Arrive in England. This first day is set aside for recovery and acclimatisation in London. If time and jet lag allow we could take a first tour around London to see some of the sites which would be heavy going on foot, and some which you can return to later.
Days 2 & 3
London. Beyond description in this small space. The sites, the museums, theatres, lights, shops, and the people, make London a unique city to experience.
Heading out of the City and off to Salisbury, and its 13th century Cathedral, with the tallest spire in England soaring over 400 feet. If you have an appetite for climbing church towers, We can recommend the climb up this one. It gives an amazing insight into the building methods of the medieval masons.
From Salisbury we head onto Stonehenge then over the chalk downland lanes to Avebury. Two of the most enigmatic sites in Britain. Stonehenge is probably the most famous Neolithic monument in Europe, whereas Avebury, although less well known, is equally impressive, and somewhat more atmospheric. Your day ends in a cosy country B&B in one of the best preserved historic villages in England, which seems to be the location for every period drama ever made, from Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter.
Bath. A magnificent example of Georgian extravagance and some of the best classical architecture in Europe. Plus the fascinating spectacle of the Roman Baths, and a delightful web of alleyways and streets with a wonderful and tempting range of shops, restaurants and tea-rooms. Our next base is a delightful village inn in the Mendip Hills of Somerset.
Through the limestone chasm of the Cheddar Gorge to the Cathedral City of Wells. England’s smallest city, and home to the magnificent 14th century Cathedral, adorned with over 300 statues and one of the oldest working clocks in Europe. Wells is one of the ‘hidden gems’ of England. Off the normal tourist routes and always a delight to visit. Then on to Glastonbury, reputed burial place of King Arthur and his queen Guinevere. Also an essential visit for anyone interested in ‘alternative theories’ on just about everything. Its many bookshops specialise in the weird, wonderful and mysterious.
North into the Cotswolds. Visiting such towns and villages as Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden. Also a few of the less well known backwaters off the usual tourist routes. This is ‘picture postcard’ country, with picturesque villages, sheep filled fields and landscapes which will wear out your camera.
A full day to explore the Cotswolds or head off to Oxford. The home of the second oldest university in Europe, founded in the reign of Henry II. Also the oldest museum in England; the Ashmolean, dating back to 1683. Plus an excellent range of shops and a browser’s paradise in the very fine covered market. Oxford is famous for its many academic and literary connections, such as Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carol.
Heading north to Warwick Castle. This is one of the most interesting Medieval castles in the country. It is in an ideal picturesque setting, on the banks of the Avon. The interior recreates life in the castle as it would have been for its original occupants. It is also home to the world’s largest trebuchet. The day ends staying in a grand Gothic Revival castle, perched high on a hill overlooking the Welsh borderlands.
A drive through the Cheshire countryside to the ancient city of Chester. Chester was founded by the Romans and is one of the few remaining walled cities in England. Famous for The Rows, its black and white, half timbered shopping area, and St. Wurburg’s Cathedral, dating back to the 11th century. Your base for the next two nights is a delightful traditional farmhouse in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, with views across the fields to the high promontory of Beeston Castle.
Over the border into North Wales. A land of castles, legends, dragons and an almost incomprehensible language! You would have the opportunity to visit Conwy Castle, built in 1283 and still an impressive sight 700 years later.
Through the Yorkshire Dales, stopping off to browse around a local market (if Day 12 falls on Market Day) before heading off to York. A city dominated by its 13th century cathedral or minster as they call them in Yorkshire. This city was founded by the Romans and was the Viking capital of eastern England. It is reputed to be the most haunted city in England, and a ‘Ghost Walk’ in the evening is a perfect way to meet some of the City’s previous residents.
Exploring York with one of compulsory stops of the trip: afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms.
Heading south via a route to be discussed. This is not because we cannot think of anything for you to do today. We always like to keep some days free, so that you can fit in some unforeseen delight which may only become apparent as time progresses. The only target for today is the airport in the evening, to be in place for your return flight on the following day.
Head back home with lots of memories and hundreds of photographs.