Day 1 :
- Departure from home airport:
Relax and enjoy your scheduled flight from North America.
Day 2 :
Begin your Arthurian Legend Journey
- Upon arrival:
Your 24-hour Tour Director will meet you at the airport and remain with your group until your final airport departure. You will have a private coach and driver while touring for the next 10 days.
- Continue on your journey from London to Chawton.:
- Jane Austen’s home:
Visit Jane Austen’s home at Chawton. It was here that she penned some of her most beloved works, including Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. The home is preserved as it would have been in Austen’s day, with memorabilia, first editions, and even the writer’s donkey cart helping to recreate her life.
Winchester was once the capital of ancient Wessex as well as the administrative center for the Anglo-Saxon kings until the Norman Conquest. The city is connected with Arthurian legend and is where one of Britain’s most beloved authors, Jane Austen, is buried.
- Winchester Cathedral:
Visit Winchester Cathedral, a historic medieval cathedral possessing the longest nave in Britain. This incredible structure is the resting place of many important British figures, including Jane Austen.
For the next two nights, your base will be in the Wessex area. Breakfast and dinner will be included at the hotel.
- Daily reflection and group discussion:
"We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience." - John Dewey
Every evening of the program, we’ll set time aside to update your Reflection Journal and share thoughts and impressions that have come up during the day.
Day 3 :
Glastonbury and Wells
- Continue on our journey:
Today, your group will travel from your hotel to Glastonbury.
Glastonbury is shrouded in Arthurian myth and rich in mystical associations. The town was once one of the most important destinations for pilgrims in England. The most notable and popular landmarks, Glastonbury Tor and the Abbey, are associated with the stories of King Arthur, the Holy Grail, and Joseph of Arimathea.
- Glastonbury Tor:
Climb Glastonbury Tor, located in Arthurian legend’s Avalon, where it’s said Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail.
- Glastonbury Abbey:
Explore the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, the reputed burial place of King Arthur and site of the first Christian church in England. A cutting from the famous Glastonbury Thorn, said to have miraculously sprung from the staff of St. Joseph of Arimathea, grows within the abbey grounds and continues to astonish visitors by flowering each Christmas.
- Continue on your journey from Glastonbury to Wells:
Wells is named after St. Andrew’s Well, the sacred spring that bubbles up from the ground near the 14th-century Bishop’s Palace, which is the residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Wells is famous for its magnificent cathedral but also has a charming museum featuring prehistoric finds from Wookey Hole, the impressive cave complex nearby.
- Wells Cathedral:
Visit beautiful Wells Cathedral, highlighted by 365 medieval statues of kings, knights, and saints on the West Facade as well as the unique interior scissor arches.
- Wookey Hole:
Explore Wookey Hole, an extensive cave system once inhabited by the Iron Age and Celtic peoples. These caves have given rise to numerous myths and legends, are a popular place to spend an afternoon, and are used to mature the region’s famous English cheddar, as well.
Day 4 :
Southwestern English Villages
- Continue on your journey:
Today, you’ll travel from the Wessex hotel to Dunster, Somerset, and Clovelly in Devon, before ending the day in Cornwall. Your base for the next two nights will be in the Cornwall area, where breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel.
Clovelly is a harbor village in the Torridge district of Devon. Its steep, cobbled main street, donkeys, and views over the Bristol Channel attract numerous tourists. This picturesque, ancient fishing village was once owned by the Queen of England. Also, Clovelly has no vehicular traffic.
Cornwall, in the far southwestern region of England, is recognized as one of the “Celtic Nations” by many residents and local organizations. It features numerous villages named after early Christian missionaries and its heart contains wild, stark moorland. In many places, the village is still scarred by the remains of its 4,000-year-old tin and copper mining economy. This, however, doesn’t detract from the beauty and diversity of its coastline, which is dotted with lighthouses, tiny coves, and permeated by quaint tidal rivers. Cornwall continues to retain a distinctly Celtic identity, with a unique history and culture.
Day 5 :
Birthplace of King Arthur
- Tintagel Castle:
Explore Tintagel Castle, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. The remains of the castle date from the 12th century, but recent excavations have revealed a Dark Age fortress once stood on the site.
- Visit King Arthur’s Great Halls:
Built in the early 1930s, the Great Halls originally served as the headquarters for a social organization known as “the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table.” The Order was founded in 1927 to promote Christian ideals based on the founder's interpretation of Arthurian notions of medieval chivalry.
- Bodmin Moor:
Bodmin Moor is a granite moorland in Cornwall dating from the Carboniferous period in geological history. The village is often associated with the Legends of King Arthur because it’s said that Dozmary Pool (in Bodmin Moor, close to the town of Bolventor and the real Jamaica Inn) was the location of the legendary Lady of the Lake.
Camelford is situated in the River Camel valley northwest of Bodmin Moor. Camelford has been linked to the legendary Camelot and the battle of Camlann.
Day 6 :
Roman Baths to Wales
- Continue on your journey:
Today, you’ll travel from Cornwall to Bath.
Bath is a special, beautiful city. The Romans turned it into England’s first spa resort and brilliant architects created the Neo-Classical facades that decorate the city and recall its Georgian and Victorian golden age. Jane Austen lived here and the city’s peaceful beauty inspired several of her works.
- Ancient Roman Baths:
Explore the extremely well-preserved Roman Baths, first associated with the Celtic King Bladud, and later established by the Romans in the 1st century. Step into the Pump Room, a set of elegant chambers built above the baths. The core of the Pump Room is the Grand Chamber, which looks down onto the Roman Baths. You may also have the opportunity to sample some of the spa’s natural spring water.
- Bath Abbey:
Visit Bath Abbey, founded in the seventh century and noted for its unique façade. In AD 973, the first king of England, Edgar, was crowned in the Abbey, securing its importance in the nation’s history.
- Take a walking tour through historic Bath:
On this tour, you’ll see the spectacular façade of Bath Abbey; Pulteney Bridge, featuring wonderful views of the city and the River Avon; the Circus; and the Royal Crescent, one of Britain’s finest streets.
- Continue on your journey from Bath to Brecon, Wales:
You’ll stop in Caerleon on the way.
Caerleon is a beautiful village nestled upon the River Usk in Southern Wales. Known for its archaeological importance, it’s home to many notable Roman sites. The town also has very strong literature ties, due to associations with Geoffrey of Monmouth and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Brecon is a market and minster town in Powys, mid-Wales. Gerald of Wales came here and gave some speeches in 1188 to recruit men to the Crusades.
Day 7 :
- Continue on your literary journey:
Today, you’ll travel from the Brecon Beacons to Caernarfon. Your group will stop via Corris and Betws-y-Coed. Your base for the night will be in the Caernarfon area, where breakfast and dinner will be included at the hotel.
- Brecon Beacons:
The Brecon Beacons are a mountain range in South Wales. In a narrow sense, the name refers to the range of Old Red Sandstone peaks which lie to the south of Brecon. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are said to be sleeping away the centuries in a cave in these hills.
Caernarfon is a royal town, community, and port in Gwynedd, Wales. The town is noted for its predominant percentage of native Welsh speakers.
Day 8 :
Caernarfon to Llangollen
- Caernarfon Castle:
Visit the magnificent Caernarfon Castle, built by Edward I in 1283 and where Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales.
- Continue on your journey from Caernarfon to Llangollen:
Llangollen is a community in Denbighshire on the River Dee, at the edge of the Berwyn Mountains and the Clwydian Range. This town of around 3,000 people is steeped in myth and legend. As with so many ancient Welsh towns, the name comes from its founding Saint. Llangollen was established in the seventh century when monk St. Collen was instructed to find a valley by riding a horse for one day then stopping and marking out a "parish."
- Continue on your journey from Llangollen to Hawstone:
Hawkstone Park is a historic landscape park, which formerly belonged to Hawkstone Hall, known for its follies.
- Continue on your journey from Hawkstone to Chester:
Chester has a great number of historical references, landmarks, and attractions. Founded by the Romans in AD 79, Chester still bears signs of its past with its Roman amphitheater, historic city walls, and Chester Castle all intact.
- Chester city walls:
Take a stroll along the city walls, the only complete circuit of walls that remain in Britain, from which it’s possible to glimpse bits of the original Roman wall and get a view of the grid pattern the Romans used to lay out the city.
Your base for the night will be in the Cheltenham area. While here, you’ll enjoy breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
Day 9 :
Roaming the Cotswolds
- Free time and shopping:
Enjoy some free time for shopping in the historical Rows.
- The Cotswolds:
Enjoy a breathtaking driving tour of The Cotswolds, highlighting the natural beauty of ancient limestone villages, rolling countryside, beautiful gardens, magnificent historic castles, and stately homes. The Cotswold Hills is one of the most beautiful areas of England and has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The region became wealthy in the Middle Ages through the wool trade and is characterized by captivating small towns and villages built of yellow Cotswold sandstone, set amid expansive rolling hills and grasslands.
- Room and board accommodation:
Your base for the next two nights will be in the Cotswolds, where breakfast and dinner will be included at the hotel.
Day 10 :
Sudeley Castle and Snowshill Manor
- Sudeley Castle:
Sudeley Castle is located in the Cotswolds. The present structure was built in the 15th century and may have been on the site of a 12th-century castle. The chapel, St. Mary's Sudeley, is the burial place of Queen Katherine Parr (1512-1548), the sixth wife of King Henry VIII, and contains her marble tomb. Rare copies of original books written by Katherine Parr, the first queen to have her work published, are displayed in an exhibition.
- Snowshill Manor:
Visit Snowshill Manor, a 16th-century country house best known for its 20th-century owner, Charles Paget Wade, an eccentric man who amassed an enormous collection of objects that interested him. Snowshill Manor was given to Winchcombe Abbey in 821 by King Coenwulf of Mercia. Two hundred and sixty-four years later, the village and Manor were listed in the Domesday Book (1085) as Snawesille, property of the Abbey of Saint Mary of Winchcombe.
Day 11 :
Onward to London
- Continue to the final stop of your literary journey:
Today, you’ll travel from the Cotswold area to London. For the next two evenings, you’ll enjoy the convenience of a centrally located London hotel, where daily breakfast will be included.
- London in brief:
London is the largest city in Europe—quite a feat, considering it’s on a relatively small island. Its location is perfect for an administrative, communications, and trade center, as the Romans realized when they founded their city here in AD 43. London is filled with countless historic and cultural treasures that meld seamlessly into an exciting, contemporary city. In London, the cost of public transport is included for all group sightseeing. Escorted by your Tour Director, you’ll be able to experience the city in the same manner as the locals.
- Westminster Abbey:
Visit Westminster Abbey, where English kings and queens have been crowned since 1066. Your Blue-Badge Guided Tour will include the Royal Chapels, which contains the tombs of the English monarchs, as well as Poets’ Corner, featuring memorials to many famous British literary figures.
- Included London sites:
During your time in London, your group will explore the areas of Westminster and Whitehall, including Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards Parade, Parliament Square, Downing Street, St. James's Park, and Buckingham Palace.
- Dinner in a local restaurant:
Enjoy dinner this evening in Covent Garden, home to some of the city’s liveliest restaurants, pubs, and cafés.
Day 12 :
- Thames river cruise:
Enjoy a Thames River Cruise, a relaxing way to view many of London’s most magnificent sights. Your trip will travel past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and under the famous Tower Bridge.
- Tower of London:
Visit the Tower of London, one of Britain’s most fascinating and important historical structures. Begun as a fortress by William the Conqueror, the Tower is now primarily associated with the legendary figures imprisoned and executed here over the centuries. Your visit will include the armories, a display of instruments of torture and execution, and the breathtaking Crown Jewels Exhibit.
- The Globe:
Visit and take a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Museum, housed in a reconstruction of the original theater that closed in 1642 and dedicated to the experience and international understanding of Shakespearean performance. The museum explores the costumes, special effects, music, printing, and publishing process during Shakespeare’s era.
- Dinner in a local restaurant:
This evening, you’ll dine in a local restaurant near Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, two of London’s most vibrant and lively areas.
- Final reflection and discussion session:
This evening, you’ll make the final entries in your Reflection Journal and share some of the most significant observations and perspectives that have taken shape throughout your British Literature tour. We’ll also discuss how these experiences may be most relevant for us all as we return home.
Day 13 :
Departure from London
Your rewarding and enjoyable Arthurian Legend British Literature Tour comes to an end as your Tour Director accompanies your group to the airport on your final day.