(London, Minster Lovell)
When you think about quintessential England, the images that spring to mind may very well be much of what the Cotswolds has to offer. Indeed, it is the country's largest officially designated, "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty". With its gentle hillsides (‘wolds’), scenic countryside with river valleys, sleepy ancient limestone villages, and historic market towns, it is a place where time seems to have been suspended for 300 years. After exploring all that cosmopolitan London has to offer, slow the pace and watch the ever changing landscape on your train ride to Bath where you'll be met by your private driver-guide who will be your confidante for the next few days as you are driven around many of the highlights of the area. Take in the thatched cottages at Minster Mill, the ancient Roman baths in the City of Bath, abbeys, gardens, Shakespeare's stomping ground that is Stratford upon Avon, and England's largest stately home, Blenheim Palace, to name but a few things you'll see. Stay in a wonderfully English, cosy and well appointed hotel, sample some great food, and discover this wonderful pocket of England - all only a two hour train ride from London.
Meet your driver at Heathrow airport, and take a private transfer to your hotel.
A welcome package with a city map, train tickets (if relevant), and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
One of the world's great cities, vibrant London manages to shine in the grayest weather and its diversity defies a simple definition. This sprawling city has drawn people for centuries, looking for something and finding the unexpected. It's one of the world's most international cities and its influences blend to create something uniquely wonderful. Let your Guide know your particular interests and they will help you discover the city on your half day walking tour of central London. Learn how to take the "tube", explore the cobblestone streets, gardens, and markets, and be a Londoner for a day. Your Guide will meet you at your hotel. Please note that one should wear comfortable shoes and a hat; suitable for children. (No entrance fees included)
Consider having dinner this evening in the George Inn. Dating from the 17th century, this public house is London's last remaining galleried inn. It stands on the south side of the River Thames near London Bridge, which for centuries was the only bridge across the river. In olden days it was one of many such inns in the area, perhaps the most famous being the Tabard, where Chaucer began his 'Canterbury Tales' in 1388. It is tucked away in a cobbled courtyard just off Borough High Street. The exterior boasts a wealth of pretty lattice windows and oak beams. As for the interior, the ground floor is divided into several connecting bars while the Parliament Bar was the former waiting room for coachmen and passengers and has a rare Parliament clock. The Middle Bar was the Coffee Room, a haunt of Charles Dickens.
Meet your driver for a private train station transfer in London.
Enjoy a relaxing train ride from London Paddington Station to Bath.
This morning you`ll be met by your local private driver-guide and vehicle to set out on your self-guided audio visit of the Roman Baths complex, a site of historical importance, as you travel en route to the Cotswolds. There are four main features: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum holding finds from Roman Bath. The Roman Baths themselves are below the modern street level, while the buildings above street level date from the 19th century. The house is a well-preserved Roman site for public bathing. Entries not included. In the afternoon, you’ll continue with your driver-guide and sit back and take in the sights on your driving tour of the Cotswolds area, stopping at opportune moments to take some picturesque shots and to stretch your legs. Take in the city views from the Skyline, Royal Crescent, The Circus & and Lansdown Crescent. Heading out of Bath, you'll pass through Castle Combe and stroll around the village before moving onto Malmesbury. Visit the abbey and take in the stunning Abbey Gardens before arriving in Tetbury to view the Chipping Steps where the annual Woolsack Races are held. Continue with a drive through Cirencester, the second city of Roman Britain and later a major wool trading town, with a late afternoon arrival in Bibury where you can take a walk along Arlington Row and it's iconic Cotswold stone cottages. At day's end, you'll be dropped off at your accommodation. Entries not included.
Your private driver-guide will meet you to begin the day’s sightseeing, with an aim to hit some of the highlights of the region. Start off by visiting Stratford upon Avon (approx. 1hr 15 drive) for a self-guided visit at Shakespeare`s birthplace, before being driven to Hall`s Croft - a grand Tudor building, home to Shakespeare`s Daughter and doctor husband, finishing the Shakespeare connection at Anne Hathaway`s cottage - the family home of Shakespeare`s wife. Entries not included.
Later on, you'll drive past the "wool church" of St James and the 17th century Alms houses of silk merchant Sir Baptist Hicks, as you make your way to Broadway. Drive through the town and maybe stop for a spot of light shopping or some window browsing. Moving on through Snowshill, enjoy a short stroll through this delightful unspoiled Cotswold village before photo stops at Upper and Lower Slaughter, as well as Bourton on the Water. At day's end, you'll be dropped back at your accommodation. Entries not included.
Your private driver-guide will meet you this morning, and you'll set out for a visit to the local ruins of the Minster at Minster Lovell, before driving to Swinbrook via Asthall, and the Asthall Manor childhood home of the scandalous Mitford sisters. Arriving into Swinbrook, you`ll get to visit the Norman Church of St Mary with the magnificent Fettiplace monuments, and see the final resting place of four of the Mitford sisters in the churchyard. Next stop is Stow-on-the-Wold, known as the "antiques capital of the Cotswolds", and historic market town. Entries not included.
In the afternoon, drive through Chipping Norton, the highest town in Oxfordshire, before arriving at Blenheim Palace, the largest Palace in the country, home of the Dukes of Marlborough, World Heritage Site and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. You`ll be returned back to your accommodation via Woodstock, late in the day. Entries not included.
Leave your accommodation this morning in the company of your driver-guide for Oxford for a walking tour covering some of the great sites of the world famous University city. See the Sheldonian Theatre, Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera. Walk through the lanes seeing many of the thirty eight colleges and through the picturesque Christ Church Meadows. You`ll also get the chance to see the Great Hall of Christ Church and the Cathedral, and the famous Covered Market. Entries not included. Your driver will leave you at your accommodation in the early afternoon.
Enjoy a train ride from Oxford to London. The train takes around two hours.
Experience the city in all its beauty on a comprehensive half day (4hr) private city tour with a Professional Guide, vehicle and driver and be shown all the major sights this world metropolis has to offer. A visit of the colourful "West End" with its well-known shopping streets and elegant parks is up first. Then travel on through both the City of Westminster and the City of London, the oldest part of the capital and home to the financial district. During the course of the tour, you will see all the highlights of the city: Royal Albert Hall, Marble Arch, Hyde Park, Harrods in Knightsbridge, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square with Nelson's Column. The tour ends either in the city centre or back at your accommodation.
There are some great restaurants in the West End of London.Here are a few suggestions: J Sheekey, an incredibly smart seafood restaurant, Mildred's, London's best veggie restaurant, Sketch, the trendiest place in London, specializing in some of the best French food you'll ever taste, or for those looking for something simple and cheerful, enjoy a nice meal out at Zipangu. Or try the amazingly stylish Corrigan’s Mayfair.
Meet your driver at your hotel and be taken to Heathrow Airport by a private transfer.
At the epicentre of Marylebone Village, a bustling local neighborhood, The Marylebone Hotel pulls off a rare feat: a large urban hotel with a boutique attitude and all of the vibrant charm of its central London location. With an abundance of independent boutiques, fine restaurants and cool bars and surrounded by some of the city's most sought after residential property, The Marylebone Hotel grants you an address which has everything to offer the visitor to London. Just a short walk from Oxford Circus, Soho, fashionable Bond Street, Hyde Park and Savile Row, everything is within reach. The re-styled rooms have the all of the amenities you'll want, including free high-speed internet, Temple Spa toiletries, flat-screen TVs and plush duck-down duvets.
The 5-star Old Swan & Minster Mill couldn't be more quintessentially English. At the heart of the Old Minster village and with a history going back almost 600 years, this is the perfect spot to escape the city and explore the Cotswolds, or alternatively, to simply relax, spa and dine. The Old Swan captures the charm of bygone years, with a good measure of modern convenience, and the laid-back atmosphere of a gastro-pub inspired dining room and log-fired bar thrown in for good measure. Next door at the Minster Mill, you’ll find a slightly less posh country-cousin. A bit of an upstart; funky modern rooms, smaller and without the history but all with the familiar style and personal touches that the de Savary Family cram in by the bucket-load.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery Westlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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