This versatile tour of England spans five days and laces in history, culture, architecture, and relaxation. Land in London and spend the first two days touring the sights, from Windsor Castle to Eaton College. Next, head to the charming Cotswolds for afternoon tea in Blenheim Palace and countryside horse trekking. Then, it's on to Bath to take literary and photo tours of the ancient city, followed by a twilight spa date before the grand finale: an intimate morning stop at Stonehenge and a tour of a stunning gothic cathedral.
Enjoy afternoon tea at The Savoy in London and Blenheim Palace in the Cotswolds
Take a private tour of Windsor Castle, Eton College, and the sights at Runnymede
Go on literary and photo tours of Bath, followed by relaxation at Thermae Spa
Embark on an intimate, early-morning VIP experience at the ancient Stonehenge
Arrive, Afternoon Tea at the Savoy Hotel & Hampton Court Palace Tour
Windsor Castle, Eton College & Runnymede Private Tour
Castle Tour, Tea at Blenheim Palace & Cotswolds Horse Trekking
Literary and Photo Tours of Bath & Twilight Spa Package at Thermae Spa
Stonehenge Inner Circle Experience, Salisbury Cathedral Tour & Depart
Day 1: Arrive, Afternoon Tea at The Savoy Hotel & Hampton Court Palace Tour
Welcome to London! Kick off your trip with The Savoy Hotel's world-famous afternoon tea. Enjoy the 2-hour experience in the heart of the hotel's ThamesFoyer, where a stunning, glass-domed atrium radiates natural light and warmth. An impressive gazebo takes center stage as a pianist plays tunes to enhance the ambiance. This afternoon tea offering features both traditional afternoon tea and high tea favorites. More than 30 teas are accompanied by twists on classic sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream, jam, and lemon curd, along with the talented pastry team's artful selection!
Next, join a private tour of Hampton Court Palace. From London, you'll visit the well-known home of Henry VIII. Guided by a local historian, discover an appreciation for the opulence and historical significance found throughout the grounds. View the impressive Tudor frontage, the Great Hall, its great hammer-beam roof, and the sizable kitchens that once cooked meals for more than 1,000 people. See the vestiges of several of Henry VIII's six queens and visit the Great Watching Chamber, where Catherine Howard's adultery was announced, leading to her execution.
Tour the king's and queen's apartments of the 1600s joint monarchs, William III and Mary II. Learn about the functions of these rooms and the daily lives of the monarchs who used them. The Prince and Princess of Wales (the future George II and Queen Caroline) also lived at Hampton Court. They redecorated the apartments under the helm of fashionable architect and interior designer William Kent. On your travels through the apartments, you will also see great works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings and precious 16th-century tapestries.
Finally, you will move to The Gardens for a historical discussion from the Tudors to today and then wander through the many different areas. Stroll the formal gardens to the orchard, the 200-year-old Great Vine, and the Rose Garden and view the site of Henry VIII's tiltyard where tournaments were held. If desired, spend some time getting lost in Hampton Court's famous maze at the end of the tour.
Enjoy the evening in London at your leisure.
Day 2: Windsor Castle, Eton College & Runnymede Private Tour
Today, embark on another full day of exploration in London. Your private tour guide is an educated and enthusiastic local ready to share plenty of royal history and anecdotes throughout your full-day tour. Your method of transportation is a comfortable luxury taxi.
The first stop is Windsor Castle, a magnificent royal residence with roots going back almost 1,000 years to the Norman Conquest. Major expansion by monarchs from Plantagenet, Tudor, Stuart, and Georgian periods enlarged and solidified this hill fortress. Extravagant in every way and spanning seven royal dynasties, this is the monarch's weekend home of choice. Then, it's on to the stunning St. George's Chapel, which resembles a mini Westminster Abbey. Visit the royal tombs of many past kings and queens, including Edward IV, Henry VI, Henry VIII, and the present monarch's father, George VI.
Next, cross the Victorian Bridge over the River Thames, and stroll through Windsor's village neighborhood and home to exclusive Eton College. The esteemed university has educated 20 British prime ministers, as well as fictional greats Captain Hook and James Bond. Last but not least is a tour of Runnymede, where King John sealed the Magna Carta in 1215, having unsuccessfully hidden from his barons at Windsor Castle. Visit the Magna Carta Memorial, and the John F. Kennedy Memorial, which features an oak tree planted on imported American soil, along with a remarkable sculpture.
After the tour, your group will decide on lunch in Runnymede—perhaps at a local pub—before returning to London. Then, the night is yours to enjoy.
Day 3: Castle Tour, Tea at Blenheim Palace & Cotswolds Horse Trekking
Today, it's time to make the transfer from London to the countryside. Head toward Oxford, then take a bus to Blenheim Palace, home of Winston Churchill and aUNESCO World Heritage Site. However, this is no ordinary visit—you are invited to a tour that includes afternoon tea, complete with a champagne toast, in the high-ceilinged Orangery right inside the Palace! Choose from a selection of traditional finger sandwiches and scones with cream and Blenheim jam. Then comes an array of pretty cakes and pastries, and the entire experience is accompanied by unlimited loose leaf tea or coffee.
Following afternoon tea, make your way to the Cotwolds to embark on a private, 4-hour horse trek at the world-renowned Jill Carenzaïs riding facility. More than 50 horses and ponies await your arrival and cater to all activity levels. Set in the picturesque village of Stanton at the Cotswolds escarpment, head up into the hills and relish the breathtaking views among the peaceful countryside.
Following the action-packed day, check into your accommodations in Chipping Campden and enjoy the night on your own.
Day 4: Literary and Photo Tours of Bath & Twilight Spa Package at Thermae Spa
The final full day of this trip takes you to Bath, the largest city in Somerset known for its namesake Roman-built baths. Begin with a guided literary tour of Jane Austen's Bath for a glimpse inside her life and times. Your guide walks alongside you, past iconic facades and promenades with you along the lanes—as was fashionable in Regency Bath—while sharing insights about social etiquette of the past, the former nuances of life for a woman in Regency England, what was in-vogue, how life was lived, and the stories behind the buildings.
Next, get your camera ready and lace up your walking shoes; this tour can span more than 3 miles (4.8 km). Take a photography tour of Bath that covers the Royal Cresent, The Circus, Queen Square, Milsom Street, and Pulteney Bridge. Your local guide for this tour is a professional architecture photographer and will share the history of Bath and its architecture, coupled with a deep education of the Georgian era. Learn about light, balance, framing, and composition—components central to snapping a good photograph. Then, of course, try to capture some snapshots on your own.
Following plenty of touring on foot, it's time to kick back and relax. Indulge in the Twilight Spa Packageat Thermae Spa to experience the complete relaxation Bath offers. The evening spa visit includes two, 2-hour spa sessions (including use of the Minerva Bath and the open-air, indoor rooftop pool), followed by dinner and drinks in the Springs Restaurant.
Once you are in a full state of bliss, return to your hotel and rest easily, leading into your last day.
Day 5: VIP Stonehenge Inner Circle Experience, Salisbury Cathedral Tour & Depart
The last day of your trip is a special one. Wake up and make the early-morning transfer to Stonehenge for the VIP Stone Circle Experience, which takes place before regular business hours. This unforgettable, hour-long opportunity invites you inside the tranquil circle of Stonehenge with an intimate group of no more than 30 people. Get up close to this world-famous monument and learn the secrets of the stones courtesy of your knowledgeable host. Experience the power and mystique of the ancient sarsens and bluestones in person.
Upon arrival, your host will direct you to the shuttle bus for the short journey to the stones. Once you park, you're free to wander for approximately 45 minutes. While you're in the stone circle, you can take plenty of photos or marvel at their majesty. However, you cannot stand on or touch them.
Afterward, enjoy a tour of the Salisbury Cathedral. Wind your way up narrow, spiral staircases climbing 332 steps (in easy stages) before arriving at the ancient roof spaces. Get close to the iconic spire, 223 feet (68 m) above ground. On the tour, enjoy spectacular sights: an uninterrupted aerial view of the inside of the Cathedral, the inside of the spire supported by medieval wooden scaffolding, and panoramic views of Salisbury and surrounding water meadows. An experienced guide educates you about the construction of this architectural masterpiece. Once the tour is over, you can explore Chapter House or revisit Magna Carta.
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