Welcome to London.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. On arrival at London Heathrow Airport, you will begin your journey with a transfer in a chic Jaguar, along with other guests arriving at a similar time, to the luxurious Rubens at the Palace, an exquisite five-star hotel overlooking Buckingham Palace. A member of The Red Carnation Hotels, the Rubens is yours to explore, as you spend the day at leisure. At 18:00, meet your Travelling Concierge and travel companions for a grand Welcome Dinner hosted at English Grill restaurant.
Day 2 - Relaxed Start
Traditions and Treasures of London.
A modern-day hub of culture and commerce, and once the centre of an empire, London is no doubt one of the world’s greatest cities, teeming with millions of stories. Your Travelling Concierge will introduce you to a Local Expert – a passionate resident who will share fascinating stories about the city, as you explore the city to see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. You will then continue past Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. At the Household Cavalry Museum, uncover the secret messages hidden within a cavalryman's uniform and try on the royal uniform for yourself. Stop at Buckingham Palace to witness the colourful Changing of the Guard ceremony, when available. Spend the afternoon shopping at Harrods, listening to the soapbox orators of Speaker’s Corner or viewing the masterpieces in the National Gallery. Enjoy dinner as you please. Should you want to venture beyond your hotel, ask your knowledgeable Travelling Concierge for restaurant recommendations. In the evening, once the crowds have gone home, experience a private tour of the Tower of London. A serving Yeoman Warder will greet you on arrival, accompanying you through the grounds and regaling you with stories of the history and importance of this seat of British power. You will then learn about the Ceremony of the Keys, carried out every night by the Beefeaters, without fail, for the past 700 years. The Yeoman Warder provides a history of the tradition and explains the etiquette of handling the keys before you are privy to witnessing this ancient gate-closing ritual.
Stonehenge and Georgian Bath.
Begin your journey this morning at the mysterious Stonehenge, and stand in awe of the scale of arguably Britain's most well-known UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue your travels to the Georgian city of Bath where people have been indulging in the healing waters for millennia. Take a walk along streets lined with exquisite architecture and immerse yourself within the city's contemporary atmosphere. Enjoy a spectacular Highlight Dinner at The Bybrook, a Michelin-starred restaurant. With each Michelin-starred restaurant around the world meticulously selected based on outstanding food quality, you are in for an unrivalled indulgence.
Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon and York.
Visit the original Roman Baths and Georgian Pump Room, one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world and imagine how Romans once gathered to relish the good life. Continue your journey through the Cotswolds, famous for gentle rolling hillsides known as "wolds", green river valleys and historic market towns. Arrive in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare and continue on to York.
Day 5 - Relaxed Start
Medieval Wonders of York.
Step back in time as you meet the lively characters and explore the medieval streets of York. Once an important centre of Roman occupation in England, this is a storybook city surrounded by a large stone wall dating back to the 13th century. Experience York Your Way with a choice of two outstanding experiences today. Either join a Local Expert for a pulse-raising walk on the famous city walls - the longest medieval walls in England - and appreciate spectacular views of the river and the Old Town. Alternatively, embark on a leisurely guided tour to the York Minster, the largest medieval cathedral in northern Europe and one of the most outstanding Gothic buildings in the world. This afternoon, journey to Castle Howard, one of Britain's finest historic houses. On arrival you will be escorted to the Grecian Hall for a delicious, traditional English afternoon tea. Once the castle has closed its doors, receive a private, after-hours visit with a guide who will show you the intricate architecture and share with you the history of the house. You will have some time to explore the best parts of the gardens before returning to York for an evening at leisure.
The Wild and Poetic Lake District.
The rugged and dramatic beauty of the English Lake District famously inspired 19th century writers such as Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth. Experience the charms of a bygone era, as you step onboard a historic steam train at the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway Station for a short ride along the southern banks of the lake. Journey through mystical forests to the lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere with a chance to explore, before continuing to your hotel located at Ullswater, considered by some to be the most beautiful of the English lakes. This evening, enter the dramatic ruins of Lowther Castle and take time to explore the ancient grounds. Enjoy a private dinner in the sculpture gallery which overlooks the castle gardens.
Journey to majestic Alnwick Castle and explore its magnificent interiors. Join a Local Expert for an in-depth exploration of the 11th Castle, with its striking medieval architecture and see why it was featured in the Harry Potter films. Travel up to the beautiful Scottish capital of Edinburgh where you have an evening to enjoy at your leisure. Your Travelling Concierge is a treasure-trove of knowledge and will happily guide you to the best local restaurants and attractions.
If you are travelling on a Chairman's Collection departure, you will meet Her Grace The Duchess of Northumberland as she personally welcomes you for a private tour of her beloved garden. You are also introduced to the Head Gardener, Trevor Jones, who will lead you past a labyrinth, the serpent garden and ornate fountains, as you listen to the fascinating story of how The Duchess restored this exquisite garden to its former 18th century glory over the last twenty years. Admire this masterpiece of passion and dedication, which remains a work in progress, before indulging in a seasonal lunch. Join a Local Expert for an in-depth exploration of the 11th Castle, with its striking medieval architecture and see why it was featured in the Harry Potter films.
Your travels continue to the beautiful Scottish capital of Edinburgh where you have an evening to enjoy at your leisure. Your Travelling Concierge is a treasure-trove of knowledge and will happily guide you to the best local restaurants and attractions. During August, you’re invited to witness The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, one of the most spectacular military concerts on earth and a celebration of the history, heritage and colours of Scotland’s regiments both near and far. Hosted every August, this renowned international showcase of military pageantry boasts performers from forty-eight countries. Enjoy the sounds and sights of bagpipes rising, drums cracking through the night air and performers dressed in tunics, kilts and tartans with Edinburgh Castle, lit up in colour, providing a dramatic backdrop.
Day 8 - Relaxed Start
Highlights of Beautiful Edinburgh.
Enjoy a visit to magnificent Edinburgh Castle, Scotland's most visited landmark. Skip the queue and join a Local Expert for a guided exploration of the castle grounds. Learn about the castle’s tumultuous history and appreciate panoramic views of the city below. Travel along Princes Street, past the Gothic Sir Walter Scott Monument, and continue down the Royal Mile to the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the principal residence of Scottish royalty since the 16th century. In true Gaelic style, meet a professional bagpiper, who is said to have been the Queen Mother’s favourite, and be enchanted as you listen to iconic music and fascinating tales about Scottish culture, whilst enjoying tea and scones. Raise a glass this evening to new friendships and a memorable journey, as we toast during our Celebration Dinner at Grazing by Mark Greenaway at the Waldorf Astoria.
Bid farewell to your travel companions and continue your onward journey with transfers timed to meet your flight. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.