Part of the Mayflower 2020 celebrations
5 days from London
Iconic Midlands plus the oft overlooked 'corner' of rural England
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.
This tour begins and ends in London
Depart London for the Chiterns and the Cotswolds
Today discover the pretty Chilterns and lower Oxfordshire area, seeing traditional pubs, village greens and cricket pitches of quintessential rural England. Pay respects at the graves of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, and his family, plus the exterior of the Quaker Meeting House constructed from timbers of the actual Mayflower ship. This area may seem familiar to fans of Midsomer Murders, our route will be via several charming villages, some used as filming locations for the popular TV show.
The rest of our day will be spent day wandering through the wonderful Cotswolds villages, the inspiration for Tolkien as 'The Shire.' See ancient parish churches and market towns unchanged over the centuries. This area is known for charming, honey-thatched cottage villages, a wide range of lovely gardens and quaint shops. Enjoy a bit of meandering, discovering a few local treasures that those on big coaches miss.
Cotswolds including Stratford Upon Avon
Another lovely day meandering the local villages of the Cotswolds! We will surely spend some time in Shakespeare’s birth town Stratford Upon Avon. 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 after a guided walk with your guide.
Lincoln & Mayflower Pilgrims Trail
Our day will be spent discovering the local treasures in and around Lincoln. See the old town with historic Jewish heritage, the castle and a magnificent cathedral, featured in the Da Vinci Code film. More importantly, an original of the Magna Carta can to be seen at the castle. Should any guest have connections to the Pilgrims, perhaps a chance to do some ancestral research at the Lincoln Archives?
During our day, we begin to follow the Mayflower Pilgrim Trail in the tiny villages known to them, see Austerfield, Scrooby and Babworth.
Also explore Gainsborough Old Hall, the mediaeval gem with direct connections to the Mayflower Pilgrims. This is one of the best-preserved timber framed manor houses in the UK. Owners from 1596, William Hickman and his mother Rose were ardent Puritans and evidence shows that they permitted their local Separatist congregation, some who would become Mayflower Pilgrims, to worship at Old Hall.
Stay: Lincolnshire, same property as above
Boston and Lincolnshire Wolds
Also explore Boston; see the memorials in the Boston 'stump' to the five Boston men who became Governors of Massachusetts. Also here, in Boston Guildhall, are the cells where Pilgrims were imprisoned in 1607.
Today also explore parts of the Lincolnshire Wolds as time permits. There’s the small parish church in Willoughby where John Smith was baptized, home to a magnificent stained-glass window telling his story, the one-time president of Virginia who mapped the New World's eastern shores. Nearby in Alford is the Five Sailed Windmill, one of the last original working windmills, often considered to be the finest in England. Spoilt for choice!
Stay: Lincolnshire, same property as above
Stamford and Burghley House
This morning, we make our way south, our first visit in the perfectly preserved town of Stamford. Many who have enjoyed English costume dramas will find the streets somewhat familiar as the BBC and others have used the town extensively for location shoots recreating the 18th century for many films.
Later the jewel Burghley House, the largest and grandest house of the first Elizabethan Age. Built by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Elizabeth I, it is still a family home for his descendants. Cecil was the most trusted adviser to the Queen and he greatly influenced the religious matters during her reign. Burghley House is 18 state rooms containing unique and important collections of porcelain, art, furniture and textiles. This stop is sure to bring gasps of amazement to even the most travelled amongst us!
Tour concludes in London this evening
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.
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!
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!
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