- Tour Date: 15 – 21 July
- Tour Rate: $2499 USD per person; $400 single supplement
- This tour begins in London and ends in London. You will be picked up from your London hotel at approximately 09:00.
- Duration: 7 days/7 nights. This tour is designed to link into our Literary England, Authors & Inspirations tour for those wanting a wonderful 2 week literary adventure!
The English counties of Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Somerset, collectively known as ‘The West Country,’ offer a rich tapestry of literary heritage. Here are the brooding settings for the mystery stories of Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple, the sea side intrigue of Rebecca, mystical Arthurian legends and the still charming landscapes of a time gone by. If you’ve enjoyed the stories of Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Thomas Hardy, Arthur Conan Doyle and Samuel Coleridge, then this is the tour for you, taking you through the inspirational landscapes for their novels.
This tour is not just for the literary minded, as this is a region with much to offer visitors. For lovers of countryside there are rolling downs, rugged seascapes, atmospheric moorlands and the lush, green country that is so representative of England. Gourmets will die for the cream teas, real Cornish pasties, freshly caught seafood and farmhouse cooking. You'll never forget the narrow country lanes where the hedgerows grow higher than the cars, the villages where it's difficult for bicycles to pass let alone other motorized vehicles, the thatched cottage hamlets and small fishing harbors accessible only on foot. This is a true feast for all of the senses!
DAY ONE Friday, 15 July, Welcome to London! Today is free so you have the chance to relax, recover from your international journey and go sightseeing in the Capitol as you wish.
Perhaps you will choose to go around on the “Big Bus”, the best introduction to the iconic sites of the Capitol. Hop off when you want then hop back on - a fun way to start your holiday!
Alternatively, the city of London has quite a rich literary heritage to explore. There’s the British Museum, home to many original manuscripts including Jane Austen’s, several museums, properties connected with Keats, Dickens, Carlyle and Dr Johnson. Possibly you’d prefer to just take a stroll through the areas rich in literary history, the Bloomsbury of Virginia Woolf, TS Elliot and Lytton Stratchey among others.
Then there’s the option to catch a play in the West End, at the Globe Theatre, where you can see how theatre in the 1500s was viewed or at one of London’s ‘off West End’ gems like The National, the Royal Court or the Donmar Warehouse. Spoilt for choice in the Capitol!
Accommodation: London (accommodation is included in your package)
DAY TWO Saturday, 16 July, Making our way out of London via the old coaching route and a short visit to prehistoric Avebury, we will explore the medieval village of Lacock, which has hardly changed in the past 200 years. With its magnificent abbey, half timbered cottages and greystone houses it provides a perfect setting. This lovely place, where TV ariels, telephone wires and advertising are banned, has been used as a film set for many popular films such as the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle production of Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Next is the Georgian city of Bath. Your guide will be on hand for a walking tour of Jane Austen’s city. This place was enjoyed by the social set of the 18th and 19th centuries, a setting for Jane Austen amongst many other writers; Austen fans will immediately recognize many streets and squares from her novels such as Northanger Abbey and Persuasion and we’ll see places where the author herself lived. Later, you will have free time to go as you please, choose to visit the Jane Austen Centre, the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms or simply wander the antique, book and tea shops.
Our overnight stop is near King Arthur’s reputed burial place and England’s New Age capitol, Glastonbury.
NIGHTSTOP: Glastonbury area
DAY THREE Sunday, 17 July, Today we will make our way to coastal Somerset, an area well known to Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth. We can visit Coleridge’s House and a few of the areas that were the inspiration for some of his great works such as Kubla Khan and The Ancient Mariner.
Later, edging Lorna Doone’s Exmoor, we will make our way through Exeter (Dickens, Hardy, Austen connections) and thence to our base for the next few nights on the brooding Dartmoor Moors.
NIGHTSTOP: Two Bridges/Tavistock, Dartmoor
DAY FOUR Monday, 18 July, Search for the clues. The atmospheric and dramatic Dartmoor Moors, on the trail of the great Sherlock Holmes detective case The Hound of the Baskervilles, novel inspirations and the backdrop for the story will be our morning focus. We will explore the settings on the moors, a place where Arthur Conan Doyle stayed while researching the book and uncover the real life dark legend that inspired the best-selling novel. If we’re lucky, we may see some of the famed Dartmoor ponies too!
Also today, another famed dramatic setting that will spring to life from the pages, “Manderley” from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. We will wander the Cornish coastline around Fowey and Smuggler’s Cave area of Polperro to discover a bit about her life and times.
NIGHT STOP: Dartmoor, as above
DAY FIVE Tuesday, 19 July, Across the Bodmin Moors where we’ll unlock even more setting secrets. Lauceston Castle, a Norman round tower set high atop a high mound offers stunning views as well as connections to George Fox, founder of Quakerism and the Daphne du Maurier novel The King’s General. We can also discover the real ‘Jamaica Inn.’ This is now a bit of a touristy stop, but fun none the less.
Tintagel Castle, the reputed birthplace of King Arthur is also on the day’s agenda. The castle sits on top of the wild cliffs accessible only by walking. Later, we'll visit a selection of the quaint fishing villages of the north Cornwall and Devon coasts as time will permit, such as Boscastle, with its Arthur and Thomas Hardy connections. This is a day where photographers need to ensure a plentiful supply of disc memory!
NIGHT STOP: Dartmoor, as above
DAY SIX Wednesday, 20 July, Torquay, a very popular seaside resort, has been host to dozens of holidaying authors over the years, but it is also the birthplace of one of the greatest mystery writers of all time, Agatha Christie. Here, we will explore landmarks from both her life and settings for her Miss Marple novels plus visit her nearby home of Greenways, now protected by the National Trust.
Later, following along the coast, we can have a stop in Lyme Regis. This is part of Britain's 'Jurassic Park' so perhaps you’ll find a fossil along the shoreline. Lyme Regis, which was a popular sea spa town and the site of many Austen family holidays, looks much as it did when Jane spent time here, and sites from Persuasion are recognizable.
Subject to availability, our evening will be spent in Thomas Hardy’s “Casterbridge,” the village of Dorchester.
NIGHT STOP: Dorchester area
DAY SEVEN Thursday, 21 July, Today we delve into Thomas Hardy. Dorsetshire was his canvas and our course will meander through a few of the timeless villages that were his inspiration. There is Hardy’s Cottage to visit and once inside, we are in his world.
This afternoon, en-route back to London, some time in iconic Salisbury. Here we can pay our respects inside the stunning cathedral and see one of the greatest pieces of writing, the Magna Carta.
NIGHTSTOP: London. Accommodation is included in your package tonight. Your package concludes after breakfast tomorrow morning. We can assist you with optional airport transfers or you are welcomed to extend your stay as you wish, maybe join our Literary England tour starting tomorrow? Please discuss options with us.
Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we will do our utmost to include all of the properties mentioned as central visits, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to deliver a planned visit due to changes in opening days or times that we could not have been aware of at the time of loading this tour to our website.
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