Telling the Stories Brochure


Telling the stoes

of England

An exciting new collection of cultural

tours for the discerning traveller

The Portland Collection at the Harley Gallery. Photo: Welbeck Estates

HMS Victory, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Photo: Visit Britain/Visit Hampshire

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. Photo: Marketing Manchester

Bess of Hardwick, Long Gallery Hardwick Hall. Photo: Damiandude/CC The Round Table, Winchester Cathedral. Photo: Visit Britain / Daniel Bosworth Scafell Pike, Lake District National Park. Photo: Visit Britain / Joe Cornish

2 / Telling the stories of England

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Telling the stoes

of England

An exciting new collection of cultural

tours for the discerning traveller


RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: © Royal Horticultural Society

I am delighted to

present Telling

the Stories of

England, a new

programme of

tours showcasing

the very best of

English heritage,

culture and


Supported by national tourism agency

Visit England, these uniquely crafted,

content-rich tours will intrigue and

engage travellers who want to take

home something more from their

tour experience.

On the following pages you will

find sample itineraries from our

programme, plus a full guide to the

range of tours we can deliver for you.

Our tours have been designed by the

people who know England best.

In this brochure, we focus on England’s

Arts and Culture, History and Heritage

and its great Houses and Gardens.

Through collaborative partnerships,

we also offer activity holidays and

holidays to Wales, Scotland, Northern

Ireland and the Isle of Man, giving the

US travel agent a full UK cultural and

countryside offer.

Parks, 49 Country Houses, 25 Castles

or Ancient Monuments, 27 Gardens,

12 Cathedrals, 45 Museums,

7 Major Libraries, 8 Art Galleries

and 6 Historic Battlefields.

We focus especially on the

connections between the US and

England, from the story of the

Mayflower Pilgrims, to the lives of the

American Heiresses who saved the

English country house, the Kennedys in

Britain and the lives of US Servicemen

and women in England.

We are pleased to tailor our tours

to your needs or curate bespoke

programmes to your requirements.

At UK Countryside Tours we are

passionate about England’s stories

and on behalf of our guides, partner

institutions and ground-handling and

hospitality partners, we look forward

to discussing how we can help you

develop your travel programmes and

welcome your clients to the stories we

want to share with them.

Jim Dixon, Director,

UK Countryside Tours

We offer escorted group travel

designed and led by recognised

experts. Our programme covers

10 World Heritage Sites, 7 National


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Tour Starting points

Arts And Culture


1 Art Treasures of North 6

East England

2 Northern England’s 7

Christian Heritage

3 Along the Pilgrims’ Way 7

4 Celebrating the Arts

in Southern England 7

5 England’s Music

Powerhouse 7

6 Southern England’s

Christian Heritage 8

7 The Literary Landscape

of Cambridge 8

8 The Myths & Legends

of Northern England 8

9 Great Lives 9

10 Landscapes and

Literary Lives 10

History and Heritage

11 Mayflower 400 12

12 England’s Bloody 13


13 The Story of English 13

Rural Life

14 Horses, Steam and 13

Great Estates

15 Girl Power 13

16 In the footsteps of 14

King Alfred

17 The Story of Cold 14

War Britain

18 Computing in Britain 14

19 Historic Herefordshire 14

20 A Seafaring Nation 15

21 England’s Dark Ages 16

22 Over Here 17

23 Guarding the Shores 17

of England

24 A Glorious Century 17

of War and More

25 Radical Thinkers 18

Houses and Gardens PAGE

26 The Gardens of 20

Northern England

27 The Country House in 21

Northern England

28 The Country House 21

in Southern England

29 Retracing the 21


30 The Glorious Gardens 21

of South West England

31 Natural Treasures 22

32 The ‘Dukeries’ 22

33 The Glorious Gardens 22

of Eastern England

34 Cultivating 23


35 Great Heiresses 24

36 RHS Royal Chelsea and

Hampton Court Palace 25

Study at Chatsworth

37 Statements in Stone 27

38 The Stately Home 28

39 Into Arcadia 28

40 Gardens & Landscapes 28

of the English Country


41 The Making of English 29


42 Modern and Contemporary 29

Art in England
























1 & 2

5 & 17 & 25
































20 & 21 & 24

36 9



3 & 10 & 16 35






Tour starting point

Tour number





13 & 14

Key to icons used in tour descriptions

The different tour types:

Libraries Science & Museum or Farming

Technology Art Gallery Museum

USA Connections

Level of activity:

Industrial Historic Castle Historic Military Site

Heritage Church

House or Museum

Traditional Garden Scenic Prehistory Medieval Theatre or



History Concert

• Immersion, deliver rich content about one region of

England, staying in a single location.

• Journey, travel throughout England, moving tour base two

or three times during the tour period.

Mildly active: getting on and off the coach and

walking a short distance on well surfaced paths.

Moderately active: walking in the countryside

/ parkland estate of a country estate – walking

moderate distances on unsurfaced paths.

Active: walking up hills, or destinations involving lots

of steps, uneven surfaces, sturdy shoes needed.

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Arts and



Come with us on a journey and discover

the essence of Englishness through an

exploration of the cultural landscape

that shaped and reflects the unique

character of England.

Uncover folklore and fable, explore the origins

of England’s Christian heritage, or immerse yourself

in the creative genius of England’s greatest writers -

the choice is yours. Everything in our programme

is one of a kind, crafted by experts who share your

passion for cultural enrichment, with unrivalled access

to the best libraries, galleries and private collections.

From Chaucer to Darwin, or Jane Austen to the

Beatles, our tours bring alive the best of England’s

art treasures, great thinkers and musical heritage.


Lindisfarne Gospels.

Photo: Visit County Durham

To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit Arts and Culture / 5

Art Treasures of

North East England

Castles, chateau and cathedrals – ancient Durham’s

hidden treasures




Immerse yourself in the treasures of

one of Northern England’s most historic

• Immerse yourself in the captivating

cities. Learn how Durham’s strategic role

city of Durham, with its winding

cobbled streets, vibrant cafés and

in defending the Scottish border, led to

prestigious university.

immense powers being conferred to the

• Discover Durham Cathedral - the cradle “Prince Bishops” who raised armies, and

of Christianity in Northern England, levied taxes. Witness the legacy of their

a place of learning for more than

wealth and power writ large in the region’s

1000 years.

palatial architecture, its reputation as a place

• Enjoy an exclusive tour of the Bowes of learning, its libraries and its art works.

Museum, home to the iconic Silver Swan

- an 18th century musical automaton, This tour will visit some of the country’s

which has been admired by visitors from finest buildings, traditional market towns

around the world for over 200 years.

and encounter the rugged beauty of the

Durham Dales. We will enjoy privileged

access to the University’s outstanding

modern art collection and behind

the scenes tours with conservators

at The Bowes Museum, the magnificent

French style chateau built by John and

Josephine Bowes in the 19th century

Tour Type: Immersion to house one of the most exceptional

Entry and Departure Point: collections of fine and decorative

Manchester Airport art in Europe.

Tour Director and specialist contributors: Jim Dixon

Jim is the founder of UK Countryside Tours, he will be supported on this

tour by:

Jan Williams Jan is an award-winning Blue Badge Guide, based in the

North East of England with extensive experience of guiding for study

groups and special interest groups. Jan is passionate about the North East

and holds professional memberships of The British Guild of Tourist Guides

and the Institute of Tourist Guides. Jan is also a Trainer and Examiner for

the Institute of Tourist Guides.

6 / Telling the stories of England

The Bowes Museum. Photo: Visit County Durham

Outline Itinerary

Enjoy a walking tour of Durham

City, before enjoying an in-depth

tour of the Cathedral, a UNESCO

World Heritage Site. Later visit

historic Crook Hall and Gardens,

a 13th century Grade I listed

medieval hall, close to the city’s

busy market place.

See Durham University's modern

art collection with Henry Dyson,

Keeper of Fine Art, followed by the

University’s Oriental Museum the

only museum of its kind in the north

of England.

Discover the palatial residence of

the Prince Bishops at Auckland

Castle, with 1000 years of history,

the centre piece of a much older

sacred Christian landscape.

Visit market town, Barnard

Castle and the Bowes Museum

to discover not only its unique

collections, but also the romantic

story which led a wealthy

businessman and his French wife

to create this exceptional chateau.

Continue to privately owned

Rokeby Park, an outstanding

Neo-Palladian villa set

picturesquely in the Durham Dales.

Explore Raby Castle, one of

England’s best-preserved castles,

home to the medieval Earls of

Westmorland. Finally, visit High

Force waterfall, inspiration to many

artists including J.M.W. Turner.

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Durham Cathedral. Photo: Visit County Durham The Royal Pavillion, Brighton. Photo: Tony Hisgett /CC-BY 2.0

Durham Cathedral. Photo: Visit County Durham The Royal Pavillion, Brighton. Photo: Tony Hisgett /CC-BY 2.0

Northern England’s

Chstian Hetage

The Land of the Prince Bishops

On the edge of the Roman empire, the buffer zone between

England and Scotland, North East England emerged as a seat

of creativity and learning. Discover the land

of the Prince Bishops and ancient Saints,

the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, and the story

of the magnificent Lindisfarne Gospels.

Tour Type:




Along the Pilgms’ Way

Retracing 3000 years of English history

Follow the route of the Pilgrims’ Way as it winds through

early settlements, sacred sites, literature and myth from

Winchester to Canterbury, linking cathedrals, castles

and the beautiful rolling countryside of the

South Downs National Park in

quintessential Southern England.

Tour Type:




Canterbury back-water. Photo: Visit Kent The Beatles Yellow Submarine by Gambarrotti. Photo: Flickr CC

Celebrating the Arts

in Southern England

Brighton Pavilion to Bloomsbury

Explore the story of how the arts bloomed in Southern

England, from early Roman mosaic masterpieces, to stately

homes and magnificent art collections, traditional rural arts

and crafts, and the bohemian creativity

of the Bloomsbury group, set against

the rolling hills of the South Downs.



England’s Muc Powerhouse

The beat of the Beatles and more

Celebrate the musical heritage of Liverpool and

Manchester. Discover the city which inspired the Beatles,

and trace the evolution of the popular music

scene from the 19th century music halls

to the Hacienda as Manchester became

“Madchester” in the 1980s and 1990s.



Tour Type:


Tour Type:


& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit Arts and Culture / 7

Canterbury Cathedral. Photo: Visit Kent Robin Hood. Photo: Ezekiel Bone / Experience Nottinghamshire

Southern England’s

Chstian Hetage

England’s greatest cathedral

Follow in the footsteps of St Augustine as he brought

Christianity to England. Hear the story of murdered

Archbishop Thomas Becket, which turned Canterbury

into one of Europe’s foremost pilgrimage

centres, linking the cathedral

and city to the fortunes of Kings,

Queens and country.

Tour Type:




The Literary Landscape

of Cambdge

100 libraries and the landscapes of

Eastern England

Some of the greatest writers, poets and thinkers lived in,

studied at or visited this historic University city.

Through town and gown, immerse yourself

in the places that inspired them. Visit one of

the greatest collections of literature in the

world and dine at a Cambridge College,

and meet the literary greats of today.

Tour Type:


The Myths & Legends

of Northern England





M.R. James, a ghostly story teller. Photo: Visit Kent

Where fact and fable mix

Some of England’s myths and legends are known world-wide,

but others are not so familiar. Discover warrior kings, noble

outlaws and mysterious witches – including the well known

legends of Robin Hood and the less well known heroes

and villains. Visit Sherwood Forest and Nottingham

Castle and the medieval city of Lincoln to

discover the story of the Lincoln Imp, also

viewing the Magna Carta at the magnificent

Lincoln Cathedral.

Tour Type:


8 / Telling the stories of England & To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Great Lives

Dickens, Darwin and Churchill – their homes,

their writings and their legacy




• Explore the big skies of the historic

Kent landscape, which inspired classic

Dickens works and the artist J.M.W. Turner.

• Visit Chartwell, Sir Winston Churchill’s

family home, enjoy a private tour of his

house, garden and remarkable art studio.

• Tour Cambridge, historic city and world

class university, with punting on the river

Cam and dinner at Darwin’s college.

Experience unrivalled access to Darwin’s

letters, and some of the 2500 specimens

that he sent back from HMS Beagle.

Tour Type: Immersion

Entry and Departure Point:

London Heathrow Airport

Journey on this two centred tour with

three of England’s great thinkers, Dickens,

Darwin and Churchill - geniuses whose

creative minds give them a unique place

in our consciousness. Stand where they

wrote, spoke and created some of the most

famous stories in England’s history.

Discover Victorian Rochester, the inspiration

for many of Charles Dickens’ famous novels.

Visit Chartwell, Sir Winston Churchill’s

family home, and discover not only an

extraordinary political career, but also

a lifelong passion for art and writing.

Stand in the study where Charles Darwin

wrote 'On the Origin of Species'.

In Cambridge, follow in Darwin’s footsteps,

visiting the College he attended, seeing

some of the plant and animal specimens

he collected on HMS Beagle and viewing

his correspondence housed at the

University Library, culminating with

a dinner in Christ’s College.

Tour Director: Jim Dixon

Jim is the founder of UK Countryside Tours, as well as a contributor to

The Times newspaper Nature Notebook.

With expertise in all aspects of British landscape and heritage, Jim has

previously held significant roles at the Royal Society for the Protection of

Birds, Natural England and the Peak District National Park, where he served

as Chief Executive Officer for twelve years from 2003 to 2014. In addition,

Jim led the UK National Parks partnership for four years in which he was

appointed to the World Commission on Protected Areas.

Christ’s College Cambridge (Inset: Charles Darwin at Cambridge). Photo: Visit Cambridge

Outline Itinerary

Explore the scenic Kent Coast,

visiting the Dickens family summer

retreat, Bleak House. Visit seaside

town Margate, and world-class

gallery the Turner Contemporary.

Return via the viewpoints of the

White Cliffs of Dover.

Visit historic Rochester, with

imposing Cathedral and Norman

Castle, taking in Gads Hill House,

where Dickens lived from 1856.

Visit Chartwell, home of Sir

Winston Churchill, with a private

tour of the house, gardens

and art studios.

Stand in the study of Charles

Darwin’s Down House and explore

Lullingstone Castle and World

Garden, the home of modern day

planter hunter and horticulturalist

Tom Hart Dyke.

Take a walking tour of Cambridge,

visiting the Darwin Memorial

Garden followed by chauffeured

punting. Visit the Darwin

Correspondence project at the

University Library for a privileged

tour of the Darwin archive.

Tour the Botanic Garden and

the Herbarium, to see published

floras, field notebooks and actual

specimens. Enjoy a final dinner

in the old Combination Room at

Christ’s College, Cambridge.

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Arts and Culture / 9

Landscapes and

Literary Lives

From Pemberley to Jane Eyre, discovering the

landscapes which inspired England’s greatest writers




When we read a landscape through the

eyes of an author, the words and stories of

• Visit Thomas Hardy’s birthplace

their greatest characters stay with us as we

and the charming cottage home where

encounter those landscapes ourselves.

Jane Austen lived at the end of her life.

• Explore some of England’s most beautiful On this journey from the South to the North

countryside - from the rolling Downs to of England, we visit elegant towns, timeless

the rugged beauty of the Lake District. villages and rugged uplands, travelling in

• Discover the bleak Pennine moors which the footsteps of Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen

were the back cloth to Bronte classics and the Bronte sisters through England’s

Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights

most outstanding landscapes, and

and finally visit Chatsworth House, the experience how the spirit of these inspiring

splendid baroque palace at the heart

places drove their creativity.

of the Peak District National Park, the

inspiration for Jane Austen’s Pemberley. You will peep into their homes, from humble

cottages to grand houses, from tranquil

rural idyll to the wild intensity of the

Yorkshire moors – and find powerful new

insights and associations with familiar works.

At each location enjoy distinctive rural

heritage, folk customs and celebrated

regional foods, from Dorset cider, to

Tour Type:

Grasmere gingerbread. Share your journey


with expert guides who share their insights

Entry and Departure Point: and passions and favourite readings from

London Heathrow Airport selected works bringing each location

to life in the words of the author.

Tour Director: Helen Jackson

A professional curator and heritage advisor, previously held Chief

Executive positions at the Campaign for National Parks, and Museums,

Libraries and Archives South East. As a heritage specialist she has a

particular passion for England’s distinctive regional landscapes and their

unique associated cultural heritage. She is currently a Secretary of State

appointed member of the South Downs National Park, a member of

the Heritage Lottery Fund’s South East of England Committee, and is

a trustee of several museums, arts and wildlife charities.

10 / Telling the stories of England

Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, Dorchester. Photo: Visit England / Visit Dorset

Outline Itinerary

Visit Jane Austen’s House

Museum at Chawton, where Jane

wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and

Persuasion, and nearby Chawton

House Library. Travel to Dorset

through the New Forest to Hardy’s

Wessex, visiting the thatched cottage

in woods near Dorchester where

Hardy was born.

Heading north, we stop off in

Shropshire to admire A.E. Housman’s

‘blue remembered hills’, then on to

the Lake District National Park, muse

of the romantic poets, ending the day

at Lake Windermere.

Visit Dove Cottage, and Rydal Mount,

Wordsworth’s Lake District homes.

Explore Ambleside and Stock Ghyll

Force, one of England’s most loved


Journey to the brooding moors of

Yorkshire, which framed the powerful

passions of the Bronte sisters.

Visit Haworth Parsonage for a

bespoke tour of the house,

its private library and the village

where the sisters wrote Jane Eyre

and Wuthering Heights.

Explore North Lees Hall in the Peak

District National Park - which inspired

Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Thornfield Hall’

in Jane Eyre. Finally spend time at

magnificent Chatsworth House,

the inspiration for Jane Austen’s

‘Pemberley’ in Pride and Prejudice,

close to the market town of Bakewell,

where she wrote parts of the novel.

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

History and



will tell you a story of English

History which goes beyond

the fabric of the castles,

battlefields, and titled leaders.

From the Roman conquest to Cold War Britain we

will shine a light on learning and creativity, passion

and conflict, ambition and sacrifice. We tell of the

failures and successes of the people great and

small who together made the story of England.

Working with England’s leading historians, we

will show how past events are relevant in modern

times, how strong leaders rose to the challenge

of uncertain times and made decisions good or

bad that changed the course of a nation’s history.


Bamburgh Castle.

Photo: Visit Northumberland

To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit


History and Heritage / 11

Mayflower 400

The journey to the American Declaration of Independence


In 1620 the Mayflower set sail from

Outline Itinerary

Plymouth, England carrying 102 English

• Sit in the pews from which the

families worshipped and where

Separatists seeking a new life on the other Enjoy a costumed interpreted tour

they determined to commit themselves side of the Atlantic. Their struggle to found of Scrooby Manor and visit to local

to a simpler life.

a new colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts Churches in the villages of Scooby,

12 / Telling the stories of England

Babworth and Austerfield, ending

• Enjoy a costumed interpretive visit to is an iconic moment in American and

at Gainsborough Old Hall.

Scrooby Manor, home of William Brewster, world history.

where secret prayer meetings were held.

Travel to Lincoln to view the Magna

This tour takes you on journey to the

Carta and Lincoln Cathedral,

• Witness the cells at Boston Guildhall, heart of their story, as you follow the

before journeying on to Boston,

where the Separatists were imprisoned Mayflower Pilgrims through rural villages, where we will see the cells in which

after their first attempt to leave England.

coastal towns and bustling sea ports. We the Pilgrims were held in 1607.

• Go aboard a full-size replica of the

will visit Scrooby, the quiet northern English

Visit Harwich and the docklands

Mayflower and have lunch at the

village which shaped their characters,

of Rotherhithe. Go aboard a fully

Mayflower Inn, the oldest pub on the

sit in the pews of the Church where they operational replica of the Mayflower


worshipped and visit the Boston prison cells to gain a sense of the ship which not

• Stand on the steps of Plymouth Harbour where the Pilgrims were held following

only carried the Pilgrims to America

from which the Mayflower Pilgrims finally

their first attempt to leave England.

but which remained home for many

set sail on their great journey to the

of them during the first winter in the

New World.

Covering North Nottinghamshire, Boston, New World.

Harwich and Plymouth, this tour will help

In Southampton, learn about the

you see the trials and tribulations the

provisioning of the Mayflower and

Pilgrims experienced before they finally set Speedwell and see the ships’ original

Tour Type: Journey

sail for the New World. Along the way we

will visit traditional inns and public houses

that have been in existence since long

before the Pilgrims set sail, and highlight

departure point before being forced

by bad weather to turn back to

Plymouth further down the coast.

Stop in Bayard’s Harbour on the

Entry and Departure Point: the many connections that link the history river Dart at Dartmouth where the

Manchester Airport

and heritage of our two countries.

two ships were forced to moor up

for repairs.

Tour Director: Jennifer Spencer

Jennifer is a senior tourism professional having worked for six years as

the CEO of Experience Nottinghamshire where she led a successful

team developing and promoting the tourism sector. She now works

as a consultant to the tourism and arts sectors, where she uses her

considerable experience to support arts and heritage initiatives. She

is also Director of New Art Exchange, on the Board of the Galleries of

Justice and a member of the fundraising board for Maggies Nottingham.

Visit the Mayflower museum in

Plymouth and finally stand on the

steps from which the Mayflower

departed English shores on 16

September 1620. Our tour will

culminate with a special private

dinner in Nancy Astor’s house on

Plymouth Hoe.



“The Embarkation of the Pilgrims” by Robert Walker Weir. Photo © Google Art Project

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Bamburgh Castle. Photo: Visit Northumberland Suffolk Punch Horses, Gressenhall Farm. Photo: Norfolk Museums Service

Bamburgh Castle. Photo: Visit Northumberland Suffolk Punch Horses, Gressenhall Farm. Photo: Norfolk Museums Service

England’s Bloody


An ancient land rich in history

Discover the beautiful border country between England

and Scotland - witness to some of the bloodiest battles

in British History. Hadrian’s Wall, Bamburgh Castle

and the story of the ruthless raiding warriors the

Border Reivers are the highlights of this tour

set within the beautiful Northumberland

National Park.

Tour Type:


Horses, Steam and

Great Estates

Rural Life in Eastern England

Discover how human hands have worked and shaped

the unique farmed landscapes of Eastern England,

from the Great Estates of North Norfolk to the

man-made landscape of Cambridgeshire’s watery fens.

Visit outstanding museums and historic

buildings, try your hand at working the heavy

horses and discover the ingenuity of early

steam powered farm machinery.





The Story of English

Rural Life

From the 1850’s to the modern age

Explore the English farming landscape from the golden

age of the heavy horse, to the introduction of steam power,

and the mechanisation of the modern age.

See unique historic landscapes; from the chalklands

of Norfolk to the rolling hills of Shropshire

to the moors of Northern England and enjoy

encounters with working horses and steam

driven machinery.

Tour Type:


Girl Power

The women who made Britain great

Explore 2000 years of history through the stories of

Boudicca, Bess of Hardwick and Emmeline Pankhurst

and other strong, courageous and challenging

women - warriors, thinkers and activists

who helped weave the story of England.





The Old Kitchen, Holkham Hall . Photo: Visit Britain / Iain Lewes Bess of Hardwick, The Long Gallery Hardwick Hall. Photo: Damiandude / CCTrust

Tour Type:


Tour Type:


& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit History and Heritage / 13

Round Table at Winchester Cathedral. Photo: Visit Britain / Daniel Bosworth Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. Photo: Marketing Manchester

In the Footsteps

of King Alfred

Military leader, scholar and statesman

Explore the life of King Alfred the Great – revered as the greatest

Briton - and Winchester, England’s first royal city. Military leader,

but also a man of huge learning, Alfred was a great statesman.

During his celebrated reign he fought brutal wars with the

Vikings, but was also able to establish the

foundations of the English nation through

new laws, cities, trade and an English

language and culture.

Tour Type:


Computing in Btain

A journey from Turing to tomorrow





The Story of Cold War


The USA’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier”

This tour explores how, as divisions between East and West

hardened after World War II, the green fields of traditional

England came to co-exist with the gargantuan aircraft, early

warning systems, reactors and radio telescopes of an exotic

new order, and how a secret world of nuclear

readiness was built beneath and around the

patterns of everyday life.

Tour Type:


Histoc Herefordshire

England’s rural idyll





Jodrell Bank, Cheshire View of Symond’s Yat. Photo: Visit Britain / Adrian Houston

Bletchley Park’s programmable computers were the greatest

secret of Britain’s success in World War II – and their role in

codebreaking kept them secret for another thirty years.

Explore how, with the War’s end, this hidden experience

prompted an explosion of innovation leading to the

mass computer literacy drive of the 1980s

and discover the research projects that will

shape computing in the next generation.

Explore the stunningly beautiful Wye Valley close to

the border between England and Wales. Visit Hereford

Cathedral, home to the Mappa Mundi, try your hand at cider

making, experience the thrill of race horses on the gallops

and see the best beef cattle in the world – the Hereford

- grazing this timeless rural landscape.

Tour Type:


Tour Type:


14 / Telling the stories of England & To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

A Seafang Nation

Exploring England’s maritime heritage



• Discover an awe-inspiring

collection of ships and museums

at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard and

visit the most complete dockyard of sail

at Chatham.

• Stand at the centre of time at Greenwich.

• Marvel at Henry VIII’s warship, the

Mary Rose, lost with all hands in 1545,

recovered from the seabed in 1982.

• Walk the decks of Nelson’s Victory

and see the coat he wore when fatally

wounded at the battle of Trafalgar.

• Discover stories hidden beneath the

streets of London, exploring the World

War II bunker where Churchill led Britain

to victory.

Tour Type: Immersion

Entry and Departure Point:

London Gatwick Airport


HMS Cavalier, Chatham Historic Dockyard. Photo: Visit Kent / HMS Victory, Portsmouth Dockyard. Photo: Visit England, Visit Hampshire

Maritime trade and naval power have always

been critical to England’s story, from early

pre-historic and Roman settlers to Drake’s

golden age of exploration, and the flowering

of the Royal Navy. England’s national

identity has been powerfully shaped by our

coastal and maritime history and heritage.

We will see historic ships, dockyards,

coastlines and uncover the real stories

of iconic maritime conflicts such as the

Battle of Trafalgar and the D-Day landings.

We visit world class maritime heritage sites,

including UNESCO World Heritage sites at

Greenwich Royal Observatory, the ’home

of time’, and London’s National Maritime

Museum; Portsmouth Historic Dockyard,

still situated within a working Naval Base;

and Kent’s impressively conserved Chatham

Historic Dockyard.

We will also explore the coastline and local

character of Southern England, delighting in

picturesque harbours, local food specialities

and the music of traditional sea shanties.

Tour Director: Helen Jackson

A professional curator and heritage advisor, previously held Chief

Executive positions at the Campaign for National Parks, and Museums,

Libraries and Archives South East. As a heritage specialist she has a

particular passion for England’s distinctive regional landscapes and their

unique associated cultural heritage. She is currently a Secretary of State

appointed member of the South Downs National Park, a member of

the Heritage Lottery Fund’s South East of England Committee, and is

a trustee of several museums, arts and wildlife charities.

Outline Itinerary

Explore Churchill’s War Rooms,

which remain as they were in 1945.

Cruise along the River Thames to

Greenwich for a unique perspective

on the city’s rich maritime history.

Spend a full day at the Royal

Museums Greenwich, a UNESCO

World Heritage Site, and home to

the Royal Observatory Greenwich,

and the tea clipper Cutty Sark.

Vist Chatham Historic Dockyard,

the world’s most complete dockyard

of the age of sail. Discover the site’s

rich maritime heritage and enjoy a

private tour of the (famously haunted)

Commissioner’s House.

See Dover’s famous Bronze Age

Boat – discovered in 1992 and

thought to be some 3000 years old

and Dover’s famous white cliffs.

Visit Fort Nelson, one of the five

defensive forts built to protect the

Portsmouth naval base. We discover

the story of D-Day from planning and

build up to the landings in Normandy

in 1944.

Spend a full day in Portsmouth,

home to HMS Victory and the Tudor

Mary Rose, one of three operating

bases in the UK for the British Royal

Navy. Explore the historic Georgian

dockyard buildings, take a harbour

tour for a sea-view of the city.

Finally enjoy dinner aboard HMS

Warrior, Britain’s first iron-hulled,

armoured warship.

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit History and Heritage / 15

Imperial War Museum Duxford. Photo: Visit Britain / Britain on View

England’s Dark Ages

From Cultural Climax to Conquest - Anglo-Saxon England up to 1066




Known as ‘The Dark Ages’, there are five

centuries in England’s history that very

• Discover the most exceptional

cultural and physical treasures

few explore. Yet, from the 6th to the 11th

of the Saxon era with medieval expert century this country was a creative hub,

Dr Janina Ramirez, including the

producing some of the best minds,

Sutton Hoo treasures, England‘s

art and literature in the Western World.

Tutankhamun’s tomb.

With that most seminal of dates – 1066 –

• Explore both Saxon and Viking capital the Norman Conquest would rewrite

cities, and the battle sites of Hastings history and transform the nation.

and Stamford Bridge which saw the

end of the Saxon era in England at the On this journey which takes us from the

time of the Norman Conquest.

south to the north of England, we will

• Discover early Christian treasures from discover the vibrant world of the Anglothe

Lindisfarne Gospels to the earliest Saxons, and see for ourselves their exquisite

Saxon church in England and visit the craftsmanship and learning from Bede

Holy Island of Lindisfarne which was

and Beowulf, to the bloody fields of

home to St Cuthbert.

Hastings and Stamford Bridge. We will visit

the great libraries, cathedrals and castles

of England’s most historic cities,

and will also take time to visit simple

churches, remote priories and little known,

but incredibly significant locations.

You will see the first stained glass window,

Tour Type: Immersion the earliest English epic, and the finest

Entry and Departure Point: illuminated manuscript ever made.

London Heathrow Airport

Tour Director: Dr Janina Ramirez

Janina is a cultural historian, broadcaster and author based at the

University of Oxford with a passion for communicating ideas about the

past. Her research began with a degree in English literature at Oxford,

followed by an MA and PhD at the Centre for Medieval Studies in York on

the art, literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. She has presented

a number of acclaimed series for the BBC including ‘Treasures of the

Anglo-Saxons’, ‘The Viking Sagas’, ‘The Private Lives of Medieval Kings’

and the ‘Hundred Years’ War’.

16 / Telling the stories of England

Sutton Hoo Clasp. Photo: British Museum, Photo Dr. J. Ramirez

Outline Itinerary

Travel from London to Hastings

and explore the battlefield where

William the Conqueror defeated

Harold Godwinson.

Visit the British Museum, home to

the Sutton Hoo treasures, one of

the most spectacular discoveries

in British archaeology. Then to the

British Library, to see manuscripts

of Beowulf and the 8th century

Lindisfarne Gospels.

Travel to Tamworth, the ancient

capital of Anglo Saxon Mercia,

to see the Staffordshire Hoard,

the biggest collection of Anglo-

Saxon jewellery ever discovered.

Visit the spectacular 13th century

York Minster and the Cathedral

Library, including the famous

York Gospels.

Travel to Stamford Bridge, where

the first major battle of 1066 ended

in victory. Journey onto Jarrow,

visiting Bede’s monastery to see

the first stained glass window and

the oldest complete Anglo-Saxon

Church in England.

Explore Durham Cathedral, with

special access to manuscripts from

the Cathedral’s remarkable library.

Journey to the Holy Island of

Lindisfarne. A tranquil, beautiful

and remote place to end your tour

and stunning place to contemplate

the achievements of the Anglo-


& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Imperial War Museum Duxford. Photo: Visit Britain / Britain on View

Over Here

The story of US servicemen in Britain



Guarding the Shores

of England



War Rooms below Dover Castle. Photo: Visit Kent

Hundreds of thousands of US servicemen arrived in

Britain in 1942 ready for the great push against Hitler’s

Nazi Germany. This was one of many occasions

when American service personnel, their families,

culture and beliefs built a profound connection

with Britain. Discover their stories on a

journey via the American Military cemeteries,

England’s only dedicated American Museum

and the American Air Museum in Duxford.

Kent’s frontline country

The white cliffs of Dover have always been at the forefront

of the defence of the realm. Roman coastal forts,

Norman defensive castles and Tudor naval docklands

have left their mark on this beautiful rolling

countryside. Napoleon and two World Wars

saw further fortification of the region once

known as Hellfire corner.

Tour Type:


Tour Type:


A Gloous Century

of War and More

Crecy to Agincourt:

exploring late medieval England.



The Hundred Years War between England and

France raged during the most dramatic century

in both nations’ history. From the 14th to the

15th centuries, two countries that had been

bound by language, culture and blood since

1066, broke apart and found their own identities

in the wreckage.

As England became a nation in its own right,

it discovered the beauty of its language through

Chaucer, stunning English Gothic architecture

at Gloucester, and a new military identity bound

to Edward III and Henry V, two of England’s

greatest rulers. We will explore this birth of a nation

through secret castles, breath-taking cathedrals

and powerful landscapes that have changed the

course of history.

Windsor Castle. Photo: Visit England

Tour Type:


& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit History and Heritage / 17

Radical Thinkers

Manchester, cotton and the birth of industry


Nicknamed ‘Cotton City’, or Cottonopolis,

Manchester once sent cotton goods around

Outline Itinerary

• Tour Chetham’s library, where

Karl Marx met Friedrich Engels and visit the the world. Out of the world’s first industrial city

site of the notorious ‘Peterloo Massacre’. came remarkable men and women, whose

• Enjoy a drinks reception at Gaskell

capacity for radical thought drove the industrial

House, where novelist and social reform revolution and challenged social injustice.

campaigner Elizabeth Gaskell wrote

We discover the fascinating heritage of

Cranford and North and South.

railways, canals and cotton mills; contrasting

• Discover Manchester’s finest museums and

the lives of the cotton workers with the

galleries, including the Museum of Science

imposing architecture of Manchester Town

and Industry, the award winning Whitworth

Art Gallery and the unique Lowry Gallery. Hall. We will dine in the hotel where Rolls met

Royce and browse the shelves of the oldest

• Step back in time at Quarry Bank Mill – the

most complete and untouched industrial free public library in the world, where Marx

heritage community in the UK.

met Engels.

• Take tea in the parlour of the Pankhurst With the help of leading authorities in industrial

Centre, home to suffragette Emmeline heritage and political history we will deepen

Pankhurst, where the campaign for Votes

our understanding of why Manchester not

for Women began.

only led the industrial revolution, but also

bore witness to the rise of the Co-operative

movement, Trade Unionism and the struggle

for votes for ordinary people.

Today, Manchester is a modern, vibrant

Tour Type: Immersion metropolitan centre and this tour offers the

Entry and Departure Point: opportunity for retail, theatre and musical

Manchester Airport interludes in addition to its heritage highlights.

Tour Director and specialist contributors: Jim Dixon

Jim is the founder of UK Countryside Tours, he will be supported on this

tour by:

Professor Hannah Barker: Hannah is a leading historian in Victorian

social history and Manchester’s cotton past. She is Director of the John

Rylands Research Institute, Professor of British History at the University of

Manchester and Chair of Manchester Histories, a charity which works to

transform lives in Greater Manchester through histories and heritage.

Jonathan Schofield: One of Manchester’s awarding winning blue badge

guides and the author of the complete guide to Manchester.

18 / Telling the stories of England



Castlefield Basin. Photo: Marketing Manchester / Helmshore Cotton Machines. Photo: David Dixon / CC

Begin at the Museum of Science and

Industry, on the site of the world’s

first passenger railway station; enjoy

its outstanding collections dedicated

to Manchester’s textile trade. Enjoy

a private charter on the historic

Bridgewater Canal.

Take a walking tour of the city, taking in

the grandiose Manchester Town Hall,

Chetham’s Library and St Peter's

Fields, site of the 1819 Peterloo

Massacre, later explore the award

winning Whitworth Art Gallery.

Visit Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire –

the most complete surviving example

of a designed industrial revolution

community, guided by Professor

Hannah Barker. Later enjoy a drinks

reception at Gaskell House.

Tour the dramatic Pennine

landscape north of the city, whose

hilly geography underpinned the

development of the cotton trade.

Visit Marsden, where the UK’s longest

canal tunnel cuts below the moors.

Visit the Lowry Gallery set at the

heart of the Salford Quays docklands

- famous for works depicting life in

North West England. Finish our tour

taking tea in the parlour of Pankhurst

House, the home of Suffragettes

Emmeline and Christobel Pankhurst.

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Houses and



will unveil the English country

house from timber framed manorial

halls, to the outstanding treasure

houses of England, revealing the

lives of the people who owned,

designed and worked there.

Our passionate experts, will help you read political

allegiance, social values and even treasonous

plotting in both interiors and garden design.

We will share with you the beauty of England’s

glorious gardens in all their rich diversity -

celebrating the restraint of clipped hedges, the

flamboyance of Victorian colour, the grandeur of

sweeping vistas and intimate cottage planting.

With head gardeners, garden design experts

and garden historians these tours will enrich

your understanding of the great plant hunters

and global connections that make each

English garden a unique masterpiece.


Holkham Hall Saloon.

Photo: Visit Britain / Iain Lewis

To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit


Houses and Sub Gardens header / 19

The Gardens of

Northern England

Innovative, hardy and sustaining, in association with

the Royal Horticultural Society




The majestic settings of Yorkshire’s

countryside and its historic cities have

• Discover three of England’s

most important 18th century landscapes inspired ambitious designed landscapes

– Studley Royal, Castle Howard and as well as intimate private gardens.

Harewood House.

On this tour we have a week in which to

• Explore a feast of architectural

explore garden history from the medieval

masterpieces from medieval Gothic

through ‘Capability’ Brown landscapes

through English baroque to neo-classical,

Victorian and contemporary.

to the contemporary sculpture park.

We will meet the curators, owners and

• Opportunities throughout to pose

questions directly to garden makers gardeners who undaunted by a northern

and owners whilst sampling home-made climate made and make Yorkshire’s

traditional foods.

gardens great.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) will

provide a behind the scenes visit to their

northern showcase – the Harlow Carr

Botanical Gardens. Local recipes have

evolved to sustain hard working gardeners

and we will also enjoy traditional homebaked

Yorkshire cuisine during our visits.

We will be based in the elegant spa town

of Harrogate.

Tour Type:


Entry and Departure Point:

Manchester Airport

Tour Director: Caroline Holmes

Caroline is a garden historian, international lecturer, author of

11 books who designs landscape themes including the planting in

The Poison Garden at The Alnwick Garden. Recipient of the Herb Society

of America’s The Elizabeth Crisp Rea and The Gertrude B. Foster Awards

for Excellence in Herbal Literature, Caroline is Course Director for the

University of Cambridge’s International Summer Programmeme creating

and leading modules studying English houses and gardens.

20 / Telling the stories of England

RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. Photo: © Royal Horticultural Society

Outline Itinerary

Visit to Dacre Banks and

Summerbridge Gardens. Situated

in the beautiful countryside of

Nidderdale, the gardens are linked

by an attractive valley walk.

Experience Fountains Abbey

the largest folly in Christendom’

and Studley Royal for a day

of spectacular landscape and

medieval architecture.

Explore RHS Harlow Carr Botanical

Gardens, with a special focus

on Plant Hunter Reginald Farrer.

Then onto Birstwith Hall,

to meet the owner of this charming

private garden.

Experience the space and serenity

of the Yorkshire Arboretum, a 120

acre garden of trees from around

the world. Then onto Vanbrugh’s

architectural masterpiece Castle

Howard set in the first example of

the English serpentine style.

Visit the grand estate of Harewood

to view an outstanding Capability

Brown landscape, restored Victorian

terraces and walled garden.

Discover internationally renowned

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where

the undulating landscape provides

the perfect setting for contemporary

sculpture displays. Then onto

Wentworth Castle Gardens to

enjoy its 18th century follies and

restored Victorian conservatory.

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

The Cascade House, Chatsworth. Photo: Chatsworth House Trust

Temple of the Four Winds, Castle Howard. Photo: Visit Britain / Mike Kipling The Cascade House, Chatsworth. Photo: Chatsworth House Trust

The Country House

in Northern England

Loyalty, treason and America

England from 1685 was marked by revolution, civil wars,

imperial warfare, the Atlantic slave trade and American

independence. Encounter the reflections of these events

in the gardens and houses of Northern England,

and witness the fine line between loyalty

and treason expressed in architecture,

monuments and Georgian political gardening.

Tour Type:


Retrang the






The Country House

in Southern England

Sex, war and politics

Visit the great houses of 18th century dilettantes, soldiers

and politicians and explore landscapes, follies and exquisite

interiors. Discover great palaces and small manor houses,

heroic military campaigns translated into garden features

and follies and statuary which teasingly satirise

18th century morality and politics.

Tour Type:


The Gloous Gardens

of South West England





Italian Garden Blenheim Palace. Photo: Visit Britain / Blenheim Palace Lukelands. Photo: Caroline Holmes

An English Grand Tour

England’s gentler climate

Retrace the meeting of arts and sciences - the beautiful and the

practical - during the Enlightenment. Find Arcadia realised

by Richard Wilson, designed by Robert Adam, rationalised

in the intelligent landscapes of Lancelot ‘Capability’

Brown, fuelled by experimentation and

symbolised in the paintings of Joseph Wright

of Derby - from the world’s first factory on

the River Derwent to the architecture and

landscapes of Kedleston and Chatsworth.

Rugged countryside and magnificent coasts make the

West Country one of England’s most picturesque regions.

The milder climate is ideal for gardening and plants from

around the globe thrive. Explore ancient estates,

with fine houses and castles on the way,

discovering champion trees, the real

Downton Abbey and the landscapes which

inspired Agatha Christie’s crime fiction.

Tour Type:


Tour Type:


& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit Houses and Gardens / 21

Scafell Pike, Lake District National Park. Photo: Visit Britain / Joe Cornish Herringbone Brickwork Otley Hall. Photo: Caroline Holmes

Natural Treasures

A journey through England’s National Parks

Discover England’s finest landscapes, diverse countryside

and strong rural character, and the story of the visionary

individuals and campaigning groups who have ensured

they have been saved for future generations. Visit nature

reserves and precious habitats from the ancient woodland

of the New Forest to the craggy peaks of the

Lake District.

Tour Type:


The Gloous Gardens

of Eastern England





The ‘Dukees’

The great houses of Central England

In a beautifully scenic area of central England four of the

greatest ducal estates in England sit adjacent to each other.

Discover the fascinating story of how these estates came into

being, insights into the rich history of the families who lived

and worked on them, with behind the scenes

access to reveal how these heritage

properties survive in the 21st century.

Tour Type:




The Portland Collection. Photo: Welbeck Estates

The cradle of the constitution to contemporary

expressions of individual taste

On the altar of St Edmund’s Abbey the rebel Barons swore

an oath that King John should sign the Magna Carta.

400 years later, Bartholomew Gosnold sailed on Godspeed

to ‘discover’ Cape Cod. Based in Bury St

Edmunds, this tour has time to explore its

ruins, theatre and brewery as well as the

glorious gardens nurtured by the rich soils

of Eastern England.

Tour Type:


22 / Telling the stories of England & To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit



Sussex, a county of culture, architecture and horticulture,

where the world seed-bank meets architectural Xanadu




• Delight in England’s most exotic

regal folly, the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.

• Wonder at the work of the Millennium

Seed Bank, which stores seeds of every

UK native plant and towards 25% of the

world’s species. Closely associated with

the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, it is the

finest in the world.

• Visit restored Gravetye Manor, in the

company of Head Gardener Tom Coward,

and see the influence of American

species on the English Garden.

• Discover the fruits of the Arts and Crafts

Movement in architecture, furniture

and furnishings.

Tour Type: Immersion

Entry and Departure Point:

London Heathrow Airport

We invite you to revel in the architectural

and horticultural extravaganzas of Sussex.

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, is undoubtedly

the most exotic where the styles of India and

China meet in a colourful collaboration, but a

cornucopia of delights to feast both the eyes

and appetite will be enjoyed at West Dean,

Gravetye Manor and Parham House.

We will focus on the needs of global

conservation at the Millennium Seed Bank

at Wakehurst Place, and enjoy the Arts

and Crafts mantra of beauty and utility

consummately expressed at Standen House.

We will enjoy Edwardian exuberance in the

gardens at West Dean, whilst the interior

is testament to Edward James’ patronage

of the surrealists, a world of kaleidoscopic

colours bursts on to the scene from the

leaves and flowers of trees and shrubs

at Sheffield Park.

Quiet confidence is exuded by the

Elizabethan Parham House, whilst the

symmetry of English baroque on the west

façade at Petworth provides the perfect

theatre for its Brownian landscape.

Tour Director: Caroline Holmes

Caroline is a garden historian, international lecturer, author of

11 books who designs landscape themes including the planting in

The Poison Garden at The Alnwick Garden. Recipient of the Herb Society

of America’s The Elizabeth Crisp Rea and The Gertrude B. Foster Awards

for Excellence in Herbal Literature, Caroline is Course Director for the

University of Cambridge’s International Summer Programmeme creating

and leading modules studying English houses and gardens.

The Royal Pavillion, Brighton. Photo: Tony Hisgett /CC-BY 2.0

Outline Itinerary

Visit Gravetye Manor, former home

of Edwardian garden writer William

Robinson. Then onto Standen

House, a Philip Webb designed

exemplar of the Arts and Crafts


Explore Petworth House, home of

the Egremont family, with worldclass

art collections including

paintings by J.M.W. Turner of the

‘Capability’ Brown landscape.

Later visit Parham House, one of

England’s finest Elizabethan houses.

Visit the leafy landscape of

Sheffield Park, before moving

on to Wakehurst Place, where

the architecture ranges from

Elizabethan to contemporary.

Discover West Dean, to enjoy both

Arts and Crafts and the Surreal,

and later visit nearby Weald and

Downland Museum to see a

fascinating range of reconstructed

traditional buildings.

Visit Lewes, to see the house of

one of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne

of Cleves, and the oldest Sussex

brewery. Travel onto Brighton for

the Royal Pavilion - ‘the pleasure

domes of Xanadu transported to an

English seaside town’.

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Houses and Gardens / 23

Great Heiresses

How America saved the English country house

and changed English society, taste and design




We explore the remarkable story of

American investment at the end of the

• Bespoke tours of great English

country houses with fascinating

19th century which saved many of the great

American connections.

country houses from financial ruin, and

had a lasting impact on English society.

• Explore the remarkable lives of the

influential Americans such as Consuelo American tycoons and ‘dollar princesses’

Vanderbilt, who left a gilded American were part of this phenomenon, and by 1914

childhood for a loveless marriage at over 300 American heiresses had married

Blenheim, and Nancy Lancaster, a

into the British aristocracy.

renowned 20th century tastemaker.

We visit some of the glorious English

• Discover the perfect Georgian city of

country houses rescued or shaped by this

Bath - and the picturesque rural delights

wave of ‘Gilded Age’ investment, including

of the South Downs National Park and

Blenheim Palace, Highclere Castle,

the Cotswolds.

Cliveden and Leeds Castle.

On our journey we will see spectacular

architecture, grand and extravagant design

– and we discover the extraordinary life

stories associated with the great estates,

from railroad heiress Gloria Vanderbilt at

Blenheim Palace, to Nancy Astor, the first

woman to sit as a Member of Parliament.

Throughout you will be accompanied

by expert guides who can share their

Tour Type: Immersion insights as you explore hidden histories,

Entry and Departure Point: gain new perspectives and experience

London Heathrow Airport the best of each location.

Tour Director: Helen Jackson

A professional curator and heritage advisor, previously held Chief

Executive positions at the Campaign for National Parks, and Museums,

Libraries and Archives South East. As a heritage specialist she has a

particular passion for England’s distinctive regional landscapes and their

unique associated cultural heritage. She is currently a Secretary of State

appointed member of the South Downs National Park, a member of

the Heritage Lottery Fund’s South East of England Committee, and is

a trustee of several museums, arts and wildlife charities.

24 / Telling the stories of England

Hever Castle, once home to Anne Boleyn. Photo: Visit Kent

Outline Itinerary

See 900 year old Leeds Castle in

Kent, acquired in 1926 by an Anglo

American heiress, and restyled as

a centre of lavish hospitality for

statesmen, film stars and royalty.

Visit Hever Castle, home of Anne

Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second

wife, and bought in 1903 by William

Waldorf Astor, then America’s

richest man.

Travel west to explore the ‘real

Downton Abbey’, Highclere Castle,

one of England’s most beautiful

Victorian stately homes.

Visit Highcliffe Castle, perched

on the Dorset cliffs, tenanted by

the retail entrepreneur Harry

Gordon Selfridge, before his

fortunes changed.

Travel to the historic city of Bath,

a UNESCO World Heritage site,

with time to explore the Georgian

streets and elegant shops.

Journey to the Oxfordshire

Cotswolds to visit Ditchley Park,

an 18th century house redecorated

from 1933 by American Nancy

Lancaster. Discover the decadent

history of palatial Cliveden House,

purchased by William Waldorf Astor.

Explore Blenheim Palace,

Oxfordshire, a stately home of

staggering beauty and treasures,

birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill,

and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

RHS Royal Chelsea and

Hampton Court Palace

The most English of flower shows and the Arcadian Thames

in association with the Royal Horticultural Society

RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: ©Royal Horticultural Society


• Discover the horticultural

heritage and legacy of London districts

Chelsea and Hampton from Henry VIII

to the modern day RHS Flower Shows.

• Enjoy an exclusive, insider guide to the

gardens, plantsmen, designers and

landscapes who have shaped London

in collaboration with our RHS experts

and Tour Director.

• Enjoy expert guidance on how the flower

shows are judged, what to look out for

and how to ensure you get the most out

of your visit to the show.

• Gain unique access to the RHS library in

their headquarters. RHS Head of Libraries

is home to their collection of rare books,

catalogues and botanical art.



Tour Type: Immersion

Entry and Departure Point:

London Heathrow Airport

The Royal Horticultural Society (The RHS)

was established in 1804 and is the world’s

leading horticultural charity. Their vision is

to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and

make the UK a greener and more beautiful

place. The RHS has a worldwide reputation

for providing horticultural excellence and

inspiration through their shows and gardens.

This tour runs in May to coincide with the

RHS Chelsea Flower Show and July for the

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

The RHS library collection will form a key

part of the tour experience, currently not

available to the general public or any other

tour company. Furthermore, RHS experts

will enhance the tour both prior to visiting

the flower show and during the visit.

Apart from one or other show, gardens to

be visited include Hampton Court Palace

accessed by boat along the River Thames,

Chelsea Physic Garden, the Royal Chelsea

Hospital and the Garden Museum.

Tour Director: Caroline Holmes

Caroline is a garden historian, international lecturer, author of

11 books who designs landscape themes including the planting in

The Poison Garden at The Alnwick Garden. Recipient of the Herb Society

of America’s The Elizabeth Crisp Rea and The Gertrude B. Foster Awards

for Excellence in Herbal Literature, Caroline is Course Director for the

University of Cambridge’s International Summer Programmeme creating

and leading modules studying English houses and gardens.

Outline Itinerary

Visit the RHS Library Head of

Libraries, for an introductory talk.

A selection of extremely rare books,

catalogues and botanical art will be

available to view. Visit the Chelsea

Physic Garden to explore its

collections and iconic history.

Enjoy an early morning tour of

RHS Chelsea Flower Show with

ample time to explore individually.

Visit Hampton Court Palace

to see both the gardens and

interiors. Return to London by boat

along the Thames.

Take a guided tour of the Royal

Hospital Chelsea garden and

interiors. Conceived by Charles II

to house his former soldiers and

designed by Christopher Wren in

‘Wrenaissance’ style.

Visit Lambeth Palace, London,

home of the Archbishop of

Canterbury, with extensive gardens

including Cardinal Pole’s White

Marseilles fig planted in 1556

and the nearby nearby

Garden Museum.

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit Houses and Gardens / 25

study at


A treasure house of inspiration

A truly immersive


Our tours are inspired by the extensive

Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth.

Through this exceptional house, its

collections, garden and wider parkland

estate we will discover stories of intrigue,

power, tragedy and passion. We will also

journey from Chatsworth to see some

of the most incredible monuments

of the English countryside, great cities

and stunning landscapes.

Chatsworth, Derbyshire. Photo: Chatsworth House Trust

“Chatsworth was built to

welcome guests and to be

seen. Over five centuries,

members of my family have

welcomed guests from around

the world, and the house has

been open for people to see

round since the mid 1600s.

Sixteen generations of my

family have lived here,

and as you will discover eac

h generation has made its

own changes at Chatsworth.

Some I find inspiring, some

bewildering, but all of them


The Duke of Devonshire

26 / Telling the stories of England


The Duke

To book,

and Duchess

Call toll free:

of Devonshire

1 844 221 3366 or visit

Statements in Stone

Architectural icons of the English country house


• Immerse yourself in Richard

Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington’s library

and original writings and plans such

as First Editions of Palladio’s ground

breaking Quattro Libri dell’Architettura

and Colen Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus

in the archive at Chatsworth.

• Journey through time from the medieval

and English Renaissance, through

Neo-classicism to High Victorian

extravagance and beyond.

• Sit down to our celebration dinner

in the dining room of the magnificent

Jacobean Tissington Hall, intimate

and ancestral home of our host,

Sir Richard FitzHerbert Bt.

Tour Type:



Entry and Departure Point:

Manchester or London

Heathrow Airports


The English country house stands out

as an extraordinary architectural

manifestation of cultural ambition -

found the length and breadth of England.

England may have been late to the

European Renaissance banquet,

but there would be no holding back.

These first grand projects were classically

inspired but uniquely English - unashamedly


Immerse yourself in this two centre tour

in unlocking the stories of these

architectural gems, and tracing the

movement of ideas, fashions and taste,

through seven of the finest and most

significant buildings in England. We will

discover some of the most charismatic

architecture of the English countryside –

enlivened by a supporting cast of excellent

country inns.

Our base is Chatsworth, one of England’s

pre-eminent stately homes, set within

the dramatic landscape of the Derbyshire

Peak District.

Tour Director: Stuart Gillis

Stuart is an experienced heritage and culture professional. He is the

former Chief Executive of Derby Museums, and former Director of the

UK’s National Waterways Museums - managing collections of national

importance, developing great visitor experiences, and serving on numerous

heritage boards. Stuart is a knowledgeable, passionate and experienced

guide - bringing subjects alive in various fields across England’s history.

The overmantel in the Blue Room at Hardwick Hall. Photo: The National Trust Photolibrary / Alamy Stock Photo

Outline Itinerary

See the transition from medieval to

Tudor hall in timber framed Little

Moreton Hall, Cheshire. Then onto

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, to see the

manorial hall emerge from medieval

into the early modern era.

Visit Hardwick Hall to experience

a uniquely English interpretation of

Renaissance architectural language

and the transition from ecclesiastical

to secular power. Progress through

the building, culminating in the

State Apartment.

Spend a day at Chatsworth, tracing

its evolution from Elizabethan hall

to Baroque palace to the modern

day. Discover the legacy of historic

events, political philosophy and

technological innovation.

Journey southwards, through the

Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO

World Heritage Site and visit the

Joseph Wright collection at Derby

Museum and Art Gallery. Visit

Keddleston Hall, a spectacular

Robert Adam mansion, experiencing

the contrast with Chatsworth.

Experience Victorian exuberance at

Highclere Castle; the film location

for the hit TV series Downton Abbey;

to see Charles Barry’s Elizabethan

revivalist house. Finally, visit Standen

House and Gardens, in West Sussex.

to experience this delightful Arts and

Crafts family home and garden.

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Study at Chatsworth / 27

Lady Georgiana Cavendish, Thomas Gainsborough. Photo: The Devonshire Collection Chatsworth 1699. Photo: Britannia Illustra The "Broad View" walk at Chatsworth. Photo: Paul Melling / Alamy Stock Photo

The Stately Home

Dynasty and the making of Modern England

Immerse yourself in the story of one of England’s pre-eminent

stately homes, as we follow the Cavendish family across

16 generations. We encounter plots, passions, rivals and

friendships, as Chatsworth reveals itself as both a family

home and treasure house of beauty, variety and

remarkable significance.

Tour Type:




Into Arcadia

The history of landscape in the art and strata

of Northern England

Our tour takes us to the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth

with Old Master studies and inspirational landscape artworks .

These paintings of an idealised nature, are the gateway to our

story, through which our tour unfolds as a remarkable journey

into the history of art, the pursuit of a classical vision of nature,

and a morality tale of Arcadia, lost and found, in Albion.

Tour Type:


Gardens & Landscapes of

the English Country House

Enter into the living history of the English Garden.

With Chatsworth as our focus, we discover the historic

sources and tour exemplar gardens in the region to discover

the ambition, determination, fashion crazes and technological

innovation which shaped these glorious gardens through

the last 500 years.

Tour Type:






Nicolas Poussin 1627, Et in Arcadia Ego. Photo: The Devonshire Collection

Matlock Tor by Moonlight Joseph Wright. Photo: Yale Centre for British Art /OS

28 / Telling the stories of England & To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Matlock Tor by Moonlight Joseph Wright. Photo: Yale Centre for British Art /OS

The Making of English


In a limestone gorge in the depths of a global ice age,

a member of a small, Upper Palaeolithic community worked

the natural contours of a cave’s wall into the heightened,

naturalistic relief of a wild beast. Inspired by Chatsworth’s art

and monuments in the land, this tour will uncover a history

of ideas as told in the landscapes of Northern England.

Tour Type:






Modern and


Art in England

Chatsworth is home to one

of the great art collections of

England and the 12th Duke

and Duchess have embraced

their own shared passion,

placing contemporary art

at the centre of their vision

for the house and garden.

Our tour is set against the

backdrop of Sotheby’s

Beyond Limits exhibition,

one of the most

prestigious platforms for

modern and contemporary

sculpture in the UK today.

Tour Type:


Michael Craig-Martin; Digital

Portrait of the Countess of

Burlington, 2010

Michael Craig-Martin; Digital Portrait of the Countess of Burlington, 2010. Photo: The Devonshire Collection The Painted Hall. Photo: Chatsworth House Trust

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit Study at Chatsworth / 29

Peace of mind

UK Countryside Tours is a small, specialist tour operator that will help

you travel beyond the boundaries of our great capital city, exploring the

deeper and more authentic British regions. We will work hard to ensure

you have a memorable, fulfilling and enjoyable stay.

Our programmes are designed by our friendly team of tour directors,

who are as passionate as we are about Telling the Stories of England.

Through a shared interest in special places, art, literature, science

and endeavour, combined with great food and special places to stay,

we hope you will have a rich experience of the quintessential Britain.

We work with the best suppliers of executive travel to maximise

your comfort and safety whilst travelling. We have selected our

accommodation, itinerary and catering with great care to ensure

that you have a quality, relaxed and exclusive experience that will

enlighten and entertain you.

If we do not feel that the tour can go ahead to the standard we would

want for reasons outside our control we will cancel, giving you a full

refund of any money already paid to us.

Protecting you

We start from a simple premise. When you travel with us, we take

responsibility for your safety and wellbeing. In return, we expect you to

work constructively with our tour leaders, partners and the people who

run the places we visit. We also expect you to tell us about anything that

we need to know, such as any medical or other special needs, that may

affect your experience of travelling with us.

Protecting your money

We ensure our customers are protected with all booking fees being

paid directly into a bonded account. This is managed independently

through Protected Travel Services. This protection lasts from the point

that you book your holiday through to the point when you return.

You can enjoy every holiday booked through a PTS client knowing

that you have 100% financial protection and full peace of mind at all

times. For more information on how your money is protected please

visit PTS provide full tour operator

insurance for every one of our guests.

This brochure and theTelling the stories of England’ tours have

been prepared with the support of Visit England’s Discover England

Fund. The three-year £40million Discover England Fund will ensure

that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism

industry, by offering world-class English tourism products to the right

customers at the right time.

The fund supports the growth of one of England’s most successful

export industries, inbound tourism. Tourism is an industry that delivers

jobs and economic growth across the English regions - generating

£106 billion a year and employing over 2 million people, with a strong

domestic market. England has seen record tourism spend in the past

year from both domestic and international visitors.

The Discover England Fund is managed on behalf of the Government

by Visit England working closely with Visit Britain and the national and

local tourism organisations.

All of our tours are fully insured and compliant with UK tour operator

legislation, although we would ask you to take out appropriate travel

insurance that ensures that in the event of an accident or illness that

you will get access to the best medical treatment and that you will be

able to get home safely.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: © Copyright Royal Horticulural Society

30 / Telling the stories of England

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

Statue of Alfred the Great, Winchester.

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Designed and produced by © 2017. g/sp/0.2m/01.02/12846

UK Countryside Tours

Unit 2F, Cromford Creative, Cromford Mill, Mill Lane, Cromford, Derbyshire, UK, DE4 3RQ

US Toll Free: 1 844 221 3366 UK: +44 (0)1629 704759


UK Countryside Tours is registered in the UK Company 9923906

32 / Telling the stories of England

Union Jack Garden, Wentworth Castle

Visit England / Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust

& To book, Call toll free: 1 844 221 3366 or visit

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