Bloomfield House, Christchurch, New
Zealand. Photo by Suzanne Parker
garden and fine arts tours are upscale without being ostentatious,
energetic without being exhausting, illuminating without being academic.
Here are some distinguishing features of our trips that attract
discerning travelers of all ages, inspiring many of them to return
year after year:
Among our 2017 offerings are a tour that features Queen Victoria’s
favorite residence, Bath’s fascinating Museum of Costume, and Sir
Walter Raleigh's 16th-century castle (Wessex
& the Isle of Wight); a tour that visits the world-famous
pre-historic caves at Lascaux and the one-of- a-kind Cité du Vin
museum of wine (Bordeaux
& the Dordogne); and one that takes in the Copeland China
Collection, Tate Gallery St. Ives and Barbara Hepworth Museum &
Sculpture Garden (Springtime
in Cornwall). On Northumberland & North Yorkshire, in addition
to visiting a number of smaller, private gardens that seldom open
to the public, we’ll gaze in awe at Alnwick Castle, the stunning,
monumental location for the final episode of Downton Abbey, that
was also used as “Hogwarts” in the Harry Potter films; and thrill
to the magnificence of Castle Howard, the palatial manor house that
served as the backdrop for the 1980’s ITV/Masterpiece Theatre extravaganza,
groups. A maximum of 16-18 people per tour, depending on the tour. Unlike virtually all of our
competitors, we are able to operate most tours with as few as 5 or 6 participants..
four-, and seven-night stays at charming country inns, elegant manor
houses, and distinguished city-center hotels. Luxurious,
14th-century Langley Castle Hotel in Hexham (Northumberland
& North Yorkshire) has been awarded “Best Small Hotel in
the Northeast of England” five times in recent years. In Sturminster
Newton, Dorset, Plumber Manor Country House Hotel, a Jacobean mansion
that has been in the same family for over four centuries, is known
far and wide for its bucolic setting, colorful gardens, and gourmet
cuisine. In one case, an entire seven-night tour (offered twice)
is based at the same delightful stately home: Cragwood Country House
Hotel in England’s romantic Lake District, recipient of TripAdvisor’s
coveted “Certificate of Excellence” (Springtime
in the Lake District). On a second tour, Springtime
in Cornwall, all seven nights are spent at Budock Vean, another
rural four-star hotel and “Certificate of Excellence” recipient,
in this case with full spa and its own 9-hole golf course.).
comfortable motorcoach. Unlike other
tour companies, we routinely use motorcoaches that are large enough
to guarantee each passenger a window seat throughout the tour.
meals. Yes, even inand these days,
some would say especially inGreat Britain!
pace. If you are looking for an “If it’s
Tuesday, it must be Belgium” type tour, we are decidedly not it.
Instead, our tours are crafted in a way that enables you to savor,
and remember, each day (see "What is a typical day like" in Frequently
tour leaders. This is what makes a good
tour great. Our guides, who have lived and worked in the countries
concerned, and have a minimum of ten years’ experience in the field,
are among the most knowledgeable and creative tour leaders anywhere!
(See "Who leads your tours" in Frequently