Britain’s Christmas Splendour

Tour Highlights

The lead-up to Christmas is a magical time in Britain, with windows and doorways swagged in lush garlands, festooned with holly berries and twinkling lights. 
The splendour of the season can be seen, and felt, at every turn on the cobbled streets. Especially delightful are the Christmas Markets, with stalls bursting with traditional crafts, unique gifts and delicious local food. The atmosphere alone makes for a wonderfully festive day.

This splendid seasonal tour features a host of picturesque, vibrant and historic places, beautifully decorated at this special time of year. 

Our first 5 nights will be in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Set in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, Shakespeare’s birthplace is a magical blend of heritage and drama, and so it is named one of Britain’s Heritage Cities. This thriving market town is a perfect combination of old and new and a perfect base for enjoying the festive season.

Next is a 4-night stay in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The Christmas market here is one of Britain’s finest, with rows of beautifully decorated wooden stalls in the pedestrian heart of the city centre. An eclectic mix of exhibitors, with their original handmade products, makes Cardiff’s Christmas Market different and special every year.

Our remaining 3 nights will be at a centrally located hotel in London. At this time of year “Everyone’s Favourite City” is an enchanting experience you do not want to miss.

Tour Highlights:

  • Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall
  • Shakespeare’s Distillery / Royal Shakespeare Theatre
  • The Cotswolds - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty   
  • Warwick Castle - architectural gem & medieval history
  • Weston’s Cider
  • Welshcakes & Wine Food Tour / Cardiff Male Choir
  • Tredegar House - 17th-century mansion
  • World Heritage Site of Blenheim Palace
  • Greenwich World Heritage Site
  • Windsor Castle

 *** Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for London.
We arrive and transfer to our central hotel in Stratford-Upon-Avon, for a 5-night stay.
Our first visit is Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, where we immerse ourselves into 16th century Stratford! Then we visit Shakespeare Distillery - the artisan producer of the renowned Stratford Gin, for a tour explaining the history of gin and how it is made, followed by a sampling.
We meander through the Cotswolds - a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to visit one of the many old English villages, before proceeding to Blenheim Palace - home to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. During the holiday season this masterpiece of 18th Century Baroque architecture is transformed into a Christmas feast for the eyes! After some time to explore this palatial palace we will enjoy a delectable meal served in the Indian room. Then we will experience the “Light Trail” and wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour, shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and glistening baubles.
A day at leisure in one of Britain’s Heritage Cities. There are many wonderful areas of the city to explore, from quaint side streets with unique shops, to open parklands along the river perfect for strolling and soaking in the historical ambiance. This evening we attend the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which retains many of the art deco features of the 1932 Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, for a memorable performance.
We visit Warwick, known as Britain’s Finest Market Town. We start at Lord Leycester Hospital - beautiful 15th century timber-framed buildings that were once the base for Warwick’s medieval guilds. Then we visit St. Mary's Church - still active for over 1000 years old and one of the UK’s largest churches. The grand finale is Warwick Castle - an 1100-year-old medieval fortress known as one of Britain’s Ultimate Castles!
Leaving Stratford our first stop is in the Herefordshire countryside to visit the unique Westons Cider. On our tour of this Cider Mill we will learn about the traditional English art of cider making, and enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch in the historic fully-converted cattle shed! Then we proceed to our hotel in the centre of Cardiff - capital of Wales, for a 4-night stay.
We begin with a visit of the beautiful Victorian mansion house and gardens at Insole Court, built by a family of pioneering coal-shippers and mine-owners. We then proceed to the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan for a delicious Welsh lunch in a gorgeous 17th Century converted barn. Our final stop is Meadow View Vineyard in the heart of the beautiful Welsh countryside, to sample their Welsh Wine. This evening we attend a very special performance of the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir!
We get into the Christmas spirit at Tredegar House - a 17th century architectural wonder decorated for the holiday season with garlands, wreaths and a twinkling Christmas tree in every corner. A truly festive experience!
A day at leisure, and Cardiff offers so much. You may want to take in the National Museum, or you can browse and shop in the modern St. David’s Centre. Cardiff Market, which has been active since the 1700s in its striking glass-roofed Victorian structure, features some of Cardiff’s most-loved butchers, fishmongers, sweetshops and bakers.
We leave Wales and travel to royal Windsor, for a visit of the royal residence of Windsor Castle - the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world! Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has been the home of 39 monarchs, and The Queen spends most of her private weekends here. We will see the Castle transformed with glittering Christmas trees, twinkling lights and dining tables laid for royal feasts to celebrate the festive season. Later we arrive at our central London hotel for our final 3-night-stay.
We visit The Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site - considered one of the most important and natural places on earth. Here we will tour the Royal Observatory - home of Greenwich Mean Time, and the National Maritime Museum. There will be free time to enjoy the historic market, followed by a tour of Cutty Sark - one of the world’s most famous ships, and we’ll enjoy a cream tea served under the original hull of this spectacular ship!
A day at leisure. London is full of seasonal festivities to enjoy. Our Farewell Dinner will be in a cozy gastro-pub featuring the finest locally sourced ingredients.
Air Canada takes us home.

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