In cooperation with Coronation Travel
ENGLAND, WALES & SCOTLAND
With private visit to the sets of Coronation Street
September 17–29, 2018 (13 days)
London – Bath – The Cotswolds – Cardiff – Liverpool – Manchester – Lake District – Edinburgh
• Discover London’s main attractions including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
• Immerse yourself in Britain’s popular TV and music culture with a special day on the set of ‘Coronation Street’ in Manchester, see some of the filming locations of the Harry Potter films and ‘Downtown Abbey’, and explore the Beatles’ Liverpool.
• Travel through Britain’s most gorgeous countryside in the Cotswolds, the Lake District, Wales and Scotland
Depart for Europe.
After arrival at the airport, make your own way to the hotel by early afternoon. Join Tour Host Neville, Tour Manager Marilyn and fellow guests for a welcome reception at the hotel late afternoon. As you will no doubt be tired, no group dinner is planned this evening, but do try to stay up as long as you can to re-set your body clocks.
Full day tour of London including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column and Marble Arch. Visit the Tower of London, which has been used as a palace, barracks, military stronghold, zoo and most famously as a prison incarcerating famous names like Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes. See the Crown Jewels, worth over £20 billion, meet the ravens who legends say have the fate of the kingdom in their claws, talk to the distinctive Yeoman guards with their white ruffs, and learn about the gruesome torture that went on within the walls. Continue to Westminster Abbey, which has been at the heart of British history since the formation of the abbey by Edward the Confessor in 1065. The abbey became the coronation church for the English monarchy in 1066, was transformed into the modern stone abbey in the reign of Henry III and has since been the venue for countless magnificent, joyous and sometimes unfortunate royal events. In modern times the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and funerals of the Queen Mother and Princess Diana have etched the abbey into the common memory of billions around the globe. See the Coronation Chair, the medieval Lady Chapel, a museum containing a collection of royal effigies, as well as the abbey’s gardens. Finally, visit the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral, built after the Great Fire by Christopher Wren between 1675 and 1711. The site is ancient hallowed ground, with four other cathedrals preceding Wren's English baroque masterpiece here, the first dating from 604. It is one of Europe's largest cathedrals and its dome is only exceeded in size by that of the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. At the dome’s base is the Whispering Gallery, a circular walkway hallway up the inside of the dome. Due to the acoustics of the curved surface, a phrase whispered against one wall can be heard against the far wall 112 feet away. You will also have some time at leisure in the Covent Garden area later this afternoon, before returning to your hotel for a welcome dinner. (B,D)
Depart for Bath, where you will have time for lunch on your own, before an afternoon tour of the city and its famous Roman Baths – some of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world. Built in AD70 over hot springs, the Great Bath still receives over one million litres of hot water daily from the 12,000-year old Kings Spring below. An interactive museum, costumed characters and award-winning audio guides narrated by witty travel writer Bill Bryson are also available to bring the history of the baths to life. (B,D)
Today explore the Cotswolds and its surrounding areas, driving through charming villages. The Cotswold’s honeycoloured limestone houses, historical market towns and rolling green hills framed by drystone walls represent an unspoiled idyll of quintessential England. There are also elegant stately homes like Chastleton House and Corsham Court, the national arboretum at Westonbirt and the beautiful driving routes of the Romantic Road. Dotted amongst the picturesque rural scenery, Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Camden and Lacock are only a few examples of a huge selection of postcard-pretty towns and villages offering independent cafes, pubs and shops, and bustling market squares. The picturesque village of Lacock has been a major filming location for the Harry Potter films. The Potters’ house and a church that were shown briefly in ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ were filmed here, along with Slughorn’s temporary home of Budleigh Babberton in ‘The Half-Blood Prince’. On the outskirts of Lacock Village, the abbey was used for several of Hogwarts’ interior scenes in the earlier movies, including the Mirror of Erised Scenes, and Professor Snape and Quirrell’s classrooms. Its cloisters were also used as some of Hogwart’s corridors and the courtyard made an appearance as well. More recently in 2015, the cast and crew of ‘Downtown Abbey’ transformed Church Street into a 1920s livestockmarket. Sheep, pigs and a 1-tonne long-horned bull joined thecast, as well as many extras, creating a bustling market scene attended by Lord Grantham, his family and many of the staff. Return to your hotel for dinner. (B,D)
This morning depart for Cardiff, Wales. After lunch, enjoy a panoramic guided tour of Cardiff. This ancient city became the biggest supplier of steel and coal to the world through its docks. People from all over the world settled here, adding a wealth of diversity and character that remains to this day. See the Principality Stadium, where international rugby and football is played, as well as a variety of the other sports events and major live music concerts. The Millennium Stadium is a striking slate and steel structure in Cardiff Bay and is nicknamed ‘The Armadillo’ due to its copper-coloured dome. The centre hosts a huge range of concerts and performances. It also features a number of cafes and restaurants, with regular free events creating a vibrant atmosphere. You will also see the National Museum, which houses world-renowned impressionist and postimpressionist works, and Cardiff Bay – Europe's largest Waterfront Development. Continue with a visit to Cardiff Castle, which overlooks the city centre of Cardiff. Over 2,000 years of history has seen the castle act as a home and shelter to Roman soldiers, medieval knights, influential Victorian nobles and families taking refuge from the air raids during World War II. The castle as it stands now is a curious mix of styles as the Bute family employed the services of the unconventional architect William Burgess to add an eccentric Victorian twist to the original Medieval building. After the tour, you will have some free time to do a little shopping or relax before heading off for a magnificent Welsh Banquet in the undercroft (cellar) of Cardiff Castle. World leaders including US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had dinner at Cardiff Castle in September 2014 at the historic Nato Wales Summit. Guests are welcomed with mead tasting in the bar, before being led into the 15th-century Undercroft Hall for a four-course feast of local dishes. (B,D)
Full day drive to Liverpool, which will take you through the Brecon Beacons, Hay on Wye and Shropshire in south central Wales, with wild landscapes and villages steeped in history. This breathtaking scenery is filled with lush green hills and mountains. Have your cameras ready to capture Norman castles and Neolithic stone circles, meandering rivers and traditional market towns. Late afternoon arrival in Liverpool. Remainder of the day at leisure to explore the downtown area on your own. You might also choose to drop in to the Cavern Club on Mathew Street, buy a few souvenirs, and hear some local bands where the Beatles used to play. (B)
This morning enjoy a panoramic guided tour of Liverpool. During the last two centuries, this northern port city has been a maritime powerhouse, home of the Beatles and two worldclass football teams, and the European Capital of Culture. The Albert Dock complex sits in redeveloped warehouses and offers a collection of excellent museums, including The Beatles Story, and a wonderful selection of unique shops, cafes and restaurants. You can see the famous ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ from here. Your expert guide will point out childhood homes of some of the ‘FabFour’, take you past Strawberry Field (name of a Salvation Army children's home just around the corner from Lennon's childhood home in Woolton, a suburb of Liverpool) and Penny Lane, where John Lennon and Paul McCartney used to meet to catch a bus into town. You will also see the statue of Eleanor Rigby on Stanley Street, dedicated to all the lonely people. Visit The Beatles Story in Liverpool's Mersey-side Albert Dock. The Beatles met as teenagers in Liverpool before shooting to worldwide fame with hits like ‘She Loves You’ and ‘Love Me Do’. The museum explores the lives, careers and times of The Beatles right from their childhoods to world domination and beyond into their successful solo careers through fascinating exhibits and interactive themed areas. Take a ride on the Yellow Submarine, order a coffee at the Casbah Cafe and go behind the scenes at Abbey Studios for a unique Beatles experience. Later this afternoon, depart for Manchester. Dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
Today immerse yourself into ‘Coronation Street’, the longest running TV series in the world, which began broadcasting on December 9, 1960. This morning, stop at a lovely garden centre owned by Coronation Street expert Mark Llewellyn before going to the ITV Coronation Street studios for your private group visit. Mark will give you lots of wonderful insider information about ‘Coronation Street’ personalities and locations, and you will have an opportunity to pick up some unique gift items from his large and unique shop, and grab a bite for lunch at the cafe. Mark was the former manager for Roy Barraclough who played the character of Alec Gilroy in the late 90s. You will visit both the inside and outside sets of ‘the Street’, and will hopefully be able to see actual filming, depending on the day’s schedule; ITV does not know what will be taking place until approximately two weeks in advance; our past tours were thrilled to have been present on the set during filming and had the opportunity to meet many of the current actors, pose for some photos and a brief chat – an absolutely wonderful exclusive visit and the dream of die-hard Corrie fans. You will have some memorable photo opportunities with many of the cast. In the past we have met as many as 25 of the current actors, and our group has also appeared in a special ITV documentary called ‘Rita and Me’ celebrating Barbara Knox’s character Rita. After the studios visit, explore the city on your own. Enjoy a special dinner tonight. (B,D)
This morning depart early and transfer to Edinburgh. This will be a nice driving day through Northern England and the beautiful Lake District in the County of Cumbria. Travel through some picturesque villages and stop to admire the scenery, perhaps grab a pint in one of the many pubs in the area, and stop in the lovely village of Windermere en route to Scotland. Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. It is a ribbon lake formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of ice. It has been one of the country's most popular places for holidays and summer homes. Every year, some 15 million people pitch up to explore the region's fells and countryside. Ever since the Romantic poets arrived in the 19th century, its postcard panorama of craggy hilltops, mountain tarns and glittering lakes has been stirring the imaginations of visitors. The region also has literary connections; among the many writers who found inspiration here are William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Arthur Ransome and Beatrix Potter, a lifelong lover of the Lakes. Late afternoon arrival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Enjoy a group dinner. (B,D)
Today explore Edinburgh by coach on this panoramic city tour. From the historical closes of the Old Town to the large avenues of the New Town, discover an outstanding city of contrasts and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along its main thoroughfare, Princes Street, witness the most unique sight of Edinburgh Castle, majestically dominating both the Old and the New Town. See Calton Hill and its National Monument, rightfully giving Edinburgh its nickname – the ‘Athens of the North’, Grassmarket, the Palace of Holyroodhouse (the Queen’s official residence in Scotland), the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Mile, which is jam packed with things to see and do. A ‘Scots mile’ long, and connecting two royal residences – the castle and the Palace of Holyrood House, it is also home to parliaments old and new, law courts, a cathedral and churches, and a vast range of visitor attractions, shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs. Visit Edinburgh Castle, which has been a stronghold for over 3,000 years. In its dominating position overlooking the capital city, the grandeur and historical significance of Edinburgh Castle has made it a globally famous icon of Scotland. Situated on top of an extinct volcano, gaining stunning views across Edinburgh, the castle has witnessed many of the defining events of Scottish history and has dominated its surroundings with majesty for centuries. Remainder of the day at leisure. You may want to spend time in the Grassmarket area, one of the most vibrant and picturesque areas of the city. A paradise of independent merchants, designers and artisans, the Grassmarket is bursting with some of the best shopping Edinburgh has to offer. The area is well known for being home to some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh as well as some of the most animated and eclectic bars. Originally a marketplace for horse and cattle from the 14th century right up until the early 19th century, the Grassmarket was also renowned for its public executions. (B)
This morning travel to St. Andrews, one of the most ancient of Scottish towns and considered the ‘cradle of golf’. The University of St. Andrews is the oldest in Scotland and the third oldest university in the English-speaking world, which Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge both attended. Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland. Both William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce appealed to Saint Andrew to guide them in times of national emergency. Enjoy a guided tour of the Old Course at St. Andrews. This golf course is one of the oldest in the world; golf has been played here since the 15th century. Today it has seven public golf courses: New Course, Jubilee, Eden, Castle Course, Kingbarns, Strathtyrum and the Old Course – widely considered one of the most beautiful, and certainly the most famous and traditional in the world. Visit several of the holes, and walk in the footsteps of many legendary golfers. You will receive a complimentary Callaway golf ball and a souvenir score card. After the tour, you will have an opportunity to have lunch if you choose in the Swilcan Lounge of the Links Clubhouse. A rooftop garden area is also accessible where you can photograph the panoramic vistas of the Old Course. Continue to Eden Mill Distillery for a guided tour. The story of the distillery started with a mission to revive the lost art of distilling and brewing in St. Andrews by applying modern techniques and understanding time honoured traditional methods. Learn about the mill’s history, brewing techniques and sample some of the best craft beer, gin and whisky. Return to Edinburgh. After some free time, depart for Prestonfield House, built in 1687, to celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell dinner. Enjoy a four-course dinner of Angus beef and Orkney salmon and a taste of haggis with wine, followed by a lavish show of traditional Scottish music, bagpipes, fiddles and spirited dance in this magical historic setting. (B,D)
Join the group transfer to Glasgow Airport for your flight(s) back to Canada, or make your own way to the airport if not travelling on the group flight. (B)