2023 International Icons of England and Wales

Price
$11,585 per person
Duration
18 Days
Destination
More than 1

Icons of England and Wales

Trains, Boats and Planes
Including the Iconic Duxford Air Show
• LONDON • PORTSMOUTH • BATH • BRISTOL • NORTH WALES • LIVERPOOL • YORK • CAMBRIDGE •
  • Information
  • Itinerary
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  • Tour Map
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Some Details

Departure Location
London, United Kingdom
Return Location
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Tour Leader(s)
Scott McGregor
Tour Date
1 Sep 2023 - 18 Sep 2023
Extras
Price: $11585 Single Supplement: $2175
Price includes
  • 17-nights’ accommodation in centrally located hotels with daily breakfast
  • 7 rail excursions, 2 boat trips, and comfortable luxury coach transport throughout
  • Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides and your experienced and knowledgeable host
  • Excursion/entrance fees except those listed in the itinerary as optional
  • First-class rail travel (where available)
  • Luggage transported separately on days 4, 11, and 12 when travelling by train
  • Meals as per the itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • Porterage on and off the coach and at all hotels with the exception of the Holiday Inn Bristol
Price does not include
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Drinks with meals (except for welcome and farewell dinners)
  • Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Tour Plan
Tour Plan

Day 1 • Friday:

ARRIVE LONDON

Make your way to our hotel, conveniently located in the vibrant Gloucester Road area, opposite the Tube station. In the evening, meet with your tour leader and fellow travellers for drinks, a briefing, and a celebratory welcome dinner.

Overnight: The Bailey’s Hotel, London (D)

Day 2 • Saturday:

LONDON – GREENWICH – LONDON

The Docklands Light Railway whips us down along the Thames to Greenwich. Here we will be given a combination ticket allowing us access to the major attractions, museums, and galleries of the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory. While there, we visit the great clipper ship the Cutty Sark and the historic tunnel under the Thames: the first tunnel to be built under a river and completed in 1843 by Sir Marc Isambard Brunel. We continue by ferry along the Thames and enjoy an early dinner.

Overnight: The Bailey’s Hotel, London (B, D)

Day 3 • Sunday:

LONDON

Today is a free day in and around London to explore the many options on offer in this grand city. You may wish to take an excursion to the extraordinary collection at RAF Hendon Aircraft Museum or head into London for an afternoon visit to the Imperial War Museum. It has been refurbished for the WWI centenary; free admission and your travel card will cover the tube ride.

Overnight: The Bailey’s Hotel, London (B)

Day 4 • Monday:

LONDON – PORTSMOUTH

Today our luggage will go separately while we travel first class on the fast-express service down the old London and Southwestern Railway from Waterloo to Portsmouth, now operated by Southwest Trains.

After some free time for lunch, the afternoon revolves around the many highlights of Portsmouth, with a museum pass to the fascinating and extensive Portsmouth Historic Dockyard included. The afternoon is yours to explore the site. Scott will be on hand to help guide and illuminate the amazing collection of iconic ships, memorabilia, and museum exhibits. Dinner this evening is in a local Portsmouth favourite.

Overnight: The Queen’s Hotel, Portsmouth (B, D)

Day 5 • Tuesday:

PORTSMOUTH – ISLE OF WIGHT – PORTSMOUTH

After breakfast, we take our coach to the port where a catamaran ferry is standing by to take us across to the Isle of Wight. The ferry connects with the island’s local electric train (vintage London Underground rolling stock) for the short run across the island to the terminus station of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Smallbrook Junction. This authentic heritage railway takes you by steam on the idyllic little line to the railway’s depot at Haven Street Station. Lunch is on your own at the railway’s well-stocked café.

We’ll then continue to the end of the island’s electric railway line where we’ll be transported by private coach to the chalk cliffs of the southern coast and back via the Needles Old Battery Museum and the towns of Newport and Ryde. We take the opportunity to visit Osborne House, one of Queen Victoria’s favourite residences, designed by Prince Albert himself as a summer house and retreat for the Royal Family. The ferry brings us back to Portsmouth and our hotel for a free evening in this fair city.

Overnight: The Queen’s Hotel, Portsmouth (B)

Day 6 • Wednesday:

PORTSMOUTH – BRISTOL

Our private coach departs from the hotel to take us to Bristol, via Stonehenge and Bath. First stop is to explore the mysterious and magical Stonehenge. The main stones date from about 2,500 BC, while the new museum and gallery are a wonderful introduction to this iconic site.

We make a stop at the charming town of Devizes for lunch on your own and time to wander around this historic market town, full of delightful shops and a lovely museum showcasing the treasures that have been found in the area.

A short distance away is our next stop, Bath where, in the company of a local guide, the story of this ancient and colourful city is bought to life. Later we continue to Bristol to check into our hotel for two nights and enjoy dinner in the city.

Overnight: Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre, Bristol (B, D)

Day 7 • Thursday:

BRISTOL

Today we take an excursion just a short way down the road to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, one of Britain’s foremost collections of historic naval aviation history. Here you can see a vast array of interesting exhibits, including the story of the Battle of the Atlantic, the flight deck from HMS Ark Royal and Concorde, and many more across the five great halls of exhibits.

Back in Bristol, the afternoon is free to enjoy the city’s many sites or perhaps take the option of a fast train trip to Swindon to visit STEAM – The Museum of the Great Western Railway.

Overnight: Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre, Bristol (B)

Day 8 • Friday:

BRISTOL – TELFORD

After breakfast at the hotel, we meet our local guide who will reveal many interesting stories in and around Bristol. Our tour includes the city Docks, Brunel’s spectacular suspension bridge over the Avon Gorge, and Temple Meads Station—all part of the majesty of this great city. To top it off, we’ll take a tour in and around the magnificent and historic SS Great Britain. A light lunch in the city precedes our journey by coach north towards Wales.

Overnight: Holiday Inn Telford-Ironbridge, Telford (B, L, D)

Day 9 • Saturday:

TELFORD – LLANDUDNO

This morning we continue the scenic coach journey to the North Wales seaside town of Llandudno, stopping along the way at Thomas Telford’s iconic suspension bridge from 1826 and Stevenson’s 1849 box or tubular railway bridge. Enjoy some free time for lunch around the World Heritage-listed Conwy Castle before a guided tour of this 13th-century site. Arrive in Llandudno later in the afternoon with an option to enjoy an excursion on the 100-year-old cable funicular Great Orme Tramway that travels up to the 270-metre-high summit of the Great Orme, Britain’s highest headland. This evening we’ll enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno (B, D)

Day 10 • Sunday:

NORTH WALES RAILWAYS

Today we will embark on a series of train journeys on the railways of North Wales starting with a coach trip to Caernarfon to meet the Welsh Highland Railway. We steam down the line to Porthmadog and then transfer to Portmeirion for some time at leisure. The famous Ffestiniog Railway is the scene for our next heritage train adventure along the scenic line to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Ffestiniog Railway is the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railway and the oldest railway company still operating trains. The journey climbs over 213 metres (700 feet) from sea level into the mountains, through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, round tight bends (even a complete spiral), clinging to the side of the mountain or tunneling through it. Time is allocated for lunch on your own at Portmeirion. The next leg takes us to Blaenau Ffestiniog where our coach will be waiting to transfer us back to the hotel.

Overnight: Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno (B, D)

Day 11 • Monday:

LLANDUDNO – LIVERPOOL

This morning we board the train to Merseyside and the Port City of Liverpool. Our local guide is standing by to meet us and leads us on a tour of the city when we pull in. Liverpool’s status as a Port city has contributed to its diverse population; Europe’s oldest Chinese population and Black African community are just a couple of the diverse societies within the city. Along the way, we explore the spectacular Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, one of Europe’s largest, and delve into the story of the Mersey Beat on a guided tour aboard the famous Mersey Ferry. Later on, enjoy some free time back at the hotel and dinner at a local favourite.

Overnight: Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool (B, D)

Day 12 • Tuesday:

LIVERPOOL – YORK

Our morning train journey celebrates the route of the world’s first true passenger railway, which opened on the 15th of September 1830, taking us from Liverpool to Manchester and onto York. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the famous Betty’s Café Tea Rooms and then begin an afternoon walking tour of the city with our local guide. Some of the sights include the grand curved station in York, a masterpiece of Victorian Industrial Age engineering, the old walled city, the stunning York Minster cathedral, and the quaint old town.

Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton, York (B, L)

Day 13 • Wednesday:

YORK – WHITBY – YORK

Our adventure today is on one of the UK’s most extensive and authentic heritage railways, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, taking us to the charming seaside town of Whitby. Our coach takes us to Pickering to board the train and, once in Whitby, on about an hour’s gentle journey across the moors drawn behind one of their fine steam locos. We visit the rambling ruins of the old Whitby Abbey perched high on the hill overlooking the town. Enjoy a hearty lunch of fish and chips, of course, in the heart of this wonderful maritime town, and then enjoy the return trip by train in the afternoon. The evening is free to explore the many sites of York at night.

Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton, York (B, L)

Day 14 • Thursday:

YORK AND SURROUNDS

Sample the good life with a visit to Castle Howard, a grand country home built in the very early eighteenth century and the location for Brideshead Revisited, set within 1,000 acres of gardens and manicured parklands. The afternoon is then yours to continue exploring York, the grand old city of the North, or perhaps visit the National Railway Museum, housing an extraordinary collection of Britain’s most iconic railway treasures.

Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton, York (B)

Day 15 • Friday:

YORK – LEICESTER – CAMBRIDGE

After breakfast at the hotel, we travel directly from York to visit Foxton Locks in Leicester, a Grade II* listed site, and home to the longest, steepest staircase flight of locks in Britain. Later we continue south to Cambridge, arriving in the late afternoon where we settle into our hotel right in the heart of the atmospheric city. Dinner is served in the hotel restaurant later in the evening.

Overnight: DoubleTree by Hilton Cambridge City Centre, Cambridge (B, D)

Day 16 • Saturday:

DUXFORD AIR SHOW

Immerse yourself in a full day at the Duxford Air Show, one of the world’s biggest, featuring displays, shows, exhibits, and celebrations of everything from a Sopwith Camel to supersonic fighters. The Imperial War Museum in Duxford is Britain’s best-preserved WWII airfield. Historic buildings sit alongside the striking contemporary exhibition halls AirSpace and the American Air Museum. With an amazing gathering of aircraft, exhibits, and associated activities, we are assured of a most stimulating, fascinating, and very full day.

Overnight: DoubleTree by Hilton Cambridge City Centre, Cambridge (B, D)

Day 17 • Sunday:

CAMBRIDGE

A guided tour of the city of Cambridge begins this morning and takes in the museums at the University and a College visit. You may even want to take to the water and punt on the Cam! The afternoon is yours to enjoy the ambiance of the town, soaking up this last day on tour and maybe doing some last-minute shopping before wandering back to the hotel. In the evening, join Scott and your fellow travellers for a lavish farewell dinner and drinks.

Overnight: DoubleTree by Hilton Cambridge City Centre, Cambridge (B, D)

Day 18 • Monday:

FINAL FAREWELL

Our epic adventure concludes in Cambridge after breakfast in the hotel.

(B)

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      Icons of England and Wales

      Price
      $11,585 per person
      Duration
      18 Days
      Destination
      More than 1

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