PRE-BRITISH CASTLES & COUNTRY
On this marvelous journey, experience the rich history and visually stunning scenery of Great Britain, famous for its castles and countryside seemingly untouched by time. Explore the city of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a variety of theaters, museums and other cultural venues. Take a trip back in time in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. Wander the venerable streets of Oxford, home of the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Visit Windsor Castle, the world's oldest and largest inhabited castle, experiencing both historic treasures and modern-day life as you travel through the storied English countryside.
After flying into LHR or LGW airport, you will transfer to your hotel, the Mayfair Hotel or similar. Spend the day at your leisure. All meals are on your own today. Check in time is 3:00pm. Although every effort will be made to have rooms available sooner, this cannot be guaranteed.
Depending on your arrival time, you may take an optional Thames River Cruise Dinner. It must be booked when you book this pre-cruise program to guarantee availability. The cost is $199.00 per person and includes the return taxi transfer.
Enjoy a leisurely drive to Bath, a town founded by the Romans as a thermal spa. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath boasts some of Europe’s finest architecture in an absolutely gorgeous setting among the rolling green hills of the Avon Valley. The preserved Roman remains, including Bath’s famed complex of hot spring-fed baths, stand in stunning contrast to the elegant Georgian homes so characteristic of Bath.
While driving through Bath, you will also see the charming 18th-century Pulteney Bridge, the only bridge in England with shops on both sides. Its other interesting features include three arches and a central Venetian window. Following your panoramic drive through town, you will have time to explore the traffic-free heart of the city, an area full of enticing museums, cafes and shops.
Continue north into one of the most quintessentially English regions in the entire country: the Cotswolds, known for its gentle hills or “wolds” and beautiful villages constructed of honey-colored limestone. One of the most delightful villages that you’ll pass along the way is Castle Combe. Its houses are typical Cotswold style, constructed of stone with thick walls and roofs made from split natural stone tiles. Many of the homes are listed as historical monuments. Castle Combe may look familiar, as it was a setting for movies such as “War Horse,” “Stardust” and “The Wolf Man.”
Castle Combe is often called “The Prettiest Village in England,” which is quite a statement considering the other beautiful villages in the Cotswolds, including Bilbury, where you will stop to see Arlington Row, a group of 16th-century cottages overlooking the river. You will also pause for photos in Lechlade on Thames, Burford, and Northleach, eventually arriving in in Cheltenham Spa, where you will spend the night at the Ellenborough Park Hotel or similar.
After a full English breakfast, drive through Broadway, a village with the Cotswolds’ longest High street, and on to Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born and lived. Its layout is based on a medieval cross system, and many of the buildings are ones that would have been familiar to Shakespeare. As you drive down the town’s characteristically wide streets, you will also pass Harvard House, the former home of John Harvard, who founded Harvard University.
Then, you will visit the nearby thatched farmhouse where Shakespeare courted his future bride, Anne Hathaway. Much of the furniture is original, including Hathaway’s bed. Shakespeare and Hathaway married in 1582, when he was 18.
Continuing on via Chipping Campden and Upper and Lower Slaughter, you will enjoy lunch and then pass through even more villages. There is lovely Bourton-on-Water, a village built almost exclusively in the warm, yellow Cotswold stone and Stow on the World, the highest village in the Cotswolds.
Then, it’s on to Blenheim Palace, home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Considered by many to be England’s finest palace, it has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is also famously known for being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, whose ancestor was given the palace as a gift after his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.
By late afternoon, you will arrive in bustling, cosmopolitan Oxford for a panoramic drive through town. It’s home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world. You will spend the night at the Cotswold Lodge Hotel.
After breakfast, head to Windsor Town and visit Windsor Castle, the official residence of the Queen. The world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle, it stands on a chalk outcrop, rising majestically above the surrounding countryside. Walking along the immense courtyard of Lower ward, you will see St. George’s Chapel, where 10 monarchs are buried. The castle’s State Apartments feature painted ceilings, paneled walls, Adam-style fireplaces, classic furniture and priceless paintings and drawings. This magnificent suite of ceremonial rooms is used by the Queen to entertain visiting Heads of State.
In time, you will depart through the Henry VIII Gateway, which bears the king’s coat of arms and that of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
After lunch, spend some free time in the main part of Windsor Town, which developed around the castle in the Middle Ages. There are plenty of quaint Georgian shops, houses and inns. The most prominent building on the High Street is Guildhall, completed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1689. After exploring, you will drive to the ship to begin your cruise.
Land Program Step by Step:
Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The timings indicated are only approximate for general reference purposes and are subject to change.
EXTRA NIGHTS: Should you book any extra nights through the cruise line, you will be met per the flight details provided and transferred to the Mayfair Hotel. Note that check in time is 3:00pm. Any meals other than breakfast as well as any activities are on your own until Day 2 of the program. Kindly ensure that the cruise line has your most up to date flight details.
Arrive at a London airport by your international flight. Transfer to your Central London hotel to spend the afternoon and the evening at your leisure or take an optional Thames Dinner Cruise. Check in to the Mayfair Hotel. Meals are on your own. Check in time is 3:00pm. Although every effort will be made to have rooms available sooner, this cannot be guaranteed.
7:00am Full English Breakfast and departure for Bath (included)
8:00am Begin your tour of Bath
12:00pm Lunch in Bath (included)
1:00pm Rejoin the coach and drive to the Cotswolds via Castle Combe,
2:15pm Drive to Painswick, with photo stops in Bibury, Lechlade on Thames, Burford, and Northleach
5:30pm Drive to Cheltenham
6:00pm Check-in at the Ellenborough Park Hotel or similar
7:30pm Dinner (included)
7:00am Full English breakfast (included)
8:15am Drive to the village of Broadway
9:30am Enjoy an orientation drive through Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
10:00am Visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife.
11:00am Drive south via Chipping Campden and Upper and Lower Slaughter
12:30pm Lunch in one of the villages (included)
1:30pm Continue on passing through Bourton-on-Water and Stow on the World stopping for photos in both
2:30pm Visit Blenheim Palace in Woodstock
4:30pm Drive to Oxford
5:00pm Enjoy a panoramic drive through Oxford
5:30pm Check in at the Cotswold Lodge Hotel
8:00pm Dinner (included)
7:00am Full English breakfast (included)
8:45am Hotel check out
9:00am Drive to Windsor.
9:45am Visit Windsor Castle
(NOTE: Should the visit fall on a Sunday, St. George’s Chapel will not be open)
12:00pm Free time to wander and enjoy lunch on your own in the main part of Windsor Town
1:15pm Transfer to the ship
2:45pm Approximate arrival at the ship for embarkation.
Expected Weather: Temperatures will rarely fall below 32°F and only occasionally rise above 68°F —with June, July and August being the warmest months.
What to Bring: You should prepare for moderately mild weather at all time and be able to supplement basic dress with a warm sweater and/or rainproof top. Please pack sensible footwear, as most rural attractions and even some urban areas are best described as "rugged terrain," and the ground is bound to be wet occasionally.
Currency: Pound Sterling
Electricity: 230v / 50hz (plugs are 3 square pins). Outlets typically controlled by adjacent switch.
Documents and Visa Requirements: Please check with your embassy for up-to-date visa information.
Program Includes for guests:
Transportation and the services of an English-speaking tour guide for three days of sight-seeing and all associated expenses; three-course lunch and one drink per person on days 2 and 3; walking tour of Bath; entrances to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Blenheim Castle and Windsor Castle; city Tour of Oxford; one-night accommodation at Ellenborough Park Hotel or similar; evening meal at Ellenborough Park Hotel; breakfasts on days 2, 3 and 4; one night at the Cotswold Lodge Hotel or similar and evening meal; one night at the Mayfair hotel in London or similar; transfer from the airport; hospitality Transfer Representative on day 1.
Please Note: Guests booking their own flights (independent of the cruise line) are responsible for ensuring that the cruise line has the most current and updated arrival information so your transfer can be arranged. Should you book any additional nights independently of the cruise line, an arrival transfer is not provided.
Program Excludes for guests: Insurance, additional drinks over and above the limits stipulated, gratuities to driver or tour guide, hotel incidentals, any meals not listed above.
- One night at the Mayfair Hotel or similar (superior room)
- One night at Ellenborough Park Hotel in Cheltenham Spa or similar
- One night at the Cotswold Lodge Hotel in Oxford or similar
*We will only source different hotels in unforeseen situations. If similar hotels are required they will be of equal ratings and standards.
Mayfair Hotel London
Stratton St, London W1J 8LT, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 7629 7777
Ellenborough Park Hotel
Southam Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52 3NJ
Phone: +44 1242 545 454
Cottswold Lodge Hotel
66A Banbury Rd Oxford OX2 6JP, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1865 512121
*NOTE: On the following cruise date, the stay in Oxford will be at the Lambert Arms Hotel: NAUTICA – September 15th, 2014 sailing – Pre cruise British Castles and Countryside
Please note: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces which may include: inclines, cobblestones, sand, and gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Guests who utilize a wheelchair and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather appropriate clothing; hats; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are generally recommended.
$2,299 Per Guest