Travel to England in 2017

The quaint fairy tale village of Castle Combe at the border between the Cotswolds and Wiltshire with its characteristic bridge. Rural England at its best.

The quaint fairy tale village of Castle Combe at the border between the Cotswolds and Wiltshire with its characteristic bridge. Rural England at its best.

Imagine it. You, and me, and a dozen or so of our new best friends, wandering through cobblestone streets in ancient towns, exploring little hidden gems, staying in sweet, authentic B&B’s, and every day experiencing the glory of the English choral tradition in the very cathedrals and abbeys for which the music was originally composed. Sound good?

Then you will want to join me on one of three tours in 2017, as I lead a small group throughout some of the best music and history spots in Southern England. We’ll be visiting places like Ely, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, Winchester, and a day out in the Cotswolds in Cirencester.  At each spot we’ll have a tour to learn the history, then have free time to explore, and then meet back up to experience the Evensong service (if that’s your thing – if not, no pressure to attend!).

Along the way we will enjoy a private concert, and a singing clinic where we’ll get to sing come 16th century choral music in an amazing historic location (these secrets will be revealed soon!).

This is a once in a lifetime tour designed around the Anglican choral tradition, which is so unique and special. Every person who attends will be given special course information covering the Anglican choral tradition, and each place we’re visiting, available four months before each tour. There will be lots of time to learn in advance, and then see the places we’ve spent so much time learning about!


Dates and Details:

April 27-May 6 2017: Book in now with a $750 deposit to hold your place
October 12-21, 2017: Book in now with a $750 deposit to hold your place
November 9-18, 2017: Book in now with a $750 deposit to hold your place

Or, if you don’t want to pay online, you can fill out this form and mail it back to us.
2017-reservation-form


Package Includes:

  • Small group of maximum 18 travelers guaranteed
  • 10 nights in accommodations that evoke the local character
  • all hotel taxes
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 15 meals: 9 breakfasts, 1 luncheon & 5 dinners
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Thanks to our small group size, we can unobtrusively slip into our destinations, get to know each other, and get to know the locals and the real England.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive and gather in Windsor;  Welcome Dinner
Meet the new friends with whom you’ll be traveling through our tour as we all gather for a casual dinner. We’ll stay  in Windsor right across the street from Windsor Castle and get to know each other over evening dinner in a traditional English pub. Need a ride from Heathrow? We’ll pick you up there for free, or arrange your airport transfer.

PictureDay 2: Ely
After a full breakfast, our private coach drives northeast to Ely,  a delightfully accessible, tiny city positively steeped in history.  Built around its awesome 11th century cathedral, Ely was named for the many eels which abound in the River Great Ouse which winds through town. You’ll arrive in time for lunch at your leisure in one of the many pubs or eateries near the cathedral, where we’ll meet after lunch.

Our group will take a private tour of the cathedral and the famed Octagon and Lantern towers, as well as the adjoining Stained Glass Museum, which features a fascinating look at 800 years of glass art in the United Kingdom.

Then, choose either a leisurely self-guided stroll along the Eel Trail and around the small city center, or join us for an exclusive- guided tour of Oliver Cromwell’s House near the cathedral. You’ll learn about the English civil war and experience life as it was when the Lord Protector lived here between 1630 and 1640.

At 5:30 we’ll assemble again at the West Tower for Ely Cathedral’s famed Evensong service.

Following Evensong, we board our bus and head directly to the Doubletree Hotel in central Cambridge. Dinner is on your own at any of a variety of pubs or inns near the hotel.

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Day 3: Cambridge

The exquisite architecture and laid back vibe of this university town is world renowned, and we’ll spend our entire day here today.  After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll partake in an award-winning two-hour general city walking tour followed by lunch.

The afternoon is yours to explore.  If you’d like a specialized tour of the college, we can recommend one, or if you’d like to kick back on a personal chauffeured punt tour on the river Cam, that’s easy to arrange. Maybe shopping is more your style — Cambridge’s market reputation has been going strong since Saxon times and is known for a fine selection of books, recorded music, and antiques.

Evensong services in Cambridge are world renowned, and we’ll gather outside of the King’s chapel to enjoy the sung evening service in this space that was designed by Henry VI in the mid 15th century, and finally completed by Henry VIII.  The screens in the choir are still a testament to his marital woes: look for the  carved intertwined H’s and A’s –- they’re a testament to his short lived marriage to his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

Find some new friends and head out for dinner or drinks at your leisure, but be sure to get some sleep in your room at the Doubletree. Tomorrow we’ll head to a rival university town, Oxford.

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Day 4: Oxford

Following the supplied breakfast at your hotel, we board our coach for a two-hour ride to Oxford. Studious and serious but never stuffy, Oxford is a delightful place to ramble or rent a bicycle. We can supply you with maps and routes if you;d like to explore it on your own… Or you can come with us on a two-hour included city tour to see Christ College, the Bodleian Library, and the Radcliffe Camera: the library’s beautiful circular reading room.

We’ll then meet up at 6 pm at Christ College, for Evensong service.

Dinner will be on your own.

Day 5: Oxford to Cirencester

Following breakfast at the hotel, we will spend the morning seeing anything in Oxford that we may have missed yesterday, heading to some of the better kept secrets that tourists often miss. After an authentic afternoon tea in The Grand Cafe, overlooking the High Street, we’ll head back to the bus and make our way to Cirencester, which was a leading capital city in Roman Britain.

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Day 6:  Cirencester and the Cotswolds  In Roman times Cirencester was England’s second-largest city, just after Lundene, as London was known. Today it’s regarded as the charming capital of the Cotswolds, England’s quintessential idyll of thatched-roof homes and lush meadows. It’s rural, quaint England as you’ve dreamt it.

We’ll stay in the Fleece in the heart of the town which you’re free to explore at leisure today. There’s lots to see within walking distance of the hotel, including one of the best collections of Roman artifacts in Britain at the Corinium Museum, and the thousand year old Parish church, but you can also choose to head out into the countryside in the afternoon with us to see some thatched-roof villages and enjoy a late lunch together in the striking scenery.

In the evening we’ll meet back up for dinner, and a private concert by a leading early music ensemble.

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Day 7: Bath

The Romans first settled in Bath because of the hot springs, which were said by the Celts to have unique healing properties.  Today we will head there and tour the Roman baths, and then you can explore on your own (the same spring waters are available for soaking in a modern setting, with a luxurious spa recently opened next to the Roman building).  If you’d rather explore the famous Jane Austen history in Bath, we can direct you to the best sites and walking tours.  We’ll meet back up for evensong service at the magnificent cathedral, and then have dinner together before our drive back to Cirencester.


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Day 8: to Salisbury

Salisbury will be our base for the final leg of our tour.  After breakfast at the hotel in Cirencester, we will drive to Salisbury, seeing Stonehenge on the way.  We will have the afternoon free in Salisbury, and meet up for Choral Evensong in the Salisbury Cathedral.

PictureDay 9: Winchester

Winchester was the capital city of Wessex, the Anglo Saxon kingdom whose most famous King, Alfred, dreamt of a united England, called Englaland.   Seven hundred years later, its cathedral saw the marriage of Mary Tudor (Henry VIII’s oldest daughter) to Phillip II of Spain. We will tour the cathedral, and the castle ruins, and you then have the afternoon at leisure to explore on your own.

Day 10: Back to Windsor

Today will be a quiet day as we head back to Windsor, which will be our final stopping off point for those of you journeying home from Heathrow. You can catch up on anything you missed when we were here to start with, make any last minute purchases, and rest up for your flights home. In the evening we will gather for a grand finale dinner, where we will celebrate our new friendships, and our shared experiences.

Day 11: Depart London

Back to London and depart for home with a memory card full of photos, new friends, and steeped in history and music so that you can now practically recite entire antiphons in your sleep.  If you decide you’d like to stay on in London at your leisure, we’d be happy to help you plan some activities (such as Evensong services at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s) and find the best deals on lodging.

Costs:
11 Day Tour:  $2850 plus airfare
if you need assistance booking your plane ticket to London, let us know and we can help you find the best deals with the least amount of travel time.
Book now with a $750 deposit to hold your spot, then arrange the payment schedule. Credit cards accepted.

What’s Included:

  • Small group of maximum 14 travelers guaranteed with Heather as your full time guide, available to answer any questions you have both before the trip from the time you book, until you leave England
  • 9 nights in accommodations that evoke the local character
  • all hotel taxes
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 15 meals: 9 breakfasts, 1 luncheon & 5 dinners
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Thanks to our small group size, we can unobtrusively slip into our destinations, get to know each other, and get to know the locals and the real England.

Interested in joining us on the tour? Email me with questions, or book in now to reserve your spot. Use this form if you don’t want to book online, but would rather send in your reservation: 2017-reservation-form

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