British Adventure - London to Edinburgh
8 day tour of England staying at B&Bs and inns.
Depart London and make your way to the mid-lands. Enroute, you may wish to visit Oxford or Stratford-Upon-Avon:
- “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.
- 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
- 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.
Before leaving the area today, take some time to explore Leicester city. Leicester is a unique city and a wonderful place to visit, with a superb range of visitor attractions and shopping that is second to none. It's a city that combines the finest English traditions with multicultural activities and the cosmopolitan buzz of city life. The heart of the city is the shopping core. From the 800 year old market which is one of the biggest in Europe to the independent boutiques, arcades and eateries of The Lanes and the multitude of stores and restaurants in the Highcross shopping complex, Leicester’s sterling retail offers sprawls out in all directions from the iconic 146 year-old Clock Tower. A modern city, rich in arts, culture, sports and heritage, Leicester offers something of interest for all ages. So start exploring today!
Visit: Curve, Highcross Leicester and the National Space Centre.
When you arrive in Chester, be sure to enjoy the bewitching beauty and unique atmosphere make Chester one of Britain's most popular places. The ancient city is a truly breathtaking experience. Each chapter of Chester's history is etched into the very fabric of the city. You walk where Roman Legionaires marched to war, Viking raiders wreaked havoc and Norman invaders conquered Anglo Saxons. Chester has the most complete city walls, the oldest racecourse and the largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain, plus a 1000 year old Cathedral with Europe's finest example of medieval carvings - and of course the one and only 700 year old Rows galleries where shopping is a double delight.
You'll find stores galore offering the hottest fashion in Chester all set against a background of unique treasures of antiquity and a vibrant cafe culture where outdoor dining and people watching go hand in hand.
Make time too for Chester Zoo, the most visited UK attraction outside London and home to 21,000 animals from 500 different species in acres of glorious gardens or slow the pace down and explore the city aboard an open top bus tour.
Overnight - Chester area
North Wales Coast
- Llandudno was known to the Victorians and the Edwardians as the Queen of the Welsh Resorts, being graced with some of the most elegant seaside architecture in Britain. You can delve further into the past at the 4,000 year old copper mine or the medieval castle at Conwy. Or enjoy the vintage charm of a traditional Punch and Judy show on the promenade and a Victorian-style afternoon tea.
- One of the most picturesque galleries in Britain, The Oriel Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno hosts consistently excellent contemporary art shows within an elegant building with a classic early 20th century facade.
- On the Island of Anglesey, visit the Menai Suspension Bridge, built by Thomas Telford and opened in 1826, it’s the first modern suspension bridge in the world. Also take a trip to the outpost of Angelsey, you’ll soon be playing the time-honoured game of playing spot-the puffin or one of the rare breeding pair of choughs among the colonies of guillemots and razorbills clinging to the cliffs at South Stacks.
- Situated on the short of the Menai Strait, Plas Newydd Country House is a National Trust house that dates back to the 18th century. It houses a military museum, an Australian arboretum and an exhibition of Rex Whistler paintings from the 1930s.
- The last great castle built under Edward I in the 13th century, Beaumaris Castle was never completed. It is now designated a World Heritage Site and all its innovations remain for all to wonder at the devilish imagination and detail that went into its construction.
- For a little bit of adventure along the coast, visit the Colwyn Bay Watersports Centre. Their friendly and experienced instructors are waiting to help get beginners out on the water for the first time. They provide kayak, paddle board and canoe hire from the beach everyday throughout the season, with no need to book.
- At Bridlewood Riding Centre all visitors are greeted with a warm welcome and are happy for you to go and look around the stables at any time. They offer beach rides, hacks, lessons and Own a Pony Days. A great activity for all the family.
- Visit Wordsworth’s House in Grasmere, this whitewashed cottage near Grasmere was William Wordsworth’s first home in the Lake District. Now owned by the Wordsworth Trust, the cottage is full of memorabilia, including the poet’s ice-skates, his passport, a pair of his reading glasses and a portrait of one of his favourite dogs, Pepper, given to him as a present by Sir Walter Scott.
- A hallowed name amongst fell walkers, Great Langdale is home to some of the Lake District’s most iconic hikes. Most people choose to tackle the Langdale Pikes, a spiky chain of hills on the valley’s northern side, but more experienced hikers might feel up to the challenging circuit along the Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.
- Take a drive through Borrowdale, Butermere and Honister Slate Mine. With its green fields, cob cottages, drystone walls and rolling fells, Borrowdale sums up the spirit of the Lake District Landscape. Neighbouring Buttermere feels altogether wilder and emptier; its twin lakes, Buttermere and Crummock Water, are overlooked by a string of dramatic fells. Separating the two valleys, the windswept Honister Pass is home to one of the Lake District’s last working slate mines, where you can take a one and a half hour tour.
- Visit the Home of Beatrix Potter at Hill Top where the author created some of her best-known stories. She bought the house in 1905 and bequeathed it to the National Trust following her death in 1943. Potter scholars will spot many features from the author’s illustrations - including Mrs Tiggywinkle’s kitchen and Mr MacGregor’s cottage garden.
- Take a trip to the Lake District’s original gastropub, The Drunken Duck. Perched on a hilltop between Coniston and Hawkshead the food is well and truly restaurant standard. It is a lovely place to dine with the rustic-chic beamed bar full of antiques and sporting prints, and the menu revolves around British classics such as pig’s cheek, venison haunch and pork belly with faggots, washed down with ales from the in-house Barngates Brewery.
- In business since 1854, Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread Shop next to the village church makes Grasmere’s essential souvenir. Traditional gingerbread with a half-biscuity, half-caked texture is served by ladies dressed in frilly pinafores and starched bonnets to give you a taste of how the shop was run over 150 years ago.
- To get a real feel for the surrounding area, take a Mountain Goat Tour. They provide a variety of award winning guided tours that reach every corner of the lakes, they also offer tours to Hadrian’s Wall and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
- Windermere Lake Cruises offer cruises from 45 minutes to 3 hours on England’s largest lake - or you can even spend all day on and around the lake with the Freedom of the Lake ticket. This spectacular voyage gives the traveller magnificent views of mountain scenery, secluded bays and the many wooded islands.
- A great day out is a trip to The World of Beatrix Potter. As you step inside the attraction you can explore the wonderful landscape as all twenty-three of the magical tales are brought to life, recreating sights, sounds and smells in 3D displays. There’s a chance to meet your favourite characters, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggywinkle and Mr Tod, not forgetting the most famous character of all, Peter Rabbit!
- The Lakeland Motor Museum offers the opportunity to explore the fascinating collection of over 30,000 exhibits that trace the development of road transport throughout the twentieth century - cycles, motorbikes, motor cars, and automobilia. Housed in a converted mill just minutes from Lake Windermere, the museum offers joint tickets with Windermere Lake Cruises. Much more than a museum, the local history and period shopping displays, authentic recreations and picturesque riverside cafe makes it a great day out for the whole family.
- Windermere Canoe & Kayak Shop and Hire gives you the chance to experience the lakes on canoe, kayak, paddleboard, and bikes. If you fancy a good cycle ride, collect your bike from the Boathouse at Ferry Nab in Bowness and from here you can instantly access traffic free bike routes on the quiet western shores of Windermere via a short ferry crossing.
- Visit The Blackwell Arts and Crafts House, overlooking Windermere, the house was built as a holiday home by the architect MH Baillie Scott for his client Sir Edward Holt. Enjoy a lovingly crafted day out at one of the most enchanting historic houses in the Lake District. Sit and soak up the atmosphere in Blackwell’s fireplace inglenooks, relax in the inviting window seat which offers stunning views of the surrounding Lake District scenery. The original gardens were laid out by Arts and Crafts garden designer, Thomas Mawson, in a series of terraces to achieve the very best views form the house, over the lake towards the Coniston fells.
- The Keswick Brewing Company is a craft brewery within two minutes walk of Keswick town centre. Enjoy the brewery tour which includes a chance to sample a selection of the beers. Discover how the beer is made and how they use sheep’s wool in the brewing process.
- Hope Park is one of Keswick’s main attractions. Located between the town centre and Derwentwater it is a favourite stopping off place whilst walking to the lake. Cafe Hope serves light meals and refreshing drinks for breakfast, lunch and tea. A few steps down from Cafe Hope is the kiosk for park games including 18 hole Crazy Golf, a boules pit for Petanque and the newest visitor attraction - remote controlled boats.
- The Lake District Wildlife Park is often considered to be a hidden gem. Set in breathtaking scenery just ten minutes from Keswick, there’s plenty to see and do with over 100 species to meet, from Anaconda to Zebra, Mandrills and Meerkats to Gibbons and Lemurs. There are Bird of Prey Flying displays, Reptile encounters and a Rare Breed Farm Animal Collection, a great opportunity to meet some of the most endangered species.
- Take a trip to The Lakes Distillery, the largest Whisky distillery in England, it is set in an area of unimaginable beauty next to Bassenthwaite Lake. The Distillery has a wide range of facilities for visitors of all ages to enjoy, including an interactive tour which follows the journey of how the distillery’s world-class whisky, gin and vodka are made, including a tasting session at the end.
- Take a trip to Keswick Museum and Art Gallery where exhibitions, events and displays tell the story of Keswick’s landscape, history and culture with a shop and great cafe. From May 2017 their main exhibition ‘Life of a Mountain: Blencathra’, has been co-ordinated by the film maker Terry Abraham and the local villages, they have created a fascinating, multi-media display all about the iconic mountain, Blencathra. Great for all visitors to the area, including walkers and families.
- Hexham Abbey is a great historic site dating back to AD674 and dominates the Market Place. There are many historical treasures to explore within the Abbey, including unique features such as the 7th century Crypt, Bishop’s Chair, Night Stair and Dark Age Cross. There is also an interactive exhibition and visitor centre, The Big Story, which takes visitors through the exciting 1,300 year history.
- Visit one of Britain’s greatest Roman monuments and World Heritage Sites, Hadrian’s Wall stretches 73 miles from North Sea to Solway Firth, the wall is the backbone to Hadrian’s Wall Country, with stunning countryside, coasts, exciting cities, picturesque villages, walking and cycling routes aplenty.
- Queen’s Hall Arts Centre boasts a 350-seat theatre and two galleries, it has an all-round programme of the best international and national artists from music, drama, dance, exhibitions, film, comedy and non-professional shows.
- Take a trip to England’s earliest recorded purpose-built prison in England, Hexham Old Gaol was built between 1330 and 1333. It was built for the Archbishop of York to hold his prisoners. Go and explore crime and punishment in the Middle Ages, and meet the Border Reivers, members of local English and Scottish families who fought and raided across and along the Border in the 1500s.
- Tucked away in a beautiful and secluded Northumberland woodland is Aydon Castle, a perfect place for a family day out. Almost completely intact, it is one of the finest and most unaltered examples of a 13th century English manor house.
- Corbridge Roman Town was a supply base and bustling town where the Romans and civilians would pick up their food and provisions. Today, you can still walk through the town’s streets and experience a true time-capsule of Roman life. You can see a valuable hoard of objects found during excavations, including Roman armour and trinkets, which provide a fascinating insight into the life of a soldier.
- Set high on a dramatic escarpment of Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, Housesteads Roman Fort is a fascinating tourist attraction with some stunning panoramic views to enjoy from the walls of this ancient fortress. Imagine how life was experienced for the 800 Roman soldiers based here as you wander the remains of the barrack blocks and the commandant’s house. Their interactive museum showcases objects once belonging to Roman soldiers, and the mini-cinema takes you on a journey back through time.
Sadly, your driving holiday ends upon checkout. Make your way to the airport for your return flight.
- Lake District
- Scottish Borders
- 7 day “ROYAL COVERAGE” self-drive standard car rental
- 7 nights pre-booked ensuite accommodation at delightful B&B’s and Inns throughout England
- Full breakfast daily
- Touring map of Britain