Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Castles and Gardens of South England Tour

Castles and Gardens of South England Tour

Your Castles and Gardens of South England Tour Includes:

* 5 Nights Accommodations
* Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*

Your Castles and Gardens of South England Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 Morning arrival at one of the London airports. Pick up your hire car and travel towards Kent. En-route visit Wisley Gardens, one of Britain's best loved gardens with 240 acres offering a fascinating blend of the beautiful with practical and innovative design and cultivation techniques. For many, it is the beauty and tranquility of the garden that captures the imagination, with its richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens and the exotica of the glasshouses. Enjoy the flowers and gardens in Spring and Summer. Overnight accommodation in Canterbury/Ashford.

Day 2 This morning we recommend a visit to the magnificently manicured gardens of Sissinghurst. This famous garden was created by Vita Sackville- West and Harold Nicolson from 1930 onwards and became the most admired English Garden of its time. Few great gardens live up to their reputations so effortlessly as this. Sissinghurst is a large connoisseurs' garden consisting of a series of small romantic areas enclosed by the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion. It has the power of enchantment, but is also an unending source of inspiration for all gardeners. Continue to Tunbridge Wells to visit Scotney Castle, a hidden gem and fairytale 14th-century moated ruined castle, surrounded by stunning gardens. Visitors to Scotney Castle will experience a whole new aspect to their visit as further rooms of the Victorian country house are opened to the public for the first time. There will be time to explore Tunbridge Wells before returning to your hotel in Canterbury/Ashford area.

Day 3 The spectacular gardens at Hever Castle were laid out between 1904 and 1908 by Joseph Cheal & Son, turning marshland into the spectacular gardens you might see today. One of the most magnificent areas of the gardens is the Italian Garden, which was worked on by over 1,000 men, digging out the 35 acre lake at the far end of the Italian Garden - taking two years to do so! The garden is only now reaching its full maturity and includes the colourful walled Rose Garden which contains over 3,000 plants. There are many water features around the gardens and other areas that you can stroll through, include the Tudor Garden, Rhododendron Walk and along Anne Boleyn's Walk with its collection of trees planted over 100 years ago. Overnight in Canterbury/Ashford area.

Day 4 Today depart Canterbury/Ashford area for Winchester. The capital of the ancient kingdom of Wessex, the city of Winchester was also the headquarters of the Anglo-Saxon kings until the Norman Conquest. You can visit the famous Winchester Cathedral, originally a Benedictine monastery, much of the Norman architecture remains despite its being modified repeatedly until the early 16th century. Travel along the beautiful coast with stop at Beachy Head and Brighton. Brighton is the most enchanting, exciting, extraordinary seaside city in Britain - however brazen that may sound, it is no exaggeration. With its cosmopolitan air, oodles of restaurants, cultures, the place defies comparison with anywhere else. This cosmopolitan city has something to offer everyone. Beachy Head, with its dramatic white cliffs and gently undulating downs, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and tranquility which belies its proximity to the busy south eastern towns of England. It is a haven for those who like to walk or cycle. There are many historic sites in the area, as well as pretty villages with good pubs, shops and restaurants to visit, and all within easy reach of the main towns of the region. For a complete change, visitors are welcome to spend some time at the farm or the sheep centre. Overnight in the Winchester area.

Day 5 Leave Winchester in the morning to visit Stonehenge, built in several stages from about 3000BC. Stonehenge is Europe's most famous prehistoric monument and we can only guess at the rituals that took place here. The alignment of the stones leaves little doubt though that the circle is connected with the sun and the passing of the seasons. The medieval city of Salisbury was founded in 1220 among the lush water meadows where the rivers Avon, Nadder and Bourne meet. The famous Salisbury cathedral was built mostly in the early 13th century over the remarkably short space of 38 years. Its magnificent landmark spire - the tallest in England - was an inspired afterthought added in 1280-1310. Overnight in the Winchester area.

Day 6 There might be some more time to spend in Winchester before travelling to the London airport for departure.

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