Heart of England
The Heart of England is one of the UK’s most iconic regions, encompassing Oxford, Stratford-upon Avon, Bath and the Cotswolds. On this five day journey you will cruise along the River Thames through two traditional English Locks, visit Harry Potter film locations in Oxford and Lacock, explore quaint Cotswold villages, taste traditional craft ciders made using locally harvested fruit and dine on quality produce sourced from the best local suppliers.
OXFORD, BATH, STONEHENGE & WINDSOR - The Heart of England is one of the UK’s most iconic regions, encompassing Oxford, Stratford-upon Avon, Bath and the Cotswolds. On this five day journey you will cruise along the River Thames through two traditional English Locks, visit Harry Potter film locations in Oxford and Lacock, explore quaint Cotswold villages, taste traditional craft ciders made using locally harvested fruit and dine on quality produce sourced from the best local suppliers.
Day 1: London l Oxford l Cotswolds
Monday - Relax as we travel through the beautiful English countryside to the most famous University City in the world, Oxford, where we join a cruise along the River Thames. We will pass through two traditional English Locks, including Osney Lock, which was built by the inmates of Oxford Prison in 1790 for the mere sum of £750. Upon our return to Oxford we enjoy a walk among the golden-stone buildings and ‘dreaming spires’ to Christ Church, one of Oxford’s grandest colleges. Christ Church’s Great Hall and cloisters were also used in the Harry Potter films. This afternoon we traverse the gentle, timeless hills of the Cotswolds, stopping at some of the gems on our way to tonight’s accommodation in beautiful Chipping Campden. (D)
Day 2: Stratford-Upon-Avon | Cotswolds
Tuesday - This morning is a feast for literary enthusiasts and history buffs as we visit Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon- Avon to discover Ye Olde England of the Bard’s birth and his final resting place, Holy Trinity Church. A short drive to Shottery, a hamlet within the parish of Stratford-upon-Avon, will take us to a thatched farmhouse where the young William Shakespeare courted his future bride Anne Hathaway. See for yourself many original items dating from Anne’s time before we meander through country lanes and honey coloured hamlets, littered with atmospheric churches. Quaint villages that we may have the opportunity to visit include Lower Slaughter, known for its unspoilt limestone cottages in the traditional Cotswold style and Broadway, which is often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’. Tonight we return to our delightful Cotswolds base. (B)
Day 3: Cotswolds | Lacock l Bath
Wednesday - Our first visit this morning is to the picture-perfect village of Lacock, which has been used in countless television and movie productions including Pride and Prejudice, The Other Boleyn Girl and Harry Potter. After some time here to wander the historic village streets, see the exhibitions in the museum and visit the Abbey, we continue to Dick Willows, a traditional cider maker. Dick himself will show us around his cider pressing and fermenting rooms and share with us his extensive knowledge of all things cider. After the tour Dick will serve some of the ciders from his barrels, accompanied by a selection of delicious locally produced cheese, crusty bread and pickles. For those who would like to indulge in a little bit of British tradition for themselves, we will then make a stop where you can enjoy a traditional cream tea, before we continue to tonight’s accommodation in Bath, a vibrant city with a great choice of bars and restaurants. The evening is yours to enjoy the city as you wish. (B)
Day 4: Bath
Thursday - Listed as a World Heritage Site, Bath is truly one of Europe’s most attractive cities, with the highest concentration of listed buildings anywhere in the British Isles. This morning we will explore the splendid Georgian city to learn more about Roman life at the restored Roman Baths and see the towering 15th century Abbey, the imposing Georgian Royal Crescent and fascinating Pulteney Bridge. This afternoon is yours to spend at leisure. Literary enthusiasts might choose to visit the Jane Austen Centre, which offers a snapshot of life during Regency times and explores how living in this magnificent city affected her life and writing, whilst others may choose to explore the myriad of small independent shops, stylish boutiques and familiar high street stores. Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner together created from the freshest ingredients in a seasonally changing menu. (BD)
Day 5: Bath | Stonehenge l Windsor Castle | London
Friday - Leaving Bath behind we look forward to yet more spectacular sights as we travel across the Salisbury Plain to visit the great mystical construction at Stonehenge. Dating back to 3100 BC there are many lively debates as how this stone circle was built and why. Learn more about these theories and make up your own mind as we enjoy the walking commentary tour. Then onwards to the glorious city of Salisbury whose cathedral has tallest spire in Britain and is home to the original Magna Carta. Our final destination today brings royalty alive as we visit the world’s largest occupied and oldest garrisoned fortress, Windsor Castle – the official residence of the Queen. Windsor Castle dates back to William the Conqueror and has been expanded and fortified under each successive monarch to become the grand construction you see today. Wander through the magnificent State Apartments and St George’s Chapel, the burial place of ten monarchs, and admire the rooms that were recently restored to their former glory. (B)