Honed over centuries, England and the rest of the United Kingdom has always had a history, heritage and beautiful landscapes to rightly proud of, and a glorious regional diversity – from coast to hills, festivals to food – with few parallels. As the nights start getting longer and the winter chills start to set in, the thoughts of a holiday probably seem far away but don’t despair, there are plenty of cultured, interesting and unique UK tours which make the perfect autumn break…
The Jane Austen tour
Austen fans- don’t make plans for October 5th and 6th and book this personally guided group tour to some of the most iconic locations of Austen’s life. Your first port of call is Lacock village which, was the location for the filming of BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, then onto Bath where you will feel like you’ve stepped into Northanger Abbey. In the evening, check into your luxury five star hotel and after a fine meal, enjoy an entertaining and personal talk by a Jane Austen expert, before going to bed to dream of chancing upon Mr Darcy at Pemberley the next day. The next day spend some time at Steventon and Chawton, two beautiful quaint villages where Austen spent most of her life and gathered much of the material for ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Northanger Abbey’, ‘Mansfield Park’ and ‘Emma’. In Chawton, her original home has been transformed into a museum housing lots of Austen artefacts including; her desk, jewellery and some letters. The two days will pass in a flurry of Austenisms and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the worlds of the Woodhouses or the Bennetts.
The Bath Tour
It’s like Bath is the eternal city and history has happened all around it. A tour of Bath will bring you back to Prehistoric Britain with a tour of Stonehenge, take in the ancient Roman baths, a whistlestop visit to the country’s oldest university at Oxford and the spectacular Windsor Castle- the largest of the royal residences. Overnight in the stunning deluxe Bath Priory dating back to 1835 and unwind in their stunning gardens, reflecting on the depth of history that surrounds you. Your guide will be knowledgeable and insightful, giving expert leadership along this intricate path to the past.
Shakespeare Country Tours
The tour includes visits to nearby Windsor Castle, Oxford and Eton as well as a picturesque drive through the gentle, green sloping hills of the Cotswolds to spend a night in the Tudor market-town of Stratford-upon-Avon, the small village immortalised by William Shakespeare. The next few days will be spent flitting between medieval fortresses, manor gardens, roman baths and finally, Longleat- and Elizabethan treasure trove house before dispatching to London via the cathedral cities; Salisbury and Winchester.
Pride and Prejudice Tour
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Jane Austen fan in search of a good time, must go on the Pride and Prejudice tour! The tour includes visits to 16th century Burghley House which is the setting for Rosings Park, Haddon Hall (Lampton Inn), Basildon Park (AKA Netherfield) and the piece de resistance- Chatsworth, or Pemberley as it’s known to Janeites. The tour of the sites can be completely in two days, but add an extra day to explore Chawton, Austen’s home-place where she revised Pride and Prejudice and where her inspiration hangs on every corner.
Castles of England Tour
This is the quintessential English tour, visit three of the most historic castles in England- Leeds, Hever and Windsor with an expert guide and spend a night at the beautiful Amberley Castle. The first stop is the 1,000- year-old Leeds: surrounded by a lake and generally considered to be the most beautiful in the world. The next stop is the moated, 13th century Hever, most famous for being the childhood home of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn. If Hever is closed another location is offered. After a luxurious overnight stay slumbering within the medieval architecture of Amberley Castle and awake afresh for a trip to Stonehenge followed by either Hampton Court Palace or Windsor Castle to revel in the magnificent state apartments of Windsor or discover the beauty of the views from Hampton Court which, made it Henry VIIIs favourite.
Tour of Wales
Immerse yourself in the mythical culture of Wales, meet the charismatic locals and explore the majestic scenery. Discover the medieval castle and cathedral of Cardiff, visit the shed that Dylan Thomas wrote in and descend into the bowels of Blaenfon Big Pit Coal Mine which is now a museum. Hike along the Elan Valley and it’s sparkling lakes and the stunning Snowdonia National park. A trip to Wales would not be complete without visiting the bizarre Italianate village on a private peninsula. While you’re there, try picking up some of the local lingo – prydferth cymru!
Tour of the West Country
This tour takes you into a pace of life long gone elsewhere in England, quaint meandering lanes in sleepy villages, romantic associations with King Arthur and Guinevere, the vast wild spaces of Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor. Stay three nights in Devon or Cornwall to relax and explore the region, especially Castle Drogo, built by Henry VIII to fortify the coast line in reaction to the Pope’s crusade against him. Also see spectacular St Michael’s Mount, set high on a rock island off the mainland, the ruins of Tintagel, according to legend the birthplace of King Arthur. On your fourth day visit Glastonbury, a town steeped in myth & legend, and Wells with its magnificent 12th century Cathedral before your arrival in Bath, one of Britain’s most complete and best preserved Georgian cities. Spend your final night in Bath basking in the uncomplicated history before returning to the 21st century rat race.