See some of the Heart of England’s most iconic attractions at a time when there are fewer visitors, and soak up the seasonal atmosphere at one of the region’s traditional Christmas markets. Visit Harry Potter film locations in Oxford and Lacock, explore quaint Cotswold villages, enjoy local ale by the log fire of an olde English pub and dine on quality produce sourced from the best local suppliers.
Discover the festive atmosphere at beautiful, German-style Christmas market in the heart of Oxford. A truly magical Christmas experience where choirs and brass bands perform Christmas carols, decorated colourful wooden stalls sell festive treats and gifts including roasted nuts, gourmet fudge, liqueurs, and handcrafted Christmas decorations, and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifts through the air. Renowned across the United Kingdom for its magical location and festive atmosphere, the Oxford Christmas market is a special event with something for everyone. A visit to this market will be included on 7th, 14th and 21st Dec 2013.
For 18 days, the quaint streets and square between the stunning Bath Abbey and the internationally renowned Roman Baths are transformed into a Christmas shopper’s heaven - the Bath Christmas Market. In the heart of Bath’s main shopping district, more than 130 traditional wooden chalets adorn the streets, each one offering unique, handmade gifts, decorations and delicious food. Sample wines, liqueurs and local cider or treat yourself to homemade chocolates and traditional mince pies. A visit to this market will be included on 4th and 11th Dec 2013.
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).
Small group tours depart every Tuesday from November 26,2013 - Feb 4, 2014.
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 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)
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 pick-up is at 08:30am (please be here 30 mins prior) at the Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street London.
Departing London, your first stop brings royalty alive as you visit the world’s largest occupied and oldest garrisoned fortress, Windsor Castle – the official residence of the Queen. Wander through the magnificent State Apartments and St George’s Chapel, the burial place of ten monarchs, and admire the rooms that have been restored to their former glory. Next,visit the great mystical construction at Stonehenge. Dating back to 3100 BC there are many lively debates as to how this stone circle was built and why. Learn more about these theories and make up your own mind as you enjoy the walking commentary tour. After the tour, travel to tonight’s accommodation in Bath where you will enjoy a welcome dinner together.
The Best Western Abbey Hotel, is one of the best-located hotels in the centre of Bath, and moments away from the famous Pump Rooms, Roman Baths, Thermae Spa, Bath Abbey, and the city’s brilliant shopping area. The Hotel is independently owned, with 60 comfortable bedrooms, and a relaxing ArtBar and Lounge for cocktails or a Bath afternoon tea. The Allium Brasserie, under the acclaimed chef Chris Staines, is open all day, and is already one of the best places to eat in Bath. And the Terrace Cafe offers the best people-watching in town.
Listed as a World Heritage site, Bath is one of Europe’s most attractive cities, with the highest concentration of listed buildings anywhere in the British Isles. This morning you will explore this splendid Georgian city to learn more about Roman life at the restored Roman Baths and see the towering 15th century Abbey, the imposing Georgian Royal Crescent and fascinating Pulteney Bridge.
This afternoon is yours to spend at leisure. Literary enthusiasts might choose to visit the Jane Austen Centre, whilst others may choose to explore the myriad of small independent shops, stylish boutiques and familiar high street stores.
Leaving Bath behind, the first visit this morning is to the picture-perfect village of Lacock, which has been used in countless television and movie productions including Pride and Prejudice, The Other Boleyn Girl and Harry Potter. After some time here to wander the historic village streets, see the exhibitions in the museum and visit the Abbey, traverse the gentle, timeless hills of the Cotswolds, stopping at some of the gems on your way. Quaint villages you may have the opportunity to visit include Lower Slaughter, renowned for its unspoilt limestone cottages built in the traditional Cotswold style and Broadway, which is often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’.
The Kings Hotel is a charming 18th century town house boasting distinctive and stylish accommodation. Sympathetic and careful renovation means guests can enjoy all the modern day comforts they need yet still soak up the character and history of a Cotswold stone building. Nestled in the heart of picturesque Chipping Campden, it is the perfect location to experience the beauty of the Cotswolds. The Kings combines traditional character with contemporary style to create a relaxed and welcoming home away from home for every guest. The dedicated team at Kings draw on a wealth of experience to ensure your stay will be memorable and comfortable.
This morning is a feast for literary enthusiasts and history buffs as we visit Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon to discover Ye Olde England of the Bard’s birth and his final resting place, Holy Trinity Church. A short drive to Shottery takes us to a thatched farmhouse where the young William Shakespeare courted his future bride Anne Hathaway. See for yourself many original items dating from Anne’s time before we meander through country lanes and honey coloured hamlets, littered with atmospheric churches on the return to your delightful Cotswolds base.
This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner together created from the freshest local ingredients.
Relax as you travel through the beautiful English countryside to Churchill’s family home, the historic Blenheim Palace, which is decorated with stunning festive decorations over the Christmas period (until 13thDec). When Blenheim is closed (14th Dec – 8th Feb), you will be driven straight to Oxford to visit the well preserved Oxford Castle, where you may view the old prison, St George’s tower and the Castle mound.
This afternoon is dedicated to Oxford, the most famous University City in the world. Enjoy a walk among the goldenstone buildings and ‘dreaming spires’ to Christ Church, one of Oxford’s grandest colleges. Christ Church’s Great Hall and cloisters were also used in the Harry Potter films.
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.
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."
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 were exceedingly 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, thanks 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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