreciated by setting this one day aside.

Flowers and chocolates are usually the main gifts bought on Mother’s Day and are, of course, hugely appreciated.


mothers day


But as a special treat, why not choose a coach holiday around this date to whisk your loved one away for a truly memorable Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is the perfect excuse for a special weekend getaway, go shopping, visit a museum or take in a show.

Say a massive thank you to your mum and treat her to an unforgettable Mother’s Day weekend in London.

Better still, try one of the fabulous coach tours that take you around Britain and beyond………

Book now for Mother’s day or as a Mother’s day gift for future dates!



Britain and Ireland Experience 2016

Experience the Britain and Ireland of a simpler time, through medieval castles and churches that have stood for centuries. Admire Ireland’s breathtaking Dingle Peninsula and roam the charming streets …

  • Lasting for 12 Days
  • Prices Starting From £88 per day














irish highlights

Irish Highlights 2016

The fast-track to Ireland – this seven-day encounter with the southern side takes you from Dublin and back again, stopping at Waterford, Limerick and the scenic Ring of Kerry along the way.It’s Inside…

  • Lasting for 7 Days
  • Prices Starting From £121 per day














europes highlights


European Highlights 2016

Discovering six countries in seven days, this intimate introduction to Europe compares its big players, France and Germany, and their smaller neighbours, Switzerland and The Netherlands.It’s Insider m…

  • Lasting for 7 Days
  • Prices Starting From £141 per day

Applying for a Schengen Visa!

It’s great to imagine a spontaneous visit to the UK or Europe. If you are from one of the following countries you don’t need a visa for a tourist stay of up to 90 days: UK, European Union, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and  this list is by no means a complete one.

However, if your passport is from India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, any African country, most South American countries and many others, then you must apply for a visa for the UK and the ‘Schengen Area’. First, however, it would be helpful to understand some background information in order to understand what the Schengen Area actually is.

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The background to the Schengen Area stems from the formation of the European Union (EU) in 1993. The EU is a group of 28 mostly European countries that participate in the world economy as one economic unit and have one official currency, the euro.



From this European Union, the Schengen Agreement was signed which created the Schengen Area. Countries in the Schengen Area have removed border controls with the other Schengen members and strengthened border controls with non-Schengen states. Of the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement, 22 are part of the EU and the other 4 are part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).


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 The countries that are not part of the EU but are part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) include Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. The other six EU members that do not form part of the Schengen Area include Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The first 4 are legally obliged and wish to join the area, while the last 2 have opted-out.




This may all sound very complicated, but for the benefit of travelling around Europe, it does have its advantages as only one visa is needed to cover your journey – the Schengen Visa. To apply for the Schengen Visa it is advisable to allow at least 8 weeks for the process as you have to pay for your travel arrangements in advance, and these travel arrangements form part of the evidence you need to show to the consulate where you are applying. Correct paperwork is also essential for the consulate to issue a visa, so checking you have the right information beforehand is very important.



Notably, the booking conditions of most tour and travel arrangements do not provide a full refund within 8 weeks of travel. A sliding scale of cancellation charges kicks in usually within 8-10 weeks before departure. If you have to cancel your travel plans you will lose your airfare, your tour deposit and probably a lot more since you won’t know if your visa has been granted until possibly a couple of weeks before travel. Unfortunately, visa refusal is not an insurable event. The best thing to do is make sure you have all the information you need in the first place to obtain your visa.


Key points to remember:

  • Apply to consulate of your main destination. If you are visiting different countries in the Schengen area, but one country in the Schengen area is where you will be spending most of the time (in number of days) that is your MAIN destination.

  • If you are visiting different countries in the Schengen area, but you are spending an equal number of days in each country, your first port of entry in the Schengen area is the country you apply to. BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT NOW – Allow minimum 10 working days to have your passport returned after the appointment date!

  • Apply in your country of residence. If you are currently living in the UK as a student or worker you can apply in the UK as long as your UK residence permit is valid at least three months beyond the return date of the tour.

For the Schengen Visa Global Coach Tours will write you an application support letter when you have booked and paid in full for one of their tours. Again, you must have a UK resident permit to apply in the UK and not just here for a short visit. Your UK residence permit must be valid at least three months beyond the return date of the tour. You should apply in the consulate of the country where you spend the most time. Allow several weeks before your tour as you will be seen by appointment only.



You Don’t Have to Be Irish to Fall in Love with Ireland: The Coach Touring Experience


The Emerald Isle

Ireland is not just about natural beauty, but a magical land every step of the way, often being referred to as the Emerald Isle, the third largest island in Europe. Plus, it is the best place to visit if you want to be amazed – simple as that.


Emerald waterfall

If you don’t believe us, check out our reasons.


The heritage of this island is simply mesmerizing. From ancient castles built by the Scottish, British and Irish in different eras, to the beautiful buildings that showcase excellent Irish architecture, there are many things to revel in. The entire country is packed with museums and historical monuments. Then again there are the ancient Celtic monasteries that have mostly been converted to satisfy more modern purposes. Festivals being celebrated for centuries like the Puck festival also provide a colorful interlude in our daily lives.


Belfast castle


Monastery Ruin in Ireland

People and Passed Down Legacies

The Irish people are very friendly and don’t mind welcoming strangers in their midst. It is not uncommon for Irish folks to mingle and drink festively with total strangers. Here, you might find a lot of diversity in the lifestyles of those living in cities like Dublin, with modern buildings, trendy clothes and modern lifestyle, while in the countryside you can still be able to find people living in thatched roof cottages and heating their homes with peet. The youngsters learn the importance of song and dance from an early age and they make room for it in their lifestyle. A lot of respect is still given to age old traditions and these things are enough to leave you awestruck with this place.


Irish countryside living

Food and pubs

It can be easily said that while in Ireland if you have not visited a pub then your visit is incomplete. There is a strong pub culture here and people go to pubs to simply relax and spend time with friends, and to enjoy the excellent local food and drinks. The Irish pubs are full of laughter, music and warmth. You can find them everywhere, all offering the same feel and Irish beer. Ireland is also famous for the variety of food that it has to offer. Some of the favorite dishes include lamb, oysters, beef, and seafood on the coasts. The Irish breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, white and black pudding, fruits and pastries. The menu for the Irish breakfast remains the same no matter where you go. You must also try the soda bread while you are here as each grocery store has this bread.


The Irish pubs are full of laughter, music and warmth


There are many remnants of an Ireland of the past, along with the rich culture of the land, the numerous places of interest and the excellent food and drinks. Everything here makes Ireland a land perfect for the travel buffs. In fact many people who visit Ireland fall in love with it. You can have the best of Ireland, especially with our Irish coach tour offers.

Enjoy the Best of the Irish Countryside: Hidden Attractions

Ireland is well known for its vibrant cities, pubs and coastal cliffs, but the most exhilarating aspect of this land is its countryside. The countryside of Ireland has personality all on its own and from Donegal in the North to Cork in the South there is a vast spread of pastures which provide ample photographic opportunities. While touring in the Irish countryside you might come across villages where traditional music and dance are performed out in the open or in local pubs. Irish people have joy and positive energies surrounding them, and they enjoy sharing it with everyone. That is one of the reasons we have come up with a list of things you can do in the countryside, hidden attractions included. Stay tuned!

How to Get Around

Traveling the entire Irish countryside takes a complete day of non stop driving. The best way to get around is by car, particularly if you want to stay away from the busy cities and stick to the countryside. If you don’t feel comfortable driving on your own, we have come up with a few coach tour offers in Ireland that will definitely make you enjoy the best of this country.

self drive

Self drive


…….or by luxury coach


Historical Places along the Countryside

There are many historical places along the Irish countryside that provide a pleasant break from the never-ending green pastures. The Rock of Cashel is a medieval castle situated on a hill in the County Tipperary Golden Vale. Needless to say that castles are one of the most visited sights in Ireland as they not only reflect the ancient architecture, but also take you down the lane of the torrid history of the land. Rock of Cashel has a Gothic cathedral that speaks about the religious and architectural history. On the other hand in County Meath you can visit the Bru Na Boinne where you will find several sheep grazing around unassuming mounds. These mounds are actually passage tombs which date back 5000 years to the Neolithic age or the Late Stone Age and have been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.


Rock of Cashel

The Friendly and Welcoming Villages

At night the villages provide a place to relax after exploring the rugged wilderness and farmlands. Known as the center of traditional Irish music Doolin in County Clare is a village you must visit if you want to enjoy the pub culture of the countryside. There is also the village of Inistioge in Nore River Valley of County Kilkenny where you will find pubs, lakes where you can fish to your heart’s content and an abundance of trees. The cottages and gardens in Kenmare in County Donegal provide a good starting point for traveling around the Ring of Kerry. While in Ardara in County Donegal you will find number of boutiques and shops selling Donegal wool. The quaint church in the medieval town of Dingle in country Kerry, and different places to drink and be merry are great welcoming alternatives.


Typical welcoming Irish pub


Ring of Kerry

Look for Uncommon Places

If you don’t mind traveling off the beaten path then the Irish countryside provides a great opportunity to delve into the history of the land. If you are interested in green farmlands, County Wicklow is a pastoral paradise, but Glendalough is even more interesting although mostly hidden. This is a monastic settlement which dates back to the sixth century – a good hide away from the madding crowd with its forests and waterways. Known as the seat of High Kings the Hill of Tara in County Meath, it also hides a passage tomb dating to the Stone Age.


Part of Glendalough Monastic site

This is not all when it comes to the Irish countryside as there are many more things to explore, but we’ll leave that to you to find out!



3 Reasons to Plan a Holiday Trip to Ireland This Summer

People are becoming less material and more personal goal-oriented, while they still have the time. This is a trend worth engaging with, since enriching your heart and mind with culture, new people and new experiences should be on your priority list. One of the ways to do this is to travel around the world and what better way to start than Ireland? This beautiful country stands as a rare and exquisite jewel, so make sure to include it in your personal collection. This is a land which every traveler should visit for its mystery, romance and history. So why not leave an indelible mark and enrich your life many notches?


Beautiful Ireland

When to Visit Ireland

The best time to visit Ireland is during summer – unless you fancy endless downpours. Summer is the time when the weather is moderately warm, colour rich and sunny. Although there are many reasons to visit Ireland in the summer let us look at three major ones.

Rich Historical and Cultural Heritage

There are more than 340 castles in Ireland and they were built by the British, Irish, and Scottish during different eras of conflict in the tumultuous past of the land. These castles are the remnants of this anything but quiet history of Ireland. Few things inspire the wistfulness and romance that castles do and if you grew up with childhood wonders associated with mysterious castles then you will certainly get your wishes. Apart from the castles there are other icons of culture and history that simply ooze out at you all over the islands. There were the Viking raids, the fringe influence of the Roman civilization, and the druidic culture to some extent. Other than these, the culture of Ireland is untouched and totally Celtic in nature. You can also go through the book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin or indulge in some non-written Celtic nodes of history in burial mounds and ancient monasteries.


Fairy tale Castles

burial mound

Burial mound

Oy, Them Festivals!

There are many festivals celebrated in Ireland that are completely intrinsic to this place. Some of these festivals may have a religious background while some others are purely for fun. One of the examples is the Galway International Oyster Festival, which takes part every year. If you are not so fond of oysters and prefer the creative things, then you can visit the Dublin writers’ festival or the Dance festival. For the food lovers there is the Gourmet Food Festival in Kinsale and, why not, the Battle for the Bay, as well. There is also a 400 year old festival known as the Puck fair in Killogrin. This festival is celebrated in August every year, with people filling the streets with live music, lot of drinking and a cattle fair for domesticated animals along with everything you could possibly expect in a festival.

Speaking of, who can forget St Patrick’s Festival? We know we can’t!

street music

Street music

st patricks day

They celebrate St Patrick’s day even in new York!

Blessed By Nature and Its Beauties

Ireland abounds in natural beauty with sights like the Cliff of Moher, making you feel awed by the size and scope of the earth. Although cities such as Belfast and Dublin are the ones that attract travelers, the beautiful countryside is what Ireland is all about. You can also take a trip along the Ring of Kerry, a circular drive in Kerry county about 111 miles long. There are hundreds of things to see on the way and you can choose to take a hike along this path rather than traveling in a vehicle.


The beautiful cliffs of moher


Oh, and have we told you the main reason yet to come? This special coach tour offer!


CIE Coach tours

Heritage and Nature: Ireland’s Most Impressive Castles and Gardens

Ireland is a land of castles and gardens that speak by themselves about the historical past and great natural beauties. Ireland has a mild, moist climate and almost zero environmental pollution due to which the flora finds abundant opportunity to flourish. The beautiful gardens created with the help of a benevolent nature and creative human effort, are truly the gems of the land. There are more than 300 castles and gardens in Ireland, these being the most popular.


Blarney Castle

This castle is located in Blarney near Cork and on the river Martin. The newest form of the castle dates back to 1446 when it was built by the Kings of Desmond of the MacCarthy Dynasty. The most famous relic in this castle is the Blarney stone or “Stone of Eloquence” and people wait in line to touch it. It is believed to be the magical rock on which the Kings of Ireland were crowned.

Blarney castle

Blarney Castle

Bunratty Castle

The meaning of Caislean Bhun Raithe in Irish means “Castle at the mouth of the Ratty”. This castle is located centrally in the Bunratty village near the Shannon airport. The history of the castle dates back to the Vikings in 970 and was originally a trading camp. The McNamara family finished the construction of the castle in 1425. Now this castle is well known for the medieval banquets where performances are given by the ‘Bunratty Castle Entertainers.’


Bunratty Castle

Dublin Castle

This is an important historic castle situated on the Dame Street in Dublin. Its history dates back to the first Lord of Ireland, King John in 1922. Until the independent state established in 1922, this castle was the seat of the British Empire. In 1922 it was handed over to the Irish Provisional Government by Michael Collins. It now serves as a major government complex and the seat of the European Presidency of Ireland.


Dublin Castle


Mount Usher Gardens, Wicklow

This is one of the best gardens in Ireland and the best time to visit is during spring. At this time you will find things of interest both on the ground level and on the branch level. During spring the Robinsonian style is very apparent as thousands of bulbs are in full bloom. The Palm Walk is lined on both sides with purple and white crocuses and the magnolias with their large flowers are fully bloomed, too.


Mount Usher Gardens Wicklow

Powerscourt Gardens

These gardens were laid out over two main periods and most of the folks involved in the creation of the gardens never saw them being completed throughout their lifetime. The house was rebuilt in the decade after 1731. The gardens were also remodeled to suit the new house. In the North side, there are formal tree plantations that frame the house, a walled garden, fish pond, grottos, cascade and terraces. There are hundreds of beech trees lining the walk around the wooded grounds that provide a fantastic view.


Powerscourt Gardens

AltaMont Garden

This is known as the most romantic garden of Ireland and is a combination of formal and informal styles spread across 100 acres. There is a profusion of roses, and other old fashioned and modern plants lend their scents into the air. There are a lot of birds and butterflies to be enjoyed in the garden – and when you take a walk via the Hill Walk, you get a great view of the Blackstairs, Wicklow Mountains and Mount Leinster.


St Patrick’s Green Grandeur!

Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because of its great beauty and vast amounts of green countryside.

However, on St Patrick’s Day, every one wants to be green!

But did you know that St Patrick was not actually from Ireland?

In fact he was captured and enslaved by the Irish for six years when he was just 16 years of age.

However, he used this captivity to  great effect by learning the Irish language and culture. After escaping captivity in Ireland, he was again captured and held captive in France! During this time he learned about French monasticism and had a vision of Victoricus (a martyr and saint) giving him the quest of teaching Christianity in Ireland.



Symbol of Christianity


Using the knowledge about Ireland he had acquired previously, St Patrick brought Christianity and monasticism to Ireland and managed to have over 300 churches built and over 100,000 Irish people baptised!



One of many churches


The colour green and the shamrock are still significant symbols for St Patrick, and you will find both of these in abundance in the evergreen country of Ireland!



Gorgeous green shamrock


Did you know that there are numerous tours that can take you all the way around the stunning Beauty of Ireland? You can go full circle from Dublin to Killarney to Bunratty and back again.



Bridge over Liffey River in Dublin


You can visit many places on the way including Blarney Castle to kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.”



Blarney Castle


Drive around the Ring of Kerry  or take a 20-minute ferry ride across the wide River Shannon Estuary. Even continue along the Clare coast to the Cliffs of Moher, a spectacular wall of limestone that reaches nearly 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.


Stunnimg Cliffs of Moher

You can also travel north bound and  visit the Titanic Belfast to learn about this ill-fated famous liner that traces the development, building and sinking of RMS Titanic through state-of-the-art displays –  a must see!

Also see the Giant’s Causeway, huge hexagonal columns formed by volcanic activity 60 million years ago.



There is so much to see and do in Ireland that it is difficult to know where to start, but the start of the journey is only the beginning of a deep and meaninful journey that will take you to some of your wildest dreams!!








Live like a Queen Bee with CIE!



CIE Tours uses three classes of hotels – first class (3-star), superior first class (4-star) or deluxe (5-star) properties on all their tours. They choose hotels in central locations or scenic regions and  deluxe hotels offer luxurious features which are often in unique settings.



 For a royal experience, choose one of the CIE deluxe tours where you can stay in 5-star properties including Ashford Castle or Dromoland Castle. Many other tours stay in 4-star castle hotels such as Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Clontarf, Cabra or Kilronan Castle, giving you the experience on a more moderate budget.



Ashford Castle


5 star hotel

This famous castle dates back to the 13th century and now is one of Ireland’s most luxurious retreats. There are 83 bedrooms to choose from which are all individually designed with stunning views. Dine on superb cuisine in the elegant restaurant or enjoy afternoon tea or a snack in the lounge. The hotel offers spa facilities, golfing, horse riding, fishing and more. 



Enjoying Ashford castle!



Dromoland Castle Hotel

5 star hotel

One of Ireland’s premier hotels, this magnificent castle Hotel offers guests every imaginable facility and comfort. Guest rooms are furnished to an amazing standard of comfort whilst the spacious public rooms are filled with numerous antiques. The Finest cuisine is enhanced by an impeccable service. You can relax in the spa and health facilities or play a round of golf on the lovely landscaped grounds with a lake and 18-hole golf course. 

What’s more, just down the road is Bunratty Village for an opportunity to visit Bunratty Castle!



Enjoy a medieval feast at Bunratty Castle.


 CIE Tours also feature Bunratty Castle, as well as Knappogue and Cardiff Castle  on a number of tours offering Banquets.



Amazing view from Cardiff castle!

Plus, all itineraries visit plenty of more castles throughout Ireland and Britain – WOW!



Edinburgh Castle

The majestic Edinburgh Castle!


Windsor Castle

The very Royal Windsor Castle!



 What’s more, on all CIE Tours’ holidays that visit Edinburgh during the Tattoo dates, prime tickets to this event are included!

CIE Britain and Ireland!

Granted, the continent has some of the most amazing sights to see, but when it comes to islands, you just cannot beat  Britain and Ireland for their magic and mystery!

As Islands go, Britain and Ireland are not exactly the biggest Islands in the world, but then again, they are not the smallest – that honour goes to Bishop Rock which is situated 4 miles west of the Isles of Scilly in Cornwall and is 46 meters long by 16 meters wide!

With Britain, it’s the fascinating and ancient  history that so attracts thousands upon thousands of inquisitive people to its shores each year. Britain’s history is so rich you can even find layers of it in the earth! Take York for example, their Museum Gardens contain a whole array of historical buildings ranging from the Romans to the Middle Ages with layers of walls depicting each period. The actual museum itself was completed just before the Victorian period and still attracts hundreds of people a day to its doors! The majestic York minster is still of course another major attraction which cannot be ignored as you make your way around this beautiful city.


The majestic York Minster


Then, of course there is the wonderful Capital City of London to be captivated by. See the historical Houses of Parliament, the legendary Big Ben and the traditional Yeomen of the Queen’s Body Guard to name but a few!

London at twilight

London at twilight



Whereby Britain is the island that is steeped in history and tradition, it can be said that Ireland is the more magical ‘Emerald Isle’. Ireland was given this poetic name of ‘Emerald Isle’ due to its green and luscious countryside. and it’s not hard to see why!

Ireland has that certain magical and mystical feel about it, at every turn you are reminded of  myths and legends and the scenery only reinforces those feelings.

Find a way to explore Ireland and take full advantage of this green and wonderful land!