(London, Cheltenham, Windermere)
Enjoy wonderful days exploring the best that England has to offer. Starting with a sojourn in London, you will get to enjoy a privately guided walking tour of London, a day tour to Warwick Castle, The Cotswolds, and the birthplace of Shakespeare - Stratford-upon-Avon. From here, you'll travel westwards to some of England's most quintessential towns including Wells and Bath as well as the UNESCO site of Stonehenge. Continue your journey northwards to the beautiful Lake District - and more precisely, Bowness on Windermere. Kick back and absorb all of the magnificent views on a full day discovery of the area. Of course, a vacation wouldn't be a vacation without some pampering which is duly catered for in your hotel. Hop on a bike to meander through the quaint villages, stopping off at various places of interest along the way.
Meet your driver at Heathrow airport, and take a private transfer to your hotel.
A welcome package with your vouchers, 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.
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 teh 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.
The Grosvenor (formerly the Thistle Victoria) Hotel London (4*) is adjacent to Victoria mainline railway station. This London hotel is also within walking distance of many of Londons famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. This elegant and spacious Victorian hotel has 357 bedrooms including nine deluxe king rooms and three suites. All bedrooms have Thistle Connect high speed internet access. The Grosvenor Hotel London has a restaurant, lounge and bar which serve a variety of drinks, light refreshments and meals. Car parking is available nearby at an additional charge. The Grosvenor Hotel London has seven meeting rooms, the largest of which seats 200 theatre style. Thistle Connect is available in meeting rooms offering high speed internet access.
A visit to the magnificent medieval Warwick Castle, most of whose amazing towers and ramparts are still intact. Warwick Castle will take you back through its 1,000 year history as you enter over the footbridge to a bygone world of banquets, battles and ceremony. Visit the Tussaud"s waxwork, or if you"re feeling brave visit the spine-chilling dungeons where prisoners were tortured. You might wish to stroll through the Castle"s delightful and lovingly tended gardens set in the peaceful surroundings of England"s finest medieval Castle. During the summer months, archery, falconry and jousting take place.
Steeped in history and heritage the area of England known as The Cotswolds is a charming blend of cottages with honey-coloured walls and thatched roofs, market towns with crooked half-timbered houses lining the High Street, and ancient stone crosses, all set in the gently rolling hills ("wolds") that are so typically English in character.
We then travel through the rolling Warwickshire hills to Stratford-upon-Avon, a market town at the edge of the Forest of Arden made famous for being the birthplace of the world-famous playwright William Shakespeare. We"ll visit the Tudor-style birthplace of William Shakespeare, gaining a fascinating insight into his childhood with its typical parlour, bedrooms, kitchen, buttery and of course the glove-maker"s workshop used by John, Shakespeare"s father.
The colleges in Oxford date back to the 13th century and among its famous students were Bill Clinton, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein and Lewis Carroll. We take you on a fascinating walking tour through the cobbled streets of Oxford to see the Bodleian Library and the picture-perfect college courtyards, for which Oxford is justifiably famous.
Admission to Warwick Castle, Christ Church college and Shakespeare's Birthplace is included in the tour price.
The Ivy is situated in the heart of London's West End, close to Leicester Square, Shaftesbury Avenue and the vibrant quarters of Covent Garden and Soho. Open late each night, the restaurant is also perfect for post theatre dinner. The Royal Opera House and Coliseum, Palace Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Wyndham's and Noel Coward Theatres are close by. All restaurant food comes from sustainable sources.
One of the world's great cities, vibrant London manages to shine in the greyest 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 he/she 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)
The English Tea Room at Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel serves one of the most famous afternoon teas in London and was voted The Tea Guild’s ‘Top London Afternoon Tea 2009’. The sophisticated and stylish interior is a clever mix of both tradition - thanks to the original wood paneling, fire places and Jacobean detailed plaster ceiling and contemporary style, with Paul Smith lighting, fashionable fabrics and original artworks. Relax to the sounds from the Baby Grand Piano and indulge in a choice of 17 teas, including Brown’s own blend, along with a selection of succulent finger sandwiches, an assortment of delicate pastries, fruit and plain scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve, as well as a choice of freshly baked cakes from the trolley.
Meet your driver for a private train station transfer in London.
Enjoy a train ride from London to Cheltenham. The train takes around two hours.
Train station transfer in private vehicle with driver.
In attractive grounds near the centre of Cheltenham and in the beautiful Cotswolds, Thistle Cheltenham Hotel (4*) offers excellent service, a heated indoor swimming pool and easy access to the M5 motorway. The Thistle Cheltenham hotel boasts an atmosphere of informality and serenity. The hotel is also conveniently located between Cheltenham, 3 miles (5 km) away and Gloucester, 4 miles (6.5 km) away. All of the en suite rooms are furnished to a high standard and include a range of modern amenities. Guests can also enjoy the Otium Health & Leisure Club, with a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a sauna and a fully equipped gymnasium. In the grounds, there are two all-weather, floodlit tennis courts. The award-winning Burford Room restaurant offers international cuisine and an extensive wine list.
Enjoy a private 10 hour tour with your own vehicle, guide and driver to the Roman town of Wells, the world heritage site of Stonehenge and the Georgian town of Bath. The first stop is the beautiful town of Wells, with it's gothic buildings including the magnificent cathedral and St Cuthbert's church. Explore the town on foot, along the cobblestoned streets, before visiting the Bishop' Palace and Vicar's close. Lunch is at leisure. Continue through the rolling Wessex landscape to Stonehenge, a collection of stones dragged 5000 years ago to this lonely windy plain near Salisbury. Stonehenge continues to enthrall the imagination and captivate the heart of every visitor. In Bath, you'll enjoy a panoramic tour, in which you'll see the famous Bath Abbey, the often photgraphed Pulteney Bridge which is modelled on the Florentine Ponte Vecchio and the Georgian crescents that helped make Bath so famous. During the tour you will visit the Roman Baths that made the city famous, the best preserved Roman spa from the ancient world. (Includes entrance to Bath museum and baths and entrance and audio guide in Stonehenge).
Enjoy the train ride from Cheltenham to Oxenholme (20 mins from Windermere). A connection in Birmingham is required. Train travel time is approximately 3 hours.
Take a private transfer with vehicle and driver from Oxenholme train station to your accommodation in nearby Windermere.
Enjoy a day at leisure in Windermere. Pick up some information at the local tourist information centre on short walks and hikes in the area, stroll down to the lake shore, enjoy an afternoon tea in one of the many cafes and try the local Kendal mint cake - a staple for hikers on their ambles across the mountains.
Standing on the shore of Lake Windermere, England's largest lake, the historic Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa (4*) is an ideal base for exploring the Lake District National Park. The award-winning Number 23 Church Street restaurant offers unrivalled views over mature lawns to the lake. Enjoy one of the 106 luxurious bedrooms in a spectacular lakeside setting. On site facilities include spa treatments and packages, a 20m pool, gym, sauna and steam room, 2 AA Rosette restaurant, bar, lounge and terrace. The hotel is also in close proximity to local attractions and watersports.
Experience what this region has to offer as you take in the splendid views throughout the day on a full day (shared) tour with a driver/guide. Often described as 'the most beautiful corner of England' this tour offers a wonderful introduction to the magnificent scenery of the English Lake District. Along the way, you will see ten Lakes and three mountain passes, before embarking on an extended cruise from the mountains to the moorland on Ullswater - 'Queen of the English Lakes'. We will pass a beautiful waterfall, Castlerigg Stone Circle, and the ancient township of Keswick (where you have lunch at leisure). Our last stop of the day is the delightful village of Grasmere. At the end of the day, you are sure to appreciate why this area has inspired poets and artists alike and for generations has drawn visitors from all over the world. Throughout the tour there are frequent stops for photographs and short walks.
Explore the stunning surroundings by bike. There are lots of different routes available, depending on how long you would like to bike for, and your personal interests. Your activity includes the hire of a quality 24 speed Trek bikes fitted with puncture-resistant tyres, use of safety helmet, route sheet, map holder, lock and expert route advice as well as well-researched, traffic friendly easy-to-follow route sheets ranging from 6 to 30 miles. Tag-a-longs, Burley trailers, cycling information and accessories are available for hire if needed. Some suggested places to visit include Cartmel and Holker Hall, home of the Lakeland Motor Museum and the magnificent garden festival, Hawkshead, the Stott Park Bobbin Mill and Grizedale Forest.
Who has not heard of Peter Rabbit? Or Pigling Bland, Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and other characters brought to life by Beatrix Potter! Spend the day on a shared, comprehensive tour of the houses, farms, villages, valleys, lakes and mountains that are linked to her stories. Enter the world of Beatrix, a lonely child who became one of the world's best loved children's authors, and one of the most important benefactors of the National Trust, using income from her Peter Rabbit Tales to protect her beloved Lake District. Travel north alongside Lake Windermere to Waterhead and then from here to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top farm where she wrote many of her famous children's stories in this little 17th century stone house. You have the opportunity to go into the shop, explore her garden and do an optional visit the house. The next stop is the medieval village of Hawkshead where you have time to explore this fascinating village. On the way to Coniston Water you will be driven through the renowned beauty spot of Tarn Hows where there will be a stop for a photo. Then board a ferry near Coniston for a lake cruise. The tour continues through Yewdale, passing Yew Tree Tarn and Skelwith Bridge then back to Windermere and Bowness. Complete this enjoyable half day shared tour with an optional cream tea at Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel, former home of Beatrix Potter’s mother, before returning to your accommodation. (entrances or cream tea not included - please speak to your Sales Advisor if you would like them to be included).
Essentially this tour is of the central and northern parts of the area, with frequent stops for photographs and detailed commentary. The lunchbreak at Grasmere provides an opportunity to visit Dove Cottage, home of William Wordsworth. The afternoon sees us near Keswick visiting locations where Beatrix Potter holidayed and which inspired her Tales of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle and Benjamin Bunny, including Newlands Valley and Moss Force Waterfall.
A lake cruise on Squirrel Nutkin's Derwentwater, a spectacular drive over the northern mountain passes and a visit to the 5,000 year old Castlerigg Stone Circle completes the tour.
Transfer to Manchester Airport in a private vehicle with driver. The journey should take approximately 1.5hours.
Depart from Manchester/Liverpool airport - end of itinerary.
Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Please ask your Sales Advisor. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of England for the most up to date visa information.
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