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Celtic Christianity Tour

Celtic Christianity Tour

Tour Dates: April 22 to May 11, 2024

Celtic Christianity Tour

An exceptional and comprehensive journey following the roots of Christianity. Celtic Christianity refers to a distinctive spirituality and specific practices which took root among Celtic peoples during the earlier Middle Ages, which spread across Ireland, Scotland and England and which encouraged an emphasis on monastic life.

Tour Summary
Countries: England, Wales, Ireland & Scotland
Tour Types: Christianity
Accomodation: Hotels and Guesthouses
Meals: Breakfast, 16 Dinners, 1 Lunch, 2 Boxed Lunches
Transport: Ferry, Motor Coach
Whats included: Entrance Fees as mentioned in the itinerary


Arrive London international airport and transfer to Aylesford Priory, an ancient religious house of the Order of Carmelites dating back to the 13th century. Check in. Enjoy a tour around the grounds, followed by some free time to relax in the grounds and the Friars Peace Garden. Attend Evening Prayer before dinner. Overnight in the guesthouse.

Breakfast. Full day visit to Canterbury. Visit St Martin’s Church, the oldest church in England, and thought to be the site of the first meeting of St Augustine and Ethelbert King of Kent and his Christian Queen Bertha. Visit the Cathedral, the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. The cathedral was built on the site of St Augustine’s first Cathedral within the walls of the Roman Fortress Durovernum Canticorum. You can also hold your own service in the Cathedral (dependant on dates and availability – this would need to be reserved as soon as possible). Free time for lunch. Afternoon visit to St Augustine’s Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery originally founded in 598. Return to the Cathedral for evensong. Dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Visit to the beautiful village of Chilham with a stop and visit at the church famous for the last known resting place of the shrine of St Augustine. Continue through the Kent countryside near Ramsgate to see the stone cross commemorating St Augustine’s landing in 597AD. Visit Minster Abbey, a small but active Benedictine nunnery, occupying one of England’s oldest continually inhabited buildings. Drive past St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church, Ramsgate. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Morning service at the Cathedral (as a weekday this would be morning prayer service, or Eucharist service). Rest of day in Canterbury. Dinner on own. Overnight.

Breakfast. Drive from Canterbury to Winchester. Visit Winchester Cathedral, once the seat of Anglo-Saxon and Norman royal power and situated on the site of an early Christian church. Jane Austen is buried here and you will see the memorial that marks the spot of St Swithun’s shrine, the patron saint of the cathedral. Free time for lunch. Afternoon continue to Wales for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Transfer to St David’s. Visit the Cathedral, which stands on the site of the monastery which St David founded in the Glyn Rhosyn valley of Pembrokeshire, and includes the site of the original St David’s Shrine which was destroyed during the reformation. Free time with the opportunity to walk to visit the site believed to be the place of St David’s birth, and marked by the ruins of a tiny chapel close to a holy well – St Non’s Retreat. Afternoon transfer to hotel in mid-Wales region for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Spend some time in Snowdonia national park in the morning. Take the Snowdon Mountain train as far as possible (due to time of the year this is not likely to reach the summit)*. Afternoon visit to St Winefride’s Well, a shrine to the Welsh lady who according to legend died twice – the well is believed to have erupted where her would be rapist cut off her head; she was restored to life by the prayers of her uncle St Beuno and lived the rest of her life as a nun. The shrine has been a place of public pilgrimage for over 13 centuries. Dinner and overnight Holywell.

Breakfast. Morning ferry to Dublin. Transfer to city centre for time for lunch then visit to St Patrick’s Cathedral and remain for evensong. Transfer to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Panoramic tour of Dublin including a visit to Trinity College with its magnificent Long Room Library. Trinity Trinity houses Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript: The Book of Kells. Free time for lunch in Dublin and then depart westwards to Knock in Co. Mayo. Knock was the site of an apparition on the 21st August 1879. It is now Ireland’s national Marian Shrine and it is visited by 1.5 million people each year. Check in to your hotel on site and free time to visit the shrine. Dinner and overnight

Breakfast. Depart for Westport and on to Croagh Patrick – the Holy Mountain. The tradition of pilgrimage to this mountain goes back over 5,000 years. The group is free to climb as much of Croagh Patrick as they wish. Lunch in Westport (included in price). Afternoon visit to Celtic Furrow Museum at Ballintubber Abbey. Return to Knock for dinner and overnight at hotel.

Breakfast. Depart for Downpatrick (approx 5 hours drive so will stop en route for lunch at own cost/comfort break). Visit St Patrick’s Cathedral, Visitor Centre and Saul Church. Transfer to Belfast – timer permitting visit the Cathedral of St Anne. Dinner and overnight Belfast.

Breakfast. Meet with a local guide and depart by coach for a morning tour of Belfast with special emphasis on Peace and Reconciliation – if St Anne’s is not visited the day before, it will be visited this morning. Free time for lunch. Afternoon transfer to ferry terminal and cross via ferry to Scotland. Transfer to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Transfer to Glasgow, a city founded by St Mungo the missionary in the 6th century. Legend has it that St Mungo buried Fergus, a holy man, below the site of the Glasgow Necropolis. Visit the cathedral, also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Mungo’s Cathedral, including the St Mungo Museum of World Religion within the Cathedral precinct. Afternoon continue to the fishing village of Oban and take the ferry to Isle of Mull and onto Iona. Dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Day in Iona. A small and peaceful isle of the Inner Hebrides, Iona was to become the heart of Celtic Christianity in Scotland when St Columba landed in AD563 and founded a new monastic community. Trace the story of Celtic Christianity here, which prospered until relentless Viking raids forced many monks to flee the island. The Roman Church would later return in force with a new Benedictine Abbey in the 12th century. Eucharist at the Abbey shortly after arrival. Visit the Abbey where numerous Scottish Kings were believed to be buried, including the infamous Macbeth. Three original Celtic High Crosses can also be viewed. You will also see the nunnery ruins, and the Iona Parish Church with its Macleans Cross outside. Dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Day at leisure in Iona. Dinner and overnight.

Breakfast. Transfer to Edinburgh via Loch Lomond, with a stop en route at Luss Church. Continue to Edinburgh. Check into hotel. Rest of day at leisure. Overnight.

Breakfast. Full day pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. St Aidan came here from Iona at the request of King Oswald in AD635 and built his monastery, a place also prominent in the life of St Cuthbert. Take a guided tour and explore the priory and Lindisfarne Centre, (which includes a leather-bound facsimile of the Lindisfarne Gospels in the atmospheric scriptorium). Depart the island for dinner and overnight at hotel.

Breakfast. Morning visit to Whitby Abbey. The ruins of St Hilda’s Abbey dominate the town’s skyline. Oswiu, King of Northumbria after Oswald, called the Synod of Whitby in 664AD in order to bring to a head the conflict between the traditions of the Ionian church and Roman Church. There will also be a 2 hour talk here by the new Bishop of east Riding, Bishop Ellie Sanderson. Return to Durham for rest of day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Breakfast. Attend one of the daily services at Durham Cathedral (either morning or midday). After the service, some time to wander the cathedral for a visit – it is here where monks from Lindisfarne brought St Cuthbert’s body; his tomb is still here (buried with King Oswald’s head), and at the other end of the cathedral are the remains of St Bede enshrined in the Galilee Chapel. Visit will also include ‘The Treasures of St Cuthbert’ exhibition (subject to opening). Rest of day and dinner at leisure. Overnight

Breakfast. Check out of hotel. Return to Cathedral with time in the Chapel of the Holy Cross. 

What Our Clients Say

I was very fortunate to be on their 70th and 75th D-Day celebration tours. The service and attention to details was exceptional. It was very moving to go back.

As a Jane Austen enthusiast, this tour was perfect - and the Jane Austen Festival in Bath was just fabulous to see!

Words fail me...The Downton Abbey was a perfectly wonderful travel experience! We did not know we would be the ONLY guests at the Abbey. When we realised how truly exclusive our tour was we were speechless! Surreal being there and actually meeting Lady Carnarvon.