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An Unforgettable Day an Incredible Tour: England & Cornwall, Towne & Country

Posted on December 5th, 2022 in Europe, Africa & Asia

Wake up well-rested in the charming VOCO Oxford Thames Hotel, once a historic manor belonging to the Knights Templar, and enjoy an included breakfast before we step aboard our comfortable motorcoach for a short drive west to the ancient market village of Bampton.

An Unforgettable Day an incredible Tour: England & Cornwall, Towne & Country

Nestled in the serene English countryside on the southern end of the Cotswolds, not far from River Thames, Bampton has retained much of its old-world charm. As one of the oldest villages in all of England, you’ll discover many 17th and 18th century stone buildings and the historic St. Mary’s church, known for its iconic 13th century spire. Bampton was a major destination for late Anglo-Saxons and early on, the locals built their wealth on wool, before expanding to textile and leather working. Although small, Bampton has rich history, such as accommodating US soldiers during World War II. It’s also known for its long-time tradition of Morris dancing, a form of English folk dance, practiced here since the 18th century and still prominent today. In fact, the village supports three world-renowned Morris dance teams!

 

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While strolling the streets, Downton Abbey fans may soon realize the area seems wonderfully familiar. Revel in the opportunity to walk in the same footsteps as many of your favorite fictional characters when you explore the “Downtown Abbey mile” to witness several filming locations, such as Mrs. Crawley’s home, the village hospital, Grantham Arms, the church, and much of the outdoor scenery. Bampton library, formerly Old Grammar School and a filming location for the Downton hospital, serves as a functional library and houses the community archives. Dive into the past as you browse the displays of vintage photographs that depict village life hundreds of years ago, then peruse intriguing memorabilia from the world-famous television series or purchase a unique souvenir.

 

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Wave goodbye to the quaint village of Bampton as we travel south to our next wondrous experience- touring Highclere Castle, a special attraction that is available solely for our April 15, 2023 departure date! Built in 1679, this stunning estate is only open to the public select dates each year and we’ve obtained premier tickets for guests, allowing you to visit all three areas- the castle, gardens, and Egyptian Exhibit. Enjoy choosing your own path on this self-guided tour and take advantage of the knowledgeable guides in each room, they encourage questions!

When you step foot indoors, you are welcome to view several areas within the home to admire the history and gorgeous interior. During World War I, Highclere Castle was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers, where the Countess of Carnarvon served as a nurse and administrator. Years later during World War II, it became home to many children that were evacuated from London. Over the years, royalty, politicians, film stars, and writers have enjoyed the accommodations here. You may again recognize filming locations, such as the formal grand staircase, lavish library, infamous “red bedroom,” dining room with a legendary portrait of King Charles I, and many others.

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While Highclere has certainly bolstered its fame with the famous British series, the owner, the Carnarvon family, has earned quite a name for themselves throughout history too. They were involved in the founding of Canada, scandals, and the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt.

The 5th Earl of Carnarvon and archaeologist Howard Carter headed excavations in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, beginning in 1906. It wasn’t until 1922 that they uncovered the 3,200-year-old tomb of King Tut and several other treasures from this ancient civilization. Unfortunately, the Earl passed away in Cairo a few months after, but you’ll find the Egyptian Exhibit at Highclere Castle celebrates his discoveries. Simply follow the stairs down to the basement and previous staff quarters to immerse yourself in Egypt’s mystical history. There are six rooms in this exhibit, all of which tell the story of the Earl’s journey in Egypt, even including the contents of the tomb and an intricate reproduction of the sarcophagus.

The wondrous experience continues outdoors when you wander into the gardens, meticulously designed by Lancelot Capability Brown, a famous 18th century British landscape designer. Many plants were imported from the Americas, India, and the Far East in the 1900s to bring these lush gardens to life. To this day, the current owners, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, continue to uphold the garden’s aesthetic that Brown designed long ago. Witness the magnificent sweeping cedars of Lebanon throughout the estate or roam through one of the many awe-inspiring gardens, such as the original Monks’ Garden, the Wood of Goodwill, the Wild Flower Meadow, or the Healing Herb Garden.

 

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Once our group has witnessed all the wonders of this impressive estate, we’ll relax on the comfortable drive to the Georgian city of Bath. Your Tour Director will assist in getting you settled into tonight’s accommodations for a great night of rest before another day of creating unforgettable memories. In total, this tour includes 11 phenomenal days traveling throughout England. While this day on our April tour is especially unique for the visit to Highclere Castle, there are many other must-see attractions such as the Roman Baths (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Bletchley Park (a code-breaking center during WW II), and Greenway (Agatha Christie’s home).


If you’re ready to step into old world charm, rich history, and famous filming locations, we invite you to join us for the adventure of a lifetime! Since the visit to Bampton and Highclere Castle are exclusive to the April 15, 2023 departure date, spots will fill quickly. Please call our expert Tour Sales Consultants at 1-888-867-2190 with any questions or to reserve your spot with a fully refundable deposit of only $200.

England & Cornwall, Towne & CountryAll Airfare IncludedExplore the best of England from the bustle of London to Oxford, Bath, and the rugged Cornish coast.Click to Learn MoreActive

11 Days from April 15 - April 25, 2023

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