Caption: London
Caption: Buckingham Palace Guards
Caption: Westminster
Caption: Downton Abbey
Caption: Blenheim Palace

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Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility.
Duration: 10 Days
Flight information: Please meet us at the hotel on Day 1 in time for the afternoon city tour, departing at 1.30pm
Pickup location: TBC


Choose your own departure date for your group.

Palaces, Castles, Stonehenge, Roman baths, Shakespeare and Downton Abbey....not forgetting English afternoon tea!

Join us to explore the highlights and big sights of England's capital city, London and to tour some of the iconic history and heritage of Southern England. This tour takes in many of the palaces and castles making up the official residences of the British Royal family. A two-night stay and three course meals at Thornbury Castle is just the thing to give you a taste of what it might be like to live in a castle of your own. This Best of Britain tour also takes in Oxford ‘the dreaming city spires’, pre-historic Stonehenge and the Roman city of Bath, a famous as a spa town for nearly two thousand years. Spend time soaking up the atmosphere and history in Stratford, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. His work has now been entertaining audiences for 400 years!


Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Arrive in London & Welcome Dinner
DAY 2 - London & Windsor Castle & Thornbury Castle
DAY 3 - Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) & Thornbury Castle
DAY 4 - Bath and Stonehenge
DAY 5 - Oxford Tour and Blenheim Palace
DAY 6 - Stratford, Shakespeare’s birthplace
DAY 7 - Sandringham Estate & Audley End House
DAY 8 - Buckingham Palace & Kensington Palace
DAY 9 - Tower of London
DAY 10 - Goodbye to London and home
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Arrive in London & Welcome Dinner

Arrive into London and make your way to the hotel. For those who arrive in time on the day, there will be the opportunity to drop off your bags and meet up with your Big Journey Representative in the hotel lobby to enjoy an orientation tour of the capital (mix of coach & walking tour). You will get to see some of the famous and iconic sights that London has to offer. Afterwards you can relax and get settled at the hotel before enjoying a three course welcome dinner this evening with the rest of the group.

Included meals: Dinner 

DAY 2 - London & Windsor Castle & Thornbury Castle

Following breakfast, we check out and travel to Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen. Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has since been the home of 39 monarchs. Today Queen Elizabeth II spends most of her private weekends at the castle. We recommend you wear comfortable shoes in order to be able to make the most of your visit today- there is lots to explore.
Mid-afternoon we will travel from one castle to another, to Thornbury Castle. Here a spectacular treat awaits. This magnificent 10th Century Tudor castle, once owned by Henry VIII, fell into ruin in the 1850s. It has now been fully restored as a luxurious hotel nestled in the Gloucestershire countryside. Each individual room oozes such historical charm that a stay here will never be forgotten. Tudor style meets modern excellence with comfortable four-poster beds, magnificent open fireplaces, a dungeon dining room and a grand hall for balls, feasts and parties. We have our dinner together at the castle this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast & Dinner 

DAY 3 - Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) & Thornbury Castle

After breakfast, we head out for the day. First, we travel to Highclere Castle for a mansion visit which includes admission to the Castle, Gardens and Egyptian Exhibition. The Castle was the seat of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. 100 years ago he famously discovered the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy King, Pharaoh Tutankhamun. We travel back to Thornbury and enjoy our dinner and second night in the castle.

Included meals: Breakfast & Dinner 

DAY 4 - Bath and Stonehenge

After breakfast, we say a fond farewell to Thornbury and travel on to the historic town of Bath. Here you will visit the Roman Baths and the hot springs that gave the town its name and were once believed to be the work of the Gods. These ‘healing waters’ attracted visitors from across the Roman Empire. Costumed characters, known from archaeological evidence, tell their stories daily to bring the history of the area to life.
We then travel to Stonehenge for the opportunity to explore the ancient landscape of this iconic World Heritage Site. It is unknown whether the place was built as a healing site, a temple for worship, a burial site or something else. It is a remarkable testament to human endeavour and ingenuity, to see how the huge ancient stone structures had been erected with only rudimentary tools, so successfully that they still stand today.
We dine at the hotel in Oxford this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast & Dinner 

DAY 5 - Oxford Tour and Blenheim Palace

Today we'll explore the University city of Oxford. We meet our local city guide outside the Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont Street to share in a real local’s knowledge of this historic city. Sitting in the heart of Oxford, Christ Church College is architecturally stunning. Christopher Wren’s Tom Tower is the college’s most famous feature and an Oxford landmark. Church was also the setting for scenes at ‘Hogwarts’ in the Harry Potter films – see if you can spot some familiar locations!
After enjoying some free time to explore Oxford we rejoin the coach to travel to Blenheim Palace and a visit to the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1987, the 2,100 acres of beautiful parkland were designed by the 18th century landscape architect, Capability Brown. The exquisite baroque palace is surrounded by sweeping lawns, formal gardens and a magnificent lake.
We drive through the beautiful Cotswolds countryside to tonight’s hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 6 - Stratford, Shakespeare’s birthplace

After breakfast, we check out and will travel to the centre of Stratford upon Avon to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Captivating costumed guides will take you to explore the house where Shakespeare was born and grew up. They will also tell you a little about the family’s colourful history.
In Stratford upon Avon you will have a little free time, where you have the chance to visit some of the other attractions directly related to Shakespeare. These include the Shakespeare museum, library and archives. Why not visit the Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is reputedly buried or the Guild Chapel and School Room where Shakespeare went to school.
In the afternoon we travel across beautiful East Anglia to Norwich for Dinner and one night stay at Dunston Hall. Built in 1859 this Victorian manor is set amidst 150 acres of parkland and boasts its own spa and health club.

Included meals: Breakfast & Dinner 

DAY 7 - Sandringham Estate & Audley End House

Following breakfast, check out of your room and travel to Sandringham. Sandringham House has been a privately owned home of the British royal family for four generations. It is a much loved country retreat for Queen Elizabeth II and her family. The house, surrounded by 60 acres of breathtakingly beautiful gardens, has been open to the public since 1908. You will find plenty to explore here.
We depart Sandringham in the afternoon and travel south to Essex to visit Audley End House and Gardens. Owned by English Heritage, this Jacobean mansion house provides the opportunity for you to wander the impressive great hall, magnificent state apartments, intimate dressing rooms, libraries and 18th century gothic-style chapel. Look out for the royal bed, commissioned in anticipation of a royal visit in 1794 and one of the most historic beds in England.
Mid-afternoon we travel back into London to our hotel for your final three night stay. You will have an evening at leisure to explore.

Included meals: Breakfast  

DAY 8 - Buckingham Palace & Kensington Palace

There are two star locations on today’s itinerary. Buckingham Palace is one of England's grandest buildings and is the official residence of the Queen. Buckingham Palace also serves as the administrative headquarters of the Royal Household. It is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world today. There will be time to stroll along the Royal Mile, picturing the pomp and ceremony of the changing of the guard and other royal events usually only seen via a TV screen.
Kensington Palace, another royal residence beautifully set in Kensington Gardens, and has belonged to the royal family since the 17th century. It is the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Highlights of your visit will include touring the Queen and King’s state Apartments, the Sunken Garden, Diana’s Fashion Story and the Victoria Revealed exhibitions, all-inclusive and accessible in your admission.
There is the opportunity to return to the hotel late afternoon for you to be able to enjoy an evening at leisure. If you prefer to stay out and about in the city, ask your Big Journey Representative for travel advice to make your own way back to the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast 

DAY 9 - Tower of London

After breakfast, we head off to the Tower of London to learn of the grim history of this 950-year-old fortress. Individual audio guides will enable you to explore the Tower at your leisure. Be sure to make time for the Crown Jewels, which include some of the most extraordinary diamonds in the world. You’ll also see the famous Ravens and of course, the Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters.
This afternoon will be spent at your leisure. Meet us back at the hotel for our farewell dinner together this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast & Dinner 

DAY 10 - Goodbye to London and home

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before you check out and depart.

Included meals: Breakfast 


More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • Transport in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle.
  • Airport Transport to the hotel from LHR on Day 1 and departing on Day 10.
  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
  • High quality accommodation as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary.
  • English speaking tour guides.
  • Tour Director from The Big Journey Company as well as the local tour guide (subject to minimum group size being reached.)
  • All activities, visits and excursions as detailed in the itinerary.

What's not included

  • Drinks
  • All entrance fees to non-stipulated attractions
  • Visas, travel or medical insurance
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above
  • Any meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Any optional activities offered
  • Gratuities to drivers, guides or rangers etc. Our local travel service providers are paid well and fairly for their work. However, it is usual for groups to tip guides and drivers and it would be reasonable for each group member to factor in a contribution of around GBP £8 per day.

Important information

  • If you wish to join us for the afternoon City Tour on Day 1 you will need to arrive at the hotel by 1pm.
  •  Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Check in is after 2-3pm and check out is before 10am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 - 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable.
  • A non-refundable deposit is due at the time of booking. Full balance will be due 14 weeks prior to departure. Full cost of any flights purchased from us is required at the time of booking.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights.

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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© The Big Journey Company 2016 - 2019. All rights reserved.
Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.