Including The Chelsea Flower Show
Tuesday, May 16 ? Thursday, May 25, 2023
Ten Days ? Eight Nights
Nowhere in the world is the passion for horticulture expressed more vividly than in Britain, where gardens have served as inspiration for painters, writers and poets for centuries. From great country estates to miniscule inner-city gardens, the British use their exceptionally long growing season to fullest advantage, and we?ve timed your visit to bring you the best of English gardens.
This is your invitation to see some of England?s most famous gardens at a time of year when color runs rampant. You will visit the Royal Horticultural Society?s flagship garden at Wisley, Kiftsgate and Hidcote Manor. Royal schedules permitting, you will also take a private tour of Prince Charles? estate at Highgrove. You will explore Christopher Lloyd?s gardens at Great Dixter, that offer innovative ideas set against a backdrop of topiary, mixed borders and natural ponds. Additional highlights include time in the Georgian city of Bath, and visits to many other magnificent gardens, including Sissinghurst, Iford Manor and Stourhead.
In London you will have a full day at the Chelsea Flower Show. Your tour includes membership in the Royal Horticultural Society so that you may attend on members-only day when the crowds are smaller than on the public days. There will also be free time in
London to explore famous sights, museums and galleries you may wish to visit, from the Tate to the tiny Museum of Garden History.
Come along and join other garden lovers for a stroll through the most impressive English gardens. This trip is a quintessential celebration of springtime.
Day One, Tuesday, May 16: Board your overnight flight to London.
Day Two, Wednesday, May 17: Upon arrival, you?ll be met for the transfer to your hotel in Windsor, for a single night stay. (Castle Hotel or similar.) Depending upon your arrival time, you may not be able to check into your rooms, however the hotel will store your luggage. Your tour guide will gladly make suggestions of eateries were you may have lunch on your own.
Once you have checked in, there will be time to unpack and relax. Then head out on an excursion to nearby Windsor Castle for an afternoon tour.
Regroup this evening for a welcome dinner served at the hotel.
Day Three, Thursday, May 18:
After breakfast, check out of your rooms, board the coach and travel west. Your first stop is at Hampton Court, the magnificent palace on the River Thames, built by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514 and given to Henry VIII. The palace went on to become one of Henry's
favored residences and soon after acquiring the property, he arranged for it to be enlarged so that it might more easily accommodate his sizeable retinue of courtiers.
The grounds as they appear today, were laid out in grand style in the late 17th century. There are no authentic remains of Henry VIII's gardens, merely a small knot garden, planted in 1924, which hints at the gardens' 16th-century appearance. Today, the dominating feature of the grounds is the great landscaping scheme constructed for Sir Christopher Wren's intended new palace. A well-known curiosity of the palace's grounds is Hampton Court Maze, planted in the 1690?s. It was originally planted with hornbeam and it has been repaired latterly using many different types of hedge.
Your visit includes a tour of the palace and extensive gardens. There will be time for lunch on your own at one of the on-site eateries.
Board the coach mid afternoon and continue your travels to the city of Bath for a three-night stay. (The Francis Hotel or similar.) Enjoy time to unpack, refresh and get oriented to the property. Gather this evening for an included dinner served at the hotel.
Day Four, Friday, May 19:
Enjoy an included breakfast in the hotel before you board the coach and head out for a lovely day in the gardens. This morning begins with a visit to Barnsley House and masterpiece garden created by Rosemary Verey, one of the most influential gardeners of the 20th century. You will spend the morning at Rosemary Verey?s personal garden where you will have a tour led by the head gardener. You?ll have an opportunity to see
how the ideas and designs from her many books and articles are reflected everywhere in this glorious space.
Depart Barnsley House and gather for an included lunch served at the Village Pub. After lunch, you will visit Highgrove House, the family residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The gardens at Highgrove have been open to the public since 1996. The gardens of the late 18th century home were over grown and untended when Charles first moved in but have since flourished and now include rare trees, flowers and heirloom seeds. Current
organic gardening techniques have allowed the gardens to serve also as a sustainable habitat for birds and wildlife.
The gardens were designed by Charles in consultation with highly regarded gardeners like Rosemary Verey and noted naturalist, Miriam Rothschild. The gardens receive more than 30,000 visitors a year. The house and gardens are run according to the Prince of Wales' environmental principles and have been the subject of several books and television programs. Your visit includes a private tour. (Visit is subject to the Royal schedules.)
Depart the gardens late afternoon and travel back to the hotel. There will be time at your leisure to visit the shops and explore the charming village. Dinner is on your own this evening. Your tour guide will offer suggestions for places to eat.
Day Five, Saturday, May 20:
Following breakfast in the hotel, board the coach and head out to visit a most exquisite property, the Iford Manor. Iford was rated as among the "20 most beautiful villages in the UK and Ireland" by Cond? Nast Traveler in 2020, with the manor taking "center stage.?
The origins of the present house are as early as the late 15th century or the early 16th.
Iford is best known for its beautiful gardens, which are designated Grade I in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England. They were designed during the early part of the 20th century by the garden architect, Harold Peto. He lived at Iford from 1899 until his death in 1933 during which time he built up an extensive collection of antiquities and artifacts, brought back from his travels abroad. His great love of the Italian garden style is plainly evident at Iford, where flowers occupy a subordinate place amongst the more structural elements of cypress, statuary, hedges, water features and broad walks.
Depart Iford and travel back to Bath. Upon arrival, you will visit the Roman Baths, perhaps the best-preserved Roman remains in Britain.
The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore the city, shop and relax. Gather for an included dinner served at a locals? favorite restaurant.
Day Six, Sunday, May 21:
Start your day with another hearty breakfast in the hotel. Board the coach and head out for a day filled with grandeur.
Your first stop is in the village of Stourton, home of the magnificent Stourhead and its gardens. The property is the site of one of the most famous gardens in the English landscape garden style, farmland and woodland.
The gardens were designed by Henry Hoare II and laid out between 1741 and 1780 in a classical 18th-century design set around a large lake, achieved by damming a small stream. The inspiration behind their creation were the painters Claude Lorrain, Poussin, and, in particular, Gaspard Dughet, who painted Utopian-type views of Italian landscapes.
Monuments are used to frame one another; for example the Pantheon entices the visitor over, but once reached, views from the opposite shore of the lake beckon. The use of the sunken path allows the landscape to continue on into neighboring landscapes, allowing the viewer to contemplate the surrounding panorama. The Pantheon was thought to be the most important visual feature of the gardens. It appears in many pieces of artwork owned by Hoare. The plantings in the garden were arranged in a manner that would evoke different moods, drawing visitors through realms of thought. According to Henry Hoare, 'The greens should be ranged together in large masses as the shades are in painting: To contrast the dark masses with the light ones, and to relieve each dark mass itself with little sprinklings of lighter greens here and there.?
After a stop for lunch on your own, depart for Lacock Abbey.The Abbey was founded in the 1200s by the Countess of Salisbury as a nunnery for the Augustinian order. It has been featured in films including Harry Potter, Wolf Hall and Pride & Prejudice.
Return to the hotel late afternoon. The remainder of the day and dinner are on your own.
Day Seven, Monday, May 22:
Check out of your rooms after breakfast and say goodbye to Bath. On your way to London, you will stop at the 240-acre flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley. Wisley is the second most visited paid entry garden in the United Kingdom. It is the jewel in the crown of the RHS and has been a living encyclopedia for gardeners for the past 100 years. In addition to
numerous formal and informal decorative gardens, several glasshouses and an extensive arboretum, it includes small scale "model gardens" which are intended to show visitors what they can achieve in their own gardens. There is also a trials field where new cultivars are assessed.
There will be time for lunch on your own followed by a tour the garden?s highlights led by one of the local gardeners. You will also have free time to browse the charming Wisley store.
Depart Wisley and travel on to London where you will arrive at your hotel for a three- night stay. (The Rembrandt Hotel or similar.) There will be time to explore the area around the hotel and to relax and refresh. Gather for an included dinner served in the hotel?s lovely restaurant.
Day Eight, Tuesday, May 23:
Start your day with breakfast in the hotel. Then board the coach and travel to Great Dixter House and Gardens. Upon arrival, you will have a tour of the garden of Christopher Lloyd, who devoted his life to developing one of the most exciting and experimental gardens of our time. His gardens incorporate medieval buildings, yew topiary and a tapestry of mixed borders, including the famous Long Border. Depart Dixter House and continue on to Sissinghurst.
With a stop along the way for lunch on your own, you will arrive early afternoon. Sissinghurst was created by Vita Sackville-West, poet and writer, and her husband, Harold Nicolson, author and diplomat. She and Nicolson transformed a farmstead of "squalor and slovenly disorder" into one of the world's most influential gardens. They created 10 gardens spread over a 6-acre area. Harold, a classicist, utilized the walls and buildings that were already in place, while Vita devised the inspired planting schemes, grouping plants according to color, texture and season. It is among the most famous gardens in England.
Day Nine, Wednesday, May 24:
Start your day with an included breakfast served in the hotel. Today is your day to visit Britain?s most famous spring garden event, the Chelsea Flower Show. The show gardens, each an exquisite jewel of design and execution, are created by the finest international landscape designers. During your visit, have lunch on your own at one of the restaurants, cafes or food courts positioned around the show.
After a full day of exploring the exhibits at your leisure, make your way back to the hotel to relax and refresh. As an option, you may wish to visit some of the nearby attractions.
Regroup this evening for an included farewell dinner served at the hotel.
Day Ten, Thursday, May 25:
Check out of your rooms after breakfast in the hotel. Board your included morning transfer to the London Heathrow Airport for return flights to the U.S.A. departing after 2:00 pm.
Your Package Includes:
? 8 Nights accommodations
? 8 Breakfasts
? 1 Lunch
? 5 Dinners
? Guided tour of Windsor Castle
? Guided tour at Rosemary Verey?s garden at Barnsley House
? Private tour at Highgrove
? Visit to Iford Manor and the Peto Garden
? Stop at the Roman Baths
? Free time to explore Bath
? Visit to Stourhead Gardens
? Stop at the Lacock Abbey
? Guided tour at Wisley, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society
? Stop at Dixter with guided tour of the Christopher Lloyd Garden
? Visit to Sissinghurst
? Free time to explore London
? Admission to the Chelsea Flower
? Transfers to/from the London Heathrow Airport
? Private motor coach transportation throughout the itinerary
? Baggage service for one piece of luggage per traveler
? Full-time, local tour guide
? Full-time tour managing service by Teresa Watkins
? Taxes and fees
Note: Airfare is not included in the prices below.
Prices and itinerary are subject to change.
? Per person double occupancy: 4,757.00
? Per person single occupancy: 5,964.00
30 Whitecap Road, Colchester, VT 05446