- Visit famed Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard
- Tour Kensington Palace, historic Windsor Castle, and go punting in Oxford
- See the captivating Cotswolds region on a driving tour
- Discover the Roman ruins and literary heritage of Bath
|Day 1||Arrive in London, High Tea at the Savoy Hotel||London|
|Day 2||Buckingham Palace & Changing of the Guard, Kensington Palace Tour||London|
|Day 3||Tour Windsor Castle, Eton College & Runnymede||London|
|Day 4||London to Oxford & Punting, Bodleian Library Tour, Tea at Blenheim Palace||Oxford|
|Day 5||Oxford to the Cotswolds, Hidcote Gardens & Horseback Ride||Chipping Campden|
|Day 6||Cotswolds Discovery Trail Southern Loop||Chipping Campden|
|Day 7||Chipping Campden to Bath||Bath|
|Day 8||Visit the Roman Baths, Thermae Spa Package||Bath|
|Day 9||Literary Tour of Bath||Bath|
|Day 10||Stonehenge VIP Tour, Transfer to London & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in London, High Tea at the Savoy HotelWelcome to London! Upon your arrival, a personal driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After unpacking and unwinding, you can head out and explore this dynamic metropolis. London is a significant global city that attracts over 20 million visitors each year. They come to experience its rich culture, historical legacy, fine museums, awe-inspiring architecture, and international cuisine. Plus, there are all those fun pubs.
Your first official activity is to take high tea at the renowned Savoy Hotel. This is one of the city's most luxurious 5-star hotels, and they've been offering their famed Afternoon Tea since 1889. You'll enjoy this leisurely 2-hour experience in the hotel's Thames Foyer. Sit beneath a stunning glass-domed atrium that radiates natural light while being serenaded by a classical pianist as you sample a variety of teas, sandwiches, pastries, and scones with clotted cream.
Day 2: Buckingham Palace & Changing of the Guard, Kensington Palace Tour
Today you'll visit Buckingham Palace. The world's most famous residence has been the primary home of England's royal family since the turn of the 18th century. On a 1.5-hour walking tour, you'll witness the extraordinary Changing of the Guard ceremony. It's a symbolic act, typically occurring every other day, in which the Queen's Guard hands over responsibility for protecting the palace to the New Guard.
Your guide will ensure you arrive at the right time to avoid the mass crowds that typically swarm the palace gates. But it's not all waiting around—you'll also witness the earlier stages of the ceremony, which includes a march by a detachment of the Old Guard and the New Guard accompanied by ceremonial bands. You'll even get to walk alongside the band, being careful not to get in the way of the marching guards dressed in their famous fur caps and red tunics.
The guide will have the experience and knowledge to ensure you're positioned at ideal vantage points to snap the best photos. They also provide fun anecdotes about the history of the proceedings and all the accompanying pomp and ceremony that are such an integral part of British tradition. Most importantly, they'll ensure that you and your family leave with lasting memories.
The royal theme continues after the ceremony when you travel to nearby Kensington Palace. Since the 17th century, this has been a fashionable home for Britain's young royal families. It's also where Queen Victoria was born. Kensington has been home to famous royals like Princess Diana, Princess Margaret, and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It's also the London home of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
You'll walk in the footsteps of royalty on a 2-hour tour of the palace. It includes access to Queen Victoria's childhood rooms, the King's State Apartments, the King's Gallery, and the Queen's State Apartments—private rooms where Queen Mary II took her meals and entertained guests. You'll also tour the Palace Gardens, which feature box hedges, wildflower meadows, a boating lake, and the famous Sunken Garden, filled with ornamental flower beds and a statue honoring Princess Diana.
Day 3: Tour Windsor Castle, Eton College & RunnymedeIn the morning, you'll embark on a full-day tour of some of the historic and awe-inspiring locales outside London. Your guide for today is a born and bred Londoner filled with insight and anecdotes about historic royal sites you'll visit.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Then cross the bridge over the River Thames and arrive at Eton College. This exclusive public school was founded in 1440 by none other than King Henry VI. It has educated 20 British prime ministers in the intervening centuries and produced famous literary characters like James Bond and Captain Hook.
After a guided tour of Eton, you'll travel to Runnymede, in the rural county of Surrey. It's an area of great historical import that had vast implications for democracy worldwide. This is the site where King John sealed the Magna Carta in 1215. On a tour of the area, you'll see the Magna Carta Memorial and a memorial to US president John F. Kennedy, which features an oak tree planted in American soil.
Day 4: London to Oxford & Punting, Bodleian Library Tour, Tea at Blenheim Palace
Today, hop a train for the hour-long ride west to Oxford, located in central-southern England. Oxford is the only city in the county of Oxfordshire and is known for its idyllic green countryside and abundance of medieval villages. Once here, you'll check in to your hotel and then head out on the water.
Relax in style on a chauffeured punt (flat-bottomed riverboat) on the River Cherwell. You won't have a care in the world as you laze on the handcrafted wooden boat and watch the lovely Oxford scenery passing by on the banks. There's no time limit, either—you'll have the chauffeur for half an hour, then you may choose to stay on the river as long as you like, so long as you return at least a half-hour before sunset.
The relaxing trip begins when you set off at a gentle pace south from the boathouse. You'll pass several of Oxford's iconic sights, such as the Botanic Garden, the playing fields of Magdalen College School, and Christ Church (where Lewis Carroll taught his students in the mid-19th century). Finally, you'll pass the fertile gardens of St Hilda's College before heading back to the boathouse.
After the ride, you'll visit historic Oxford University. Founded in the 11th century, this is the second-oldest university in the world. Here you'll tour one of the highlight buildings: Bodleian Library, Oxford's main research library (it houses over 13 million books). Visit the 15th-century Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor's Court, medieval Duke Humfrey's Library (the oldest reading room in the building), and Radcliffe Camera, which houses the science library.Then take a bus from Oxford to the 18th-century Blenheim Palace. The seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, this is one of the United Kingdom's finest manor homes, and here you'll enjoy afternoon tea complemented by champagne and delectable cakes. You can also explore the manor's landscaped gardens, admire its collection of art and artifacts, visit the Butterfly House (home to butterfly species from around the world), and meander through the Marlborough Hedge Maze.
Afterward, you'll return to Oxford, where you'll overnight.
Day 5: Oxford to the Cotswolds, Hidcote Gardens & Horseback RideIn the morning, transfer a short way north from Oxford to Chipping Campden, a picture-postcard market town in the stunning Cotswolds. This rural area of southern England encompasses six counties and enjoys Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) conservation status. The region is denoted by rolling green hills, medieval villages, and various sites of cultural and historical interest. Chipping Campden is located in the northern Cotswolds and will be your base for the next couple of days.
Your first excursion is to nearby Hidcote Gardens, part of a historic manor home in the village of Hidcote Bartrim. The 10 acres that comprise these public gardens were inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement of decorative and fine arts that originated in Britain around the 20th century. You'll enjoy a private, 2-hour stroll around the gardens to enjoy its hedges, rare trees and shrubs, and various "outdoor rooms"—sections of the garden done in different themes.
After your leisurely walk, it will be time to saddle up for a horseback ride around the captivating countryside. Offering this unforgettable experience is Jill Carenzaïs, a riding facility in the picturesque village of Stanton. There are many miles of paths and bridleways here, with lookout points in the hills offering magnificent views over southern England.
Instructors and guides have decades of experience teaching folks how to ride, so there's no need to worry if you're a novice. Beginner riders will be accompanied on treks at a quieter pace, while intermediate and advanced riders can enjoy a faster-paced trip and the challenges of several cross-country courses. This is a half-day excursion through the country, but you can also opt for a famous "pub ride" in which you stop along the way for lunch.
Day 6: Cotswolds Discovery Trail Southern Loop
In the morning, you'll head out and explore the incredible Cotswolds region on a self-drive tour. Today's excursion follows the southern-loop portion of the famous Cotswolds Discovery Trail. Before embarking, you'll receive a trail pack that will point out the highlights of the circuit and the best places to stop, hike around, and take photos.
Know that Roman Britain is a big part of this route. You'll visit landmarks like the Roman amphitheater at Cirencester and a Roman villa near Chedworth, dating to the 2nd century. Head east to Bibury, a lovely Cotswolds village on the River Coln.
Then follow the river through charming villages along the Coln Valley. Cross Fosse Way, a Roman road built in the 1st century, and continue west through rolling hills to the lookout point of Painswick Beacon. A short hike to the top offers incredible 360° views. Afterward, head to the nearby village of Painswick. Known as the "Queen of the Cotswolds," the traditional cottages and buildings here are made of the unique yellow limestone mined in the region.
After Painswick, you'll drive south, cutting through beautiful grasslands and dodging grazing cows until you reach Minchinhampton. This hilltop village is a great place to stop and admire panoramic views that stretch to Wales. You'll then hop back in the car for the return drive to Chipping Campden.
Day 7: Chipping Campden to BathThere's more of ancient Rome in-store today when you transfer to the historic city of Bath. Its vast array of architectural treasures has earned the city Unesco World Heritage status, and it's home to the namesake Roman Baths, which date to the 1st century. Bath is also famous for its well-preserved Georgian architecture, which is among the finest in the country. For example, the Circus and Royal Crescent—rings of 18th-century townhouses—are some of Britain's grandest Georgian buildings.
Upon arrival, you'll have the rest of the day free to discover Bath's highlights on your own, or you can opt for a pre-booked activity. You'll certainly want to dive right into the city's rich gastronomic scene. Bath's pubs and restaurants have genuine appeal, and options include elegant tearooms, classy restaurants, retro cafés, artisan bakeries, and a crop of quality gastropubs.
Day 8: Visit the Roman Baths, Thermae Spa Package
Travel back to the 1st century with a visit to the Roman Baths. The site of one of the great religious spas of the ancient world, the people of Roman Britain came here to worship goddess Sulis Minerva and bathe in the natural thermal springs, which still flow today. On a 2-hour tour, you'll explore the complex, walk on the original flooring, and see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva. The museum collection here includes a gilt bronze head of Goddess Minerva plus other Roman artifacts.
Entering the water in these baths is prohibited; however, you can bathe in the same thermal waters at the nearby Thermae Bath Spa. You'll enjoy some real pampering with an evening spa package for two. It includes a rejuvenating spa session plus a healthy gourmet meal at the on-site Springs Restaurant.
Day 9: Literary Tour of Bath
Jane Austen fans rejoice because today you'll explore the former stomping grounds of the great writer on a 2.5-hour walking tour. Bath is synonymous with Austen, as she made her home in this city from 1801 to 1806 and even set two of her six novels here. On tour, your guide will reveal fascinating insights about the nuances of life for women in Regency-era England, the social etiquette of the day, and the stories behind the landmark buildings.
Walking the historic streets and admiring the buildings, you'll see how much Bath during Regency England influenced Austen's writing. During the early 19th-century, the well-heeled of British society flocked here to socialize, bathe in the Roman Baths, stroll the 18th-century Sydney Gardens, and dance and flirt at the endless balls and social engagements. You'll have a wonderful time if you're passionate about this time period and author. It brings a bygone age back to life for the 21st century.
Day 10: Stonehenge VIP Tour, Transfer to London & DepartToday you'll head to Salisbury Plain to see England's most famous archeological site from a unique perspective. This 1-hour VIP tour of mysterious Stonehenge allows you to step foot within the inner circle, where you can inspect the 5,000-year-old sarsens and bluestones that comprise this monument (but no touching). With you throughout the experience will be a knowledgeable guide who will happily answer questions and reveal many of Stonehenge's ancient secrets.
Afterward, you'll transfer back to London and the airport to catch your flight home. See you soon!