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Victorian 'Christmas Carol' - London and Dickens' Kent


London Holiday Lights, Shopping, Markets and Dickens Christmas Festival

8 days/8 nights from London


Sample one of the favourite weekend get-away destinations for Londoners!

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


This tour begins and ends in London.



Day 1



Arrival London at your leisure; today is free for you to explore and recover from your international journey as you wish.


Getting right into the shopping mood, we recommend maybe spending time at Notting Hill’s Portobello Road Market (Saturdays only.) This is a very popular destination for antiques, new goods, second hand items and several specialty shops like The Travel Bookshop, as featured in the Notting Hill film. Yes, it’s a real place!


Another option is Borough Market, London’s premier ‘foodie’ market (TH-FR-SA only.) The oldest fruit and veg market in the city, there have been traders here since at least 1014. The heart of the market is the local people, vendors and fellow shoppers, a buzzing and friendly environment where you can sample organic treats, breads, cheeses and meats.




Day 2


Today we will explore the “Sunday Street Markets” of London’s East End and, if you like, Greenwich. Your driver/guide will meet you in your hotel lobby a bit early, about 8am to catch the best of the markets.


The East End of London is enjoying somewhat of a Renaissance thanks partly to London 2012 Olympics. Modern street art is new almost weekly and many traditional aspects remain from the rich heritage of this area. London's East End has always been a melting pot of immigrants to London from Flemish Huguenots to the Bangladeshi community - and today full of bearded hipsters from all over UK/Europe! The Whitechapel neighborhood is home to Spitalfields Market, then there's the ‘Thieves Market’ of Brick Lane and the famed 'Petticoat Lane' Market. Yet another lovely market experience is Columbia Road Flower Market. Greenwich is known as the place where the east and west are divided at the meridian line. This place has much to offer including a selection of interesting flea and craft markets. A full day mixing with the locals!


This evening, continue exploring the capital with your guide to see the London Christmas Lights on a panoramic tour. See Regent Street, Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Hamleys, Fortnum & Mason all a sparkle! Our evening’s adventure will include a stop in a traditional London pub for a meal and, if you choose, a sample of mulled wine.


OVERNIGHT: London, same property as above

Dinner, bed and breakfast

Day 3



Today, enjoy the festivities and markets in Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.


Here, find the Angels Market with over 100 vendors offering a selection of unique gifts and the Yuletide Market selling Holiday decorations. There is a variety of jewelry, crafts, accessories, clothing and culinary delights. The Bavarian Village is the place to dine, drink and enjoy live music. Warm yourself for a bit by a roaring fire inside the Tavern. Want some thrills and chills? Winter Wonderland is home to several rides, ice skating, a giant ferris wheel, a haunted house and even a circus! Your tour guide will provide one late morning transfer to Hyde Park and one late afternoon transfer back to your hotel. The day is yours to do as you wish enjoying Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.


OVERNIGHT: London, same property as above


Day 4



Enjoy a free day in London for shopping and relaxing as you wish.


Certainly a day where you are spoilt for choice! Some popular places for shopping in London include Covent Garden, Bond Street, Kings Road, ‘toy mecca’ Hamleys and Knightsbridge department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Kensington Church Street has some quaint antique shops, Notting Hill and Mayfair offer high end boutiques and Camden brings ‘the funk’ option for the latest in street gear, music and local art. Camden Stables Market is another great spot for antiques.


Prefer more time in the holiday markets? The South Bank Centre Christmas market is situated along Queens Walk between South Bank Centre and the London Eye. This is a German style market featuring traditionally decorated wooden chalets selling a wide range of hand-crafted gifts; there is a beautiful carousel and usually a selection of delicious treats such as Glühwein, bratwurst, gingerbread hearts and roasted almonds.


Later, perhaps a carol service at St Paul’s Cathedral or choral concert at St Martin’s-in-the-Field church? Each offers a variety of holiday concert options. (Tickets subject to availability, priced separately and subject to schedules.)


OVERNIGHT: London, same property as above


Day 5



A ‘great day out’ of the city today. Hampton Court Palace is set in over 60 acres of gardens and parklands along the scenic River Thames. Along with the Tudor Kitchens, Henry VIII's State Apartments are the most popular attraction inside the palace. 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. There is one of the few ‘real’ tennis courts to be seen here too.


Hampton Court never fails to disappoint with special winter showcases throughout the Holiday season, typically with ice skating, caroling and examples of a Tudor era Christmas celebration. Whatever they have in store this winter, certainly to be a crowd pleaser!


Evening free to enjoy wassailing as you wish in the local pubs. Alternatively, perhaps catch a performance of a holiday favorite, either a local pantomime or The Royal Opera Nutcracker Suite as a lovely evening out? Again spoilt for choice! (Tickets subject to availability, priced separately and subject to schedules.)


OVERNIGHT: London, same property as above


Day 6


Today we embark on a few lovely days in the countryside. Some attractions in the county of Kent really ‘deck their halls’ for the season, with Father Christmas sometimes in residence! During our time, we’ve ample opportunity to mingle with the locals in quaint towns and villages off the beaten track. Imagine sipping a hot beverage around a crackling fireplace…


The Tudor masterpiece Hever Castle is one worthy destination. Most recently owned by the Astor family, this was the childhood home of Henry VIII’s second wife Ann Boleyn. An example of art imitating real life, The Other Boleyn Girl was partially filmed here too. This petite, moated castle features a lovely winter garden with topiary and hedge maze. The estate will have traditional seasonal decorations, roaring log fires and fairy lights in addition to the permanent exhibitions, which include some of Ann Boleyn’s personal items.


We can round out our day exploring some of the towns and villages in the area, such as Tunbridge Wells, a former spa town where Regency high society went to “take the waters.”



Dinner, bed and breakfast

Day 7



Today visit historic Canterbury, where we can pay our respects much like Chaucer’s Pilgrims inside the wonderful Canterbury Cathedral. In the centre of this picturesque, medieval place is another small traditional Christmas Market to enjoy. The town itself is lovely with a variety of local and popular high street shops, pubs and cafes. The rest of the day can be spent exploring local gardens, countryside and towns - perhaps a coastal exploration seeing the famed whire cliffs of Dover. Maybe spend the whole day meandering Canterbury. How you spend your day is you choice, in consulation with your driver/guide.


OVERNIGHT: Kent, same property as above

Dinner, bed and breakfast

Day 8



Rochester Dickens Victorian Christmas Festival


This gem of a city, with its cathedral and Norman castle, overflows with Dickens's sites, such as plaques on the places mentioned in his books and ‘Mrs Havisham's House.’ The man himself lived here for a time. Each year, the first weekend of December brings Victorian festivities to Rochester in the form of a Dickensian Christmas, where you can experience street entertainment, readings, songs and dance. Each day there are parades through Rochester and the magnificent surroundings so sure to prove another fabulous day.


Our tour concludes this evening with a drop off at your London hotel. This evening is free for you to enjoy the theatre or London nightlife as you choose.





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.


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!