All Eyes Set on History in Scotland and Ireland

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Charles Frazee, author of a two-volume world history and professor emeritus of history at Cal State University, Fullerton, will escort a 16-day historical and cultural tour through Scotland and Ireland, Sept. 14 to 29.

The trip begins in Edinburgh with a city tour that includes the Palace of Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle. A full day is spent on the Scottish Borders, followed by a dinner at the Witchery by the Castle Restaurant. Guests will traverse the countryside en route to Aberdeen, exploring Deeside, an area rich in castles. After visiting Loch Ness and the Tomatin Malt Whiskey distillery, participants will board the West Highland Line for a scenic rail journey and ferry ride to the Isle of Skye and across the Sound of Mull.

Next is Dublin, Ireland, with a city tour that includes St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College and the Guinness brewery. The tour will head south to Killarney, with a stop at the Waterford crystal factory. Guests will spend a full day exploring the Ring of Kerry, then visit Limerick before arriving in Galway to see the monastic remains at Clonmacnois, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.

Cost: $5,190 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from LAX ($4,990 from New York), deluxe hotels, two meals daily, all entrance fees, all taxes and portage.

Contact: East-West International Tours, 925 Acapulco St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651; telephone (800) 359-6719, Internet http://www.eastwest-tours.com.

Bryce and Zion: Biking

Bicycle Adventures has scheduled biking and hiking tours in Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks, and guests can choose how much adventure they want.

For major thrill-seekers, tour leaders will offer a hike up to Angels Landing in Zion National Park. At the end of this five-mile trek, hikers cling to a chain bolted into a rock wall 1,400 feet above the narrow canyon floor. Those who desire a tamer vacation may prefer the Fairyland Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.

All six- or eight-day tours include both Bryce and Zion. The six-day tour is designed for all cycling levels, while the eight-day tour is for intermediate to advanced riders. Tours depart on various dates in September and October.

Cost: $1,374 for the six-day tours and $1,812 for an eight-day tour, including first-class lodging, dining and full van support. Transportation to the parks is extra.

Contact: Bicycle Adventures; tel. (800) 443-6060, Internet http://www.bicycleadventures.com.

Hong Kong: Cuisine

Join Marie Kelley, culinary professional and TV producer, on a cooking trip to Hong Kong Sept. 2 to 9.

Tour highlights include the Long Kwai Fong Festival Dine Around, with kick-off cocktail party, and a morning tea, tai chi instruction and a dim sum lunch. A Hong Kong island tour and a visit to Stanley Market are also scheduled.

Guests will attend a cooking demonstration and a gala gourmet dinner prepared by the executive chef of the Marco Polo restaurant. They will also attend a qigong class and visit a Chinese herbalist. A "Cooking With Great Chefs" demonstration and hands-on team competitions are planned.

Cost: $1,890 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from LAX, six nights' accommodations at the deluxe Mandarin Oriental, entrance fees, service charges and hotel taxes.

Contact: Kathleen Dutton at OMO Travel Inc.; tel. (800) 465-8132.

London: Theater

"London Pre-Millennium" is a fall theater season tour of London that runs Oct. 18 to 28. Guests will attend six plays and musicals and meet with performers, directors and critics.

The tour includes an excursion through fall foliage to the seaside resort of Brighton to visit the newly restored Royal Pavilion. Guests will take a backstage theater tour and a private tour of the interactive BBC Museum of Broadcasting.

Laura Hitchcock, arts journalist, and Michael Hoffer, a former ABC and Universal Studios executive, host the tour.

Cost: $2,695 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations at the Flemings Hotel in Mayfair, full English breakfast daily, transportation by private motor coach and theater tickets. Air fare is not included.

Contact: Michael Hoffer, Professional Travel Service, 8484 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; tel. (323) 852-0549 or (323) 656-6309, Internet http://www.theatours.com.

Europe: Trains

Travel on three trains--the Eurostar, the TGV and the Glacier Express--on a 13-day tour departing Aug. 5 (during the Salzburg Summer Music Festival) or Sept. 9, 16, 23 and 30. This tour takes participants to England, France, Switzerland and Austria. The itinerary encompasses capital cities, historic towns, Alpine villages, mountain scenery, entertainment and cruises.

The tour begins in London with a sightseeing excursion and a theater performance. Next, guests take the Eurostar (Chunnel) train for the three-hour trip from London to Paris. After touring Paris, followed by a day of leisure, guests will go to a cabaret dinner show. A high-speed TGV train whisks the group to Bern, Switzerland, for sightseeing. Passengers board a motor coach to Lucerne for a tour of the city and a cruise on Lake Lucerne, followed by a "Swiss night" at Casino Lucerne, featuring a traditional folklore show and fondue dinner.

On the train again, the group travels through the Bernese Oberland, with a stop in the Gruyere region for a demonstration of cheese-making. Continuing via the city of Montreux (known for its jazz festival), the group will tour the Castle of Chillon. Crossing through the Swiss wine region, the Rhone Valley, the group ascends to the Alps and boards a local train for a short ride to the Alpine village of Zermatt. In Switzerland, participants will ride the Glacier Express, a narrow-gauge railway, which traverses tunnels and bridges.

A drive to St. Moritz is followed by a visit to Innsbruck, Austria, for independent sightseeing and shopping. The tour continues to Salzburg, where highlights include Mozart's birthplace and locations for the film "The Sound of Music." That evening ends with a Mozart dinner concert at historic St. Peter's Restaurant, one of Europe's oldest restaurants.

Cost: $2,499 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, most meals, escorted sightseeing, trains, cruises, motor coach, baggage handling and hotel tips. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Suzanne at Joan Irvine Travel, 1600 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663; tel. (949) 645-7171.

New England: Foliage

See the brilliant autumn leaves of New England and New York on a seven-day tour that departs Oct. 6. The tour begins in Portland, Maine, and heads into the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Sightseeing will include the Castle in the Clouds, a turn-of-the-century mansion; covered bridges in Conway, N.H.; the Kancamagus Highway, known for spectacular fall colors; the rock profile known as "The Old Man of the Mountains"; Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch; a visit to a maple sugar farm; and stops in Waterbury and Stowe, Vt.

A ferry ride across Lake Champlain takes the group into New York state for a three-day visit, including historic Ft. Ticonderoga, Saratoga Springs, the state capital at Albany, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown and a boat tour of Niagara Falls.

Cost: $1,199 per person, double occupancy, including hotel accommodations, admission to the attractions, airport transfers, baggage handling, nine meals and a full-time tour director. Round-trip air fare is additional.

Contact: Corliss Tours, P.O. Box 4042, Huntington Beach, CA 92605; tel. (800) 482-4597.

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.

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