Visit the World & Heritage sites of Stonehenge and Avebury. Step inside a Neolithic long barrow and climb a Bronze Age Barrow to get a unique feel for our prehistoric past. See a white horse carved in chalk and sites where crop circles have been found.
Visit Old Sarum where prehistoric Salisbury began. Walk round the medieval market town with its timber framed shops dating from the 14th century. Enter the Close with its charming houses. Tour the Cathedral and view an original copy of Magna Carta from 1215.
Visit Steventon where Jane was born and the church her father ran. Then on to see Chawton to the cottage where she wrote her books, the church where her mother and sister are buried, and her wealthy brother’s house. Finally, visit Winchester and see the house where she died and her grave in the cathedral.
Visit the famous Roman Baths. Enjoy the beautiful architecture of Bath Abbey, the Royal Crescent and the Circus. Visit the Jane Austen Centre. See a house furnished in the style of the period and visit the Assembly Rooms (now a fashion museum) where dancing parties took place in Jane’s day.
See the Changing of the Guard in Windsor Castle. Tour St George’s Chapel where 10 sovereigns lie buried and the State Apartments where the Queen entertains official visitors. Enjoy the town’s historic backstreets, then cross the Thames to visit Eton where 19 Prime Ministers have been educated.
Visit Christchurch College whose dining hall has Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland connections. Climb a church tower to view the college quads (courtyards). Admire the unique architecture of the Radcliffe Camera and the Sheldonian Theatre. Take a punt on the river or visit the Ashmolean Museum to see Guy Fawkes lantern, Lawrence of Arabia’s headdress, and stunning pictures by renowned artists.
Visit Lacock Abbey, home of photography and scene for Harry Potter movies. Tour the historic village, frequently used as a location for period films. Drive on to Castle Combe, another picturesque village built of Cotswold stone, with a delightful 14th century hotel for a delicious meal.
Visit St Mary’s Church, Fairford to see its beautiful medieval stained glass and carved wooden miserichords. Tour through stunning countryside to visit classic towns and villages like Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stowe-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh and Lower & Upper Slaughter.
Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon and the cottage of his wife, Anne Hathaway. Visit the bard’s grave then watch a play performed by the world class Royal Shakespeare Company after which we stay overnight in historic Stratford.
Take a ferry across to the Isle of Wight to visit Queen Victoria’s country retreat, Osborne House, built by her beloved husband, Prince Albert. Get a close feel for their family life and see the vegetable gardens that their children tended from their Swiss Cottage.
Visit Winchester, ancient capital of Wessex, to see the Great Hall with the famous Round Table. Travel on to Stonehenge (unless already visited) said to have been built by Merlin and where Arthur’s father, Uther, was reputedly buried. Then to Amesbury Abbey where Guinevere allegedly spent her last days.
Visit beautiful, ruined Glastonbury Abbey where King Arthur’s remains were found in 1191. Climb the Tor to ponder its violent history and to admire a sweeping view of mythical Avalon. Spend tranquil moments in the peaceful Chalice Well Gardens. Time permitting, we could also visit spectacular Cheddar Gorge or stately Wells Cathedral.
Visit Southampton whence the Titanic sailed in 1912 on her fateful maiden voyage. See the superb new Titanic exhibition in the grand Art Deco Civic Centre. Walk around the ancient medieval walls and view the busy modern docks. Finally, enjoy superb retail therapy in the WestQuay shopping complex.
The South coast of Dorset stunningly beautiful but also a geologist’s dream whose classic features include Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, and Chesil Beach. Time permitting, we could also visit the Abbotsbury Swannery and sub-tropical gardens.
Decide for yourself whether Blenheim Palace, home of the Duke of Marborough, is grander than any royal palace. Sir Winston Churchill was born there. On the way we can drive through the gardens of Highclere Castle which became Downton Abbey for the recent TV series. (The castle itself is open only rarely).
Visit Dorchester (Casterbridge in Hardy’s novels) and see places mentioned in his books. Visit the cottage where Thomas was born, the house he lived in latterly and the church where his heart is buried. Drive through scenery featured in his novels.
Hampton Court is closely associated with both Henry VIII and William & Mary. Explore the Tudor palace with its kitchens and forecourts and then move through the baroque splendour of the later work by England’s finest architect, Sir Christopher Wren. The gardens are a treasure and include the famous maze.
At Portsmouth Historic Dockyard you can climb aboard Admiral Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, see the remains of Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose and tour HMS Warrior, the Royal Navy’s first ironclad. Soak in the naval atmosphere with harbour tours, hands-on displays and films. Ascend the Spinnaker Tower for a panoramic harbour view.
The New Forest was William the Conqueror’s hunting ground. It has gorgeous scenery, charming ponies running free, thatched cottages and many sights. Visit the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, the National Motor Museum set in the stunning gardens of Beaulieu Abbey, and see how ships were built for Nelson’s navy at nearby Buckler’s Hard. Time permitting, we could visit the picturesque harbour at Lymington.
Wilton House near Salisbury is the home of the Earl of Pembroke and has been used for many films including Pride and Prejudice. Not far away is Stourhead whose garden is one of the classics with its lake, bridge, classical grotto and stunning views.
Visit Rockbourne Roman villa which lies in one of the prettiest villages in England. Lunch in a thatched pub and then on to Fishbourne Roman palace to see its mosaics and garden. Time permitting, we could also visit the historic little town of Chichester.