2017 Heart of Wales & England 8 Days / 7 Nights
Your vacation starts at your London hotel at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour director. Head out on a panoramic tour of central London to see famous landmarks. Stop at St Paul’s Cathedral to tour the awe-inspiring interior. In the evening discuss your trip with your tour director over a welcome drink and dine in your hotel.
Today explore London at your own pace on an open-top bus tour to see the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and more. You may also take a walking tour and a cruise on the River Thames. Visit the Tower of London to view the magnificent Crown Jewels, guarded by Beefeaters in distinctive Tudor uniforms and visit some of the historic towers where important historic events have taken place. You may prefer to visit Kensington Palace, home of Princess Diana. The evening is free for dining on your own and there is no shortage of great restaurants.
Drive to Salisbury Plain to view the huge monoliths of Stonehenge and, in the interpretive visitor center, learn about how they were built over 4,500 years ago and how people moved huge blocks of stone with primitive tools. Next head to Bath to visit the Roman Baths and Pump Room, hot mineral-rich springs that have been popular since Roman times. The fashion of “taking the waters” was revived during the 18th century Regency period when much of Bath’s elegant houses were built. Travel into Wales to tour Cardiff Castle, built up over centuries and especially in the 19th century. Then sit down to a fun Welsh banquet with entertainment.
Take a panoramic drive around Cardiff, Wales’ proud capital, to view the principal features. Then drive north through the lovely scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park and continue north through rural Wales, which is mainly picturesque countryside with mixed farms. In North Wales travel through hills and valleys of the Snowdonia National Park. Take a narrow-gauge train ride through the heart of the region to admire mountain scenery. Drive to Caernarfon for your next overnight stay. Your hotel is just outside the walls and you may like to take a gentle walk through the ancient streets after dinner.
Today tour North Wales, starting with a visit to the National Slate Museum, which tells about the region’s former slate industry. This industry developed in Victorian times when most houses in Britain had slate roofs. Pause for photos of Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. Stop in Conwy to view its massive castle, which was built by King Edward I in the 13th century as part of his mission to conquer Wales. Take a walk through the narrow medieval streets and see the smallest house in Britain, located on the quay and was home to a fisherman. Tour the massive walls and battlements of 13th century Caernarfon Castle, also built by King Edward I.
Drive to the charming village of Llangollen and take a look around this typical Welsh settlement with many quaint tearooms and shops. Then head across the English border for a look around the picturesque town of Bridgnorth, with attractive black and white houses. Drive to Stratford-upon-Avon for a panoramic tour around the city center and visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Here you will see an exhibition about his life and work before walking through the house where he was born. Today it is furnished in the style of his time. Check in to your centrally-located hotel.
Drive through the gentle hills of the Cotswolds, renowned for its pretty cottages and colorful gardens. Stop in Broadway, typical of the lovely old villages in the region where the houses are built of local honey-colored stone. Take a walking tour through Oxford to learn about the famous colleges and see how the two communities of “town” and “gown” live. Tour Windsor Castle, one of The Queen’s official residences, to see the State Apartments and St George’s Chapel. This is the largest inhabited castle in the world. After dinner in your hotel, take a brief stroll around the compact and historic town with a local guide.
Your tour ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
All components of this tour (hotels, meals, visits and attractions) for 2017 are subject to change until finalized in September 2016.
(Updated April 07, 2016)