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Northern and Central England Off the Beaten Path

United Kingdom
On this unique, off-the-beaten-path tour of England we will experience the Northern and Central areas - a wonderful region unspoiled by mass tourism.  

Yorkshire is famous for its landscape of grazing sheep on stone-built farms, villages dotting the countryside, lush green valleys, dramatic moorlands and magnificent mountains. This region has been the setting for many of the UK’s favourite TV shows and films. Our first 7 nights will be in the remarkable town of Harrogate, described by the famous landscape architect, Lancelot Brown, as the “finest, fairest town in all of England”.  This former spa town has gracious esplanades delightful for strolling.

The next 5 nights are in Worcester, known for its Cathedral, University and Worcestershire Sauce! Surrounded by stunning countryside, the city combines English charm and fascinating history with all the modern conveniences. We will spend our days exploring Herefordshire, Shropshire and the quintessentially English Cotswolds.
Our final night will be in Surrey. 

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

Tour Highlights:

   •  UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire
   •  Skipton Market
   •  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 Chocolate
   •  Golden-hued Cotswolds towns and villages
   •  Chatsworth House
   •  Ludlow - one of England’s most lovely towns 
   •  Weston’s Cider - family owned since 1880
   •  Stratford-Upon-Avon

Itinerary / Excursions

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.
The picturesque North York Moors consist of acres of natural beauty, including heather moorland, 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.
We begin at the World Heritage Site of Saltaire, where our local guide will enthrall us with tales of Victorian Britain as we walk through this unique, 19th century model industrial village. Then we proceed to historic Skipton - gateway to the magnificent Yorkshire Dales. People travel from all over Britain to visit this charming market town. With its 900 year old castle and historic cobbled High Street, Skipton is rich in both history and outstanding natural beauty. There will be free time to enjoy Skipton's award-winning historic market.
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. This evening’s dinner is at a local pub.
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 famous medieval streets are beautifully preserved within its ancient walls, and since the historic heart of the city is traffic-free, our guided walking tour will be most pleasant. We will see the medieval architecture, Georgian houses, and of course stroll the world-famous Shambles. After our walking tour we’ll visit York Chocolate, followed by free time to explore York on your 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. We’ll indulge in a delicious traditional Afternoon Tea, and then proceed to Worcester for a 5-night stay.
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 begin with a walking introduction to Worcester - a beautiful Cathedral and University City with a fascinating history. 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.
We begin with a guided walking tour of Shakespeare’s delightful home town of timbered houses (many unchanged from Tudor times). We will visit Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall where he discovered theatre and was inspired to become the world's greatest playwright. Our final stop is Shakespeare Distillery, to see the craft of gin distilling, followed by a tutored tasting!
We meander 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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