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The Very (Very) British Cotswolds.

England's Cotswolds are idyllic and oh-so-British. Come see for yourself on a jaunt through the countryside. We begin in London (no surprise), then to Ascot, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath, the heart of the Cotswolds, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Oxford.

     Close your eyes and imagine the Quintessential English Countryside. You know, thatched-roof stone cottages along the banks of a meandering stream. Quiet villages where farmers toil and sheep graze. Where afternoon tea is not just a ritual, it’s a way of life. Where Ye Olde Shoppes are for real (and they opened for business long before Disney had a clue).

England, United Kingdom

Type:Custom Journeys


Sample Journey

This is an eight-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create an England journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.

Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to England.
Overnight in flight
Day 2: London, Ascot, England
• Land in London, drive to Ascot.
• Leisure time.
Overnight in Ascot

Day 3: Windsor, Stonehenge, Bath
• Drive to Windsor, castle tour.
• Drive to Stonehenge.
• Drive to Bath.
Overnight in Bath
Day 4: Bath
• City tour of Bath (UNESCO World Heritage site) including Royal Crescent, the Circus, Pulteney Bridge, Abbey Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Jane Austen Center, Roman Baths.
• Leisure time.
Overnight in Bath
Day 5: The Cotswolds
• Drive through the Cotswolds, village visits.
Overnight in Barnsley

Day 6: Stratford-Upon-Avon
• Drive to Stratford, city tour including Shakespeare's birth house, Nash House Museum, Anne Hathaway's cottage, Holy Trinity Church.
• Leisure time, option to Hidcote Manor Garden or additional Cotswolds villages.
Overnight in Barnsley

Day 7: Oxford, Woodstock, Ascot
• Drive to Oxford, university and old town walking tour including Radcliffe Camera.
• Drive to Woodstock, Blenheim Palace.

• Drive to Ascot.
Overnight in Ascot

Day 8: London; United States
• Drive to London.
• Fly home, or continue on in London.

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Per person sharing room from $6,980 for this eight-day sample itinerary.

For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.

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Pre-Tour & Post-Tour Option

No visit to England is complete without time in London. Once upon a time, a little village on Lud Hill, by the River Thames, caught the attention of the Romans. They would transform the hamlet into Londinium (meaning the City), and surrounded it with massive walls that led down to the river. Thus was born the stunning and captivating capital city of England and the undisputed hub of Great Britain.

     Take your cue from the Roman Empire, and don’t miss it.

London Extension. 3 Days.

London calling... either before or after your Cotswolds visit. Tour the old city's icons—Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral (with stories of the Great Fire and the visionary Christopher Wren).

     Buckingham Palace is a must, as is Parliament. Westminster Abbey boasts a thousand years of history and is the resting place of so many luminaries: Elizabeth I, Chaucer, Darwin, Handel, and Dickens, to name but a few. Spend time at the British Library, the kingdom's version of our Library of Congress. Enter Churchill's War Rooms to learn about the man behind the legend.

     Love museums? London won't disappoint. Consider time at the Tate Modern, the Queen's Gallery, the Victoria & Albert, the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum (ever seen the Rosetta Stone?), the National Gallery...

     Sample Pricing: Please speak to an R. Crusoe travel specialist for pricing for this three-day sample extension.

Remember that R. Crusoe & Son can create a London pre-tour or post-tour extension of any length to meet your exact specifications.

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Through the English Garden.

When Elizabeth Bennett first lays eyes Mr. Darcy’s Pemberly House, set in a gorgeous English park, with whom she did fall in love first, Mr. Darcy or the house and garden?

     Wrote Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice, “It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;—and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste.”

     Admit it: It is hard to tell if the description fits the man or his garden.

     As the BBC History Magazine explains, gardens were far from an English invention. “A crucial development that occurred at the dawn of the Georgian era was the shift from formal to much looser, informal garden designs. Such gardens had the advantage of being less expensive to maintain and they also had an intellectual dimension, featuring several garden buildings that harked back to the ancient world. ‘The gentlemen who had these gardens designed for them had all been on the Grand Tour and learned the classics,” says Timothy Mowl of the University of Bristol. “It was part of their make-up and they wanted to display their taste and learning within gardens.’ ”

     After the formal French gardens of the 17th century, the landscape park-style emerged in England in the early 18th century and presented an idealized view of nature. Travelers who had seen Chinese gardens, with their “nature in a nutshell” design, provided inspiration for this new style. Travelers returning from Italy brought home paintings of Roman artifacts and ruins, Palladian architecture, and Italian landscapes.

     Enter Lancelot “Capability” Brown (1716–1783), Britain’s greatest landscape designer. He simplified the garden’s elements to emphasize rolling lawns and to draw attention to isolated stands of trees. His idealized landscapes included artificial lakes and water features that resembled flowing rivers.

     Aside from their beauty, Capability Brown’s landscapes also appealed to landowners on a practical level. They were cheaper to produce, and the trees could be harvested for profit. They also reflected changes to upper class lifestyles in the 18th century. Lighter guns enabled sportsmen to shoot birds in flight, so landscapes needed to incorporate areas of cover where game such as pheasant could be reared.

     At the same time, carriages were becoming faster, so designers had to take into account the notion that their landscapes would be viewed from these vehicles. “The idea with Brownian landscapes is that you effectively go round them,” explains Mowl. “When Brown did his landscape designs they would always have drives in them. They were an essential part of what he would do.”

     A few of Capability Brown’s most splendid gardens? Blenheim Palace (Churchill’s home) in Oxfordshire; Harewood in Leeds; Stowe Park in Buckinghamshire (begun by William Kent, Capability Brown's mentor and the father of the English landscape garden); Petworth in West Sussex (spectacular enough to keep artist J. M. W. Turner coming back): Croome Park in Worcestershire, the garden that established Brown's reputation; and Stourhead in Wiltshire.

     Another style of English landscaping? The cottage garden, dense plantings of ornamental and edible flora. The goal here is charm, not grandeur. The cottage garden grew organically (no pun intended) out of the practice of working-class homeowners who planted functional gardens that yielded useful vegetables and herbs. Flowers simply filled the spaces in between. Stylized versions developed in the latter half of the 19th century, perhaps in response to the massive estate gardens.

     Over time, the two styles intersected: Even large estates added cottage gardens for floral cutting gardens, herbs, fruits, vegetables, and whimsy.

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