Hi from Rick: Great — Great Britain

Looking back, so many of my greatest travel memories took place in Great Britain.

As a teenager, I plodded across a lonesome field in Dartmoor National Park — with only wild ponies and the stiff wind to keep me company — to a 4,000-year-old stone circle. It was here that I decided to become a guidebook writer.

On one of my Scotland tours, our bus pulled up at a remote farm outside of Inverness. We were greeted by a shepherd and a whip-smart border collie, who eagerly demonstrated how these highly trained dogs, following subtle commands from afar, corral their wayward flock with precision. Afterward, we got to cuddle some puppies…and more than a few of us considered smuggling one home.

While researching my guidebook in London, I went "beachcombing" on the banks of the Thames at low tide. In the pebbles I found a fragile, chalky white tube. My tour guide explained that it was "no big deal" — just the stem of a disposable pipe from the 19th century. He dropped it on the ground. Thinking, "Charles Dickens may have sucked on this," I picked it up again. Within minutes, my pockets were filled with old pipe stems.

And in North Wales, I climbed to the pinnacle of a stately stone castle overlooking a yawning bay. This was one of several such fortresses built by the English king Edward I in the 13th and 14th centuries to subdue the Welsh. A couple of hours later, I stepped into a village church and enjoyed a haunting concert performed by a choir of local Welshmen…sung entirely in Welsh, as if to remind us visitors that Edward did not succeed.

All these experiences — and so many others — put the "Great" in Britain. And our Rick Steves tour program has plenty of ways to connect with this wonderful corner of Europe: Our Best of London in 7 Days tour is a deep dive into one of Europe's most fascinating cities, while our Best of England in 14 Days tour (including a foray into North Wales) and our Best of South England in 13 Days tour connect a variety of vital cities, characteristic towns, richly historic sights, and charming countryside. And up in Scotland, with its misty glens, windswept isles, and irrepressible spirit, you have two choices: Best of Scotland in 13 Days, or — if you're short on time — our more focused Heart of Scotland in 8 Days tour.

In this month's Tour News, we're celebrating Britain! Experience the Best of South England and the Best of Scotland with our colorful, day-by-day tour slideshows, get to know Scotland guide Colin Mairs and England guide Robert Halkett, read more magical moments from recent tour members, and join me for a tour through a Speyside whisky distillery (and a wee dram of whisky).

If you'd like to visit a truly great destination, consider joining us in Britain…and create some memories of your own.

Happy travels!



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