England tours & Ireland tours.
Small group, leisurely guided tours. Lots of history & fun!
BUNRATTY CASTLE, SHANNON.
INCLUDED banquet in this authentic 15c MacNamara castle.
Enjoy an INCLUDED trip along Dublin Bay.
DURTY NELLY'S PUB, SHANNON.
Enjoy INCLUDED drinks in this historic tavern opened in 1620.
INTER-CITY EXPRESS TRAIN.
Enjoy INCLUDED train trips in Scotland & England.
DEVON CREAM TEA.
Enjoy an INCLUDED yummy Devon cream tea in Dartmoor.
BAKER STREET STATION.
Enjoy FREE travel on London Underground trains.
Enjoy INCLUDED dinners in ancient pubs like 800 years old Turf Tavern, Oxford.
THE MERRY PLOUGHBOY PUB, DUBLIN.
Enjoy INCLUDED music nights with dinner in Irish pubs.
IRISH SEA FAST-FERRY.
The Club Class Lounge is INCLUDED on certain routes.
Enjoy INCLUDED porterage at hotels.
THE ROCK OF CASHEL.
Enjoy an INCLUDED guided tour of St. Patrick's spectacular Rock of Cashel.
Enjoy an INCLUDED pint or two or three of Guinness in Ireland.
Enjoy your INCLUDED River Thames cruise.
England tours : Literary Tour + Theatre & Tea Shops. May 2013
Part of our England tours & Scotland tours program. Ideal for those who like the concept of a literary tour bias with movie & TV drama locations thrown in. Several homes of members of the ‘literati’ fraternity will be included. If you like yummy cakes you will also like this tour as we enjoy a sprinkling of traditional tea shops with included tea & cakes + a Devon cream tea in … Devon! NOT SUITABLE for first time visitors to Great Britain in the sense that this tour does not focus on traditional visits like the Scottish Highlands, York, Chester etc. however first time visitors are more than welcome!
STYLE : SPACE-BUS. Max. 28 Tour Buddies so much more space.
WHEN : Starts at Edinburgh Airport (EDI), Scotland on Tuesday 7th May 2013. Finishes with transfers to London Gatwick (LGW) & Heathrow (LHR) airports on Monday 20th May 2013.
WHERE : Edinburgh & the Borders in Scotland. Northwest, South, East, West & Midlands of England + London.
DURATION : 13 hotel nights, 14 touring days. [Excludes flying day from USA/Canada.]
TOUR PRICE : US$4,497 twin/double share per person. Single US$5,867. Tour prices exclude airfare & traveler’s insurance.
COMPARE OUR TOUR VALUE & PRICES : Here.
OVERNIGHT [O/N] STAYS : Number of nights in [ ]. Edinburgh , Kendal/Lake District , Stratford-upon-Avon , Oxford , Bath , Plymouth , London .
Standard features INCLUDED in the tour price :
- Dinner every night from Day 1 to Day 13. Will be a mix of hotel restaurants, pub dinners, posh places & independent dining.
- Breakfast daily from Day 2 to Day 14.
- 1st class touring coach with seat belts, emergency restroom & a/c..
- Professional & experienced UK Tour Driver.
- Experienced, entertaining & knowledgeable UK Tour Director.
- Experienced & attentive Lady Hostess.
- Accommodation in 3* & 4* hotels, mostly centrally located.
- Tips for porterage of one suitcase per person at hotels.
- Tips to restaurant staff when we dine as a group.
- Group photo.
- For the various individual INCLUDED pre-paid visits & features please refer to the ‘Daily Itinerary’ below.
Items NOT included in the tour price :
- Traveler’s insurance.
- Meals not listed in the itinerary.
- Tips for Tour Driver.
- Tips for Tour Director.
- Tips for city guides & local expert guides. (Suggest US$3 per person.)
- Tips for restaurant staff on independent dining nights.
- Hotel room charges for things like laundry [Avoid! It's cheaper to buy new knickers in Primark.], wifi connections where there are charges [Suggest go to Starbucks etc..], hotel room mini-bar use, telephone calls, all your personal room service.
- All other personal expenses. As a rough guide US$50 should be enough per person per day spending money for things like tea, coffee, lunch, postcards, postage and a few souvenirs but obviously depends on your personal spending habits.
For your guidance we indicate in the daily itinerary the following :
Touring Coach miles traveled during the day (CM).
Time spent on the touring coach during the day (TC).
Arrival time at the end of day destination (EOD). This does not necessarily indicate hotel room access time.
Places where restrooms (WS) are available during the day.
Places where refreshments (RF) are available but does not mean that refreshments are included in the tour price unless specifically mentioned in the itinerary.
The above information is only a guide and is subject to normal traveling & operating conditions of course but we hope it helps you a bit.
INCLUDED indicates a pre-paid feature that is included in the tour price.
[GTA] below means ‘with guided tour if available at the venue at the time of visit’.
T-Shirt Rebate List shows the approximate amount (US$) of rebate to you if you opt out of any listed prepaid features :
Airport Transfer Edinburgh $9.
Edinburgh Castle visit $21.
Rydal Mount $9.
Bronte Parsonage $12.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage $12.
William Shakespeare’s Birthplace $12.
The Roman Baths $17.
Plymouth harbour boat cruise $9.
Combo ticket : London city bus tour & River Thames cruise $32.
London dinner/theatre around $65 depends on show. Note this rebate applies to the theatre ticket only. Dinner will still be INCLUDED in the hotel.
Charles Dicken’s museum $16.
Gatwick or Heathrow Airport transfers $29.
Note that not all INCLUDED features are listed below yet.
- You arrive at Edinburgh Airport.
- We transfer you to your downtown hotel in Edinburgh by your INCLUDED transfer. Hotel rooms are normally available about 3pm.
- Special note. The official arrival airport for this tour is Edinburgh Airport for INCLUDED transfers. Any Tour Buddies who can get cheaper flights into Glasgow we can transfer from Glasgow Airport (GLA) to downtown Edinburgh for an extra US$31. This would be by taxi or transfer bus from Glasgow Airport to Glasgow Queen Street rail Station, shuttle express train (Every 15 mins..) to Edinburgh Waverley Station & then to the hotel. This would take around 1 hour longer than flying into Edinburgh. If several people arrived at Glasgow Airport simultaneously we would pass on any savings to you on the US$31. Our ground crew would be on duty at Glasgow Airport, Glasgow Queen Street Station & at Edinburgh Waverley Station for you.
- This evening we have our INCLUDED informal ‘Welcome Drinks’ get-together before dinner.
O/N : Edinburgh. CM : 12 miles. TC : 30 mins. EOD : Depends on flights.
- First off is our INCLUDED visit into awesome Edinburgh Castle [WS].
- We pop out to South Queensferry for photos of the unique Forth Railway Bridge made famous in the Hitchcock film of John Buchan’s book “The Thirty Nine Steps”.
- Then a short drive around the south of Edinburgh for an INCLUDED visit into the mysterious Rosslyn Chapel (WS) [GTA] with its associations with the Da Vinci Code.
- On arrival back in Edinburgh centre we have an orientation tour.
- The remainder of the afternoon is yours to explore one of the greatest cities in the world!
O/N : Edinburgh. CM : 37 miles. TC : 54 mins. EOD : 2.05pm.
- First it is down into the lush Scottish Borders for an INCLUDED visit into Abbotsford House, [WS/RF] the fabulous home of Sir Walter Scott, author of ‘Ivanhoe” etc.. [GTA]. Magnificently located beside the River Tweed the house is stunning. The library/study is basically as it was in Scott’s day. I defy any aspiring author NOT to write a bestseller after standing in the library. It is inspirational.
- A couple of hours drive through the Scottish Lowlands, over the border into England & then into the beautiful Lake District for an INCLUDED visit into Rydal Mount [GTA] [WS] the truly outstanding home of William Wordsworth. The Lake District is the wettest place in England, hence all the lakes but hopefully we will be blessed with glorious views from Rydal Mount looking down over ‘Lake’ Windermere.
O/N : Lake District. CM : 147 miles. TC : 3 hrs 34 mins. EOD : 2.33pm.
- We start the longest day of the tour. Our route takes us along the Yorkshire Dales National Park famous for James Herriot’s ‘All Creatures Great & Small’.
- Now we arrive in the bleak (But charming!) village on the moors, Haworth. [WS/RF]. Yesterday we hoped for clear weather but today we need swirling mists & rain because this is the home of the Bronte family. Thick smog used to hang heavy in Haworth. Today you will understand how ‘Wuthering Heights’ & ‘Jane Eyre’ were simple to imagine.
- We enjoy our INCLUDED visit into the evocative Bronte Parsonage [GTA]. You can feel the family’s presence all around.
- Time in Haworth to enjoy the Black Bull Inn where Branwell Bronte drank himself silly – well there were no quiz nights in those days. Or perhaps you might prefer the lovely little knick-knack shops & tea rooms.
- We now drive to Stratford-upon-Avon via a brief convenience M1 motorway service station stop (WS) for an INCLUDED visit into Anne Hathaway’s Cottage [GTA] – not the film star but William Shakespeare’s wife! Boy did she nag. No wonder he went to London. The cottage is probably the most famous thatched cottage in the world.
O/N : Stratford-u-Avon. CM : 228 miles. TC : 4 hrs 36 mins. EOD : 4.07pm.
- We are in Stratford-upon-Avon all day today.
- First off is our INCLUDED visit into William Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
- Although you are now at leisure for the rest of the day there is so much to do.
- At the time of writing the performances at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon have not been advertised for May 2013. If available we will endeavour to get tickets for Tour Buddies for either our first or second night. There will be no handling charge – tickets will be supplied at cost but we stress if they are available.
O/N : Stratford-u-Avon. CM : 0 miles. TC : 0 hrs 0 mins. EOD : 0.00pm.
- This morning we head to Bletchley Park synonymous with cracking the Enigma Code during WW2 for our INCLUDED visit. [GTA] (WS/RF).
- Now join me on an extended walking tour amongst the ancient Oxford University buildings going back 800 years exploring the ancient passageways and lanes. Oxford truly is an amazing place and who could forget the wonderful Inspector Morse created by Colin Dexter.
- There is just so much literature in Oxford so we will arrive lunchtime giving you quite a few hours to do whatever takes your fancy Colin Dexter, Dorothy Sayers, Lewis Carroll, Shadowlands etc. etc. etc..
O/N : Oxford. CM : 98 miles. TC : 2 hrs 23 mins. EOD : 12.49pm.
- This morning we tour the delightful Cotswolds area and stop in two of the most charming villages in England, Castle Combe famous for War Horse, Stardust, Doctor Dolittle, Wolfman etc.. Then onto Lacock village (WS/RF) nearby for Harry Potter, Emma, Cranford Chronicles, Moll Flanders, Pride & Prejudice, The Other Boleyn Girl, Tom Brown’s Schooldays etc.. INCLUDED tea/coffee in either Castle Combe or Lacock.
- A short drive takes us to the World Heritage City of Bath (WS/RF) with an INCLUDED visit into the unique Roman Baths. [Automated guided tour here.]
- This afternoon enjoy a fascinating INCLUDED visit into the Jane Austen Centre. The centre has been set up in an 18th century home a few doors down from the actual house where Jane lived in Bath. Afternoon tea is INCLUDED during our visit.
O/N : Bath. CM : 87 miles. TC : 2 hrs 08 mins. EOD : 12.09pm.
- Today is a day of two moors. We head down the M5 motorway with a convenience stop at a motorway service station (WS).
- From here we travel to mysterious Dartmoor and stop in Widecombe-in-the-Moor (WS/RF) where we listen out for the blood curdling sound of the Hound of the Baskervilles the most famous of all Sherlock Holmes stories. Is that its anguished howls carried through the swirling mist or is it the coach driver moaning about the coach parking fees going up again? A mid-morning yummy Devon cream tea is INCLUDED while we are here provided the hound doesn’t beat us to it. This is also War Horse country.
- A short drive across Dartmoor into King Arthur’s Celtic Cornwall will take us to our next moor, wild windswept Bodmin Moor. In the heart of the moor we visit one of the most haunted inns in England, Jamaica Inn. (WS/RF). This was the home of highwaymen, blaggards, smugglers & wreckers in days gone by but you will know that because Daphne du Maurier described it all in her famous novel. Sit in this ancient inn & think of all the dastardly plots hatched within these walls. Stand on the very spot where Joss Merlyn was murdered. Gruesome!
- A short drive will take us to the Cornish town of Saltash nestling beside the River Tamar & partly underneath Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous railway bridge of 1859. Here we start our INCLUDED fully commentated 1 hour cruise (WS/RF) of Plymouth Harbour. (Subject to weather conditions.)
- The cruise will INCLUDE tea/coffee & ships biscuit – weevils extra.
- Our cruise will end in Plymouth at the Barbican so you will arrive in Plymouth the traditional way – by boat. You will disembark pretty close to the Mayflower Steps where the Pilgrim Fathers boarded the Mayflower in 1620.
- Note that your suitcases will remain on the coach & taken to the hotel so you will not have to take suitcases onto the boat.
O/N : Plymouth. CM : 174 miles. TC : 3 hrs 46 mins. EOD : 5.37pm.
- Today is Dame Agatha Christie day! We head along the South Devon coast for our INCLUDED visit into her home, ‘Greenway‘ [GTA] (WS/RF) overlooking the River Dart.
- We are planning an unusual little INCLUDED extra connected with Hercule Poirot subject to venue operational & weather conditions.
- In any event we will INCLUDE morning or afternoon tea/coffee.
- On return to our hotel in Plymouth we will be saying goodbye to our expert coach driver & his immaculate coach.
O/N : Plymouth. CM : 85 miles. TC : 2 hrs 06 mins. EOD : 3.22pm.
- Today is meet the locals day! I know, scary isn’t it? After breakfast we pop over to Plymouth Bus Station to board one of the local service buses for an INCLUDED round trip to Tavistock about 15 miles up the road. Our journey will take an hour as the bus stops to pick up locals in local areas. Obviously we can’t guarantee that the bus will have lots of locals on-board as they might run away when they see us coming.
- On arrival in Tavistock we have a little walkabout to get our bearings & then head to the ancient Pannier Market (WS/RF) which has been run every week almost since 1105AD. I believe they still have some pork pies on sale from way back then – they just can’t shift them. The market & the adjacent local shops are ideal for getting proper locally made goods or indeed local cheese & delicacies to enjoy yourself. Lots of locals to chat to in the market & tea/coffee shops.
- The return journey can be made at your leisure as we will just give you your return ticket so you can head back to Plymouth when you like.
- It would be very easy to get back to Plymouth for lunchtime so you can really explore the Hoe & the Barbican plus the Mayflower Steps.
O/N : Plymouth. Local bus : 31 miles. TC : 2 hrs 06 mins. EOD : Up to you!
- We jump on our INCLUDED Inter-City Express train (WS/RF) from Plymouth to London to arrive in one of the greatest cities in the world at lunchtime.
- On arrival we hop onto our INCLUDED open top double deck bus tour of London. Afterwards we enjoy our INCLUDED River Thames cruise from Westminster to Tower Bridge. (WS/RF).
- This evening we enjoy our INCLUDED theatre evening with dinner (WS/RF). You also have FREE travel INCLUDED on the London Underground today.
O/N : Central London. EOD : Lunchtime depending on train time.
- INCLUDED is FREE London Underground train travel all day. Don’t forget that you can easily get to Harry Potter’s at King’s X Station using your travel pass. Have fun today.
- Also INCLUDED is a visit into Charles Dickens’s house in Doughty Street.
- Today is Saturday so theatre addicts can take in a matinee & an evening performance.
O/N : London.
Day 13. Sunday 23rd June.
- INCLUDED is FREE London Underground train travel all day. Have fun today.
- Today is Sunday so make today a day for non-theatrical activities as theatres are basically dark on Sundays. Tip : Thinking of visiting the Tower of London? First thing this morning would be a good time to go.
- INCLUDED farewell gathering today/tonight.
- After breakfast you board your INCLUDED Gatwick Express train or Heathrow Express/Connect train to the airport. Note that your breakfast arrangement will depend on your flight time. Any very early flights that require a transfer before the trains run will be undertaken by road.
This tour is ideal for all ages from 16 upwards & is aimed at literary buffs. There will be lots of living history of course & fun. The tour is jam-packed with INCLUDED features related to literature, drama & movies with plenty of tea to be consumed! Tea in Great Britain does not involve a string hanging over the side of a cup!