8 Day - London & the English Countryside Tour, UK (joining set departure tours from London)
Day One - London
Arrive into either London Gatwick or Heathrow Airport and take the express train into London. Check-in at your centrally located accommodation, your base for the next 7 nights, followed by the rest of the day at leisure to rest and relax after your long journey or the opportunity for some independent sightseeing.
Day Two - London - London Markets - River Cruise
Opportunity to explore some of London's famous markets to include Camden Lock (clothes, food, artwork, antiques and music), Covent Garden (crafts and jewellery) and Petticoat Lane (clothes, toys and electronic goods). This will be followed by an afternoon Cruise on the River Thames.
Day Three - London - Tower of London - Shakespeare's Globe Theatre - London Eye
After breakfast take the London underground for the journey to the Tower of London for a visit to one of the most famous fortified buildings in the world and begun in 1078 by William the Conqueror, the Tower has been a palace, prison, treasury, arsenal and even a zoo! Today the Tower houses the priceless Crown Jewels. Also on view are the Medieval Palace, the infamous Bloody Tower and over 90 inscriptions made by prisoners in the Beauchamp Tower. On then to the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for a backstage theatre tour, offering a fascinating introduction to the world-famous Globe Theatre and life in Shakespeare's London. Discover Elizabethan Bankside, the City of London's playground, see a sword-fighting display, find out how actors are dressed in handmade costumes and take a tour of today's working theatre, brought vividly to life by one of the story-teller guides. Finally enjoy a ride on the London Eye, the world's largest observation wheel offering a spectacular way to take in over 55 of London's most famous landmarks.
Day Four - London - Windsor Castle - Stonehenge - Bath
Today make your way to the departure point for a fascinating set departure tour to three of our national treasures to include Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Georgian Bath with the services of a luxury motor coach and professional blue-badge guide. Your coach returns you to London for overnight.
Built high above the River Thames, Windsor Castle has been home to the Royal Family for 900 years and is still an Official Residence of the Queen. We visit the magnificent State Apartments, still used for State occasions and Royal receptions. Take some time to explore the castle grounds and the fourteenth-century St. George's Chapel, one of the most beautiful examples of medieval church architecture in England and a burial place of Kings and Queens, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour.
Clouded in mystery, the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge is an amazing feat of engineering and the most important prehistoric site in England, but beyond its archaeological significance and possible astronomical role, Stonehenge is also a place of spiritual importance. Early legends link it with Merlin and King Arthur, but over the last hundred years the midsummer sunrise has attracted pagan groups and followers of the Ancient Order of Druids.
Also visit the beautiful Georgian City of Bath and take you on a panoramic tour of some of the finest architectural sights in , including Bath Abbey, the Royal Crescent, the Circus, Assembly Rooms and the famous Pulteney Bridge. Explore the Roman Baths, built around thermal springs, which have been supplying water for over 2,000 years. In Roman times a great Temple was built next to the sacred spring - the waters were believed to have healing properties and attracted visitors from across the Roman Empire.
Day Five - London - V&A Museum - Westminster Abbey
Take the London underground for a morning visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum containing ceramics, furniture, fashion, glass, jewellery, metalwork, photographs, sculpture, textiles and paintings, and home to 3000 years' worth of amazing artefacts from many of the world's richest cultures. Highlights include the breathtaking Cast Courts, the national collection of paintings by Constable, the largest collection of Italian Renaissance sculpture outside Italy and the stunning British Galleries, illustrating the history of Britain through the country's art and design. On then for an afternoon visit to Westminster Abbey, one of Britain's finest Gothic buildings founded by Edward the Confessor in the eleventh century. Coronations, marriages and funerals of British monarchs have taken place there ever since, including the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. Visitors can see the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, Royal Tombs, the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor, the Coronation Chair, the Lady Chapel and Poets' Corner as well as the Royal Chapels.
Day Six - London - Cotswolds - Stratford-upon-Avon
Today make your way to the departure point for a fascinating full day escorted tour of the picturesque Cotswolds, to include a delicious two course lunch in Bibury, described as the most beautiful village in Britain! You will also have an opportunity to explore Burford and Bourton-on-the-Water, two more of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds, before heading to Shakespeare's Stratford.
The Cotswolds represents an area that is forever England, remaining seemingly unchanged with the passing of time. Rolling landscapes, dry
stone walls, perpendicular churches and sparkling clear streams fuse with tiny villages and hamlets with their charming limestone houses, tea shops and inns.
Our full day tour of the Cotswolds begins in Burford, where the magnificent High Street, which slopes down to the River Windrush, holds every variety of
Cotswold stone. There will be time to visit the small tea houses before heading south to Bibury.
Lunch in the most beautiful village in Britain!
Lunch beckons and what better way to satisfy your hunger than with a fabulous two course lunch in the Swan hotel, situated in the centre of
Bibury, overlooking the River Coln. The 17th century former coaching Inn serves a fabulous range of traditional cooking, ales and fine wines. Bibury was
described as the 'prettiest village in Britain' by William Morris.
The afternoon is spent exploring Bourton-on-the-Water, another delightful village in the Cotswolds that is 'forever England.' We then head
to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a short walking tour passing Shakespeare’s Birthplace before entering New Place, the great writer's final home before he
died. Here we take time to enjoy the lovely knot gardens while being served strawberry scones and refreshments!
Day Seven - London - Hampton Court Palace
Today take the train for the journey to Hampton Court Palace for a morning visit. Cardinal Worsley transformed the palace into a lavish Royal residence during the 16th century. Favoured home to Henry VIII, George II and William III, the Palace was refashioned by Christopher Wren in 1689, creating the beautiful Baroque style east front. The State Apartments of Henry VIII feature some of the most magnificent rooms in the Palace, including the Chapel Royal and the Great Hall and it is set in 60 acres of riverside gardens. Return to London by train in time for some last minute shopping.
Day Eight - Home
Take either the Heathrow or Gatwick Express to the Airport for your return flight home.