7 days from London or London Heathrow
England's Icons and Countryside
This tour begins and ends in London.
We begin with some iconic places of classical Britain. Salisbury is one port of call, where we can pay our respects inside the stunning gothic cathedral and see one of the greatest pieces of writing, the Magna Carta.
Our pre-historic ancestors left behind them some of the most enigmatic and mysterious monuments to be found anywhere in the world. What was the great Stonehenge designed for? Is it a temple? A market place? A calendar? Or maybe a signal to outer space visitors? You can decide for yourself on a visit to the new stunning interactive visitor centre and the stones themselves.
PROPERTY: The Kennard, Edgar Townhouse or similar, http://www.kennard.co.uk/ https://www.edgar-townhouse.co.uk/
Today is a full day around Bath. Your guide will take you on an orientation walking tour of this city of Roman antiquity and Georgian splendour followed by free time. This place was enjoyed by the social set of the 18th and 19th centuries, a setting for many writers. Jane Austen fans will immediately recognize several streets and squares from her novels such as Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. If you haven’t been before, we recommend time in the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms or you could visit the Jane Austen Centre, Museum of Costume, relax over a Bunn at Sally Lunn’s or simply wander the lovely tea rooms and antique shops – the day is yours to explore how you choose!
OVERNIGHT: Bath, same property as above
Today explore some quintessentially English countryside and King Arthur’s reputed burial place of Glastonbury. Here we can discuss the legend of Gwyn ap Nudd, King of the Fairies, while exploring the magical hollow of Glastonbury Tor. As this is England’s New Age capital, we can explore the local goddess culture and discover the magic of the ley lines.
Also during our day, see the lovely town of Wells and Wells Cathedral, with its unique scissor arches. Round out the day meandering the lovely scenery of Cheddar Gorge.
OVERNIGHT: Bath, same property as above
Our focus today is on the Maritime city of Bristol. Bristol’s past is awash with nautical goings-on! Ever heard the saying ‘ship shape and Bristol fashion’? That goes back to when sailors here had to keep their cargo neat and tidy, on their impeccably crafted ships, to prevent them tipping over when the tide went out as Bristol has the second biggest tidal range in the world. The city's significance as a trading port goes back to Anglo-Saxon times, and since then its played host to some true characters of maritime history, from Samuel Plimsoll – a social reformer for safety at sea - to Blackbeard – a pirate who lit fuses in his hair to strike terror wherever he roamed – to the characters of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Bristol also boasts both Tudor and Georgian houses, and the lovely area of Clifton with its magnificent suspension bridge over the Avon gorge and John Wesley's original Methodist church. Modern Bristol is well known for its art galleries and street art.
There are several ships to explore if you choose during free time around the docks area. Brunel’s handsome ss Great Britain is the world’s first great ocean liner, where you can imagine what it was like for the pioneering Victorian passengers sailing to Australia. Or hop aboard The Matthew, a replica of the ship John Cabot accidently sailed over to North America in 1497, landing at 'New Founde Land,' whilst trying to find Asia. Spoilt for choice!
OVERNIGHT: Bath, same property as above
Today visit the medieval village of Lacock, which has hardly changed in the past 200 years. With its magnificent abbey, half-timbered cottages and greystone houses, it provides a perfect setting. This lovely place has been used as a film set for many popular films such as the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle production of Pride and Prejudice, the BBC series of Cranford and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Traveling via one of “the prettiest villages of England” Castle Combe, visit another charming town, Malmesbury. Here we can see Abbey House, the labour of love created by ‘the naked gardeners’ Ian and Barbara Pollard. The 5 acre grounds of the town’s 16th century abbey has been transformed in recent years, a popular retreat bursting with a variety of colour – both flowers and the personalities of the designers.
This evening, enjoy the varied nightlife in Oxford, always a vibrant atmosphere in this university city! There are heaps of fine theatre, music and dining options, see what’s on: http://www.oxfordcityguide.com/ee2/index.php?/SeeDo/theatre/
OVERNIGHT: Oxford area
Spend time in the ‘city of the dreaming spires’ Oxford. This is the jewel in the literary crown. The Dean of Mathematics at Christchurch College was one Charles Dodgson, better known as ‘Lewis Carroll’ and one finds ‘Alice’ everywhere here. And, of course, contemporary literature is represented by Colin Dexter’s detective ‘Morse’ and there is Harry’s ‘Hogwarts’ to discover too. A walking tour of the city will introduce you to these highlights and to many others, followed by free time to explore independently.
The rest of our day will be spent wandering through the wonderful Cotswolds villages. This region is famed for many things including quaint, thatched roof cottage villages, charming antique and tea shops and a wondrous literary heritage. See ancient parish churches and market towns unchanged over the centuries. If we’ve fans aboard, we can include a village used as a location for Downton Abbey.
This evening is another opportunity to enjoy the Oxford nightlife. Perhaps enjoy dinner at the famous Eagle & Child Pub, once the meeting place for the writers group 'The Inklings,' (JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis...) This is where Alice, The Hobbits and other well-known literary characters were first discussed.
OVERNIGHT: Oxford area, same property as above
Another day simply filled with classical British places! We will route via the villages of the regal Thames River back towards London, stopping as we wish. One highlight is sure to be Henley On Thames, known for its annual regatta and famous residents.
Windsor is another charming town to explore, our main visit today. Windsor Castle is over 900 years old, having begun construction under William the Conqueror, and is still the main Royal residence for the Monarchy. This was Henry VIII’s favorite residence, especially for hunting. He is buried on the grounds in St George’s Chapel alongside his 3rd wife, Jane Seymour, the mother of his only male heir. Queen Elizabeth I spent much time here too, regarding it as a safe haven "knowing it could stand a siege if need be."
Finish your tour this evening, drop off in London or at London Heathrow Airport
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.
# of touring days with driver/guide companion, accommodation for # of nights while on the tour including breakfast daily, entrance fees to attractions, transportation and all taxes and tips other than those you may wish to give your guide. Dinner can be included if you wish on a custom tour.
Beverages and any items of a personal nature are not included in the package price
Airport transfers, accommodation pre and post tour, London city tours, London attraction passes and London transport passes are not included but can be added to your package for the appropriate supplemental cost. Ask us for details.
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!
At Special Group Tours, it is our priority that you have the most enjoyable holiday possible. You deserve it!