“TWENTY bridges from Tower to Kew –
Wanted to know what the River knew,
Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,
For they were young, and the Thames was old
And this is the tale that River told:”
There is evidence of a rich royal heritage across the British Isles, although perhaps none more so than in and around London. From the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world: Windsor Castle, to London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Britain is recognized as a world-class destination for culture and heritage and much of this can be attributed to attractions and events connected to the royal family, both past and present. So live like a King or Queen for a week and we will show you the Crown Jewels.
Day 1: The Royal Treatment Awaits You
Arrive in London and settle into your hotel in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
We will then enjoy dinner at an iconic restaurant which boasts stunning views across the Thames and the City of London; with a 250-foot terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows you will hopefully get your bearings for where your adventures lie in the week ahead. (D)
Day 2: The Jewel in the Crown
After a leisurely breakfast we board a coach to the Queen’s favourite weekend home, Windsor Castle, which is also home to over 900 years of royal history. Highlights include the spectacular Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, built by the great British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. No stone was left unturned, the house has a fully stocked wine cellar, working lifts and flushing toilets. We will go on a journey down a thousand years of history through the State Apartments. In St George’s Chapel we will see the final resting place of Henry VIII and Charles I amongst others; the Chapel is also to be the venue for two royal weddings in 2018. Enjoy lunch at The Savill Garden Kitchen, overlooking the 35-acre garden in Windsor Great Park, which will be part of our tour this afternoon.
We will return by coach to our hotel and the evening is free for you to enjoy the sights and sounds of London town by night. (B, L)
Day 3: The Crown Jewels
This morning we visit Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London, for a guided tour by none-other than the famed Beefeaters. These guards, who traditionally safeguarded the crown jewels and looked after prisoners held within the Tower’s walls, have been in service since 1485, and their engaging commentary on the Tower will give us a true insider’s glimpse into the history of this remarkable fortress. Free afternoon to explore. You might want to walk across Tower Bridge and head to the South Bank, perhaps visit Borough Market for lunch, or pop into the Tate Modern for your fill of contemporary art, all just across the River Thames from the Tower.
This evening we will enjoy an early dinner before we head to Shakespeare’s Globe to witness royalty brought to life in perhaps Henry V or Richard III. (B, D)
Day 4: Push the Boat Out
We will breakfast like a king and queen because there is a full day ahead of us. After breakfast it is only fitting we board a riverboat to the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Greenwich is of course famous for giving its name to Greenwich Mean Time, and at The Royal Observatory Greenwich you can stand astride the historic Prime Meridian where east meets west, uncover the history of Greenwich Mean Time and see clocks and timepieces that have literally changed the world; we shall also visit London’s only Planetarium. There is a King’s Ransom of other attractions to discover in Greenwich, the iconic historic sailing ship Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Old Royal Naval College and the Queen’s House Art Gallery. All the attractions in this UNESCO World Heritage Site are within easy walking distance of each other, and have breathtaking views across the River Thames and City of London.
The day will be rounded off with a visit to Greenwich market – this hidden gem is open seven days a week and great for browsing crafts, design, antiques and collectibles. We will enjoy a late lunch at the Pavilion food court within the market, offering delicious street food from around the world. (B, L)
Day 5: Flora & Fauna
Today we board a train to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew where you can immerse yourself in centuries of horticulture, history and science. We will enjoy a 90-minute privately-guided walking tour.
There is so much to see and do within the 300 acres of Kew Gardens and we will take full advantage of the hop on/hop off Kew Explorer land train to help us get around. We can enjoy breathtaking views across the Gardens 18 metres above the woodland floor on the Treetop Walkway. You can be Queen Bee for the day at The Hive; the lights you see and sounds you hear are triggered by bee activity in a real beehive at Kew. Kew Palace was the summer home of George III and is one of the lesser known royal residences in London. It would be impossible to miss the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world, Temperate House, which is due to reopen in 2018 after five years of restoration. It houses an internationally important collection of plants, including some of the rarest and most threatened.
There are no fewer than five cafes and restaurants at Kew Gardens offering lots of choice for our lunch break. (B, L)
Day 6: By Royal Warrant
After a leisurely breakfast we will head to 216 Strand in the heart of London for a Tea Masterclass with Twinings. In 1837 Queen Victoria granted Twinings its first Royal Warrant for tea – she appointed Twinings as supplier of teas to her household. Twinings has subsequently provided every successive British Monarch with tea to date.
You are then free for lunch and the afternoon; perhaps you would like to visit one of the capital’s free museums, or shop, or wander around one of the royal parks – did you know that 47% of London is green space?
Be sure to be back in time for our mid-late afternoon surprise! Details will not be divulged, however our top tip is to not overindulge at lunch today. (B, D)
Day 7: Fit For a King
After breakfast today we head by coach 18.8 kilometres south west and upstream of central London on the River Thames to Hampton Court Palace for a private guided tour of the palace and gardens. Hampton Court Palace is England’s largest and grandest Tudor structure. It was Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence and he brought all his six wives here. We will explore the palace’s magnificent 24 hectares of riverside gardens, including a 300 year old maze. There are regular spectacular shows and events, such as Tudor jousting, falconry displays, ghost hunts and much more.
We will then enjoy supper at a pub local to your hotel, which dates back to the 1820s, although the food is a little fresher… (B, D)
Day 8: Modern Royalty
This morning we will venture to Kensington Palace, which has been a retreat for the royal family for over three centuries. Queen Victoria spent her childhood here and in more recent times it has been home to Diana, Princess of Wales, Princess Margaret, and currently, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, and HRH Prince Harry. There is an excellent choice of exhibitions to choose from, including Diana: Her Fashion Story, which features some of her most iconic outfits and Victoria Revealed, where you can explore Queen Victoria’s long and extraordinary life.
This afternoon we will take the London Underground to Westminster Abbey, a living pageant of British history, for a Blue Badge guided tour. The Abbey houses the shrine of St Edward the Confessor, and the tombs of many other kings and queens. It has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066, and for numerous other royal occasions, including sixteen royal weddings, most recently Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries are due to open in 2018, which run 70 feet above the Abbey floor, and have been hidden to the public for over 700 years. The new galleries will display treasures and collections reflecting the Abbey’s rich and varied thousand-year history.
We will then enjoy our farewell dinner. (B, D)
Day 9: A Royal Farewell
Depending on departure time, free time for last minute visits/shopping. Hopefully the past and present royal heritage of London and its environs has been brought to life over the past week and you return the Homecoming King and Queen. (B)
Included in this trip:
Accommodation & Services:
- 8 nights in London.
- Centrally located, upmarket hotel.
- The services of an extremely highly qualified and experienced Tour Manager who will accompany you throughout your trip (dependent upon group size; please contact us for more information).
- Transfers to and from the airport.
- Private transport to Windsor Castle & Hampton Court Palace.
- 8-day London Travelcard for unlimited travel on London’s public transport network.
- All tips. For instance, tips to tour managers, local guides, restaurants and porterage (where available) are all included in the total price; one less thing to think about.
- We will be visiting: London, Windsor, Greenwich, Kew, Hampton Court.
Food & Beverages:
- Breakfast and either lunch or dinner (unless otherwise stated).
- When lunch and/or dinner are included, alcohol in the form of wine and/or beer is provided, unless otherwise stated.
- Tea, coffee and snacks where stated.
Entrances & Tickets:
- Westminster Abbey
- Windsor Castle & Windsor Great Park
- Tower of London
- The Royal Observatory
- Cutty Sark
- The National Maritime Museum
- Old Royal Naval College
- Queen’s House Art Gallery
- Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
- Kew Palace
- Hampton Court Palace & Gardens
- Kensington Palace
Guided Tours with a difference:
- Westminster Abbey
- Windsor Great Park
- Tower of London
- Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
- Hampton Court Palace & Gardens
- traditional pub dinner in Kensington
- riverboat to Greenwich
- Kew Explorer land train
- Treetop Walkway at Kew
- The Hive at Kew
- Tea Masterclass at Twinings
- performance at Shakespeare’s Globe
- A surprise (we are all children at heart after all)
NOT INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:
- Flights not included. I would suggest flying in and out of London Heathrow.
- Travel insurance.
- Visas, where applicable (Please note: US and Canadian nationals do not require Visas when traveling to Europe).
There are no ‘optionals’ for sale. Everything you have in the itinerary is included in the total cost.
Customised itinerary designed by Lucy Loves Travel Ltd.
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