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Experience England

Discover some of England’s literary heroes, academics, and revered university cities, stroll the picturesque countryside with rolling hills and natural beauty, and lose yourself in the history of this outstanding travel experience. Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps in Stratford-upon-Avon and stroll the hallowed halls of Oxford University. Escape to the gentle rolling hills of the Cotswolds, dotted with honey-colored limestone villages and discover the real-life Downtown Abbey with a visit to a beautiful 17th-century country house. Visit London for an assault on the senses—brimming with culture, fine food, striking landmarks and charming historic quarters.

Trip Type: Cosmopolitan

Gallery

Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England
Experience England

Day By Day

Day 1 – Arrive in Stratford-upon-Avon

Upon arrival into London, Heathrow Airport you will be met by an English-speaking driver and assisted to the vehicle. Transfer from the airport to your accommodation in Stratford-upon-Avon. Transfer time is approximately 1 hour 40 minutes.

Starting Accommodation: Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa


Day 2 – Stratford-upon-Avon Walking Tour

After breakfast enjoy a guided walking tour around the historic streets of Stratford upon Avon taking in its history, attractions and fascinating relationship with William Shakespeare. Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps to see the Shakespeare town houses, Grammar School, Royal Shakespeare Theatres, Guild Chapel, Holy Trinity Church and much more. Hear fascinating stories of fire, flooding, plague, medieval cures, old-fashioned sayings and the history of the town, wrapped up in a little Shakespeare. Experience Shakespeare’s Hidden History where you will learn more about Shakespeare’s background, works and legacy, told through the fascinating library, archive and museum collections. This is a unique opportunity to view items that are not normally on public display including some of the ‘Shakespeare documents’ and early printed books. At Shakespeare’s birthplace, enjoy live performances in the garden with the resident acting troupe. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure to experience this charming town or if you are feeling energetic take a bike ride/walk along the Stratford Greenway. The Stratford Greenway is a five mile, disused railway line that runs alongside the River Avon towards the nearby villages of Long Marston and Welford on Avon.

Starting Accommodation: Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa
Meals: Breakfast


Day 3 – Oxford and Bampton Tours

The importance and wealth of Oxford University is projected through the scale and grandeur of the college buildings throughout the city. Pass some of the oldest colleges such as the 13th century Exeter College, the impressive Bodleian Library and Balliol College, which is something of an assembly line for British Prime Ministers. Other Oxford highlights include the pretty Bridge of Sighs which connects two parts of Hertford College, and the Eagle and Child Pub where famous authors JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis would regularly meet. Oxford was also the perfect setting for the Harry Potter film series. Enjoy the ultimate in relaxation as you take a chauffeured punt along the River Cherwell passing by Oxford’s famous Botanic Gardens, past Magdalen College School fields, through Christ Church Meadows, where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland whilst teaching students in the mid-19th century. Enjoy some free time in Oxford for lunch before returning to Stratford upon Avon via the beautiful village of Bampton in the scenic Cotswolds. For first-time visitors Bampton may seem oddly familiar as it was used for filming the village scenes in Downton Abbey.

Starting Accommodation: Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa
Meals: Breakfast


Day 4 – Cotswolds and Sheepdog Experience

Today you will encounter one of England’s most famous areas of outstanding natural beauty. The Cotswolds is a region of gentle rolling hills dotted with market towns, unspoiled countryside and beautiful honey-colored limestone villages offering the perfect haven to get away from it all. Naturally, with some of the prettiest villages in the UK, such as Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold, the Cotswolds is very popular but it’s so easy to get off the beaten track. Hailes Abbey is one such option, where the fascinating stories of this 13th century Cistercian Abbey can be heard away from the main thoroughfares. Traditional skills such as dry-stone walling, hedge laying and woodland coppicing have played an important role in molding the distinctive landscape. Meet with a local farmer and enjoy a private sheepdog demonstration.

Meet one of the finest shepherds and sheepdog handlers in the world on this unique private experience. Be collected in the morning at your hotel in the Cotswolds and enjoy the scenic drive through the glorious Cotswold countryside to the farm near the beautiful town of Northleach. Once arrived, enjoy tea and coffee in a 17th century farm cottage before you head out into the fields to learn about the skills of a shepherd. Witness the shepherd working his award-winning sheepdogs and even have a chance to try your hand at working them yourself. The experience will be around 1 to 3 hours depending on how much you wish to do and is a fun unique experience for all ages.

Starting Accommodation: Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa
Meals: Breakfast


Day 5 – Audley End House and Cambridge

Today explore what relationships were really like between the upstairs and downstairs residents of Britain’s big houses. One of the most opulent houses in Jacobean England, Audley End House is a beautiful 17th-Century country house. Many who visit are struck by the grandeur of the Great Hall which has stood in for Balmoral and Windsor on screen. To run houses of this scale required hard labor and to get a sense of the work that was needed a visit to the service wing is a must. View the coal room and the wet laundry, and learn about the specific hierarchy, not just between those who lived below and above stairs, but also between the servants, who themselves had a pecking order. Whether you’re exploring the servant’s wing, state rooms, stables, kitchen garden or beautiful grounds, you’ll discover how a what life was like above and below stairs at a Victorian country house.

Return to Stratford upon Avon with a stop at the university city of Cambridge where you can wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere in this pretty English city. Cambridge is a historic city on the River Cam in eastern England. Along with Oxford it is one of the great university cities of England and has been the study place of many famous people. This old town escaped the destruction of the second world war, unlike many other towns in England, so it has old buildings and narrow medieval streets.

Starting Accommodation: Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa
Meals: Breakfast


Day 6 – Stratford-upon-Avon to London City & Churchill War Rooms and Afternoon Tea

You will be transferred from your accommodation in Stratford-upon-Avon to London City by private vehicle to check in to your accommodation.

Your first stop is Churchill War rooms, see firsthand where Churchill sat and planned out all the strategies. History was made in Churchill War Rooms - an underground bunker that allowed Britain's leaders to plot the allied route to victory during the Second World War. Walk the labyrinth of rooms and corridors that stretch below Westminster that sheltered Winston Churchill and his war cabinet from the German bombing raids, and explore the Churchill museum to learn the story of his life and legacy. In the late afternoon, enjoy an afternoon tea at Rubens at the Palace before enjoying the evening at leisure. Situated in a prime location, The Rubens at the Palace is opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace and is moments from Victoria Station and some of London's best shops and restaurants. Attentive staff will make you feel like royalty, anticipating your every need. Find aristocratic grandeur, serene comfort and traditional hospitality, combined with the latest technology. Enjoy a traditional Afternoon Tea in the Palace Lounge facing the Royal Mews.

Starting Accommodation: The Rubens at the Palace
Meals: Breakfast


Day 7 – London City Tour

This morning you will meet with your local London guide for a full day guided tour of the city. Travel like the locals on the extensive transport network of buses and tubes are you make your way around the city. First stop is the Tower of London.  Situated on the banks of the River Thames in the heart of London stands the Tower of London and nearly 1000 years of history and intrigue. The Tower of London has been used at various times as a palace, barracks, military stronghold, Zoo and most famously as a prison incarcerating famous names like Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes. During a visit to the Tower visitors can see crown jewels worth over £20 billion, meet the ravens who legends say have the fate of the Kingdom in their claws, talk to the distinctive Yoeman guards with their white ruffs, and learn about the gruesome torture that went on within the walls. The Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the only intact medieval buildings on the list. At the Tower there are also cafes and a shop.

The Shard was conceived as a building with multiple uses: a vertical city where people could live, work and relax. It comprises world-class offices, award-wining restaurants, the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel, exclusive residences and the UK’s highest viewing gallery, The View from The Shard, offering 360-degree views. Well-connected and comprehensively serviced by central London's transport infrastructure, facilities and amenities, The Shard is a timeless reminder of the power of imagination to inspire change. Enjoy a glass of champagne while you soak in the views over London.

Starting Accommodation: The Rubens at the Palace
Meals: Breakfast


Day 8 – Depart London

Ahead of your flight, you will be transferred from your accommodation to London Heathrow Airport to connect with your departing flight. Transfer time is approximately 1 hour.

Starting Accommodation: The Rubens at the Palace
Meals: Breakfast


Pricing

Package Level: Superior

Pricing for this package is on request. Please call a Swain Destinations Specialist to customize this journey.


Terms and Conditions

Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Price does not include airfare unless otherwise stated. Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability. Cancellation penalties and other booking or alteration restrictions may exist. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. Pricing may increase over Holiday and special event periods and may not be reflected in price grid. Prices indicated remain subject to change without notice. Prices are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions: www.swaindestinations.com/terms

Details

Length:

8 Nights

Pricing:

Pricing on request

Destinations:

Stratford-upon-Avon; London

Inclusions:

  • Roundtrip transfers
  • 5 nights Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Stratford-upon-Avon Walking Tour
  • Tour of Oxford University
  • Cotswolds and Sheepdog Experience
  • Audley End House and Cambridge
  • 2 nights London
  • Churchill War Rooms and Afternoon Tea
  • London City Tour
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts
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