2014 Heart of Wales & England 8 Days/7 Nights
Your trip starts at Heathrow Airport with a pre-booked independent transfer to your hotel. A transfer from Gatwick Airport can be arranged at an additional cost. The balance of the day is at leisure to relax or do some sightseeing on your own. In the evening meet your tour director and fellow travelers and enjoy a welcome drink while you discuss your vacation and the places that you will visit. Then sit down for a welcome dinner in your hotel.
This morning take a panoramic tour of central London to see some of the famous landmarks including Piccadilly Circus, Nelson’s Column and lions of Trafalgar Square, Big Ben towering over the Houses of Parliament and Hyde Park. Visit the Tower of London to view the magnificent Crown Jewels, guarded by Beefeaters in distinctive Tudor uniforms. Learn about the many famous and royal prisoners held in the dungeons and see the ravens, symbols of the endurance of the Tower. The afternoon is at leisure for shopping or further sightseeing; there is no shortage of great things to see and do in this exciting city. In the evening you are free for dinner.
Drive to Salisbury Plain to view the huge monoliths of Stonehenge and learn about their history. Next stop in Bath, popular for for its natural hot springs with the Romans 2,000 years ago and again in the Regency period. Next head to Bath to visit the Roman Baths and Pump Room, hot mineral-rich springs that have been popular since Roman times. See many sections still preserved after two millennia. Travel into Wales for a tour around Cardiff Castle, developed in Roman times and transformed into an elaborate Gothic-style castle in the 19th century. Then sit down in the Castle for a fun Welsh banquet with entertainment.
Take a panoramic drive around Cardiff, Wales’ proud capital, to view the principal features and the regenerated Cardiff Bay area. Drive through the gentle hills of Brecon Beacons National Park and continue north through charming countryside, where sheep graze peacefully. Wales is famous for its wool production and its mainly agricultural economy. Take a narrow-gauge train ride through the heart of Snowdonia to admire mountain scenery. Travel to Caernarfon for your next overnight stay. Caernarfon is renowned for its great stone castle, built in 1283 by Edward I, where Charles, the Prince of Wales, was invested in 1969. You may stroll around the narrow old streets after dinner.
Today tour scenic North Wales starting at the National Slate Museum which relates the hardships of this region’s slate industry, developed in Victorian times. As you drive through the countryside view Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. Pause in the village of Betws-y-Coed before heading to Conwy, a walled town with a huge castle, centuries-old buildings and the smallest house in Britain. Back in Caernarfon, tour Caernarfon Castle, once a vast military stronghold and a royal palace. Explore walkways around the massive walls and battlements that dominate the town. After dinner you may like to check out some of the old pubs around the town.
Drive through the gentle scenery of North Wales and take a break in the charming village of Llangollen before heading across the English border into Shropshire. Explore the picturesque town of Bridgnorth to see fine gabled and half-timbered houses. Drive to Stratford-upon-Avon for a panoramic tour around the lovely old town with distinctive black-and-white houses and shops. Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace to see an exhibition about his life and work. Then enter the house where he was born to see rooms furnished as they would have been in his day. Check in to your nearby Tudor-style hotel and enjoy free time before dinner.
Drive through part of the Cotswolds and stop in the village of Broadway to look at quaint old houses built of honey-hued stone. Drive south to Oxford for a walking tour through the historic city to learn about the most famous colleges, including Christ Church College, founded in 1524, and the many prominent graduates. Take some time for a browse around Oxford on your own. A short drive will bring you to Windsor to visit Windsor Castle, one of The Queen’s official residences and the largest occupied castle in the world. Marvel at the size of the castle and walk through the lavishly decorated State Apartments. Check in to your hotel, close to the Castle, for a farewell dinner with your travel group. After dinner, take a brief stroll around the town.
Travel by group coach transfer to arrive at Heathrow Airport at either 7:00 am or 10:00 am to allow plenty of time for check in formalities.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner