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
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, Parham House and Gardens, 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, Truro Cathedral, 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. All singles filled.
$500 to make your deposit.
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 stop for Afternoon Tea at Chilston Park before exploring the Downs further on our way to Canterbury with s 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 with a Stop for Pub Lunch. Rye is 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 then drive 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 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 to Eastbourne located on the Sunshine Coast and nestled between the historic 1066 Country and the magnificent South Downs National Park. Here we will savour the unspoilt coast and glorious seafront gardens. Then we are finally off 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 taking Afternoon Tea in the Royal Pavilion Tearoom, on the upper floor, is an eccentric yet sophisticated cafe, with a sunny balcony overlooking the glorious Royal Pavilion gardens. We continue our journey along the coast and then head inland to our our accommodation. Dinner and Overnight Midhurst. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - September 9th - This morning we take in more of the South Downs National Park with a stop at Parham House and Gardens, one of the finest Elizabethan Houses in the country, complete with a Great Hall and Long Gallery. Its tranquillity and timeless beauty have changed little over the centuries. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, Henry VIII granted the manor of Parham, which had belonged to the Abbey of Westminster, to a London mercer called Robert Palmer. His mother Elizabeth was god-daughter to Queen Elizabeth I, and there is a legend that the Queen visited Parham. We will Lunch in the Big Kitchen Restaurant before leaving Parham behind. In the western edge of the Downs we find 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. The afternoon is free to explore Portsmouth 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 Sherborne Old and New Castle. The "Old" Castle was built by the Bishop of Salisbury, Roger de Caen sometime early in the 1100s. The Castle then stayed in Royal hands until 1354 when it was granted to the Earl of Salisbury. The "New" Castle was built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594, this historic house reflects a glorious variety of decorative styles from over 400 years of English History and has been the home of the Digby Family since 1617. 2017 celebrates 400 years of the family owning the castle which today is a beautifully preserved Jacobean house. Our next stop will be Lulworth Castle, built in the early 17th Century as a hunting lodge. Then it became a country house at the heart of a large estate in order to entertain hunting parties for the King and Court. This magnificent building is steeped in history and was for centuries the family seat of the Weld Family, the current owners of the Lulworth Estate. Ravaged by fire in 1929, it has been partly restored in a pioneering partnership with English Heritage. 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. Favourite stops are to see the Dartmoor Ponies that roam freely on the moor and Badgers Holt Tearooms at Yelverton where we will stop for lunch. 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 is 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 on our way to Falmouth to get checked into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Falmouth Harbour. (B,L,D)
Day 11 - September 15th - Today we will take the Penwith Tour offering spectacular, remote Cornish landscape, dotted with relics of the tin mining industry, picturesque fishing villages and prehistoric remains. Our first stop is Lanyon Quoit, a prehistoric chambered tomb. It is probably one of the best known of Cornwall's ancient monuments, dating from the Neolithic period. We will stop in Penzance for Lunch and some exploration. The ancient market town of Penzance is the Capital of the far west of Cornwall and is set in beautiful Mounts Bay - a body of water dominated by the grandeur of St. Michael's Mount. A well know area of Celtic culture, outstanding natural beauty surrounds the town. Following lunch we continue to The Merry Maidens, a circle of 19 stones said to be girls turned to stone for dancing on Sunday. We also stop at Lands End, Britain's most westerly point and along with John O'Groats in north Scotland is a popular route to traversel of the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities, in the southwest and northeast! We then begin our journey back to Falmouth Harbour where you can find some dinner on your own. Overnight Falmouth Harbour. (B,L)
Day 12 - September 16th - This morning we make our way to North Devon with a stop in Truro, the only city in Cornwall with over 800 years of history. Truro is dominated by the 250 foot towers of Truro Cathedral. The Cathedral is a Victorian vision, an exquisite Gothic Revival cathedral designed by John Loughborough Pearson for the newly created Diocese of Truro. Pearson created a stunning 19th-century interpretation of a medieval Gothic cathedral, inspired by the design of Lincoln Cathedral. Pearson's new cathedral features three striking spires. After our visit we stop at Wadebridge and the famous Bedruthan Steps for one of the most spectacular views in Cornwall. 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. Further up the coast we find Tintagel and the romantic and mysterious ruins of Tintagel Castle overlooking the sea. Some believe this is the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur. before continuing on to Barnstaple in North Devon. 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 then return to Barnstaple where you will have some time to explore on your own and then find some dinner. 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. 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. After our drive we will stop in Glastonbury to visit Glastonbury Abbey. 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. This afternoon we drive through Cheddar Gorge, a narrow winding ravine with limestone rocks rising almost vertically on either side to a height of 400 feet! In the very heart of the famous Cheddar Gorge you will find one of the most fascinating sights in Somerset, the Cheddar Sweet Kitchen. A tiny sweet factory where visitors are invited in to watch craftsman at work. The Mizen Family have been making sweets in this area for five generations. Cheddar gives it's name to the rich cheese that was founded here. Then we are homeward bound. Dinner and Overnight near Bath. (B,L,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 Holcombe 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.