Great Heiresses – How America Saved the English Country House
(May 24 - 30, 2020)
How America Saved the English Country House – and changed English society, taste and design. We explore the remarkable story of American investment at the end of the 19th century which saved many of England’s great country houses from financial ruin, and had a lasting impact on English society. The most famous of these estates is now the backdrop for the TV and Movie phenomena DOWNTOWN ABBEY.
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How America Saved the English Country House

– and changed English society, taste and design

Tour Cost May 24, 2020 - $2653 Double/$3357 Single Cdn

How America Saved the English Country House – and changed English society, taste and design. We explore the remarkable story of American investment at the end of the 19th century which saved many of England’s great country houses from financial ruin, and had a lasting impact on English society. The most famous of these estates is now the backdrop for the TV and Movie phenomena DOWNTOWN ABBEY.

We visit some of the glorious English country houses rescued or shaped by this wave of ‘Gilded Age’ investment, including Blenheim Palace, Highclere Castle(DOWNTON ABBEY), Cliveden and Leeds Castle.

On our journey we will see spectacular architecture, grand and extravagant design – and we discover the extraordinary life stories associated with the great estates, from railroad heiress Gloria Vanderbilt at Blenheim Palace, to Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament. Throughout you will be accompanied by expert guides who can share their insights as you explore hidden histories, gain new perspectives and experience the best of each location.


Key Features

  • Enjoy bespoke tours of great English country houses with fascinating American connections.
  • Explore both Saxon and Viking capital cities, and the battle sites of Hastings and Stamford Bridge which led to the end of the Saxon era in England at the time of the Norman Conquest.
  • Discover the perfect Georgian city of Bath – and the picturesque rural delights of the South Downs National Park and the Cotswolds.

  • Want to know more?

  • Download the full itinerary for Great Heiresses.
  • Discover more tours – take a look at our inspiring Telling the Stories of England brochure.
  • Get in touch with us using the Enquire Now button.
  • Telephone our team on (604) 899-9249.

  • Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Group collect at London Gatwick Airport morning arrival.
    Meet Tour manager, History and Heritage Guide and Motorcoach driver
    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle - guided tour of the Castle
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with wine per person included

    Day 2: (Monday May 25th, 2020) - Greenwich

    Breakfast included in the hotel
    Journey by motor coach for admission to Hever Castle for privately guided tour and included set lunch.
    Continue south west for admission to West Dean Gardens. The Tapestry Studios may also be covered if time permits
    Overnight Winchester – dinner included in the hotel

    Day 3: (Tuesday May 26th, 2020) - Downton Abbey

    Breakfast included in the hotel
    10.30 booked time slot for Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) 40 mins north of Winchester
    Travel towards Alton for admission to Jane Austen House Museum and the nearby Chawton House Library.
    Overnight Winchester – dinner on own

    Day 4: (Wednesday May 27th, 2020) - Highcliffe Castle and Quilts

    Breakfast included in the hotel
    Travel south for admission to Highcliffe Castle with house guide
    Continue to Bath area with included pub lunch en route
    Admission included to the American Museum near Bath with handling opportunity of the extensive quilts collection
    Overnight Bath – dinner included in the hotel

    Day 5: (Thursday May 28th, 2020) - Bath

    Breakfast included in the hotel.
    Full day in Bath with additional local guide
    Admission included to Roman Baths and Pump Room
    Admission included to Jane Austen Centre
    Overnight Bath – dinner on own

    Day 6: (Friday May 29th, 2020) - The Cotswolds

    Breakfast included in the hotel
    Leave Bath – Pause in lovely Cotswold villages such as Castle Comb and Bibury en route for admission to Hidcote Manor Gardens
    Afternoon visit to Blenheim Palace with talk and included afternoon tea
    Overnight London – farewell dinner with transfers and wine.

    Day 7: (Saturday May 30th, 2020) - Departure Day

    Breakfast included in the hotel
    Included - group transfer (locally escorted) direct to LGW

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Group collect at one location at London Gatwick Airport at 09.00.

    Meet UK based tour manager (Booked by Select Travel Service
    Meet UK based History guide (Booked by Greg)
    Meet 35 seat motor coach and driver

    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle (note private guided tours are only possible outside normal opening hour unless you guide knows differently?
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with half bottle of wine per person included

    Group collect at one location at London Gatwick Airport at 09.00.

    Meet UK based tour manager (Booked by Select Travel Service
    Meet UK based History guide (Booked by Greg)
    Meet 35 seat motor coach and driver

    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle (note private guided tours are only possible outside normal opening hour unless you guide knows differently?
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with half bottle of wine per person included

    Group collect at one location at London Gatwick Airport at 09.00.

    Meet UK based tour manager (Booked by Select Travel Service
    Meet UK based History guide (Booked by Greg)
    Meet 35 seat motor coach and driver

    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle (note private guided tours are only possible outside normal opening hour unless you guide knows differently?
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with half bottle of wine per person included

    Group collect at one location at London Gatwick Airport at 09.00.

    Meet UK based tour manager (Booked by Select Travel Service
    Meet UK based History guide (Booked by Greg)
    Meet 35 seat motor coach and driver

    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle (note private guided tours are only possible outside normal opening hour unless you guide knows differently?
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with half bottle of wine per person included

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Day 1: (Sunday May 24th, 2020) - Overnight Kent

    Group collect at one location at London Gatwick Airport at 09.00.

    Meet UK based tour manager (Booked by Select Travel Service
    Meet UK based History guide (Booked by Greg)
    Meet 35 seat motor coach and driver

    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle (note private guided tours are only possible outside normal opening hour unless you guide knows differently?
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with half bottle of wine per person included

    Group collect at one location at London Gatwick Airport at 09.00.

    Meet UK based tour manager (Booked by Select Travel Service
    Meet UK based History guide (Booked by Greg)
    Meet 35 seat motor coach and driver

    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle (note private guided tours are only possible outside normal opening hour unless you guide knows differently?
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with half bottle of wine per person included

    Group collect at one location at London Gatwick Airport at 09.00.

    Meet UK based tour manager (Booked by Select Travel Service
    Meet UK based History guide (Booked by Greg)
    Meet 35 seat motor coach and driver

    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle (note private guided tours are only possible outside normal opening hour unless you guide knows differently?
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with half bottle of wine per person included

    Group collect at one location at London Gatwick Airport at 09.00.

    Meet UK based tour manager (Booked by Select Travel Service
    Meet UK based History guide (Booked by Greg)
    Meet 35 seat motor coach and driver

    Travel east for admission to Leeds Castle (note private guided tours are only possible outside normal opening hour unless you guide knows differently?
    Overnight Kent – welcome dinner in the hotel with half bottle of wine per person included

    Please choose May 24th as your departure date.

    If you wish to make a deposit rather then full payment at this point to secure your seat with this tour, please CLICK here and go to the deposit page.
    You may make a deposit reservation until 35 days before departure at which point the full amount is rquired to secure your reservation. The $400 deposit per person reservation is 100% refundabe until 90 days before the tour departure and 50% refundable between 90 and 60 days before tour departure. If you make a deposit reservation, you will receive a final payment email request fro the outstanding amount of your tour approximately 35 days before travel. All payments will be required by 60 days before departure. If you have questions or would like to speak with one of our travel specialists, please conact us at (604) 708-2527 or Toll Free: 1 855 900-9249.

    Services to be provided:

    Hotels

    • Kent – 1 night at The Mercure Maidstone
    • Winchester – 2 nights at The Mercure Winchester
    • Bath – 2 nights at The Bath Hilton
    • London – 1 night at The Hilton Kensington

    Meals

    • Full Cooked Breakfast daily in the hotels
    • Day 1 – welcome dinner with half bottle of wine per person in the hotel
    • Day 2 – set lunch in Hever Castle
    • Day 2 – dinner in the hotel
    • Day 4 – Pub lunch en route to Bath
    • Dinner in the Hotel
    • Day 6 – Afternoon Tea in Blenheim Palace
    • Day 6 – Farwell dinner in London with half bottle of wine per person in a good standard London restaurant or quality pub
    • Dinner in the Hotel

    Admissions and other services included

    • Porterage of 1 bag person in and out of hotels only
    • Whispa headsets daily
    • Local guide for Bath
    • Leeds Castle admission
    • Hever Castle with privately guided tour
    • West Dean Gardens
    • Highclere Castle (Downton), grounds and Egyptian Museum
    • Jane Austen House Museum
    • Chawton House Library
    • Highcliffe Castle with house guide
    • American Museum in Bath
    • Bath – Roman Baths and Pump Room
    • Bath – Jane Austen Centre
    • Cotswold villages tour
    • Hidcote Manor Gardens
    • Blenheim Palace with private talk

    Not Included

    • Health, trip cancellation/interruption or baggage insurance. All are strongly recommended.
    • Passport & visa costs.
    • Items of a personal nature (hotel extras, laundry, phone calls etc.).
    • Items not specifically mentioned above.
    The availability of single rooms is dependent upon individual hotel properties and in some cases, where a large number of singles is required, it may be necessary to restrict reservations of single rooms. A Single suppliment fee is applied to all single bookings for individual rooms.
    We do our best to avoid or mitigate cancellation charges. All participants are strongly encouraged to take out cancellation insurance. Participants who are replaced will normally just incur an fee for the reissue of any airline tickets, typically in the range of $150-250. Event tickets or special pre paid activities or specific hotel deposits, may incur charges in addition to those listed below. If a cancelled participant is not replaced, the following maximum charges may be levied. Final Payment for all tour programs is due 90 days before Travel. After this date, full payment is required for all bookings and is non-refundable.
    UK Countryside Tours is a small, specialist tour operator that will help you travel beyond the boundaries of our great capital city, exploring the deeper and more authentic British regions. We will work hard to ensure you have a memorable, fulfilling and enjoyable stay. Our programmes are designed by our friendly team of tour directors, who are as passionate as we are about Telling the Stories of England.
    Through a shared interest in special places, art, literature, science and endeavour, combined with great food and special places to stay, we hope you will have a rich experience of the quintessential Britain.
    We work with the best suppliers of executive travel to maximise your comfort and safety whilst travelling. We have selected our accommodation, itinerary and catering with great care to ensure that you have a quality, relaxed and exclusive experience that will enlighten and entertain you.
    If we do not feel that the tour can go ahead to the standard we would want for reasons outside our control we will cancel, giving you a full refund of any money already paid to us.

    All breakfasts are full and include juices, tea and coffee. Programmed lunches and dinners include table water but do not include sodas, branded mineral water, wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages unless where stated.

    Our tours do not include items of a personal nature such as laundry, room service, telephone charges. Internet access charges or other hotel extras. All passengers are responsible for settling any such costs incurred before checking out of each hotel.

    If airline tickets are included in the agreement, they include all US, Canadian and European government taxes, airline taxes and fuel surcharges as levied as of the date of this proposal. In the event that additional taxes are introduced by national or local governing bodies or existing taxes increased, Select Travel may have to pass these on at the time of ticketing. Land prices include all local, city and state taxes/VAT levied as of the date of this proposal. Any changes to, or additional, government taxes will be passed on to the agent with the final invoice.

    We start from a simple premise. When you travel with us, we take responsibility for your safety and wellbeing. In return, we expect you to work constructively with our tour leaders, partners and the people who run the places we visit. We also expect you to tell us about anything that we need to know, such as any medical or other special needs, that may affect your experience of travelling with us.
    All of our tours are fully insured and compliant with UK tour operator legislation, although we would ask you to take out appropriate travel insurance that ensures that in the event of an accident or illness that you will get access to the best medical treatment and that you will be able to get home safely.
    We strongly recommend that all passengers are adequately insured for medical expenses, baggage loss or damage and trip cancellation or interruption. This is the responsibility of the booking agent. Optional medical, trip interruption and cancellation coverage is available through us and pricing and coverage details are available upon request. UK Countryside Tours is covered both in Canada by General Liability Insurance and Errors and Omissions Coverage in the amount of $2 million. Our UK operation carries coverage of £10 million.

    As of the time of going to print, US and Canadian citizens require a full and valid passport to enter the European Community. Entry visas are currently not required. Non US or Canadian Citizens may require an entry visa and should check with the appropriate local consulate offices, allowing good time to complete the necessary paperwork prior to departure. All travelers may require entry visas for countries outside the European Union e.g. Russia or former Soviet Union States.

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    Mildly active: getting on and off the coach and walking a short distance on well surfaced paths.
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    Moderately active: walking in the countryside / parkland estate of a country estate – walking moderate distances on unsurfaced paths.
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    Active: walking up hills, or destinations involving lots of steps, uneven surfaces, sturdy shoes needed.

    If UK Countryside Tours is unable to carry out all services due to circumstances beyond our control, we will do all possible to secure services of comparable or better standard or refund all monies in full. UK Countryside Tours accepts no responsibility for loss or additional expenses incurred due to delays, changes, omissions or errors made by our suppliers including but not limited to air, sea, ground transportation, war, weather, quarantine and strikes of Acts of God. All persons working with us will be deemed to have accepted the conditions contained herein by submitting the initial deposit. We have read this agreement and understand and agree to adhere to the terms and conditions herein. We agree that this supersedes all previous agreements and understandings both written and verbal and this document constitutes the entire agreement. All amendments or modifications to this agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.


    Specialists

    *Expert Blue Badge Guide*

    Itinerary

    UKCT Brochure

    Specific Tour Brochure

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    Call for General Inquires
    Toll Free 1 855 900-9249
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    Email for General Inquires
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    Call for General Inquires
    (604)708-2527
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