The Page Turner: From Dickens’s London to Shakespeare’s Stratford
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkein, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling, George Eliot, Lord Byron, Lewis Carroll, Winston Churchill, Thomas Hardy; the list is endless. It is safe to say that no other country has produced so many wonderful authors who are still read across the globe today. It is with this in mind that we will take you on a tour in the footsteps of just a few of these greats, all the while sampling the very best that Britain has to offer.
Day 1: London
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
Arrive and be whisked away to your central London hotel to check in and unwind with a Rosy Lee (cockney rhyming slang for a cup of tea). Cockney rhyming slang originated in the mid 19th century in the East End of London and is still in use today. This evening, enjoy fine wining and dining at one of London’s most popular restaurants. (D)
Day 2 Westminster
After a leisurely breakfast we take the London Underground to Westminster Abbey, a living pageant of British history, for a Blue Badge guided tour. Particular attention will be given to Poets’ Corner, where a cacophony of British poets are buried or remembered, from Chaucer to Byron, from Rudyard Kipling to Oscar Wilde. We will then enjoy a late lunch at a pub local to the Abbey, frequented by Dickens, after which you can enjoy some free time, perhaps visiting one of the capital’s free museums, or shopping, or wander around one of the Royal parks – did you know that 47% of London is green space? (B, L)
Day 3 Dickensian London
Today we head by the Underground to the King’s Cross area of London, and since we are in the area we cannot miss a trip to platform 9¾ where it is all aboard with Harry Potter as he embarks on his journey to Hogwarts, although no charging at the brick wall please! From here we will head to the home of one of the world’s greatest storytellers, Charles Dickens, who wrote Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and The Pickwick Papers at 48 Doughty Street. From here it is a quick hop, skip and jump to The British Library, which is the largest library in the world by number of items catalogued – over 150 million from many countries; even the most ardent reader might feel slightly overwhelmed by this number of books! From the Library we will head for a feast of a picnic whilst enjoying a production at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre* (B, D)
*weather dependent and an alternate activity will be included dependent upon the season.
Day 4 Tracking Sherlock Holmes
For our final day in London we visit the home of another British icon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, who famously resided at 221b Baker Street with his loyal friend and colleague, Dr Watson. The Museum is brought to life by staff dressed in period costume. Using our recently acquired detective skills we will track down genteel Marylebone High Street for a spot of lunch and shopping, not least to Daunt Books, one of London’s premier independent bookshops, which specialises in travel books, to choose your next bedside page-turner. We will then head by black cab for a surprise outing. An early dinner and early to bed before we embark on our next chapter tomorrow. (B, D)
“In Oxford you may see it all…century by century, or face by face. She is an England in miniature: an essence of England.”
Day 5 Oxford
After breakfast we board a coach from our London hotel to the city of dreaming spires for check in at our central Oxford hotel for the next couple of nights. The city is home to the oldest English-language university in the world. Oxford’s contribution to the literary world is unparalleled and we will immerse ourselves in the world of numerous famous authors. With the help of our Blue Badge guide we will discover what inspired and influenced masterpieces such as Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and the more recent Inspector Morse. Lunch and a drink will be taken in the pub frequented by C.S. Lewis, Colin Dexter and J.R.R. Tolkein; it was here that C.S. Lewis distributed the proofs for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A trip to Oxford would not be complete without a punt on the River Cherwell and then the rest of the afternoon is free for you to wander through the cobbled streets, the 38 colleges that make up the University of Oxford, and the Pitt Rivers or Ashmolean Museums. We will end the day with dinner a short distance from the hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Blenheim Palace & Stratford-upon-Avon
“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”
After a leisurely breakfast we will board the coach for a short drive to Woodstock, where lies Blenheim Palace, a World Heritage Site, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and home of the 12th Duke of Marlborough. Here we will enjoy a tour of the historic palace, then hop aboard a buggy tour of the park and gardens. We will enjoy a traditional pub lunch in the lovely market town of Woodstock and then onto Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. The remainder of the afternoon is for you to enjoy at your leisure, be it enjoying a wander along the River Avon or a tour of Shakespeare’s birthplace or classroom. We will then enjoy an early, light dinner. “To be, or not to be: that is the question…” there is no question in this instance, we shall of course attend a performance by The Royal Shakespeare Company before we return to our hotel in Oxford. (B, L, D)
‘God’s own county’ – so say proud Yorkshire folk!
Day 7 York
Founded by the Romans and loved by the Vikings, York has a rich cultural heritage and is a major centre for the English confectionery industry. A local guide will meet us upon arrival to show us the highlights of this extraordinary walled city: the Shambles and its medieval timber-framed buildings, York Minster, one of the largest and most impressive Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, and the Jorvik Viking Centre, among others. A traditional Yorkshire roast lunch is included today. And after lunch, no visit to England’s confectionery hub would be complete without an indulgent chocolate workshop at York’s premier cocoa house to bring out the chocoholic in you. Free time and dinner at leisure. (B, L)
Day 8 Haworth & Harrogate
After a leisurely full English breakfast we will board private transport to Haworth where the Bronte sisters grew up. This will include a trip to the Parsonage where Charlotte, Emily and Anne all lived for the majority of their lives and we will learn what inspired them in the surroundings of their own home to write such classics as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. From Haworth we will head to Betty’s in Harrogate, for their legendary afternoon tea. You are then free to enjoy the Victorian spa town of Harrogate for the afternoon before returning to your hotel in York. Tonight we will enjoy our final dinner together. (B, D)
Day 9 Departure
This morning we head to London by high speed train to ensure you catch your flights home. We hope this tour has opened up a whole new world to you, as many of the authors whose birthplaces, homes etc we have visited over the past week have done. May it be the inspiration for putting the authors from these isles at the top of your book pile again. Sadly time to say goodbye, but we look forward to writing your next travel story together. (B)
Included in this trip:
Accommodation & Services:
- 5 nights in London, 2 nights in Oxford and 2 nights in York.
- 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, unless otherwise stated.
- 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, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, York, Haworth and Harrogate.
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.
- Aperitivi, coffee and snacks where stated.
Entrances & Tickets:
- Westminster Abbey
- Blenheim Palace
- Haworth Parsonage
- Jorvik Viking Centre
- Sherlock Holmes & Charles Dickens Museums
Guided Tours with a difference:
- Westminster Abbey
- British Library
- Blenheim Palace
- Haworth Parsonage
- punting on the River Thames
- afternoon Tea at Betty’s
- buggy tour of Blenheim Palace Park & Gardens
- trips to the RSC and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
- chocolate workshop
- 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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