See the places you’ve always read about on this exciting journey through southern England. Begin in London with guided sightseeing that shows off the city’s most famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and visits to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Changing of the Guard, if held. Stop to admire the breathtaking gardens at Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace, then drive through Runnymede, site of the signing of the Magna Carta, and explore the university city of Oxford. Spend the night in Stratford-upon-Avon and visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and take pictures of Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Continue west through the scenic Cotswolds, stopping at the Elizabethan village of Broadway and at 12th-century Tintern Abbey in southeastern Wales. See the amazing Roman excavations in Bath, contemplate mysterious Stonehenge, and cross the Salisbury Plain on your way to the seaside resort of Brighton. Tour the Royal Pavilion, visit the beautiful Georgian spa town of Tunbridge Wells, and visit moated Leeds Castle before returning to London for a final overnight. Then, board the high-speed Eurostar train and head to Paris, the “City of Light,” for three overnights, plenty of leisure time, and guided sightseeing that includes the highlights and a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral.
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DAY 1Arrive in London, England
Welcome to London! Uniformed Globus Hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
After a hearty English breakfast, morning sightseeing with a Local Guide includes all the famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben beside the River Thames, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall’s mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister’s Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. Highlights are a visit to ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, if held. Free time in the afternoon for independent activities or to join an optional excursion to Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its fabulous Crown Jewels. Later, maybe an optional dinner followed by a cruise on the River Thames? (Breakfast)
Changing of the Guard
"Changing the Guard dates to Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509) and was designed to show military discipline as well as ceremony. The tall bearskin hats were introduced in the 18th century to make the soldiers look taller and thus more frightening, and they were adopted for ceremonial use in 1832. The ceremony we know today started in the late 1800s and involves real soldiers who fulfill all military duties, guarding the Queen being just part of their service."
Tower of London
"Since its founding in the 11th century, the Tower of London has served many roles: impregnable fortress, royal residence, armory, treasury, home of the famed Crown Jewels, and a prison for those who offended the monarchy. To this day it is guarded by the “Beefeaters,” a name that likely originates from when Tower guards were paid part of their salary with chunks of beef, a practice that continued until the 1800s."
Houses of Parliament
"Big Ben may be the most famous feature of the Houses of Parliament, but equally impressive is the hammerbeam ceiling of Westminster Hall. The Hall dates back to 1097 and, at that time, the roof was supported by pillars. During the reign of King Richard II (14th century), however, it was replaced by the hammerbeam roof seen today. This roof – its beauty and sustainability – is even more impressive when you know its history. It was built with beams made from trees that were ancient at the time, reputedly acorns, dating back to the 6th century (or earlier). If only these walls (beams, rather) could talk!"
"Amid the splendor of modern cities it’s hard to imagine what places looked like before they became what we know today. In a previous incarnation, the ground where Buckingham Palace now stands was a mulberry garden cultivated by King James I as food for silkworms. The silk industry he hoped to nurture never materialized, and eventually a roadhouse was built there, followed in due course by the Blake House, Goring House and Arlington House.Originally known as the Buckingham House, built as a townhouse by the Duke of Buckingham in 1709, the estate was acquired by King George III in 1762."
DAY 3London–Hampton Court–Oxford–Stratford-Upon-Avon
Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and depart at 8 am for a lovely day of sightseeing. First, a special visit to admire the ORNAMENTAL GARDENS of Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace. Your Tour Director will take you on a walk through the breathtaking grounds. Then, drive through Runnymede, site of the sealing of the Magna Carta, and take a stroll in Oxford to see the colleges where Britain’s elite receives its outstanding education. Arrive in Stratford-upon-Avon in good time to take your pictures of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and visit SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHPLACE. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
A particularly scenic day. Enjoy vistas of the Cotswold Hills as you travel to the Elizabethan village of Broadway. On to Wales for a drive through the beautiful Wye Valley to the romantic ruins of 12th-century Tintern Abbey. Stop here for TEA and SCONES at an historic inn. Cross the 3,240-foot Severn Road Bridge, and in elegant Georgian Bath, see the amazing excavations of the ROMAN BATHS, with time to explore further on your own. This evening, consider an optional excursion to the picture-book 13th-century village of Castle Combe. (Breakfast)
Try to unravel the mystery of prehistoric STONEHENGE on the drive across Salisbury Plain, then stroll through the picturesque city of Salisbury with its magnificent cathedral, the ultimate in Early English Gothic architecture. Pause in the town of Arundel, dominated by its huge castle, home of the Duke of Norfolk, before arriving in the Regency seaside resort of Brighton. A unique highlight: a tour of the exotic ROYAL PAVILION, the lavish oriental palace built for the Prince Regent in the early 1800s. (Breakfast, Dinner)
"Built in several stages starting around 3,000 BC, Stonehenge remains one of humankind’s biggest mysteries. While science is still trying to determine the purpose behind this famous prehistoric monument, it is generally assumed to be some sort of astronomical observatory that reflects the changing trajectory of the sun through the sky and the seasons"
DAY 6Brighton–Tunbridge Wells–London
Start the day with a visit to Royal Tunbridge Wells, a beautiful Georgian spa town, on your way to magnificent moated LEEDS CASTLE, which Lord Conway called “the loveliest castle in the world.” Take a leisurely stroll in the landscaped gardens, and admire the lavish state apartments where international summit meetings have been hosted. Return to London around 3:30 pm. How about celebrating the end of your vacation by taking in one of the great West End shows? (Breakfast)
DAY 7London–Paris, France
Board the high-speed EUROSTAR TRAIN to Paris, arriving at lunchtime. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Breakfast)
Morning sightseeing features Paris’ most famous highlights, including the gothic NOTRE DAME Cathedral. (Breakfast)
Notre Dame Cathedral
Europe’s most famous cathedral, whose twin Gothic towers loom above France’s most beloved river, the Seine, actually owes a lot of its international success to the author Victor Hugo. Back in 1831, when Hugo wrote his classic novel about a hunchbacked bell-ringer at Notre Dame who falls in love with a beautiful gypsy, the medieval cathedral had fallen on hard times. During the Revolution in 1789, it had been seized, looted of its treasures and converted into an atheistic “Temple of Reason.” Even worse, after the monarchy was restored in 1815, Notre Dame was used as riverside warehouse – its once-splendid glass windows now dimmed and its facades decaying pathetically above the Île de la Cité. But Parisian’s indifference to their landmark ended suddenly in 1831, when Victor Hugo published his romantic novel the “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” (called “Notre-Dame de Paris” in French). The book was an international bestseller and lured armies of tourists to Paris in search of its Gothic cathedral setting. Hugo used this groundswell of public interest to lobby the French government for renovations of his beloved Notre Dame. From 1845 to 1864, repairs were indeed carried out – the clogged medieval streets nearby were cleared, revealing the marvelous edifice we see today.
DAY 9At Leisure in Paris
Full day at leisure. Ask your local host for suggestions. (Breakfast)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
LONDON Park Plaza Westminster Bridge (SF)STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Holiday Inn (SF)BATH Hilton (F)BRIGHTON Hilton Metropole (SF)LONDON Hilton London Metropole (SF)PARIS Crowne Plaza Republique (SF)
Full English breakfast; 2 three-course dinners with choice of menus, including a welcome dinner in Stratford
With Globus, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Years of Experience: 34 years
What I love most is the magnificent scenery of the British Isles, the pleasure of being able to show travelers evidence of our long and varied history, and the opportunity to meet so many interesting people; both the travelers themselves and the people we encounter at the many stops along the way!
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