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2018 Literary Britain Tour
We invite you to join us on this Literary Britain Tour following in the footsteps of some of the greatest literary figures in our language.
21 Days. Optional 8 Day Add-on tour.
Literary Ireland Tour Post-Tour Add-on
No ‘solo traveller’ supplement for earlybird bookings
Fully Booked. Wait list Only.
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The rich heritage of English literature is inextricably linked with the landscapes in which it is set. Could Wordsworth have written such sublime lines anywhere but in the Lake District? Could Emily Bronte have created Heathcliffe anywhere other than on the wild and desolate moors where Yorkshire meets Lancashire?
Day 1, Saturday, Sep 22nd
Our tour commences this evening as we gather for pre-dinner drinks and a Welcome Dinner in our Edinburgh hotel. If you would prefer to commence your journey this morning in London, and take the modern reincarnation of the classic Flying Scotsman train to Scotland, this is possible. [B]
Day 2, Sunday, Sep 23rd
Edinburgh Our orientation tour of Edinburgh takes in the sights – the Castle, the Royal Mile, St Giles’ and the New Town. [B]>
Day 3, Monday, Sep 24th
Edinburgh has a long and rich literary tradition and we explore it today: home to Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.M. Barrie, Alexander McCall Smith, and J.K. Rowling. [B]
Day 4, Tuesday, Sep 25th
Our luggage is taken on ahead as we take our First Class seats on British Rail across the border into England, and the Lake District. We settle in to our lakefront hotel at Bowness on Windermere. There is time this afternoon for a paddle boat ride on the lake. [B] [D]
Day 5, Wednesday, Sep 26th ^ Top ^
Today we drive through the beautiful Lake District for a visit to Beatrix Potter’s cottage. Her genius found its fullest expression in this scenic Lakeland countryside, to which she was so committed that she bought up farms to gift to the people of Britain as a National Park. [B]
Day 6, Thursday, Sep 27th
The Lakes are forever linked with the Romantic Poets, who saw the countryside as an antidote for the barrenness of the Enlightenment and the revolutions it spawned. Today we “escape to Nature” following in the footsteps of the greatest of them all, William Wordsworth. Dove Cottage in Grasmere has become a sacred site for lovers of the English tongue. [B]
Day 7, Friday, Sep 28th
The Lake District This morning we ride the historic Settle to Carlisle Railway, across the Ribblehead Viaduct, to Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters. Our pilgrimage begins at the Parsonage, as we ponder how such protected single ladies, daughters of the parsonage, could gaze into the human condition like few before them or since. Back to the Lakes this evening. [B]
Day 8, Saturday, Sep 29th
The Cotswolds Our luggage is taken on ahead and we join British Rail south to the beautiful Cotswolds. We settle into our hotel in one of the prettiest villages of England, Bourton-on-the-Water, our home for 4 nights. [B] [D]
If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad. Jane Austen
The CotswoldsThe Cotswolds
Day 9, Sunday, Sep 30th
The Cotswolds A local slow train today as we wind through the Heart of England to the Regency spa city of Bath, rich in its Jane Austen associations. Back to our Cotswold village this evening. [B]
Day 10, Monday, Oct 1st ^ Top ^
Today, the dreaming spires of Oxford, the ancient university city, which gave us Alice in Wonderland, Brideshead Revisited, C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien, and Inspector Morse, to name a few. Back to the Cotswolds tonight. [B]
Day 11, Tuesday, Oct 2nd
The Holy of Holies today: William Shakespeare’s Stratford upon Avon. We walk the streets he walked and visit his house, his school and his grave. We hope to be able to incorporate a Shakespearean play performance into our visit, but schedules are not yet available. [B]
Day 12, Wednesday, Oct 3rd
On our way to the South-West today, we visit Thomas Hardy’s imaginary Wessex, centred on the market town of Dorchester, mythical Casterbridge, whose mayor was one of the darkest characters in his literary output. [B] [D]
Day 13, Thursday, Oct 4th
From our base village on the Devon – Cornwall border, we visit the desolate landscape of both Exmoor (Lorna Doone) and Dartmoor (Hound of the Baskervilles). [B]
Day 14, Friday, Oct 5th
Into Cornwall to search for Daphne du Maurier today – Frenchman’s Creek, Jamaica Inn. Was Manderley, of Rebecca fame, really here? [B]
Day 15, Saturday, Oct 6th ^ Top ^
Through seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness, we make our way on British Rail to London the “belly-button of the world”. We arrive at Paddington Station, as Paddington Bear did, and enjoy our London orientation tour en route to our hotel. [B]
Day 16, Sunday, Oct 7th
Morning worship at Wesley’s Chapel? Evensong at Westminster Abbey? There is an afternoon visit to the Abbey and its Poets' Corner. Here we do homage to the literary giants – Chaucer, Tennyson, the Brownings, Dickens, Dryden, Hardy, Blake, Kipling, A E Housman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and an Australian poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon. [B]
Day 17, Monday, Oct 8th
We start the day visiting the British Museum and its Manuscript Room. From the exercise book in which Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre, to the Beatles’ doodle pads: they are all here. Nearby for afternoon visits are Bloomsbury (Virginia Wolfe), Russell Square (T.S. Eliot) and the British Library (Karl Marx.) Every night London offers dozens of plays, musicals, ballets and opera. Up to date listings will be provided several months before the tour. [B]
Day 18, Tuesday, Oct 9th
A day trip into Kent today to the cathedral city of Canterbury, and the shrine of St Thomas a’Beckett (Murder in the Cathedral - T.S. Eliot), and the destination for Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales pilgrims. [B]
Day 19, Wednesday, Oct 10th
Today we explore London’s dark literary past, following in the footsteps of William Blake and Charles Dickens. [B]
The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and to start saying ‘I will’. Charles Dickens
Day 20, Thursday, Oct 11th ^ Top ^
We have barely scratched the surface of London’s rich literary heritage, but you will certainly want a day of shopping and sightseeing – Changing of the Guard? The Tower of London? Our Farewell Dinner is tonight. [B] [D]
Day 21, Friday, Oct 12th
Your tour ends this morning after breakfast. Thank you for your company on this Great Trains of Europe Tour. Why not join us today for our Literary Ireland Tour? [B]
$AUD 12,950 ($NZ 14,400) per person twin share. Land Content Only (Join in Edinburgh or London, leave in London).
Single Room supplement $AUD 1,5000.
No Solo Traveller Supplement › (For bookings before November 30th 2017 and Escorted tour only)
Also enquire about competitive and ‘early bird’ airfares.
- Wordsworth’s Lake District
- The Brontes’ Haworth
- Jane Austen’s Bath
- Thomas Hardy’s Wessex
- Charles Dickens’ London
- Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon
What’s included?^ Top ^
- First Class rail travel in reserved seats
- 4 star city centre hotels and historic village inns
- 5 dinners
- Full luggage handling
- Full time Australian Historian Tour Director who is the Company Principal
The TOUR COST does NOT include:^ Top ^
- Hotel incidentals (eg. Mini-bars, telephone calls, laundry), airport and departure taxes, local transport in any city,
- Meals other than breakfast and the one restaurant dinner in each city - the first night in each new city, except London where it takes the form of a farewell dinner. On other nights, the Tour Leaders are available to accompany group members to local, authentic restaurants.
Commences 12 October 2018
Post-tour Add-on to the Literary Britain Tour ^ Top ^
Given the compactness of Ireland, and the relatively limited rail services, on this Add-on Literary Ireland Tour we undertake some travel by coach rather than rail, and some of our stops are shorter than the 3 nights customary on the Great Trains of Europe Tours.
Day 1, Friday, Oct 12th
Depart London in the early afternoon for the short flight (included in tour cost) to Dublin, and transfer to our city centre hotel. [D]
Day 2, Saturday, Oct 13th
This morning’s city sightseeing tour will wind up at Trinity College, and the Book of Kells, Ireland’s greatest literary treasure, and one of the world’s most beautiful illuminated manuscripts. Dating from around 800AD, it contains the Four Gospels in Latin. In the afternoon we embark upon a James Joyce Bloomsday Walk. [B]
Day 3, Sunday, Oct 14th
Yes, Ireland produced George Bernard Shaw, J M Synge and Oscar Wilde, but the two literary names that particularly stand out in Dublin are James Joyce and William Butler Yeates. Today we visit the Yeates Collection in the National Library, then the James Joyce Centre and the Dublin Writers’ Museum. A literary pub crawl tonight for the brave, visiting a number of watering holes frequented in centuries past by Ireland’s literary greats. [B]
Day 4, Monday, Oct 15th
An Irish Rail journey today to Sligo where we visit the William Butler Yeats Memorial Building which has a photographic exhibition detailing the famous writer’s life, the churchyard at Drumcliffe where Yeats is buried – under Ben Bulben - and the Sligo County Museum & Art Gallery which also has Yeats’ work on display. [B]
Day 5, Tuesday, Oct 16th ^ Top ^
By coach today through Western Ireland, paying a visit to Galway en route to Limerick for a 2 night stop. [B]
Day 6, Wednesday, Oct 17th
Limerick is a centre of Irish cultural life, and home to modern Irish novelist Frank McCourt, of Angela’s Ashes fame. We visit his school room, now a museum, and take a walking tour of the locations mentioned in his novel. [B]
Day 7, Thursday, Oct 18th
Let’s be tourists today as we drive around the famed Ring of Kerry, and visit Killarney, before returning to our Limerick hotel and our Farewell Dinner. [B] [D]
Day 8, Friday, Oct 19th
Our tour ends after breakfast this morning. You can either take the train back to Dublin to join your flight home, or fly from the nearby Shannon Airport to London for your homeward journey. Your transfer to either is included in the tour cost. [B]
Post-tour add-on Literary Ireland Tour 8 Days. Cost: $AUD$4,950 per person, twin share. No single room supplement.
Land content only. Join tour in London, and leave tour in either Dublin or London.
About the Literary Britain Tour
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