Imagine meeting the Lords of the Manor as you explore a collection of England’s aristocratic homes, staying in the same rooms as presidents and princes invited to court, and receiving behind-the-scenes access during a VIP visit to the Queen’s residence, Windsor Castle. Luxuriate in a priceless afterhours pilgrimage to the Roman Baths, learn the mysteries of Stonehenge from a famous Oxford archaeologist, and uncover the London of Darwin and Dickens led by a devoted specialist. This red carpet journey is packed with privileged access!
Take part in the pomp, circumstance and time honored traditions as you enjoy high tea, a soulful Evensong choral performance, lunch at a Private London Members Club, and bypass a 3 year waitlist to visit Prince Charles gardens at Highgrove Estate led by private guide. Complete with a luxury chauffeur-driven vehicle, specialist guides, world –class shopping and a hotel that plays guesthouse to Buckingham Palace - we will show you all that London has to offer!
A Kensington Elite travel immersion gives you access to unique locations and exclusive experiences in true VIP style, our best take on the best that the world has to offer.
For years, Heathrow has offered a private VIP service for dignitaries and Heads of State and now this service has been extended to the world’s most discerning travellers. Consider availing of this white glove service and as guests of the airport you would be personally greeted at the aircraft and attended by staff familiar with the protocol of high profile diplomats and accompanied to the arrivals hall where your driver would be waiting for you. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would like this added to your itinerary.
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.
Here are some ideas for a self-guided Shopping Tour... Outside of the mainstream shopping street of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Knightsbridge, there are plenty of great areas to check out... The Cabbages & Frocks Market in Marylebone High Street offers the best of global food, together with fashion and lifestyle. Popular with out of towners, St Christopher's Place is one of the most exciting specialist shopping locations in the West End. The area is made up of walkways that include Gees Court, St Christopher's Place, James Street, Barrett Street and parts of Oxford Street and Wigmore Street. Duke of York Square, in Chelsea is the area's newly developed pedestrian precinct. The eateries feature great outdoor spaces. One of the best places for outdoor shopping, Spitalfields is a quirky shoppers' dream. If you're looking for a one-off piece or something truly unique, you'll find it here.
The ritual of afternoon tea owes its origins to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. As a young woman in the early 1800s she lived during a time when it was common to eat only two main meals a day, with breakfast scheduled early in the morning and dinner occurring late in the evening. Weakened and irritated by hunger pangs each day, she decided to schedule time to take tea and snack each afternoon. This private ceremony was firstly done furtively in her bedroom, but over time well-heeled acquaintances joined her and the practice was perpetuated. Nowadays tea rooms and hotels in London and throughout the country offer permutations of this centuries-old tradition. (Please note that reservations typically need to be made 4 -6 months in advance and as such, are subject to availability).
Touted as "Top London Afternoon Tea" by Tea Guild named it 2011’s, Claridge's is the perfect place to enjoy this most English of customs! Afternoon tea at Claridge’s hotel is always busy but the atmosphere of genteel refinement is unsullied by the crowds and continual clink of cups on china. That’s partially due to the service, which is attentive and agreeably affable rather than fusty, and the sense of occasion. Guests book up to three months in advance, so often time their visit to celebrate something special. The experience is worth the wait. Enjoy choosing your perfect blend accompanied by platters of dainty finger sandwiches and crumbly French pastries.
Located only minutes from the Buckingham Palace 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences is a five star hotel exuding luxury in its prestigious surroundings. This luxury hotel features many excellent amenities for the guests to enjoy including butler service, the Michelin starred Quilon Restaurant– sister restaurant to the famous Bombay Brasserie a stunning award-winning Courtyard garden with delightful fountains as well as the grand banqueting facilities. With 86 contemporary suites from one to nine bedrooms, including the Presidential Floor and the World’s only Jaguar Suite, along with a separate living room, fully-equipped kitchen and luxurious bathrooms, 51 Buckingham Gate offers an ideal home away from home experience for the discerning traveler and caters to families since the hotel is equipped with various children’s amenities. The five star services throughout your stay along with the warm hospitality is sure to make your stay at 51 Buckingham Gate memorable.
With a specialist guide, spend the day looking at the city from the perspective of two of its most famous characters: Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens.
See the locations that were key to Darwin’s time in London, including the houses in which he lived, the societies where he shared some of his greatest breakthroughs, and the place where he is buried. Moving around Bloomsbury, along Piccadilly and then towards Westminster, your guide will regale you with the story of Darwin’s work and personal life.
Stop at some of the numerous Societies of which Darwin was a member, including the Linnean Society of London, the Royal Society and the Geological Society of London.
If you wish, you can finish the morning at the Darwin Centre, a state-of-the-art collections facility that is part of the Natural History Museum and your guide can give you some suggestions on somewhere suitable for lunch according to your tastes.
Enjoy a 3 course lunch including half a bottle of wine and coffee at the invitation of a member at one of London’s historic Private Members Clubs. Dress Attire: Please note that a collar and tie for men is required for entry into the members club. No jeans or trainers permitted.
This afternoon is dedicated to Charles Dickens. Few people know that Central London is rich with stories about this well known character in history: from the gatehouse near Chancery Lane where Dickens received a black eye, to the places that he read his work, to the locations that appeared in his books. Your tour will move through the Chancery Lane, Temple and Covent Garden areas, showing you places where Dickens lived, worked and relaxed. You will hear the story of his boyhood in Kent, through to his traumatic teenage years in London and learn how he achieved success at a relatively young age. Learn of his mid-life crisis, and discover his enigmatic final years before his death in Kent at the young age of 58. End the day with a visit to the Charles Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury, which used to be one of Charles Dickens’ homes.
Enjoy a special day exploring the mythical site of Stonehenge and the beautiful town of Bath today. Meet up with your specialised guide for your tour of Stonehenge -a professional physicist, meteorologist and archaeologist and Oxford graduate. (Suffice to say you will be in good hands!).
A World Heritage Site, Stonehenge is one of the most important prehistoric monuments in the world. Dating back an astonishing 5,000 years, its exact purpose has been long debated. It is made up of 2 concentric stone circles encircled by a deep trench in the earth and it is believed that construction happened in stages spanning 1,600 years. The stones include Bluestone, Sarson and Welsh Sandstone, which travelled over 240 miles to reach Wiltshire. Its original purpose is unknown yet some say it was a temple to worship the gods, while others describe it as an astronomical observatory, or prehistoric calendar, because of the way it aligns with the sun and moon. There are many theories, but one thing is certain; Stonehenge has endured millennia, and no matter what beliefs people have, most will readily admit to a feeling of there being something sacred here.
From Stonehenge, you'll make your way to Woodhenge. Dating from 2300 BC, Woodhenge is thought to have marked a particular stage in the evolution of human religious belief and community organisation. Originally believed to be the remains of a large burial mound, you will be able to identify the concrete markers that stand there today - these replace the six concentric rings of timber posts which are believed to have once supported a ring-shaped building.
There are also two White Horse chalk hill figures in the area, which the Professor can take you to see. These hill figures are especially a phenomenon in England, and are large visual representations created by cutting into a steep hillside and revealing the underlying geology. It is a type of geoglyph usually designed to be seen from afar rather than above.
Just after 6pm this evening, you'll be brought to Bath where you will have a private visit of the Roman baths after public closing hours. The fundamental part of the Roman Baths is the sacred spring. Hot water at a temperature of 460°C rises here at the rate of 1,170,000 liters (240,000 gallons) every day and has been doing so for thousands of years. Founded in 75AD, the ancient Roman Baths were rediscovered and excavated in the late 18th century and are now designated as a Unesco Heritage Site.
Consider stopping off for dinner at the Michelin awarded restaurant The Pony & Trap in Newtown, Chew Magna village on your return journey back to London. Please speak with your Sales Advisor if this is of interest and a reservation can be made for you.
Your guide will collect you from your accommodation to bring you on a half day discovery of the Legal side of London! Depart for Lincolns Inn where you will have a special access, private tour of Lincoln's Inn including getting access to areas that are not open to the public such as the Old Hall, Great Hall and Chapel and get an in depth look at the history and artwork housed in this historical building.
Lincoln's Inn is the oldest of London's four remaining Inns of Court - areas where those in the legal profession have traditionally lived, studied and worked. It offers many architectural delights and surprises such as a striking gatehouse, a 17th century chapel and a lovely little garden which features a toolshed in the shape of a castle. You'll have time to also visit the wonderful library here. The 15th century Old Hall, which plays a role in Dickens' novel "Bleak House", is the most antique part of the complex. Those who have studied law at Lincoln's Inn include Oliver Cromwell, John Donne, Benjamin Disraeli and Margaret Thatcher.
Enjoy a private lunch onsite and soak in the aura of this special place.
Please note that no transportation is included in this tour.
You are in for a treat this afternoon as you visit Windsor Castle, partake in Evensong and relax over drinks with a resident of the Castle after it is closed to the public! Your private guide and driver will collect you at your accommodation for an afternoon out to the Berkshire area. Enjoy a visit of Windsor Castle, one of three official residences of The Queen and home to the Sovereign for over 900 years. The Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. The imposing towers and battlements of the Castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world's most spectacular skylines. No other royal residence has played such an important role in the nation's history. There will be time to see everything that interests you, which can include the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s Doll’s House and St George’s chapel.
Consider taking a walk around the State Apartments, with its extensive suites of rooms at the heart of the working palace. For part of the year, access is allowed to see the Semi State rooms, which are some of the most splendid interiors in the castle. They are furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection including paintings by Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck and Lawrence, fine tapestries and porcelain, sculpture and armour.Queen Mary's Doll's House designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, with the aim of raising money for a children's charity, is one of the most visited sights at Windsor.
St George’s Chapel is one of the most beautiful chapels in the country; with a wonderful fan vaulted ceiling. The Choir has the banners and Achievements of The Knights of The Garter. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles famously had their wedding blessing in this chapel. It is also the burial place of The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Henry V111 and his third wife Jane Seymour (who are buried alongside the executed Charles I).
Once you have finished visiting the castle, some private residents of the castle will meet with you and escort you over to Evensong at St George's chapel. Evensong is the Anglican liturgy of Evening Prayer, especially (but not exclusively) so called when it is sung and may provide a perfect moment of reflection and calm.
After evensong enjoy a personal invitation to drinks at a private home of a resident of the castle after the castle has closed to the public and get a wonderful insight into the life and workings of the Castle in modern times.
Head out of London core today to the bucolic countryside to the west of the city. The destination today is a (reputedly haunted) Elizabethan house of mellow grey Cotswold stone that has remained virtually unchanged for 400 years. Only two families have owned the property and it is still a family home. Enjoy a private tour of the house this morning. Of particular interest is the Main Hall with its stained glass windows, the Ballroom and the Oak Room with its elaborate panels. The house has been used for many films and television programmes and features in the BBC´s costume drama ´Lark Rise to Candleford´as well as having been featured in ´Bonekickers´ and 'Tess of the D´Ubervilles".
Subject to availability, the owner of the house will take you on a tour and then lunch will be served in a private room.
This afternoon you are in for a treat! Highgrove was built between 1796 and 1798 for local land owners, the Paul family of Stroud. Believed to have been designed by Anthony Keck, the 37-acre estate is used to promote Prince Charles’s interest in organic farming and gardening. It is surrounded by 350 acres of land farmed by the Duchy of Cornwall, known as the Duchy Home Farm, which provides food for a variety of royal residences and for commercial outlets. The property is renowned for its extraordinary grounds and you will have a privileged opportunity to tour the gardens which were designed by Prince Charles, including the wild garden, the formal garden, and the walled-kitchen garden. Rare plants and trees from exotic locales are to be found throughout the grounds along with heritage seeds planted to maintain Britain’s native flora. This will undoubtedly be a very special day - there is typically a 3 year waiting list to try and get to see these gardens! Please note that all efforts will be made to ensure access to Highgrove, and it may need to be changed to a different day within your trip to accommodate the residents schedule. Should for whatever reason, it not be possible to do a visit here, alternative arrangements will be made.
At days end you will be returned to your accommodation in London (approx. 7pm).
Afternoon Tea will be served and there will be time to browse the exclusive Duchy shop.
Meet your guide and driver at your accommodation in London and sit back and relax on the drive to Blenheim Palace (approx. 1.5hrs). Upon your arrival at Blenheim Palace, you'll receive special access to the property with a Member of the family and be welcomed with coffee will be served in a private room. Spend the morning having a private tour of the palace, accompanied by the Lord and access parts of the palace which are not open to the public, including the private gardens, which are only accessible to the family. Sir Winston Churchill was born in the Palace in 1874 and there's a permanent exhibition about him. Churchill loved Blenheim and, as a family member and frequently visited during his long life. He is buried in a simple grave in the nearby church at Bladon.Return to one of the smaller rooms for a wonderful lunch, before bidding your farewell to Blenheim Palace. Blenheim is in the tiny village of Woodstock and the village still has a small glove factory which is well worth a quick visit.
The rest of the day can be tailored to your interests. Perhaps take a more scenic route through some of the old Cotswolds villages before arriving in Oxford. Some of the places you may like to explore during the day according to interest and time available include Oxford Castle, and Christ Church which is the largest college in Oxford re-founded in 1546 by King Henry VII and the only college in the world with a cathedral within its walls. Many locations in Oxford were used in various Harry Potter movies which you can visit if you are interested including Christ Church College whose dining hall was a model for the one seen throughout the movies, and Duke Humfrey's library Divinity School (Hogwart's infirmary). You may like to consider a "punt" on the river which can be done independently or have your chauffeur do the work for you.
Other potential places of interest to visit include the Bodleian library which is made up of many buildings located throughout the city and is nowadays the second largest library in the UK (after the British Library in London), and Merton College - the oldest college in either Oxford or Cambridge and its buildings are among the oldest and most interesting in Oxford.
Return to London by 6.00 pm after a full days excursion.
Meet your driver at your hotel and be taken to Heathrow Airport by a private transfer.
Consider availing of a VIP Heathrow service to enjoy a seamless private and personal travel service as you would bypass the main terminals and other passengers, and get to relax in your own personal lounge, in total privacy where all the check-in processes and security are taken care of. From here, you would be whisked by luxury limousine to the steps of your departing flight. Please speak to your Sales Advisor if you would like to add this to your itinerary.
February 19, 2014
"Lynne Pettit is a particularly good tour planner and contact person because she is knowledgeable, patient, and thorough. She makes sure she understands exactly what you want to get from your trip and plans the tours accordingly. In my case, she was right on the mark!"
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."
Edwards Family ,
November 28, 2013
"People do not know what they are missing by not going to Romania. The landscape: beautiful, clean, untouched. The people: People exceeded friendly! Super safe. Wherever we went, we received the reception of "Welcome, welcome! You are our guest", by everyone. Food & Drink: Everything had such incredible flavor! They use only the freshest ingredients and everything is organic. Every meal was a new, exciting experience to our palettes. Architecture: The beauty, intricacy, history. One cannot help but appreciate the abundance of castles, churches and buildings boasting such incredible architecture. Experience Romania sooner than later! You’ll be so glad you did! Once again, Kensington Tours, and special thank you to Claudia.
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."
Mike Mikkelsen ,
November 15, 2013
"Lianne Kim did a great job for us (on our tour of Spain). Most enjoyable - thanks for all you did."
November 09, 2013
"My trip to Holland and Belgium was a lifelong dream and Kensington Tours made it greater than my dream. I was treated like royalty, even when I missed some of my connections. They quickly solved any problems that U had. All the drivers were courteous and helpful. My accommodations were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better tour experience. Thanks to Richard Racicot for booking the best fo me."
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 lWestlund ,
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 bend over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangement 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."
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