Day 1: Arrive in England. This first day is set aside for recovery and acclimatisation in London. If time and jet lag allow you could take one of the open topped bus tours around London to see some of the sites which would be heavy going on foot, and some which you may like to return to later.
Day 2: Boarding your train and following the route of the Great Western Railway, through the English countryside, along the coast of the English Channel, crossing the River Tamar into Cornwall and arriving at your destination in the far west town of Penzance. Here your car will be waiting for you and you can then drive the short distance to your hotel, overlooking Mount’s Bay and St. Michael’s Mount.
Day 3: Exploring Cornwall. Cornwall is one of the Celtic Fringes of Europes, a land of Stone circles, menhirs, quoits, fogous and all manner of weird and ancient things. There are some lovely little coves, which were once the haunt of Cornish smugglers, a fairy tale like castle, perched high on an island off the shore by Penzance, the quaint old town of St. Ives, cream teas, pasties and enough things to keep you occupied for a month to squeeze into two days. You are also close to Land’s End, an especially good place for a good sunset on a summer evening.
Day 4: Heading back “up country” as the Cornish call the rest of Britain. You are not heading too far on this day, stopping overnight in a lovely old village inn on the western fringes of Dartmoor. The route will give you the opportunity to visit Tintagel the reputed site of King Arthur's Camelot, and Boscastle, a natural harbour and inlet in the rocky coast of North Cornwall. Your Travel Pack will be full of all manner of information, guides and recommendations about what there is to see along the way. The suggestions here are just to give you a flavour of what you might get up to.
Day 5: A day for exploring in Devon. The dilemma with any trip such as this is not “what to see” but “what not to see”. You could choose to stroll around the old market town of Tavistock, head off to Plymouth to see where the Pilgrim Fathers last set foot on English soil or meander though the deep valleys and over the bleak moorlands of Dartmoor. Search out some delightful little villages with ancient churches, thatched cottages and compulsary Cream Teas, with lots of West Country Clotted Cream, scones and strawberry jam. Dartmoor is also a wildlife haven, with wild ponies, a diverse range of birdlife and enough sheep to count you off to sleep.
Day 6: A drive through the Devon countryside and into Somerset. You could take a route via Glastonbury, reputed burial place of King Arthur and his queen Guinevere. Also an essential visit for anyone interested in “alternative theories” on just about everything. Its many bookshops specialize in the weird, wonderful and mysterious. Then onto the Cathedral City of Wells. England's smallest city, and home to the magnificent 14th century Cathedral, adorned with over 300 statues and one of the oldest working clocks in Europe.
Wells is one of the "hidden gems" of England. Off the normal tourist routes and always a delight to visit, to stroll around the gardens of the Bishops Palace, to lunch in the cathedral cloisters or just to soak up the atmosphere of this ancient corner of England. Then up the limestone chasm of the Cheddar Gorge to your overnight stay, a lovely old inn in the Mendip Hills of Somerset. In the valley just below the inn is Stanton Drew. This little village has one of the least visited stone circles in the country. A good place to stretch your legs and take in the fresh air of Somerset.
Day 7: The ancient city of Bath. A magnificent example of Georgian extravagance and some of the best classical architecture in Europe. Plus the fascinating spectacle of the Roman Baths, and a delightful web of alleyways and streets with a wonderful and tempting range of shops, restaurants and tea-rooms. At sometime in the afternoon you will be heading off, back towards London, to be in place for your return flight on the following day.
Day 8: Back home with lots of good memories and hundreds of photographs.
Note: This tour can be converted to an escorted tour for those who would prefer someone else to do the driving. Although a more expensive option, the addition of a driver/guide will enhance your trip and give you the opportunity to reach some of the places to which you may not venture on your own.
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Europe England Local Culture Self Drive Railway Trips
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