Thursday, September 8, 2011

Best of Britain

Best of Britain
Your Best of Britain Tour Includes:
  • 9 Nights Accommodations
  • Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
  • Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*
Your Best of Britain Itinerary:

Day 1 Arrival at own discretion in London. Collect your hire car and make the short trip to Cambridge. There should be some time to this charming University town with its ancient colleges, stunning architecture and medieval streets. Overnight in the Cambridge area.

Day 2
You might want to spend some more time in the morning discovering Cambridge. Late morning though it is time to depart and head for the north of England. On your way to the North of England we suggest a stop in the Peak District. The Peak District's natural beauty and sheep-grazed crags contrast with the factories of nearby valley towns. Visit Chatsworth House and Gardens, one of Britain's most impressive stately homes. The house has beautiful gardens, landsaped in the 1760s by Capability Brown and developed by the head gardener, Joseph Paxton , in the mid-19th century. Overnight in York/Harrogate area

Day 3
In the morning we will have time to explore York, the quaint town in the North of England. The city of York has retained so much of its medieval structure that walking into its centre is like entering a living museum. Walking through the town you will see the famous York Minster, the largest Gothic church north of the Alps. After exploring York your journey will take you to Edinburgh via Jedburgh and Melrose. Stop at picturesque Jedburgh Abbey to learn about the Augustinian monks who once lived here and Melrose Abbey, once one of the richest abbeys in Scotland. It is here that Robert the Bruce's heart is said to be buried. Overnight in Edinburgh, where you will be staying for 2 nights. 

Day 4 Spend the morning discovering Edinburgh with all its nooks and crannies. Scotland's capital city is really made up of 2 smaller “towns”. Edinburgh's medieval origins were in the narrow cobbled streets around the Royal Mile - a long road linking the 2 ancient royal residences. The city has been the home of great politicians, religious leaders and inventors throughout the centuries. Nearby are the university and the new Scottish Parliament while the city skyline is dominated by the imposing Edinburgh Castle. Later, in contrast, admire the elegant tree-lined crescents of the 18th century “New Town” - built by Robert Adam in the classical style of that era and representing the largest area of conserved Georgian architecture in Europe. Overnight in Edinburgh again.

Day 5 It is time to depart from Edinburgh this morning. You will be crossing the Forth Road Bridge, which offers excellent views over the famous Forth Rail Bridge, dating back to 1890. You will be heading through the ancient Kingdom of Fife on your way north. Make sure to make a stop in the charming market town of Dunkeld with its beautiful old cathedral. From here the scenery becomes more and more rugged as you enter the Highlands. Later that day you reach Aviemore, which lies in the Cairngorm National Park. Overnight in the Aviemore area.

Day 6
From Aviemore this morning, the drive to Inverness and on to Loch Ness will not be long. See if you will be able to spot the famous Loch Ness Monster or if in doubt visit the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition in Drumnadrochit. Follow the loch south passing the town of Fort William which lies in the shadow of Ben Nevis - Britain's highest mountain at 1344 metres. From here take the direct route past Loch Lomond on to Glasgow for overnight.

Day 7 Depart from Glasgow, travelling south over the natural border to England's beautiful Lake District - Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England and the spectacular scenery in the surrounding areas inspired the writer and poet William Wordsworth who lived in the region. Lake Windermere will invite to a boat trip and also Sizergh Castle & Gardens is worth a visit. Originally built in the Middle Ages by the Strickland family, who still live here, this imposing house has an exceptional series of oak-panelled rooms culminating in the Inlaid Chamber. The garden includes two lakes and a superb rock garden. All this is set in a 638ha estate crossed by public footpaths, providing short walks from the castle to dramatic viewpoints over Morecambe Bay and the Lake District. Head south to Liverpool area for overnight.

Day 8
After breakfast travel via Stratford upon Avon towards London. Situated on the west bank of the River Avon, in the heart of the Midlands, is one of the most famous towns in England. Stratford-upon-Avon dates back to at least Roman times but its appearance today is that of a small Tudor market town, with mellow, half-timbered architecture and tranquil walks beside the tree-fringed Avon. This image belies its popularity as the most visited tourist attraction outside London, with eager hordes flocking to see buildings connected to William Shakespeare or his descendants. We will visit Shakespeare's Birthplace, which was almost entirely reconstructed in the 19th century, but in the style of the Tudor original. Overnight in the Bath area.

Day 9 After breakfast we will explore Bath. Bath owes its magnificent Georgian townscape to the bubbling pool of water at the heart of the Roman Baths. The Romans transformed Bath into England's first spa resort and it regained fame as a spa town in the 18th century. At this time the two brilliant John Woods, both architects, designed the city's fine Palladian-style buildings. Many houses bear plaques recording the numerous famous people who have resided here. In the afternoon you can travel to Stonehenge for an unforgettable visit. Stonehenge built in several stages from about 3000BC, is Europe's most famous prehistoric monument. We can guess at the rituals that took place here, but the alignment of the stones leaves little doubt that the circle is connected with the sun and the passing of the seasons. Overnight again in the Bath area.

Day 10
Departure day. Travel to London and the airport for departure. Please note that travelling time from Bath to London Heathrow will be at least two hours.

*Upgrades to automatic and larger cars available for a supplement.

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