Shakespeare Country & the Cotswolds

Shakespeare Country & the Cotswolds

British Heritage Travel Magazine

Themes

  • Historical

  • Literature

Associations

  • British Heritage Travel Magazine

Shakespeare Country & the Cotswolds

British Heritage Travel Magazine

Prices From $2,390p/p

The Cotswolds is a pastoral landscape of gently rolling hills and quintessentially English villages of honey-coloured stone where time seems to have stood still. This charming scene is complemented perfectly by the treasures of historic towns and cities such as Warwick, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, where we uncover the intriguing and absorbing story of one of England’s greatest playwrights, William Shakespeare. We will be joined by a British Heritage Travel Magazine journalist for part of the tour.

Special extras included in your itinerary


• Exclusive tour, wine and canapés at Shakespeare’s Birthplace
• Guided walking tour of Stratford-upon-Avon
• Guided tour at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre
• Guided tour of Coventry Cathedral

Day 1
Arrival

On arrival at Heathrow airport, a minibus shuttle transfer will take you to our overnight hotel, the Mercure George Hotel in Reading. In the evening you are invited to join the group for dinner.

Day 2
Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh and Hidcote Manor Garden

We enjoy a scenic drive through the Cotwolds, a pastoral landscape of gently rolling hills scattered with honey-coloured stone towns and villages. Our route takes us via the picturesque village of Bourton-on-the-Water and the beautiful market towns of Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh.

Afterwards, we head to Hidcote Manor Garden, an exquisite Arts and Crafts garden. Created by the reclusive American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston, the garden is laid out as a series of colourful and intricately designed ‘rooms’ and features many plants that were collected on Johnston’s trips to far flung places.

Later, we check in to the Chesford Grange Hotel, where we spend the next five nights. Tonight, we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.

Day 3
Warwick Castle, St Mary’s Church, Lord Leycester Hospital and Shakespeare’s Birthplace

We spend the day in the historic town of Warwick. Warwick Castle has stood as an impressive medieval fortress for the last 1,100 years and remains one of the most well-preserved medieval castles in Britain. Behind the mighty walls lie grand interiors such as the Great Hall and lavish State Rooms while the atmospheric castle dungeon brings to life some of the darkest and bloodiest times in the castle’s history.

St Mary’s Church was founded in 1123 and is famous for its medieval Beauchamp Chapel with superb stained glass, medieval and Tudor tombs. The Norman foundations can still be seen in the atmospheric crypt.

Lord Leycester Hospital is a collection of superb timber-framed buildings that was, for nearly 200 years, home to Warwick’s medieval Guilds. It became a place of retirement for aged soldiers known as the Brethren in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; a legacy that continues to this day.

Back in Stratford in the evening, we visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace where, after a welcome of wine and canapés, we enjoy an exclusive tour with an expert guide. As we explore the house, costumed actors perform excerpts from Shakespeare’s works, and we also have the opportunity to view the Shakespeare’s Treasures exhibition. Our visit culminates with a taste of traditional mead.

Afterwards, there is free time in Stratford to make your own dinner arrangements before returning to the hotel on the coach. 

Day 4
Stratford-upon-Avon, New Place, Hall’s Croft, Holy Trinity Church and Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre

We enjoy a guided walking tour of Stratford-upon-Avon. Along the way, we delve further into the world of Shakespeare as we discover more of his family homes.

Shakespeare’s New Place was the family home from 1597 until Shakespeare’s death in 1616. Although the house was demolished in 1759, a beautiful garden has been designed to commemorate the importance of the site with commissioned artworks plus a sunken Knot Garden and exhibition centre.

We then take a short walk to Hall’s Croft, the elegant Jacobean home of Shakespeare's daughter Susanna and her husband Dr John Hall. The walled garden here is planted with fragrant herbs used in Dr Hall's remedies. We end our tour at Holy Trinity Church on the banks of the River Avon, where Shakespeare was baptised, worshipped, and where he is buried.

This afternoon, we visit the iconic Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. We enjoy a guided tour of the front of house areas where we take a journey from the beginnings of the theatre in 1879 to the present day, hear behind-the-scenes secrets and learn how costumes are made and how effects are achieved.

We then return to the hotel with the evening free for your own dinner arrangements.

Day 5
Kenilworth Castle, Coventry Cathedral and Coventry Transport Museum

This morning we visit Kenilworth Castle, one of England’s largest medieval fortresses and most impressive castle ruins. It was here that Robert Dudley, the great love of Elizabeth I, created an ornate palace in 1575. Explore the beautifully recreated Elizabethan Garden or enjoy panoramas over the surrounding countryside from the viewing platforms.

Our next stop is Coventry Cathedral. The Cathedral is in fact two buildings; the ruins of the ‘old Cathedral’, a medieval parish church that was bombed during the Second World War, and the ‘new Cathedral’, designed by architect Sir Basil Spence and containing some of the finest examples of 1950s and 1960s Art and Architecture in the country.

Afterwards, we visit Coventry Transport Museum. The museum traces the paths of the motor and cycle industries in Coventry over the past 150 years with a world-class collection of motor cars, commercial vehicles, cycles and motorcycles.

Back at the hotel this evening, we enjoy dinner together.

Day 6
Charlecote Park and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

While Stratford is synonymous with Shakespeare’s theatrical success, there lurks in nearby Charlecote Park’s history a far less respectable connection; the famous playwright is rumoured to have been caught poaching deer here. Home to the Lucy family for 900 years, this lovely Tudor manor is a real treasure.

In the afternoon, we travel to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the setting of the young Shakespeare’s courtship with his future bride. Here we can see original furniture and uncover the stories of 13 generations of the Hathaway family who lived here. There are also nine acres of beautiful cottage gardens to enjoy.
The evening is free for you to make your own dinner arrangements.

Day 7
Blenheim Palace and Oxford

We leave our hotel in Kenilworth and head first to Blenheim Palace, set in beautiful parkland landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. As the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, the palace is synonymous with the Churchill family and is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. A permanent exhibition commemorates the life of this famous wartime Prime Minister, whilst the magnificent State Rooms reveal a superb collection of tapestries, paintings, porcelain and furniture.

We then make our way to Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, famed for its world-renowned university colleges. The city is crammed with stunning architecture such as the Ashmolean, Britain’s oldest public museum (entry is free), and the wonderful Bodleian Library.

We continue on to the Mercure George Hotel, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.

Day 8
Departure

A minibus shuttle transfer, departing at 8.30am, will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.

What’s Included

• Shared airport transfers from London Heathrow*
• 2 nights at the Mercure George Hotel
• 5 nights at the Chesford Grange Hotel
• Full English breakfast each day
• 4 dinners (with after dinner tea and coffee)
• Services of a tour director throughout your stay
• Travel to and from all excursions
• All entrance costs
• Porterage

*supplement applies for transfers from all other airports

Minibus shuttle transfer times:
Sunday, September 16: departs from Heathrow at midday
Sunday, September 23: departs from the Mercure George Hotel at 8.30am

Special extras included in your itinerary 

• Exclusive tour, wine and canapés at Shakespeare’s Birthplace
• Guided walking tour of Stratford-upon-Avon
• Guided tour at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre
• Guided tour of Coventry Cathedral

Nights One and Seven - Mercure George Hotel, Reading

Nights Two to Six - Chesford Grange Hotel
The Chesford Grange Hotel is located on the outskirts of the town of Kenilworth. Set in 17 acres of beautiful grounds on the edge of the River Avon, the hotel offers historic charm coupled with contemporary glamour. The hotel offers luxurious bedrooms, a restaurant and bar with decked terrace overlooking the gardens. Leisure facilities include a swimming pool, steam room and gym.