Best of British Tour
16 Fascinating Days
- Leisurely 2 and 3 night stays
- Small groups from just 10 to 28
- Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
- Character hotels in superb locations
- Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
- 'My Time' guaranteed
We take the time to do Britain justice…. from Stonehenge to the ‘bravehearts’ of Scotland and Tintern’s romantic Abbey. Discover the Kingmakers of Warwick and learn of Australia’s own heritage in Captain Cook’s Whitby. Soak up the history of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon and indulge in traditional British fare. As a finale, be treated like royalty with an overnight stay in magnificent Leeds Castle!
See the extraordinary Edinburgh Military Tattoo on our August departure. Ask us for details.
- Stay 3 nights in historic Bath and visit the remarkable stone megaliths of Stonehenge
- Explore the ruins of Glastonbury and Bath’s Roman Baths and Pump room
- Take in the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge above the River Avon
- Spend a day touring the stunning Lake District and cruise on Lake Windermere
- Sample a ‘wee tipple’ at The Scotch Whisky Experience
- Cross the drawbridge to visit Edinburgh Castle
- Indulge in a decadent afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms in Harrogate
- Board a heritage train and ride to Whitby
- Stay 3 nights in Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon
- Discover Oxford on a guided walking tour
- Spend an afternoon exploring the villages of the Cotswolds
- Enjoy your final night with an exclusive stay in Leeds Castle
- Experience a grand farewell Dinner in Lady Baillie’s Dining Room
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?
Day 1: Stonehenge and Bath
Your tour departs from central London at 9am. Travelling west we reach the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury. After time at leisure for lunch, we visit the remarkable megaliths of Stonehenge, situated on the Salisbury Plain. Later, we continue to Bath where we stay for the next three nights.
Day 2: Glastonbury and 'My Time' in Bath
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 Abbey, the Georgian crescents, sights and shops.
Day 3: Tintern Abbey, Chepstow Castle & the Clifton Suspension Bridge
This morning we take a scenic drive beside the winding, picturesque River Wye through the delightful Welsh borderlands. The highlight of your day will be a visit to the ancient ruins of Tintern’s Cistercian Abbey, romantically set in a peaceful forest and providing inspiration to poets through the centuries. We will also visit Monmouth and enjoy a photo stop at Chepstow Castle. Set high above the River Wye, this Norman Castle dates back nearly 1,000 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. Later we return to Bath. Dinner tonight is included in a local restaurant.
Day 4: Medieval Chester & 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.
Day 5: Lake District sightseeing
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 on Lake Windermere.
Day 6: New Lanark and 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.
Subject to availability of tickets, the 16 August departure may include attending a performance of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo one evening during our Edinburgh stay.
Day 7: Edinburgh sightseeing and ‘My Time’
After a hearty Scottish breakfast, we are joined by a local guide to discover this city’s rich history. The highlights today include visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia and crossing the drawbridge to visit Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city’s skyline. Your afternoon and evening are at leisure in this grand city.
Day 8: Callander and ancient Stirling
Today you have a choice – enjoy a free day in Edinburgh or join us as we visit Stirling and the Trossachs. 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.
Day 9: Alnwick Castle & Durham
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 enjoy a stop in the beautiful city of Durham with its majestic cathedral. Later, we continue to the historic walled town of York where we stay the next three nights. Tonight promises to be memorable as we dine at the Guy Fawkes Inn. Standing in the shadow of York Minster, this is the birthplace of the notorious plotter Guido Fawkes.
Day 10: York sightseeing and Betty’s Café Tea Rooms
This morning will be spent exploring York. Following an orientation walk around the city with your Tour Manager, the rest of the morning will be at leisure. The Minster, the largest gothic church in England is a must see, whilst the narrow streets around the historic ‘Shambles’ (the preserved medieval street) offer great shopping or, perhaps take a leisurely walk along the Roman built city walls. This afternoon we indulge in a decadent afternoon tea of dainty sandwiches, handmade cakes, scones and specialty teas at ‘Betty’s Café Tea Rooms’, with its art deco interior, curved windows and ornate mirrors.
Day 11: Train to Whitby, Whitby Abbey & Captain Cook Museum
Driving north, we stop at Pickering where we board a heritage train of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the ride to the coastal town of Whitby, once home to the famous explorer Captain Cook. Sit back and relax as we pass by charming villages. Arriving in Whitby, we visit both Whitby’s Benedictine abbey and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum and enjoy a fish and chip lunch. Your evening is at leisure in York.
Day 12: Chatsworth House & Stratford-upon-Avon
A leisurely start as we drive south into Derbyshire to reach Chatsworth mid morning. Here we enjoy a guided visit of stately Chatsworth House with its glorious interior, treasure rooms and gardens complete with an ornate maze and the 300 year old water ‘Cascade’, falling 200 metres down the hill in a series of 24 steps. Arriving in Stratford-upon-Avon we visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage before settling into our central hotel, where we stay for the next three nights.
Day 13: Warwick Castle and ‘My Time’ in Stratford-upon-Avon
This morning we visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage and afterwards, 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.
Day 14: Oxford and the Cotswolds
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 Broadway. Tonight enjoy a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings in a local restaurant.
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.
It is important to stress that Leeds Castle is NOT a hotel. It is, as its name suggests, a genuine castle. There is no hotel room service and nor are there any other guests. There is no hotel bar, there is a drinks trolley. There are no hotel porters. The Butler acts as the major-domo to a team of white gloved wait staff ensuring service is always entirely correct. You will need to pack an overnight bag for your Leeds Castle stay.
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.
Incredible Value Inclusions
- ALL excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
- 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)
- 25 Meals – including English/Scottish breakfast daily (B), 1 fish & chip lunch and 9 dinners including a traditional Scottish evening, roast dinner in Stratford-Upon Avon and farewell dinner in Leeds Castle (D)
- Tea, coffee and a complimentary beverage with all included dinners
- Afternoon tea at Betty’s tearooms in Harrogate
- Hand Selected Albatross Experiences - Private cruise Lake Windermere, Captain Cook's Whitby
- Local guides as described in the itinerary
- ALL tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and Local Guides
- Personal audio system whilst on tour
- Free WiFi at hotels
No additional 'on tour' costs!
Francis Hotel or Apex Hotel – 3 Nights
Located in the heart of the historic city of Bath, the Francis Hotel is a Regency style townhouse close to galleries, markets and the Georgian buildings on The Circus. The hotel features individually designed guest rooms as well as a bar and lounge to relax in the afternoon.
Castle Green Hotel – 2 Nights
This 4 star, award-winning country house hotel, features contemporary decor and is set in 14 acres of wooded gardens on the outskirts of Kendal, the southern gateway to the romantic Lake District.
Courtyard by Marriott, Edinburgh – 3 Nights
This modern 4 star hotel is located in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre, and offers quality amenities and comfort.
Dean Court Hotel, Yorkshire – 3 Nights
DoubleTree by Hilton, Stratford-Upon-Avon – 3 Nights
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
I really enjoyed this tour and I have a feeling that I have done and completed Great Britain. Excellent tour!
The tour was excellent and exceeded our expectations. We could not have wished for more! Our tour manager, Victor, was both knowledgeable and passionate about the UK. We were engaged for the whole trip.
If anything we would have loved to spend more time the Yorkshire area, in particular Durham, Stratford and Whitby.
Thank you for a wonderful trip! Our highlight was Leeds Castle - what a way to finish our trip!
Karen, who gave us the Oxford tour was absolutely fantastic. She took us through the college and her knowledge made all the difference. I have loved this tour. Thank you Albatross!