England, Guernsey, Sark, Jersey & France - This journey combines the very best of British and French culture focusing on history, nature and tradition. Exploring the Channel Islands, a truly unique corner of the British Isles where British and French influences meet, is a fascinating experience. Learn about the German Occupation, which forms an important part of the history of WWII on Guernsey, step into a world where there are no cars or buses on Sark and discover Jersey’s richly textured history..
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 other Wednesday from April 15,2015 - September 16, 2015.
PLEASE NOTE: Condor Ferries released a significantly different sailing timetable for 2015 on 1st December 2014. Their new larger and faster ship will now sail from Poole instead of Weymouth and due to its larger size, it is more susceptible to the tidal variations of the English Channel. As a result different departures dates will operate with a different itinerary. The itinerary below is applicable to the tours departing 15th April, 29th April and 22nd July 2015. Full itinerary details for all other departures will be provided at time of booking.
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 grayest 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 they 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.
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 15 mins before this) at the Grange Wellington Hotel, 71-72 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PA.
Your first visit brings royalty alive today as you explore the world’s largest occupied and oldest garrisoned fortress, Windsor Castle; the official residence of the Queen. In Winchester, the former capital of England, enjoy some free time – a visit to Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest in Europe, is highly recommended!
Overnight accommodation in the Dorset countryside.
After a wonderful start to your journey, tonight you'll have an opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow travelers over a welcome dinner.
Today if time allows, you will visit the imposing Maiden Castle near Dorchester, a large Iron Age hill fort with multiple ramparts, before traveling by ferry to Guernsey and enjoying some free time in St Peter Port. Discover its beautiful seafront marina, wander along its narrow cobbled streets, or simply sit back and relax with a coffee to watch the world go by.
Later, you will continue to Sausmarez Manor for a private tour of the house, which has been altered many times since the early 13th century, with major changes occurring during Tudor, Queen Anne, Regency and Victorian times.
This morning, catch the ferry to Sark, an island where no cars or buses are allowed. Walk, or take the ‘toast-rack’ (a tractor-drawn bus), up to Britain’s quietest capital, filled with quaint shops and cafes. You may wish to hire a bike or perhaps treat yourself to a horse and carriage tour, where your driver will reveal Sark’s secrets. After a day of independent exploration, return by ferry to Guernsey.
Guernsey was occupied by Germany from 1940 to 1945; you will learn more about this period today on your tour drive to the German Occupation Museum. The museum houses an extensive collection of original Occupation items and documents, including many extremely rare pieces before meeting Molly Bihet, who was just nine years old when the Nazis arrived in 1940. Molly will re-count stories of what life was like on Guernsey during this difficult time. Later, travel by ferry to Jersey.
Today you will visit Elizabeth Castle, the castle which has defended Jersey for more than 400 years, before spending the afternoon at leisure in St Helier. You may choose to visit the Maritime Museum or the Jersey Museum, which offers a great introduction to Jersey through the ages. Aferwards, enjoy an evening at leisure in St Aubin village, a picturesque fishing harbour.
At La Hougue Bie, one of the finest Neolithic passage graves in Western Europe, learn about life here 6,000 years ago and see ancient treasures in the museum. After exploring Mont Orgueil Castle, which has protected Jersey for over 600 years against a French invasion, enjoy some free time in Gorey harbour.
Take the ferry to France today and drive to medieval Dinan with its winding cobbled streets and half-timbered houses. After a delicious lunch in a very traditional French restaurant and some time at leisure to explore this town independently, you will travel to the old walled city of St. Malo, which will be your base for the next three nights.
Enjoy a walking tour of St. Malo today and explore its maze of small narrow streets. At the Chateau de St. Malo, see exhibits covering all elements of St. Malo’s historic past that has included piracy, colonialism, slave trading and the German Occupation in WWII. The rest of the day is yours at leisure.
Today, wind your way along the Normandy coast towards the rocky islet of Mont Saint-Michel. You will enjoy a full day here to wander its narrow streets and visit the magnificent gothic style abbey, which was built between the 11th and the 16th centuries.
Mont Saint-Michel is an island commune in Normandy, France. It is located approximately a kilometre off the country's northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches. The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times, and since the eighth century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it. On top God, the abbey and monastery, below this the Great halls, then stores and housing, and at the bottom, outside the walls, fishermen and farmers' housing. One of France's most recognizable landmarks, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Today, explore the fabulous Chateau de Fougeres, which tells a wonderful story revealing both its own history and that of the Marches of Brittany. Later drive to Sainte Suzanne, one of the prettiest villages of France, before reaching Laval, where you will stay overnight.
Tonight, meet with your fellow travelers over dinner for the final time.
Today you will travel to the Cathedral of Chartres, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is one of the best examples of gothic architecture in the world. It is perfectly preserved with its marvellous stonework and exquisite 12th and 13th century stained-glass windows. From Chartres, you will set out to Paris, where your tour ends.
Your small group tour concludes this afternoon in Paris at Hotel la Demeure, 51 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75005, Paris at approximately 5.30pm.
Take a private hotel transfer with a private vehicle and driver.
See all of the sites that are of personal interest to you while availing of the metro system (within zones 1 - 3) with your two day (consecutive) pass. The Paris Museum Pass is offering free access to over 60 museums and monuments in and around Paris such as the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Orsay museum, Musee Rodin and Pompidou museum. You will also enjoy a commentated cruise with Bateaux Parisiens on one of these two days.
Your English speaking professional guide will meet you at your hotel for a tour of the local's Paris. As well as showing you the highlights of Paris (the city is very accessible on foot) your guide will tell you the history of the city and show you the city from a local's point of view.NB: If you have, a specific area of Paris you would be interested to explore let us know and we can request a specialist guide, along with adding a Metro Pass where necessary.
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Paris in a private vehicle with a professional driver. Please note drivers may or may not speak English as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another. If you would like to have the presence of an English speaking Assistant or Guide for your transfer this can be pre-arranged upon request and would be subject to an additional supplement.
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.
Mortons House is a 16th century Elizabethan Manor Hotel and restaurant in beautiful Dorset in the heart of historic Corfe Castle. Built in 1590, Mortons House has retained its unique period features, with each of its 21 bedrooms having their own charm and appeal. The hotel’s location in picturesque Corfe Castle in the Isle of Purbeck, is ideal for guests wishing to enjoy comfort, exceptional food, and a warm welcome. Mortons is on the door step of some must-see locations along the Jurassic Coast with the beautiful beaches at Studland, Swanage and Lulworth being just a short drive away, not to mention the steam train to Swanage passing by the garden!
The Duke of Richmond Hotel stands on the site originally occupied by what is generally accepted to be Guernsey’s oldest hotel - in Berry’s History of Guernsey, dated 1815, there is a charming engraving of Grover’s Hotel, and this appears to be on the exact site of the present building. The hotel was named after the Third Duke of Richmond, who as Master of the Ordnance had commissioned the famous map of the island of Guernsey in 1769. In 1977 further extensive development resulted in the building of a new sea-view facing block for its rear rooms, four of which had balconies. Various upgrades and on-going refurbishment continued throughout the next thirty four years. Red Carnation Hotels acquired it in 2011 and totally refurbished it once again.
Please note that your hotel may be the above, or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
The charming Greenhills Country Hotel and Restaurant stands within delightful gardens, snuggled attractively in a tranquil setting in the heart of Jersey's 'Green Lane' Parish of St Peter. Retaining the character and architectural features of its origins, circa 1674, one experiences the unique atmosphere and intimacy of a small country house of that period. Greenhills Country Hotel has a peaceful setting in the heart of the green lanes of St. Peter and offers an outdoor heated pool and pretty, colourful gardens.
The Oceania Saint Malo Hotel faces the sea and is located on Chaussée du Sillon, opposite Sillon Beach. It offers luxurious rooms and guests have free access to the outdoor hot tub. he terrace has a panoramic sea view. The open-air hot tub is located on the patio near the vegetable garden. The modern fitness room includes the latest exercise equipment. The lounge bar in the Oceania Saint Malo offers a variety of cocktails and drinks and can accommodate private cocktail parties. It also offers a dining menu for evening meals.
The Hôtel Périer Du Bignon is located in the Mayenne town of Laval. It has an outdoor swimming pool and spacious guestrooms with LCD TVs and free internet. The hotel's L'Epicurien restaurant serves gastronomic cuisine in the dining room overlooking the garden. Guests of the Périer Du Bignon can also relax with a drink in the bar.
The Hôtel Périer Du Bignon is situated a short walk from Laval Cathedral. The A 81 motorway is 9 kilometres from the hotel and Laval Train Station is just 2 km away.
Ideally located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés (3*), stands the Belloy Saint Germain hotel. Since 1871, the Belloy Saint Germain has been providing guests quality accommodation with refined, undisturbed serenity in this upscale quarter of the city, only minutes away from some renowned Parisian sites and monuments including the Odéon, the Luxembourg Gardens and the Pantheon of Paris. Each of the 50 guest rooms at the Belloy are elegantly designed with a sense of classical refinement in mind. Each room features a range of modern amenities to satisfy the needs of the savviest traveller. Before heading out to explore some of the many beauties of the “City of Lights” for the day, it is important that each guest enjoys a hardy, delicious breakfast, something taken very seriously by the culinary staff at the Belloy. The buffet breakfast boasts freshly baked breads and pastries, fresh and if possible, locally produced dairy products and cheeses, fruits and so much more. With comfort and elegance, landmarks and culture sheer minutes away from the entrance way, the Belloy Saint Germain provides guests of all ages a great place to rest while visiting one of Europe’s greatest cities.
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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