England may be small, but it has got a whole lot going for it, and let’s face it, sometimes we just simply don’t have the time (or the cash) to embark on around the world trip! Often, a holiday in Blighty can be just as awe-inspiring, with gorgeous countryside, stunning beaches, and delicious food.
Explore the lively streets of London, from the inimitable shopping at Harrods and Covent Garden to the enthralling museums that surround Trafalgar Square to the most iconic of the city’s landmarks like Westminster Abbey and the Tower Bridge
Spend two evenings of unmatched elegance at the Bowood Hotel, where you can enjoy the delicious dining, spectacular spa and breathtaking surroundings after discovering some of the hidden gems of the surrounding area
Tour Bath, the oldest resort town in the country, from the ancient Roman spas to the spectacular Royal Crescent to the singular Pulteney Bridge
Discover some of the most mythical places in southern England, from the rumored burial spot of King Arthur at Glastonbury Abbey to the prehistoric monuments at Avebury
(Day 1): London – A Jolly Welcome to Jolly England
(Day 2): Bowood – The Aristocratic Splendor of South England
(Day 3): South England – Discovering the Landmarks of Britain’s Most Famous King
(Day 4): Bath – Roman Baths and Georgian Opulence
(Day 5): South England – Traveling Through the Country, and Through the Centuries
(Day 6): London – Exploring the Heart of the United Kingdom
(Day 7): London – A Fond Farewell to Enchanting England
Architecture / Arts & Crafts Tours / Cultural Activities / Historical Sites / History & Archaeology Tours / Landmarks / Market / Bazaar / Monument / Memorial / Museums & Galleries / Gourmet Dining / Music / Palace / Castle / Mansion / Parks / Scenic Drive / Shopping / Small Towns / Villages / Train Travel / Walking Tours / Boating & Sailing / Gardens
Leisure / Relaxation
Leisure / Nightlife / Spectacular Scenery / Unique Accommodations / Unique Luxury Hotels / Lodges
London, Bowood, Glastonbury Abbey, Wells, Bath, Lacock, Avebury
This morning, you land outside of lively London, the capital of the United Kingdom and one the great cities in the world, surrounded by history and culture and pulsing with the driving rhythm of a great multicultural metropolis. A private driver will collect you at the airport and escort you to your flawless accommodations while in the city, where you can drop off your luggage, recover from jetlag and freshen up a bit before setting out to take in the sights of this incredible conglomeration of humanity.
Start by making your way to the shores of the winding River Thames, where some of the most famous monuments and most beautiful buildings in the country await, from the Gothic edifice and soaring clock tower of the Palace of Westminster to the elegant wheel of the London Eye, and from the iconic towers and supports of the Tower Bridge to the gorgeous green swath of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Walk the reverent nave and discover the memorial-filled chapels of Westminster Abbey, the most important religious building in the United Kingdom, where monarchs have been crowned for more than six centuries and where some of the greatest citizens of the Kingdom and Empire have been laid to rest, from giants of science like Newton and Darwin to the political movers and shakers like William Pitt, from great men of letters like Chaucer and Dickens to the greatest of England’s monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth, King Edward I and King Henry V.
Then continue down the Thames to take in the soaring dome and gorgeous façade of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the magnum opus of Sir Christopher Wren, whose imposing and inspiring frame has dominated the London skyline for more than 400 years. You can discover the many treasures of the sumptuous interior, see the graves of the great heroes of Great Britain buried in the crypt, and scale the steps to the base of the mighty and magnificent dome, where you can cast your eye over the whole of the city. You’ll be sure to spot the Tower of London downriver, as well as the reconstructed Globe
After a stirring first day in the capital city, you turn west to tour the gorgeous countryside of England, making your way past the gently sweeping downs and the rolling meadows until you reach the incomparable elegance of your hotel in Bowood, just to the east of the famous Roman spa town of Bath. You’ll marvel at the opulent yet understated lobby, the gorgeous landscapes that surround the hotel and your luxuriously appointed and spacious rooms, and you’ll delight in the world-class service, where all of your wants and needs are met before you even have to ask.
After checking in and setting down your bags, you’ll have the rare treat of a special private guided tour of the nearby Bowood House, the splendid Georgian country house that is the home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Landsdowne. You can walk the halls and admire the amazing artwork and furnishings that fill the interior before strolling through the remarkable grounds and gardens of this inimitable estate. You’ll be stunned by the meticulous planning and perfect design of the famous Italianate terrace gardens from the 18th century, the Doric Temple Folly and the rest of the English landscape garden designed by the famous Capability Brown, and the more than two miles of Rhododendron walks that bloom brilliantly in the early summer months of May and June.
After this fantastic excursion, you return to the hotel, where you can enjoy the offerings of the hotel’s world-class spa before a cocktail reception and formal dinner.
After a delicious English country breakfast, you’ll set out to explore the more remote areas surrounding Bowood, regaling in some of England’s best-known myths and legends while you wind your way through the simply stunning scenery. First, you’ll take in the ruined walls of Glastonbury Abbey, where guides dressed in period costume will delight you with the stories of this ancient structure, from the monks who called the abbey home to the thousands of medieval pilgrims who visited a structure purported to be built by Joseph of Arimathea. You can even gaze upon the purported former tomb of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, as a sign marks the place where the couple was allegedly buried before the dissolution of the abbey in the 16th century.
Then turn to the beautiful Chalice Well, one of the most visited sites of pilgrimage in the area, sacred to Christians and Neopagans both, and a source of water for countless locals and visitors for at least 2,000 years. You can fill a bottle with the precious liquid at the Lion’s Head Fountain before turning to the structure that has been named by some scholars “the most poetic of all English cathedrals,” the astounding Wells Cathedral. It was built between the 12th to the 15th centuries and home to one of the largest collections of medieval stained glass in Europe. The astronomical clock in the north transept will astound you with its craftsmanship, the external architecture will amaze you in its details, and the brilliant peals of the cathedral’s bells – the largest circle of 10 bells on the planet – will move you in their breathtaking clarity.
The evening sees you to the famous spa town of Bath, where you can enjoy a traditional English dinner before grabbing a pint at one of the city’s many pubs.
Today you tour one of the most famous resort towns in the world, filled with millennia of history and culture and home to some of the most elegant Georgian edifices in the entire country. No trip would be complete without a visit to the famous Roman Baths that gave the city its name. Start by exploring this incredible structure, learning about the history of the Roman rule in Britain and Bath’s legendary past before exiting right in front of famous Bath Abbey. Following an informative and engaging tour of this beautiful structure, famed for the fan vaulting that dominates the ceiling of the nave, you’ll head for the graceful curve of the famed Royal Crescent, passing over the Pulteney Bridge – one of only four bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides – on your way.
At the Royal Crescent, the centerpiece of 18th century British grandeur, you’ll explore the exhibits of the spectacular museum at No. 1 Royal Crescent, featuring a fully restored townhouse decorated and upholstered in much the same way it would have been in the height of the Georgian era. The nearby Museum of Costume, filled with models sporting examples of high fashion from the past decades and centuries, is definitely worth a visit, and in the afternoon you can relax in one of the many breathtaking parks of the city, from the gorgeous green expanse of the Royal Victoria Park to the 18th century Vauxhall of Sydney Gardens.
Following a leisurely final morning in Bath, highlighted by a delicious full English breakfast, you’ll return to the heart of the country on your way back to London, making your way west through verdant fields and undulating hills and past some of the quaintest and most charming villages in the United Kingdom. Make a brief stop at the phenomenal medieval village of Lacock, one of the best preserved in the country and an entry in William the Conqueror’s famous survey of England and Wales known as the Domesday Book. Fan’s of Jane Austen fans might find the scene strangely familiar, and with good reason, as the town served as a set for the 1995 BBC retelling of Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy.
From Lacock, it’s on to explore a scene even older, as you make your way to the Neolithic henge monument near the village of Avebury, the largest stone circle in Europe and a fascinating relic of England’s rich prehistoric past. The earthworks and megaliths that dominate the region are larger and more extensive than their more famous cousins at Stonehenge, and you’ll have no reason to wonder why Avebury was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. After leaving this captivating monument, you’ll have a short drive left until you reach the banks of the River Thames and your luxurious hotel in the heart of London, where you’ll check in before getting a taste of London’s exciting nightlife.
Your final day in the United Kingdom is yours to your leisure, to be spent in whatever way you see best. Museum lovers and history buffs simply must visit the incomparable British Museum, the home of some eight million artifacts collected from some of humanity’s greatest civilizations, from the Elgin Marbles of the Athenian Parthenon to the various remains of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Gaze upon the colossal statues of Ramesses the Great and Amenhotep the Magnificent as well as the trilingual decree on the Rosetta Stone, the most famous translation device in world history.
Art lovers will want to visit the nearby National Gallery, where more than six centuries of art is on display, including Renaissance masterworks and some of the best-loved Impressionist pieces in the world, and the National Portrait Gallery, home to the iconic Chandos portrait of William Shakespeare and an incredible sculpture of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in medieval dress. And, of course, fashionistas will have a field day in London’s best-known shopping districts. Find fine menswear on Jermyn Street and Saville Row, or shop at some of the best fashion houses in the world that line Bond Street. Knightsbridge is home to Harrods, the world’s most famous department store. The evening can be spent at a play or musical in the heart of London’s bustling West End, the United Kingdom’s Great White Way, or at one of the scores of restaurants in the city that have earned a Michelin star.
After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, a private driver will pick you up and deliver you to the airport in plenty of time to catch the flight that will take you back home. Your heart will be filled with the memories of a vacation replete with luxury and excitement, and your head will be filled with the stories from the past week, and with plans on what to do when you return to this truly one-of-a-kind nation.
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