This comprehensive journey is tailored to those who want to fully experience British history and culture. In England we celebrate ‘Great British Puddings’ at the world-famous Pudding Club, shop at Chester’s Rows and explore Bronte and Wordsworth country. In north Wales we wind our way through the hidden valleys of Snowdonia National Park and in southern Scotland we visit mysterious castles and stately homes.
The small group tours depart from April 3 - October 16, 2014 (at times more on a weekly basis) and have a maximum of 16 people per trip.
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 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 Doubletree by Hilton London Westminster (4*) formerly The Mint Hotel Westminster is ideally located in the heart of central London in Westminster. You can reach the West End, the London Eye, Tate Britain and other attractions with absolute ease. The 460 hotel rooms and suites are styled with absolute consideration for your comfort, with multimedia Apple iMac, fresh air conditioning, floods of natural daylight and White Company luxury toiletries to make guests feel at home. Enjoy a bite to eat in the award-winning City Café. The hotel's destination restaurant offers quality British Cuisine created by the Head Chef who combines the freshest local ingredients to create mouth-watering seasonal dishes with a modern twist. Alternatively, relax in the sophisticated surroundings of the Millbank Lounge bar with its vibrant mix of whisky, wine and cocktails.
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 is always plenty happening during the evening in London, regardless of the season or time of year. Consider spending an enjoyable evening at the theatre or watching a broadway musical. Alternatively, a dinner cruise or a medieval banquet dinner in the company of Henry VIII complete with jousting knights, minstrels, troupers and strolling players by flickering torchlight in the vaulted cellars of Ivory House, just a stones throw from the Tower of London and Tower Bridge may catch your fancy. Please speak to your Sales Advisor if any of these options are of interest.
Meet with your small group and driver/guide who you will be in the company of for the next nine days. The Meeting point is the Grange Wellington Hotel, 71-72 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PA at 8:30am. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure.
Transfer to the small group meeting point using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
After London, there is no better introduction to England than Oxford. The ‘city of dreaming spires’ is beautiful but has more to offer than just looks. Its university has ensured that it is rich in the history. Poets and politicians, artists and scientists – they’ve been coming here for over 800 years. See the grandest of all Oxford’s colleges, Christ Church, once the home of Lewis Carroll, before enjoying a guided walk of the city.
After lunch you`ll drive to a traditional 18th century woollen-mill in the Cotswolds, to learn about the industry that represents the cornerstone of Cotswold heritage. Continue to wind your way through the lovely, honey-coloured villages and little towns of the Cotswold Hills. The small group touring vehicles will allow getting down narrow country lanes as you travel to the selected Cotswold accommodation this evening.
Tonight you will have a welcome dinner at the world famous 'Pudding Club'.
Three Ways House Hotel, a Cotswold village Hotel in Gloucestershire. Home of the world famous Pudding Club®. This hotel offers high levels of hospitality, delicious food and comfortable rooms. There are 48 individually styled bedrooms; the superior rooms are located in the Main House, whilst six of the seven quirky Pudding theme rooms are located in the Garden Wing. There are a number of ground floor rooms; some of these have pretty, private patio gardens. Each morning you can enjoy a selection from the extensive breakfast buffet served in the Restaurant. Randalls Bar Brasserie come and enjoy a pint of Real Ale by the open fire, or in the garden in the summer, coffee and homemade biscuits or Afternoon Tea.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
After waking in this idyllic place, leave the Cotswolds to drive across the fruit growing Vale of Evesham to Worcester. Off the tourist trail here, enjoy a visit to one of England’s quietest but most interesting cathedrals, and see the tomb of infamous King John who was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.
Continue northwards to the town of Much Wenlock. Impossibly quaint, this little town is home to a big secret, the birthplace of the modern Olympics. Then a short drive brings you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ironbridge to see the first arch bridge in the world to be made ouf of cast iron. The day culminates with a drive across lush dairy country to historic Chester, once the Roman City of Deva, and your comfortable accommodation for the night.
Crabwall Manor is a Hotel that oozes history and charm. Dating back to before 1066, this beautuful hotel has experienced love and care through the years with many updates and refurbishments to make it the relaxing and tranquil manor house that it is today.
Located just on the outskirts of Chester, Crabwall Manor is the ideal base for exploring the local area. You can even take advantage of the pretty gardens and well-equipped leisure club. And let's not forget the peace and tranquillity of the on-site Spa where you can be pampered to your hearts content.
Please note that your hotel may be the above, or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Leaving proper exploration of Chester until tomorrow, be prepared to be awe-struck as you travel across the border into Wales to explore Snowdonia National Park, an area of outstanding beauty. This National Park is gathered around the highest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdon. It has narrow mountain passes, gushing streams (or ‘nants’), cascading waterfalls, sheep-covered uplands and verdant, hidden valleys that claim the resting place of the real King Arthur.
This afternoon, continue back to Chester along the North Wales coast, visiting the most complete walled town in Britain, Conwy, in Wales, and its stark 13th century castle.
This morning you'll get to explore charming Chester, a city whose 2000 year-old history is on display like no other. Complete medieval walls surround the city on Roman foundations from which the old Roman amphitheatre, the most complete in Britain, can be seen. Marvel at Chester’s unique Rows, Britain’s first shopping mall, whose rows of medieval, ‘black and white’ buildings with covered walkways, are built upon Roman cellars and accessed from the street.
Hitting the road again, you'll travel east across England’s backbone, the Pennine hills, to proud Yorkshire and the Bronte parsonage at Haworth. After seeing what inspired the sisters to write th elikes of Jayne Eyre and Wuthering Heights, continue to York, the historic capital of northern England.
Set in its own grounds, the luxury Churchill Hotel is one of best situated hotels in York, just a short walk from the York Minster and all of York's major attractions. The building is a superb example of a late Georgian mansion built around 1827. The hotel offers visitors to York a unique experience combining luxury accommodation, fine dining and exceptional service.
York is the historic capital of northern England and home to the largest Gothic structure north of the Alps, the medieval Minster that’s a must-see for anyone visiting The North. This morning your guide will take you through the old city and point out the highlights, including the city walls, York Minster, the York Castle Museum, the Jorvik (Viking) Centre, Clifford’s Tower and the famous Shambles, which gets its name from the bloody medieval butchers’ shops that once lined this narrow, cobbled street.
This afternoon you'll have some free time to revisit some of these places or perhaps visit the National Railways Museum. You may prefer just to wander through the winding pedestrian streets, take tea at the world famous Betty’s Tearooms or something stronger in one of York’s numerous historic pubs.
Today, drive to the magnificent 18th century Castle Howard, Yorkshire’s finest historic house and estate, which has been home to the Howard family for over 300 years. You will then enjoy a scenic drive through the wonderful Yorkshire Dales National Park, stopping at a traditional Yorkshire brew house to sample award-winning ales.
Your final destination is Lake Windermere, your base for the next two nights.
The Wild Boar Hotel is set in the ancient beauty of the Gilpin Valley, and takes its name from the local legend of Sir Richard de Gilpin who bravely fought and killed a particularly ferocious wild boar close by.The bedrooms range from classic to luxury with recently refurbished individually designed rooms, that have features such as log burning stoves and copper baths. Head Chef Marc Sanders proudly continues his commitment to the best locally produced seasonal ingredients in the Grill & Smokehouse where the open kitchen offers more theatre to your overall dining experience.
Today you will enjoy one of Britain’s most beautiful national parks. Crossing Lake Windermere, your first stop is Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm, still as she left it and where some of her famous characters were created. Continue on to Hawkshead, home of the Beatrix Potter Gallery and the Old Grammar School attended by William Wordsworth, where the Museum still houses his original desk. Afterwards, wind your way through the beautiful back roads of this striking region, stopping for lunch in one of the countless picturesque villages in the area.
This afternoon, you will visit Dove Cottage, once home to the poet William Wordsworth and inspiration for his Daffodils poem. At the end of the day, enjoy a short cruise on the lake before returning to your accommodation.
This morning you will through the forgotten country of Westmorland to Alston. Located high up in the North Pennies, Alston claims to be the highest market settlement in England. Driving through the lovely scenery of Northumberland, you follow Hadrian’s Wall until you reach Birdoswald Roman Fort, one of the best Roman sites on Hadrian’s Wall. Tonight you will stay in a restored 15th century medieval Scottish castle in Clarencefield.
Enjoy a 3-course Scottish themed farewell banquet dinner this evening together with your fellow travellers.
Comlongon Castle, near Gretna in Scotland, is a restored 15th Century Medieval Scottish Castle Wedding Venue and luxurious Baronial Hotel with 14 individually themed luxury en-suite 4-poster bedrooms and Honeymoon Lodge. It has fantastic displays of Armour, weapons and banners, whilst the opulent bedrooms boast 4-poster beds and luxurious en-suite bathrooms providing a stunning blend of Medieval and modern luxury. The Castle's private 120 acre estate reveals sweeping manicured lawns, secluded gardens, ornamental carp filled ponds, paddocks and woodlands.
As you travel north you will stop briefly at the ruins of Hermitage Castle. This remote and spooky castle was the scene of many bloody battles in the territorial wars between the Scots and the English. Then pass through dramatic moorlands on the way to Scott’s View, loved by Scotland’s most famous novelist Sir Walter Scott. Continue to Melrose, home of the rugby sevens and Melrose Abbey, the burial place of Robert the Bruce’s heart. In the afternoon visit one of the most mysterious sites in Scotland, Rosslyn Chapel, which was featured in the best-selling film The Da Vinci Code. Drive towards Edinburgh, where your tour comes to an end.
You will be dropped off at The Place, 34-38 York Place Edinburgh, EH1 3HU, at approximately 5.30pm. Bid your Driver/Guide and fellow passengers farewell as you get ready for your continuing travel plans.
Please bear in mind that drop-off time is an estimate only – traffic can be unpredictable!
Transfer using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
This is a fantastically central hotel, located in the heart of Grassmarket, steps away from Edinburgh Castle in the Old Town. The Apex City (4*) is located next door to its sister hotel, the Apex International. One of the best hotels in Edinburgh, the Yu Spa leisure facilities are based at the Apex International Hotel next door, and are available to residents free of charge and open daily. Facilities include ozone pool, tropicarium, plunge shower and gym with state-of-the-art technogym equipment.
Meet your driver for your private airport transfer today.
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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