Explore the Lakes and Dales of Northern England on a small group multi day tour. This itinerary is designed to introduce you to the countryside that so inspired William Wordsworth and other Lakeland poets and authors, including Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin and the landscapes of J W Turner. Explore the Lancashire and Yorkshire dales, specifically the area known universally as Bronte Country in memory of the three Bronte sisters. Spend time in tranquil Windemere - England's largest natural lake and the fortified city of York, soak in the stunning scenery and stay in idyllic, English style Inns throughout.
With a maximum group size of 16, 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 depart every Monday from April 28, to October 13, 2014 and are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 participants.
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 for your private airport transfer today.
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.
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.
Meet up with your Tour Leader and fellow travellers this morning. The rendezvous is at 8:30am (please be here 15 mins prior to departure) at The Place Hotel, 34-38 York Place Edinburgh, EH1 3HU.
Your first port of call today is the Royal Yacht Britannia. Launched in April 1953, the ship was the Queen’s floating residence for 44 years. Now permanently berthed in Leith, Edinburgh, visitors can explore the five main decks which house the Royal Apartments, the Crew’s Quarters and the Engine Room. Leaving Edinburgh, travel to the Glenkinchie Distillery, which was founded in 1837. Here, you will tour the production area and learn how whisky is made with the opportunity for a tasting. Travelling south, stop in The Ancient and Royal Burgh of Peebles and the historic spa town of Moffat, before making your way to a restored 15th century medieval Scottish castle where you will enjoy a three-course Scottish banquet together and stay overnight.
Enjoy a 3-course Scottish themed banquet dinner this evening 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.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Travelling into England, your first stop this morning is at Birdoswald Roman Fort, one of the best Roman sites on Hadrian’s Wall. Follow the wall for a while, through the lovely scenery of the Northumberland National Park, before travelling through the Pennines, ‘the backbone of England’ to Alston, with its cobbled main street. This was once a major lead-mining area so look out for mine remains. Continue to drive through the lush, green valley of the River Eden, one of England’s best salmon rivers.
Finally you will visit one of the finest stately homes in Cumbria, Levens Hall, converted to its current style in 1590 with wonderful gardens dating from 1694. Arrive in Windermere which will be your base for the next two nights.
Discover peaceful surroundings and breathtaking views of the English Lake District at Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel. Located just outside the lakeside village of Bowness-on-Windermere, Lindeth Howe overlooks Lake Windermere, the largest lake in the country and the Cumbrian fells beyond.
This unique 4 star country house hotel was once owned by the best-loved children's author Beatrix Potter, and boasts 34 beautiful bedrooms, cosy lounges and a fantastic 2 AA Rosette Dining Room which is also open to non residents. Guests are also invited to relax by the indoor pool, sauna, fitness room and indulge in various body treatments and massages.
Please note that your hotel may be the above, or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Today you will enjoy one of Britain’s most beautiful national parks. Crossing the largest lake, Windermere, your first stop is Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s home and inspiration for his Daffodils poem. Afterwards, wind your way through the quiet back roads of this beautiful region, stopping for lunch in one of the countless picturesque villages in the area.
This afternoon, continue to Hawkshead, home of the Beatrix Potter Gallery and the Old Grammar School, attended by William Wordsworth, which still houses the original school desk he used as a pupil. Next is a visit to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm, still as she left it and where some of her famous characters were created. Crossing the largest lake, Windermere, return to your country house accommodation.
Leave the Lake District and soon enter the third of this tour’s National Parks, the Yorkshire Dales. This morning you will travel to Hawes to learn about the making of Wensleydale Cheese (enjoying a revival since Wallace & Gromit declared it their favourite!).
You will then continue exploring the quaint villages and wonderful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales before stopping in Richmond, a vibrant market town filled with Norman, medieval and Georgian architecture, picturesque ruins and a fascinating history.
Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner together in your Georgian country house hotel in Northallerton.
Standing proudly aloft at the end of its sweeping drive, the hotel provokes an intake of breath from all who approach it. Inside the hotel, the facilities are designed to blend the traditional old English charm of the Hall with modern amenities so as to ensure guests enjoy a relaxing and comfortable experience.
This morning, make your way to Whitby, dipping into the imposing North Yorkshire Moors on the way. After visiting the museum, chronicling a young Captain Cook’s training as a seaman before embarking on his epic voyages of discovery, you have some free time to explore. Why not visit the Magpie Cafe to taste their wonderful fish and chips, reputedly the best in Britain.
From Whitby, drive to the historic city of York, one of Britain’s true gems! As historic cities go, York has to be one of the UK’s most beautiful and atmospheric. Narrow lanes house small, interesting shops, a wealth of fascinating visitor attractions and, of course, the amazing York Minster. On arrival in York your tour comes to an end.
Your Small Group Tour ends this afternoon in York at 5:30pm. (Hotel to be determined). Bid farewell to your Guide and fellow travellers as you close the chapter on this part of your travels.
Transfer using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
Grange York (4*) is a classic Grade II listed property built circa 1830 for a wealthy member of the York clergy, The Grange Hotel is one of the finest luxury hotels in York. With its excellent city centre location, this award winning boutique hotel is renowned for its relaxed and stylish ambience, luxury accommodation and first-class friendly service. Located in the heart of the City of York, there is a free private hotel car park available for residents at the rear of the hotel. Please note that spaces are limited and available on a first come first served basis. Guests have two of the best restaurants in York to choose from at The Grange Hotel. The AA 2 rosette Ivy Brasserie restaurant provides a regularly changing menu of modern classic dishes created from the best seasonal and locally produced ingredients. Our second restaurant, The New York Grill & Cafe Bar is located in the original brick vaulted cellars of the hotel, and serves a range of delicious succulent steaks and grills.
Meet your driver for a private train station transfer.
Enjoy the 3 hour train ride from York to London.
Meet your driver for a private train station transfer in London.
Take a London Eye River Cruise and see London from a different perspective. Enjoy a unique 40 minute circular sightseeing cruise on the River Thames with fascinating live commentary that brings the city to life, presented by specialist guides. Views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
The Millennium Baileys Hotel (4*) is located in the heart of fashionable Kensington, and combines a unique sense of style and charm. A magnificently restored Victorian town house hotel dating back to 1876. As elegant as the era in which it was established, this gem still retains many of its original features, with sweeping staircase, stained-glass windows and intricate stonework. The hotel is close to many of London's major attractions including Hyde Park, Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert Museums, and most exclusive shopping districts. Millennium Bailey's Hotel offers its guests a choice of comfortable accommodation units decorated in warm colours ensuring a relaxed and welcoming feel. With its diverse mix of international restaurants and relaxing bars, the Millennium Bailey's can cater to many tastes by offering the finest of world cuisine. The Fitness Centre located in the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, provides an excellent choice of exercise equipment.
Depart for your Magic of London tour with Champagne tea at Harrods, plus Thames River Cruise. Following your coach drive past some of London's most famous landmarks including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, arrive at the Tower of London where you will be met on the middle drawbridge by a Yeoman Warder. You will be led into this world heritage site before it opens to the public and taken on a private guided tour explaining the history behind this fortress of imprisonment. You will be the first group to see the Crown Jewels before enjoying some free time to explore on your own. Why not visit Traitors Gate, the armouries or the Bloody Tower and keep an eye out for the famous Ravens. Departing from the Tower, head to The Mall to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony as one of the Queen's Household Regiments march from St. James Palace to Buckingham Palace, dressed in their world famous tunics and busbies.Next, take a short cruise on the River Thames, enjoying excellent views of St. Paul's Cathedral and Shakespeare's Globe, before heading for a traditional pub lunch in Whitehall, close to Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister (lunch/drink not included). After lunch, there is opportunity for a photo stop at Westminster Abbey.The afternoon part of the tour begins with a visit to St Paul's Cathedral. Explore the masterpiece designed by Wren in 1673 with a professional guide, taking time to listen to the 1695 organ that Mendelssohn once played and visit the tombs of Nelson and Wellington. There will also be a chance to test the unique acoustics of the Whispering Gallery (not normally visited by other tour groups.). On Sundays when there is restricted viewing at the Cathedral, there will be an opportunity to enter and enjoy one of the services. Then, head through Knightsbridge to one of the world's most famous stores: Harrods, where you finish your day with a Champagne tea served on the fourth floor Georgian Restaurant. Relax and enjoy the 5 star service while listening to the live pianist (performs on Saturdays and Sundays only). The tour ends at Harrods, leaving you with free time to explore the store at your leisure.
As of December 1, 2013 the champagne tea will be moved to the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
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."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Our time in Dubrovnik and Split were awesome, in hind sight we both wished we would have went back to Split from Plitvice Lakes rather than carry on to Zagreb. We both found Split much more appealing and would have definitely preferred to spend another night there rather than Zagreb. We’ll know for next time! Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
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