Multi-Day Tour

North Coast Discovery (9 days)

Dream Escape - Scotland/UK/Northern Ireland

Belfast, United Kingdom To Donegal Town, United Kingdom

Valid for Departures Now Through: 01 May 2018

North Coast Discovery (9 days)

Day 7

Donegal Town, United Kingdom

Day 8

Donegal Town, United Kingdom

Day 9

Donegal Town, United Kingdom


Day 1
Belfast, United Kingdom
The Merchant Hotel Breakfast

Day One.

On arrival at Belfast Airport, be met and welcomed by your experienced local chauffeur-guide, who will provide a safe and comfortable journey into the city centre. Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is a vibrant city with a rich legacy of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Your accommodation for three nights is in the very heart of the historic Cathedral Quarter. With décor described as a harmonious blend of Victorian grandeur and Art Déco-inspired sleek modernity, the guest bedrooms are luxuriously appointed in velvets and silks, bespoke furnishings and original works of art. As for dining, the restaurant is the jewel in the hotel’s crown - a sumptuous space evoking effortless and timeless grandeur – while the food is inspired by the classics.

Day 2
Belfast, United Kingdom
The Merchant Hotel Breakfast

Day Two: Panoramic Tour & Titanic

This morning, your chauffeur-guide will take you on a panoramic orientation tour of the city. Belfast was the only city in Ireland to experience the full force of the Industrial Revolution, creating booming ship-building, linen, rope-making and tobacco industries. The wealth enjoyed is still evident in its imposing banks, churches and other public buildings. The majority of the main streets radiate out from the hub Donegall Square. In the centre of the square stands the vast rectangular Portland stone bulk of the 1906 city Hall with an elaborate tower at each corner and a central copper dome that rises to a height of 173 ft. See the Grand Opera House, designed by Frank Matcham, the renowned theatre-architect, which opened its doors in 1894. The interior with its gilt, red and intricate plasterwork, was restored to its full glory in 1980. In 1984, Belfast born singer Van Morrison recorded a famous live album here. Queens University is Northern Ireland’s most prestigious university. Perhaps head to the main building which bears similarities to Magdalene College, Oxford. The area around Queen’s University to the south of the city has two major attractions: the Ulster Museum and the Botanic Gardens. Beyond its architecture, the city is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of the most famous ship in the world: RMS Titanic, the legendary White Star liner. Travel to the Titanic Quarter, where the huge cranes of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, known by locals as Samson and Goliath, dominate the skyline. Visit Titanic Belfast, an innovative and engaging exhibition that extends over nine galleries. It draws together special effects, rides, full-scale reconstructions and interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way. Learn about her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, to her infamous maiden voyage and beyond to the discovery of the wreck and the present day in this unique experience.

Day 3
Belfast, United Kingdom
the Merchant Hotel Breakfast

Day Three: Mount Stewart House & Gardens

Depart Belfast and travel to the eastern shores of Strangford Lough, where you will find Mount Stewart, a splendid 19th century house formed by the Stewart family holders of the title Marquess of Londonderry. The family played a leading role in both British and Irish social and political life. Recently re-opened, the house has been restored, brimming with elegance and charm, reflecting the splendour of the 1920s and 1920s when the 7th Marquess of Londonderry and his wife made this their beloved Irish home. Enjoy an exclusive tour with the specialist house and collection manager. Explore the house’s beautiful rooms and the treasures that lie within. In the Billiards Room, browse through the guest book to discover an impressive roll-call ranging from poets to politicians, while in the Central Hall, there is an exquisite silver display dating back to 1694 to be admired. In the Dining Room find the twenty-two Empire chairs from the Congress of Vienna. Former British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain are amongst noted guest who were entertained in this room in days gone by. Despite the grandeur and fascinating history of the house, it is perhaps the gardens for which Mount Stewart is most renowned. They were only laid out in 1920 but the exotic plants and shrubs have flourished due to the area’s microclimate. A privately reserved specialist Garden Guide will take you on a tour. The Shamrock Garden is a truly unique feature with yew hedges in the shape of an Irish harp and a striking tulip-filled flower shaped in the Red Hand of Ulster. It is a fitting introduction to a garden that’s both playful and political, formal in parts yet wildly exotic in others. The other gardens are no less charming. The Italian Garden is rich in architectural detail with a captivating story behind the planting, and the Spanish Garden was inspired by an early 16th century description of the Garden of the Generalife, written by a Venetian traveler. Recently the Mount Stewart Gardens have been added to the ‘tentative list’ of sites for potential UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Day 4
Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Bushmills Inn Breakfast

Day Four: Causeway Coastal Route & Giant’s Causeway & Bushmills

Leave Belfast and set off to explore the Causeway Coastal Route, rated as one of the Top Five Road Trips worldwide. In its entirety it stretches 120 miles and is an ever-changing tapestry of scenery and colours, set against a dramatic coastal backdrop that will take your breath away. The route takes in crescent bays and charming towns such as Carnlough, Cushendall and Cushendun, which have inspired artists from near and far, before reaching a section collectively called the Nine Glens of Antrim and locally called “The Glens”. These glacier-gouged valleys are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Near Ballymena, Slemish Mountain is all that remains of an ancient volcano. St Patrick is said to have spent six years here as a slave, tending sheep; it is still a place of pilgrimage to this day. At Torr Head it is only just twelve miles across the ocean to the southerly tip of the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. This region was closely connected to Scotland and to this day is a wonderful mix of Scottish and Irish cultures. Further along the coast, see Rathlin Island across the water – Northern Ireland’s only inhabited off-shore island and the place where Robert the Bruce once took refuge. At Carrick-A-Rede, brave the rope bridge suspended high above the frothing sea. The traverse is definitely rewarded with views of the tranquil aquamarine coves. Head further west to reach the pièce de résistance: Northern Ireland’s first and currently only UNESCO World Heritage Site (awarded 1986), the stunning Giant’s Causeway. It is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty frequently referred to as the Eighth Natural Wonder of the World. A private guide will accompany you as you discover the lasting consequences a volcanic eruption some 60 million years ago, which created an area of approximately 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, not unlike a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Day 5
Derry, United Kingdom
Rathmullan House Breakfast

Day Five: Derry & Inishowen Peninsula

Travel west along the northern tip of Ireland from Co. Antrim into Co. Londonderry, with the town of the same name as its focal point. The city lays claim to being the only completely walled city in the UK, and its fortification is one of the best preserved in Europe. The walls were completed in 1618 to defend the new merchant city from chieftains from Donegal. Reaching to 8 metres high in places, they have never been breached.

Continue west into the Republic of Ireland and Co. Donegal in its very northwest corner. Here, see some of the country’s wildest scenery – windswept peninsulas, precipitous cliffs and rocky headlands - which surround the rugged coastline. The Inishowen peninsula is the largest of the region’s northern peninsulas and includes Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head. With the stormy Atlantic Ocean for a neighbour, the area is renowned for epic coastal scenery, thriving birdlife & historical significance.

At the tip itself, find Banba’s Crown– or, for locals, “The Tower” – which was built by the British Admiralty in 1805 as part of a string of buildings right around the Irish coast to guard against a possible French invasion. From this tower, look north-east to spot Inishtrahull Island or, if you’re lucky, Scotland.

Perhaps also pause at the town of Carndonagh, home to the impressive High Cross of St Patrick. The cross, which is thought to date from the 7th century, is considered one of the most important earlyChristian remains in all of Britain and Ireland.

For breath-taking views from the glistening waters of Loughs Foyle and Swilly to the clear outline of the entire peninsula, stop at the stone fort of Grianán of Aileach, dating back to 1700BC. The fort sits on a hilltop 250m above sea level is linked to the Tuatha de Danann, who invaded Ireland before the Celts. It is thought that Ireland’s patron saint, St Patrick, visited the site in the 5th century and baptised the local chieftain here.

Continue to your accommodation for two evenings. Set in tranquil wooded grounds overlooking Lough Swilly at the northern tip of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way coastline, the surroundings are best described as idyllic.

The original house was built in the 1760s; in the 1800s it became the country residence of the Batt family, founders of the Belfast bank.

Day 6
Derry, United Kingdom
Rathmullan House Breakfast

Day Six: Glenveagh National Park & Glenveagh Castle Gardens

Travel north into Glenveagh National Park, the second largest of the six National Parks in Ireland. The highlight, situated on the edge of Lough Veagh is Glenveagh Castle – its construction in 1867 was inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat. Enjoy a private guided tour of the gardens with the Head Gardener. The gardens still retain their original Victorian layout and are considered a horticulturist masterpiece. Of particular note are the Walled Garden, Italian Terrace and Tuscan Garden. The development of the plants has been a key focus. Today, the gardens boast a rich collection of trees and shrubs specialising in species of the southern hemisphere; these exotic and luxuriouslooking plants contrast starkly with the surrounding landscapes. Spend the remainder of the day exploring the National Park. Far from the typical emerald landscapes for which Ireland is famous, Glenveagh National Park is an enchanting wilderness of rugged mountains, unspoiled lakes, waterfalls and oak woodlands. Surrounded by the Derryveagh Mountains in the north west of County Donegal, the park’s remoteness only heightens its haunting beauty. If fortunate, perhaps spot some of the fauna known to inhabit the park including the largest herd of Red Deer in Ireland and the Golden Eagle, re-introduced to Irish Shores.

Day 7
Donegal Town, United Kingdom
Lough Eske Castle Breakfast

Day Seven: The Castle Finale

Travel south and check in to your final accommodation. Situated within 43 acres of forest woodland, with the calm water of a picturesque lough on one side and the Blue Stack Mountains on the other, the property enjoys a truly enviable picture-perfect location. Step into the imposing Tudor-baronial castle, wonderfully refurbished and extended to create the modern comforts and graceful refinement of a world class boutique hotel. A winner of numerous accolades, recent awards include recognition as one of Condé Nast's top three luxury Ireland hotels, and Luxury Castle Hotel & Spa of the year 2016. This afternoon, you may like to visit the spa situated in the castle garden; a refreshing, peaceful setting complemented by skilful and caring staff. Here, the concept of the traditional spa treatment is reinvented. Options include venturing into mystical woodlands for long walks or spending time in a secluded garden for moments of quiet reflection. Perhaps chose to take a gourmet meal in the spa, featuring the freshest local ingredients and accompanied by a bottle of fine wine.

Day 8
Donegal Town, United Kingdom
Lough Eske Castle Breakfast

Day Eight: On-Site Activities

Spend your final day at leisure, doing as much or as little as you please. Your castle accommodation is the ideal base for exploring the outdoors. Perhaps embark on a guided cycling tour of the estate grounds, or take a walk along the leafy country lanes on the northern shore of the lough. Keen equestrians can saddle up and revel in the beauty of the landscape and enjoy unhindered access to white sandy beaches, moors, mountains, forest trails and lake shores. Listen to the sounds of nature and relax as you appreciate the peace and tranquillity of the estate. Golfers can tee off on one of the nearby golf courses. Donegal Golf Course is an outstanding championship links course, while Narin Golf Course and Ballyliffin Golf Course will both ensure you enjoy breath-taking views as you play. If you would like try your hand at fishing, the neighbouring lake is abundant in fish. If successful on the water, bring your fresh catch back to the castle kitchen to cook for your enjoyment! Alternatively, the castle can supply the fish as you learn different curing and smoking methods. Afterwards, you can enjoy a tasting of your freshly smoked salmon over a glass of chilled white wine. However, if it is an adrenaline rush that you’re seeking perhaps try your hand at one of the extensive range of adventurous activities that the hotel has on offer, from kayaking to surfing.

Day 9
Donegal Town, United Kingdom
Lough Eske Castle Breakfast

Day Nine: Homeward Bound

Your chauffeur-guide will provide a safe and comfortable journey to Donegal Airport, in plenty of time to board your outbound flight.

Tour Features


  • Adventure
  • Cruises & Water Tours
  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Family Vacations
  • Food & Wine
  • Sightseeing
  • Wildlife & Nature


Discover the wild, enchanting, and truly unforgettable northern counties of the Emerald Isle on this tailor-made journey. Delve into Irish life on an adventure encompassing County Down, County Antrim and County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, and the beauty of County Donegal as you cross the border to the Republic of Ireland. Whether you’re savouring a dram in the oldest working distillery in the world, admiring breathtaking vistas along the Causeway Coastal Route, or learning ancient fables and folklore from the locals at a mystical UNESCO World Heritage Site; this is Ireland at its best. Immerse yourself in the region with the help of private guides, exclusive access and a chauffeur-guide gifted with insider knowledge and the ‘gift of the gab’. Accommodation, whether an inn or a castle, is luxurious throughout, showcasing the hospitality for which the Emerald Isle is renowned.

About Us

Dream Escape is your Virtuoso on-site providing the ultimate luxury tailor-made travel service in England, Scotland & Ireland, specializing in the following experiences: Private boxes at events including the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo; Country pursuits and golf with access to private clubs and estates; Equestrian - Stud visits, polo and racing; Whisky Experiences. Private distillery visits and tastings; Exclusive Villa Collection; Incentive and board meetings; Private Castle stays; Celebrations and Events; Bespoke City breaks in London, Edinburgh & Dublin, ; Shorex; Chauffeur guided touring; 'Set Jetting.'

Insider Tip

Our in-house Head of Guiding, Rosie Peattie, is the Mary Poppins of guiding. She knows everything and everyone and adds extraordinary vibrancy to each programme she accompanies!

Terms & Conditions

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Reviews and Recommendations for Dream Escape - Scotland/UK/Northern Ireland


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Perfect Itinerary

By: Jordan D

Reviewed on: 12 Sep 2016

Dream Escape put together a wonderful array of activities, lodgings, and restaurants for us to enjoy on our first trip to Scotland. Not being familiar with the lay of the land, it was nice to have expert help in ensuring we experienced a great deal of the pleasures the country has to offer. We would highly recommend using them for your next trip.
Travel Advisor:  Susan Sparks
Not Recommended


By: Struie

Reviewed on: 23 Sep 2017

We had a very poor experience with Dream Escapes - numerous issues continued to plague our trip - one thing going wrong can be overlooked but their were many issues that greatly affected our ability to enjoy our trip.

Scotland Ireland

By: lola

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2017

We had a terrific experience but our van in Scotland could have been better..
Travel Advisor:  Michael Distler