10.30am arrive Heathrow
11.30am follow A308 to Runnymede, site of the signing of Magna Carta. Continue to Windsor with tour of Windsor Castle including State Apartments and St George's Chapel.
1.30pm light lunch in Windsor
2.15pm depart Windsor for scenic drive through Chilterns to Oxford (via Henley, Wallingford and Dorchester)
3.30pm arrive Oxford; check in at hotel
4pm 90-minute tour of Oxford
9.00am depart Oxford for Blenheim Palace
9.30am arrive Blenheim for 45 minutes in park.
10.15am depart for Burford
11am arrive Burford, stop for 30 mins
11.30am depart for Stow-on-the-Wold
2pm. Stratford with immediate visit of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage for 1-hour tour.
3pm Drive to Ringo car park.
4.30pm depart Stratford heading south into the Cotswolds via Mickleton and Chipping Campden to Broadway. If time include a short walk on Dover’s Hill for stunning views of Vale of Evesham
Arrive Broadway 6.45pm
9am depart Broadway for tour of North Cotswolds with idyllic villages of Stanton and Stanway then continue to Broadway Tower (with short walk weather permitting)
10am continue southeast to Stow-on-the-Wold at the centre of the Cotswolds. Tearoom visit.
11.15am head southwest towards Cheltenham then south along the idyllic Coln Valley to Bibury. Lunch in Bibury. Alternative: visit to Chedworth Roman villa (with lunch) followed by shorter visit to Bibury.
2.15pm head from Bibury across the southern Cotswolds via Tetbury to Bath
Arrive Bath 3.45pm, for initial 30-minute minibus tour of this World Heritage Site city famous for its Georgian architecture and amazing Roman Baths.
4.15pm check into hotel
5.30pm early evening visit to the Roman Baths (museum; not for swimming!)
Sun 4th August 2019
8.30am Early start along A36 to Stonehenge
9.30am arrive Stonehenge for tour of the monument followed by refreshments
11.15am depart Stonehenge
12am latest arrive Salisbury for visit to the Cathedral with lunch in the cathedral cafe
1.30am depart Salisbury for Southampton
DESTINATIONS & TOURS
DESTINATIONS & TOURS
Shropshire and the Iron Bridge
Abutting the Welsh border, Shropshire is the most rugged region of the Heart of England, with impressive hills and stunningly beautiful valleys. The ridges of the Long Mynd, Stiperstones and Wenlock Edge provide excellent walking country. But the local geology and topography also combined with human ingenuity to create one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution, this region being a repository for iron ore, limestone, clay and charcoal, and with plenty of coal to hand plus the power of the River Severn and its tributaries.
LUDLOW, SHREWSBURY AND MUCH WENLOCK
With its impressive castle towering above the River Teme, Ludlow was for centuries an important town in the Welsh Marches. Numerous medieval and Tudor-style half-timbered buildings and whole streets of fine Georgian facades add to its appeal, so much so that Sir John Betjeman described Ludlow as ‘probably the loveliest town in England’. The castle is where Prince Arthur, elder brother of Henry VIII lived with his wife Catharine of Aragon, until his untimely death at only 15 changed the course of English history. In the north lies Shrewsbury, situated on a loop in the Severn and accessed by the Welsh and English bridges. It contains an ancient abbey, a Norman castle and a vast number of historic, half-timbered buildings. It was also the birthplace of Charles Darwin. Other places of interest include Bridgenorth, also on the River Severn, its upper and lower towns linked by a tram. Like so many others, its castle was slighted during the English Civil War so that it could never be used again. Much Wenlock is home to a ruined priory and birthplace of the modern Olympic movement thanks to physical fitness regimes introduced locally by William Penny Brookes.
ROMAN REMAINS, RIVER SEVERN AND THE IRONBRIDGE GORGE
There are impressive bridges, roads and canals by the great engineer, Thomas Telford, parks and gardens by Capability Brown, and even the ruins of a Roman town, Viroconium (Wroxeter). Once the terminus of the famous Watling Street, today it is home to a reconstructed villa which demonstrates just how advanced Roman civilisation was. But for many visitors the top attraction is surely the Ironbridge Gorge, where glaciation and erosion by the River Severn laid bare all the natural raw materials of what was to become the Industrial Revolution. The actual Iron Bridge over the Severn was the first such structure ever built, by a family that started out making pots and pans. Museums, historic sites and even a reconstructed town tell the story of industrial development at this World Heritage Site.