MORE PRIVATE TOURS FROM LONDON – PRICES & PRACTICAL INFORMATION
- Description: day tour by private vehicle from London conducted by accredited driver-guide.
- Number of persons: Up to 7.
- Typical timings: 8am-5pm.
- Pick-up/drop-off: any central London address.
- Price: 1-2 passengers = £670.00; 3-5 passengers = £710.00; 6-7 passengers = £750.00.
- Attraction tickets: for certain tours we may need to book skip-the-line tickets to attractions and add them to your tour price. These are priced at the attraction’s standard rate including any transaction fees and are non-refundable.
THE COTSWOLDS & HIDCOTE MANOR GARDENS
Your driver-guide will pick-you up from your central London hotel or place of residence at the specified start time. We recommended 8am for this tour. Then, after an initial fast-route from London, we visit the Cotswolds village of Minster Lovell. Take a short walk along the village road admiring the thatched cottages of this delightful Cotswolds jewel. Nearby, a picturesque parish church and the romantic ruins of an old manor house next to a tranquil riverbank compete to give this village exceptional charm. Next, to the small town of Burford, known as the ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’. Here we can visit some quaint local shops on the high street before we view one of the region’s most famous edifices, the historic wool-church of St John’s, which is set in one of the most tranquil spots in England.
Your driver-guide will suggest an appropriate lunch for you. Then, after a pleasant drive through the English countryside, we make the short hop to Hidcote, perhaps England’s most famous garden. It is the lifetime achievement of an American war hero, and is certainly one of the most influential gardens of the 20th-century. A walk around the ‘rooms’ will surely inspire both beginner and old hand alike.
● Seasonal openings. Spring & Autumn: Sat-Wed; Jul-Aug: usually open daily.
● Admission payable on entry.
LEEDS CASTLE & SISSINGHURST GARDENS
Your driver-guide will pick-you up from your central London hotel or place of residence at the specified start time. We recommended 9am for this tour. Then, after an initial fast route from London, we visit Leeds Castle, an idyllic Arthurian Camelot dating back to the 11th century and often cited as the most beautiful castle in England. A number of queens have used it as a private retreat. Henry VIII commissioned many building works for his first wife Katherine of Aragon and then used it to ‘entertain’ his new love Anne Boleyn. In the early 20th century it was bought by an heiress who hosted a number of celebrity parties here in the 1930s. The grounds alone are breathtaking.
Your driver-guide will suggest an appropriate lunch for you. Then, after a pleasant drive through the Kent countryside, we make the short hop to Sissinghurst, a six-acre site described by some as the epitome of the English country garden, and according to many the most inspirational garden in the land. Brought in the 1930’s by the controversial aristocratic writer Vita Sackville-West and her politician husband Harold Nicholson, it was turned into a designer playground, with ten garden rooms and an architectural layout. Also contains the largest herb garden in England. Timed entry tickets demonstrate its popularity with passionate gardeners.
ARUNDEL CASTLE & CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL
Your driver-guide will pick-you up from your central London hotel or place of residence at the specified start time. We recommended 8am for this tour. Then, after an initial fast-route from London, we visit Arundel Castle, ancestral home of the Dukes of Norfolk for over 800 years. Few castles can match the setting and history. First built before the Norman invasion of 1066, it later became the first ‘queen’s castle’ in the country. A treasure house of paintings, furniture, books and tapestries. Highlights include the Baron’s Hall, the Grand Staircase and the Great Dining Room. On the way to Arundel pass through nearby delightful Sussex village of Amberley, with its picturesque thatched cottages and parish church.
Your driver-guide will suggest appropriate lunch options. Then, to Chichester, a delightful small city which sits on the south coast of England. It features the only medieval cathedral in the country with a detached bell tower. The spire dominates the picturesque surroundings. Take a personal tour of the church with your guide. Inside, Romanesque meets Gothic in the ornate architecture. One fascinating story is how this church became a centre for reconciliation between Britain and Germany after World War Two. Classical music lovers may wish to seek out the burial place of the great composer Gustav Holst, most famous for his Planets suite.
BATH & STONEHENGE
Your driver-guide will pick-you up from your central London hotel or place of residence at the specified time. We recommend 8am. After a fast-route from London, your Private Bath-Stonehenge Tour takes us to the ‘West Country’ where we visit not one, but two World Heritage sites, each with their fair share of history and mystery.
First, to Bath. This famous city is entirely carved out of a local honey-coloured stone reflecting architectural achievements past and present. Bath was at the heart of the Georgian social scene, and fans of contemporary novelist Jane Austen will discover how much of her writing was inspired here. Bath is renowned for its naturally occurring mineral waters, the only hot water springs in the country (we will try some). The Romans took advantage of the springs and made their sandal-print on history here, and we take a guided tour of the stunning bath house unearthed at the end of the 19th century.
Your driver-guide will suggest appropriate lunch options. After a pleasant drive through the picturesque Wessex countryside, we embark on a personally guided tour of the mysterious World Heritage site of Stonehenge, an ancient stone structure older than the pyramids of Egypt, and a rare surviving monument of the pre-historic world. Some have a deep fascination with this place, and wonder about its meaning. Those not so swayed by the stones’ magical charms are left pondering the biggest mystery of all – how on Earth did they get there? As we return from Stonehenge, we reflect on these and other mysteries which surround the place. Skip-the-line tickets to the Roman Baths and Stonehenge will be booked in advance and added to your tour price.
CAMBRIDGE & DUXFORD
Your driver-guide will pick-you up from your central London hotel or place of residence at the specified start time. We recommended 8am for this tour. Then, after an initial fast-route from London, our Private Cambridge-Duxford Tour takes us first to the famous university town, then to a vast air and military museum which features many United States connections. Centre of academic excellence, this famous university town is referred to by arch-rivals Oxford as the ‘Other Place’! Unlike Oxford, however, the academic communities sit comfortably with the locals, and there is a more symbiotic relationship between ‘Town & Gown’, so the whole atmosphere is much more relaxed. Visit one of the colleges, in all their Gothic glory: among the most famous, Magdalen, Corpus Christi, King’s, Queens’, Jesus, Trinity and Gonville & Caius. Cambridge is a market town and the main square often bustles with traders’ stalls and carts. Visit some of its famous pubs, including the Eagle, a former coaching inn much used during WWII by air force pilots who burned their names onto the ceiling with cigarette lighters. A decade later, leading lights from the science community, Francis Crick and James Watson came here to celebrate their discovery of DNA. Other highlights include the Fitzwilliam Museum, famous for 18th & 19th century art and classical antiquities, and the puzzling Mathematical Bridge… how on earth was it put together? Students earn extra pocket-money punting boats along the River Cam, known as the ‘Backs’, so as an alternative to walking, why not turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream?
Your driver-guide will suggest appropriate lunch options. Then, to Duxford. This museum is based on an aerodrome which was built during the First World War and was one of the earliest Royal Air Force stations. During World War II it served as a fighter station. There are a number of exhibitions in different hangars around the site including ‘Land Warfare’, ‘Air & Sea’, ‘1940 Operations Room’ and ‘Battle of Britain’. There is an incredibly vast aero-hangar dedicated to civil aircraft which includes an original Concorde. You can actually go on board too. Most impressive is the American Air Museum which contains the finest collection of American combat aircraft outside of the United States including the awesome B52 bomber.