London & the Cotswolds
2022, July 22nd through 31st
From $5,575 per person | Exclusively limited to 14 guests
Visit some of the Cotswold's loveliest gardens in July when they are at their peak. Spend six nights in the charming Cotswolds, exploring quaint villages, beautiful palaces, and fragrant gardens. Experience the real-life Downton Abbey, the Prince of Wales' gardens at his country home, and afternoon tea looking out across the spectacular Parterre at Cliveden House. The final three nights are spent in delightful St. James, the true heart of London, where you can explore London's food scene or enjoy a tour of the city's highlights. Cap off your trip with a spectacular private evening viewing of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.
Small group travel: maximum 14 travelers
Enjoy afternoon tea and a private tour of Cliveden House and its gardens
Private after-hours tour of Blenheim Palace
Visit Highclere Castle, the real-life Downton Abbey and see where village scenes were filmed
Private evening viewing of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
The gardens at the Prince of Wales' country home, Highgrove
Accommodation in hand selected Five Star hotels in both the Cotswolds and London
All sightseeing and touring as listed in itinerary
Meals as outlined in itinerary including daily breakfasts in hotel, welcome afternoon tea, and farewell dinner.
Transportation on an exclusive private coach
The services of an expert Travel Director and guides
Day 1, Welcome to Britain
After arrival at Heathrow, pass though customs and immigration, collect your bags, and meet the group outside customs. Grab a coffee and some breakfast while we wait for everyone to arrive. We will be met at Heathrow by the coach and will be whisked away to Cliveden House in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. Enjoy a leisurely stroll amongst the extensive gardens before a tour of the stunning house itself. Cliveden is famous not just for being a beautiful house and garden, but there has been a long a fascinating history of scandal and intrigue which you will hear all about during your visit! After our tour we will be in for a treat as you enjoy afternoon tea overlooking the beautiful grounds. Following tea we will head further into the countryside to the charming village of Woodstock where we will be staying for the next 6 nights.
Included Meal: Afternoon Tea
Day 2, Waddesdon Manor
After breakfast we will make our way to a famous treasure house of the Rothschilds – Waddesdon Manor – where we will have a tour of the beautiful walled gardens and a visit to see the impressive house and it's extensive art collection. Waddesdon features the only intact Rothschild collection in the world, and as such is a remarkable glimpse into the passions and interests of the family. Never intended as a full time home, the house was built for entertaining and to display the vast art collection - many of the beautiful paintings you will see were saved from the bonfires during the French Revolution.
Included Meal: Breakfast
Day 3, Blenheim Palace
A UNESCO World Heritage site and seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace is nothing short of spectacular. Today we will be visiting the State Rooms on a private tour when the palace is closed to the public. Blenheim is famous for many things, from its fascinating history and impressive interiors to its sweeping landscapes, you will see for yourself just why it is a must-visit on any itinerary to the area. You will also have plenty of free time to spend exploring the Capability Brown-designed gardens, and take a tour of the Downstairs or the private family apartments.
Included Meal: Breakfast
Day 4, Downton Abbey
This morning we will visit Bampton, a village you likely haven’t heard of but will certainly recognize since it features in the village scenes of Downton Abbey. See the church where Lady Mary’s wedding took place, the cottage hospital, and more. After exploring the town we will continue down to Highclere Castle, or as you may know it, Downton Abbey. You will have plenty of time to explore the castle, grounds, and Tutankhamen exhibition before we drive back to Woodstock.
Included Meal: Breakfast
Day 5, Highgrove House
Today we will visit Highgrove House, the country home of Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. The Prince is immensely fond of Highgrove and has spent over 30 years turning it into the beautiful garden you will see here today. Keep an eye out for the striking blue delphiniums - Charles' favorite flower! A specialist will give us a tour of the gardens before we have time for lunch in the Orchard Room or some shopping for souvenirs. Afterwards we will visit the nearby village of Tetbury for some free time to explore the many shops and galleries that make the town so special.
Included Meal: Breakfast
Day 6, Hidcote Manor
With this being our last day in the countryside, we had better make the most of it! We will visit the famous Hidcote Manor gardens where a specialist will give us an introductory talk before we explore the beautiful ‘rooms’ that Hidcote is so famous for. After Hidcote we will drive to the delightful village of Burford for afternoon tea and free time to explore the boutiques lining this charming village's High Street.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Afternoon Tea
Day 7, Windsor and Ham House
After breakfast, check out from your room and board the coach for our drive to London. Our first stop will be Windsor Castle, the Queen's home just outside London. For nearly 1,000 years Windsor has been the home of the monarch, and it is Queen Elizabeth's favorite weekend residence. After visiting Windsor we will drive to Ham House, one of London's loveliest treasure houses. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, Ham is home to a substantial collection of 17th-century paintings, furniture. and textiles. The 17th century garden is undergoing restoration, and you can see their progress with the large kitchen garden, lavender parterre, a woodland garden, and two meadows alongside the river. After our visit to Ham House we will check in to our London hotel and following an overview of our area you will have the evening free to explore.
Included Meal: Breakfast
Day 8, Exploring London and The Crown Jewels
Our first day in London is sure to be a treat - whether this is your first time or you visit every year! You have the option to choose your activity today based on your interests:
Option #1: London in a Day (7 1/2 hours)
Start the morning with a walking tour around Westminster, where you will see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Whitehall, Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, and St. James’ Park. Watch the famous Changing of the Guard (schedule permitting) before heading down Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden. In the afternoon you will travel east to see St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and the Roman ruins of Londinium before finishing the tour by the Tower of London.
Option#2: London Foodie Tour (3 hours)
On this food tour you will be led by a local expert and have the opportunity to meet shop owners, taste artisanal products, and learn how London as become the culinary mecca that it is today. Taste the Queen’s favorite chocolates, a number of regional cheeses from across the British Isles, delicious cured meats and fresh pasta, along with rare and exotic spirits, coffees, teas…and so much more! Whether you are a serious foodie or just enjoy eating, you are sure to enjoy this tour of the secret culinary corners of London.
This evening you are in for a very special treat as we visit the Tower of London when it is closed to the public for the day. You will be greeted at the gate by a Yeoman Warder and taken to the Jewel House where you will enjoy a private viewing of the Crown Jewels. The Crown Jewels are arguably the most visited objects in the world, with over 30 million visitors since they opened in their current location. The lines to get in are notoriously long so this is a very special way to view the jewels at your own pace.
Included meals: Breakfast and samples for those on the food tour
Day 9, London at Leisure
Today you have a whole day at leisure to explore London. Need some inspiration? Not to worry, we have ideas aplenty to get you excited. Tonight, meet the group for our farewell dinner to raise a toast to new friends, memories made, and safe travels home.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10, Departure
After breakfast check out of your room and settle any extra charges at the desk before your transfer to Heathrow for your flight home.
Included Meal: Breakfast
From $5,575 per person/double occupancy, airfare not included
Single Supplement: $1,550
Four Star Accommodation in Woodstock, The Macdonald Bear
Tucked in amongst boutiques and galleries, the 4* Macdonald Bear Hotel is a delightful 13th century coaching inn set on one of the prettiest streets in Woodstock. Expanded over the years, the inn has expanded into their converted stables as well as a former glove workshop – all adding to the charm. Rooms are spread along a warren of meandering corridors decorated with antique dressers and paintings. Amenities include a restaurant, lounge with bar, and a peaceful terrace for afternoon tea.
Five Star Accommodation in London, The Stafford
A true hidden gem in St. James’s, the heart of London, The Stafford is traditional and welcoming with a top-notch cocktail bar and restaurant. In the immediate area you will find St. James’s Palace, built by Henry VIII in 1536; and some truly iconic shops – from Lock & Co (Winston Churchill’s favorite hat shop) to Berry Bros Wine Merchants (founded in 1698, Berry Bros has supplied fine wine to Kings, Queens, and the ill-fated Titanic). A short walk from Buckingham Palace, Westminster and the West End, you will find that The Stafford is ideally located for exploring the city on foot.
A deposit of $500 per person is due at the time of booking and your reservation will be confirmed upon receipt of payment. We accept payment by all major credit cards and bank transfers. Prices are in US dollars. The full balance is payable by 60 days from departure.
Travel to and from London
Guests are responsible for getting themselves to London Heathrow Airport on Day 1 by 8 am and home from London Heathrow Airport on Day 10.
Travel insurance is not included in the price. While not required, it is strongly recommended that you purchase travel insurance.
Single and double occupancy rates are available.
61+ days from departure: Deposit non-refundable
30 to 60 days from departure: 50% non-refundable
0 to 29 days from departure: 100% non-refundable
Can I arrive early or stay later than these dates?
Yes, you certainly may extend your trip on either end. If you arrive early you must get to London Heathrow Airport by 8am on Day 1 to meet the group to begin our journey together.
What meals are included?
Meals are included as noted in the itinerary. Daily breakfast in your hotel is included.
Are children able to attend?
While children may certainly attend, we encourage you to bring no children under 15 years of age. This is simply because the sites and tours planned might not be interesting to a younger child and we want everyone to enjoy the trip.
What should I plan to wear?
The sites we will be visiting do not have a dress code so feel free to dress as you please. We do recommend shoes that are comfortable for walking and standing for several hours at a time.
Can special diets be accommodated?
Gluten-free and vegetarian options are typically available. Vegan might be available. Please indicate dietary restrictions and allergies upon booking.
How much physical activity can I expect?
Although we will enjoy a private coach for most of our getting around, walking will be required for tours and other sightseeing. You should expect to be able to walk for 15 minutes at a time without a break.
What does double and single occupancy mean? Will the room have two beds?
Double occupancy means two people in a room, either one or two beds. If you would like two beds, you must indicate this at time of booking since these room types are limited in number. Single occupancy means one person in their own room.
Will we have free time? What if I don’t know what to do during free time?
Yes you will have free time to explore the area at your own pace. And not to worry, if you do not know what to do we will provide you with plenty of our own suggestions!