Gardening is more popular in England than anywhere else. This tour is designed as a brief introduction to the gardens in one of England's loveliest counties, Kent. The highlight of this tour will be the Chelsea Flower Show, the world’s most popular flower show. The grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea come alive with the sights and smells of the finest collection of blooms and displays from around the world.
Our first 7 nights are spent in Kent. Referred to as the 'Garden of England', Kent is one of the oldest inhabited counties, an area of enchanting gardens, historic houses, mysterious castles and amazing maritime heritage. This county has been the playground to royals and aristocrats for centuries.
We spend the next 6 nights in London - “Everybody’s Favourite City”. Our centrally located hotel is the perfect base for our touring days and for you to explore on your own.
***Those participating in any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.
- Sissinghurst Castle, Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicholson’s world famous garden
- Coastal towns of St. Peter’s, Margate and Whitstable
- Canterbury - historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Walmer Castle, built during the reign of King Henry VIII and residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
- Leeds Castle, “the Loveliest Castle in the world”
- Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway
- Chatham`s Historic Dockyard
- Hever Castle & Gardens - childhood home of Anne Boleyn
- Hampton Court - the country retreat of King Henry VIII
- Award-winning tour of Wimbledon
- A full day at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
- Savill Gardens with Thames River cruise
Day 1: Departure
We depart for London.
Day 2: Kent
We arrive and transfer to our 4-star hotel located on the edge of Canterbury, our home for the next 7 nights.
Day 3: Leeds / Sissinghurst
We begin with a visit to ‘The World’s Loveliest Castle’. Set in 500 acres of beautiful parkland, Leeds Castle was the private property of 6 medieval English monarchs and is now one of Britain’s most visited historic buildings. Later we visit Sissinghurst Castle, created by Harold Nicholson and Vita Sackville-West in the 1930’s and is one of the world’s most celebrated 20th century gardens. Included in our visit will be a delicious Cream Tea.
Day 4: Canterbury
We visit the jewel of Kent - Canterbury, where we embark on a historic river “punt” - a unique vantage point to see Canterbury’s stunning architecture. On our city tour we will visit England’s oldest cathedral (seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury) and see the beautiful cloisters, side alleys and chapels which have evolved over the ages.
Day 5: Isle of Thanet / Coastal Towns
Once an island off the English coast, the Isle of Thanet was where the Romans landed when they invaded Britain. Today it is home to a string of lovely Victorian seaside towns. We enjoy a walking tour of picturesque St. Peter’s, where the past is brought to life by costumed characters! Then we stop in Margate - an old English seaside town that now has a modern, cosmopolitan flavor. We will stop at the Spitfire Museum, home to famous WW2 fighter planes. Dinner will be at a lovely rambling 15th century coaching inn.
Day 6: Railway Ride / Walmer Castle
We start the day riding along the 13-mile track of the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, known as “Kent’s Mainline in Miniature”. We will visit The Kent Battle of Britain Museum - the largest collection of Battle of Britain artefacts in the country. Later we visit Walmer Castle. Built during the reign of King Henry VIII, the castle was designed as part of a chain of coastal artillery defenses, and evolved into the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Tonight’s dinner will be in a pub on the beach.
Day 7: At Leisure
Our hotel is a 10 minute walk from the centre of Canterbury, with its many boutiques, pubs, cafes and pedestrian streets. Tonight we enjoy some local entertainment.
Day 8: Hever Castle / Penshurst Place
Today we visit two historic estates located just a few miles apart and brought together by Henry VIII and Anne Boylen. We start with Penshurst Place, once the hunting lodge of Henry VIII. It is now considered 'the grandest and most perfectly preserved example of a fortified manor house in all England'. Then we visit Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn (2nd wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I). This castle was the unlikely backdrop to a series of tumultuous events that changed the course of Britain’s history, monarchy and religion.
Day 9: Chatham Dockyards / London
En route to London we visit Chatham’s Historic Dockyard. For 400 years the Royal Dockyard at Chatham made ships for the Royal Navy, including the nation’s most loved – HMS Victory. We enjoy a tour and lunch, then proceed to London for a 6-night stay.
Day 10: London
On our city tour we will see sites such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and much more. Just a short walk from our hotel we visit the Royal Albert Hall - one of London’s most iconic buildings. Experience the excitement inside one of the world’s most famous venues as it prepares for the next performance. The afternoon is at leisure.
Day 11: Savill Gardens
In the heart of historic Windsor Great Park lies Savill Gardens. With plants collected from around the world this is one of England’s finest woodland gardens. Today we also enjoy a narrated cruise along the River Thames which will provide some of the best views of Windsor Castle.
Day 12: Chelsea Flower Show
A day at the Chelsea Flower Show - a great British tradition and a source of inspiration for gardening enthusiasts. Our full-day pass allows plenty of time to marvel at the international collection of magnificent blooms and brilliant displays all vying for the coveted Gold Medal. A highlight is the 20 full-sized show gardens and the Grand Marquee with 3 acres of all kinds of plants.
Day 13: London
A day at leisure for you to explore on your own.
Day Day 14: Hampton Court Palace / Wimbledon
This morning we visit the magnificent Hampton Court Palace, grown from humble beginnings in the 11th century to one of the finest palaces in the world. You can explore the Tudor kitchen, see the Queen and King’s apartments and admire the sumptuous tapestries in England’s greatest Great Hall. Outside, try not to get lost in the world’s most famous maze and the Privy Garden, restored to its 1702 glory. Our next stop is Wimbledon, where we can experience the history of ‘The Fortnight’ in the museum, get up close to the Championship Trophies and, feel the fabrics of tennis fashions from the Victorian era with clothing and equipment donated by tennis’ top stars. Dinner tonight is in a 19th-century cottage on the edge of Wimbledon Common. Our Farewell Dinner will be in an elegant English pub!
Day 5: Home
Air Canada takes us home.
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