From London head south-west via Wilton House and Thomas Hardy's Wessex to Dartmoor. [2 nights Dartmoor area]. Spend a day exploring Dartmoor and visiting Plymouth. Head back north via Bath to the picturesque Cotswold hills (2 nights Cotswolds). Visit Stratford and Worcester and explore Cotswold villages. Continue in a north-west direction via the Welsh Marches, Ludlow and Stokesay to Snowdonia in Wales. (2 nights Snowdonia). Visit Conway Castle, Caernarvon Castle, Bodnant Garden or take a trip on a steam railway. Head north again via Chester for the Lake District. (2 nights Lake District).
Spend the day enjoying the lake and mountain scenery, literary connections and glorious gardens. Continue north into Scotland, visiting Hadrian's Wall or Dumfries en route to Edinburgh. (3 nights Edinburgh). Explore the Scottish capital. Take a side trip to Stirling, Bannockburn and the Trossachs or St. Andrews and the Kingdom of Fife. Head south again via the Scottish Borders to York. (2 nights York). Spend some time visiting York and the surrounding area, such as Castle Howard. Drive back to London via Cambridge.
A brief description of the various places mentioned in the itinerary:
- Wilton House: Originally built in the 1500's. Single and Double Cube rooms with a wonderful collection of paintings. Home of the Earl of Pembroke.
- Thomas Hardy's Wessex: The area which featured in his novels and where he lived.
- Dartmoor: Rough grazing for wild ponies. Stunning scenery. The setting for Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles".
- Plymouth: Connections with Sir Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada. The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from here for the new world in 1620.
- Bath: World Heritage Site. Roman baths and Georgian architecture. Good shops.
- Cotswolds: Rolling hills, stone and thatch cottages and unusual village names.
- Stratford upon Avon: Birthplace and burial site of William Shakespeare.
- Worcester: Home of the Royal Worcester porcelain factory. Seconds shop.
- Welsh Marches: Towns and villages of timber-framed houses.
- Ludlow: Half timbered houses. The castle was originally the residence for the Prince of Wales.
- Stokesay: One of the finest examples in England of a moated, fortified manor house.
- Snowdonia: Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Wonderful scenery of mountains and lakes. Narrow gauge steam railway. Slate mines.
- Conway: Town still surrounded by high walls. Castle built by King Edward I in 1283.
- Caernarvon: World Heritage Site. Prince Charles was invested here as Prince of Wales in 1969. Castle built by King Edward I in 1283.
- Bodnant: One of the premier gardens of Wales.
- Chester: Roman town, headquarters of the 20th legion. Medieval city walls.
- Lake District: Wonderful scenery of mountains, lakes, stone walls and gardens. Literary connections with Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey and Thomas de Quincey.
- Hadrian's Wall: Built after a visit by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD.
- Dumfries: Associations with the Scottish poet, Robbie Burns.
- Edinburgh: Capital and parliament of Scotland. The castle sits on top of an extinct volcano. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland, and the ex-royal yacht Britannia. National Gallery of Scotland. Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre. The High Kirk of St. Giles. Museum of Scotland.
- Stirling: Associations with William Wallace (Braveheart) and Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle contains the royal palace of King James IV, 1500.
- Bannockburn: The site of the battle, fought in June 1314, between the English and the Scots. A resounding Scots victory.
- Trossachs: Loch Katrine. Associations with Rob Roy and Sir Walter Scott.
- St. Andrews: Ruins of a cathedral and castle. Home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. Golf Museum. University.
- Fife: The Kingdom of Fife contains the royal palace of Falkland, interesting little fishing ports and St. Andrews, the home of golf.
- Scottish Borders: Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott's house. Melrose Abbey, where Robert Bruce's heart is buried. Connections with Mary, Queen of Scots.
- York: Roman town. Medieval streets and Gothic York Minster with glorious stained glass windows. Castle Howard where "Brideshead Revisited" was filmed.
- Cambridge: A market town with one of the great English universities. Go punting on the river Cam.
- Price varies depending on length of tour, number of people, distance covered and transportation used.
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