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Insider's Ireland and England

DAY 1: OVERNIGHT FLIGHT   Depart from the USA.
DAY 2: DUBLIN   Arrive in Dublin, meet your ACIS Tour Manager and begin to explore the rich Irish culture of your surroundings.
DAY 3: DUBLIN   Begin today with a guided panoramic sightseeing tour. Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, still the country’s largest church, and Kilmainham Gaol, a former jail that has held both Nationalist and Republican prisoners. During your free afternoon perhaps delve into Dublin’s rich literary past with a visit to the Dublin Writers’ Museum. Tonight enjoy an evening of traditional Irish song, dance and food. Sample delicious Irish fare followed by a night of entertainment in which audience participation is encouraged!
DAY 4: DUBLIN   Journey to a farm in the Irish countryside for a chance to be Irish for a day. Experience rural Irish culture and partake in traditional activities such as bodhran drum lessons, sugán rope making, a bog visit and brown bread baking, followed by lunch on the farm. Return to Dublin and contrast the different customs and practices of the country’s rural and urban dwellers.
DAY 5: CAERNARFON   Cross the Irish Sea by ferry and arrive in Holyhead. Visit the imposing Caernarfon Castle with a local guide, and learn the nuances of medieval siege warfare as well as some useful vocabulary with an introductory Welsh language lesson. Tonight put your new talent into practice as you visit the homes of local Welsh families in small groups for an authentic Welsh dinner and cultural exchange.
DAY 6: BATH   Leave Wales this morning and travel to Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of Britain's greatest playwright, William Shakespeare. Visit Shakespeare's Birthplace and get a sense for life in an English town as you take time for lunch. Then continue to the Roman spa-resort city of Bath, founded around naturally occurring hot springs.
DAY 7: LONDON   Discover this city, designated as a World Heritage Site, during this morning's walking tour. See the Royal Cresent, Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon, Bath Abbey and the architecturally striking Circus. You'll also enjoy a tour of the famous Roman Baths and come to understand the historical influence of the Roman legionnaires under Emperor Claudius who built them. Depart for London in the afternoon, stopping en route to see Stonehenge and imagine the sunrise rites that are said to have occurred there over 4,000 years ago.
DAY 8: LONDON   Begin your day exploring London’s treasured green spaces and stately monuments on a guided London by bike sightseeing tour. Pedal past famous sights such as Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. After working up an appetite, head to Covent Garden for an English food tasting. Sample bites and learn the history behind traditional dishes such as jellied eels, game pie and Trinity cream before enjoying enjoying a classic English lunch. The rest of the day is yours to perhaps souvenir shop in Covent Garden's lively market. Choose from one of London’s ethnic culinary influences with tonight’s dinner voucher.
DAY 9: LONDON   This morning tour Sir Christopher Wren's massive St. Paul’s Cathedral. Then the afternoon is yours to perhaps delve into the vibrant cultural scene of London’s South Bank, home to Borough Market, The Golden Hinde and Shakespeare’s reconstructed Globe Theatre. Cap off your time abroad with a renown theater performance in London's famous West End this evening.
DAY 10: DEPARTURE   Depart for the USA.

Once again ACIS provided THE quality educational experience for my students. They have memories that will last a lifetime! QUALITY prevails!

Noreen M.
Group Leader 2013


What to See

Shopping
DUBLIN

Grafton Street
It's no more than 200 yards long and about 20 feet wide, but brick-lined Grafton Street, open only to pedestrians, can claim to be the most humming street in the city, if not in all of Ireland.

The Blackrock Market
With over 50 shops specializing in clothing, gifts, art and curiousities, the Blackrock Market is one of the most popular shopping destinations amongst visitors and locals too.  Housed in a 250 year old Georgian house and located in the elegant Blackrock village in South Dublin, one can go for simply for the sights, if not the shopping.

LONDON

Portobello Road, Tube: Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove
For over 300 years, Portobello Road has been attracting tourists and natives alike to its varied markets. Throughout the week, Pembridge Villa sells high quality antiques at high prices, and on Saturdays the North end of Portobello Road offers more in the way of bargains, curios, and second-hand clothes.

Leadenhall, Tube: Bank or Monument
Originating in the 14th Century, the first building was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. Erected in 1881, the present victorian covered arcade retails meat, fish, flowers and foodstuffs. Fresh coffee from all over the world gives Leadenhall a delightful aroma. Open Monday through Friday.

Lillywhite's, Tube: Piccadilly Circus
This store claims to be the world's finest in sporting goods: from croquet mallets to football strips and cricket whites; it all can be found here! Open daily.

Hamley's, Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus
A short walk up Regent Street will bring you to London's finest toy store and, at one time, the largest. Five stories of toys, games, stuffed animals and many opportunities for fun! Don't forget to admire the window displays. Open daily.

Oxford Street Shopping, Tube: Oxford Circus
Shop here to stay caught up with all the latest fashions in clothes and shoes. Oxford Street is best known for Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and the other big department stores which are all found in the section from Marble Arch to Oxford Circus.

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Museums
DUBLIN

Dublin Theatre
Dublin is home to a thriving theater scene. Venues include the Gate Theatre, the Rupert Guinness Theatre, and the Abbey and Peacock Theatres, home of Ireland's National Theatre Society.

Kilmainham Gaol, Inchicore Road
Restored in the 1960s, this building stood as a prison for 130 years and served as the holding place for many of the Nationalists that were executed after the Uprising of 1916. Tours include an audio-visual component. Open daily.

National Museum, Kildare Street
Built in the 1880s to the Victorian Palladianism design of Sir Thomas Deane, the museum houses priceless items such as Ireland’s Bronze Age gold, silver and glassware as well as unique items including 16th and 17th century wollen garments recovered from Irish bogs. Open daily, closed on Monday.

National Gallery, Merrion Square West
Houses a collection of more than 2,000 works from every major European school of painting, with particular emphasis on Irish landscape and portraits. Admission to the permanent collection is free. Open daily.

Dublinia, St. Michael's Hill, Christ Church
Presents a multimedia offering of Dublin’s medieval heritage from the arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the closures of the monasteries in 1540. Formerly the Synod Hall of the Church of Ireland, the impressive building was designed by G. E. Street. Open daily.

Chester Beatty Library
A connoisseur's delight, this "library" is considered by many to be the most impressive museum in Ireland. After Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), a Canadian mining millionaire and a collector with a flawless eye, assembled one of the most significant collections of Islamic and Far Eastern art in the Western world, he donated it to Ireland.

LONDON

British Museum, Tube: Tottenham Court Road
One of the world's finest museums: "the closest thing this planet has to a complete record of its civilizations." The Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles and an incredible collection of coins. Open daily. Free admission.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Tube: South Kensington
A collection of fine and applied arts from all over the world are displayed here. Particularly noted for the clothing collection and the twentieth century design exhibits. Open daily. Free admission.

Natural History Museum, Tube: South Kensington
This museum illustrates all forms of life, from the smallest bacteria to the largest creatures, dinosaurs, and fossils. Open daily. Free admission.

The Science Museum, Tube: South Kensington
Over seven acres of hands-on scientific history. Also includes a history of medicine and an IMAX 3D film theater. Along with the National Railway Museum in York and the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford, these museums together comprise the National Museum of Science & Industry ( NMSI ). Open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free admission.

The Museum of London, Tube: St. Paul's or Barbican
From pre-history to the present day, the growth of London is charted here. A museum with something for everyone. Open daily. Free admission.

London Transport Museum, Tube: Covent Garden
For those interested in transportation throughout the ages, here is a fabulous collection of buses, trams, trains, and their history. The museum boasts hands-on fun for all ages and a lovely shop with lots of Tube-related merchandise. Open daily.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Tube: Baker Street
Madame Tussaud started in wax modeling making masks of victims of the French Revolution, and in 1835 she moved to England to this location. Be prepared for the Chamber of Horrors! Open daily.

The National Gallery, Tube: Charing Cross
A wealth of art from the early Renaissance to the nineteenth century is catalogued and beautifully displayed here. Spanning the period from about 1250 to 1900, it is one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world. Open daily. Free admission.

National Portrait Gallery, Tube: Charing Cross
This gallery houses a collection of portraits that well illustrate the history of Britain. The Great and the Good, along with some for whom the jury is still out, are represented here. Open daily. Free admission.

Tate Britain, Tube: Pimlico
This is the national gallery of British art with works from 1500 to the present day. Tate holds the greatest collection of British art in the world, including works by Blake, Hirst and Moore. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. Free admission.

Tate Modern, Tube: Southwark
This museum displays the Tate's collection of international modern art from 1900 to the present day, including major works by Bacon, Dalí, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko, Warhol and McQueen. Open daily. Free admission.

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, Tube: Wimbledon
Newly opened in 2006, the Lawn Tennis Museum features some incredible new technology in order to immerse the visitor in the world of Wimbledon.  There is a 200° cinema that screens a film about the science and biology of tennis, as well as a recreation of the 1980s dressing room where a projected image of John McEnroe gives you a tour.  Open daily.

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Outdoors
DUBLIN

Merrion Square
Created between 1762 and 1764, this tranquil square a few blocks east of St. Stephen's Green is lined on three sides by some of Dublin's best-preserved Georgian town houses, many of which have brightly painted front doors crowned by intricate fanlights.

St. Patrick's Cathedral
The largest cathedral in Dublin and also the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland, St. Patrick's is the second of the capital's two Protestant cathedrals.

St. Stephen's Green
Dubliners call it simply Stephen's Green, and green it is (year-round) -- a verdant, 27-acre Southside square that was used for the public punishment of criminals until 1664.

Trinity College
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I to "civilize" (Her Majesty's word) Dublin, Trinity is Ireland's oldest and most famous college.

Christ Church Cathedral, Christ Church Place
Work on the present building at Christ Church began in 1169 under the direction of the Norman knight, Strongbow. The crypt below the cathedral is one of the largest in the British Isles and is thought to be Dublin’s oldest surviving building. Open daily. (During services, access is limited.)

For Those of Drinking Age
Literary Pub Crawl, The Duke Pub, 9 Duke street
Professional actors lead this tour, performing from the works of Ireland’s great writers while visiting Dublin’s best known literary haunts. Open daily in the summer, Thursday through Sunday in the winter.

LONDON

Changing of the Guard, Tube: Green Park
Most famously at Buckingham Palace along with a few other locations, this is a hugely popular tradition of pageantry.  Occurs daily or on alternate days depending on the time of year.

Regent's Park, Tube: Regent's Park
The Park is London's largest outdoor sports area with pitches and courts for a variety of athletic activities. It also boasts the London Zoo, an Open Air Theater, cafés, picnic spots and the renowned Queen Mary Gardens and Rose Gardens.

Camden Lock & Passage, Tube: Camden Town
The Passage offers a selection of antiques, while Camden Lock is the weekend haunt of London's trendy youth. Clothes, shoes, records and a mouthwatering variety of foods can be found here.

Knightsbridge, Tube: Knightsbridge
Home to some of London's most expensive shops. Here, you will find Harrods and Harvey Nichols as well as nearby Sloane Street's Chanel, Hermes, and Gucci.

Piccadilly, Tube: Piccadilly Circus
While on Piccadilly take the opportunity to visit covered arcades on either side of the street, offering expensive purchases. Admire the statue of Eros and stroll to Fortnum and Mason as it is the ultimate place to shop for luxury foodstuffs and is a wonderful shopping experience.

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Restaurants
DUBLIN

Café Carlo, 63-64 O'Connell Street
Across from the famous Dublin Spire, Café Carlo is a wonderful eatery that offers a mix of Irish and Italian cuisine. This is a favorite spot amongst locals and visitors for its relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

The Green Bistro, Pearse Street
This bistro prides itself in the quality of its food, so it only uses the freshest of local ingredients. Known for its mouth-watering steaks and burgers, they only use prime Irish beef in their meals.  The bistro is located in the Holiday Inn in Dublin Center and also has 24 hour room service. This makes it an excellent place to dine before going up to your room accomodation.

Trocadero, 3 St. Andrew Street
"The Troc," as it's called is over a half century old and is known for its excellent pre-theater menu. Because the Troc is within walking distance of the Olympia Theatre, The Gaiety and Andrew's Lane Theatre, it is a popular place to have a traditional Irish dinner before heading out to see a show.

LONDON

Harry Ramsden's, Euston Station Foodcourt
World famous fish and chips.

Hard Rock Café, 150 Old Park Lane
Full of rock 'n' roll memorabilia and serving tasty, casual fare like the 10 oz. BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, this is the Hard Rock Caf
é that started it all. See the first donation, Eric Clapton's Lead II Fender, and derive inspiration from viewing John Lennon's hand amended lyrics to 'Imagine,' among many other items, in the Vault.

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Curious about travel with ACIS? Find out answers to your burning questions below.

For Group Leaders and Teachers:

see all FAQs
Can I bring my family members or colleagues along?

Certainly. You have three different options:

1.      Assistants
Family members or colleagues may travel as assistants (even if minors, though children must be five years or older to travel in an ACIS group), according to the terms of the Group Leader Stipend Chart.* Assistants must be 21 years old and have at least five participants to their name to be eligible for the Experience Bonus.

2.      Family/Colleague Discount
Family members or colleagues may take a 20% discount from the program fee. These participants will not count toward your free trip, stipend or other group leader benefits. Like all paying participants, they are subject to mandatory fees (registration, tax, etc.) as well as full payment deadlines.

3.      $150 Child Discount
For children under the age of 12, you may take a flat $150 Child Discount (plus the 20% Family/Colleague Discount) off their program fee, but they will still be subject to mandatory fees. The child's registration will not count toward your free trip, stipend or other group leader benefits. The minimum age to travel with an ACIS group is five years old.

*Anyone can become an assistant to the group, provided they have at least one full-paying participant to their credit.


Can a paying participant become an assistant?

Yes. This must be done no later than 65 days before departure and an ACIS Assistant Registration Form must be submitted. Assistants added or canceled within 90 days of departure will be charged a $100 late fee payable either by the applicable assistant or the group leader. Please inform us immediately of these changes in writing.


What if my assistant must cancel?

Please inform ACIS immediately. We regret that if the cancellation occurs within 65 days of departure, we will charge the canceling assistant a $150 late cancellation fee and may not be able to accommodate a substitute assistant. If the cancellation is within 45 days of departure, the assistant must pay a $250 late cancellation fee (see ACIS Assistant Registration Form for policy) and their stipend credits are not transferable. Please always alert us in writing as soon as possible when an assistant cancels.


Do I receive travel insurance as a group leader?

Every ACIS Group Leader receives coverage under our most enhanced protection plan, the Ultimate Protection Plan complimentary for any tour they lead.


What if the group leader must cancel?

A mutual effort is made to find a qualified substitute teacher or other adult who will assume full group leader responsibilities. Participants who choose not to travel with the replacement group leader are subject to the standard cancellation/refund policy


Can I stay on after my group returns home?

Yes. An Alternate Return Request Form must be completed and returned to ACIS no later than 90 days before departure. You will be responsible for any additional flight costs, and must arrange for a responsible adult (preferably an assistant) to take charge of your group on the flight home. You must obtain written permission from a parent/guardian of each participant, naming the adult in charge. There will be a $150 charge for any change made within 90 days of departure, and no changes are possible within 65 days.


Can I stay in a single room?

Single accommodations are provided free of charge for group leaders who have eight or more paying participants counted to their credit AND who do not travel with a spouse or an assistant of the same sex. For those traveling in 2010/2011, see our Service Guarantee. In the unlikely event that a single room is not available, ACIS will reimburse you $20 per hotel night. Eligibility for the single room is based on the standard 1:6 prorate and is non-transferable. If the above does not apply, you may also elect to pay a surcharge of $40 per hotel night for a single room. Single rooms are not available aboard cruise ships, overnight ferries or trains, in China, Africa, Russia and most residence programs.



For Students and Parents:

see all FAQs
What airline do we fly?

ACIS groups travel on scheduled flights, using all the major carriers. These include American Airlines, Air France, Aerolineas Argentinas, Alitalia, Finnair, British Airways, British Midland Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Aer Lingus, Icelandair, Iberia, Spanair, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines Ltd., Northwest, Air New Zealand, Olympic Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Taca International Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, United Airlines, US Airways, Air Europa, and Virgin Atlantic. You'll receive flight information as your departure date approaches.


How many people travel in a group?

ACIS groups average anywhere from 35 to 45 participants traveling together on a bus, led by an ACIS Tour Manager. Small groups are often combined to create one bus group. This is the group with whom you share your travel experience. You eat your meals together, stay in the same accommodations, and travel together on the bus. It's an opportunity to make lifelong friendships!


Tell us more about the tour manager.

"Tour manager" is an important term in educational travel. It refers to your bus group leader, who is rigorously trained and specially selected to assist your group while overseas. ACIS Tour Managers are famous for their multifaceted roles, both educational and logistical. An ACIS Tour Manager is part commentator, counselor, troubleshooter, advocate, and stopwatch! He or she supervises hotel check-ins, directs the bus driver and leads educational activities.

Most importantly, ACIS Tour Managers are travel gurus. They thrive on sharing their passion and love for the cultures of the world, giving you the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of those who live and work there. Over the years, we've employed university professors, film directors, journalists, musicians, business professionals, and other creative achievers. Our tour managers are consistently recognized as top in the industry. You'll receive more information about your tour manager as your departure date approaches.

Your ACIS Tour Manager maintains a professional relationship with the group but is not directly responsible for enforcing discipline or the ACIS behavior guidelines. That is the responsibility of the your group leader. It is your tour manager's responsibility, however, to report to your group leader any infractions and to be sure that ACIS behavior guidelines are adhered to.


Where do we stay?

ACIS groups stay in three- and four-star conveniently located hotels. We place a priority on booking hotels in good locations and safe areas, with convenient access to both local attractions and public transportation.

Students generally stay in rooms with two or three beds. During peak travel periods, hotels sometimes add an extra bed to accommodate heavy bookings. ACIS attempts to prevent this but cannot guarantee that it will never happen. Some hotel rooms in France have a Grand Lit (an oversize double bed for two) instead of twin beds. Those who have paid the adult surcharge stay in double rooms in hotels but not on overnight ferries or trains.

An ACIS bus group is typically made up of two, three, or four groups from around the U.S. who quickly get to know each other and feel part of one overall group. Depending on the mix of male and female students in the bus group, students may be rooming with participants from other groups. Don't worry, this is a great way to meet new people and make some new friends!

The group leader will create a variety of rooming combinations before you leave, in order to make it easier for your tour manager to work out the rooming when you check in to your hotel.

Check-in time at most hotels is early to mid-afternoon. If you arrive overseas early in the morning, you likely have time to change money and do some exploring before you check in.


What will we have to eat?

You will enjoy a variety of meals en route, mixing both native and familiar cuisines depending on your area of travel. Keep an open mind and be willing to sample everything—that's what travel is all about!

Most days you will be served a continental breakfast that includes a variety of fresh rolls, cereal, pastry, butter and jam, coffee, tea or hot chocolate. In Australia and China, you will be served an American-style hot buffet breakfast. On trips to the Americas you may be served the traditional rice and beans. In some hotels in Britain, eggs or other items may be included. In Europe, the larger hotels sometimes serve eggs and other American-style breakfast items for an extra charge.

On most ACIS trips, you will enjoy lunch on your own. Be adventurous and experiment. Many travelers do what the locals do; instead of having an expensive restaurant meal, they buy fresh ingredients at a local market, then put together a sandwich and have a picnic lunch in a city park.

On most tours, beverages at dinner are not included. The are included on tours to China, Costa Rica, Peru, and occasionally other destinations. Sometimes your waiter may put soda or mineral water down on the table without being asked. Be aware that you will be charged for any beverages you consume.

Although ACIS will try to accommodate special-needs meals including kosher, vegetarian and low salt, we cannot guarantee all requests.


How much spending money will I need?

Spending needs vary depending on personal habits, but a typical allowance is $50 per day. This allows for lunch, snacks, soft drinks, postage, souvenirs, local transportation during free time, free-time activities, and optional excursions not already included in your itinerary. Most ACIS participants carry ATM cards, travelers checks and credit cards. ACIS has compiled all the information you need to know in Money Matters.


What should I pack?

Our advice is to pack light—you won't regret it! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage on and off the bus, in and out of your hotel, and onto trains. Bring comfortable, practical clothes that you can wear more than once, with a few nice pieces thrown in.

Remember to pack clothes that you can layer as the weather can be unpredictable. Lastly, try to avoid bringing new shoes. New shoes can be tough to break in and you’ll want to make sure your shoes are comfortable and reliable. For more information specific to your trip, log into My Account for a detailed packing list.


What about calling home?

Calling home from overseas can be expensive and obtaining local phone cards can be complicated and time consuming. The best way to call is with an ACIS eKit Global Phonecard or Global Mobile Phone. Using the eKit card can save you up to 70% on international and U.S. long distance calls compared to pay phones and hotel phones. Simply charge up your eKit card with the credit card of your choice and it will be ready for use. In addition to cheap calls home, the ACIS eKit Global Phonecard offers you email, Voicemail, the ability to listen to email over the phone and much more!

Another option is the ACIS eKit Global Mobile phone. With a variety of pre-paid plans available, this mobile phone can save you up to 70% on global roaming rates.


Do I have travel insurance?

Yes. Your ACIS Registration Fee includes coverage under our Basic Protection Plan. ACIS recommends you upgrade your insurance coverage by purchasing the Ultimate Protection Plan designed specifically for you travel needs. With the Ultimate Protection Plan, you may cancel for any reason up to the day of departure and receive a cash refund. You will also receive expanded travel protection while on tour.


I am signed up for an ACIS tour. How do I access my account?

You can get your latest account information online—any time, any day. To view your most up-to-date itinerary and account status, just, log in to My Account with your Account ID and password, which can be found in the upper-right hand corner of your invoice. If you have forgotten your password or have additional questions about your account, contact ACIS Client Services at accounts@acis.com.



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