The British Bobby Touring Company

Castle Coombe

 

Sample Itinerary

Our tours are specifically designed with your preferences in mind, but just as a taster, on this page is an example of the kind of tours that we offer. It's a five day West Country tour that begins and ends in London. The tour can begin at a London hotel or airport and finish at a London hotel, airport or any other region of Britain. Tours are completely personalised and could last for just one night away serving as a quick break from London. This sample itinerary gives guests an idea of what they could expect to see at a reasonable pace in 5 days.

Day 1

Collect at London airport or hotel. Depart London at a relaxed pace going through the backroads of west London and passing such suburbs as Barnes and Richmond - some of London's most pleasant residential areas and situated by the River Thames. Pass through the Royal Park of Richmond-upon-Thames with two and a half thousand acres of deer park and views back towards the city of London. A view enjoyed by Henry VIII who hunted deer of the same stock in this very area nearly 500 years ago. We can visit a spot where he is believed to have sat on his horse and hear the canon fire signalling the execution of Anne Boleyn.

Onto the fast road towards the West Country and an hour's drive before arriving at Stonehenge, a circular group of huge standing stones dating back nearly 5000 years. Stonehenge situated in the vast expanse of Salisbury Plain gets a mixed reception but the more we go there the more we like it and the more it means. The purpose of Stonehenge is still doubtful but the sun on Midsummer Day rises over the Hele Stone and has long been used as an argument that Stonehenge was a temple of the sun. There are numerous burial mounds around Stonehenge which doubtless have some connection with it. Britain has many neolithic stone circles but there's nothing quite like Stonehenge with its hewn stones, cap stones, tenons, and sockets, evidence of great sophistication in its builders.

Having travelled from one of the greatest cities in the world to probably the most important neolithic site in the world we'll stop for lunch in a pleasant old thatched pub in one of the wooded villages of Wiltshire and enjoy traditional British fare. There'll be a wide selection on the menu with alternatives to steak and kidney pie or liver and bacon available for those not ready to sample British cuisine! After lunch we will carry on and stop for an hour at Salisbury giving you the opportunity to visit Salisbury Cathedral. Bill Bryson, a very popular American travel writer on this side of the pond, described Salisbury Cathedral as "singularly the most beautiful site in England". The graceful lofty spire is the highest in England and work began on the Cathedral in 1220. It's a classic of architecture and in any 5 day tour we should always add such a site. One of the four original copies of Magna Carta can be viewed here too before we continue on westwards and through part of The New Forest, which is in the process of being granted National Park status.

By the time we arrive on the edge of the New Forest we will have travelled about 100 miles and through the counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Hampshire and Wiltshire. On reaching the New Forest we will be back in Hampshire and close to our hotel. The New Forest covers about 93,000 acres and is not "new" at all but existed as such in 1016. The name "New Forest" dates from 1079 when William the Conqueror set it apart as a hunting-ground. Hardy and active New Forest ponies are much in evidence wandering freely through the Forest. We will follow an attractive route by ancient oaks, yews and beeches and then cross the county border in to Dorset, driving along the edge of Poole Harbour, the largest natural harbour in Europe before taking the chain ferry across the lip of the harbour and on to the Purbeck Hills. Overnight at The Priory Hotel in Wareham.

Dorset Coastline

Day 2

The Priory Hotel in Wareham will be our base for the next four nights. The hotels we use have all been pre-inspected and The Priory is one of our favourites in this area of Dorset. It dates from the early 16th century and was the former priory of Lady St Mary. The landscaped gardens run down to the River Frome and the views beyond are of the Purbeck Hills, an area we consider, acre for acre, as one of the most beautiful in Britain. It's a nice sized hotel with about 20 rooms and the stone vaulted Abbot's Cellar is a perfect place to enjoy British cuisine. Today we will visit the most attractive villages in Dorset and drive down roads that no bus would even attempt (or be allowed) to negotiate.

We will show you some superb coastline. The Dorset coastline is likely to soon attain World Heritage Status. We will take you to a church where ancestors allied to those of George Washington once prayed. In short, you will get a superb behind the scenes treat of a tour through an area of England that always leaves our guests in awe of the British landscape. As Thomas Hardy, a local author wrote, "There are parts of Dorset shaped as if by a kindly hand".

The villages to be added to today's travels will include Worth Matravers, Studland, Corfe and Cerne Abbas. And we'll manage a great pub lunch in one of these. Additional sites to be seen will include the dramatic ruined castle at Corfe and the 180 foot Cerne Abbas Giant cut through the turf to the chalk. His date is uncertain and he could be Hercules (Roman) or more recent. Today will have been a contrast to yesterday in that we will have visited less written about sites with many opportunities to see the real England.

Thomas Hardy's Cottage

Day 3

Today we will drive north to the city of Bath. The journey is winding and will take us through rural central and north Dorset. We will make a couple of stops on the way. Not many visitors get up to Ashmore - an isolated hill-top village high on the chalk with a large pond believed to be Roman in origin. This will set the theme for the day as we continue on to Bath.

Bath has recently been voted the Brits' fourth favourite city and retains a celebrated 18th century atmosphere. The Roman Baths are one of the most important remains of the period in England and should be visited at leisure. Bath also has an architectural character quite its own and is a pleasant place to wander through the shops and stop for lunch. Mid afternoon we will head south again from Somerset to Dorset and stop for tea at Shaftesbury, another ancient town strikingly situated on a spur and indeed, one of the oldest towns in England. Tea can be taken at the top of Gold Hill, probably England's most photographed street, before we head back to The Priory.

Day 4

Today we will travel west to Devon, along the coast road. We will break the journey at Lyme Regis, a charming old fishing town with steep streets and a "Regency" atmosphere. The stone pier known as the "Cobb" can be walked. This was where the Duke of Monmouth landed in 1685. It was also the scene of Louisa Musgrove's accident in Jane Austen's "Persuasion". Jane Austen would holiday here as a child. More recently Meryl Streep was here filming "The French Lieutenant's Woman".

We will continue on to spend the middle part of the day in Dartmouth, a beautifully situated and ancient port on a safe and land-locked estuary. The opportunity to take a one and a half hour boat trip along the beautiful River Dart to Totnes can be taken. It's a beautiful trip and we can meet you in Totnes, which itself is one of the oldest boroughs in England. Later in the afternoon, after finding a real Devon cream tea somewhere along the route we will head back for our final night in Dorset.

Day 5

The final day of such a tour will usually depend on whether we first met you at your London hotel or the airport. If you have not yet been to the centre of London we will aim to arrive there with you by 2pm and thereby give you our own overview tour of London.

Being ex London Bobbies, we like to think we can make such a tour slightly different from the norm. So if you have not yet been in to London we will probably take you in to the city via a few hours at Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle stretches over several acres and the Queen may be in - because she's more often at Windsor than she is at Buckingham Palace.

Windsor Castle stands on a chalk cliff rising abruptly above the Thames and was begun in wood by William the Conqueror. Continued in stone by Henry II, Windsor has been lived in by Kings and Queens ever since and there is much to see. The State apartments have now been refurbished after the fire and are used mainly for royal functions. They're magnificent. Time will fly and if we need to be in London for early afternoon it will probably be best to lunch at the castle. Should you not require a tour of London our journey up to Windsor can be more leisurely and we can arrive via Winchester, once the capital of the Kingdom and famous for its Cathedral and School. These tours are always flexible and on the last day we will be particularly looking at brushing up on anything you may have wanted to see a little more of during the short tour.

We complete the tour in London early evening.



  The British Bobby Touring Company is an internet subsidiary of James Bothwell Travel.
James Bothwell Travel, Grace House, The Quay, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HJ, UK
Calling from outside the UK - Fax: +44 1202 683319   Phone: +44 1202 242075
Calling from inside the UK - Fax: 01202 683319  Phone: 01202 242075
E-mail: j.bothwell@ntlworld.com