Day by Day Itinerary
April 14 Arrive London
Monday Sunset at Stonehenge
Lacock, Bath Option
Welcome to London! A private transfer by car from Heathrow is provided. Check-in at the hotel will be at 4 PM.
What is your pleasure? We have six magical days to fulfill our hearts desires. Each morning our group will gather for breakfast to coordinate the day’s plans. Those who have pre-arranged may take part in the optional organized excursions.
If arriving early morning, you’ll have the opportunity to take our Stonehenge tour as below. With private viewing of Stonehenge - enter the stone circle normally out of bounds to the public.
• Private viewing of Stonehenge at sunset
• Enter the inner stone circle
• Visit Lacock, a delightful Saxon village
• See where Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice were filmed
• Meal stop in a 13th Century inn (food/drinks not included)
• Visit Bath - free time to shop and explore
• Entrance to the Roman Baths and Pump Room
After your pick-up directly from or near to your hotel, we drive to Bath to visit the Roman Baths and Pump Room. In the late afternoon we visit Lacock for an early evening supper in a 13th Century inn, before driving to Stonehenge. As the sun begins to set, we enter the stone circle (which is normally roped off to the public) for a unique private viewing. The most dramatic and atmospheric way of visiting Stonehenge.
Lacock is a little known, picturesque village dating back to the Saxon era. Many of the beautiful buildings originally formed part of an extensive monastic complex and are now owned by The National Trust. So pretty is the village that it has provided the setting for many movies and television dramas including Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and more recently Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. We will take a delightful walk before we enjoy an early evening supper* in The George Inn, a vintage English pub built in 1361. *food/drink not included
Next, it’s on to Bath, famous for its elegant Georgian architecture. During your panoramic tour of Bath you will be enchanted by the town’s beautifully proportioned street. Your guide will also conduct an optional walking tour to show you a charming 17th-century Sally Lunn tea room and the Jane Austin Museum among many other hidden treasures. You’ll see Bath Abbey and the much-photographed Pulteney Bridge, modelled on the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence. There will be plenty of time to visit Bath Abbey, or to shop and explore. Then we will enter the magnificent Roman Baths, where over one million litres of boiling water still burst free from the hot springs every day. The Roman Baths, is the best preserved Roman spa from the ancient world.
Stonehenge - private viewing at sunset
Built nearly 5,000 years ago, Stonehenge is the most popular prehistoric monument in the world. Most visitors to the site are not allowed direct access to the stones. With Premium Tours you get that access, with a private viewing of the mysterious monoliths. We will enter the stone circle itself and stand beside the mighty Sarsen rocks towering above us. Our guide will explain the history of this ancient site, pointing out the altar, slaughter and heel stones, above which the sun rises dramatically on the summer solstice. There will be time to enjoy the peace, away from the crowds, as we experience Stonehenge at its most mystical and atmospheric best. Not to be missed! Adult Price £99, Child price £89
****Thistle Marble Arch Hotel
April 15 Leeds Castle,
Tuesday Canterbury, Dover &
After breakfast the day is free or take the Leeds Castle tour as follows. (B)
• Private viewing of Leeds castle - ‘The loveliest castle in the world!’
• See the Castle before it opens to the public - exclusive to Premium Tours
• Entrance to Canterbury Cathedral
• Walking tour of historic Greenwich
• Cruise along the River Thames
Leeds Castle...private tour before the Castle opens to the public...
Described as the “loveliest castle in the world”, Leeds Castle was once a Royal residence for six of England’s medieval queens, a palace of Henry VIII, and a retreat for the rich and powerful. The setting is simply idyllic. The Norman castle was built on two small islands, in the middle of a lake, and is surrounded by a vast estate. Our day begins with a private viewing prior to the castle opening to the public. We will explore the chapel, galleries, courtyards and banqueting hall before taking time to enjoy the setting and wildlife, which includes wildfowl and black swans.
You’ve heard of the famous white cliffs of Dover? This is your chance to see them. Following our scenic drive along the old coastal road, we take lunch* in Dover, on a clear day you can even see France. Dover itself is an historic port with a magnificent 12th century castle. *(Food and drinks not included in the price).
The ancient city of Canterbury has been the centre of Christian worship for almost 1,700 years. Its greatest treasure is the cathedral, infamous as the setting for the brutal murder of Thomas Beckett in 1170. When Henry II snapped “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?”, four of his knights rode to the Cathedral and sliced Becketts head off. Canterbury became the centre of one of the most important medieval pilgrimages in Europe, immortalized by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales. Your ticket includes entrance to the Cathedral and also allows some free time to explore the atmospheric old town.
Greenwich and Thames Cruise
Packed with exquisite parks, gardens, and architecture, Greenwich has strong connections with the sea, science, sovereigns and time. We will have time to take a look at the Cutty Sark, the fastest sailing ship of its time. As the early evening we gently cruise back to the centre of London. We will pass by historic sights such as the Tower of London, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, before arriving at Westminster pier where our tour ends. Adult price £83, Child price £75
**** Thistle Marble Arch Hotel
April 16 Highclere Castle
Wednesday Home of Downton
After breakfast the day is free or take the Highclere Castle tour as follows. (B)
Home of Downton Abbey
Visit Highclere Castle, which is one of England’s most beautiful Victorian Castles set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland and location of PBS’s hit series, Downton Abbey. The Carnarvon family has lived at Highclere since 1679, and the current Castle stands on the site of an earlier house, which in turn was built on the foundations of the medieval palace owned by the Bishops of Winchester for some 800 years.
Whilst there are some gravel paths around the lawns and through some of the Gardens, the Woodland Walks are rougher grass paths as are the paths through the Flower Meadow in the summer. Adult price £79, Child price £71
**** Thistle Marble Arch Hotel
April 17 Warwick Castle
Thursday Stratford & Oxford
After breakfast the day is free or take the Warwick Castle, Stratford-Upon-Avon & Oxford tour as below. (B)
See where Harry Potter was filmed in Oxford. Plus see the picturesque Cotswolds!
• Visit Christchurch where Harry Potter was filmed
• Visit to Warwick Castle ~ the greatest medieval site in Britain
• Shakespeare’s Birthplace Museum in beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon
• Lunch stop at 15th century inn followed by a drive through the Cotswolds (food/drink not included)
• Soak up the atmosphere at Oxford and hear about life in the university town
This is, quite simply, the greatest medieval castle in Britain. With a history that dates back over 1,000 years, Warwick Castle will take you back in time - to a world of sumptuous banquets, bloody battles and royal splendor. Enter over the footbridge and explore the castles ramparts, towers and gardens. The castle really brings history to life. Visit the waxwork displays of Madame Tussauds, where you can watch, and hear, the Earl of Warwick’s preparations for battle. Feeling brave? Then take a look at the ghostly dungeons where prisoners were tortured. Alternatively, relax with a stroll through the castles beautiful gardens.
The birthplace of William Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English language, and home to the theatres of the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford is a charming market town set in the heart of rural England. A delightful river winds its way through the town, past the beautiful Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare lies buried. There are some wonderful half-wooden buildings that date back to Shakespeare’s time, including the famous cottage of Anne Hathaway, who married the great writer in 1582. You can even see the school Shakespeare attended. Our tour includes a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace, before we enjoy lunch on your own in a 15th century inn in the picturesque Cotswolds. (food/drink not included.)
Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, boasts one of the worlds greatest - and oldest - universities, as well as some of the finest architecture in Europe. The colleges themselves, which make up the university, are amongst the architectural highlights, their ivy-clad stone walls protecting beautiful chapels, halls and libraries. We enjoy a unique tour which journeys through the heart of this ancient building before we head to the colleges spectacular dining hall, chosen as a key location in the Harry Potter films.
Our tour allows us to access parts of the hall usually out of bounds to the public. We will also linger by the open fire as your guide reveals anecdotes about the movie and the remarkable links of Christchurch with the Alice in Wonderland stories. Before visiting Christ Church you can even take tea in the shop where the real-life Alice bought her sweets! Our trip to Oxford promises an unforgettable experience for young and old alike. (Occasionally when the hall is not available for a viewing due to filming or private functions we shall enjoy a walking tour of the city). Returns to London at approximately 7:30 PM. Lunch not included in the price. Adult price £83, Child price £75
**** Thistle Marble Arch Hotel
April 18 Warner Bros.
Friday Studio Tour Option
Following breakfast today is free or take the Warner Bros. studio tour as below. (B)
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London The Making of Harry Potter provides an amazing new opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter films the most successful film series of all time. As other groups leave, Premium Tours enter the studios for our tour that begins with a private extended session in the Great Hall. Enjoy previously unheard anecdotes from the expert guides before taking a unique walking tour that takes you behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.
During the tour there is also the chance to sup a frothy Butterbeer in the backlot, in the shadow of iconic sets such as the Knight Bus and Privet Drive, all included in your ticket.
Here are just some of the things you can expect to see and do:
• Private extended session in the great hall with a studio tour expert
• Sip a frothy Butterbeer drink
• Listen to previously unheard anecdotes
• Explore Dumbledore’s office and discover never-before-seen treasures.
• Step onto the famous cobbles of Diagon Alley, featuring the shop fronts of Ollivander’s wand shop, Flourish and Blott’s, the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Gringott’s Wizarding Bank and Eeylop’s Owl Emporium.
• See iconic props from the films, including Harry’s Nimbus 2000 and Hagrid’s motorcycle.
• Rediscover other memorable sets from the film series, including the Gryffindor common room, the boys’ dormitory, Hagrid’s hut, Potion’s classroom and Professor Umbridge’s office at the Ministry of Magic.
We depart the studios at 6:30 PM and arrive back into Victoria for 7:30 PM. Adult price £49, Child £44
**** Thistle Marble Arch Hotel
April 19 Windsor Castle Option
After breakfast the day is free or take the Windsor Castle option and/or see Billy Elliot as below. (B)
• Morning tour to Windsor Castle
• Visit the State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel and Queen Mary’s Dolls House
• Free time to explore Windsor town and buy souvenirs
After your courtesy pick up we head out to Windsor Castle where over 900 years of royal history are waiting for you. From William the Conqueror all the way through to our current Queen, successive monarchs have lived here and left their mark on what is now the largest continuously occupied castle in the world. Your ticket allows entrance to the castle, so you can see for yourself the splendor of St. George’s Chapel and the sumptuous state apartments. Windsor itself is a pretty town full of traditional shops and historic pubs. Shakespeare is said to have written his play The Merry Wives of Windsor in one of them! Price £49
Billy Elliot Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre
Since the first Billy Elliot tickets were sold in London in 2005, this inspiring tale of a young English boy who swaps boxing gloves for a pair of ballet shoes has enchanted audiences all over the world. This multi award-winning show, based on the film of the same name, has prompted some critics to call it the greatest British musical ever made. This original story captured the hearts and minds of the world when the movie was released in October 2000. Nominated for 3 Oscars and 13 Bafta awards this poignant film broke box office records across the world.
This brilliant new staging is an adaptation of one of the most adored British films of the last decade. The extraordinary movie written by Lee Hall, directed by Stephen Daldry and choreographed by Peter Darling, has been developed for the stage by the same multi-award winning creative team. The score has been composed by music legend Elton John, the most celebrated UK singer songwriter of the last 30 years.
If you love music and dance, then Billy Elliot tickets are a must. Adult price £57, Child price £51
**** Thistle Marble Arch Hotel
April 20 Magic of London
After breakfast the day is free or take the Magic of London trip as below. (B)
Full day Magic of London with Champagne tea at Harrods. Plus Thames river cruise.
Includes private tour of the Tower of London - see the Crown Jewels.
• Private guided tour of the Tower of London with Yeoman Warder
• Be the first group to visit the Crown Jewels
• Panoramic drive seeing the icons of London; Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Harrods and much more
• See Changing of the Guard - subject to availability
• Thames River Cruise - see St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Globe Theatre and London bridge
• Pub lunch in Whitehall (food/drink not included)
• Visit St Paul’s with professional guide and fast entry ticket
• Champagne tea and scones at Harrods
The Tower of London ....private tour away from the crowds..
Following our coach drive past some of London’s most famous landmarks including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament we arrive at the Tower of London where we are met on the middle drawbridge by our very own Yeoman Warder. Leading us into this world heritage site before it opens to the public our Beefeater will take us on a private guided tour explaining the history behind this fortress of imprisonment and torture. We are also the first group to see the Crown Jewels before enjoying some free time to explore on our own. Why not visit Traitors Gate, the armories or the Bloody Tower? And keep an eye out for the famous Ravens. Tradition has it that if the Ravens leave the Tower the monarch will fall!
Changing The Guard
Departing the Tower we head to The Mall to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony as one of the Queens Household Regiments march from St. James Palace to Buckingham Palace dressed in their world famous tunics and busbies. (If the Changing of the Guard is not taking place you will still see Buckingham Palace and then visit the Horse Guards Parade.)
Thames River Cruise & Pub Lunch
Next we take a short cruise on the River Thames as we enjoy excellent views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe before heading for a traditional pub lunch in Whitehall, close to Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister (food/drink not included). After lunch we have a photo stop at Westminster Abbey.
St Paul’s Cathedral
The afternoon part of the tour begins with a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral. We will explore the masterpiece designed by Wren in 1673 with a professional guide, taking time to listen to the 1695 organ that Mendelssohn once played and visit the tombs of Nelson and Wellington. There will also be the chance to test the unique acoustics of the Whispering Gallery (not normally visited by other tour groups.) On Sundays when there is restricted viewing at the Cathedral there will be an opportunity to enter and enjoy one of the services.
Champagne Tea At Harrods
Then we head through Knightsbridge to one of the worlds most famous stores - Harrods, where we finish our day with a Champagne tea served on the fourth floor Georgian restaurant, (see below). Relax and enjoy the 5 star service whilst listening to the live pianist (performs on Saturdays and Sundays only). The tour ends at Harrods leaving you free time to explore the store at your leisure - why not visit the fabulous food halls? Adult price £99, Child price £89
**** Thistle Marble Arch Hotel
April 21 Depart London
Transfer to Heathrow Airport for departure flight. (B)
As of April 26, 2013 1 GBP =1.548 USD
Bring the Family
Wouldn’t it be fun to take a daughter or granddaughter along to introduce them to our dear Phi Mu? Take advantage of the hotel offer for a child under 16 to room free of charge with two adults. Pay only $200 for transfers and contribution to Phi Mu Foundation. (*A limited number of rooms will be allotted and it’s first come, first serve.) The timing is perfect-over the Easter holiday.
Luxury Paris Day Trip - see the Mona Lisa.
Plus Champagne lunch on the Eiffel tower and enjoy a cruise on the River Seine.
• Reserved seats on the Eurostar
• Fast entry access and extended time on the Eiffel Tower
• Champagne lunch on the Eiffel Tower and cruise on the River Seine
• Panoramic tour of Paris
• Guided tour of the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa
• Due to Eurostar requirements the age restrictions for children is 4-11 years
Join us at St. Pancras International train station where our staff will help check you in and introduce you to our guide who will escort you onboard Eurostar and throughout the day in Paris. Travelling at speeds up to 186mph you will be in Paris in just 2 hours 15 minutes. Upon arrival you will enjoy a panoramic tour of the city taking in all the major sites including Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, the River Seine and the Arc de Triomphe before arriving at the Eiffel Tower where we enjoy a fabulous two course lunch served with a glass of Champagne.
In the afternoon we head to Bateaux Parisiens for a scenic cruise on the River Seine complete with lively commentary. The cruise boasts fabulous views of some of the finest monuments from across the river. After the cruise our guide will escort you to the Louvre and with a fast entry ticket we will enjoy a guided tour of the Louvre and see the world famous Mona Lisa.
In the early evening we head back to the Gard du Nord for our return journey to London.
• Check in is at 6:00 AM - St Pancras International.
• Returns to London at approximately 8:30 PM Monday - Saturday.
• Your return Eurostar departs Gare du Nord at 7:13 PM and you should be aware that check-in closes 45 minutes prior to departure.
• Please note, once booked, we are not able to cancel your booking and as such cannot offer you a refund.
• The Louvre museum is open every day except Tuesday and the following French holidays: December 25, January 1, and May 1.
Adult or child price £249
An extra night is required at the hotel.