Staying away from large cities and the usual tourist hot spots. This tour takes you to the long disputed borders of England and Wales. One of the lesser known areas of the country and all the better for it being off the normal tourist routes. It is an area of small villages with black and white architecture, romantic castles, ancient churches, bustling market towns and some of the finest local food in Britain.
One this tour you will be staying in country inns, homely B&B’s and even a rather grand castle. With the marks of history from Arthur, King Offa, the Romans and Caradoc, through the Middle ages with the Plantagenets and Tudors, to the Civil War and beyond, this area abounds with historical sites around almost every corner. It also has some of the finest country pubs and tea rooms to be found anywhere.
Day 1: Arrive in England. To avoid the crush and crowds of London, we suggest that you fly into Manchester Airport if possible. This is a much less traumatic entry into England than the bewildering throngs of Heathrow. Wherever you land we will be there to meet you and take you off to your first base, in a grand Gothic Revival castle perched high on a hill overlooking the Welsh borderlands.
Day 2: A drive through the Cheshire countryside to the ancient city of Chester. Chester was founded by the Romans and is one of the few remaining walled cities in England. Famous for The Rows, its Black and White, half timbered shopping area, and St. Werburg's Cathedral dating back to the 11th century.
Day 3: Heading south to Shrewsbury. A town naturally fortified by a loop of the River Severn and the setting for the Cadfael Chronicles of Ellis Peters. Then continuing the journey via Stokesay Castle. A 13th Century fortified manor house, with a Jacobean timber framed gate house in a picturesque rural setting in the Onny Valley. Ending the day in Ludlow. The seat of the Welsh Marcher Council established by Henry VII to oversee the border lands.
Ludlow Castle, started by the Normans in 1086 stands on a promontory above the River Corve and has been the scene for many battles and sieges throughout history. Ludlow is one of the hidden gems of Britain. Not on the normal tourists routes, but it has been described (by the locals) as the perfect historic town. Also the location of De Greys Tea Rooms. Afternoon tea at De Greys is a tradition to be savored.
Day 4: A peaceful day exploring Ludlow. Sampling the local fayre at the market, strolling by the river and climbing to the top of the tallest tower of its Norman castle.
Day 5: Into Herefordshire. A largely unknown corner of England, with traditional black and white architecture, cider orchards and some of the most picturesque villages in the country, with a profusion of timber framed and thatched buildings, the occasional village pond and ancient church. Herefordshire produces some of the finest food in England, so we may stop off to sample the wares at a local cheese farm or cider makers. The day ends at your next base in the book lovers paradise of Hay on Wye. A unique Welsh border town which claims to have the largest concentration of new, second-hand and antique books in the world in its many bookshops.
Day 6: A full day to browse around the bookshops and antiques shops of Hay on Wye, or Y Gelli as it is know in Welsh.
Day 7: The Golden Valley. An accident of translation by the Normans gives this area of Herefordshire its grand name. It is however one of the most delightful corners of England, with small villages such as Peterchurch, Vowchurch and Turnastone, sitting on the banks of the River Dore. An ancient abbey and a rare example of a Celtic church, with iconography seldom seen on a Christian building outside this area.
Day 8: Hereford. Little narrow alleyway and streets and a magnificent medieval cathedral, which houses one of the best examples of a chained library in the country, plus the Mappa Mundi. This is one of the earliest maps in the world, dating back to the early 1300s.
Day 9: Turning back north as we head along the limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge to Ironbridge. A World Heritage Site and not surprisingly, the home of the world’s first iron bridge. Dating back to 1779, this 200 foot bridge spans the Severn Gorge at what was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. We then head off to Blists Hill Victorian Town. A reproduction of a Victorian industrial town, where you can gain a fascinating insight into how life was lived in Victorian Times.
Day 10: An unplanned day. This is not because we cannot think of anything for you to do today. We always like to keep some days free, so that you can fit in some unforseen delight which may only become apparent as time progresses.
Day 11: Back home with lots of good memories and hundred of photographs. As with all Homemade Holidays tours, this is a suggested itinerary, which can be adjusted, adapted and altered to suit your requirements.
- Please contact us with your thoughts and suggestions for variations to any of our tours. Our aim is to make a tour to fit you, not to make you fit into a tour!
- This tour can be also taken as a “self-drive” tour. Please contact us for details.
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