Best of British Tour

16 days from $7,239 pp twin share

  • Leisurely 2, 3 & 4 night stays
  • Small group size with a maximum of 28 travellers
  • Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
  • Character hotels in superb locations
  • Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
  • Guaranteed group departures

Tour Overview

A magical tour with two, three & four night stays in Tortworth, Yorkshire, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Lakes District and Scotland. Enjoy numerous visits to castles, country mansions and beautifully landscaped gardens plus unique excursions such as a ‘Braveheart’ tour, exploring the honey coloured villages of the Cotswolds and as an extraordinary finale dine and stay overnight in the glorious Leeds Castle - 'the loveliest castle in the world'.

 

Edinburgh Military Tattoo: 14 August 2017 departure will attend a performance at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Highlights

  • Spend 4 nights in Gloucestershire in a Victorian Gothic Mansion, visit the Roman Baths, ancient Stonehenge, mysterious Glastonbury, Tintern Abbey and Bristol, and explore the enchanting Cotswolds and Oxford
  • Explore the walled city of Chester, experience a cruise on Lake Windermere, visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and enjoy a steam train ride through Beatrix Potter country to Haverthwaite
  • Visit New Lanark’s 18th century Cotton Mill village before enjoying 3 wonderful nights in Edinburgh, sample a ‘wee tipple’ at The Scotch Whisky Experience, explore the Trossachs in Rob Roy country, and a William 'Braveheart' Wallace tour of Stirling Castle
  • Visit Alnwick Castle and Durham before staying 3 nights in Yorkshire, visit York's Shambles, Castle Howard, cross the Yorkshire Moors to Captain Cook’s Whitby and indulge in a decadent afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms in Harrogate
  • Stay 2 nights in Shakespeare's Stratford, visit Shakespeare's birthplace, Anne Hathaway's Cottage and medieval Warwick Castle  
  • Experience a Crime and Punishment Tour in Nottingham’s Award Winning Galleries of Justice museum, stand trial and be locked in a deportation cell ready to be sent to that horrendous colony – Australia!
  • Step back in time and become ‘guests of the castle’ for your farewell dinner and last night staying in ‘the loveliest castle in the world’ – Leeds Castle


Get yourself ready for the Best of British Tour by reading more information on Britain and Scotland from our helpful destination section!


 

Message from the Mo

Think of Twiggy in her mini

40 to 50 years ago, when super-model Twiggy was driving her sparkling mini along Britain’s newly laid motorway systems, it was quite possible to zip around the country in no time at all. In that long ago era British coach touring itinerary styles evolved and even then, they were at a mad pace, littered with one night stops.  Half a century later this same senseless touring style is still promoted everywhere yet these motorways are now so clogged they are more like car parks! Despite incredible congestion combined with massively increased tourist numbers those itineraries have not changed. Due to these new time constraints they have no time to explore the gardens of a stately home or grab a leisurely drink in a delightful country pub! Astonishingly, incredible sites and landmarks are actually disappearing from itineraries or becoming snappy photo stops. One example is Warwick Castle. A fantastic, amazing visit for which you need to set aside about 3 hours to really enjoy. Yet virtually all ‘those’ itineraries find this inconvenient so they have dropped it! Ridiculous!

Albatross will not do that. I am so proud of our Best of British tour. With 2 and 3 night stays throughout and our unique style of touring we have time to do Britain justice. Just look at the pace of our tour and the incredible list of unique excursions and events we are able to include.  Isn’t this why you are visiting Great Britain?

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Tortworth, Gloucestershire

Your tour departs from London at 9am. Travelling west we reach Salisbury Plain where we visit the remarkable megaliths of Stonehenge. After time at leisure in nearby Salisbury, we continue to Gloucestershire where we stay for the next four nights. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers. 



 

Meals:
D
Hotel:
Tortworth Court Hotel

Day 2: Tortworth, Gloucestershire


A leisurely start this morning before we drive into Somerset to visit Britain’s earliest Christian sanctuary – the famous ruins of Glastonbury. Legendary burial place of King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere, Glastonbury was once the grandest and richest abbey in England. Later we visit Bath’s famous Roman Baths and Pump room. The remainder of your afternoon and evening is at leisure to explore Bath’s picturesque cathedral, the Georgian crescents, sights and shops. 

Meals:
B

Day 3: Tortworth, Gloucestershire

 After another leisurely start we skirt around Gloucester and enter the delightful Welsh borderlands, where we enjoy our first stop of the day in Monmouth, Wales. Later we enjoy a scenic drive south, alongside the winding and picturesque River Wye, to Tintern. A highlight of your day will be our visit to the ancient ruins of Tintern’s Cistercian Abbey, romantically set in a peaceful forest, providing inspiration to poets through the centuries. Later we enjoy a photo stop at Chepstow Castle. Set high above the River Wye, this Norman Castle dates back nearly 1000 years.

On the outskirts of Bristol we will also stop to take in the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which gracefully spans the River Avon. The remainder of your afternoon and evening is free in Bristol to explore the beautifully rejuvenated wharves and discover a local pub or restaurant for an early dinner. 

Meals:
B

Day 4: Tortworth, Gloucestershire

Today we visit Oxford, home to one of Europe’s oldest and most famous universities. A local guide takes us on a walking tour around the city and its colleges. Later this afternoon we will wander leisurely through one of the most beautiful and unique regions in England – the Cotswolds. Our country drive will take us through famous villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water and we enjoy an afternoon stop in Chipping Campden. 

 

Meals:
B
D

Day 5: The Lake District

Heading north, we arrive into Chester late morning. Rich in Roman ruins, Chester also has a wonderfully preserved medieval centre, full of half-timbered houses and the famous ‘Rows’ – double level, balconied shopping arcades that date back to the Middle Ages, 700 years ago. Whilst exploring this incredibly historic town make sure you take a walk along the perfectly preserved, red stone, Roman city walls.
Mid afternoon we continue to the picturesque Lake District where we stay two nights. 

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa

Day 6: The Lake District

We will spend a delightful day touring the famous Lake District. This morning we visit Ambleside and Grasmere where we have included entrance to the Wordsworth Museum and a guided visit through Dove Cottage, once home to the poet William Wordsworth. In the afternoon we enjoy a cruise to Lakeside, on Lake Windermere. Here we board a beautifully preserved steam train for a short 6 kilometre ride through the glorious countryside of Beatrix Potter to Newby Bridge and Haverthwaite. 

Meals:
B

Day 7: Edinburgh

Crossing into Scotland we enjoy a morning tea stop in Gretna Green before we reach the New Lanark World Heritage Site, a sensitively restored 18th century cotton mill village in South Lanarkshire. The giant mill wheels still sit over the torrential river and the 200 year old terraced houses have been restored offering an intriguing look at the workers family life two centuries ago. Later we continue to Edinburgh, where we stay for the next three nights. Before arriving at your hotel we have included a tour and tasting to sample a ‘wee tipple’ at the Scotch Whisky Experience. 


* 22 May departure stays 3 nights at Mercure Edinburgh Haymarket.
*  Subject to availability of tickets, the 14 August departure may include attending a performance of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo one evening during our Edinburgh stay.


 

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
The Roxburghe Hotel or Mercure Edinburgh Haymarket

Day 8: Edinburgh

After a hearty Scottish breakfast, we are joined by a local guide to discover this city’s rich history. The highlight of your morning will be crossing the drawbridge to visit Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city’s skyline. Your afternoon and evening are at leisure in this grand city. 
 

Meals:
B

Day 9: Edinburgh

This morning we travel to the Trossachs and the town of Callander, in the heart of Rob Roy country. Set dramatically beneath high, wooded crags, this delightful town with its tearooms, craft and woollen shops makes the ideal morning tea stop. Continuing on we visit Stirling, the ancient capital of Scotland, that lies at the heart of the nation’s history. The streets of the old town wind upwards towards the castle, 250 feet up on a craggy rock.

Our local guide takes us through this grand fortification, with its splendid views across the countryside to the Wallace Monument – built in commemoration of this legendary Scottish hero, William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace. Tonight we have arranged an unmissable evening. Enjoy dinner, including a taste of haggis, neeps and tatties & traditional Scottish entertainment including bagpipes, fiddles and dance. 

Meals:
B
D
William Wallace, Stirling Castle

Och aye, the noo!
Think of historical Scottish characters and vivid images of Rob Roy and William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace immediately spring to mind. What could be better than dedicating a full day in the stomping grounds of these larger than life heroes? That is why Albatross plan a fascinating day in the landscape of the Trossachs and our expert, local guide spins wee yarns as we follow their immortal footsteps through Stirling Castle. A day of legends!
 

Day 10: Harrogate in Yorkshire

Crossing the border into England, and Northumbria, we reach striking Alnwick Castle where we have included a privately guided visit. Dating back 1000 years the grand staterooms and lavish furnishings will not disappoint. Home to the current Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle is also famous for having featured in numerous TV series and movies such as special editions of Downton Abbey, and of course as mysterious ‘Hogwarts’ in the Harry Potter series. In the afternoon we will also enjoy a stop in the beautiful city of Durham with its majestic cathedral. Later we continue to the spa town of Harrogate where we stay the next three nights. 
 

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Cedar Court Hotel, Harrogate

Day 11: Harrogate in Yorkshire

This morning will be spent in the nearby city of York. After a city orientation tour the rest of the morning will be at leisure. Make sure you visit the Minster, the largest gothic church in England, go shopping in narrow streets around the historic ‘Shambles’ (the preserved medieval street) or maybe walk along the Roman built city walls. This afternoon we return to Harrogate to indulge in a decadent afternoon tea of dainty sandwiches, handmade cakes, scones and specialty teas experience, in the Imperial Room at ‘Betty’s Café Tea Rooms’. This private room with its beautiful 1920s plasterwork and oak fittings offers unrivalled views of the Montpellier Gardens.
 

Meals:
B

Day 12: Harrogate in Yorkshire

Driving east, we stop at Pickering where we board a heritage train of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the ride to Goathland. With its charming 1930 village atmosphere, this station is known to many as Aidensfield in the television series Heartbeat, and also as the bewitching Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film. From here we drive to the coastal town of Whitby, once home to the famous explorer Captain Cook, where we enjoy lunchtime at leisure. This afternoon we visit Castle Howard, the setting for the famous TV drama ‘Brideshead Revisited’.  
 

Meals:
B
D

Day 13: Stratford-Upon-Avon

A special treat today as we step back in time inside the notorious Galleries of Justice in Nottingham on our private ‘Crime and Punishment’ tour. You will be given a cell number and stand trial for your heinous crime. Will you be executed? Or worse still, be deported from here to that horrendous colony – Australia! Be locked in the old deportation cells before experiencing the ordeals on the ‘Convict Ship’. Voted Britain’s No. 1 Small Tourism Attraction in 2014, this amazing museum has a host of exhibitions and memorabilia. Arriving in Stratford-upon-Avon we visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage before settling into our central hotel, where we stay for the next two nights. Tonight enjoy a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings in a local restaurant.  


 

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Mercure Shakespeare

Nottingham’s notorious Galleries of Justice museum is the real thing! Our private Crime and Punishment Tour is an amazing interactive experience. You will stand in the original old courthouse (where the Sheriff of Nottingham ruled), be charged as a ‘criminal’, then judged, imprisoned and executed – or sentenced to exile in Australia, much like the 3000 unwilling colonists that went through here. Experience what it was like to be in a real deportation cell, see the actual graffiti scrawled by starving convict children. This fascinating museum has a host of exhibitions and memorabilia, the stocks, the noose and the ‘Convict Ship’ experience. 
 

Day 14: Stratford-upon-Avon

This morning we visit nearby Warwick and its medieval castle. An expert local guide will join us to breathe life into a thousand years of secrets which hide in the shadows of the castle – tales of murder, mystery, intrigue and scandal. After also visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace the rest of the day and evening will be free to relax and wander the streets of Elizabethan Stratford-upon-Avon.
 

Meals:
B

Day 15: Magnificent Leeds Castle

Travelling south we skirt London and enjoy a morning stop in Windsor. Later we continue into the heart of Kent and arrive at Leeds Castle where we stay our last, and most memorable night! Set romantically on an island surrounded by a broad moat, the Castle, Gatehouse and Maiden’s tower comprise one of the world’s greatest sights. Tonight the entire castle becomes ours to enjoy! We have included a private tour through the grand staterooms, halls, library, chapel and the 13th century section of the castle. Later, in the Library, we will enjoy a pre-dinner drink before our farewell dinner in Lady Baillie’s Dining Room. 

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Leeds Castle

Day 16: To London

Mid morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we will transfer to St Pancras and Paddington stations, in central London, where your tour ends. 

Meals:
B

Incredible Value Inclusions

  • Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
  • Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
  • 15 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
  • Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
  • English/Scottish breakfast daily 
  • 9 dinners including a traditional Scottish evening, roast dinner in Stratford Upon Avon and farewell dinner in Leeds Castle 
  • Afternoon tea at Betty’s tearooms in Harrogate
  • All excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
  • Special Highlights – Cruise Lake Windermere, train rides Lakeside to Haverthwaite and Yorkshire Moors
  • Local guides as described in the itinerary
  • Personal audio system whilst on tour
  • Albatross travel app
  • Free WiFi available on most coaches and at hotels
  • End of tour tips to Tour Manager and Driver, tips for local guides
     

Your Hotels

Tortworth Court Hotel, Wotton-Under-Edge

Tortworth Court Hotel, Wotton-Under-Edge – 4 Nights

Set in a Victorian Gothic mansion on 30 acres of land with a private arboretum, this traditional property offers all the grandeur of an elegant Cotswolds hotel along with facilities you would expect from a premier, 4-star hotel. Rooms are beautifully décorated in keeping with the period style of Tortworth Court, while offering all the comforts of home.

 

MacDonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Lake District

MacDonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Lake District – 2 Nights

Standing directly on the shore of Lake Windermere, the historic Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa is set in the heart of the Lake District National Park. One of the finest 4-star Lake District hotels,
the hotel offers modern rooms with all the essential amenities.

Mercure Edinburgh Quay, Edinburgh

The Roxburghe Hotel, Edinburgh – 3 Nights

This 4-star hotel in the Edinburgh city centre is only a few minutes walk from Princes Street and overlooks the magnificent Edinburgh Castle. The award winning hotel features a bar and grill restaurant along with a fitness centre and swimming pool.

Cedar Court Hotel, Harrogate

Cedar Court Hotel, Harrogate– 3 Nights

The Best Western Plus Cedar Court Hotel in Harrogate stands as the spa town's first purpose built hotel, dating back to 1671. Overlooking the famous 200 acre Stray, the magnificent Grade II listed hotel building is unique and its character compliments the convenience of its prime location. The hotel offers all the modern facilities you would expect of a 4-star hotel and all the charm and elegance you would associate with a 17th century building.

Mercure Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Mercure Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon – 2 Nights

This delightful half-timbered Elizabethan style hotel exudes all the character and style you would expect of a hotel set in the very heart of Stratford-upon-Avon. The 4-star hotel boasts an excellent location, within easy walking distance of all the main sights, making the ‘Shakespeare’ a wonderful base for you to come and go at leisure.

Autumn Gold Thorpe Hall, Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, Kent – 1 Night

You are in for a treat! Albatross Tours have chartered the entire castle for your pleasure to ensure you experience this breathtaking castle to the fullest. With a butler, wait staff and a footman available for your service you will enjoy an unforgettable experience at Leeds Castle.

View the Leeds Castle room options

Tour Reviews

Kim and I commenced our tour on August 9th 2014. What an amazing tour we had! It was everything and more than we expected. There were three main reasons we chose this tour with your company (previous tours have been with APT on boat cruises which we loved). 

The first was the small number in each group - a maximum of 30. As it was, there were 17 in our group which was a fantastic size. All being Australian (this was another reason we chose your company), all about our age group and all lovely people. Everyone had a sense of humour and we mixed together quite well without any unpleasantness and looked out for each other, all of which added to our enjoyment of the tour. The third reason for choosing your company was the relaxed touring. We loved having 2 and 3 night stays and some free time at each stop to do our own thing.

Our Tour Manager was extremely well organised and always friendly, helpful, patient and informative and probably highly amused by these Aussies and their humour. We thoroughly enjoyed the little surprises (Churchill's grave sight as one example) and the thoughtfulness (chocolates to celebrate a birthday for example) along the way. 

Our drivers were excellent, careful, safe drivers and looked after our luggage and belongings capably. With a full sized coach for only 17 people we had plenty of room to be very comfortable and a toilet on board for emergencies was great.

The places we visited were wonderful. We enjoyed the different hotel accommodation. The most special place was of course Leeds Castle where we were made to feel very important. What an amazing stay that was!

Thank you very much for a truly fantastic experience. We would recommend your company for others considering travelling.

Ellaine and Kim

Tour Rating 5-Star

Having had 50 years of group touring around many countries this last tour has been the best outside Australia I have experienced. The bus was clean, comfortable and driven by an expert in traffic jams. The hotels were comfortable and well-located. The food was superb and plentiful.

The most important parts of the tour: Being able to "stay put" for 2 or 3 nights is a real bonus (none of that bags out by 6:30 am), having time to visit the castles and cathedrals, not being marshalled around like school children on an excursion but being able to follow one's interest whilst visiting an area. Enjoying the informative commentary and  tips on activities available during a stopover. Our group leader Stephen was the quintessential English gentleman. Thank you for providing a wonderful happy tour.

Claire

Bath

Tour Rating 5-Star

I liked the longer stays in cities visited.Our Tour Manager ensured all of the group's needs were addressed and satisfied in the most pleasant manner. Accommodation was of a good standard generally. Dinners provided were excellent, preferable to continual buffets. I also liked the fact overall costs includes tipping.
 

Denise

Tour Rating 4-Star

Firstly, to the most important component of the Tour, our Tour Manager. He performed his duties excellently as far as overall performance, knowledge and organisational skills were concerned. He really made the tour the outstanding experience it was. It was obvious that our Tour Manager was very passionate about his role  as a mentor, guide and educator. I could not get over the depth and breadth of his knowledge, not just about what was on the “curriculum”, but about all sorts of information, sometimes peripheral to the “main course”, but very interesting to know, and which provided an extra dimension to an already very satisfying experience. Yes, I was told by one who sat up the front that he did have some form of briefing notes at times, but much of the time he spoke extemporaneously and informally, and was invariably able to answer most questions posed to him. All this in a friendly and good natured manner. His organisational skills came to the fore when he was always able to arrange priority entry to attractions, and give us advice about how to make the best of our time within them. He also showed flexibility when required as far as the program was concerned, and was happy when possible to meet individual requirements. All in all, a top effort.
 
Our main driver also did a great job and proved an affable and invaluable member of the management team. His skill in getting us into places that other tour coach drivers might be reluctant to go to was appreciated.
 
The tour itself, I really could not fault it, Sure, there may have been a few minor glitches, but this has to be expected on such a tour, and in no way detracted from my wife and my enjoyment. We particularly appreciated the 3-4 day stays in most centres, the unique hotels and the free time provided.
 
Although Albatross is generally more expensive than other “mainstream” operators, we consider it well worthwhile to spend a little more and get a more friendly, personal and unique experience. We certainly will be recommending your product to our friends.
 

Bob

Just a note to say that we really enjoyed the trip - it was everything we hoped it was and more. The three night stays and the heritage hotels were the main reasons we booked with you. We could not find any similar tours. The hotels were great as were the Abatross crew. They were very informative and a pleasure to be with. We will not hesitate to encourage our friends and family to look into your tours. Thanks again for a wonderful trip.

 

Albert & Linda

A well thought out and professional tour. 

Ian, travelled in May

Castle Howard Yorkshire - courtesy of John Funnell

Tour Rating 4-Star

Tour manager, Steve, was very well organised and very knowledgeable, imparting a lot of interesting information, but not too much! Coach driver, Jim, was very good and utterly unflappable - we felt very safe.

The last night in Leeds Castle was a very special experience - a real highlight of the tour.

 

Rhonda, travelled May 2016

Leeds Castle, England  - courtesy of Megan Thackray

Tour Rating 5-Star

I really liked the small numbers of persons in the group, ability to go "off" the itinerary to look at other interesting things. The 3 day stop overs were very relaxing and our guide and bus driver were very informative.

Gordon

Harrogate, Yorkshire

Tour Rating 5-Star

16 days is perfect. The 3 nights stays are perfect. You have got it right!! And I feel I have seen UK/Britain well - completely satisfied.

Vegetarian food options were very good.

Judy

Beatles Story, Liverpool

Tour Rating 5-Star

A wonderful holiday that I will always remember. Langdale Hotel was superb, Scottish show was wonderful, Betty's Tea Room (wow) and Leeds Castle dinner and bedroom was amazing.

Our host Tour Manager and Drivers were incredible.

 

Geoff

Betty's Tea Room, Harrogate

Tour Rating 5-Star

I really enjoyed this tour and I have a feeling that I have done and completed Great Britain. Excellent tour!

Benedikt

Glastonbury Abbey, Britain

Tour Rating 5-Star

Dates and Prices

Start Date End Date Price Per Person Guaranteed to Depart Availability
24 Jul 2017 8 Aug 2017 AUD $7,439 Sold Out
14 Aug 2017 29 Aug 2017 AUD $7,739 Sold Out
4 Sep 2017 19 Sep 2017 AUD $7,439 Sold Out
21 May 2018 5 Jun 2018 Space Available
11 Jun 2018 26 Jun 2018 Space Available
23 Jul 2018 7 Aug 2018 Space Available
13 Aug 2018 28 Aug 2018 Space Available
3 Sep 2018 18 Sep 2018 Space Available

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No Additional 'On Tour' Costs

Over $100 value of extras per day are already included. There are no additional 'on tour' costs - even your end of tour tips are included!