Open: Tours that have availability and are open to the general public
Limited Availability: Tours with 5 or fewer places still available
Wait list only: Tours that are at capacity and only have wait list availability
Treasure Houses Of Southern England: Behind the Scenes of the stately homes of england
May 5th-14th, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
This spring, join Discover Europe and like-minded friends for a look at the history of English aristocracy in the 20th century. Spanning from the Norman invasion to the Victorian era, we will try to understand how the English class system came about and still exists in the legacy that it has bequeathed the nation. With visits to Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn; Oxford, with its treasured buildings dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries; Waddesdon Manor, the home of Lord Rothschild; Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill; and other stately homes of historic significance, we will gain a deeper understanding of Royalty and its history. With time to stop for a pint in a cozy pub, and picturesque landscapes along the way, we will journey into the tales and traditions housed in the stately homes of England.
**This is a guaranteed departure**
The Best of English Gardens: Including the chelsea flower show
May 14th-23rd, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Wait List Only
This spring, join fellow garden lovers for a stroll through The Best of English Gardens. At a relaxed pace, with wonderful meals, first-class hotels, and a panorama of magnificent blooms unfolding before us, we will explore England’s most famous gardens from Vita Sackville-West’s crowning achievement at Sissinghurst Castle to magnificent Stourhead Gardens. We’ll tour the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship gardens at Wisley, Mottisfont Abbey, Kiftsgate and Hidcote Manor, along with visits to the Georgian city of Bath, the enigmatic Stonehenge, and concluding with a full day visit to Chelsea Flower Show on members-only day. A quintessential celebration of springtime, this tour will plant colorful memories for years to come.
**This tour is sold out and is wait list availability only**
The Cotswold Hills: Exploring the by-ways & hidden corners of the Cotswold Hills
June 27th-July 6th, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
Dreamy spires and picturesque villages capture the romance and gentle beauty of the Cotswolds, a corner of England where lush, rolling hillsides meet the horizon. From the soaring towers of Oxford University where we will take a walking tour, to the quaint, tumbling thatched roofed cottages, along the riverside, to the gorgeous Georgian architecture of ancient Bath, we will slow down, stay a while, and dream. We begin and end our tour in Royal Windsor, convenient for meeting the various arriving flights of our group members. From here we will wend our way with stops at Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, to the beautiful gardens of Sudeley Castle and the romantic ruins of Kenilworth. Come experience the gentle scenery in the full glory of an English summer and be transfixed by the Captivating Cotswolds!
** This is a guaranteed departure **
West Country Gardens: Featuring the Hampton Court Flower Show
July 2nd-11th, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
In addition to spending the day at the Royal Horticultural Society’s premier summer show at Hampton Court, this is your invitation to see some of England’s most famous gardens. Here, in the peak of the summer season, with our first base in Windsor, we’ll visit the RHS showcase gardens at Wisley before heading down to Taunton in England’s “West Country.” Here we explore gardens great and small, from the grand estates of Montacute and Mapperton to the personal gardens of Anthony Young and Margery Fish. We also make stops at important non garden-related historic sites as well, from Glastonbury to Stonehenge. All at a relaxed pace with wonderful meals, first-class hotels, and the company of fellow gardening enthusiasts. Why not join us in the garden this summer?
Shakespeare in the Tudor Age
With OLLI At Berkshire Community College
July 14th-21st, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 25 Participants | Availability: Open
Join us for a celebration of William Shakespeare’s life and times. Together we will spend a week in Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon taking a close look at the Bard himself, and the historical context in which he lived and worked.
We start in Oxford, the quintessential university town with 38 colleges dating back to the 13th century. Our Oxford stay will feature a walking tour, lectures on Shakespeare from distinguished Oxford dons, dinner at the Ashmolean Museum, and an evensong service at Christ Church Cathedral. Next, we move on to Stratford, Shakespeare’ birthplace. Here we will see three Shakespeare productions in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s two gorgeous, refurbished theatres.
The tour will be accompanied by Philip McKnight, who lectures in "Shakespeare and the Law" at Williams College.
** This tour is a guaranteed departure **
Discovering East Anglia: Hidden Treasures with Gavin Miller
July 19th-27th, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
Windmills and waterfowl, tiny stone churches, rambling country mansions, and vast gentle fens that stretch to the sky. East Anglia is an area of England often overlooked by visitors and it is truly worth discovering. Our guide, Gavin Miller, has designed this itinerary to showcase the hidden treasures of the region where he grew up. Along the way, we’ll explore the cities of Norwich with it’s beautiful cathedrals (possibly in time for Evensong); and Cambridge for a walking tour of the ancient university with 800 years of architecture and tradition. For the duration of the visit Gavin has chosen a wonderful, four-star country house hotel that is also recognized locally for its excellent restaurant. This summer, come join Gavin, in this special place and share his love of what he once called home.
Queen Victoria: Sponsored by Barrington Community School
August 9th-17th, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. Until very recently, Victoria was the longest-reigning monarch in British History. Born in 1819, she acceded to the throne in 1837 at the tender age of eighteen and ruled for 63 years. Such was her impact on world history that almost a whole century is named the Victorian Age in her memory.
Our tour follows in the great Queen’s footsteps from her birth at Kensington Palace, through her coronation in Westminster Abbey, to her final resting place at Frogmore in Windsor Great Park. We’ll spend two days on the Isle of Wight, where she and Albert built Osborne House - their “little paradise” – and also visit other country homes and estates with connections to her life and times (several of which were used in recent films about Victoria).
The Passionate Gardener: Late Summer Gardens of Southern England with Michael B. Gordon
September 5th-14th, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Limited Availability
This September, join garden blogger, Michael Gordon,(thegardenerseye.blogspot.com) for a stroll through the best that English gardens have to offer. Experience the expression of Britain’s top garden designers who have set the standard for the rest of the world in horticulture for centuries. Our tour will show that a well-designed garden is one that continues to delight through a variety of seasons. From William Kent’s masterpiece landscape garden, Rousham, to Christopher Lloyd’s innovative garden at Great Dixter, to the contemporary private garden at Pettifers, we will see English garden design from the traditional to the cutting edge. With first class hotels and wonderful meals, this trip is designed for the passionate gardener.
**This is a guaranteed departure with limited availability**
The Channel Islands: A tribute to the guernsey literary & potato peel pie society
September 12th-21st, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
Inspired by the wonderful, best-selling novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, here is a tour of the Channel Islands. These lovely islands offer a range of experiences, from wildlife sanctuaries to military museums to breathtaking scenery. We’ll see the vestiges of the occupation during the Second World War, in the underground hospital and the old concrete gun emplacements that still dot the cliff tops. It is, however, hard to really imagine the deprivation of those times when surrounded by such incredible natural scenery. And then there are the gardens. There are four Royal Horticultural Society gardens on Guernsey alone! We divide our stay between the two largest islands – Jersey & Guernsey – and take a short ferry ride from one to the other. For logistical reasons and to get our feet on the ground after the transatlantic flight, we’ll begin our tour in London. Join us on an exploration of the history and culture of these unique islands. Gorey Castle, Jersey, The Channel Islands, Covent Garden - The Royal Opera House, and much more!
Treasure Houses Of Northern England: Exploring Yorkshire And The Lake District
September 13th-22nd, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
From the ancient city walls of York to the Lake District; here is an adventure in Northern England that takes you behind the usual tourist facade. We meander past ruined abbeys, country mansions, and breathtaking scenery, traversing from one side of the country to the other. We will take in several literary locales including Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and Beatrix Potter’s charming cottage and understand why other Lakeland poets (Coleridge, Southey, et al.) decided to make this area their home. From Castle Howard, immediately recognizable from the BBC television series, Brideshead Revisited, to Fountains Abbey, Britain’s largest and most beautiful monastic ruin, this trip promises to take you back in time exploring the wonderful Treasure Houses of Northern England.
Victoria & The Crown
September 14th-23rd, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. Until very recently, Victoria was the longest-reigning monarch in British History. Born in 1819, she acceded to the throne in 1837, at the tender age of eighteen, and ruled for 63 years. Such was her impact on world history that almost a whole century is named the Victorian Age in her memory. Our tour will be led by Alexandra Messervy and follows in the great Queen’s footsteps from her birth at Kensington Palace, through her coronation in Westminster Abbey, to her final years in Windsor Castle. We’ll spend two days on the Isle of Wight, where she and Albert built Osborne House - their “little paradise” – and also visit other country homes and estates with connections to her life and times (several of which were used in recent films about Victoria).
Tales of Wessex: Exploring Hardy Country and the Isle of Wight
October 10th-18th, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
Originally derived from the “West Saxons,” who lived here after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the name of “Wessex” for this region of south central England was popularized by the late Victorian novelist, Thomas Hardy. Though technically not a part of the region, the Isle of Wight is so close, that it would be a shame to miss this opportunity to pay it a visit. A favorite haunt of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s, their patronage turned the island into a popular destination for English holidaymakers for many decades. Nowadays, of course, the English tend to forsake their own seaside for warmer Mediterranean shores, leaving the island a very tranquil place, even in the summer – and one that not many American visitors get the chance to explore. Our tour of the region encompasses all its varied aspects; from the ancient to the modern, from the historical to the literary, country pubs to stately homes, charming village churches to great gothic cathedrals, but throughout run the gentle green rolling hills that are the hallmark of this beautiful area. Please come and join us this spring and enjoy some Tales of Wessex.
** This tour is a guaranteed departure **
Kent: The Garden of England: Adventures in Southeast England
October 18th-27th, 2019 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
The County of Kent takes up most of the southeastern tip of England, the closest point to the continental mainland. The gentle slopes of its chalk hills and the rich clay soils of its central valleys, combined with the mild climate of the south of England have provided such a fertile environment that the area has been known for centuries as the Garden of England. From the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle; to Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill; with stays in ancient Canterbury and Battle, named for the Battle of Hastings, we have opted for a mixture of sites, ranging from the historic to the scenic, from the literary to the whimsical, that we hope will give an accurate flavor of the region.