Arrive London, England
Welcome to the United Kingdom. You are met on arrival in London and taken to your luxury hotel on the banks of the River Thames. Enjoy the rest of the day to rest or explore this classic city filled with culture and history on every corner. London is one of the oldest cities in the world, with more than 2,000 years of history at your doorstep.
Enjoy a full day touring through this vibrant capital city, starting with a privately guided tour of your choice - to Westminster Abbey or St Paul 's Cathedral.
Westminster Abbey is the burial-place of Kings, Queens, poets, and statesmen. Once a Benedictine monastery, you can see monastic architectural details such as the arcaded stone cloisters, Chapter House and Strong Room. The Abbey is one of London's most impressive buildings architecturally, with its breathtaking vaulted chapels and monuments.
St Paul 's Cathedral was hewn from gleaming white Portland stone almost 300 years ago. View the beautiful interior of the dome, one of the largest in the world. If you are feeling energetic, climb the 533 steps to the top of the dome for incredible views of London.
Your city sightseeing continues, and includes some of London 's most famous sights. See the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (subject to army schedules), the iconic Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, and Covent Garden. View Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and of course Harrods, as well as some hidden streets and squares not normally seen on standard tours.
End the day with a guided tour inside the Tower of London to see the opulent English Crown Jewels. ?(B)
London to Cotswolds & Wye Valley, Wales
This morning, depart London as your driver-guide takes you west into the Cotswolds and the picturesque village of Castle Combe. Stop to visit the Crusader knight tomb at the 15th century parish church.
Crossing into Wales, snake your way through the serene Wye Valley, nestled between thick wooded hillsides. Explore the romantic ruins of Tintern Abbey, and the moated Raglan Castle fortress with its massive, hexagonal keep and breathtaking views. Continue on to Ludlow, a town showcasing a harmonious mix of medieval, Tudor and Georgian buildings. View Ludlow 's 11th century castle and large 15th century church.
Stop to visit Stokesay Castle, a perfectly preserved 13th century fortified manor house, before arriving at your lakeside hotel. ?(B)
Conwy & Snowdonia National Park
A delightful morning drive takes you north to Conwy, one of the best-preserved fortified medieval towns in Britain. Tour the massive Conwy Castle, built by King Edward I. Then continue your scenic drive through the craggy mountains, steep valleys and jewel-like lakes of Snowdonia National Park. Take the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the 3560-foot summit (weather permitting).
Late afternoon, arrive at your hotel in North Wales for a two-night stay. ?(B)
This morning, explore the Italianate terraced Bodnant Gardens, renowned for its lily ponds, and remarkable collection of rhododendrons. Then visit Portmeirion, an eclectic 1920s fantasy village filled with fountains, statues, waterfalls and buildings of all different styles.
In the afternoon, drive along the coastal road, and enjoy views of formidable Harlech Castle set on a rocky spur 200 feet above the sand dunes. ?(B)
Wales to Chester & Chatsworth, England
Spend the morning on a scenic drive east, back into England, reaching the city of Chester by mid-day. Set along the River Dee, Chester was initially founded as a Roman fort, with its main thoroughfares laid out by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. It since grew into a major Medieval settlement and today is a charming city to explore. Enjoy time to stroll and have lunch on your own.
In the afternoon, tour Peak District National Park, a preserved patchwork of English countryside famous for caves, Iron Age hill top forts, and delightful villages. Visit Chatsworth House, and the palatial home of the Dukes of Devonshire, featuring a grand garden of mazes, sunken gardens, and fountains. You may recognize the gardens from films including 'Pride & Prejudice' and “The Duchess”.
Arrive at your luxurious hotel set on the Chatsworth Estate. ?(B)
Enjoy your time at leisure until your scheduled transfer to the Manchester International airport for your departing flight home or on to your next destination. ?(B)
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