Thursday 31 Auckland - London
Depart Auckland on Air New Zealand
Friday 01 London - Oxford D
On arrival at London Heathrow airport, travel by coach to the university town of Oxford for a two night stay. A welcome dinner is included tonight.
Saturday 02 Oxford B
This morning, set out on a walking tour of Oxford, a city of spires and home to 38 colleges. We see highlights of some of these, hear of famous literary figures such as Tolken, CS Lewis and Oscar Wilde. The afternoon is free to perhaps hire a punt on the Broads, follow in the footsteps of Alice in Wonderland or take in an evening Oxford pub tour.
Sunday 03 Oxford – Tewkesbury B
After breakfast, a leisurely day travelling through some of England’s gentle and picturesque countryside and villages. Arrive in Tewkesbury to enjoy afternoon tea, shop, plus a guided visit to Tewkesbury Abbey - famous for its stained glass windows.
Our hotel tonight dates from the 15th century. Queen Mary stayed there in 1937 which is how it was bestowed its Royal title and Charles Dickens mentions the hotel in his book The Pickwick Papers.
Monday 04 Tewkesbury - Bath B L D
Today travel through the Cotswolds with its golden stone buildings, English gardens and village pubs. See Cirencester and Tetbury where we visit Highgrove Gardens – the country home of Prince Charles and Camilla. Prince Charles started from scratch in 1980 and the garden is entirely organic. He sought advice from Lady Salisbury, an experienced organic gardener and Miriam Rothschild a leader in biodiversity. After lunch, drive to the Roman city of Bath for a two night stay.
Tuesday 05 Bath B L
Today, experience a cruise on the local canals – a day to relax and enjoy.
Wednesday 06 Bath - Tavistock B D
After breakfast, travel to Cheddar Gorge, Britain’s most dramatic gorge with 138m high cliffs. Continue via Glastonbury and Exeter across Dartmoor National Park (famed for its rugged, desolate beauty and once upon a time its wild ponies) to the market town of Tavistock in West Devon. (Birthplace of Sir Francis Drake).
Thursday 07 Tavistock - Marazion B D
Our coach journey allows us to visit the Eden Project, an environmental complex containing the world's largest greenhouse. It was built in a disused clay pit to study plant populations in a variety of environments
The next three night’s stay is in a delightful but little-known coastal Cornish town of Marazion.
Friday 08 Sightseeing B
An easy touring day of the Penwith Peninsula that includes Mousehole, one of the most picturesque harbours in the south-west, a visit to open air Minack Theatre set on the coastal cliffs, a walk to Lands’ End then on to St Ives, the once internationally-famous artistic centre
Saturday 09 Marazion B
Meet the locals day. Marazion is famous for its island castle, St Michael’s Mount. Access from the town is by a man-made causeway, passable at low tide or boat. The Mount has a historical link to its sister isle in Normandy, Mont St Michel. A guided visit is planned.
Sunday 10 Marazion – Taunton B D
Our journey takes us to Bodmin Moor and the Jamacia Inn, scene of Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name and reputedly a haven during the great smuggler days. On to Tintangel, of King Arthur legend on the west coast of Cornwall, then through Devon, ending the day in the Somerset town of Taunton.
Monday 11 Taunton – New Forest area (Passford House) B D
Today we drive through the thatched-cottaged valley of Bratton Downs where the famous Whitehorse adorns the hillside and onto Salisbury, famous for its cathedral. From there, through the 90,000 acre New Forest, planted 1000 years ago and later became a royal hunting reserve for William the Conqueror.
It is mixture of villages, grazing rights, animals in the wild, including different types of deer, donkeys and hundreds of ponies. Note: these animals have the right of way on the road.
Tuesday 12 New Forest - Ryde (Isle of Wight) B D
A forty minute ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth followed by a sightseeing tour of the southern coast.
The Isle of Wight has a milder sub climate than other areas of the UK which makes it a popular holiday destination. The Isle is also sunnier with 1,800 – 2,100 hours of sunshine a year and has a longer growing season.
Wednesday 13 Isle of Wight B D
Queen Victoria made Osborne House on the Isle of Wight her summer home for many years and, as a result, it became a major holiday resort for fashionable Victorians including Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Charles Dickens (who wrote much of David Copperfield there), Queen Victoria died at Osborne House on 22 January 1901, aged 81.
The world's first radio station was set up by Marconi in 1897 at the Needles Battery, at the western tip of the island.
During the Second World War the island was frequently bombed. With its proximity to France the island had a number of observation stations and transmitters.
The Needles battery was used as the site for testing and development of the Black Arrow and Black Knight space rockets, subsequently launched from Woomera, Australia.
Sightseeing today takes in Newport and Cowes. Cowes Week is one of the yachting world’s traditional regattas.
Cowes is also where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had their holiday home. A visit Osborne House is included.
Thursday 14 Ryde –Eastbourne B L D
Our ferry returns us to the mainland at Portsmouth, from there we will visit the remote countryside area of Hambledon, renowned as the early home of cricket. We lunch at this historical spot at the Bat and Ball Inn.
Next comes Emsworth and a stop-off at Peter Blake’s Memorial.
From there we coach the southern coast through the familiar towns of Chichester and Brighton for an overnight stay at Eastbourne on the Sussex coast.
Friday 15 Eastbourne– London B L
Another major historical stop. A few miles out of Hastings is the town of ‘Battle’, famous for the ‘1066’ Battle, an event that profoundly changed the world. King Harold supposedly died from a stray arrow in the eye and the Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror) who invaded from France, became King of England.
Continue on to London to our accommodation in Hackney – East London.
Saturday 16 London B D
Today, visit Buckingham Palace where our four hour tour will include the Queen’s Gallery, the Royal Mews and the Staterooms.
Rest of day at leisure.
Tonight we have our Farewell Dinner.
Sunday 17 Depart London B
For those returning to New Zealand, coach transfer to Heathrow for departure flight.
Cross the dateline
Tuesday 19 Arrive Auckland
*Itinerary subject to change