England's Finest Tour

Here is a suggested tour to see the finest of England's heritage in a 2 week tour.

For further information, visit: www.englandhistorichousesandcastlestour.co.uk

You will visit the grandest country houses including Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth, wonderful cathedrals like Salisbury, real castles such as Arundal, see the University towns of Oxford and Cambridge, and the most celebrated gardens and parkland. You will see the best works of our famous designers like Vanburgh, William Kent and Robert Adam, and landscaping by 'Capability' Brown. You will tour the beautiful countryside of The Cotswolds, the Weald of Kent and Sussex and the Peak District on country roads You can stay in some of our finest country house hotels and in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath.

In the last 10 years I have visited all these places on customised tours with clients, and have drawn on this experience to prepare a circular 14 day tour, to incorporate the best into a memorable tour.

My van has lots of room when travelling with 4 passengers, so this tour would be very suitable for 2 couples who would like to share a vacation.


Day 1

Collect from London or airport.

10.30 Ightam Mote. 11.45 Knole. 13.45 Hever Castle 16.00 Penshurst Place

Overnight in Tunbridge Wells, The Spa hotel.

Day 2

09.45 Burwash, Mad Jack Fuller's follies. 10.45 Sissinghurst Castle Garden. 12.30 Bodiam Castle 13.30 Rye 15.00 Leeds Castle This circular tour goes around the Weald of Kent and Sussex through beautiful countryside, the place of my youth. You will see the Manor house where we lived (private), our local village and my old school.

O/N as above.

Day 3

10.15 Brighton, the Royal Pavillion. 12.00 Arundal Castle. 15.30 Mottisfont Abbey Garden, the home oft he National Collection of Old-fashioned Roses (best seen in June).

O/N in Salisbury, visit to the Cathedral. Milford Hall hotel, Georgian house close to town centre.

Day 4

09.30 Stonehenge. 10.30 Wilton House. 12.00 Longleat. 14.00 Stourhead Estate.

O/N in Wareham, The Priory Hotel (600 years old). on the riverfront.

Day 5

10.30 Athelhampton House and Garden. 12.30 Montacute, Elizabethan and Jacobean portraits from the National Gallery. Via Glastonbury to 14.30 Wells Cathedral. Through the Cheddar Gorge 16.00 to Bath. Visit the Abbey and Pump Rooms and Roman Baths.

O/N in Bath, Marlborough House, a delightful luxury guest house.

Day 6

11.30 Winchcombe, visit Sudeley Castle and Garden. Cross country drive over the Cotswold Hills. 15.00 Hidcote Manor Garden.

O/N at Ettington Park country house hotel.

Day 7

10.00 Warwick Castle.12.00 Kenilworth Castle. 13.15 Baddesley Clinton house 15.00 Kedleston Hall

O/N in Matlock, Riber Hall Elizabethan house.

Day 8

AM circular tour around the Peak District, via Buxton and Hathersage, with a possible visit to the BlueJohn cavern.

12.00 Haddon Hall. 13.30 Chatsworth House and Garden.

O/N as above

Day 9

10.45 Bolsover Castle. 12.00 Hardwick Hall. 14.45 Doddington Hall. 16.00 Arr. Lincoln.

Visit to the Castle and Cathedral.

O/N at the White Hart hotel, on top of the hill between castle and cathedral.

Day 10

11.00 Belvoir Castle. 13.00 Belton House. 15.00 Burghley House.

O/N Stapleford Park, Edwardian oppulance country house hotel.

Day 11

11.15 Sandringham. 13.00 Holkham Hall. 15.15 Houghton Hall.

O/N Kings Lynn, Congham Hall Country House.

Day 12

10.00 Ely Cathedral. 12,00 Audley End. 14.00 Arr. Cambridge, walking tour of the town, visit to King's College Chapel and Christ's College, my old college.

O/n at the University Arms, in the town centre.

Day 13

11.00 Woburn Abbey. 13.30 Stow Gardens. 15.30 Waddesdon Manor.

O/N nr. Aylesbury at Hartwell House country house hotel.

Day 14

10.00 Rousham House Garden. This landscaping is the only remaining untouched work of William Kent. 11.15 Blenheim Palace. 13.45 arr. Oxford, for a 1 hour tour of the town by bus.

Return to London or airport.



If you wish to take this tour, it is best to come to London first for a day or two, where you can sightsee and shop at your own pace to adjust to the time change.

On this tour you will see the ancient Stonehenge, strange local follies, the Roman Baths in Bath, 7 gardens, 7 cathedrals, 7 castles and 2 landscaped parklands, and visit 27 country houses. Hever, Sudeley and Belvoir are not really castles, so count as houses. In addition to country house hotels, you will spend the evening in Salisbury, Bath, Lincoln and Cambridge.

The major attractions like Blenheim are open every day in season, but some of the smaller places like Ightam are closed for 1 or 2 days per week, so I need to know exact dates for your tour to confirm what we shall be able to include.

Each day starts at 9 am, except from Bath where we leave at 10. The tours in Kent & Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Peak District are on country roads. All other journeys are on the fastest route, mainly on A roads, so you will see plenty of countryside on the way.

The hotels all provide an English breakfast, and the country house hotels all have great restaurants, and when in town centres you have a choice of places to eat. So the day's itineraries are based on taking a light snack or sandwich at lunchtime. My van always has fresh fruit and water.

Marlborough House, Ettington Park and Stapleford Park are illustrated on my web sit, see Country House Hotels.


Day  Miles Hours visiting Country tour
1.  29+from London 4 1/2  
2. 112 4 Kent & Sussex
3. 131 4 + time in Salisbury  
4. 96 4  
5. 102 2 + time in Bath  
6. 122 3 Cotswolds tour
7. 103 5  
8. 57 4 Peak District tour
9. 71 3 1/2 + time in Lincoln  
10. 99 5  
11. 130 4  
12. 76 2 1/2 + time in Cambridge  
13.  101 4  
14. 102 back to London 5 1/2  
Total 1331

55 +10 in towns = 65 out of 14 days of about 8 hours, = 112 so the time is equally balanced between travelling and visiting.

 

Charges


The daily rate for touring is £360 for car and driver, plus £30 per evening away from home. You pay directly for your accommodation, and you pay for my accommodation either with you, or close-by at a more moderate place. There are no other or hidden extras.

It is possible to stay at places other than country house hotels, but I do recommend them.

Expect to pay about £360 per double room in a top hotel. They all vary and some are less, but if you budget this you should be under budget. I usually stay at Premier Inns, £60 to £80 per night depending on location.

If you are interested in taking this tour, please contact me with as much notice as possible, as there is a lot of planning to make all the hotel bookings. In some cases this involves some advance payment, so I need to know your commitment to do this. When we have agreed dates, I will need a preliminary payment by wire transfer.

This is a really wonderful tour and will provide you with great memories after the enjoyment of the trip. I prepare for each tour an itinerary booklet, with details of maps and routes, and details and pictures of places we shall see.

Use the enquiries page to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!

Or call me in person, between 7 - 10 pm GMT +44 1273 272810


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