London, Cotswolds, Stratford-Upon-Avon and South Wales
7 days beginning and finishing in London
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 finishes in London
Arrival London; Today is a full day in London.
Everyone LOVES London so why not spend some quality time?! You can explore the capital at your leisure and see some of the city’s iconic sites or perhaps go on your very own ‘Literary London’ tour. You can choose to do it yourself or we can assist you with a custom day or multi-day tour extension. London accommodation, airport transfers, London city tours, London attraction passes and London transport passes are options to add to your overall package as you wish. Of course you can go-as-you-please if you prefer.
We recommend paying respects at Jane Austen’s memorial plaque in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey and a visit to the British Library to see her manuscripts. There are London’s literary museums and houses to be seen, properties connected with Keats, Dickens, Carlyle and Dr Johnson. Possibly you’d prefer to just take a stroll through the areas rich in literary history, the neighborhoods such as the Bloomsbury of Virginia Woolf, TS Elliot and Lytton Stratchey among others.
Prefer the iconic sites? Go around on the hop-on/hop-off bus, the best introduction to the city. Hop off when you want then hop back on. SGT highly recommends a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral. Their included multi-media personal Ipod Touch tour guide brings hundreds of years of British history to life – literary at your fingertips! Avoid the queues/lines and pre-book your tickets via us. We can also assist you with pre-booking The Tower of London tickets too.
For your evenings in the capital, we recommend London’s fantastic theatres – West End, Shakespeare’s Globe or one of the modern ‘off West End’ gems like the Royal Court or the Donmar Warehouse. Spoilt for choice in Literary London!
Today is a full day in London.
This morning enjoy a walking tour of Shakespeare’s London Bankside neighborhood. The 'Las Vegas' of its time, delve into this area well known to Shakespeare, his company and later Charles Dickens. Our walk will include at Borough Market, one of London's largest and oldest food markets. 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.
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. Heaps to discover!
This afternoon is opened for individuals to explore as they choose.
This evening, a Groundling (standing) ticket at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a fun choice, 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 at The Globe, subject to availability, for those that feel they are unable to stand. Lots of options at the West End theatres as well. Spoilt for choice in way of London theatre!)
Today we depart London at 09:00. Our first visit today will be mediaeval Oxford, ‘city of the dreaming spires’ and the jewel in the literary crown. We’ll enjoy a guided walk through the colleges and our day can include CS Lewis’ Alice in Wonderland and time to see where the ‘Inklings’ (TS Elliot, Tolkien & Auden) met. Of course, this is also the city of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse series and the film site for Harry Potter’s ‘Hogwarts.’ So much to discover!
We will make our way through one or two of the honey-thatch cottage villages in this region of the Cotswolds. Each is unique and pretty in its own right and we will explore as time will permit. With our small vehicle, we’ll get where larger coaches can’t and avoid the commercialized ‘honey-pots,’ discovering the best.
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
Our whole day will be spent in Stratford-Upon-Avon itself, 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, his mother Mary Arden’s home with its bird of prey centre as well as 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 possible walking tour, advice and assistance but the day is yours to spend as you decide.
Another optional evening of fine theatre at the RSC this evening, subject to schedules/availability.
Overnight Stratford Upon Avon
Some magnificent scenery today, through the hills and valleys, across the ‘undiscovered’ borders region into Wales. Hay on Wye, the world’s largest used book centre where even the castle dungeon is lined with books will surely delight!
Later, spend time in the village of Laugharne. This was Dylan Thomas’ home for 16 years, a place he described as "this timeless, mild, beguiling island of a town..." Many characters from his poem Under Milk Wood were based on local people. Visitors can see his famed boat house writing studio, home and grave.
Overnight Laugharne/Carmarthen area
A unique day continuing the Dylan Thomas Trail and affording us the opportunity of touring one of the UK’s nicest areas, the Gower Coast. This scenic area is full of amazing seascapes and charming fishing villages. Dylan said of The Gower, “Gower is a very beautiful peninsula…it is one of the loveliest sea-coast stretches in the whole of Britain.” – Also, for those that choose, Gower is a place to sample some of the freshest fish n chips you’ll ever taste!
The city of Swansea is another place to explore, the birthplace of Dylan Thomas. Here we can explore the Dylan Thomas Centre, his childhood home, hangouts and inspirations of this “ugly, lovely town.”
Also in this area are a few other giants of Welsh literature including the great Celtic tradition that gave birth to the Arthurian legends to uncover and discuss.
Overnight Swansea/Vale of Glamorgan area
Our day will include the open-air Museum of Welsh Life in the village of St Fagans. This fascinating mirror reflects hundreds of years of Welsh life. Dozens of authentic buildings have been transplanted from all corners of the country, painstakingly and faithfully rebuilt here. Houses, churches and chapels, a mill, bakery, pubs and even a school, have been wonderfully preserved.
This afternoon, before making the way back to London, we’re spoilt for choice in the wonderful Vale of Glamorgan! Perhaps wander the Valley of Kings where the wizard Merlin was schooled, or via the rugged coastline where smugglers lured ships to the rocks, or maybe even cross a river by 13th century stepping stones.
Tour concludes back in London this evening. Perhaps extend your stay in London independently for the next few days to explore more of the wealth that the capital city has to offer!
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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