Region Itinerary: England
Ancient Hadrian’s Wall crosses the north of England while the world’s biggest indoor tropical rain forest is in the far south, blending ancient and modern in one country. History buffs can tour medieval villages, Roman ruins, Tudor towns and numerous ancient castles and royal palaces, such as the exotic Royal Pavilion in Brighton, where King George IV once held 36-course banquets. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is a tribute to England’s pioneering scientific community, while literature fans can explore the landscapes that inspired writers such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and more.
There are numerous unusual places and events where your clients can experience English eccentricities. How about a competition to find the UK’s biggest liar, or eating raw onions in the Forest of Dean?
Trendsetters can explore Liverpool’s signature boutiques.
Music lovers, meanwhile, can join a magical mystery tour to learn more about The Beatles, a band that will never go out of fashion.
And for that quintessential English experience, ride on an old steam train through Yorkshire’s moors or spend an afternoon wandering through a vast rosy garden before indulging in afternoon tea.
ENGLAND IN THREE DAYS
Day 1: Brighton is 40 minutes by train from London. Start at The Lanes for clothing and jewelry boutiques or try North Laine for quirky cafés and vintage stores. Visit the pier and take one of the fairground rides. Head to the maritime city of Portsmouth to explore Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory, the HMS Warrior 1860and Henry VIII’s Mary Rose.
Day 2: In Bicester, go shopping in the discounted Designer Outlets. Continue to Birmingham and explore the Birmingham Museum and Arts Gallery, or see the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Have dinner at one of the Indian restaurants in the city’s Balti Triangle.
Day 3: Head north to Stoke-on-Trent and browse at the Wedgwood Visitor Centre, home of the famous pottery. For lunch, go to The Trentham Estate and wander through the Italianate gardens. Book a hot-air balloon flight in advance and float over the English countryside.
ENGLAND IN FIVE DAYS
Day 1: Begin with a walk through the Peak District National Park’s trails, including Tissington and Manifold Track or join a guided walk (such as the Pride and Prejudice Tour). Taste Bakewell Pudding at the Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.
Day 2: Head to Liverpool for a tour of the Albert Dock and visit The Beatles Story museum. After touring the Tate Liverpool and the Walker Art Gallery, explore the bars and restaurants of Seel Street.
Day 3: Go north to Cumbria and the Lake District National Park. Visit Wordsworth’s former homes, Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage, in the country town of Grasmere. In Windermere, take a cruise on the lake and see the Steam Boat Collection of 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century sailing craft.
Day 4: Tour Durham’s medieval cathedral and castle, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, and explore the city’s cafés restaurants, boutiques, indoor markets and specialty shops. End the day at the Gala Theatre.
Day 5: Tour the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors before visiting the medieval Skipton Castle. In York, tour the Gothic cathedral, York Minster, before visiting The Shambles, a medieval street full of independent shops. In the evening, take a York ghost tour.
ENGLAND IN SEVEN DAYS
Day 1: In London, start with Big Ben and Westminster Abbey on Parliament Square, and go to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Have lunch at the Dickens Inn in St. Katherine’s Dock, then walk to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels. Have dinner in one of Covent Garden’s restaurants before heading to Theatreland for a show.
Day 2: Travel by train to Windsor Castle, an official residence of the Queen. Lunch in The Crooked House of Windsor, with its 400-year-old leaning structure. After lunch, take a train to Oxford, home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Visit Christ Church’s Great Hall, Magdalen’s high street-dominating tower and the purple wisteria that drapes the old stone walls of Jesus College.
Day 3: Head to Blenheim Palace, home to the Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Tour the Formal Gardens and the Pleasure Gardens. Take the train to Bath, and spend the evening exploring the Georgian crescents, squares and circuses with Roman remains.
Day 4: Join an organized tour for the city of Bath, either by bus, foot or chauffeur-driven trike, or download a themed MP3 audio tour from www.visitbath.co.uk for a self-guided walk. Visit Pulteney Bridge, Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and Royal Crescent. Book a session at Thermae Bath Spa. Then head to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, to catch one of the Bard’s plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre or The Swan.
Day 5: Board a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour of Stratford’s visitor attractions, including Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Mary Arden’s House and The Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Head to The Museum of Wizardology and Magic Alley on Henley Street for a Harry Potter experience. Have lunch in the RSC Theatre’s new Rooftop Restaurant.
Day 6: In York, climb the 275 steps to the top of York Minster for views of the city. The Jorvik Viking Centre re-creates the Viking city of Jorvik as it stood 1,000 years ago. Take tea at Bettys teashop on St. Helen’s Square.
Day 7: Back in London, take a ride on the London Eye. Head to the National Gallery for lunch at the National Dining Rooms followed by a tour of the museum. Go shopping on Oxford Street, in the designer boutiques of Bond Street and Knightsbridge, or Westfield’s shopping centers in east and west London.