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Celebrating Shakespeare & Tudor England: London, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Heart of England

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Literary Heritage, Historic Houses, Elizabethan Gardens and Tudor History​

7 days/7 nights from London

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Great for school & alumni groups!

Overviewicon Itineraryicon

This is a suggested tour itinerary for private departures, adjustable to best suit your specific wishes. Price based on how many travelers, your chosen package inclusions and your chosen level of accommodation.

 

Specific inclusions may vary depending on your specific chosen travel dates/day of the week and availability of attractions.

 

This tour begins and ends in London.

 

TENTATIVE ITINERARY

Day 1

Sunday

 

Departing London at 09:30, our first destination is Hatfield House, one of the ‘Treasure Houses of England’ and where Queen Elizabeth I spent most of her childhood. The deer park here was then owned by Henry VIII; it was here that Elizabeth learned of her accession to the throne in 1558. Explore the house, home to the Cecil family for over 400 years, and its superb examples of Jacobean craftsmanship. Also spend time in Hatfield West Gardens featuring a scented garden, herb garden and the famous knot garden.

 

Oxford is a destination on almost any English itinerary, with good reason! This is the jewel in the literary crown (Lewis Carroll, Tolkien and connections to modern creations Inspector Morse & Harry Potter) but it is the ‘dreaming spires’ which is the main draw. Many of the colleges here were endowed during the Tudor period by Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII. During a walking tour, we will see Christchurch, originally known as ‘Cardinal College’ then ‘King Henry VIII’s college’ among other highlights.

 

We will be based in the Cotswolds region for our first few days. This area is known for charming, honey-thatched cottage villages, a wide range of lovely gardens and quaint shops. During our time over these few days, enjoy a bit of meandering, discovering a few local treasures that those on big coaches miss.

 

OVERNIGHT: Stratford-Upon-Avon

Day 2

Monday

 

Our whole day will be spent in Stratford-Upon-Avon, so you have ample time to discover the charming town and Shakespeare connections. You’re spoilt for choice here - visit the local church, burial place for the Bard, and the well known iconic sites such as his Birthplace. You will have free time to wander the cobbled streets, shopping and relaxing as you wish. Your guide will be on hand for a walking tour, advice and assistance but the day is yours to spend as you decide. A Stratford 5 Houses Pass is included as part of your tour package.

 

Also included during our time in Stratford is a special Backstage Experience at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (subject to availability.)

 

Evenings in Stratford Upon Avon offer the opportunity, dependent upon schedules, to attend a performance at the RSC. There's a wonderful viewing tower and highly rated restaurant so worth a visit in any case. See what's on at the RSC: http://www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on/

 

OVERNIGHT: Stratford-Upon-Avon, same property as above

Day 3

Tuesday

 

This morning, we can take advantage of Stratford-Upon-Avon as our overnight location to avoid the hoards of daytrippers from London! We can visit the ‘out of town’ Shakespeare Houses, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm, as we choose en-route to Kenilworth.

 

Kenilworth Castle was visited by Queen Elizabeth I at least 4 times, then the home of her favorite companion Robert Dudley. Reportedly she was once entertained here for 19 days straight, an almost never-ending series of lavish feasts, music, hunting and plays! Supposedly one William Shakespeare was a participant and that the events he witnessed that July 1575 inspired his Midsummer Night’s Dream. Today Kenilworth is a magnificent ruin with immaculately re-constructed Elizabethan gardens, as originally designed by Dudley for the Queen.

 

Another free evening in Stratford offers the option to attend a RSC performance, subject to schedules.

 

OVERNIGHT: Stratford-Upon-Avon, same property as above

Day 4

Wednesday

 

Today is another opportunity to travel via the lovely Cotswolds villages to visit two of the areas better stately homes and gardens.

 

Coughton Court has been home of the Throckmorton family since 1409. Framed by an Elizabethan half timbered courtyard are the gardens, described as “breathtaking” by the Royal Horticultural Society. Surely a place worthy of some time!

 

Sudley Castle has connections running through the Tudor Dynasty and court circle. It was home to three queens, houses the marble tomb of Katherine Parr (the wife of Henry VIII who survived him) and where scandal left its impression on the future Queen Elizabeth I. Here find seven enchanting gardens including a Tudor Knot garden with water features and a delightful mosaic.

 

This afternoon, we will make our way into London, enjoying a traditional Afternoon Tea in Burford together en-route.

 

OVERNIGHT: London

Day 5

Thursday

 

Today spend time in Windsor, taking the scenic route via Richmond, a neighbourhood where many celebrities call home and what once was King Henry VIII's favourite hunting ground. Merry Wives of Windsor is said to have been commissioned especially by the Virgin Queen, who enjoyed the plays of Shakespeare and wanted to see more of the character Falstaff.

 

Windsor Castle is over 900 years old, having begun construction under William the Conqueror, and is still the main Royal residence for the Monarchy. This was Henry VIII’s favorite residence, especially for hunting. He is buried on the grounds in St George’s Chapel alongside his 3rd wife, Jane Seymour. Elizabeth I spent much time here too, regarding it as a safe haven "knowing it could stand a siege if need be."

 

This evening is open so you can enjoy attending the theatre, performance of your choice. See what’s on here: http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/

 

OVERNIGHT: London, same property as above

 

Day 6

Friday

 

Full day in and around the capital eploring literary and theatre heritage as our focus. During our time, enjoy a backstage tour at The National Theatre and a theatre tour at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Those in a small group may also want to add a private/custom education workshop at Shakespeare's Globe. Spoilt for choice!

 

SGT recommends a walking tour of South Bank and Bankside. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is a worthy inclusion in our day. It is a stunning place, built using 'antique' Elizabethan building techniques, constructed entirely of English oak with mortise and tenon joints, this is the first and only thatch roof building permitted to be built in London since the Great Fire in 1666. We recommend returning to see a play here, a wonderful and unique theatre experience! Enjoy some free time in the Exhibition, a guided tour of the theatre itself followed by a short walking tour with your guide through the neighborhood of Bankside. The 'Las Vegas' of its time, delve into this area well known to Shakespeare and later Charles Dickens. Our walk will innclude at Borough Market, one of London's largest and oldest food markets, where you'll have free time for lunch. There is an amazing variety of choice - traditional British specialties, meat and vegetarian sandwiches, salads, smoothies, organic fruits, veg, breads, cheeses, sweets; a true selection of foods from around the world. See The Anchor and The George, the last galleried former coaching inn intact in London. Heaps to discover!

 

This evening, a Groundling (standing) ticket at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre can be included, subject to availability. Being a Groundling is an exceptional experience, in the pit you are part of the show! (There is also the option of seated tickets, subject to availability, for those that feel they are unable to stand.)

 

OVERNIGHT: London, same property as above

 

Day 7

Saturday

 

Another full day around London celebrating Shakespeare. SGT recommends traveling late April to enjoy special events.

 

23 April National Shakespeare Day and St George's Day! Historians believe Shakespeare was born on 23 April, 1564, the same day he died, 23 April, 1616. His death is officially recorded but little is known of his early life and his birth date is an educated guess by scholars. There are special events on annually for Shakespeare enthusiasts scheduled by The Globe and sometimes The National and RSC London.

 

Today also marks St George's Day, England's patron saint. 23 April is also the anniversary of his death, 303 AD. According to legend, St George was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess. Surely we will see the flag of St George’s cross flown across London today.

 

OVERNIGHT: London, same property as above

post-tour

Your tour package concludes after breakfast. Alternatively extend your stay independently.

 

 

 

Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we will do our utmost to include all of the properties mentioned as central visits, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to deliver a planned visit due to changes in opening days or times beyond our control.

 

Please note that your final day to day itinerary may fluctuate to accommodate variable opening times/days for listed attractions, special events and places of interest. Please discuss your needs with us for an individual itinerary with rate quote.

 

Oft imitated, never duplicated! This is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.

Inclusionsicon

What Your Tour Package Includes

This is a suggested tour itinerary and can be modified to best you your individual wishes.

 

Suggested tour package includes: # of touring days with vehicle & exclusive services of your driver/guide/companion, your accommodation for # nights while on the tour including full breakfasts, all taxes and tips other than those you may wish to give your guide. Your price also can include dinners and/or entrance fees to attractions or these items can be left out of the up front package/to be paid directly for maximum flexibility. Airport transfers, accommodation pre and post tour, scheduled city day tours/attraction passes/transport passes or theatre/event tickets can be added to your package as you wish, subject to availability.

 

SGT is at your service!

Mapicon Why SGT?icon

The Special Group Tours Advantage is our unique and intimate understanding of what you expect traveling in the UK and Europe. We have not only visited but have spent many years living in and loving the cultures you will experience down the ‘B’ Roads and off the beaten track. We have worked with local suppliers and our guide/companion team for over a decade, creating unique special interest itineraries. Special Group Tours offers our “insider” knowledge to you.

 

The SGT Small Group Touring Concept is traveling with just 4 - 14 guests per departure. It is our aim to introduce you to the 'real' country and its people, not just ticking the boxes of a standardized route and treating you as an individual and not a number. Our concept allows for a leisurely touring pace and flexibility to get off the beaten track to discover hidden gems. Of course you'll see the major sites but so much more too!

 

At Special Group Tours, it is our priority that you have the most enjoyable holiday possible. You deserve it!