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UK Self Drive The Old England Tour
8 days / 7 nights
We can guarantee this will be the best 8 days you’ll ever spend. Discover the timeless classic English destinations: Bath with its famous Roman Baths, the exquisite Bath Abbey and the picturesque bridge over the Avon River. See where Cheddar cheese comes from. Visit the awe inspiring Clifton Suspension Bridge and spend time in the idyllic English countryside; the magical Cotswolds – an area famed for its rolling hills, sweeping vistas and plenty of amazing things to do.
This itinerary is just a draft of your holiday. Driving your own car you are free and flexible, you can choose the places of interest on the route, feel free to create your own UK Bucket List and we’ll to make it happen.
Move forward to the new discoveries!
- Tour Introduction
- Tour Itinerary
- Tour Accommodation
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THE OLD ENGLAND:
Self-drive staycation London - Bath - Bristol - Cotswalds - London
DAY 1, LONDON TO BATH ROAD TRIP via Salisbury or Stonehenge (128 miles)
Today you are leaving London and moving southwest heading to Bath, the main city of Somerset County. Bath (named after the Roman Term / Baths), lies on the banks of the Avon River. On your way, you can choose to visit the legendary Celtic Stonehenge monoliths or the quintessence of medieval England, the city of Salisbury. Upon arrival in Bath, head to The Gainsbourough Bath Spa hotel for the two nights stay. Depending of your route, you can have some time to explore the city in the afternoon or to have a rest.
DAY 2, BATH EXPLORATION
Imagine yourself as part of the British high society in the 18th century, when each summer Bath was known as an unofficial capital of British aristocracy. The place to be for waters, balls and concerts. After the Roman Baths visit Bath Abbey where Edgar, the first King of united England, was crowned in 973 AD. Do not forget to visit the Sally Lunn House, the Bath's oldest house and try the famous Bath buns, ( part bun, part bread, part cake). Step onto the bridge over the Avon River, where medieval monks used to deliver wool …and take in every detail of the stunning view…
It is a must to visit Queen's Square of Georgian houses with its amazing Circus and the Royal Crescent who together form an impressive single architectural ensemble. From the Crescent, a wonderful view over the Queen Victoria Park and the city opens up. Walk to the Assembly Rooms, where in the past the fashionable audience gathered during the season for balls, tea parties, concerts and card games.
DAY 3, BATH TO WELLS, CHEDDAR, BRISTOL (49.3 miles)
Today, after 40 minutes short droive from your hotel, you will find yourself in Wells, England's smallest city, to see the most poetic of the English Cathedrals, set in the heart of the medieval city.
Onwards, there are a lot of places of interest to see around the Cheddar village on your route. We would suggest to visit Cheddar Gorge and the village that gave its name to Cheddar cheese. In the evening, you’ll arrive in Bristol to stay at Avon Gorge Hotel for two nights. In the morning, take in the awe inspiring views over the gorge.
DAY 4, BRISTOL EXPLORATION
Today, devote all day to Bristol exploration. Not far from the bridge, there is the Clifton Observatory with so-called "Camera Obscura", a curved mirror that displays a panoramic image of the observatory's surroundings on a special screen. There are Bristol caves next to the Clifton Observatory. The most famous one is the Giant Cave, which can be reached through the tunnel from the Observatory. Botanical Garden is also nearby and it’s a great place for walking. In the city centre, the Wills Memorial Building will impress you. This is one of the main symbols of the city. Located on a high hill, it can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Feel free to climb the hill - the views are incredibly beautiful.
Another great place from where to view the panorama of the city is the Cabot Tower. The tower was built in 1898 in the gothic style, but the first building on this site was erected in the XVI century. The Cathedral of St. Mary was built in the 15th century; it is noteworthy that the main building material during the construction of the church was fragile sandstone.
The steam passenger liner-museum Brunel’s SS Great Britain, built by the same Brunel in 1843 is another site not to be missed. To explore the surroundings of Bristol, you can catch a ferry that runs through Floating Harbour. Do not forget to visit Blaise Castle, an 18th-century manor house that immortalized in the book of Jane Austen "Northanger Abbey" as "the best place in England."
Castle Park, located on the Bristol port side, was once a concentration of busy streets and shops until it was bombed during World War II. A reminder of those sad events and the eternal memory of the fallen is the ruined Church of St. Peter and the ruins of the Bristol castle. Finally, it is worth visiting the Ashton Court estate, which is the venue for many cultural events and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery; they are open to visitors from 10:30 to 17:00 daily.
Another site not to be missed; St. Stephen's Church was founded in the 12th century as a place of worship for sailors sailing across the Atlantic. It housed the ancient society of ringers. During the reconstruction of the altar in 2011, a stained glass window appeared in the church, which is a reminder that the church was involved in the local slave trade business.
If you are a foodie and crave the gourmet cuisine, it is worth visiting the Hatchet Inn, the oldest pub in Bristol, which was opened in 1606, and until now, it has preserved the atmosphere of antiquity.
DAY 5, BRISTOL - CASTLE COMBE - MALMESBURY (33.7 miles)
Leaving Bristol in the afternoon heading Cotswolds. The first stop is in Castle Combe: is pretty enough to be a movie set— in fact, it has had a starring role in a number of films and television shows, from War Horse to Doctor Dolittle. Discover Castle Combe’s picture-perfect scenery beyond the silver screen, from its centuries-old limestone cottages to its vast stately homes. Enjoy your delicious afternoon tea in The Manor house hotel. The Town Bridge is one of the most photographed places in the village and the classic view is from across the bridge by the old weavers' cottages, looking up Water Street. For a friendly and informal insight into the history of village, book a Step Back in Time tour.
Your next stop is in Malmesbury! You might already know of its rich history as England’s oldest borough or heard about the stunning 12th Century Abbey still very much in use today. However, there is so much more to discover in this charming market town. Visit the original Market Cross, the Norman Abbey with its tomb of King Athelstan and the free Athelstan Museum, there is lots to see and do here. Alongside Malmesbury Abbey, you will find the beautiful Abbey House Gardens. The gardens are home to over 1,000 years of history and straddle the River Avon. Over 2,000 different roses, 100,000 tulips and 10,000 different plants can be found here offering visitors constant colour from March to November.
Stay for a night in centrally located Old Bell Hotel, the oldest purpose built hotel in England (circa 1220) or nearby five star luxury Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, complete with Michelin-star restaurant.
DAY 6, ROADTRIP: FROM MALMESBURY TO BURTON ON THE WATER (70.7 miles)
After the hearty breakfast, you are leaving the hotel for the small picturesque village of Painswick. When coming to Painswick, begin your tour at St. Mary’s Parish Church. Not only is the Grade I-listed landmark’s spire visible from miles around, but its churchyard is famous for its 99 ancient yew trees. From there, a trip to the local Rococo Garden, and a wander past the town’s 14th-century buildings, is in order.
Next: Snowshill! You might recognise Snowshill for St Barnabas Church - one of the most photographed churches in the Cotswolds. Snowshill is also renowned for Snowshill Manor, a National Trust property that was once owned by one Charles Paget Wade, an Edwardian gentleman who amassed a huge quantity of artefacts and curios, restoring his Broadway home as a showcase in which to display them. Some 22,000 fascinating items – from clockwork toys to suits of armour – cram every corner of this stately manor, now protected by the National Trust. It is an astonishing display of the dedication and passion of one man, and well worth visiting. Cotswold Lavender farm is located in Snowshill and it harvests row upon row of stunning lavender in the summer months; so beautiful, that people travel from far and wide to see it. It is even used as a popular spot to propose!
Your next stop is in Broadway! Renowned for its scenic high street made up of golden dwellings, shops and thatched cottages covered in wisteria, Broadway is perhaps one of the most famous Cotswold villages of them all. It is an easy walk to local landmark: the Broadway Tower, the vision of landscape designer Capability Brown. This 18th-century turreted folly offers scenic views over the surrounding countryside: you can see an astonishing 16 counties from its rooftop platform. Inside is an absorbing exhibition on William Morris, who used to holiday here. The tower must have made quite an impression: while staying here, Morris started his campaign for the preservation of historic monuments. There is plenty to see and do here. From mooching around the independent shops, to indulging on afternoon tea and relaxing in the cosy pubs, it's a popular place to while away an afternoon - just be prepared to share the experience with lots of others looking to capture a piece of this stunning north Cotswold village.
Next : Chipping Campden. During the medieval era, Chipping Campden was at the centre of Britain’s wool industry. Today, this quaint market town in the Cotswolds is a much more pleasant place to visit than its industrial past would suggest, and it has the 2nd highest density of listed buildings in the country including Middle ages Market Hall.
After Chipping Campden, drive to Stow-on-the-Wold: this hilltop market town was once the site of an Iron Age fort, but things are considerably more peaceful here these days. In the centre of town, you’ll find a number of galleries and antique shops packed with treasures, while the region’s verdant hills are close at hand.
Have a short drive to Bourton-on-the-Water and check in the 17th century Dial House Hotel. With its peaceful walled garden and private spa, it is the perfect place to unwind.
DAY 7, BURTON ON THE WATER TO BILBURY (19.7 miles)
Start your day with the village exploration. Frequently ranked as one of the prettiest villages in the whole of the UK, Bourton-on-the-Water is frequently referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ due to the patchwork of attractive little bridges that criss-cross the River Windrush that flows through its centre.
Prepare for a trip down the memory lane with a vast collection of vehicles, toys and memorabilia from times gone by on display of Cotswold and Motoring Museum. The museum is also home to children's TV favourite, Brum. Come and see the Model Village - the one-ninth scale replica of Burton-On-The-Water. With so much attention to detail, you can even hear choirs coming from the miniature church!
Next: Burford! Back in 2009, Forbes included Burford on its list of the most idyllic places to live in Europe. It isn’t hard to see why—the medieval village, often described as the “Gateway to the Cotswolds,” mingles river views, charming antique shops, and a tranquil pace of life.
Head to Bilbury: once Once described by William Morris as 'the most beautiful village in England', the chocolate box village
of Bibury is one of England's most iconic hamlets and home to the peaceful River Coln and some of the most photographed houses in the country. Arlington row of 14th century weaver's cottages has been the foundation of Bibury for hundreds of years and is instantly recognisable as a symbol of the Cotswold District. One of Britain's oldest and most well preserved trout farms offers a 'catch your own' fishery, a fish shop full of wines and deli products, and plenty of BBQs where you can cook your trout and enjoy the surrounding scenery.
Stay for the night in the Swan Hotel.
DAY 8, BILBURY - KELMSCOTT MANOR - LONDON (94.4 miles)
After your breakfast, you are heading home to London. On you way pop in to Kelmscott Manor near Lenchdale-on-Thames, Explore William Morris’s “Heaven on Earth” and view the iconic collection of artwork and objects owned and designed by the Father of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Discover why the Cotswold home became an inspiration for him and his family and explore the gardens, enjoy homemade food from our licensed tearoom and visit our gift shop.
There are still plenty of places of interest on your way to London: Oxford, the city of flying spires, Blenheim Palace, Sir W.Churchill birth place... (optional).
The program can vary. It is possible to have a quick overview of all places as well as just visit some of them according to your preferences.
The hotels in the tour are a suggestion only. We are happy to offer anything from B&B to a castle suite! Just contact us and we will find the best option for you!
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• Bed and Breakfast Accommodation at hotels as mentioned in the itinerary
• Entrance tickets to the places of interest that you'll include in the itinerary
Package Does Not Include:
• Optional activities, which we will add to you summary/quote upon request
Terms and Conditions:
• The terms and conditions will be personalized for every booking, and will reflect the supplier's conditions
• All prices are NETT / non-commissionable;
• The prices are given as indication only and can be changed in accordance with the actual date of departure and the hotels' availabilities;
• The example price from is calculated on the 15th August 2020 departure;