See the places you’ve always read about on this exciting journey through southern England. Begin in London with guided sightseeing that showcases the city’s most famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and includes 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 sealing of the Magna Carta, and explore the university city of Oxford. Spend the night in Stratford-upon-Avon, 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 discover splendid Salisbury Cathedral on your way to the seaside resort of Brighton. Visit the beautiful Georgian spa town of Tunbridge Wells and moated Leeds Castle before returning to London. 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. All services, including Local Host assistance, are provided by Monograms.
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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 The Anchor pub. 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)
Today, try to unravel the mystery of prehistoric STONEHENGE; first, explore the stunning new visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then take the shuttle to the stone circle and admire the magnificence of the monument up close. In Salisbury, visit the splendid CATHEDRAL, the ultimate in Early English Gothic architecture and home to the best preserved original Magna Carta, and enjoy a light LUNCH in the Refectory restaurant. Your overnight is in the Regency seaside resort of Brighton. (Breakfast, Lunch, 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)
After breakfast 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 and THE LOUVRE. (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.
Today, a thick pane of bullet-proof security glass keeps artlovers a safe distance from the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Giacondo,” known in French as “La Joconde” and English as the “Mona Lisa.” But back in 1911, it was simply hung on the walls of the Musée du Louvre like any other canvas. That was until a former museum employee named Vincenzo Perrugia strolled into the gallery before opening hours on August 21, noticed the room was empty, took down the Mona Lisa and walked out of the Louvre with it under a painting smock. When the loss was finally noticed, the police were mystified. For two years, the whereabouts of the masterpiece was unknown, while French detectives made various wild guesses. (It had been stolen by the Germans. By anarchists. By evil geniuses. By lunatics.) They actually arrested the country’s top art critic, Guillame Apollinaire, then let him free. Then, out of the blue in 1913, an Italian art dealer in Florence was contacted by a man calling himself “Leonardo” who claimed to have the Mona Lisa and wanted to see it hang in the Uffizi, Italy’s top art museum. Although he found it hard to believe that the thief could be so reckless, the dealer tipped off the police and agreed to meet the strange Leonardo in a Milan hotel room. There, the nondescript fellow opened his suitcase, emptied out his socks and underwear, opened up a false bottom in the case to reveal the Mona Lisa – and was immediately arrested.
DAY 9At Leisure in Paris
Full day at leisure. Ask your Local Host for suggestions. (Breakfast)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Motorcoach with free Wi-Fi; high-speed Eurostar train
Full English breakfast and breakfast daily in Paris; 1 lunch; 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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