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Britain’s Explorers' Road

United Kingdom
For two thousand years the English have travelled a highway which connects north to south, creating the original 500km multi-stop touring route through the historic and cultural heart of the nation. 

This is a new opportunity for curious travellers to get to know the English by exploring their traditions and eccentricities, the much-loved countryside, and the hidden landmarks known only to local people. The Explorer’s Road links the historic market towns and cultural cities used by pioneering travellers, where itineraries of genuine English experiences and stories can be enjoyed at a relaxed pace.

We will spend 3 nights in Burt St Edmunds - the Jewel in the Crown of Suffolk, 4 nights in Leeds - the unofficial capital of Yorkshire, 4 nights in Newcastle - the northern city of seven famous bridges across the Tyne and 3 nights in Edinburgh - the capital of Scotland. 

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

Tour Highlight
    • Afternoon Tea at 18th century Holkham Hall  
    • England’s UNESCO City of Literature - Norwich 
    • Georgian town of Stamford   
    • The medieval city of York
    • Bradford - spectacular Victorian architecture
    • Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
    • The 1000-year-old Cathedral city of Durham
    • Northumberland (Newcastle and Alnwick Castle)
    • Newcastle-upon-Tyne 
    • Scottish Borders 
    • Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for London.
We arrive in London and transfer to the historic market town of Bury St Edmunds, for a 3-night stay.
The southernmost section of The Explorer’s Road is the county of Hertfordshire. The town of Hertford is laid out in its original medieval plan, and on our walking tour we’ll notice that there is a pub on every street, due to Hertford’s brewing legacy. We’ll enjoy a tour of Castle Brewery and then stop in Hitchin, which feels like a quaint English village with its timber-framed buildings and cobbled streets. Here we’ll visit the Henry Moore Studio and Gardens.
Our tour of historic Norfolk begins at Holkham Hall, where a stunning coastal landscape meets one of England’s great agricultural estates. The elegant 18th century Palladian-style house is home to the Earl of Leicester. Here we’ll enjoy an indulgent Afternoon Tea - a quintessential English custom! We proceed to Norwich, for a walking tour of this unique city which is a designated UNESCO City of Literature.
We begin with a walking tour of the handsome Georgian town of Stamford, with its unspoilt streets of honey-coloured stone buildings. It has been called ‘England’s most attractive town’ and has formed the backdrop for countless films. Next we visit Burghley House - a grand 16th century house and an impressive example of the Elizabethan ‘prodigy’ houses. We end in Leeds, for a 4-night stay.
The beautifully preserved medieval city of York has both Roman roots and a Viking past. We will walk the famous “Shambles” - a street of 14th century timber-framed buildings, and see York Minster - the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. After a leisurely river cruise we’ll have some free time to explore the city’s cobbled streets. Dinner will be at a country pub before returning to our hotel in Leeds.
A day at leisure in this city which is bursting with cultural energy. You may want to visit one of the impressive museums, like the Leeds Art Gallery or the Royal Armouries Museum, go shopping in one of the quaint Victorian arcades, or for foodies, explore Leeds’ renowned independant food scene!
Bradford is well known for its spectacular Victorian architecture, in fact there are 55 listed buildings here! Our tour will take in Little Germany and the Grade 1 listed iconic City Hall with its amazing 220-foot-high clock tower which rises above the skyline. After our tour we’ll enjoy a leisurely ride on the The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway - a preserved gauge line which runs 5-miles through the valley.
This region of the Explorer’s Road is an intriguing combination of industrial heritage and remote, wild countryside. Our first stop is the busy market town of Darlington. With modern boutiques lining medieval streets, arts hubs dotting the town centre and lively markets everywhere, the town is a perfect blend of old and new. We then visit the 1000-year-old city of Durham, and stroll along the cobbled streets and riverside footpaths, viewing some of England’s finest architecture and hearing gripping tales of kings, bishops and local people who have made Durham one of England's most historically fascinating cities. We visit Durham Cathedral - a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, then proceed to Newcastle for a 3-night stay.
950-year-old Alnwick Castle dates back to Norman times, and boasts an illustrious history. It has served as a military outpost, a teaching college, a refuge for evacuees, a film set, and a family home. After our castle tour we’ll head to the coast for a delicious lunch of fish and chips!
With impressive Neo-classical monuments and winding medieval streets, Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a favourite UK destination. On our city tour we’ll see the green arc of the iconic Tyne Bridge, Grey’s Monument and Grey Street, and Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North - the largest angel sculpture in the world! The afternoon is at leisure to explore this city on our own.
We cross into Scotland, and our first stop is Hawick, where tweed was invented. We’ll visit a woolen mill (for purchasing opportunities) and the Borders Distillery, then enjoy a tour of Abbotsford, home of the famour author Sir Walter Scott. We proceed to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, for our final 3 nights.
On our city tour we’ll see Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, The Houses of Parliament, The Royal Mile, Princes Street Gardens, The Old and New Towns and much more. We’ll visit the Royal Yacht Britannia - a Royal residence for over 40 years. The yacht sailed over a million nautical miles on state visits with the Royal Family. Tonight we enjoy a rousing night of Scottish food and entertainment!
A day at leisure, and there is so much to see and do. Explore the Medieval Old Town and the elegant Georgian New Town, the Castle, one of the many museums, Princes Gardens or enjoy a pint in one of the many pubs! Tonight we enjoy our Farewell Dinner and share memories of our journey along the Explorers Road!
We fly home from Edinburgh.
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