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Stately Homes & Gardens - Insight Vacations

Stately Homes & Gardens of Britain

Private Custom Group

Duration: 15 days • Countries visited: England, Scotland
Group trip type: Gardening

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Day to Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Welcome To London

    On arrival at London Heathrow, you are met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight you meet your Travel Director for a Welcome Drink.

  1. Day 2: London to Hampshire

    After breakfast, we make our way to the Kent countryside and travel to the pretty village of Westerham where Winston Churchill watches over the neat village green. Here we visit Churchill’s residence of Chartwel, before making our way through brilliant yellow and green pastures to Hever Castle, known for its tragic tale of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. We cross the moat to explore the fortified manor house and stroll through the pretty gardens. We overnight in a beautifully-situated country hotel. (CB, D)

  1. Day 3: New Forest Excursion & Salisbury

    A scenic drive through the New Forest brings us to Beaulieu where we visit the Palace House and Abbey ruins, and the collection of cars in the National Motor Museum. Later we travel to Salisbury, where we see the 13th century cathedral, whose spire is the tallest in the land. After some free time we visit nearby Wilton House, one of the finest stately homes in Britain, with state rooms by Inigo Jones containing a world famous collection of paintings. Now back to our hotel. (BB)

  1. Day 4: Compton Acres, Cockington & Seaside Torquay

    This morning we visit Compton Acres, one of the finest privately-owned gardens in the South with a unique series of stunning tranquil gardens offering spectacular views of Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island, and the Purbeck Hills beyond. We then visit the medieval village of Cockington, with its thatched cob cottages, a pub, blacksmith and horse-drawn transport. Tonight we stay in the seaside town of Torquay. (BB, D)

  1. Day 5: Eden Project & Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon

    We travel to the small town of Fowey to visit the unique ‘Eden Project’. The Eden Project communicates its story in a ‘Living Theatre of Plants and People’ based in a large crater in which nestles two vast greenhouses (Biomes). These house plants and crops are from the humid tropics and warm temperate regions and act as a backdrop to the temperate landscape. We continue to Stratford–upon–Avon where we visit Shakespeare's birthplace on arrival and then to our hotel. (BB)

  1. Day 6: Enchanting Cotswolds

    This enchanting day takes us across the beautiful Cotswold hills, a chocolate-box scene of golden stone villages with roses round the door! We visit Blenheim Palace, the greatest building of the English Baroque, residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, and birthplace of Winston Churchill. After exploring the house and gardens we then visit the gardens of Sudeley Castle, former home to another of King Henry VIII's wives, Katherine Parr. (BB, D)

  1. Day 7: Stratford-Lake District

    Travelling through the orchards of Worcestershire, we head for the border town of Ludlow with its impressive castle ruins. On through the remote Shropshire hills, we pass Wenlock Edge, celebrated in the poetry of A E Housman. Soon we reach historic Ironbridge Gorge, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Take time to marvel at the 200-year-old Iron Bridge, before the smooth motorway carries us north to the stunning English Lake District. (BB, D)

  1. Day 8: Wonders of the Lake District

    Take the whole day to relax and explore the Lake District - a scenic wonderland of rugged mountains and tranquil waters, and an inspiration to a host of English poets. We visit Wordsworth's grave in the small churchyard at Grasmere, then admire the vast expanse of Windermere, largest of the lakes. Perhaps even take a cruise on its peaceful waters, before we return to our hotel. (BB, D)

  1. Day 9: Lake District, Southern Lowlands & Edinburgh

    We cross the Cumbrian Mountains and the Scottish border at Gretna - for years the destination of eloping English lovers. We have some free time for shopping before enjoying the contrasting beauty of the Southern Lowlands en route to Edinburgh. Here we discover the wonders of the plant kingdom in the Botanical Gardens which form a remarkable haven of tranquility within the city, as well as being a world-renowned centre for botanical science. (BB)

  1. Day 10: Iconic Scotland

    We see the highlights of Edinburgh this morning – Holyroodhouse, St Giles' Cathedral on the Royal Mile, the Castle and the 'New Town'. Later, we cross the Firth of Forth to reach St. Andrews - home of golf. We visit the ruined cathedral, formerly the largest in Scotland. We see Scotland's oldest university and the most famous golf course in the world. Now back to our hotel. (BB)

  1. Day 11: Border Region, Hadrian’s Wall & Gardens of Harrogate

    We travel through the Borders region to Abbotsford House, the 19th-century estate of Sir Walter Scott. A large turreted mansion which now serves as a museum for the Scottish memorabilia and artifacts collected throughout his lifetime. We then head south, past Jedburgh Abbey, and over the border to visit Hadrian's Wall. Our destination today is the town of Harrogate, a well-known spa since the 16th century and famous for its gardens. Tonight we enjoy a highlight dinner in a typical local inn. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 12: Fortified York & Castle Howard

    After breakfast, we make the short journey to the walled city of York. Here we see the huge Minster, Britain's largest medieval cathedral, and explore the maze of narrow streets including the Shambles. This afternoon we visit the fabulous 18th century Castle Howard, with its tapestries and costume museum, before returning to our hotel in Harrogate. (BB, D)

  1. Day 13: Warwick Castle onto London

    Today we travel south to visit Warwick Castle, with its magnificent medieval towers and ramparts. The chilling dungeon contrasts with the splendour of the State Rooms and baronial Great Hall. Now we continue to London and back to our hotel for our 2-night stay. (BB)

  1. Day 14: World-Famous Chelsea Flower Show

    This morning our highlight excursion takes us to the Chelsea Flower Show. Our full day ticket allows us to see the gardens at a leisurely pace. Visitors come from all over the world to see the crème de la crème of garden design, and horticulture on show, and take ideas back to enhance their own gardens. We are transferred back to our hotel in London after the show. (CB)

  1. Day 15: Farewell London

    This morning our memorable trip comes to an end. We are transferred to the airport for our onward flight. (CB)

Meal guide: CB = Continental Breakfast, BB = Buffet Breakfast, HD = Highlight Dinner, D = Hotel Dinner, HL = Highlight Lunch

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