Great Britain has it all. A rich historic legacy makes it a fascinating place to visit; you can marvel at mystical 5000 year old Stonehenge, check out Hadrian’s Wall or tour the Tower of London. And then you have modern Britain, encapsulated nowhere better than in dynamic London, which stands proud at the centre of it all. It’s a city at the forefront of cutting-edge trends, from incredible global cuisine to world-class art, but yet it still manages to cling on to its archaic traditions. You could easily spend a week here, but the Cotswolds beckons, the Britain that you see on the postcards; rolling green hills and impossibly picturesque villages, together with some beautiful country hotels.
In the magnificent cathedral cities of the likes of Canterbury, York and Durham, you’re never far from an intriguing castle or stately home, and the prestigious university cities of Oxford and Cambridge are bursting with history and beautiful architecture. The dramatic landscapes of the Lake District and Peak District make for some brilliant walks, as does rugged Snowdonia in Wales and the Scottish Highlands; all are filled with mountainous peaks, lakes, valleys and breathtaking views. Explore the Tudor streets of Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, check out majestic Bath and its Roman bathhouses and don’t miss handsome Edinburgh. You’re never more than 70 miles from the sea in Britain, and one of the best places to experience it is in Cornwall, which has miles of stunning coastline to traverse.
The itinerary below is just an example of what is possible. It might work perfectly for you, or you may want something completely different. Either way, we hope that it serves as inspiration for you and gives you some ideas. Remember that every aspect of the itinerary can be tailored to your individual tastes by our specialists.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND
Enjoy three whirlwind days in dynamic London, visit prestigious Oxford, slow the pace down in the gorgeous postcard perfect villages of the Cotswolds, experience the historic cities of Bath and Edinburgh, and venture into the stunning Scottish highlands.
DAY 1-3: LONDON
Start your journey in London, where you will be met at the airport by your personal Taste Travel driver. Your home for the next three nights will be The Covent Garden Hotel right in the heart of theatreland, an intimate and discreet boutique hotel which beautifully combines traditional and hip design.
Arguably the world’s greatest city, London is rich with fascinating history, striking architecture, world-class museums, glorious art, fabulous shopping, and to cap it all off, it’s now considered by many (including us!) as the food capital of the world. Kick off your trip with a private black cab and walking tour around the city with proud Londoner Graham; he will show you all the main attractions and bring the city to life with his endless knowledge. Whether exploring the big-ticket sights such as the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey or the Tate Modern, wandering through the endless backstreets, or feasting in the atmospheric Borough Market, London is always beguiling and exciting. There is simply always something to see or do.
Stop for a sumptuous afternoon tea in one of London’s grand hotels, and spend your evenings dining in the fantastic restaurants that we book for you, tailored to your personal tastes. Then move on to experience bustling Soho or mingle with the locals in the trendy bars of Shoreditch and Hoxton, and be enthralled by one of London’s many superb musicals.
DAY 4-5: OXFORD
Board the train for the one hour journey to Oxford, where you will be staying at the stunning country hotel, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, home to world-renowned chef Raymond Blanc and his two Michelin starred restaurant, which puts a focus on organic, seasonal produce sourced from the hotel’s gardens. Dining here is a culinary experience not to be missed. You will even be able to enjoy hands-on learning in the hotel’s excellent Cookery School.
Being one of the world’s most famous university cities, Oxford has an incredible history. Meet up with your private guide and walk in the footsteps of Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein as you explore the elegant colleges of the university. The city really does make a fine place for a stroll. Stop for lunch at a great little pub that we know, and then nip out to Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of England’s finest stately homes.
DAY 6-7: THE COTSWOLDS
The Cotswolds is the England that you see on the postcards; picturesque countryside of rolling green hills, lovely quaint villages with honey-coloured stone cottages and winding lanes, and rickety old pubs with great ales.
You will take a drive around this beautiful area of the country with your private driver, before ending up at Foxhill Manor; a private house hotel of just eight gorgeous rooms, and the perfect base from which to take leisurely walks around the countryside, and then come back to enjoy the hotel and spa.
DAY 8-9: BATH
Continue your journey with a stop in Bath, a beautiful, cosmopolitan city with magnificently grand Georgian architecture, encapsulated nowhere better than the sweeping Royal Crescent. It also has one of the world’s best-preserved Roman bathhouses, built above Bath’s natural hot springs.
The Gainsborough will be your home for a couple of nights. It has a great restaurant and spa, however a trip to the Thermae Spa and a swim in the open-air rooftop pool with city-wide views is a wonderful experience.
DAY 10-12: EDINBURGH
It’s now time to leave England behind and catch a flight to Scotland’s capital. Edinburgh is an enchanting city boasting an Old Town filled with ancient lanes and alleyways, world famous festivals, fantastic restaurants and a lively nightlife scene. You will have the benefit of a local guide showing you the historic sights such as Edinburgh Castle. You may also wish to indulge in a whisky tasting session.
The luxury hotel The Balmoral will be your base, situated right in Edinburgh’s heart.
DAY 13-14: FORT WILLIAM
Today you’ll take to the roads on a breath-taking drive towards Loch Ness, passing through some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland. Your destination will be Inverlochy Castle in the West Highlands, a truly awe-inspiring setting amongst mountains, glens and lochs, and the hotel itself matches the majesty of its surroundings. Queen Victoria visited Inverlochy and noted, “I never saw a lovelier or romantic spot”.
Spend your days enjoying walks in the countryside amongst the abundance of wildlife, fishing, hunting, or even climbing Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis. And then there’s Albert and Michel Roux Jr’s restaurant in the hotel to look forward to after a tiring but rewarding day out and about.
Transfer back to London on a flight from Inverness, ready for your flight home.