Queen Victoria was perhaps the last true monarch of the British Empire. This indomitable queen captured the hearts and minds of her people, from the chilly reaches of Yorkshire to the wild jungles of India, leading her realm through the industrial revolution that defined the modern age. Her formidable stature, her elegant sense of decorum, and her lifelong devotion to her husband became pillars of a cultural movement that continues to be romanticized and emulated the world over – known, appropriately, as “Victorian.” Discover the places this remarkable woman held most dear as you explore her homes, her haunts, and the places where modern filmmaking attempts to recapture her legacy with hit creations like Masterpiece Theatre’s Victoria. Discover the woman who redefined the world.
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Depart the USA and arrive next day at London Heathrow Airport, where you’ll be met by your guide and vehicle. Head toward London, stopping along the way to visit Windsor Castle, the royal residence and the largest inhabited castle in the world. This palatial home has been home to over 40 British Kings and Queens since 1236. The castle currently employs a staff of 150 and remains an important diplomatic venue for state visits. It is also the final resting place of King Henry VIII, who is laid to rest in the resident St. George’s Chapel next to his third wife, Jane Seymour. The opulent State Apartments, furnished by some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, such as paintings from Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, are open to the public. Arrive in London for a free evening at your hotel. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner. GREAT NORTHERN AT KINGS CROSS.
Discover London with a panoramic tour including Buckingham Palace, Horse Guard’s Parade, and many other of the most important sites of Queen Victoria’s reign, including the V&A Museum and the Chapel Royal where she wed Prince Albert. You’ll stop off at the Albert Memorial, a massive golden statue erected by the mourning Victoria at the edge of Hyde Park, facing Royal Albert Hall. Next, explore the religious and cultural landmark of Westminster Abbey, home of countless royal marriages and coronations. Your final stop is the enigmatic Kensington Palace, the birthplace of Queen Victoria, where you’ll get an intimate peek into the life of an 18th century royal courtier as you make your way through the magnificent King’s and Queen’s State Apartments. GREAT NORTHERN AT KINGS CROSS.
Leave London behind this morning as you head north toward Harrogate. Along the way, you’ll stop at the ancestral home of the Duke of Rutland, Belvoir Castle. The ducal family has lived here in an unbroken line for over a thousand years and houses a bed that Queen Victoria once slept in when she visited with Prince Albert in December, 1843. You’ll reach Harrogate in the evening, with time at leisure to settle in. Next day, start your morning touring one of Yorkshire’s prominent manor houses, Castle Howard. Set within 1,000 acres of breathtaking landscape just outside York, Castle Howard’s lavish architecture and world-class collection of artwork draws visitors from around the globe. Stop by Bramhan Park, an 18th century country house built in the classical style and featured prominently on the television show Victoria. Your final stop will be Harewood House, one of the Treasure Houses of England. The art collection here is one of the finest in the nation of Great Britain, and it features an exhibition of many of the costumes worn by Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria on the television show. THE YORKSHIRE HOTEL.
Depart Harrogate for Leicestershire. Arrive at Newby Hall and Gardens, used as a Gentlemen’s Club in the series Victoria, a 17th century family home with a renovated 18th century interior design. The superb contents of the house, collected by Weddell, ancestor of the Compton family, on the Grand Tour include a rare set of Gobelin Tapestries, a gallery of classical statuary, and some of Chippendale’s finest furniture. Your next stop is Wentworth Woodhall, which is comprised of two 18th century houses joined back to back! Incorporated in the middle of the house is what remains of a home created around 1630 for Sir Thomas Wentworth, later created Earl of Strafford and executed on Tower Hill in 1641. The two houses can never be seen at the same time as they face east and west. The west front is Baroque in style, whilst the east front is Palladian and based on the designs of Andrea Palladio. The house with its frontage of 615 feet is the second largest front of any house in Europe, second only to the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo outside St. Petersburg, Russia. KILWORTH HOUSE HOTEL.
Return to the South of England today as you arrive in Oxford, beginning at Blenheim Palace. A masterpiece of Baroque architecture, Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage Site, having served as home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family and as the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill. Explore Oxford on foot on a guided walking tour, taking in ancient and modern colleges, richly appointed museums and galleries, and sprawls of verdant and hilly parkland and gardens. End the day with a photo stop at the statue of Queen Victoria in Abingdon, in the abbey gardens. This statue was erected in 1887 in honor of Victoria’s jubilee. KILWORTH HOUSE HOTEL.
Start today at the Frogmore House, tucked within a ring of picturesque gardens on the home park of Windsor Castle. The house dates from the 1680s and was purchased for Queen Charlotte in 1792. Here the Queen was able to indulge her love of botany and laid out the garden with many rare and unusual plants. At one time, the house was the home of Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent. After her death, her son-in-law, Prince Albert, commissioned the building of an elegant mausoleum to hold her remains. Queen Victoria was particularly fond of Frogmore’s peaceful ambience and it became her favorite retreat. Next, explore the grounds of Arundel Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk. Arundel Castle is one of the treasure houses of England and has been open to visitors seasonally for nearly 200 years. See the portrait of Queen Victoria painted in 1843 by William Fowler. Next day, take the ferry to the Isle of Wight, and take in the shimmering blue waters as you cruise toward the Osborne House, the place perhaps most often associated with Queen Victoria, who died here in 1901. Tour the grounds before setting off for a scenic tour of the Isle of Wight itself, one of England’s most beautiful coastlines. BURLEY MANOR HOTEL.
Arrive back in London this morning as you head for Ham House on the River Thames, built in 1610, the home of the Earl of Dysart and his daughter, the Duchess of Lauderdale. The house retains many of its original furnishings, with a large collection of Dutch art, and is one of the filming locations of the movie The Young Victoria. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner. GREAT NORTHERN AT KING CROSS. Next day, it’s time to fly back home, having explored Victoria’s world.
(B,D; Meals Aloft)
PRICING: Per person, based on double occupancy
Maximum group size: : No restrictions, although we recommend a maximum of 35 travelers.
YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:
- Four star accommodations throughout as indicated or similar.
- Breakfast daily, welcome and farewell dinners; all other meals as per itinerary.
- Visits and admission fees to all venues indicated in itinerary.
- All ground transfers and excursions in private deluxe motor coach.
- Services of a specialist guide throughout.
- Gratuities for baggage handling and wait staff on included meals.
- Complimentary bottled water on coaches during sightseeing.
- Complimentary passport wallets and baggage tags.
- Complimentary emergency evacuation insurance.
Both of our programs can take place at any time of the year as London is not a city where fun depends on the weather. While summer is a great time to visit, spring and autumn are also good times, when the crowds are far thinner and sights less crowded. Winters are cold, wet and dark, so outdoor venues are mostly deserted.
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