UK Celtic Pilgrimage 2023

Ireland, Scotland & England!

Duration

25 Days

Departs

Wednesday 6 September, 2023

From

$15,950

“”Leaders were experienced travellers and ensured everything ran smoothly””

This Tour Includes

A Christian Tour Leader

Daily Devotions

Return Economy Airfares

42 Meals

Sightseeing as Outlined

All Tipping, Gratuities & Entry Fees

Quality Accommodation

Tour Summary

Come on a pilgrimage with Jan and me as we journey to learn more about the Celtic Saints of the United Kingdom.

I have long had a deep interest in the origins of a truly indigenous church in the UK, the original ‘Anglican Church’ if you will. From St Columba leaving Ireland and founding the monastic community on Iona, one of those ‘thin places’ where it is easiest to connect with the divine, to St Aidan arriving at ‘Holy Island’, Lindisfarne, in 635 AD to bring Christianity to the people of the Kingdom of Northumbria, followed by St Cuthbert, whose shrine is in Durham Cathedral. Today’s Church can learn much from the evangelistic endeavours of those early British Saints who grounded themselves in the culture in which they found themselves.

This tour will include a ‘pilgrimage’ following the path of early Christianity in Ireland, Scotland, and England, which will help us understand the context in which the Christianisation of those countries occurred but also the lessons we can learn from their experience, which are so relevant to our mission of evangelisation. We will be inspired by the manuscripts of the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels; the Standing Crosses of Ireland, Scotland and England; the simplicity of the monastic life of the early Celtic Saints; the beginnings of Stained Glass; and the awe-inspiring mass of Durham Cathedral.

Alongside the pilgrimage in the early Christian story of Ireland, Scotland, and England, we will experience some significant cultural sights of more recent times. We will have the chance to share in times of contemplation, and worship with the local people on Sundays.

We hope to come away inspired and refreshed in our faith, with experiences we will want to share when we get back home with others. Our eyes, minds, and spirit will be renewed; who knows, we may come away transformed as followers of Christ.

Peace & Joy,

John Stead | Former Bishop of Willochra

Your Travel Itinerary

Day 1
Wednesday 6 September 2023

Australia | Dubai

Our wonderful pilgrimage begins with an evening flight from Australia to Dubai. You can choose one of two options – both of these options are included in your fare (your choice must be booked in advance).

Option 1 | 4-Hour City Tour Option 2 | Relax in Transit Hotel

Later this afternoon we will fly onto Dublin.

Day 2
Thursday 7 September 2023

Arrive Dublin

We arrive in Dublin, the Capital city of the Republic of Ireland which is built on the mouth of the River Liffey, the water flowing out to the Irish Sea. Upon arrival we will be transferred to our hotel to enjoy our first Group Dinner together.

Overnight : Dublin

Day 3
Friday 8 September 2023

Sightseeing Dublin

Dublin is a warm and welcoming city, known for the friendliness of its people and famous for its craic (that beloved mixture of Irish repartee and humour). Dublin is also famed for its historic buildings, from Georgian squares to its 13th Century Castle and imposing St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191. Our day starts with a delightful walking tour taking in well-known sites such as O’Connell Street, Custom House, the River Liffey, Guinness and Phoenix Park – the largest urban park in Europe and home to the President of Ireland. Enjoy some free time for lunch (own choice and cost) and then this afternoon we will visit Trinity College, an internationally renowned university founded in the sixteenth century by Queen Elizabeth I.

Within the Old Library we will view the astonishing beauty of the Book of Kells (c. 800 AD); this stunning illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels is regarded as one of Medieval Europe’s greatest treasures.

Overnight : Dublin

Day 4
Saturday 9 September 2023

Glendalough

We head south to one of Ireland’s most beautiful destinations, Glendalough in County Wicklow, its glacial valley with two lakes offers some of the country’s most stunning scenery. The area is also famed for the fascinating monastic settlement founded by St Kevin in the sixth century; we explore the ancient monastic site and tour the ruins of the original cathedral, the Reefert Church. After lunch, we enjoy an afternoon visit to the village of Avoca in County Wicklow to see a demonstration of weaving at the Avoca Woollen Mills.

Overnight: Dublin

Day 5
Sunday 10 September 2023 ✝️

Dublin | Worship

We join locals in worship this morning before visiting the National Museum of Ireland; amongst its many treasures is the bell reputed to have belonged to St Patrick. We then visit the imposing twelfth century cathedral that is dedicated to this National Saint of Ireland; St Patrick’s Cathedral is also the resting place of many notable Irishmen and women including Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels). The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure to relax or explore as you wish.

Overnight: Dublin

Day 6
Monday 11 September 2023

Dublin | Clonmacnoise | Mayo

We leave Dublin and travel west to the monastic site of Clonmacnoise; founded in 545 AD by St Ciaran the site still contains a well preserved round tower and the remains of 9 churches.

Wander the ancient site as you admire its picturesque location, situated high on the banks of the River Shannon overlooking the countryside.

This afternoon we visit the Knock Shrine before travelling onto Mayo where we stop for the night.

Overnight: Mayo

Day 7
Tuesday 12 September 2023

Armagh | Navan Celtic Fort

This morning we travel to Armagh where St Patrick built his first stone church in 445AD, now the site of the current Church of Ireland Cathedral.

Enjoy some free time for lunch before we drive out to the Navan Fort, the ancient seat of Kings and the earliest capital of Ulster, it is a place where myth and reality meet. Hear legends of the Ulster Cycle and visit the unique Iron age/ Early Christian period dwellings; step 2000 years back in time as you meet the Celts going about their daily lives. Discover how they survived and thrived as they engage you in this highly interactive and unique experience – you may find the clan cooking, weaving, tending to their plants or even preparing their weapons for battle.

It is believed that the Celtic Spirituality associated with this site brought Patrick to the area to build his first stone church and establish Armagh as the Ecclesiastical Capital of Ireland.

Overnight: Armagh

Day 8
Wednesday 13 September 2023

Belfast (Northern Ireland)

We leave the Republic of Ireland to travel to Belfast, the buzzing capital of Northern Ireland that is situated on the River Lagan. The home of the ill-fated Titanic, the city was once mainly known for the sectarian “Troubles”, but today Belfast is a vibrant city with much to offer.

A coach tour will show us the grounds of Stormont, Northern Ireland’s Parliament, and through the Titanic Quarter, one of the world’s largest water-front regeneration schemes, before a walking tour brings us up close to the city’s attractions.

Enjoy some free time for lunch before an afternoon visit to St Anne’s Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, part of the Anglican Communion.

Overnight: Belfast

Day 9
Thursday 14 September 2023

Cairnryan | St Ninian's Cave (Scotland)

It’s off to Scotland today as we travel by ferry to Cairnryan on the eastern shore of Loch Ryan. From here we transfer to Whithorn, considered Scotland`s Cradle of Christianity due to its connections with St. Ninian, the first missionary to the Scots and possibly southern Picts.

In the fifth century, St Ninian’s early Christian settlement had contacts with Gaul resulting in a sophisticated church hierarchy and a thriving and literate community which imported fine wines and pottery. As such, Whithorn is quite possibly Scotland’s earliest town.

We visit the Whithorn Priory & Museum before visiting St Ninian’s Cave, believed to have been used as a place of solitude and retreat for Scotland’s first saint. Ten crosses are cut into the cave wall, and 18 early Christian carved stones have been found in the cave (now housed in the Museum).

We continue our journey to the port city of Glasgow.

Overnight: Glasgow

Day 10
Friday 15 September 2023

Glasgow Sightseeing | Oban

Glasgow is famed for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, a rich legacy of the city’s 18th–20th-century prosperity due to trade and shipbuilding. Today it’s a national cultural hub, home to institutions including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland, as well as acclaimed museums.

We will visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum where we can view Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross as well as Glasgow Cathedral which includes the St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art.

Enjoy some free time for lunch before we travel on to Oban to spend the night.

Overnight: Oban

Day 11
Saturday 16 September 2023

Isle of Mull | Isle of Iona

A truly inspiring day spent visiting the Isle of Mull and the Holy Island of Iona. Part of the Inner Hebrides these islands are renowned for their incredible natural beauty; here is a place to glory in God’s Creation as rugged cliffs combine with silver-sand beaches, sparkling lochs, rivers and waterfalls, dramatic mountains, ancient forests and flowering grassy plains.

In 563 AD St. Columba travelled to Iona from Ireland with 12 followers, building his first Celtic church and establishing a monastic community before setting about converting most of pagan Scotland and northern England to the Christian faith. Iona’s fame as a missionary centre and outstanding place of learning eventually spread throughout Europe, turning it into a place of pilgrimage for several centuries to come as well as a sacred isle where 60 kings of Scotland, Ireland and Norway were buried. We visit Iona Abbey to learn more about the history of the Celtic Church; both challenges from Viking Raids, the Roman Church and Reformation and its incredible contribution to art and culture, creating such masterpieces as the Book of Kells.
Today, tranquil Iona is the base for the Iona Community, an international, ecumenical Christian movement working for justice and peace, the rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.

Overnight: Oban

Day 12
Sunday 17 September 2023 ✝️

Worship | Dunfirmline | Edinburgh

This morning we travel to Dunfermline, once the capital of Scotland. This ‘auld grey toun’ is at the heart of Scottish history with the royal and monastic past dominating the city with the royal place, a 12th Century Abbey (the final resting place of Robert the Bruce and burial site of 11 other Scottish kings and queens), the restored 15th Century Abbot House and the cave in which St Margaret bathed the feet of the poor. We will visit both the Dunfermline Abbey and St Margaret’s Cave as well as worship at the Holy Trinity, Episcopal Church of Scotland. We travel to Edinburgh where we will spend the night.

Overnight: Edinburgh

Day 13
Monday 18 September 2023

Edinburgh | Lindisfarne

From Edinburgh we journey to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne where you are free to walk across the tidal flats. Lindisfarne is intimately connected with the history of Christianity in Britain. In 635 the Northumbrian king, Oswald, summoned an Irish monk named Aidan from Iona to be bishop of his kingdom also granting him the small tidal island of Lindisfarne on which to found a monastery. Both St Aidan and St Cuthbert were located here for a time and we learn more about them when we visit the Priory and Lindisfarne Centre as well as St Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh.

Overnight: Alnwick

Day 14
Tuesday 19 September 2023

Farne Islands | Venerable Bede

This morning we will take the 2 ½ hour boat trip (weather permitting), to cruise around the Farne Islands, the location of several Island Hermitages, including those of St Aidan and St Cuthbert. The cliff faces are home to many birds including the unique puffins (St Cuthbert is credited with establishing the first bird protection laws on Inner Farne) and we will see the seal colonies and follow the route Grace Darling and her father took during their heroic rescue in 1838 . We will spend some time on Inner Farne as well as stopping in the Alnwick area for lunch (own choice and cost).

This afternoon you can walk in the steps of the Venerable Bede, Britain’s’ most famous monastic scholar and author of ”History of the English Church and Its People”.

We visit the sites associated with the Anglo-Saxon Monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow (Bede lived here from age 7), Jarrow Hall Museum, Church of St Paul and Church of St Peter. Within the Church of St Peter can be found both the oldest church dedication stone and a small window made up of glass from the earliest stained glass to be found in the UK.

We travel on to the Cathedral town of Durham, our home for the next 4 nights

Overnight: Durham

Day 15
Wednesday 20 September 2023

Finchale Priory | Glass Making

Today we visit Finchale Priory, founded in 1196 on the site of the hermitage of St Godric to explore the ruins of the priory and see Godric’s grave. Godric was a retired sailor, merchant, and pilgrim who also composed music and songs (four songs of St Godric’s are the oldest songs in English for which the original musical settings survive).

At Sunderland Glass Centre we are reminded how Benedict Biscop, the founder of Wearmouth-Jarrow Priory, brought glass making to Sunderland in 674 AD.

Overnight: Durham

Day 16
Thursday 21 September 2023

Sightseeing Durham

Imposing Durham Cathedral is UNESCO World Heritage Listed; famed as the largest and finest example of Norman architecture in England it was built in the late 11th and early 12th centuries to house the relics of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede.

This morning we enjoy a walking tour of Durham that will include a guided tour of the Cathedral and a visit to the Chapter House, where the monks transacted daily business, as well as a visit to the Library.

The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure exploring this remarkable historic town.

Overnight: Durham

Day 17
Friday 22 September 2023

Sightseeing Durham

Today is a full day at leisure in Durham. You are free to explore in your own time, to spend time with new friends, or to simply rest and relax, the choice is yours.

Overnight: Durham

Day 18
Saturday 23 September 2023

Durham | London

We leave the Northern parts of England today as we travel by train through the beautiful countryside to London. We are staying in Kensington, in the heart of London and with two days at leisure we encourage you to take in its many sights (and historic sites).

We have included a 2-day Premium Ticket on the Hop On – Hop Off Big Bus to help you make the most of your stay – it includes 3 different routes, Thames cruise, 3 different walking tours and a 2-hour evening tour. Dinners have not been included for these two nights in London as you may like to step out on the town.

Overnight: London

Day 19
Sunday 24 September 2023 ✝️

Worship | London Sightseeing

Sunday is always special but why not make it even more so when you share in the 11.15am Sung Eucharist (Holy Communion) service in Westminster Abbey. Enjoy a day at leisure – you may like to visit the British Library where the Lindisfarne Gospels and Sonyhurst Gospel (taken from the grave of St Cuthbert in the 12th Century) are displayed.

Overnight: London

Day 20
Monday 25 September 2023

London Sightseeing

Today you may elect to do your own thing or make use of the “buddy system” and your Tour Leader will help you in your choice of activities. The day is yours to enjoy.

Overnight: London

Day 21
Tuesday 26 September 2023

Canterbury

Canterbury is a must on any UK Pilgrimage so today we depart London and journey into Kent and onto the cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage site of Canterbury.

Canterbury was the base from which St Augustine of Canterbury set about the re-Christianization of the south of England, which finally supplanted the Celtic Church after the Synod of Whitby.
This incredibly beautiful, historic city has ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, that encircle its medieval centre of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. We enjoy a walking tour and a visit to the awe-inspiring Canterbury Cathedral, the headquarters of the Church of England and Anglican Communion.

This afternoon we will visit St Augustine’s Abbey, originally created as a burial place for the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Kent, before we return for Evensong at the Cathedral. What a day!

Overnight: Canterbury

Dubai
Day 22
Wednesday 27 September 2023

Flight to Dubai

We have come to the end of the UK part of our Celtic Pilgrimage.

After breakfast, our coach will transfer us from our hotel through London to Heathrow airport for our flight to Dubai where we will enjoy a full day at leisure before flying on to Australia.

Overnight: Dubai

Day 23
Thursday 28 September 2023

Dubai

Today, is left free for you to rest from the long flight, but the day is not without its interesting things to do. You may like to enjoy the Hotel pool, or take the Metro to the end of the line to see the expanse of this amazing city.

Tonight, we come together to enjoy a farewell group dinner at our hotel. This is a great opportunity to share both a meal and warm fellowship. A fitting end to our wonderful holiday.

Overnight: Dubai

Day 24
Friday 29 September 2023

Depart Dubai

We say our goodbyes to new friends as we ready ourselves for our final leg on our journey home. We will be transferred to the airport for our flights home.

Overnight: In-Flight

Day 25
Saturday 30 September 2023

Arrive Australia

A morning arrival in Australia after a fantastic holiday filled with fun, faith and fellowship. We hope you have enjoyed this fascinating pilgrimage through Ireland, Scotland and England as you have shared new experiences, memories and fellowship with new friends.

All Inclusive Fares

UK Celtic Pilgrimage 2023 Pricing

Departs from: Description Twin PP Single
From Sydney Departs Wednesday 6 September 2023 $15,950 $17,750
From Brisbane Departs Wednesday 6 September 2023 $15,950 $17,750
From Perth Departs Wednesday 6 September 2023 $15,950 $17,750

Tour Code:

CEL23096CFT

Departs:

Wednesday 6 September, 2023

Returns:

Saturday 30 September, 2023

Departing:

Sydney, Brisbane & Perth

*

Departures from other towns and cities available on request

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UK Celtic Pilgrimage 2023
Wednesday 6 September, 2023
25 Days

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Travel and fellowship
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Daily devotions and
organised Sunday service

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UK Celtic Pilgrimage 2023
Wednesday 6 September, 2023
25 Days