Northern and Central England
Off the Beaten Path

Tour Highlights

On this unique, off-the-beaten-path tour of England we will take our time really getting to know the Northern and Central areas - a wonderful region unspoiled by mass tourism.  
Our first 7 nights will be in the remarkable Yorkshire town of Harrogate, described by the famous landscape architect, Lancelot Brown, as the “finest, fairest town in all of England”.  This elegant town flourished in the Regency and Victorian eras as a spa town and has gracious esplanades delightful for strolling. 

For the latter portion of our tour we will stay in Worcester - the beautiful University and Cathedral city in the Heart of England on the doorstep of the Cotswolds. Worcester combines quintessential English charm with all the modern conveniences. We will spend our days exploring this region, with its villages of golden-hued cottages set amidst the stunning English countryside. 

Tour Highlights:

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire
  • Skipton Castle
  • Fountains Abbey - Britain's most complete Cistercian abbey and World Heritage Site
  • Newby Hall - one of Britain’s finest Robert Adam houses
  • Thirsk - home to “All Creatures Great and Small”
  • York Minster & York Chocolate
  • Golden-hued Cotswolds towns and villages
  • Chatsworth House
  • Ludlow - one of England’s most lovely towns 
  • Weston’s Cider - family owned since 1880
  • Shakespeare’s birthplace - Stratford-Upon-Avon

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

Tentative Itinerary

We fly to Manchester, direct from Toronto.
We arrive and transfer to our centrally located hotel in Harrogate. Tonight is our Welcome Dinner.
Fountains Abbey is one of England’s largest and best preserved Cistercian monasteries. Our guided tour will give us a picture of the lifestyle of the monks who first came here in the 12th century. We will also stroll through Studley Royal Water Garden - one of England’s finest Georgian water gardens, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, with its idyllic villages and peaceful atmosphere.
We begin in Skipton in the heart of Yorkshire, and visit Skipton Castle - one of England’s best preserved medieval castles, as well as Skipton's award-winning historic market. Later we visit the World Heritage Site of Saltaire - a unique, 19th century model industrial village where our local guides will enthrall us with tales of Victorian Britain.
Picturesque and tranquil, the North York Moors consist of countless acres of natural beauty, including heather moorland, pine forests, rolling hills and shimmering coastline. We will visit the coastal town of Whitby, enjoy a ride on the North York Moors Railway and stop in Goathland (home to the TV series Heartbeat) before we reach our dinner venue - a 16th Century freehouse located at the highest point of the North York Moors National Park.
Thirsk is a gem of a medieval Yorkshire town and home of best-selling author / veterinarian, Alf Wright. We will visit the museum dedicated to his life and TV series - All Creatures Great & Small. Then we enjoy a guided tour of Newby Hall - one of Britain’s finest Adam Houses and an exceptional example of 18th century interior decoration, with many fine pieces of Chippendale furniture, porcelain and paintings. Tonight dinner is at a local restaurant.
With its historic buildings, gardens and eclectic shops, Harrogate is one of Yorkshire's most elegant cities. Art lovers and antique hunters will love the cobbled streets in the Montpellier Quarter. You may want to visit the Royal Pump Room or one of the wonderful tea rooms.
York’s ancient walls and medieval streets and buildings are beautifully preserved. The historic heart of the city is largely traffic-free - ideal for our informative walking tour. We will see the medieval architecture, Georgian houses, walk the world famous Shambles and visit York Minster - one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals. We also visit York Chocolate and learn how chocolate came from its exotic origins in Central America to the cobbled streets of Yorkshire. There will be free time to explore York on our own.
We travel through the Peak District - one of England’s best loved Provincial Parks, dotted with historic sites, pretty villages and some of England’s most beautiful scenery. We’ll visit Chatsworth House - home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. The house is renowned for the quality of its art and landscape that has evolved over the centuries. Later we arrive in Worcester for a 6-night stay.
We begin with a walking introduction to Worcester - a beautiful Cathedral and University City with a fascinating history and a wealth of interesting architecture. Then we visit Weston’s Cider, operated by many generations of the Weston family who have nurtured their orchards to thrive in the local environment. We enjoy a tour followed by a delicious lunch and a taste of the famous cider!
The city is best known for its magnificent Cathedral, but is also famous for the world renowned Worcester Porcelain and the piquant Worcestershire Sauce. You may want to visit the City Art Gallery, admire the half-timbered buildings in Friar Street or marvel at the skill of local craftsmen at the local crafts centre.
On our walking tour of Shakespeare’s birthplace we will see this delightful town of timbered houses, many unchanged from the Tudor times. We’ll visit Shakespeare’s childhood home and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, with its thatched roof and beautiful gardens. Included is a delicious traditional Afternoon Tea.
Ludlow - a thriving ‘black & white’ medieval market town, is an architectural gem and one of England’s most attractive towns! There are almost 500 listed buildings in the town; including The Buttercross, St. Laurence's Church, Ludlow Castle, The Readers House and The Feathers Hotel. Included is a ‘Welcome to Ludlow Castle’ - one of England’s finest medieval ruins. Walking through the Castle grounds we’ll see the ancient homes of kings, queens, princes, judges and nobility – a true glimpse into the lifestyle of medieval society.
We spend the day meandering through the gentle hillsides and sleepy, honey-coloured villages of the Cotswolds – a region designated as an Area of Outstanding Beauty. We will visit Bourton-on-the-Water, and enjoy a delicious lunch in a Cotswolds pub oozing local character. We finish at our hotel in Woking - a charming and historic town in the heart of Surrey. This evening we enjoy our Farewell Dinner.
We fly home from London.

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