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Wednesday, September 17
Arriving in London after your overnight flight, you will travel from Gatwick or Heathrow Airport by motor coach to the Langham, where you will enjoy quintessentially British accommodations at one of the city’s most prestigious hotels. Use your free time to unpack, unwind, enjoy the amenities of the Langham Club floor, and have lunch on your own either at the hotel or in one of the many nearby restaurants. Enjoy an afternoon exploring London, and in the evening, get to know your fellow travelers at our reception and dinner at the Langham.
* Itinerary is subject to change.
Thursday, September 18
Kent and London
Chartwell, Chatham Dockyards
After breakfast at the hotel—all breakfasts are included on this trip—we depart for Chartwell, the family home and gardens of Sir Winston Churchill. Much-loved and the place from which Sir Winston drew inspiration from 1924 until the end of his life, Chartwell is very special. The rooms remain much as they were when he lived here, with pictures, books, and personal mementos evoking the career and wide-ranging interests of a great statesman, writer, painter, and family man. The hillside gardens reflect Sir Winston’s love of the landscape and nature. They include the lakes he created, the kitchen garden, and Marycot, a playhouse designed for his youngest daughter Mary. Beyond the gardens there is an expanse of woodland with looped trails, natural play areas, and swings.
After lunch (provided), we visit the Chatham Historic Dockyards, the setting for Call the Midwife. We will be greeted by our very own 'midwife' next to the Second World War Destroyer HMS CAVALIER and be taken on a guided one-and-half-hour tour of the various filming locations used for the popular television drama series Call the Midwife.
This tour traces the bicycle tracks of Chummy, Jenny, Trixie, and friends along the cobbles. We will hear stories of what it was like to be an extra on the set and learn interesting facts about how the dockyard was magically transformed back into the 1950s. After our tour we will enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. We then return to the Langham where you can enjoy dinner on your own at one of the many exciting restaurants in London—and perhaps take in a play or a concert.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
London and Surrey
Byfleet Manor, Hampton Court Palace, the London Eye
This morning we take a panoramic tour of the places in London that Downton Abbey has used as location sites—including St. Pancras Station (the meeting place of Michael and Lady Edith) and Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which serve as the background to Rosamund, Edith, and Rose’s evening strolls.
We then visit Byfleet Manor, which has served as the residence of the Dowager Countess—Violet Crawley—in Downton Abbey. An exclusive private residence, one steeped in history, Byfleet Manor is surrounded by magical gardens, a meandering river, and has its own private island.
After exploring Byfleet Manor we have lunch and continue to Hampton Court.
Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, in the historic county of Middlesex; it has not been inhabited by the British Royal Family since the eighteenth century. It was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favorite of King Henry VIII; however, in 1529, as Wolsey fell from favor, the palace was passed to the King, who enlarged it.
In the century that followed, King William III’s massive rebuilding and expansion project intended to rival Versailles was begun. Work halted in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque. While the palace’s styles are an accident of fate, a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a symmetrical, albeit vague, balancing of successive low wings.
Apart from the palace itself and its gardens, other points of interest for visitors include the celebrated maze, the historic real tennis court, and the huge grape vine, reputed to be the largest in the world.
To top off the day, in the late afternoon/early evening we enjoy a sweeping panoramic view of London and a glass of champagne aboard the 442-foot-high EDF Energy London Eye, the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe.
We then return to London for dinner on your own (the Langham Club has a wonderful lounge that serves heavy hors d’oeuvres in the evening if you do not feel like venturing out into the city).
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
We depart for a morning tour of London’s West End and Buckingham Palace. This is the only time of the year that Buckingham Palace is open to visitors, and there is always a special exhibition. This fall the subject of the exhibit is Royal Childhood. The exhibition tells the story of life as a young member of the royal family at Buckingham Palace. Included are paintings, photographs, favorite toys and clothing, many items of which will be on display for the first time.
Enjoy lunch on your own and a free afternoon and evening in one of the world’s most exciting cities.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Wiltshire and Bath
Salisbury and Wiltshire House
Today we say farewell—temporarily—to the Langham and make our way to Bath. After breakfast and checkout we travel to Salisbury where we have free time to explore the town and an option to visit the cathedral (at your own cost).
Salisbury Cathedral is a truly remarkable building, a testimony to the faith and practical skills of the medieval craftsmen who built it.
We lunch in Salisbury and then head to Wilton House for the afternoon.
By special permission from the Earl of Pembroke, who is providing us with one of the highlights of the trip, we are able to take a private tour of Wilton House. The house, which stands on the site of a ninth-century nunnery founded by King Alfred, contains many splendid state rooms, including the magnificent Double Cube room, which contains a world-famous collection of van Dyck paintings. This room, among others, has offered producers the perfect setting for programs such as Sense and Sensibility, Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown, Pride and Prejudice, and films such as The Madness of King George and The Young Victoria. Wilton House has been welcoming film crews for many years as it offers a wide range of locations for cinema, television, and stills photography. The magnificent house, with its splendid state rooms
and landscaped parkland, is an ideal backdrop for filming. Extending beyond the limits of the park, the 14,000 acres of Wilton Estate also contain many settings suitable for both filming and stills photography.
After leaving Wilton House we make our way to Bath and check in at the Royal Crescent Hotel—a five-star luxury hotel in the middle of the world’s most famous architectural crescent, the scene of many of Jane Austen’s books and resulting films. We will enjoy dinner at this recently renovated hotel overlooking the beautiful city of Bath.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Stourhead Gardens and Great Chalfield Manor
On this Monday morning we take a stroll in Stourhead Gardens, perhaps the finest example of an eighteenth-century landscape garden in England, complete with classical temples, a tranquil lake, and Gothic follies. The Temple of Apollo was used during Elizabeth and Darcy’s encounter in the rain in the recent film version of Pride and Prejudice. We will also have the opportunity for a self-guided
tour of Stourhead House.
After lunch at the restaurant near the gardens, we head to Great Chalfield Manor, the setting for Persuasion, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Wives and Daughters.
This beautiful medieval manor sits in a peaceful countryside. We will cross the upper moat, passing barns, a gatehouse, and a delightful parish church, and enjoy fine oriel windows and the soldiers, griffons, and monkey adorning the rooftops. The romantic gardens offer terraces, topiary houses, gazebo, lily pond, roses, and views across the spring-fed fishpond.
We return to Bath for a free evening and dinner on your own in the city where Jane Austen set so many of her novels.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
Stanway House, Highgrove House (TBD)
After breakfast we depart for a drive through picturesque English Cotswolds villages—Little Rissington (Memphis Belle), Stow-onthe-Wold (The Mayor of Casterbridge), to Stanway House and Gardens (The Buccaneers, Vanity Fair, Emma). Stanway House is a Jacobean manor house, located near Stanway, Gloucestershire, U.K. The manor was owned by Tewkesbury Abbey for 800 years then for 500 years by the Tracy family and their descendants, the Earls of Wemyss. The then Lord Neidpath, now the 13th Earl of Wemyss, pursued, over a number of years, a restoration program.
The principal rooms are in a long south-facing range forming an L-shape with the hall, unlike the usual Tudor house plan of a central hall. The north-east wing, remodeled in 1913 by Detmar Blow, was demolished in 1948. The kitchen court was designed by William Burn in 1859. The gatehouse was built in about 1630.
Lunch today is provided.
For the afternoon we are working on a special treat that we cannot confirm until February. We hope to take you to Highgrove House—the residence of HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall!
We return to the Royal Crescent Hotel, and you can enjoy dinner on your own in Bath.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
Bath and Lacock
Today we enjoy a morning at leisure in Bath, where Vanity Fair, Persuasion, The Duchess, Dracula, Northanger Abbey, and Bertie and Elizabeth were filmed.
You might want to take a walking tour of the places where Jane Austen lived and visited, and see her various homes in Bath, the church where her parents were married, and the places made famous in her Bath novels. Persuasion was filmed at the grand Assembly Rooms. The famous Roman Baths and the Georgian Pump Rooms are legendary and well worth a visit.
After lunch on your own, we head to the wonderful village of Lacock and its Abbey. Featured in The Cranford Chronicles, Pride and Prejudice, Moll Flanders, and three Harry Potter films, the village is owned almost in its entirety by the National Trust and attracts many visitors by virtue of its unspoiled appearance. Set in rural Wiltshire, Lacock village is famous for its picturesque streets, historic buildings, and more recently as a TV and film location.
The Abbey, located at the heart of the village within its own woodland grounds, is a quirky country house of various architectural styles, built upon the foundation of a former nunnery. Visitors can experience the atmosphere of the medieval rooms and cloister court, giving a sense of the Abbey’s monastic past.
We spend the afternoon exploring this wonderful village and return to the Royal Crescent Hotel and our last night in Bath.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
Highclere Castle, Basildon Park, London
We say good-bye to Bath and the Royal Crescent Hotel and head to tea and homemade biscuits on our arrival at Highclere Castle. Highclere Castle has been home to the Carnarvon family since 1679 and is now famous as the setting for Downton Abbey. The castle was also Totleigh Towers in Jeeves and Wooster and appeared in Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple: What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw. Highclere also has intriguing connections with the mysteries of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Our group will enjoy a private tour of Highclere Castle outside of public opening dates, touring the main state rooms and the second-floor bedrooms, as well as the Egyptology exhibition in the castle cellars.
We will spend the morning exploring the castle and its gardens.
Leaving Highclere Castle and after having lunch, we head toward Basildon Park. The finale of Season Four of Downton Abbey was filmed at Basildon Park, which has also been seen in Pride and Prejudice. Starring as Grantham House, the Crawley’s London residence, Basildon Park is at the heart of the unfolding story as the family and their servants enjoy the social whirl of the summer season.
After spending the afternoon at Basildon Park, we find our way back to the Langham and our final reception, dinner, and evening in London.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
We regretfully return to the United States.