The British Tours blog

New Multi-day Poldark Tour from British Tours

Poldark Series 1 during production in Cornwall. Image used with kind permission of Visit Cornwall and St Aubyn Estates Holidays

British Tours is very excited to announce that we are now offering Poldark Tours to our visitors, based on the current BBC adaptation now showing in the UK and the USA. We really enjoyed putting this particular tour together; it gave us an excuse to re-watch all of series 1!

Poldark Filming Locations Tour

Explore Poldark’s Cornwall on this multi-day tour from London, taking in the breath-taking landscapes used in filming the hit BBC series. With your private driver-guide, you’ll see the rugged landscape that features as Nampara, Ross and Demelza’s home; the stunning beach and cliffs where the ill-fated couple look out towards the sea; Wheel Leisure mine and the real mine where the interior shots from the series were filmed; Elizabeth and Francis’s country home of Trenwith, the main Poldark family seat; the two towns that feature as Truro, where Ross first meets Demelza and where Vertity elopes with Captain Blamey and many other beautiful beaches from the dramatic period drama!

Image used with kind permission of Visit Cornwall and Adam Gibbard

 

This tour requires a minimum of 4 days, and prices start from 2680 for 2 people. Prices include your guide, private car/minibus, overnight allowance for guide, tax and collection and return to your central London hotel. Prices do not include entrance fees, parking, meals or hotels.

Contact British Tours now to set up your private Poldark tour!

1066 Battle of Hastings Anniversary Tours

 

1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield Gatehouse @ English Heritage

During the anniversary year of the battle of Hastings, British Tours will be offering specialist tours of Norman and medieval historical sites. These tours will feature sites such as Battle Abbey, the religious site founded by William the conqueror to commemorate the fight. The abbey marks the place of one of the most decisive battles in English history, and one that founded a line of Kings and Queens that extends to current Queen! Other sites visitors can see, such as the White Tower of the Tower of London, are part of the large scale roll out of Norman culture in England, an impressive building project that was a sign of William’s new control over the country. Alternatively, visitors will have the chance to visit some medieval locations such as Bodiam Castle, a 14th century moated castle which was built to defend the south from the French in the hundred years war! It also passed through several hands during (and survived) two of England turbulent periods – the War of the Roses, and the English Civil War!

For more information about this tour and other historical tours we provide, get in touch with us via the contact us page on our website

 

 

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British Tours Twitter interview with Concierge99

We’ve had many interviews over the years and very recently we had our first twitter interview! For those of you not familiar with the format, Twitter interview questions and answers must be under 140 characters, so quite a challenge!

Our interview was hosted by the brilliant online concierge service Concierge99. They make it their mission to put their clients in touch with the experts, from everything from yoga instructors to private tours. While we’re not so great on the yoga front, we pride ourselves on the bespoke tours we create. I could go on, but the fantastic folks at Concierge99 had some pretty great questions for us that will give you a bit more of an insight into the work we do.

Exciting times! To get us started, Concierge 99 asked us some basic ‘getting to know you’ facts.

Concierge99 asked a question many of our clients want to know – how do we pick such great guides?

We have several wonderful guides on our books who love taking visitors to see London’s highlights on a bespoke London tour, and Concierge99 we keen to know more about them! We gave them a bit more information about their backgrounds.

 

You can read more about our driver-guides here We’ve also had a few famous faces, both as vistors and as guides.The actor Tom Conti was also once one of our tour guides!

Then, it was time for one of the most important questions of the interview – what makes us a good fit for our client’s needs?

Over the years, we’ve arranged many personalized services, including family heritage tours, tours to WW2 bases for the descendants of American soldiers stationed in the UK and even tours relating to some of England’s famous literary figures from Shakespeare to J.K.Rowling!

Concierge99 gave us a chance to demonstrate just how British we are!

Certainly a hard question – Just three things!! What about the essential jam and clotted cream to go with those scones!  Finally after an enjoyable twitter chat, it was time for a goodbye from Concierge99…

 

…and a goodbye from us!

To see the full conversation, please click here to go to our Twitter page. We’re also on Facebook and Pinterest too! If you’d like to listen to one our radio interviews, please see the below tweet to our interview with Share Radio!

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Countryside tours for people with reduced mobility

Stonehenge is one of England’s most accessible sites!

 

The English countryside conjures images of fresh green hills, quaint cobbled streets, historical castles and thatched buildings. While these things do not sound all too accessible to those with limited mobility, heritage sites in the UK have undergone many changes, meaning that most sites in the UK are accessible to a much wider range of peoples. Over the years, British Tours has kept up to date with accessibility on sites, and we can help our clients in letting them know about Countryside tours for people with reduced mobility

A popular tour for our clients is our Windsor Castle, Eton and Hampton Court Palace tour. Access to the State Apartments and Semi-State Rooms at Windsor can be had through use of the lifts or the ramps. There are a few steps to enter St George’s Chapel, or for wheelchair users, a ramp can be accessed upon request. Inside the chapel, all the steps have accompanying ramps. There are a few rooms that are not accessible for wheelchairs, like the Dolls’ House room in the Castle, but generally the site has good accessibility. The duration of the tour spent in Eton is a panoramic tour of the village so you will be able to see this from the comfort of your car, while your private driver-guide talks you through the history of the college and village. Hampton Court Palace is nearly fully accessible, with only the renaissance gallery inaccessible for wheelchair users. The rest of the Palace and the Gardens are fully accessible. These improvements at each site mean that you will be able to see the highlights of each site with your private tour guide, including the grave of Henry VIII of England at Windsor, and the famous maze at Hampton Court Palace, without feeling that you are missing out.

Our Stonehenge, Salisbury and Winchester tour is another great option for our clients, not only as it introduces parties to two of England’s beautiful cathedrals, but visits Stonehenge, the iconic landmark known throughout the world for its mystery and varied theories for its construction. Since 2012 the site has benefited from a refurbished visitor centre, which has made the site fully accessible for those with mobility problems. The journey between the visitor centre and the site is through step free and wheelchair friendly shuttle buses, and the path around the stones is through a tarmac path, which means that there are no bumps in the earth, or muddy fields for wheelchair users. Similarly Salisbury good access, and with the exception of the above ground areas of the Cathedral, such as some of the smaller chapels, the rest of the Cathedral is wheelchair friendly. Winchester is very much the same in terms of its access. Apart from its tower and crypt, the rest of the Cathedral is fully accessible, with ramps and lifts to enter the nave and upper ground floor. Winchester is also the final resting place of the famous English Novelist Jane Austen, who is buried in the nave!

In addition to the example tours on our website, we create custom tours for clients on a regular basis. If you have a particular site that you’d like to visit, please do get in touch so we help you plan your vacation time in the UK.

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Winnie the Pooh Tours

Brought to life by Disney, the stories about Winnie the Pooh were adapted from a set of stories and poems by English Writer, poet and playwright A.A. Milne. As we approach the 90th anniversary of the creation of the world’s favorite teddy bear, we will be offering day tours of sites relating to the writer and his honey seeking creation.

Take a drive south to Winnie the Pooh’s Ashdown Forest and make a day of it visiting other interesting sites along the way. You could choose to combine it with Hartfield in East Sussex where AA Milne bought a country house and see the place named Pooh Corner!
Alternatively, you could visit one of the many historical sites along the way. You could for example combine it with a visit to Hever Castle, Chartwell House, or Knole House.
Hever Castle is one of the best castles in England: a 13th century moated castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn and setting for her courtship with Henry VIII.
Chartwell House is Churchill’s family mansion, which serves as a splendid memorial to all that he did to help his own country.
Knole House was Henry VIII’s Tudor mansion, built with around 7 courtyards with 52 staircases and 365 rooms. It sits in beautiful grounds with a deer park.

If you are planning on just visiting London, ask your guide to show you Westminster School which Milne attended from 1893 to 1900, and the upmarket residential borough of Chelsea where he lived later, just off the famous Kings Road.
Kids will love an afternoon at London Zoo: did you know Winnie the Pooh was inspired by Winnipeg, a real bear resident of the London Zoo in those days!

Contact British Tours now to set up a tour or to ask for more information about our Literary themed tours.

 

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What to see when you only have a few days in London?

Whether you’re visiting for a business trip, or taking that much needed vacation with the family, we understand that you’ll want to maximize your time efficiently. As well as advice and suggestions, we often are asked about which tours from our range are the most popular ones, and which ones we would recommend for clients who only have a few days in London. While all of our tours are quite special in their own way, there are three that stood out to us as key for first timers and those with a limited amount of time in London.

London Sightseeing tour

The view of St Paul’s Cathedral taken from Bankside near the Globe Theatre.

It’s the perfect way to get to know the city that you are visiting. London is the nation’s capital, and it’s cultural and intellectual hub, with some of the best museums, galleries located in its heart. When touring in the UK, London cannot be missed.

Stonehenge and Bath Tour

Stonehenge is a large henge or stone circle in Wiltshire, and an internationally recognized travel destination. Huge standing stones were dragged to the site and placed in the landscape in the era 2,500 BC. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. Photo used with kind permission from Visit Britain.

Known internationally for the theories on its construction, Stonehenge is of course a popular touring choice. It is a key part of England that can’t be missed! You’ll be able to see the stone circle, as well as the new visitors centre and exhibition. After Stonehenge, you’ll visit the beautiful town of Bath, known for the hot spring baths built by the Romans. You will be able to visit these, as well as the other sites, such as the Royal crescent, a famous crescent of beautiful houses in the city. You’ll return to London, having seen one of the Europe’s most famous Neolithic monument, and one of the more beautifully crafted cities in the UK.

Paris

Montmartre in Paris.

France and England both benefit from a passenger train running through the channel tunnel; The Eurostar, allows clients to travel from London to Paris in just two hours and 15 minutes! You’ll be able take a tour to Paris in just one day, leaving London in the morning and returning back in the evening. Once in Paris, your private tour guide will take you on the highlights tour of the city, before dropping you back at the station at the end of your 7 hour tour. It’s a great way to see two capital cities in your three days!

For advice on some of our more specialist tours, please contact us at tours@britishtours.com today. For those with a bit more time in the UK, we can also arrange custom made overnight tours, based on your timings and requirements, so please do feel free to e-mail us to discuss your plans!

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William Shakespeare 400th Anniversary tours

The Cobb Portrait of Shakespeare – Image credit: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts”.

As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

The many parts that Shakespeare created live today through players all over the world, continuously re-imagined and performed.  At the time of his death in 1616, he left the world with the gift of 37 plays and 154 sonnets. His works even influenced our daily conversations – idioms used by the English in the present day have their first appearances in the Bard’s work. Without realising it, those who declare “Love is blind” or remark “for goodness sake”, “good riddance” or “there’s method in my madness” are all quoting from the Elizabethan poet and playwright, who on this year will be the subject of many events and activities as England celebrates the life of William Shakespeare, who died on April 23rd, 400 years ago.

The team here at British Tours are great fans of the Bard, and compiled a list of our favourite sites in recognition of 400th year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. You can visit these sites on one of our private driver-guided tours.

5. Southwark Cathedral

Shakespeare was thought to have prayed at Southwark Cathedral (located next to the bustling Borough Market), as actors from his plays are recorded as local parishioners. There is however more of a concrete connection with Shakespeare – his brother Edmund was buried inside, meaning Shakespeare would have been present at the funeral.  It’s also the site of a memorial to both Shakespeare and the American actor Sam Wanamaker, whose efforts lead to the reconstruction of the Globe Theatre.

4. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

As the childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife, this cottage was most likely where Shakespeare came to court his future bride. The house contains many pieces of original furniture, and is set in rather romantic gardens – it’s a rather pleasant thought to imagine Shakespeare’s young romance flourishing here in such a beautiful setting. The house also contains a series of sculptures, with the designs of these sculptures based on Shakespeare’s plays.

3. Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church

Shakespeare returned to Stratford upon Avon after his time in London, and was eventually buried in the same church where he had been baptised. He is thought to have died on his birthday (a rather unfortunate birthday present!) and is buried in the church along with his wife Anne, who died many years after Shakespeare. Rather interestingly, the memorial to Shakespeare is thought to be one of the most accurate representations of Shakespeare’s likeness, as most of the portraits attributed to Shakespeare were painted after his lifetime. This monument however was created during the lifetime of Shakespeare’s wife, so is more likely to be an accurate representation of his looks!

2. Shakespeare’s Birthplace

In Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare was born into one of the wealthiest homes on his street. Its large size shows the wealth of the Shakespeare family – his father, John had married the daughter of a rich landowner, Robert Arden. Due to their wealth, Shakespeare was educated at a local grammar school. It’s somewhere to go if you wish to imagine the world wherein the young Shakespeare grew, and is a literary pilgrimage for many.

  1. The Globe theatre and Sam Wannamaker Playhouse

Shakespeare’s Globe

After visiting London for the first time in 1949, American actor Sam Wannamaker championed efforts to have a reconstruction of the Globe theatre built. The Globe was completed in 1997 and now regularly performs Shakespeare’s plays and those of his contemporaries. You can take a tour with an in-house guide as part of your London tour, and also of the Sam Wannamaker playhouse, the indoor theatre built to pair with the Globe. You’ll be able to imagine yourself as an audience member of Shakespeare’s plays inside these beautiful Tudor reconstructions, which are both a great tribute to the playwright and cultural influence that he had in England.

British Tours offers several bespoke Shakespeare tours, from day trips to Stratford-upon-Avon to London sightseeing tours visiting the London sites. Get in touch with us now to plan your tour of Shakespeare locations for the 400th year anniversary.