Explore beautiful southern England as you combine independent days with the option of having private guided tours and a wide range of accommodations in London, and then spend 7 days in a small group environment as you explore the sights of Cornwall and the southern coast of England. Gourmands will love the fine food, history buffs will relish the architecture, literature lovers will delight in scenes straight from the printed page and breathtaking views will impress absolutely everyone. This small group multi-day tour has it all, but even its busy schedule allows ample scope to embrace the back roads and add a few adventures of your own. With a maximum group size of 15, you will benefit from the customized services of a knowledgeable driver/guide, shared guided tours at places of interest along the way and travel in style in a luxury mini-coach.
Small group tours typically depart every Wednesday (with a few exceptions) from March 20, 2013 - October 30, 2013 and are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 participants. In general, the maximum group size is 15.
Consider adding additional days to your trip with the services of a private guide and/or driver to see more of the country - your time on either side of your small group tour can be customized to suit your needs (and private guided tours can be added throughout your small group experience as desired).
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.
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 http://www.corrigansmayfair.co.uk
The Royal Garden Hotel (5*) is a five-star luxury address defined by its location. From the uppermost floors the vista incorporates Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall, the capitals rooftops and colourful mews houses. The horizon above the trees is punctuated with London's iconic architecture, from St Paul's Cathedral to the Houses of Parliament. The hotel features 396 beautifully appointed bedrooms and suites located over 10 floors, many of which are interconnecting. There are also no-smoking floors. Decor is understated English with an impeccable finish featuring pale creams and classic accents from reds to blues to natural wood furnishing. Dine in their award winning restaurants overlooking Kensington Gradens, then rejuvenate with a treatmant in their spa.
Meet up with your Guide and fellow travellers of your small group tour this morning. The rendezvous is at 08.30am (please be here 30 mins before this) at the Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, London, W8 4PT.
Leave London and travel to the tiny market city of Wells, known for its attractive cathedral and Vicar’s Close (the oldest continuously inhabited medieval street in Europe). Explore the local shops, or perhaps enjoy a coffee before you continue to Dartmoor National Park. As the landscape changes you meander through beautiful country lanes, over ancient stone bridges and through dramatic rolling countryside where wild ponies roam. Your overnight accommodation will be in the heart of Dartmoor National Park.
Tonight you will enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers.
Two Bridges Hotel is a veritable an oasis at the heart of Dartmoor National Park. A stunning luxury Devon hotel, the bedrooms boast priceless views over Dartmoor, many with Four Poster beds and deep spa baths. Enjoy the cosy lounges with huge log fires, The Tors Restaurant renowned throughout Devon, and admire the sweeping lawns leading down to The River Dart and the ancient Wistman's Wood.
Please note that your hotel may be the above, or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Experience a gourmet delight today as you make your way to the rugged north coast of Cornwall. Visit the picturesque fishing village of Port Isaac, famously featured in the television series "Doc Martin" and see other typical Cornish villages. The highlight of your day may well be lunch at ‘The Seafood Restaurant’, Rick Stein’s flagship restaurant in Padstow. This afternoon will have you making your way to Falmouth which will be your base for the next three nights.
The Green Lawns is a Falmouth Hotel where you can kick back and relax in an elegant, chateau style hotel with far reaching views across Falmouth Bay. The hotel is distinguished by its ivy exterior and overlooks a beautifully laid out lawn featuring a profusion of flowering shrubs and colourful flower beds. The hotel offers a comprehensive range of luxury accommodation. The bar provides a perfect place to relax before moving to their restaurant where fresh, home cooked food will stimulate your taste buds. The Green Lawns Hotel provides a choice of leisure activities to enjoy at their Garras Leisure Club which includes a super indoor heated swimming pool with children's paddling area.
Start your day in the delightful old fishing town of St Ives. Here’s your chance to sample rich ice-cream, Cornish pasties or Atlantic crab and oysters. Continue your journey through the unique landscape of tiny Iron Age fields bounded by stone walls, stone circles, Celtic crosses and the remains of ancient villages such as Chysauster, an Iron Age settlement originally occupied almost 2,000 years ago. Your next stop is the fascinating and historical St Michael's Mount. Discover the medieval castle and delve into the island’s past, or take a small boat to the island from the little Cornish town of Marazion. Later you will return to Falmouth.
Today is free for you to explore the historic town of Falmouth. There are numerous options to tempt different interests including Cornwall's largest fortress, Pendennis Castle, one of a pair that guarded the entrance to Falmouth Harbour, the National Maritime Museum and Falmouth Art Gallery. You may also choose to take a short ferry ride to St Mawes Castle or alternatively, a short train ride alongside the Restronguet Creek and Fal River to Cornwall’s capital city, Truro.
A short ferry ride across the harbour brings you to St. Mawes Castle, the other half of the Falmouth protective castle pair, and possibly the best preserved example of Henry’s chain of fortifications. Alternatively, a short train ride alongside the Restronguet Creek and Fal River would bring you to Cornwall’s capital city, Truro, with its triple-spired Gothic Revival style Cathedral.
More Cornish delights unfold as you admire the stunning scenery and wide vistas of a ship-wrecking turquoise sea on the coastal drive towards the British mainland’s south-western extremity at Land's End. You will stop at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall's world famous open-air theatre before visiting one of the county’s most celebrated fishing villages, Mousehole, to stroll around the tiny harbour. In the afternoon you will visit the 26 acre sub-tropical Gardens of Trebah before returning to Falmouth.
This morning depart for the Tregothnan Estate, internationally recognised as the home of English tea. Accompanied by the Head Gardener you will explore Cornwall’s largest private botanical gardens, as well as the tea plantation, before enjoying a traditional cream tea. Your journey continues along the south Cornish coast to the quaint fishing village of Polperro and (if time permits) the magnificent Buckfast Abbey. Tonight you will enjoy a farewell meal at your hotel near Lyme Regis.
Tucked away in peaceful open countryside and approached down leafy lanes of Hawkchurch - the 'village of roses' - the Fairwater Head Hotel is a mere 4 miles from Axminster and 5 miles from Lyme Regis and the Jurassic coast - England's first natural World Heritage Site. All of their light and airy en-suite bedrooms have views over their extensive 2-acre gardens and some over the Axe Valley. Their restaurant Greenfields uses only local ingredients in their kitchen to ensure the utmost freshness and quality. The Fairwater Head Hotel is the ideal location for touring or simply relaxing in the hotel's award winning gardens and restaurant.
This morning you will explore Jane Austen’s Lyme Regis, where she based parts of her novel, Persuasion, and which was also the setting for John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant's Woman. Wander along its 18th century promenade and see its famous Cobb and ancient harbour that continues to inspire writers and artists today. Drive along the ‘Jurassic Coast’ to the prehistoric settlement of Maiden Hill, the largest of its kind in Britain. Just to the north is Dorchester, made famous in Thomas Hardy’s novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Continue on the last part of your tour by following the old Roman road to Salisbury, home to one of England’s most magnificent cathedrals. Your tour ends upon your return to London.
Your Small Group Tour ends this afternoon upon arrival at The Royal Garden Hotel at approximately 5.30pm. Bid farewell to your guide and fellow travellers as you close the chapter on this part of your travels.
Meet your driver at your hotel and be taken to Heathrow Airport by a private transfer.
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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