Out of London Tours
Suggested Itineraries for Coach Tours Outside London
On certain days of the year, Windsor Castle, the State Apartments and/or St George's Chapel may be closed. Check at the time of booking this tour.
Some 25 miles west of central London, the charming town of Windsor is dominated by the castle which has been there for 900 years. It is the oldest residence in the world to have been continually inhabited by royalty (over some 900 years). St George's Chapel, one of four great Perpendicular Gothic chapels surviving in England, contains many royal tombs and is the chapel of the Garter Knights.
The State Apartments include the Waterloo Chamber, the Garter Throne Room and the Rubens room. The rooms were refurbished under Charles II in the 1660s, with lavish decorative work by such notable artists as Grinling Gibbons and Antonio Verrio. A later restyling under George IV adds to the grand effect. Of particular interest is the bullet that killed Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar 1805 and the sword with which the Japanese surrendered at the end of the second World War.
View Queen Mary's dolls house, designed by Lutyens and furnished by many notable artists, to raise money for Queen Mary's favourite charities.
On some days there is a Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle, weather permitting.
It is possible to do a trip to Windsor Castle on its own in a half day, although if travelling from central London it is advisable to allow 5 hours for such a tour.
Lunch is often taken in one of the many pubs or restaurants in Windsor before leaving for Hampton Court, some 15 miles from Windsor.
Located on the River Thames, Hampton Court was easily accessible from London. It is first mentioned in the Domesday Survey, later owned by the Knights of St John, and then leased by Henry VIII's right hand man, Cardinal Wolsey. When the Cardinal fell from favour, Henry VIII took over the palace, rebuilding extensively.
The Great Hall, the Astronomical clock and the Tudor Kitchens are the highlights of this building spree. Later under our joint monarchs William and Mary the architect Sir Christopher Wren laid out new King's and Queen's Apartments which have recently been splendidly restored.
The gardens at Hampton Court reflect horticultural interests from Tudor times on - from the Tennis Court where Henry VIII played Real Tennis, the Great Vine, to the recently restored Privy Garden of William III and the maze from Queen Anne's time. Some of these places may attract an additional charge to the main entrance fee.
Oxford is one of the two ancient university towns of England. Tours usually take in one college (entrance fee payable) and a walk around the historic university centre, to include the Old Schools, Bodleian Library, Clarendon building, Sheldonian Theatre, the University Church of St Mary, and the Radcliffe Camera, all of which can be viewed from the outside. Usually more colleges are open to the public in the afternoon.
In Stratford you can imagine that you are back in the world of William Shakespeare. Visit his Birthplace, and perhaps one of the other four Shakespeare properties, such as Anne Hathaway's cottage. The church of Holy Trinity where Shakespeare and family are buried is a point of pilgrimage for many the world over.
Your guide will give you fascinating insights into the collegiate and university life of Oxford students on your way to Oxford in the coach, and will also paint in the background to Shakespeare's years in Stratford.
The route to Oxford and Stratford can be varied according to time requirements - motorways or a more scenic route through the Chilterns and Cotswolds. Whichever way you go you will experience the delights of the English countryside.
As you need a full day for this tour, leaving London at 0830 and returning by 1830 hours, advise your group that this is not an evening to make a firm booking for the theatre or dining out early! Traffic congestion on any part of the journey can cause delays.
Warwick Castle is often combined with both or one of Oxford and Stratford. Bear in mind that this is then a very full day and since there is sometimes traffic congestion on the way back to London it is not a good idea to have a 1930/2000 engagement that evening.
Warwick Castle has something for everyone - mediaeval fortifications, old legends like that of Guy of Warwick, state apartments with magnificent furnishings and pictures, a ghost, instruments of torture, and beautiful and extensive gardens with peacocks. It has been owned over the centuries by some of the chief aristocratic families of England and has played a key part in several dramatic periods of English history.
To the South East
- Leeds Castle
- Dover Castle
To the North & North East
- Constable Country
- Hatfield, Audley End, Ely and St. Albans
To the South West
To the West
- Stratford upon Avon