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England is a land of many contrasts, but consistent beauty.

In this interesting tour, we combine two very different parts of England - Cornwall in the very south, and the Cotswolds in the center of England.

We'll experience some of England's ancient history and myth, combined with some of England's past and present beauty, all at a great time of year for touring.

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Mysteries of Beautiful Britain



This tour can be enjoyed by itself, or can be combined with any of our other tours operating before or after this one.

You can also add extra time in Britain or elsewhere at the beginning and/or end of your tour(s).

And, if you prefer, you can travel by private car, joining the group only for accommodation, meals, and any other activities that you might wish.

Total flexibility.  And total enjoyment.

Tour Dates

The tour commences with a preliminary night of accommodation in London on Sunday, ? September, 2004 (dates not yet confirmed).

If you're starting your travels in the US, you'll probably take an overnight flight on Saturday ? September (or sooner), to arrive into London on Sunday ? September (or sooner).

The tour ends on Sunday ? September or (after a free bonus night in London) Monday ? September when you check out of your London hotel.

If you're traveling immediately back to the US, you can fly back from London any time on Sunday ? September and probably arrive back home the same day.  Alternatively, you might choose to extend or stay, or perhaps to then join one of our other tours.

Tour Inclusions

  • One night accommodation in central London at the start of the tour

  • Convenient and comfortable standard class train travel between London and Penzance and then between Oxford and London (if you also enjoyed the Scotland's Castles and Monsters Tour, you'll be able to use your Britrail First Class and travel first class on these trains)

  • Large luxury coach for best views while touring and complete with onboard restroom for best comfort

  • Small group, to avoid the crowded impersonal feeling - maximum size 32 - lots of room and comfort for everyone on a large 49 seater coach

  • Two nights accommodation in St Ives, in a room with lovely ocean views

  • One night accommodation in a small B&B style hotel in Bath

  • Two nights accommodation in a small Inn in the beautiful Cotswolds village of Burford

  • One more night accommodation back at the London hotel (you can leave anything you don't need on tour at the hotel and collect it again on your return)

  • One extra free bonus night in London

  • Breakfasts every morning

  • Feature dinners - two in St Ives and one in Burford

  • Area touring in Cornwall including a visit to an old Tin mine

  • Mysterious stone circles that few people know about or visit

  • A visit to Land's End at the very bottom of Britain

  • A visit to mysterious moody Tintagel, fabled home of the castle that housed King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

  • A visit to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey and the site of what is believed to be King Arthur's grave, plus a chance to visit the strange Tor on top of a nearby hill

  • Half a day in Roman Bath

  • Travel through the picture-postcard beauty of the Cotswolds, home to some of England's prettiest traditional villages

  • A free day in Oxford to enjoy as you wish


Day 1 (Saturday) :  Leave the US

You should make your own arrangements to fly from the US to London, departing on Saturday 15 May - or earlier if you wish to spend extra time in London or elsewhere before the start of the main tour


Day 2 (Sunday)  :  Arrive London

Our tour starts in London

The tour starts today with a preliminary night at a central London four star hotel.

If you are joining us from the Scotland's Castles and Monsters Tour, you'll be traveling from Edinburgh down to London today.


Day 3 (Monday) :  Train and Coach to Penzance and St Ives

Our deluxe 49 seater coach has lots of space and a restroom
St Michael's Mount, just off the coast near Penzance, associated wth Joseph of Arimathea and the Arthurian legends
Tregenna Castle, offering panoramic views over St Ives - our home for two nights

We'll travel by comfortable train from London's Paddington Station down to Penzance this morning.

Our bags will be taken from the hotel, so the train ride is free of luggage hassles, and we'll be able to explore the seaside town of Penzance for an hour or so before then being met by our luxury coach.

We're then taken the short distance to St Ives, where we'll be staying two nights in a lovely hotel on a hillside overlooking the harbor and sea.  We all have ocean-view rooms.

This evening we'll have a group dinner to get to know each other.

To break the ice, and for some fun, we'll be holding a 'Travel Insider' competition, with a suitable prize for the winner awarded at dinner.

Option :  If you prefer, you can collect a rental car today and follow the group itinerary at your own pace.


Day 4 (Tuesday) :  Tin Mines, Stone Circles, and Land's End

Lonely ruins of a former tin mine on the horizon, the Atlantic Ocean behind it
Lanyon Quoit in the mist.  Full of mood and mystery.
The Merry Maidens - a smaller version of Stonehenge.
Land's End, with the famous sign on the left and the 'First and Last House' on the right.

Today we tour through southern Cornwall.  This is a slightly eerie and very evocative part of England, full of ancient mysteries and legends, and best experienced on a misty day (misty weather not guaranteed!).

Driving through beautiful but occasionally desolate scenery, with glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean, we'll pass ruined mining buildings and other hints of the area's past.  We'll visit a restored former tin mine, and stop at two of Britain's less well known mysteries - Lanyon Quoit and the Merry Maidens.

Unlike Stonehenge, these are quiet and almost hidden in fields on minor roads.

A visit to Land's End gives you a chance to get your picture taken next to the official Land's End sign - if you were on our Scotland tour as well, you'll now have pictures at both extremities of the country - something very few other people have done in less than a week!

Land's End also has some beautiful hillside nature walks, and some views over to where the buried land of Lyonesse lies.  Local residents claim to be able to hear the bells of the drowned city ringing out during rough seas.

We return back to the seaside village of St Ives for our second evening at Tregenna Castle.


Day 5 (Wednesday) :  Castles and Mysteries

The craggy ruins of Tintagel Castle.  At the foot of the castle is Merlin's Cave, described by Tennyson as where Arthur was received by Merlin.
A most unusual exhibition about the Arthurian legends and a strange society formed to support them in Tintagel

Believed to be King Arthur's grave, in Glastonbury Abbey

We leave St Ives this morning and travel a short distance up the Cornish coast to Tintagel, fabled home of King Arthur's castle.

At Tintagel you can visit the ruins of the ancient castle and the nearby church, and you can explore the Cornish village, too.

We then continue our travels north east, to Glastonbury and spend time at the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey - said to be founded by Joseph of Arimathea and perhaps, at one time, containing the Holy Grail.  Indeed, some stories suggest that have Jesus himself may have traveled with Joseph to Cornwall prior to his crucifixion.

Glastonbury Abbey is said to be where King Arthur was buried.  We'll see the grave site, discovered in 1191, and, prior to arriving in Glastonbury, we'll also pass the place where Sir Bedivere is said to have returned Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake.

We then drive a short distance up to the Tor (or you can walk up if you prefer) and you'll have a chance to visit this strange structure on the hilltop.

Next we drive the short remaining distance to our hotel for the evening in Bath.


Day 6 (Thursday) :  From Bath to Burford

The restored Roman baths in Bath.  You'll have a morning to explore this ancient city as you wish.
Castle Combe - the first of many beautiful Costwolds villages we'll visit.

This morning you can spend time sightseeing in Bath, a city dating back to Roman times but dominated now by its distinctive 18C Georgian buildings.

Perhaps you might want to treat yourself in the wonderful new spa (if it is open), or perhaps you might want to sightsee and shop.

After lunch we travel the short distance to our Cotswolds base in Burford, making stops at two of the lovely villages on the way - Castle Combe (featured in the Rex Harrison movie of Doctor Doolittle) and Bibury (once judged Britain's most beautiful village).

Burford is a nice small sized town, with some interesting shopping and a lovely old church.  Its history dates back almost 1000 years, and construction of its church commenced in 1175.


Day 7 (Friday) :  The Beautiful Cotswolds

Bourton on the Water
Our hotel in Burford

If Cornwall is best experienced in a cool mist, then the Cotswolds are best experienced in the warm sun.  Again, we can't promise this weather, but hopefully our late spring timing will increase our chances of enjoying good weather.

Make sure you have plenty of film in your camera today (or do you, too, now use a digital camera?).  We'll tour around some of the lovely towns and villages in the Cotswolds, with plenty of stops for you to get out and experience, up close, the villages we're passing through.  You'll see plenty of typical Cotswolds architecture, featuring honey colored limestone walls and stone roofs.

We spend another night in Burford this evening, with a final group dinner at the hotel.  A chance for us all to share our experiences, and perhaps to laugh at some things.


Day 8 (Saturday) :  Oxford then return to London

Oxford - home of Britain's first university, where you can spend as much time on Saturday as you wish

Return back to London when you've finished enjoying Oxford by comfortable fast train

Today we'll travel a short distance to Oxford, where you can then spend as much of the day as you wish sightseeing around this ancient university town.

More recently, Oxford was featured in the Inspector Morse television series.

When you've seen enough of Oxford, walk to the railway station and take a train back to London.  Trains operate every half hour and the journey is about 60 minutes to Paddington.

Perhaps a black cab from the station to our hotel, or you could walk there if you preferred (we're staying at the same hotel as we spent our first night at, back on the previous Sunday), and when you get there, your bags will already be waiting for you.


Day 9 (Sunday) :  Tour Ends

Consider joining our Imperial Russia Tour next

Enjoy one last 'Full English Breakfast' this morning, and then the tour ends.

If you're joining the Russia - Land of Imperial Splendor Tour, you should fly from London to Moscow today.

Bonus night in London :  Our hotel contract gave us Sunday night almost for free when we contracted for Saturday night, so if you'd like to spend Sunday and Sunday night in London, you're welcome to do this at no extra cost.

Options :  If you prefer, you can stay longer in London or join our Imperial Russia tour by flying to Moscow.


Tour Cost

Estimated between $1500 - 2000 per person, share twin.

A single supplement of estimated $400-500 is available.  We will also help to match together singles if you'd like to share with a compatible fellow single traveler.

These prices reflect a 3% discount for cash/check.

A $200 per person non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your places on this tour.

A $50 discount applies if you choose this and any of our other Fall 04 Tours.

You are responsible for arranging your travel between the US and London.

What about the Air Fare?

You will save money and gain flexible convenience if you arrange your own air travel.  These days airlines seldom give discounts to groups, and sometimes even charge more, while also adding extra restrictions to the tickets!

You can choose whichever carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and you can also choose a carrier that you wish to earn miles with.  You can even cash in miles and fly on frequent flier awards.

We'll be pleased to answer any questions you might have about arranging your air transportation, of course.

How to Extend or Vary this Tour

There are many ways you can extend or vary this tour.

You are encouraged to also enjoy the Scotland's Castles and Monsters Tour before this tour, and to add the Russia - Land of Imperial Splendor Tour to the end of this tour.

You can also spend more time in London or elsewhere before the start of this tour (or before the start of the Scottish tour).

During the tour, all of the day touring is of course optional and you can substitute your own activities if you prefer.  And, indeed, if you wish, you can even rent a car and follow the group's itinerary in your own car, rather than in the coach with the rest of the group.

After the tour, you can spend more time in London, or travel on anywhere else in Britain or Europe, any way you wish.

Truly, this tour gives you a great number of ways to add extra time and sightseeing.  And, if you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  We're here to help ensure your experience is as good as possible.

Suggested Tour Extensions

We suggest you arrive in London a day or two before Sunday 16 May, so that you are well rested when the tour starts.

Steam train day tours from London before or after the tour may be available and will be advised when tour dates are confirmed.

Tour Terms and Conditions

Our standard terms and conditions apply to this tour.

In addition, please note these extra terms :

1.   The 45 day payment due date is considered to be (to be advised)

2.   US citizens require a current passport that will not expire for at least six months after the date of their planned return back to the US in order to be admitted to Britain.  They do not require a British visa.  Citizens of other countries should check with the airline that will transport them to Britain to determine what passport and visa requirements may apply.

3.   Tour price is based on a UK/US exchange rate in the wholesale range between 1.80 and 1.90.  If the exchange rate varies outside of this rate prior to final payment being received, the tour price will be adjusted (either up or down) to reflect the change in the cost of tour components.  If the price of the tour increases by more than 5%, participants will be offered a no cost, no penalty opportunity to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies paid.

4.   Triple share rates may be available.  Ask for a quote if this is required.

5.   There's plenty of room in the coach's luggage bays for as much luggage as you choose to bring.  But you'll find it easier on the train journeys, and in the hotel rooms, if you try and limit yourself to one main suitcase and one smaller item per person.

Provisional Request to Join Tour

Your Name, Age & Citizenship and smoking preference


Age                 Citizenship                

Smoker? Yes    No

Name of Companion, Age, Citizenship and smoking preference

Age                 Citizenship

Smoker? Yes    No


City, State, Zip

Phone (Day)

Phone (Night)



Double or Twin Beds

Double   Twins   Don't Mind

Any special dietary needs

Any other special needs

Any other comments


As soon as this tour is 100% confirmed in all respects (ie within a few days), you will be asked to send in your $200 per person confirming deposit or to cancel your provisional request.

The Travel Insider is licensed by the State of Washington as a seller of travel - registration number 602 036 247.

Originally published 18 Jan 2004, last update 08 Jul 2017

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