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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
British Bobby Touring Company is an internet subsidiary of James
James Bothwell Travel, Grace House, The Quay, Poole, Dorset,
BH15 1HJ, UK
Phone: +44 7711247762