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An Autumn Southern England Coastal Adventure

Taking in Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire with Castles, Cathedrals, Stately Homes, Pubs, Tearooms and several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

September 5th - 21st, 2024

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We are so thrilled to be able to offer this tour again! We have long wanted to offer it, but there is only so much time in a year! We would love to offer more places to see on this tour, but then we would have to make it six weeks long instead of two, so we had to focus on some of my favourite places. We love the English countryside and there are very few more beautiful places than the Southern England and its many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty! We am thrilled to be able to offer so many tearooms and tea time experiences in one tour! The pub experiences are wonderful as well, but where this tour really shines is the range of amazing manor houses, country houses and castles that we are able to offer!

17 Days on a small intimate tour of Southern England along the coast and through the countryside and lovely villages, towns and cities of Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire. Taking time out for tea is a way of life in Great Britain and we have attempted to include every type of tearoom and teatime opportunity to give a full experience of this wonderful and fascinating ritual. There is much more about Britain than just tea so as well as including tearooms as you have to eat somewhere, we have also included some of our favorite stops! This tour is limited to 10 -12 people. In keeping the tour size small we are able to take advantage of accommodation, restaurant and sightseeing options that would not be available to a larger group.

Highlights Include: Kent Downs, Canterbury and Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds Castle, the White Cliffs of Dover, Hastings and Battle Abbey and the Battle of Hastings, South Downs National Park, Charleston House, Durdle Door, Winchester Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, Cranbourne Chase, Dorchester, Sherborne Castle, Lulworth Castle, Cornwall, Falmouth, Dartmoor National Park, Plymouth and the Mayflower Steps, Penzance and Lands End, Tintagel Castle, North Devon, Arlington Court, Hele Cornmill and Tearoom, Bath and the Roman Baths, Avebury Stone Circle and much more!

 

$9795 per person.

$1495 single supplement.

$500 to make your deposit.

Sold Out. 

Pre Tour - September 4th - Arrive into London Heathrow International Airport and make your way to our airport accommodation where you can get adjusted to the time change, rested up and get ready for the tour starting the following morning.

Day 1 - September 5th - You will be met at London Heathrow Airport and then we will make our way through the Kent Downs to Canterbury in the Southeast of England. The Kent Downs are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we will explore them on our way to Leeds Castle known as the "Loveliest Castle in the World". With almost 900 years of history and over 500 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens it is a perfect place to explore further. Leeds Castle has been a Norman Stronghold and the private property of Six of England’s Medieval Queens, a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, a Jacobean Country House, a Georgian Mansion, an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous and in the 21st century, it has become one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain. We will have for Afternoon Tea at Leeds Castle before exploring the Downs further on our way to Canterbury with a stop in Chilham with its exquisite old English Village setting - Featuring in film and TV productions Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’, Agatha Christie’s ‘Miss Marple’ and ‘Poirot’, ‘A Canterbury Tale’ and ‘Top Gear’. Then we get settled into our accommodation in Canterbury before our Welcoming Dinner. Dinner and Overnight Canterbury. (B,L,D)

Day 2 - September 6th - Today will be spent in Canterbury, the world-famous cathedral city and one of medieval Europe's great places of pilgrimages and knowledge. A Walking Tour of the City will help you discover why it's the Jewel in Kent's Crown, buzzing with a youthful vibe while also excelling at the historic. Our tour of the medieval lanes, the Cathedral Precincts and the historic King's School will regale you with tales of murder and ghosts plus of course the many famous historical characters, writers and artists who have lived here or visited in the past. We will take time out to stop for Afternoon Tea at the lovely Moat Tearooms before we explore the cathedral. Parts of the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral date back to the 11th century, but St Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great, arrived in 597AD as a missionary and became the first Archbishop, establishing his seat in Canterbury. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral and ever since, Canterbury Cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims, as told most famously in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The rest of the afternoon and evening are free in the city. Overnight Canterbury. (B,L)


Day 3 - September 7th - Before we start our coastal journey west, we will take in the White Cliffs of Dover, one of the UK's most spectacular natural features. They are an official Icon of Britain and have been a sign of hope and freedom for centuries. We will take time to appreciate their beauty and enjoy their special appeal by taking one of the dramatic cliff-top walks offering unrivalled views of the busy English Channel and the French Coast. We then make our way through Folkestone to Rye, a charming fairy-tale town with crooked Tudor buildings, romantic cobblestone streets, and bright floral blooms making it a very quaint mid day stop. We will have a picnic lunch before we make our way further along the coast to Hastings and Battle Abbey, the sight of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. Stand on the spot where 950 years ago, England’s future was fought in this decisive battle. Follow in the footsteps of King Harold and William the Conqueror and uncover the stories vividly brought to life. You will have some time to explore Hastings before making our way to our accommodation and dinner. Dinner and Overnight Eastbourne. (B,L,D)


Day 4 - September 8th - This morning we drive along the coast taking in Seaford, Newhaven and Brighton with a stop at the Rippling Chalk Cliffs of the Seven Sisters along the way. We then make our way through the South Downs National Park on our way where we will savour the unspoilt coast and glorious seafront gardens all the way to Brighton with a first stop at the Brighton Royal Pavilion. The Royal Pavilion has a colourful history stretching back over 200 years. Built as the seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, it has also served as a civic building, First World War hospital, and has become a true icon of Brighton. We will have a tour of the Pavilion after having a Prosecco Afternoon Tea on a Restored Routemaster Vintage Buse as we tour around the city. Once onboard we will travel through the city of Brighton and Hove where you will see the Royal Pavilion, Palace Pier, Hove’s Grand Avenue, historical Regency Squares and the shopping mecca of the North Laine. We will then coast along the seafront to visit the towns of Rottingdean and Saltdean. We continue our journey as we head inland to our accommodation in the market town of Midhurst. Midhurst is nestled at the centre of the South Downs National Park and makes the perfect base to get out and explore this beautiful landscape with unique heathland with wide horizons, rare birds, open chalkland and wild flowers galore. Dinner and Overnight Midhurst. (B,L,D)


Day 5 - September 9th - This morning we take in Winchester and Winchester Cathedral. Winchester Cathedral dates from 1079 with a church on this site since 648. Jane Austen is buried here and the cathedral possesses the only diatonic ring of 14 church bells in the world, with a tenor (heaviest bell) weighing almost 2 tons. We will have a guided tour of the cathedral followed by afternoon tea before we make our way south to Portsmouth. The highlight of Portsmouth is its Historic Dockyard, home to Britain's great warships, dubbed the "Wooden Walls of England." Here, visitors can marvel at both the modern-day warships anchored on the docks and visit several historical warships, as well as an entertaining collection of model ships, paintings, uniforms, and other artifacts at the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Britannia's HMS Warrior was the first iron-hulled warship — a huge technological advance in the late 1800s. The Warrior's very existence was sufficient to keep the peace, so it never saw combat and is still in ship shape today.Perhaps the most consequential battle in British naval history was the Battle of Trafalgar, where Admiral Nelson and the British fleet defeated Napoleon's fleet, and thereby saved England from so many uninvited French guests back in 1805. Nelson's flagship, the majestic HMS Victory, is the main attraction here, and for Brits, a visit is a patriotic pilgrimage. The evening is free to explore Midhurst and find some dinner on your own. Overnight Midhurst. (B,L)


Day 6 - September 10th - This morning we make our way west along the coast before traveling northward through New Forest National Park on our way to visiting Salisbury and Salisbury Cathedral. For over 750 years pilgrims have come to seek inspiration in the glory and peace of the Cathedral. Here you will marvel at or climb up to Britain's Tallest Spire, be awed by the beauty and scale of the cathedral interior or study the original Magna Carta in the Chapter House. We will have Afternoon Tea at Salisbury Cathedral before we make our way through Cranbourne Chase, another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on our way to Shaftsbury. At over 750 feet above sea level, Shaftesbury is one of the highest towns in England. Shaftesbury is a small market town in Dorset with a fascinating history going back to Saxon times. The town is the home of Gold Hill and has magnificent views over Thomas Hardy’s Blackmore Vale. Then we finally reach the beautiful market town of Dorchester, the county town of Dorset. It is steeped in history and culture and boasts great places to visit, shop and eat. No holiday in Dorset would be complete without a visit to this fascinating town and its 6000 years of history. Dorchester is world famous for its strong connection with the writer and poet Thomas Hardy. Dinner and Overnight Dorchester. (B,L,D)


Day 7 - September 11th - Today we visit Athelhampton House, an exquisite example of Tudor architecture, with over 20 rooms open to explore, and fine furnishings and antiques. You can walk around the 12 acres of award-winning gardens that surround the manor, find out why Thomas Hardy loved the place, and learn about the ghostly goings on. composed of three Saxon words, athel, signifying noble, ham, a home or habitation, and ton, denoting the superlative degree;  the home of Æthelhelme, the Saxon Duke who was killed while commanding the Dorset men in an engagement to resist the invading Danes at Portland in AD 837.
500 years later the manor was owned by the noble Martyn family. Richard III was killed in battle at Bosworth Field in 1485, where Thomas Martyn was also slain after switching allegiance to Henry Tudor. His son Sir William Martyn inherited Athelhampton and built the Tudor Great Hall that is at the heart of this Dorset house today. We will have Afternoon Tea her before visiting the Durdle Door,
probably the most famous stone arch anywhere in the world. It was created when the sea pierced through the Portland limestone around 10,000 years ago. Looking west over the beach, isolated stacks out at sea show where an older coastline once lay. This part of the coast is formed from merged bays and shows how Lulworth Cove and Stair Hole may look in several thousand years time. By following the natural cliff path down to Durdle Door beach, or the steps to Man O’War beach, the tilted Purbeck Beds are clearly visible. At the base of the chalk cliffs a number of caves can be seen which have been carved out by the sea (wave cut notches). Dinner on your own once we are back in Dorchester. Overnight Dorchester. (B,L)

 

Day 8 - September 12th - We continue along the coast today taking in East Devon, another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We will stop in Lyme Regis, situated in the Southwest of Dorset is an historic unspoiled seaside resort and fishing port on the world famous Cobb Harbour. Surrounded by beautiful coastlines and countryside, the area has now been awarded World Heritage Site Status and is famous for its geology and fossil finds. Our next stop will be in Sidmouth for Lunch. Hidden in plain view along the beautiful Jurassic Coast, Sidmouth is a seaside town like no other. Sitting along an impressive coastline and surrounded by spectacular countryside and Blue Flag award winning beaches, Sidmouth allows you to  enjoy the best of both worlds, with everything you can expect from a beach town as well as having a rural feel and a real community atmosphere. After lunch we continue on to Exmouth, situated at the mouth of the beautiful Exe Estuary and at the very beginning of the Jurassic Coast, Exmouth is one of the most picturesque holiday resorts on the south coast. Surrounded by the beautiful Devon countryside, Exmouth is a bustling little town with a vibrant shopping centre. We then make our way to another resort town, Torquay to get checked into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Torquay. (B,L,D)

 

Day 9 - September 13th - As we are about half way through the tour, the entire day will be spent at your leisure. Torquay is a traditional yet thriving seaside town set on Devon's English Riviera Coast. and the top trending UK holiday destination in 2021. If you haven't visited for a while, then banish those thoughts of a resort that has seen its hey day.... the best is yet to come. With its iconic palm trees, busy harbour, international marina, sandy beach and wonderful array of continental style cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars, the scene is set for the perfect seaside holiday and there is no place quite like it! What better way to enjoy a waterfront stroll than along Torquay's palm-lined promenade and Princess Pier? The pier, built in 1890, is the perfect place to stop and gaze out to sea, or to enjoy watching the constant comings and goings in the adjacent marina. Plus there's the chance to catch sightseeing and fishing boat trips between Torquay, Paignton, Brixham and Greenway from the end of the pier, as well as banana boat rides! The pier is a firm feature of the Agatha Christie Mile, for the Queen of Crime - who grew up in Torquay - regularly went roller-skating with friends here during her youth. Torquay Museum’s Agatha Christie Gallery features photographs of this period in her life. Enjoy your day and get rested up for the second half of the tour! Overnight Torquay. (B)


Day 10 - September 14th - This morning we make our way west to Falmouth in Cornwall by way of the Dartmoor National Park, a lovely region of moorland in Devon. Situated in the south west of England, right in the very heart of Devon, Dartmoor is a landscape of stunning views, awe inspiring granite tors, deep wooded valleys with fast flowing rivers, and rugged, wide open spaces. We will wind our way through the center of the park taking in all the delights of this magnificent and magical area of England including Dartmeet, Buckland in the Moor and Windecomb in the Moor and see the Dartmoor Ponies that roam freely on the moor. And it is not just ponies you will see, but also Foxes, Otters, Weasels, Stoats and Deer. Bird lovers will be able to spot Cormorants, Grey Herons, Owls and Peregrine Falcons. We will wind our way through the center of the park taking in all the delights of this magnificent and magical area of England. After winding our way through the park, we make our way to Plymouth and The Mayflower Steps in the Barbican area of the city. We will stop for Afternoon Tea and then see where the Pilgrim Fathers left England aboard the Mayflower, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to settle in North America. We then make our way along the Cornish Coast to Falmouth to get checked into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Falmouth Harbour. (B,L,D)


Day 11 - September 15th - This morning we will spend some time on the Roseland Heritage Coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Our first stop is at Charlestown, a historic port and a berth for tallships. It is also featured the the Poldark TV series and in many other films including the Three Musketeers and The Eagle Has Landed. They also have amazing ice cream here. We will continue our toward the coast and stop in Mevagissey where narrow streets lead down to the centre of the old Mevagissey where the distinctive twin harbour provides a safe haven for the many fishing boats that land their daily catch of skate, lobster, plaice and sole. In typical picture postcard style, pubs, cafes, galleries and shops cluster around the harbour walls and line the pretty streets. Named after two Irish saints, St Meva and St Issey, the village dates back to at least 1313. You will be able to find some lunch here in one of the many waterfront locations or fish and chip shops. We then make our way through more of the beautiful  Roseland Heritage Cost and to the King Harry Ferry which we take across the River Fal and to Falmouth where we will stop before returning home. Falmouth Harbour is the third largest natural harbour in the world and the town, its port and docks are a hive of activity all year round. Immersed in maritime history and sculpted by the sea, Falmouth is one of Cornwall’s top attraction towns and a great place to spend time. It plays host to a wide range of cafes, shops, galleries and bars. Dinner and Overnight Falmouth Harbour. (B,D)


Day 12 - September 16th - This morning we make our way to North Devon with a stop in Wadebridge to see the famous Bedruthan Steps for one of the most spectacular views in Cornwall and one of the most popular destinations on the North Cornish coast, boasting spectacular cliff-top views of the glorious sea stacks. Our next stop Port Issac which you may recognize if you are a fan of the Doc Martin Series. Port Issac is an attractive fishing village since the early fourteenth century. Its narrow, winding streets are lined with old white-washed cottages and traditional granite, slate-fronted Cornish houses, many of which are listed as of architectural or historic importance. You will be able to find some lunch on your own here. Further up the coast we find Tintagel and the romantic and mysterious ruins of Tintagel Castle overlooking the sea. Here you can immerse yourself in history, myth and stunning scenery on Cornwall's rugged north coast.Inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur, for centuries this dramatic castle and coastline has fired the imaginations of writers, artists, and even the brother of a king. Now it's your turn to be inspired. Then we make our way further north to get checked into our accommodation the lovely seaside town of Woolecombe. Dinner and Overnight North Devon. (B,D)


Day 13 - September 17th - This morning we visit Arlington Court and Gardens, a 2700 acre estate nestling in the thickly wooded valley of the River Yeo. The house contains model ships, tapestry, pewter and shells. The stable block houses one of the best collections of 19th-century horse-drawn vehicles in the country. We then head to Ilfracombe and the Hele Corn Mill and Miller's Wife Tearoom. As the Miller's wife bakes everything fresh we will Lunch in the Tearoom before a Tour of the Mill. The corn mill dates from 1525 and is a unique working watermill. Guided tours are given by the family who run the mill, and children and adults alike will enjoy learning about the history of the mill, from how flour has been made here over the centuries, to some of the mishaps which have befallen the millers! After our tour we our way to Barnstaple where you will have some time to explore on your own. Barnstaple is possibly the Oldest Borough in the United Kingdom having been granted its charter in 930 AD by King Aethelstan - the grandson of Alfred the Great. It is a former river port, located at the lowest crossing point of the River Taw, flowing into the Bristol Channel. We then make our way back home for your enjoy this lovely area. Overnight North Devon B,L)


Day 14 - September 18th - This morning we make our way to just near Bath taking North Devon's spectacular coastal drive through the Exmoor National Park and the lovely villages that make up this delightful coastline. Exmoor is a unique landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland, shaped by people and nature over thousands of years. We make our way along the coastline dotted with lovely little villages, sandy beaches, hidden coves and spectacular coastlines. We will stop in Combe Martin for a walk on the beach and also Minehead and Porlach which are both lovely coastal towns. After our drive we will stop in Glastonbury to visit Glastonbury Abbey. Before our visit you can find some lunch on your own here. Glastonbury Abbey is located right in the centre of Glastonbury town. The town itself is an excellent destination for groups offering an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, galleries, pubs and a network of walks and cycle paths weaving their way through the spectacular Somerset Levels. The Abbey presents itself as "traditionally the oldest above-ground Christian church in the World" situated "in the mystical land of Avalon" and was begun in 712AD. King Arthur is reputed to be buried here. We will have a guided tour of the abbey  Then we are homeward bound. Dinner and Overnight near Bath. (B,D)


Day 15 - September 19th - This morning we will explore all the wonders of Bath. Nourished by natural hot springs, Bath offers a unique experience with stunning architecture. While here, you will have tickets to visit the Roman Baths, a magnificent temple and bathing complex that still flows with natural hot water. You may also want to visit the Jane Austen Centre. We then take a short journey to Bradford-on-Avon for Afternoon Tea at the Bridge Tearooms. After tea you will have some time to wander around this lovely town. Its magical position on the banks of the River Avon gives visitors a wonderful setting for leisure, cultural and tourist activities. Bradford-on-Avon has delightful shops, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts lining the narrow streets of the town centre. The surrounding hillside is covered with Cotswold Stone Houses and Cottages of every shape and size. The ancient bridge in the centre of the town remains its natural focus and the bridge still retains two of its original 13th-century arches! After a lovely days outing we then return to our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Bath. (B,L,D)


Day 16 - September 20th - On our way back to Heathrow this morning we will stop in the lovely Cotswolds Village of Lacock. The village, which dates from the 13th century and has many limewashed half-timbered and stone houses, was used as a location in the TV and film productions of Pride and Prejudice, Moll Flanders, Emma and Downton Abbey. The Abbey also featured in the recent Harry Potter films. It is a quintessential English village akin to taking a step back in time. We will Lunch in King John's Hunting Lodge Tearoom before continuing to the amazing Stone Circles of Avebury. The stones at Avebury are the largest known stone ring in the world. Older than the more famous Stonehenge, and for many visitors far more spectacular, the multiple rings of Avebury are cloaked with mysteries which archaeologists have only begun to unravel. Avebury is part of an extraordinary set of Neolithic and Bronze Age Ceremonial Sites that seemingly formed a vast sacred landscape. They include West Kennet Avenue, West Kennet Long Barrow, The Sanctuary, Windmill Hill, and the mysterious Silbury Hill. We then make our way to just outside of Heathrow for dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Heathrow. (B,L,D)


Day 17 - September 21st - This morning we return you to Heathrow International Airport.

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