Traditionally only ever recognized for its full English breakfast, fish and chips and the Sunday roast, British cuisine is gaining international esteem as world class innovative chefs put a modern twist on traditional dishes and flavors. The result is a complete turnaround in the global perception of the food of this age-old country. On your small group tour you will have the opportunity to taste many of the flavors of southern England including local cheeses and breads, locally caught fish, homemade clotted cream ice cream, traditional fine ales, cider and wine while visiting places such as Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, New Forest and Dorset.
Small group tours depart every Sunday from May 5 - September 29, 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.
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 multi day 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, West George Street, London, W8 4PT.
The first stop of your journey takes you to Portsmouth, noted for being the UK’s only island city. A significant naval port for many centuries, Portsmouth is home to the world's oldest dry dock as well as some famous ships, including the Tudor carrack Mary Rose and Lord Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory. You will have plenty of time to explore Portsmouth’s historical dockyard and for lunch you may like to visit Gunwharf Quays, which houses 27 restaurants including Raymond Blanc’s Brasserie Blanc and Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian.
Later today, board the ferry for your crossing to the Isle of Wight.
This evening enjoy a welcome dinner that features fresh seasonal and local produce.
The Royal Hotel is a refined, elegant historic jewel and has been a destination for the discerning traveller for more than 180 years. Built in 1832, The Royal is one of the oldest hotels on the island and shares the rare privilege of being one of only 30 establishments to be listed in every Michelin Guide since it was first published in 1911. The Royal was also the first hotel on the island to achieve Four AA Stars and has held 2 AA Rosettes for excellent food over 15 years. The tone is English country house with a contemporary twist using silks, rich velvets and elegant toile de jouy fabrics - with the emphasis on detail, luxury and comfort.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Start your day by exploring the delights of the Isle of Wight. One of the places you visit today is Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s royal seaside palace, where she spent such happy times with Prince Albert and their nine children. Filled with original furnishings and priceless works of art, you'll gain a glimpse into the private life of the royal family, and have the opportunity to admire the delightful gardens.
Lunch today will be at Priory Bay, a luxury country house hotel, set within a 70-acre estate. Before sitting down to a sumptuous 3-course lunch, enjoy a 45 minute culinary experience with either the Head sommelier or the Head chef.
During the day you will also visit one of the oldest vineyards in Britain, where it is believed that Roman Gentry drank wine grown here over 2,000 years ago.
This morning you will visit Carisbrooke Castle, where King Charles I was famously imprisoned prior to his execution. Although over 800 years old, the castle is beautifully preserved and the views from the battlements are superb. You will then embark on a scenic drive to Yarmouth, a busy little town built by Henry VIII to protect England from invading forces.
In the afternoon you will take the ferry back to the mainland and make your way to Buckler’s Hard, which played such an important part in Britain’s shipbuilding history. An 18th century maritime village, Nelson’s vessels were once built here, and it is fascinating to wander around this unique attraction and learn about its history.
The approach to Moorhill House Hotel is an experience in itself. The long drive winds through sun-dappled woodland, eventually reaching this inviting hotel. From the moment you arrive at the hotel you'll surely enjoy the peaceful atmosphere that comes from being tucked away in the woods as you share the view and peace and quiet with the New Forest ponies and deer that regularly roam around outside the hotel. Sit for a while in the lounge overlooking the gardens with direct access to the woods. This Burley hotel has a traditional English lawn for guests to play croquet and badminton on, and you can enjoy afternoon tea in the hotel's beautiful gardens.
Your first stop today is Palmers Old Brewery, where you'll get to go behind the scenes to see the brewing process that creates the distinctive taste of Palmers five fine draught ales.
Lunch today will be at the award-winning River Cottage Canteen and Deli, whose famous ethos is creating amazing food using only the finest seasonal produce from local suppliers.
This afternoon you will visit a family-run farm shop to meet some local characters and then head to Honiton once famous for its lace making. Whilst there it`s highly recommend a visit to the Honiton Ice Cream Shop, which makes 48 flavours of handmade clotted ice cream on the premises. Your tour today ends in Sidmouth, your base for the next two nights.
An elegant relaxing retreat at the centre of Sidmouth's delightful historic esplanade, The Kingswood & Devoran Hoteland is backed by 60 years of renowned family service and hospitality. Comfortable surroundings that mix the best of tradition and contemporary style, it is an ideal base for exploring the town's excellent variety of independent shops and just a stones throw away from the beach. The flower-filled patio, restaurant and lounges all overlook the sea with stunning views of the World Heritage Coast.
Today you will wind your way through the back roads of Devon through the picturesque village of Branscombe to Beer, a small fishing village that developed around a smugglers' cove where contraband goods were once stored. Continue to Lyme Regis, the ‘Pearl of Dorset’, which has a great local reputation for its food and drink.
Lunch today is at the restaurant of Lyme’s very own ‘celebrity chef’ Mark Hix – the Hix Oyster & Fish House. This restaurant, with stunning panoramic views across the Jurassic coast, is easily one of the most picturesque spots to enjoy fresh British seafood.
Return to Sidmouth this afternoon.
Today you will travel to Berkshire, briefly stopping en route in a Shaftesbury, a small market town with a history that goes back to medieval times and hill-top forts.
Lunch today will be at Marco Pierre White’s award-winning Wheelers Inn at the Carnarvon Arms.
After lunch you will enjoy a traditional narrow boat experience on the Kennet and Avon canal before returning to London where the tour ends.
Your Small Group Tour ends this afternoon in London 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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