England is a country that is at once steeped in history and firmly entrenched in the present. Whether you are interested in walking in the footsteps of writers from centuries ago or seeing the cutting edge of modern theater, there is something to excite your imagination on an England tour. The country is both quiet walks in the countryside and boisterous crowds at football matches. It is Shakespeare and the Beatles. It is a warm cup of tea at the Ritz and a frosty pint at the local pub, and whichever drink ignites your fancy, you are cordially invited to have a seat and take a sip.
Tour the London of Dickens
Charles Dickens was an inveterate stroller of the city in which he lived. Today, the routes that he walked are the grounds for historical London tours, which use his favorite haunts as the basis for an exploration of history. Take a private guided expedition through famous London attractions such as Charing Cross railway station which sits on the former site of a factory where Dickens worked when he was just a lad of 12.
From there, observe many of the other things to do in London, including Buckingham Street, residence of fictional Dickens character David Copperfield; Temple, the legal quarter where Dickens worked as a stenographer; and Fleet Street, home to the author’s beloved Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub. To walk this tour is to see London not only as it once was, but as it is now, a palimpsest of traditions and cultural artifacts.
Dine in London's Oldest Restaurant
There are hundreds of dynamic London eateries, each offering its own take on a particular dish or cuisine. Only one, however, has the distinction of being the oldest restaurant in the city: Rules.
Since the 18th century, Rules has been serving traditional English food. In 1789, the same year that Napoleon began his campaign in Egypt, Thomas Rule assured his family that he would settle down and find a stable trade. They were surprised when that trade turned out to be opening an oyster bar, and even more flabbergasted when it not only succeeded but thrived.
The writers of the day were smitten with Rule’s take on “porters, pies and oysters”, and even today it remains one of the best and most celebrated pubs in London. It has outlasted nine different monarchs, dishing out filling portions of traditional fare like game birds and seasonal summer pudding.
Have a Spot of Tea
Afternoon tea has a rich tradition in London, having been introduced by Anna Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840. While people have been enjoying the drink for millennia, she cemented its status in Britain as a pastime, turning a simple beverage into a fashionable social event for the highest strata of society.
The tradition of London tea is alive and well today, and is one of the most quintessentially British experiences for visitors and locals alike. If you are searching for the best afternoon tea in London, your quest will invariably lead you to one of two places, each with a storied past: Harrods and the Ritz.
Located in a world-famous department store, tea at Harrod’s is a sophisticated, glamorous affair. A recent renovation by world-renowned designer Christopher Guy Harrison has only added to its sumptuousness, which is at once stylish and relaxing. Weekends are a special treat, as a live pianist plays every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The Ritz also serenades its guests with gentle music, with a live harpist, string quintet or pianist playing every day between 11:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. Enjoy the dulcet tones as you nibble freshly baked scones and sliced sandwiches in a setting that is the very essence of elegance.
Visit the Home of Beatrix Potter
Fans of literature, especially children’s literature, will hop at the opportunity to tour the home of Beatrix Potter, best known as the author and illustrator of ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” Published in 1902, the story has captivated the minds of children and their parents for over a century.
To learn more about what motivated Potter and her characters, take a private tour of the Lake District, the countryside where she had so many of her formative experiences. In fact, not only was Potter a writer, she also farmed the land, and was a champion of the local herdwick sheep. Make your way along stunning lakeside vistas and mountain views to Hill Top, her childhood home, which has been carefully preserved by the National Trust.
Potter is not the only prominent writer to have come out of the Lake District. In fact, the area was instrumental in the works of poets like Williams Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey. Learn more about them as well, and how the connection they were able to forge with the natural world revealed itself in the imagery they used during the tour.
Traverse the Yorkshire Moors
In their brief but powerful careers, Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte produced some of the most beloved works in the western canon, including “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights.” The natural environment they lived in both informed and animated their literature, and they were fond of walking along those moorland pathways, contemplating life and literature.
Relive their experiences by traversing the Yorkshire Moors. Wide, open spaces punctuated by large rocks and torrential waterfalls, the moors are a conduit to a time before airplane travel and smartphones. End your tour at the house where the sisters lived and wrote, which has now been preserved as a museum.
American and Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 90 days beyond the intended return date in order to enter and depart the country. Tourists must also provide proof of return or onward travel. Each traveler is responsible for ensuring that his/her passport is up to date. Citizens of other nationalities should check with respective authorities before departure.
Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately.
Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport.
A visa is not required for citizens of the U.S. and Canada. Citizens from other countries may require a valid visa. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the British Embassy for the most up-to-date visa information.
Cancelation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Medical facilities in England are comparable to North American facilities. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty medical bill. Insurance can be purchased through us.
We always recommend that you see a doctor or health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. They will best determine your vaccination and medication needs based on your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, planned activities and up-to-the-minute requirement changes. For all vaccinations and health requirements, we also recommend that you consult the World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://wwwnc.cdc.gov.
If there are any medical items that are essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage. While non-prescription drugs such as aspirin are generally available, it is difficult to replace prescription items.
England has mild temperatures, not much lower than 0° C in winter and not much higher than 32° C in summer. The coldest months are January and February while July is normally the warmest. The weather is frequently damp and rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year. For up-to-date forecasts, check weather.com.
Electricity in England is supplied at 240 volts. Square, three-pin sockets are standard in England. A multi-adaptor with different plug configurations can be very useful. We advise not to bring a hair dryer as it could blow a fuse.
Phone: Roaming charges vary between carriers, but tend to be quite costly. Consult your phone provider prior to departure to discuss overseas rates and international package options. It is also possible to purchase a SIM card locally to avoid international charges when calling numbers within England. (You should check to see that your cell phone is SIM card compatible.)
Internet: Internet cafés and wireless access is available in most urban areas, airports and hotels throughout England.
Generally speaking, we advise bringing £70-100 per day, per person, for spending money. Notes are in denominations of £50, £20, £10 and £5. Coins are in denominations of £2 and £1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 pence. Be sure to bring lots of small bills for porters, wait staff and housekeeping (not obligatory and based on your satisfaction). We recommend that you bring approximately 100 dollars of spare cash in small denominations to have ready for tips and expenses when you first arrive.
We recommend that you get local currency from your bank before you leave home or from a bank machine in-country which is much cheaper than an exchange service at the airport or in tourist areas. Your bank card may work, but Visa or MasterCard are more widely accepted. You will need a 4-digit PIN to be able to use your cards in Europe.
Currency: Pound sterling (GBP)
Time Zone: UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) +1 hour
Electricity: 220-230 volts
Telephone: Country code for calling you from outside England is 44
Calling North America: Dial 001 and your 10 digit number
Emergency numbers in England: Medical: 15; Police: 17; Fire: 18.