Head south from London, via Brighton, Arundel and Portsmouth to the New Forest. (1 night New Forest). Continue west via Thomas Hardy's Wessex and Plymouth to Cornwall. (2 nights Cornwall). Return via Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor to Bath. (2 nights Bath). Explore Bath and the surrounding area. Continue north through the Cotswolds to Stratford upon Avon. (2 nights Stratford). There will be time to visit Warwick Castle, some of the Shakespearean properties and perhaps Worcester. Head north-west via Ironbridge and Shrewsbury to Snowdonia in Wales. (2 nights Snowdonia). Visit Beaumaris Castle, Plas Newydd and the Isle of Anglesey or Bodelwyddan. Keep heading north via Chester to the Lake District. (2 nights Lake District). Spend the day enjoying the lake and mountain scenery, literary connections and glorious gardens.
Continue north via Hadrian's Wall to Edinburgh. (3 nights Edinburgh). Have time to explore the Scottish capital and the surrounding area. Head north-west again to the Trossachs and Glencoe, or Loch Lomond and Inveraray Castle, to Fort William. (1 night Fort William). Continue north up Glen More, past Loch Ness to Inverness. (2 nights Inverness). Visit Culloden, Cawdor Castle or a whisky distillery. Time to head south again via Blair Atholl, Scone Palace, Glamis Castle or St. Andrews to the Scottish Borders. (1 night Borders). Continue south via Durham and James Herriot country to York. (2 nights York). Spend some time exploring York and the surrounding area. Drive back to London via Chatsworth or Woburn Abbey.
A brief description of the various places mentioned in the itinerary:
- Brighton: Seaside resort with King George IV's exotic Royal Pavilion.
- Arundel: Antique shops. Arundel Castle is still the home of the Duke of Norfolk.
- Portsmouth: Historic naval dockyard with King Henry VIII's ship, the Mary Rose, and Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory. D-Day Museum.
- New Forest: The forest was enclosed as a hunting area for King William I, 1079.
- Thomas Hardy's Wessex: The area which featured in his novels and where he lived.
- Plymouth: Connections with Sir Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada. The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from here for the new world in 1620.
- Cornwall: South-west peninsula of Britain. Mild climate so wonderful gardens. Connections with King Arthur. Prehistoric ruins. Tate Gallery and Barbara Hepworth Museum, St. Ives.
- Bodmin Moor: Setting for Daphne du Maurier's "Jamaica Inn".
- Dartmoor: Rough grazing for wild ponies. Stunning scenery. The setting for Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles".
- 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. RSC theatre.
- Warwick Castle: Castle dates from 14thc, with state and private apartments. Dungeon. "A Royal Weekend Party in 1898".
- Worcester: Home of the Royal Worcester porcelain factory. Seconds shop.
- Ironbridge: 1779, first iron bridge. Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
- Shrewsbury: Setting of "Brother Cadfael's" monastery.
- Snowdonia: Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Wonderful scenery of mountains and lakes. Narrow gauge steam railway. Slate mines.
- Beaumaris Castle: Technically perfect, built by the English King Edward I, 1295.
- Plas Newydd: Magnificent 18thc mansion beside the Menai Straits.
- Isle of Anglesey: Prehistoric remains. Druid stronghold in Roman times. Welsh speakers.
- Bodelwyddan: Victorian mansion with portraits from the National Portrait Gallery and furniture from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
- 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.
- 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 Center. The High Kirk of St. Giles. Museum of Scotland.
- Trossachs: Loch Katrine. Associations with Rob Roy and Sir Walter Scott.
- Glencoe: The Massacre of Glencoe took place in 1692.
- Loch Lomond: The largest stretch of inland water in Britain.
- Inveraray Castle: Home of the Duke of Argyll, head of Clan Campbell.
- Fort William: At the foot of Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain. Associations with Bonnie Prince Charlie.
- Glen More: "The Great Glen" a geological fault line running across Scotland.
- Loch Ness: Visit an exhibition to find out if there is a monster here.
- Inverness: Site of Macbeth's castle.
- Culloden: Where Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated in 1746.
- Cawdor Castle: Home of the Thane of Cawdor, one of the titles promised to Macbeth by the witches.
- Blair Atholl: The castle is home to the Duke of Atholl, who still has his own private army.
- Scone Palace: Traditional coronation site of Scottish kings. Home of the Earl of Mansfield.
- Glamis Castle: A royal residence since 1372. Childhood home of the Queen Mother. Birthplace of Princess Margaret.
- St. Andrews: Ruins of a cathedral and castle. Home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. Golf Museum. University.
- Scottish Borders: Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott's house. Melrose Abbey, where Robert Bruce's heart is buried. Connections with Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Durham: World Heritage Site. Wonderful Norman cathedral.
- James Herriot country: See the Yorkshire Dales where the famous vet worked and wrote.
- York: Roman town. Medieval streets and gothic York Minster with glorious stained glass windows. Castle Howard where "Brideshead Revisited" was filmed.
- Chatsworth: "The Palace of the Peaks", home of the Duke of Devonshire. Famous collection of furniture and works of art.
- Woburn Abbey: Home of the Marquess of Tavistock, heir to the Duke of Bedford. World class collection of paintings. Safari park. Antique Center.
- Price varies depending on length of tour, number of people, distance covered and transportation used.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe England Scotland Wales Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History
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