London and the Countryside Educational Tour

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London and the Countryside tour map

London and the Countryside

9 Days London 3 • Brighton 1 • Bath 1 • Stratford-upon-Avon 1 • London 1

Accommodations

Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $280 per person.

Transportation

Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Deluxe touring motorcoach.

Meals

All breakfasts. All dinners. Carvery dinner on Day 4.

Guides

Services of a specially-trained passports Tour Director throughout.

Inclusions

Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.

Travel Protection

passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.

Days 1-2: Arrival London

Arrival transfer

Day 3: London

London City Sightseeing: Local guide

Optional Round-trip Thames Cruise from Westminster Pier to Greenwich: The National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory

West End Theatre Performance

Day 4: London

Excursion to Windsor Castle

Optional Globe Theatre Workshop

Carvery dinner

Day 5: London - Brighton

Canterbury Cathedral, 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield

Day 6: Brighton - Bath

Salisbury Cathedral Guided Tour with the Magna Carta Exhibition, Visit to Stonehenge

Tour director-led walking tour in Bath: Visit to the Roman Baths and Pump Room

Day 7: Bath - Stratford-upon-Avon

Scenic drive through the picturesque Cotswolds region

Visits to Shakespeare's Birthplace and Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Royal Shakespeare Theatre performance

Day 8: Stratford-upon-Avon - London

Tour director-led walking tour in Oxford, Visit to Oxford University and one of the colleges

Optional London Eye

Optional Jack the Ripper guided walking tour

Day 9: Departure

Departure transfer

Days 1-2: Arrival

You head east, into a short night, and suddenly it's morning, and you're in England. Londontown: the hub and focus for theatergoers worldwide!

Settle into your hotel, then venture into your surroundings. Red, double-decker buses groan along the "wrong" side of the road, escorted by innumerable black taxicabs with engines that sound like sewing machines.

Day 3: London City Sightseeing, Optional Thames River Cruise and Greenwich, West End Theatre

Enjoy a tour of the sights and sounds of the British capital. See such sights as St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Kensington, and Trafalgar Square.

Local guide

A local guide will accompany your group.

Free time in London

The afternoon is unscheduled.

Consider a visit to the Tower of London to view Traitors' Gate, the Bloody Tower, the Block (where two of Henry VIII's ill-fated wives lost their heads), the White Tower and the Crown Jewels. If you choose to follow one of the Beefeaters, you'll also be able to visit the Royal Chapel.

Optional Round-trip Thames Cruise from Westminster Pier to Greenwich

You will see London from the soothing perspective of the River Thames as you cruise downstream from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. Entertaining cockney commentary punctuates the trip, introducing London's riverside treasures: the Globe Theatre, St. Paul's Cathedral, H.M.S. Belfast, Tower Bridge, and the spectacular waterfront of Greenwich.

The National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory

Your visit to the Royal Observatory includes, in addition to the Astronomy Centre, the Meridian Courtyard and the Camera Obscura, the Meridian Building with the Telescope Gallery and Flamsteed House, location of the Old Observatory, which now houses the Time Galleries with their wealth of exhibits on inventions and instruments.

You will also visit the National Maritime Museum, which holds the world's largest exhibit of ship models, naval instruments and maps.

West End Theatre

Attend a performance at a West End venue. In London you can find anything you're looking for, from classical drama to Rodgers and Hammerstein. Perhaps a good tear-jerker?

Day 4: Excursion to Windsor, Optional Globe Theatre Workshop, Carvery Dinner

Head to the town of Windsor, the location of royal residences for almost one thousand years, ever since William the Conqueror settled there in 1070.

A visit to Windsor Castle includes the State Apartments, Queen Mary's Dolls' House (a palace-within-a-palace with functioning lights, running water and Lilliputian-size books written by famous authors of the 1920s) and St. George's Chapel, one of the country's finest churches in the typically English style known as Perpendicular Gothic.

Free time in London

The afternoon is unscheduled.

Check out the free-of-charge Museum of London, which illustrates life in London from Roman times through the present. Exhibits include historical artifacts, a WWII gallery, pop culture items, and much more.

Optional Globe Theatre Workshop

You will meet and work with real Shakespearean actors and actresses at a Globe Theatre Workshop.

You will also follow a guide through the Globe Theatre for an inside look at the replica of Shakespeare's "Great Wooden O".

Carvery dinner

A traditional Carvery Dinner is included tonight. Most commonly found in pubs and hotels, a Carvery is a typical Sunday-style dinner, served any day of the week, with meat sliced to order and sides that usually include gravy and Yorkshire pudding.

Day 5: Canterbury, Battle, Brighton

Set out for the hometown of Shakespeare's rival, the playwright Christopher Marlowe, and the backdrop for Chaucer's 14th-century Canterbury Tales.

Visit Canterbury Cathedral, site of the martyrdom of St. Thomas à Becket and the final destination of pilgrimages from Chaucer's day to the present. Canterbury Cathedral is also one of the artistic and architectural masterpieces of the English Gothic style. Its stained glass rivals that of any other medieval cathedral, both in quality and in abundance.

Your travels take you to the town of Battle, a town located in Sussex, a few miles from the Channel port of Hastings.

Relive one of the most momentous days in England's history by visiting the village of Battle. There, in 1066, the Norman William the Conqueror came over from France to fight Harold, the other pretender to the English throne, and won. Get a deeper understanding of their famous encounter, which became known as the Battle of Hastings, on a visit to Battle Abbey, built on the site of the battlefield. Visitors enjoy the theme park, the audio-visual presentation that re-creates the sounds of the battle and a variety of interactive displays, such as Discovery Centre, filled with hands-on exhibits.

Lighter fare as you arrive in the seaside resort of Brighton-by-the-Sea. For over two centuries fashionable crowds have been lured to this spot, first by the medicinal properties of seawater, then by the extravagances of a Prince of Wales and, more recently, by the amenities of a pleasant resort. In the 1840s, Brighton featured the very first pier to be constructed in Great Britain. Today's Brighton Pier is the heir of a Belle-Epoque landmark called Palace Pier, which has been renovated into a 21st-century entertainment venue with thrilling rides, amusement arcades and food kiosks.

Make your way to the Steine district to wander through the Lanes, a lovely pedestrian-only maze of narrow streets lined with quaint shops.

Day 6: Salisbury, Stonehenge, Bath Walking Tour

Travel to the medieval city of Salisbury.

Your guide will explain the soaring Gothic arches, the precious stained-glass windows, and the world's oldest working clock, built in 1386.

In the Chapter House, you will have a look at the best-preserved of the four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta Libertatum, the Great Charter of the Liberties of England, drafted in 1215. The interactive Magna Carta Exhibition takes visitors through the document's history and its legacy.

Depart Salisbury heading north to Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

Learn about the origins of this colossal structure erected between 2,000 BC and 1,500 BC. Hear how the immense blocks of stone were transported to this site and speculate about the religious customs of these prehistoric builders, who possessed a sophisticated understanding of arithmetic and astronomy.

Continue an elegant city known for its Georgian architecture, in particular the beautiful rows of honey-colored stone houses, arranged in graceful curves, of the Royal Crescent and the Circus.

Tour director-led walking tour in Bath

A walking tour with your courier introduces landmarks such as the 15th-century abbey and the 18th-century Pulteney Bridge, lined with shops.

Visit the thermal springs that had brought fame, long before their arrival, to the settlement the Romans called Aquae Sulis. The baths and temple complex they built on the site of the "Waters of the Goddess Sulis" have endured to our time. Measuring over 900 feet in length, with a width of 350 feet, their remains are among the best examples of Roman architecture in England. A notable addition is the 18th-century Pump Room, which is also included in the visit.

Stroll around Stall and Union Streets, where alleyways and passages are lined with boutiques, galleries and various shops.

Day 7: Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's Birthplace and Anne Hathaway's Cottage, RSC Performance

Travel through the Cotswolds, a quaint region of Gloucestershire celebrated for its hedgerows, sheep and storybook villages. It has often served as a backdrop for movies, such as Dr. Dolittle (1967) and the Harry Potter series. By the late Middle Ages, Cotswolds shepherds were tending some 500,000 sheep, Flemish weavers had helped develop a thriving wool industry, local merchants had amassed great wealth, and King Edward III had created The Order of the Golden Fleece. Fleece indeed had brought prosperity to the Cotswolds. Many a "wool church" was built at that time in thanksgiving for the region's good fortune.

Travel to Stratford

Travel to Stratford-upon-Avon, where you will be able to explore the hometown of the most famous playwright of the Western World.

Visits to Shakespeare's Birthplace and Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Visit the main landmarks in Stratford-upon-Avon: Shakespeare's Birthplace, on Henley Street, and Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the romantic thatched-roof dwelling on the outskirts of town where Shakespeare courted Anne before their marriage in 1582.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre performance

Enjoy a play by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Hear it the way he wrote it! Thrills and chills up and down your spine, here in Merry Old England.

Day 8: Oxford, London, Optional London Eye, Optional Jack the Ripper Walking Tour

On a walking tour led by your tour director, you'll see landmarks such as Trinity College, the not-so-maudlin Magdalen College, the Bodleian Library, known for its immense and precious collections, and the Old Ashmolean Building, the center of scientific studies in Oxford for 150 years, which now houses the Museum of the History of Science.

Images of ornate Gothic spires and professors on bicycles will etch your memory and camera film. A visit is included to one of the colleges, such as Christ Church, where visitors can see the stained-glass window depicting Alice in Wonderland, the charming creation of one of Christ Church's most famous professors, Lewis Carroll.

A short drive down the motorway produces first the far-flung suburbs, then the metropolis of London.

Take a walk down Oxford Street, London's well-known shopping street, renowned for its fashion boutiques and large department stores, such as Selfridges and John Lewis. The flagship store of the Marks and Spencer chain is situated nearby.

Optional London Eye

Enjoy a ride on one of the world's top ten Ferris wheels. It's magnificently situated by the River Thames, across from the Houses of Parliament. Revolving slowly above the London skyline, this "Millennium Wheel" takes visitors on a unique ride over England's capital city.

Optional Jack the Ripper guided walking tour

Experience thrills and chills on a guided walking tour of London "In the Footsteps of Jack the Ripper."

Day 9: Departure

With images of your journey still vivid in your mind, race the sun westward aboard your wide-bodied jet. Write down what you remember best. You'll be home before you know it, eager to share your discoveries with family and friends.

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