Royal Castles, Stately Homes and Stunning Gardens - Centuries of Tradition
3 days from London
On the Trail of the Royal Britains
This tour begins and finishes in London
A big day out in the countryside surrounding London! We depart our central London meeting place at approximately 08:30.
Hampton Court Palace is set in over 60 acres of gardens and parklands along the scenic River Thames. You won’t want to miss the Great Vine (planted by Capability Brown,) the rose gardens, Privy Gardens inspired by William of Orange, the Tiltyard and the famous Yew tree hedge Maze. There is one of the few ‘real’ tennis courts to be seen here too. In the palace itself, the Tudor Kitchens and Henry VIII's State Apartments are the among the most popular sections. The Great Hall is the palace's largest and most impressive room, with an ornate carved-wood ceiling and a collection of Flemish tapestries that date back over 500 years.
Windsor Castle is over 900 years old, having begun construction under William the Conqueror, and is still the main Royal residence for the Monarchy. Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor is said to have been commissioned especially by "The Virgin Queen," Elizabeth I. She also spent much time in Windsor Castle, regarding it as a safe haven "knowing it could stand a siege if need be." Today, it was here that Harry and Meghan married in May, 2018. Windsor is the home base for Harry, Meghan and baby Archie!
Stay: Cirencester area, Cotswolds
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. With our small vehicle, get where larger coaches can’t and avoid the commercialized ‘honey-pots,’ discovering the best.
Prince Charles' Tetbury is one place to visit, pending their opening times as the home is only opened for visitors when Charles in not in residence. In any case, we will be able to visit the farm shop and enjoy a taste of what grows in this organic garden!
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 a place where scandal left its impression on the young mind of the future Queen Elizabeth I. She later re-visited the residence during more than one of her progresses, including in 1575. Here we’ll find seven enchanting gardens including a Tudor Knot garden with water features and a delightful mosaic.
Other visit is Stratford-Upon-Avon to discover some Shakespeare connections. Visit the local church, burial place for the Bard, and the well-known Birthplace.
Stay: Stamford area
Stamford may seem familiar for those who have enjoyed English costume dramas, as the BBC and others have used the town extensively for location shoots recreating the 18th century for films of Jane Austen works and others.
The day's first jewel house, Burghley House is the largest and grandest house of the first Elizabethan Age. Built by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Elizabeth I, this gem is still a family home for his descendants to this day. Eighteen State Rooms contain unique and important collections of porcelain, art, furniture and textiles. This stop is guaranteed to bring gasps of amazement to even the most travelled amongst us! Jane Austen fans may recognize Burghley as “Rosings” from the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice.
Sandringham House in Norfolk 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’. Sandringham House is set in 24 hectares of glorious gardens, 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. Surely something to delight all visitors!
Audley End House is another place of interest, if time permits. Our tour finishes in London this evening.
Perhaps extend your stay in London independently 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.
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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