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Tour highlights: Chelsea Flower Show, Keukenhof Gardens, Het Loo, Monet’s Garden, Villandry, Castle Howard, Harewood Holehird, Chatsworth, Stowe, Hidcote and Wisley.
Sights: ‘Heartbeat Country’, Heriot’s Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Cotswold Villages
The tour commences at check-in to our Amsterdam city centre hotel, our home for four nights. Rest from the flight, or take an afternoon canal cruise to get your bearings, before meeting our fellow travellers for a Welcome Drink and Dinner. [D]
Every day on a Great Trains of Europe Tour begins with a full buffet breakfast. We spend a full day in one of the world’s finest bulbfields, the Keukenhof Gardens, with 80 acres of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other flowering bulbs, shrubs, ancient trees, exhibitions, gurgling streams, flower parades, and seven themed gardens. There are restaurants and tea shops.
We head into the countryside today (who will be first to see a windmill?) to the Gardens of the Dutch Baroque Palace Het Loo, the Royal Palace from the 1680s until 1982. Established by LeNôtre, the gardens feature perfect symmetry, axial layout with radiating gravel walks, parterres, fountains, basins and statues.
A visit this morning to the world's largest Flower Market at Aarlsmeer, then to the Dutch city of Delft, home of Vermeer, and imagine what Amsterdam might have looked like centuries ago.
To North York Moors [B] [D]
One of the great rail journeys of the world as we farewell Amsterdam and join the 300 kph Eurostar through the Chunnel. Customs requires that we travel with our luggage today. In London we join British Rail in the tracks of the Flying Scotsman to the mediaeval city of York. We see the Minster and the Shambles, then transfer to our inn in the North York Moors village of Pickering. A pub dinner tonight.
North York Moors [B]
This morning we visit the gardens of Castle Howard, laid out by Sir John Vanburgh in the early 18th century. Castle Howard is the palace of the Flyte family in “Brideshead Revisited”. We lunch (with Claude Jeremiah Greengrass?) in the village of Goathland, “Aidens field” in the TV series “Heartbeat”. Here we join the historic North York Steam Railway home to Pickering.
North York Moors [B]
This morning we visit historic Harewood House. Its garden is classic Capability Brown. - forming an idyllic rural setting. We move on to the spa and garden town of Harrogate for a cream tea or a stroll around Harrogate’s famous public gardens. Can you spot Agatha Christie? She “disappeared” here in 1926.
Lake District [B] [D]
We journey this morning through the Yorkshire Dales, immortalized in James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small” novels and television series. A village pub lunch stop, then on to the Lake District where we settle into our Lakeside hotel.
Lake District [B]
This morning we visit a very special Lakeland garden, Holehird, which specialises in Lakeland flora and offers sweeping views of Lake Windermere. A bit of whimsy on the way home: we drop in on Beatrix Potter’s garden, Hill Top - watch out for the fierce bad rabbit.
Lake District [B]
We take a magical rail journey today through some of the Dales’ and England’s finest scenery on the historic Settle to Carlisle Railway. A pub lunch, an afternoon cream tea and visits to some more of the Yorkshire Dales’ picturesque villages.
To the Cotswolds [B] [D]
Our British Rail journey south today brings us to the Peak District of Derbyshire, to visit the gardens of historic Chatsworth House, dating from 1687. Another Capability Brown garden, Chatsworth has been famous for its beauty since Jane Austen’s Day. We move on in the late afternoon to the Cotswolds where we stay in a village inn in the pretty riverside village of Bourton-on-the-Water.
This morning’s sightseeing takes us to picturesque Cotswold villages of honey-golden stone: Lower Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden. After a village pub lunch we visit one of England’s favourite gardens - Hidcote Manor, designed and developed by Maj. Lawrence Johnston, who scoured the world to secure rare and exotic species for this extremely pretty garden, a series of ‘outdoor rooms’.
Today we visit Stowe Landscape Gardens, covering 750 acres and including 40 listed historic monuments and temples. It is considered one of England’s most important landscape gardens and the greatest names in English garden design were involved in its creation from Bridgeman in the 1710s to Vanbrugh, Kent, Gibbs and “Capability ” Brown. Afternoon tea in the Cotswold village of Burford, serious about antiques.
To London [B] [D]
Back on British Rail today we journey through more of the Cotswolds’ rolling hills, as our luggage is taken on ahead to await our arrival in our London hotel. We enjoy London’s sights from a double-decker bus. The Oxford Street shops are only a bus ride away from the hotel. A West End Show tonight?
The Changing of the Guard this morning before an afternoon excursion to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley Garden, where keen English gardeners have gone to be inspired for over 100 years. Spread out over 240 acres, Wisley is a lovely, peaceful place for a stroll as well as a demonstration garden full of practical garden design ideas and cultivation techniques.
A full day today at the renowned Chelsea Flower Show, arguably the world’s greatest and best known.
To Innsbruck [B]
We join our short flight to the Continent today and settle in to our hotel in the village of Igls, overlooking Innsbruck.
To Oberammergau [B] [L] [D]
Pack an overnight bag, for our transfer to the village of Oberammergau where we arrive in time for lunch and settle into our overnight accommodation, returning to the theatre in the village for the first half of the performance this afternoon. Prepare for an inspirational experience as we re-live the last week of the earthly life of Jesus. There is a break for dinner and, then we return for the climax of the performance. We are transferred to our overnight accommodation, inspired but emotionally drained.
Innsbruck This morning we return to our hotel in the village of Igls, for a relaxing afternoon.
Innsbruck [B] [D]
An exploration of the city of Innsbruck today, and a ride to the top of the Alps for a breathtaking view from 7,000 feet. Our Farewell Dinner tonight.
Our tour ends after breakfast. There is a transfer to Munich Airport for those flying home today.
$AUD 13,950 per person Twin Share.
Land Content only (i.e. Commences Amsterdam, ends in Munich).
Single supplement $AUD 2,000
Enquire about our competitive air fares.
$1,000 per person initial deposit is required immediately to confirm your seat. A further $2,500pp deposit is required 12 months before departure. Balance will be payable 4 months before departure.