With several magnificent cathedrals in this area, we can arrange a visit to include some of these wonderful ecclesiastical buildings with their ancient treasures
Wells – magnificent West elevation and historic clock
Salisbury – the tallest spire in England and home of the Magna Carta
Gloucester – superb 13th century window – also a location for the Harry Potter films
Hereford – home of the Mappa Mundi dated 1290 – the first map of the world and the priceless, 1500 volume chained library
Worcester – houses the tomb of King John and the Civil War Museum is nearby
6. Ancient Stone Circles
You can visit:
Stonehenge (5000 years old), sited on Salisbury Plain - a truly awe-inspiring and thought-provoking place, or
Avebury Circle with 200 standing stones - the largest megalithic ceremonial monument in Europe. There is also a 5,000 year old Neolithic tomb nearby, or
Stanton Drew, complete with a Cove, which is smaller and nearer to Bristol.
7. South Wales
Caerwent, the very first Roman town in Wales
Chepstow has the first Norman stone Castle
Raglan has a much later castle
Tintern Abbey is the first Cistercian abbey in Wales and was begun c1125
For book lovers we can call at Hay on Wye – a small town crammed with second hand book shops
Then there are the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons
The country of Wales needs Myra and Val as PR agents! From the picture-perfect town of Hay-on-Wye to the
ancient Roman ruins of Caerwent we found Wales to be more scenic and more interesting than we expected. These are places we would never have been able to
find on our own and are off the tourist path.
MaryLou Ventre - Scituate, MA, USA
Malmesbury - dominated by a 12th century abbey. There are some original illustrated manuscripts on display. A fine old mill town.
Lacock - a fabulously preserved small medieval town with buildings dating back to the 13thcentury - prosperous times when wool was a major commodity. The National Trust owns most of this village, including the abbey. One of the foremost pioneers of photography, William Henry Fox-Talbot, lived here, and there is a museum of his work in the 16th century barn. A film location for Harry Potter.
Bowood House - stand in the room where Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen in 1774. The house is long, low and classical, beautifully proportioned and set in about 100 acres of stunning grounds - with its centrepiece 40 acre lake - landscaped by Capability Brown in the 1760s.
Wiltshire White Horse - The Uffington Horse is the oldest surviving horse, about 2,000 years old
Longleat House - This is one of the grand houses of England. Built in Elizabethan times in the Italian Renaissance style and landscaped by Capability Brown. It is full of decorations, from gilded and painted Italian ceilings to inlaid marquetry work and fine marble. There are early 16th century tapestries, paintings and letters of Queen Elizabeth I.
One of the most famous university cities in Britain. We can show you some of the many colleges and historic buildings including the pub where C.S.Lewis and J.R.Tolkein used to meet.
Outside the city we can visit Blenheim Palace where Sir Winston Churchill was born and Blagdon where he is buried.
Additional places we could visit in the area are Burford - a charming Cotswold town and the Great Coxwell Barn.
Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of William Shakespeare, is a market town located on the River Avon.
Nearby we will visit Anne Hathaway's Cottage, home of his wife before they married. It is a charming building with an interesting garden.
In the town we can visit his birthplace and stroll around the old parts.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre - we could book seats for a matinee performance.
Tours With Overnight Stays
1. Exmoor National Park
The high moorland scenery is spectacular, with deer and hardy ponies.
Within the moor are intimate valleys with attractive old villages.
Surrounding the moor is a rugged coastline.
We could visit Dunster with its woollen yarn market and castle.
In Plymouth, you can visit the oldest pub frequented by Sir Francis Drake. You can stroll around the historic parts of the town and harbour including the "Mayflower Steps" where the Pilgrim Fathers left for America in 1620.
Feel the desolation of nearby Dartmoor, a granite plateau - remote and rugged but with peaceful wooded valleys - a contrasting landscape. Interesting old mining villages to explore, too.
Whatever you choose, we mustn't forget to try a Devon Cream Tea: scones with strawberry or raspberry jam and clotted cream.
The Southwest Peninsula of England has its own beauty, surrounded by its rugged coasts. The landscape is superb: the south coast has many quaint harbours, sea inlets and broad beaches to explore. There is something compelling about standing on the most south-westerly point of the UK at Land's End.
The Eden Project is where plants from all over the world are housed in giant biomes. Cornwall boasts numerous exquisite houses and gardens that are open to the public.
You might be able to walk or catch a ferry to St. Michael's Mount. There are also fascinating old fishing villages to explore.
4. Dorset – The Jurassic Coast and Countryside
Visit the quaint old smugglers town of Lyme Regis, where Meryl Streep filmed The French Lieutenant’s Woman; this picturesque town is also featured in Jane Austen's Persuasion after she stayed there in 1803/4. This coastline is well known for fossils – you may want to wander along the stony beaches in search of these.
We can view Poole Harbour; visit the famous Poole pottery factory shop and then cross by chain ferry to the Isle of Purbeck.
At Lulworth Cove, you can see how the erosion has eaten into the rocks and visit the Castle ruins at nearby Corfe.
The author Thomas Hardy was born locally, and the cottages where he was born and later lived are open to visitors.
In the ancient town of Shaftesbury, we will see Britain's most photographed street, and at Sherborne, the castle and abbey are worth a visit.
In Winchester we can see the Cathedral and the Great Hall which houses the Round Table of King Arthur fame!
The author Thomas Hardy lived in Dorset, so we can visit his cottage and birthplace as well as some of the locations featured in his novels. There are pretty villages to photograph and expansive countryside to see as well as the Iron Age Maiden Castle.
2. Jane Austen
Jane Austen, the author of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ to name but two of her novels, lived near Winchester. We can visit her father's church where she would have worshipped at Steventon and the village of Chawton where she lived and wrote.
3. Wales Mining History
Visit Big Pit: National Coal Museum - go 300 ft. underground with a real miner and see what life was like for the thousands of men who worked at the coal-face.