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 April 8, 2015- October 18, 2015 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).
For your added comfort, we will have a Meet & Greet assistant for you upon your arrival. A representative will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall after you pass through customs to assist. If a private airport transfer has been arranged, this representative will help to co-ordinate meeting up with your private chauffeur at the airport. You will then be escorted to the vehicle and onto the hotel to assist with check in.
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.
Transfer using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
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 Grange Wellington Hotel, 71-72 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PA.
Leave London and travel to the tiny market city of Wells, known for its attractive cathedral, Bishop's Palace 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.
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.
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. In the delightful old fishing town of St Ives, wander along cobbled streets between pretty fishermen’s cottages to uncover the legend, history and tradition of this ancient town. You will then journey to the Minack Theatre, Cornwall's world famous open-air cliff-face theatre. 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.
Your first visit today is to the 26 acre sub-tropical Gardens of Trebah, leading down to the banks of the beautiful Helford River. Later, you will be driven to Tregothnan Estate, internationally recognised as the home of English tea. Accompanied by a member of the estate's gardening team, explore Cornwall’s largest private botanical gardens, as well as the tea plantation, before continuing to your hotel in Fowey.
After a leisurely start to your day, your journey continues along the south Cornish coast to the quaint fishing village of Polperro. This afternoon, visit the magnificent Buckfast Abbey before continuing to your hotel in Hawkchurch near Lyme Regis, where you will enjoy a farewell dinner together.
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. Here is where you have the opportunity to see the original Magna Carta. Your tour ends upon your return to London.
Your Small Group Tour ends this afternoon upon arrival at The Grange Wellington 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.
Built by the Victorian railway pioneers in 1862, The Grosvenor Hotel (formerly the Thistle Victoria) ushered in a golden age of travel. Restored to its former glory in a multi-million pound refurbishment, this Grade II listed building combines modern luxury, including free wi-fi throughout the hotel, with the finest Victorian architecture and unique period features. Enjoy the best of London from the 4-star Grosvenor Hotel, located within walking distance of Buckingham Palace and to Victoria mainline railway station.
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.
Picture yourself a guest in a well-run country house where hospitality is key and heritage and evolution co-exist to ensure the perfect stay. Gaze at spectacular Falmouth Bay on the horizon and know that you are perfectly positioned to enjoy all the Cornish Riviera has to offer. This is Merchants Manor, Falmouth’s premier country house hotel.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
The Fowey Hotel is a four star hotel based in the historic town of Fowey in Cornwall and is situated overlooking the stunning River Fowey. The Fowey Hotel has one of the most stunning locations on the mild south Cornish coast - perched on a hillside and overlooking the historic town of Fowey.
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.
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."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
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."
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."
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 Westlund ,
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 bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements 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. 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. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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