Part of the Mayflower 2020 celebrations
6 days from London
Join us in uncovering the highlights of this 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 this morning and head into East Anglia. Explore some of the Suffolk Wool Towns, some of the best-preserved historic towns and prettiest villages in Suffolk. Step back in time to the era of the Tudors and Puritans, when the wool trade was at its peak and these towns were among the richest places in the country. Sudbury, once home to painter Thomas Gainsborough and the birthplace of Thomas Davies, whose signal to Paul Revere set off that famous ride, is one destination. We will particularly spend some time in our base town of Lavenham, often called ‘England’s Best-Preserved Medieval Village’, containing no less than 340 listed buildings.
Just over a mile from the glorious coast, subject to availability, our base village of Burnham Market, is close to the mouth of the River Burn. With its open green surrounded by characterful flint cottage, this charming village is extremely popular with holiday makers and as well as second home owners and is sometimes attributed the name ‘Chelsea-on-sea’. The village provides a great mix of renowned restaurants, pubs including the Hoste Arms and The Nelson and a special mix of local shops including a traditional post office, butcher, hardware shop, fish shop and around 30 highly original independent and specialist shops, deli’s, beauty salons, and galleries selling paintings, prints and unique coastal artworks.
Stay: Burnham Market area
Today a scenic steam railway ride between Holt and Sheringham, what a way to view the Norfolk coast!
Dependent on the interest of the group aboard, we can visit either the Shrine of Our Lady, the Slipper Chapel at Little Walsingham, or Holkham Hall this afternoon.
Holkham is a special place where a stunning coastal landscape meets one of England’s great agricultural estates. At the heart of this thriving 25,000 acre estate on the north Norfolk coast, stands Holkham Hall, an elegant 18th century Palladian style house, based on designs by William Kent and built by Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. The house remains privately-owned and is the home to the Earls of Leicester. Discover more with the Field to Fork Experience, which tells the story of Holkham’s unique farming history. Let our ‘talking tools’ tell you what they were used for; find out who puts the malt in Maltesers! Visit the 18th century walled garden to the west of the hall to enjoy the peaceful and tranquil setting and see the ongoing restoration project to sensitively restore the 6 acres of gardens to its former glory. Holkham Hall is open 12noon-4pm on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays only.
Stay: Burnham Market area, same property as above
Heacham was once home to John Rolfe and later his wife “Rebecca,” birth name Pocahontas. There is a dedication in the local church to her legacy. We can discuss the true story of this brave woman, which does not resemble Disney in any way.
Sandringham House is one of the Queen’s favourite houses, and where she chooses to spend Christmas with her family. Since 1862, Sandringham has been the private home of four generations of monarchs and was once described as ‘The most comfortable house in England’. Set in 24 hectares of glorious gardens, this is perhaps the finest of all the Royal gardens. Every generation of the Royal Family has added something of their own times and tastes, from the peace of the woodland walks to the drama of the carrstone rockeries, from the formality of the North Garden to the intimacy of the Stream Walk.
We will pass by the town of King’s Lynn, an ancient port and once home to George Vancouver and John Mason, founder of New Hampshire, en-route to 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 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.
We continue to follow the Mayflower Pilgrim Trail in the tiny villages known to them, see Austerfield, Scrooby and Babworth.
The rest of the day will be spent discovering the local treasures in 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?
Stay: Lincolnshire, same property as above
This morning, more time to explore Lincoln if we wish.
Our path today will take us via 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.
This afternoon, there is the option to choose either the stately home of Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I’s trusted advisor, or the country manor home of Lucy Boston, author of The House of Green Knowe and well known for her quilts, at Hemingford Grey (subject to availability, by special appointment.)
We will spend our evening in the charming cathedral town of Ely. Here is the home of Oliver Cromwell and site of some of the most magnificent stained glass you'll ever see! Visit the cathedral and Cromwell’s house, where displays give the experience of what domestic life would have been like in the 17th century and outlining of the Civil War.
The charming university city of Cambridge has much to offer visitors. This medieval city is an interesting mix of the historic and contemporary, the vibrant energy of youth steeped in classical tradition. This is a place that inspired a variety of minds from Charles Darwin and William Wordsworth to several members of Monty Python and the lads of Pink Floyd. After an orientation tour around the colleges with your guide, you'll have free time to explore as you choose. Perhaps visit the wonderful Fitzwilliam Museum, the lovely botanical gardens or go shopping in the arts and crafts market. Maybe try a punt on the River Cam? Lots of options!
For the aviation enthusiasts among the group, visit Imperial War Museum Duxford. (Those that wish an extended time in Cambridge instead can do so.) Set within the spacious grounds of the famous former First and Second World War airfield, this wonderful place has been called one of the finest collections of tanks, military vehicles and naval exhibits in the country. Housed here is the 1940 Operations Room, which orchestrated the Battle of Britain, and The American Air Museum honouring US airmen who fought from UK shores. The Air Space section tells the story of British and Commonwealth aviation, home to over 30 aircraft including an iconic Spitfire, a legendary Lancaster and the fastest-ever Concorde.
Also pay respects to the fallen soldiers at the nearby American Cemetery.
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.
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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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