English Adventure - English Delight
8 day tour of England visiting Oxford, Bath, York and Cambridge staying at B&Bs and inns.
“Where is the famous Oxford University?” is a question many visitors ask and the answer is: everywhere! The University is made up of 38 independent colleges, including the magnificent Christ Church and Wadham College, and their quads and buildings can be found all over the city. Take a walking tour to explore and find out more about Oxford University’s history, architecture and traditions.
There are many historical museums to visit in Oxford, including the world famous Ashmolean Museum founded in 1683, the Pitt Rivers Museum, The Museum of Natural History, Museum of Oxford, Museum of the History of Science – home to Charles Dodgson’s camera and a blackboard used by Albert Einstein during a lecture in Oxford in 1931, and the beautiful Weston Library exhibiting some of the Bodleian Library’s greatest treasures, from ancient Magna Carta and Jane Austen manuscripts, Shakespeare’s first folio to a letter from Albert Einstein! If you are looking for contemporary art, Modern Art Oxford is the place for you!
Oxford Castle Unlocked is a great place to immerse yourself in 1,000 years of history! Visitors can enjoy a guided tour and meet past inhabitants of Oxford Castle and discover their true stories. If you are looking at extending your experience, you can eat in an actual prison at the Malmaison Hotel‘s many cells! The Oxford Castle Quarter next to the castle is home to an exciting hub of bars and restaurants, and is the perfect place to treat yourself to a delicious meal or pint!
Oxford is the birthplace of Alice in Wonderland! Even though neither of the movies were filmed in Oxford, its many surroundings, such as Christ Church College where Alice Liddell (the real Alice) lived, did inspire Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) in 1862 to write this enchanting story that we all love. Along with Christ Church, the New College and Bodleian Libraries were featured in the Harry Potter movies and the Randolph Hotel’s Morse Bar is just one of the famous places used in the filming of the Inspector Morse TV series in Oxford.
Punting – a truly timeless tradition in Oxford. Cherwell Boathouse is Oxford’s biggest punt station and has over 80 handmade punts for hire to take on the River Cherwell where you will pass Parsons Pleasure where University Dons used to sunbathe in the nude or go down the River Thames – home to the University of Oxford rowing clubs, with Salter’s Steamers who offer chauffeured punts if booked in advance.
When in Oxford, one must climb a tower to enjoy the beautiful views over the city’s famous dreaming spires. The historical Saxon Tower at St Michael at the North Gate is an easy climb to the top which will reward you with a view of bustling Cornmarket Street and the spires and rooftops of Oxford ancient and modern. The University Church of St Mary the Virgin gives the visitor a beautiful view of the colleges and city or climb the Saxon St George’s Tower at the Oxford Castle Unlocked, one of Oxford’s oldest building, and enjoy the stunning 360° views.
Oxford is packed with beautiful independent shops and a cluster of these can be found in the famous Oxford Covered Market. The University of Oxford Shop makes sure visitors find their perfect Oxford-themed souvenir, Alice’s Shop sells a wide range of Alice in Wonderland souvenirs and the new Westgate Oxford in the city centre boasts an exciting mix of shops and restaurants. Jericho is another popular place for shopping and if you head down there, pop into Demijohn for a unique experience at this liquid deli.
Oxford is a great place to enjoy a good musical or theatrical performance in one of its many theatres across the city. New Theatre Oxford is known for its famous Broadway shows and the Oxford Playhouse showcases the best of British and international drama, family shows, and much more. The Old Fire Station is known for its quality art aimed at adults, the renowned Sheldonian Theatre is home to beautiful classical music performances and the North Wall Arts Centre located in Summertown showcases a variety of music and drama performances.
Every day during term-time, starting between 5.15 and 6.45 pm, many Oxford college chapel choirs and some parish churches sing beautiful music in Choral Evensong – a service which is free-of-charge and open to all. Participating in this living tradition is a great way to experience the life of different colleges of Oxford from within.
Overnight - Oxford
Oxford to Bath
Today you will make your way to Bath.
A special package offers visitors the opportunity to see the Roman Baths by torchlight, including the museum with its award-winning interpretation, the steaming baths and the Roman temple complex. View the Roman treasures, baths and temple complex at your own pace using an audio-guide, before reaching the Great Bath, where you can meet Roman characters and then join a Roman Baths guide for a tour of the 2,000 year old suit of bathing pools. After you visit head to the Roman Baths kitchen, located opposite, for a delicious three course dinner.
Bathe in the open-air rooftop pool at Thermal Bath Spa, an award winning Natural Spa where you can bathe in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters as the Celts and Romans did over 2000 years ago. (pre-booking is essential in high season)
See historic Georgian gowns and cutting edge fashion at the Fashion Museum, one of the world’s top 10 museums of fashionable dress. The museum displays chronicle the story of fashionable dress over the past 400 years and feature more than 160 dressed figures. There’s a dressing-up room where you an try on coats, hats, corsets, dresses and bonnets and have your photo taken against a Victorian backdrop.
Follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen and visit the Jane Austen Centre dedicated to her time in the city. The centre offers a snapshot of what it would be like to live in the Regency times - the fashion, food, society - everything that would have inspired Austen’s timeless novels.
Take a trip to The Holburne Museum, this Grade I listed building was originally designed and constructed as a hotel, but is now home to a collection of fine and decorative art.The fascinating pieces that adorn one of Bath’s most beautiful buildings vary from Renaissance treasures to masterpieces by Gainsborough. Bath Abbey is a magnificent and iconic landmark to visit and explore. The site where the Abbey now stands has been a place of Christian worship for over a thousand years and occupied by three different churches. The Tower Tours are a great way to experience a sneak peek behind this iconic landmark and enjoy a breathtaking view over the whole
Overnight - Bath
Bath & area
Today provides many options in this area. Relax and pamper yourself with a spa day, or explore the surrounding area:
The World Heritage Site of Stonehenge is approximately a 1 hour drive from Bath and is one of the most iconic prehistoric monuments in Europe. The imposing and fascinating stone circle was built in the late Neolithic period around 2,500BC. A fascinating audio tour is provided to listen to as you stroll around the towering stones. Pre-booking is strongly advised.
Go and visit Cheddar Gorge, Britain’s biggest gorge and take in the dramatic cliffs rising up 450ft and explore the stunning stalactite caverns below. The Cliff-top Gorge Walk starts at the Lookout Tower with 360 degree views you’ll see for miles! All aboard the open top double-decker bus for your tour of the dramatic landscape. The Museum of Prehistory tells the story of our ancestors’ 40,000-year struggle for survival during the Ice Age while re-enactors demonstrate the survival skills of flint knapping and fire making.
Visit Lacock Abbey, Village and Fox Talbot Museum to learn about the medieval abbey turned family home, the museum tells the history of the photography, and the quintessential English village famous from TV and film. The abbey’s wooded grounds are the perfect destination for taking a relaxed walk all year round and throughout the year, a range of exhibitions, events and family activities and trails means there’s always something to do.
Overnight - Bath
Bath to York
Today you will make your way to York. Enroute you may wish to stop in Stratford-upon-Avon.
- Royal Shakespeare Company - Stratford has two grand stages r – the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Swan Theatre on Waterside – as well as the smaller Other Place.
- Shakespeare's Birthplace - Start your Shakespeare quest at the house where the world's most popular playwright supposedly spent his childhood days.
- Shakespeare's New Place - When Shakespeare retired, he swapped the bright lights of London for a comfortable town house at New Place, where he died of unknown causes in April 1616.
- Old Thatch Tavern - To truly appreciate Stratford's olde-worlde atmosphere, join the locals for a pint at the town's oldest pub. Built in 1470, this thatched-roofed, low-ceilinged treasure has great real ales.
- Holy Trinity Church - The final resting place of the Bard is said to be the most visited parish church in all of England.
- Mary Arden's Farm - Shakespeare genealogists can trace the family tree to the childhood home of the Bard's mother at Wilmcote, 3 miles west of Stratford. Aimed squarely at families, the working farm traces country life over the centuries.
- Charlecote Park - A youthful Shakespeare allegedly poached deer in the grounds of this lavish Elizabethan pile on the River Avon, 5 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon. Fallow deer still roam the grounds today.
- Anne Hathaway's Cottage - Before tying the knot with Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway lived in Shottery, 1 mile west of the centre of Stratford, in this delightful thatched farmhouse.
- Shakespeare's School Room - Shakespeare's alma mater, King Edward VI School (still a prestigious grammar school today), incorporates a vast black-and-white timbered building, dating from 1420, that was once the town's guildhall.
York & Surrounding Area
Choose from many options today:
- York Minster is York’s world-class cathedral with its medieval stained glass and stone masterpieces and foundations rooted in the nation’s earliest history. Take a fascinating 2000 year journey through interactive underground chambers in Revealing York Minster. The chambers have been transformed with dynamic new audio-visual and interactive galleries revealing the significance behind the cathedral’s most treasured artefacts.
- Clifford Tower stands as a proud symbol of the power of England’s medieval kinds. Originally built by William the Conqueror to subdue the rebels of the north, it was twice burned to the ground, before being rebuilt by Henry III in the 13th century. With sweeping panoramic views of York and the surrounding countryside, it isn’t hard to see why Clifford’s Tower played such a crucial role in the control of northern England.
- Visit the award winning National Railway Museum where you can get up close to over 200 years of fascinating history in York’s only National Museum. Explore the giant halls full of trains and railway legends including Mallard - the world’s fastest steam locomotive, the Shinkansen Bullet Train and Royal Trains including Queen Victoria’s luxurious saloon.
- At York Castle Museum you can see hundreds of years of York’s history in one place - from recreated Jacobean dining rooms to infamous Victorian criminals and all the way to the Space Age and the swimming sixties. The interactive galleries hold thousands of historic objects that really bring the past to life.
- Take the York Boat City Cruise to escape the hustle and bustle of the City. It offers a great photographic opportunity and chance to see the fascinating buildings, bridges and historic sights on the River Ouse in York. Look for stunning wildlife including kingfishers along the way.
- York’s Chocolate Story offers an entertaining and informative guided tour through the history of York’s most famous chocolate making families and their finest creations. You will discover chocolate’s origins, how to make it, how to taste it like an expert and even the sustainable future of chocolate. You can have a go at chocolate lolly making and decorating, master the secrets of the chocolatier and create your very own chocolate bar to take home, and you will also get to see a chocolate making demonstration from the skilled chocolatiers in the new chocolate kitchen.
- Take a trip to Newby Hall, the family home of Mr and Mrs Richard Compton. It is one of England’s finest houses, offering an exceptional example of 18th century interior decoration. The superb contents of the house, collected by Weddell, ancestor of the Compton family, on the Grand Tour include a rare set of Gobelin Tapestries, a gallery of classical statuary and some of Chippendale’s finest furniture.
- York Maze is an award winning, seasonal attraction that will give your whole family a great day out. It offers a super fun-filled day in the country, exploring your way around the giant maze and enjoying over 20 other exciting rides, shows and attractions.
- The Captain Cook Memorial Museum is housed in the handsome 17th century house in Grape Lane, Whitby, where the young James Cook came to serve his apprenticeship in the year 1746. It houses a superb collection of original exhibits about Yorkshire’s most famous son. Original paintings, maps and manuscripts, ship models and Pacific artefacts tell the story of the voyages. The Museum won the Gold Award for the Best Small Visitor Attraction in the Visit England Awards for Excellence.
York to Cambridge
Today you will make your way to Cambridge, the spectacular university town. Cambridge University is into 31 architecturally stunning colleges. The most famous is Kings College, with its distinctive gothic chapel and illustrious list of former students. Take a tour to hear all the stories about famous former students.
Alternatively you could visit the bustling market square or enjoy a relaxing walk through Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Stop for a traditional afternoon tea in one of the town’s many tearooms.
Overnight - Cambridge area
Cambridge to London area
Today is at your leisure, either exploring Cambridge, or making your way towards London. If time permits, a stop in Windsor enroute is suggested. You may wish to visit Windsor Castle, one of the three official residences of Queen Elizabeth II. It has been home to the Sovereign for over 900 years. The Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. The imposing towers and battlements of the Castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world's most spectacular skylines. No other royal residence has played such an important role in the nation's history.
Overnight - London area airport hotel
Your English Delight driving holiday ends upon checkout. Make your way to the airport for your return flight.
- Shakespeare Country
- 7 day “ROYAL COVERAGE” self-drive manual car rental
- 7 nights pre-booked ensuite accommodation at delightful B&B’s and Inns throughout England
- Full breakfast daily