Your holiday itinerary:
Sunday: We pause for lunch today in the picturesque Cotswold town of Burford, famous for its steep High Street, medieval church, shops, and historic pubs. From here we make our way to our hotel on the outskirts of Gloucester.
Monday: Today we enjoy a scenic drive first of all through the Forest of Dean then along the Wye Valley. Our drive through the Forest takes us to the famous Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint over the River Wye before arriving at the small market town of Monmouth, on the Welsh side of the River Wye. Well known for its iconic gatehouse bridge, Monmouth also has a famous past with connections to Henry V, Geoffrey of Monmouth and more recently Queen, Oasis and Simply Minds who have all recorded at Rockfield Studios. This afternoon we take a leisurely drive along the Wye Valley, straddling England and Wales this home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Britain and the birthplace of tourism. We pause for awhile at the iconic ruins of Tintern Abbey before following the River Severn back to Gloucester and our hotel.
Tuesday: Our excursion today takes us to Cirencester then onto Westonbirt Arboretum. Cirencester is a town steeped in history from its origins as an important Roman city to its rise as a medieval market town to the beautiful Georgian and Victorian buildings we see today. Learn about Cirencester’s history and that of the Cotswolds by visiting the award-winning Corinium Museum. Westonbirt is a uniquely beautiful garden of trees, where you can explore and discover trees from all over the globe. First started in the heyday of Victorian plant hunting, Westonbirt today is home to one of the most spectacular tree collections in the world and now features the Treetop Walkway where you can explore the leafy canopy and is accessible to all. Westonbirt Arboretum holds the national collection for maples and autumn is the time to see them in all their breathtaking glory. The diversity and vibrancy of leaf colours to be found at Westonbirt are unsurpassed in Britain.
Wednesday: This morning we drive to the western edge of the Cotswolds and the little village of Toddington to board the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, a volunteer run steam and diesel heritage railway. Soak up the atmosphere in the Flag and Whistle Tea Room before boarding the train to Cheltenham Racecourse, passing through picturesque Cotswold countryside, you will be treated to panoramic views of the Vale of Evesham, the Malvern’s and on a clear day Wales. Our coach meets us at the Racecourse for the short drive into the historic spa town of Cheltenham, famous for its Regency architecture. This afternoon is free to explore the boutique shops, pretty gardens, and wide leafy promenades of Cheltenham town centre.
Thursday: Before actually starting our journey home we spend some time at Gloucester Docks. This former dock estate with its Victorian buildings, is home to fascinating museums such as the National Waterways Museum and the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum; designer outlet shops at Gloucester Quays where you can browse over 50 stores selling clothing to homeware as well as plenty of eateries by the water. If you wish to spend time in the city centre and see the cathedral, it is just a short work from the Docks. With the usual comfort stop on the way to get those essential supplies, we aim to be back in Essex late afternoon.
The 4-star Mercure Bowden Hall Hotel is a Georgian country house hotel in a lovely rural setting to the east of Gloucester and retains its Regency style exterior. Recently refurbished public areas have brought this hotel back to its former glory, boasting a breathtaking blend of traditional and contemporary design. All the bedrooms are en-suite and equipped with hospitality tray, HD TV, telephone, hairdryer, and WiFi. The bedrooms are over 3 floors, the hotel does not have a lift and there are no ground floor rooms.
Please read the itinerary carefully before deciding if this tour will be suitable for you:
1) Single Supplement – £159pp (max 5)
2) Due to the historical nature of the hotel, there is no lift or ground floor rooms. All the bedrooms are accessible by stairs only.
3) There is a short walk on uneven ground from the coach park to the viewing are at Symonds Yat Rock.
4) Sensible footwear and clothing are advised for the visit to Westonbirt Arboretum. The Arboretum covers a large area with over 10 miles of hard paths suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. There are several marked short trails and a shuttle bus allowing you to get on and off at certain benches. The shuttle bus is operated by volunteers and there may be times when these are not available so the shuttle bus will be unable to run.
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