Open: Tours available to the general public.
Full: Tours that only have wait list availability.
Sponsored: Tours designed for a private group with possible availability.
Private: Tours designed for a private group that are not available to the general public.
Poldark's Cornwall: A tribute to winston graham
April 19th-29th, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
The first BBC television production of Poldark was aired in 1975. Alexandra Messervy, who has designed and will lead this tour, first read the books at the age of 8 during her annual family holidays to Cornwall, whilst staying on the Lizard Peninsula, and was captivated by the stories and the history behind them. Each year she and her father collected the books, sharing the stories and locations as they holidayed in the area over many years. We very much hope this tour will whet the appetite not only to read the whole series, but to watch more episodes if the BBC can be persuaded to make them! Alexandra was formerly a member of the Royal Household of Her Majesty The Queen and was part of the team which organized private family occasions such as the Royal Wedding. She latterly served as Private Secretary to a member of the Royal Family. Come explore Cornwall regarding this beloved series with Alexandra and her deep appreciation of this area.
Treasure Houses Of Southern England: Behind the Scenes of the stately homes of england
May 6th-15th, 2018 | 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 15th-24th, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
This spring, join other 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 the most famous gardens from Vita Sackville-West’s crowning achievement at Sissinghurst Castle to magnificent Stourhead Gardens. We’ll visit Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship gardens at Wisley; Mottisfont Abbey, Kifsgate and Hidcote Manore, along with visits to the Georgian city of Bath, the enigmatic Stonehenge, concluding with a full day visit to Chelsea Flower Show. A quintessential celebration of springtime, this tour will plant colorful memories for years to come.
*This is a Guaranteed Departure*
May 24th-June 3rd, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
British Unitarianism enjoys a rich history of almost 350 years, and its churches are amongst the country’s finest examples of nonconformist architecture. Beginning in London, with visits to John Wesley’s house and chapel, Bunhill Fields. We then continue to Oxford, city of dreaming spires and ancient seat of learning with a special visit to Harris Manchester College, one of England’s two Unitarian training colleges. We wend our way through the Cotswold Hills to ancient Glastonbury with stays in Bath and Salisbury. This trip is packed with learning about ancient, religious and cultural history of England with plenty of time for lively discussions over a good ale at the local pub with the Reverend Dr. David Usher, your tour guide, a graduate of Oxford University who has spent 35 years as a UU minister in England and United States.
Wales & The Lake District
May 26th-June 8th, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
Castle ruins, meandering medieval streets, and magnificent Celtic heritage bring the beauty of Wales to life against a backdrop of rolling green hills and dramatic sea cliffs. Past and present coexist in this distinctive part of the world- the Romans mined for gold, the Tudors founded a dynasty, and the Normans built castles whose ancient remains are scattered along windy hilltops throughout the countryside. Our stay takes in several literary locales, Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and Beatrix Potter’s charming habitat, and will give you an indication why Lakeland poets (Coleridge, Southey as well) decided to make this area their home. This tour, designed and led by Alexandra Messervy, a former member of The Royal Household of Her Majesty The Queen, starts in Windsor and winds its way up to the beautiful Lake District. Castles, manor houses, high teas and botanical gardens fill in the mystery of this magical land. Topped off with a bit of royalty, who could go wrong?
Gardens of East Anglia
May 29th-June 8th, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Sponsored/Full
The Captivating Cotswolds: A Week exploring the by-ways & Hidden corners of the cotswold hills
June 7th-16th, 2018 | 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!
Britain in Bloom: Featuring the Hampton court flower show
July 3rd-12th, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
For centuries, English gardens have been an inspiration for painters, writers, and flower lovers. From great country estates to the postage-stamp sized gardens of inner-city terraces, the British use their exceptionally long growing season to glorious advantage. 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, we’ll visit the RHS showcase gardens at Wisley and tour HRH Prince Charles’ private gardens at his estate at Highgrove. Naturally, there are a host of other gorgeously blooming favorites along the way – the 20th-century beauty of Hidcote Manor, the Savill Garden in Windsor, and Kiftsgate’s profusion of shrub roses, to name a few.
Discovering East Anglia: hidden treasures with gavin miller
July 20th-28th, 2018 | 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.
Magic of Medieval England: Family Adventures in york & nottingham
July 27th-August 4th, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
Medieval England comes to life in a swirl of art, adventure, and architecture that will appeal to young travelers and grandparents alike! From the wonders of York Minster to Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest to the magnificence of Castle Howard to a hint of Hogwarts, you’ll be swept away to thrilling, dark, and noble days. After a visit to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon and 900 year-old Kenilworth castle, it’s off to Sherwood Forest and the annual Robin Hood festival, where bowmen demonstrate their skills and medieval jousting rules the day. Ghost walks, cobbled alleys and “snickleways”, Dracula’s birthplace, castle keeps and much more make this trip a fantastic adventure for the whole family.
The Channel Islands: A tribute to the guernsey literary & potato peel pie society
September 6th-15th, 2018 | 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 20th-29th, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
From the ancient city walls of York, a living history book spanning from the time of the Romans, The Viking invasion and its Victorian heyday; to the Lake District, an endless inspiration for the Romantic poets; here is an adventure in Northern England that takes you behind the usual tourist façade. We meander past ruined abbeys, country mansions, and breathtaking scenery, traversing form 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.
The West Country
October 4th-13th, 2018 | Maximum Group Size: 15 Participants | Availability: Open
The southwest peninsula of England, made up of the counties of Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, is known as “The West Country.” It is an ancient land, rife with myth and legend, and staunchly independent from the “mainland” of England. Washed by the warming currents of the Gulf Stream, the peninsula enjoys its own microclimate enjoyed by many during the summer season. From the Vale of Avalon and Arthur’s (alleged) grave site in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey to his birthplace in Tintagel, the Arthurian legends will keep cropping up on our travels through this beautiful part of England. Our journey takes us along coastal routes with historic ports, we will have time enough to enjoy a Devon cream tea while taking in these crystal clear seas and landscapes rife with heather and gorse.
Kent: The Garden of England: Adventures in Southeast England
October 18th-27th, 2018 | 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.