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Highlights
  • Discover Oxford’s soaring spires, lovely landscapes and intriguing lore with university insiders.
  • Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps and see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform in one of England's iconic theatres.
  • Experience the dramatic mountain environment of Snowdonia National Park in Wales.

Timeless villages, bustling cities, grand manors, renowned universities, beautiful natural areas — explore all of these and more on this jolly good jaunt through England and Wales. Outstanding local experts tell the stories of royals, poets and commoners and illuminate the essence of Britain as you explore Windsor, Oxford, the Lake District, the Cotswolds, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon and the rugged coast of Wales.

Travelers Also Viewed All similar trips
Travel Theme
Countries
  • N/A
Flights & Transport
  • Only ground transport

29
Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
90% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 1
Value
4.6 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.4 Transportation
4.5 Meals
4.4
Stride Take

TBD

The Best of England and Wales: Shakespeare to Snowdonia, Castles to Colleges

D

Recommends

Best trip I ever took! October 2016

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
Read more

Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

They take advantage of the elderly May 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I had high hopes for Road scholar. However, when I was diagnosed with cancer I got no sympathy from Road Scholar. The agents and management kept saying you should have purchased insurance. But the insurance was extremely expensive and would not have covered the cancellation fee either. I ended up attending anyways because I didn't want to lose my money. I felt sick the entire time and could barely complete the activities. The group leader was wonderful. But the program was very strict and I felt that they over charged for everything. They demonstrated shocking behavior for a non profit that is supposed to be all about education and supporting the elderly. Yet they constantly are sending catalogs and pushing expensive programs. I highly recommend taking your money elsewhere. They do not respect their customers and only care about money. They took advantage of a cancer patient and according to the others on my trip this is common.
Read more

Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT August 2017

3.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 3.0
I would have enjoyed this trip much more if I felt I was being treated as an adult, the educated, enthusiastic traveler that I am.
Unfortunately, I took a fall and broke my arm near the end of the trip. I was shocked at the very insolent, uncaring attitude of Road Scholar. I received two calls from the insurance program my husband was encouraged to pay for for the trip (we usually use Travel Guard who is great). Both calls were very negative. Neither expressed concern about my condition and both apparently had called to state that ROAD SCHOLAR
WOULD NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING! WOW! A WAKEUP CALL FROM HELL. I WILL BE SHOUTING THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS SO NO ONE ELSE
HAS THIS EXPERIENCE. DO NOT PURCHASE ROAD SCHOLAR INSURANCE -- IT IS A BOONDOGGLE!
Read more

Operator Road Scholar

LG

Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

2.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
I took a four day bridge class at Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The class was mediocre. And I came home with over 50 BED BUG BITES! Please beware.

Operator Road Scholar

TCtssvawmc

Recommends

Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar (also known as Elderhostel) offers hundreds of tours worldwide, using local tour companies, sometimes universities. I have taken RS tours to Africa, China, and France and look forward to more. This was my first "tour" of China, but my 20th visit, with the rest on business. Our guide, Mei Mei, was one of the finest I've seen on tours. We started with Beijing and continued to Xian and then to Guizhou Province for a week in this fascinating area, which was new to me. We were able to meet the people in the villages, thanks to our guide, and enjoyed the chance to see and photograph such a variety of places in China. Hotels were excellent and appropriate to this type of tour (usually centrally located and very fine). Meals were family style and always good. Road Scholar makes its tours educational and doesn't push shopping as so many commercial ones do. Touring in China is very safe. You do have a lot of walking and RS tells you this in the tour, but it seems that a great deal of the walking is in those huge airports! I recommend Road Scholar and always turn to their catalogs to choose my next trip.
Read more

Operator Road Scholar

Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrival Day, Windsor

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Ye Harte & Garter Hotel

Lunch: In the hotel dining room for those arriving by lunchtime. A light lunch with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Afternoon: Arrivals continue, with free time for those who have already arrived. At 5pm we will have an Orientation in the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. This program is staffed with both a Group Leader, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics, and a series of Study Leaders who will lecture, conduct field trips and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: A seated dinner will be taken in the hotel dining room with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Free time to unpack, relax and prepare for the program ahead. You may also wish to join your Group Leader for an orientation walk.

Day 3: Windsor Castle

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Ye Harte & Garter Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. A breakfast buffet with a range of hot and cold items, as well as coffee, tea, water and fruit juices.

Morning: Begin your morning with a walk from the hotel to Windsor Castle – a remarkable building that has been shaped by the Kings and Queens of England for over 1,000 years. It remains the weekend residence of Her Majesty the Queen and is still used for ceremonial and state occasions, whilst also being home to some of the greatest paintings and works of art in the world. From within the castle we will be able to watch the famous Changing of the Guard, a procession of active Household Guards and a marching band. Please note, the Changing of the Guard may not be available on every departure as schedules are released at very short notice for security reasons.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Free time. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions should you wish to further explore Windsor.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: Free time.

Day 4: Transfer to Stratford-Upon-Avon: The City of Oxford

Stratford-upon-Avon.  B,D  Alveston Manor

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We board the motor coach for our transfer to Stratford-upon-Avon, with a visit en-route to Oxford – the city of “dreaming spires”. Your Oxford expert will meet you in the morning for a refreshing cup of coffee and an introductory lecture, before we set off to explore this fascinating city on foot. Expect to see such sights as the Radcliffe Camera, the Clarendon Building and the Bridge of Sighs, and discover the contrasts of the Classical and Gothic architecture in discussion with your expert as you walk.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: This afternoon we go behind the scenes at Christ Church, one of Oxford’s most famous, and indeed most traditional colleges. Enjoy the secret garden, the famous water meadows and a panoply of buildings from different periods in the city’s history; from Henry VIII and Wolsey’s Tudor Kitchen to the Great Hall and the classical Peckwater Building. From Oxford we will then continue onwards to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 5: Stratford-Upon-Avon & The Royal Shakespeare Company

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Alveston Manor

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy an introduction to Stratford-upon-Avon, before we begin today’s activities with a front of house tour of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s building and theatres. Your Group Leader will then provide you with a city sightseeing pass, which allows you to visit all of the famous properties associated with the Great Bard, William Shakespeare. You are then free to explore at your own pace.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time, perhaps to continue your independent exploration.

Dinner: Served at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s rooftop restaurant.

Evening: Enjoy a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatre. Performance details will be available in your second set of preparatory materials.

Day 6: The Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Alveston Manor

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today’s field trip takes us by motor coach into to the picturesque Cotswolds countryside. Board the motor coach and set off to explore the quintessentially English villages of Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden. Noted for its elegant High Street dating back to the 14th Century, Chipping Campden is lined with traditional Cotswold honey coloured limestone buildings housing some delightful specialist shops and inns. At its centre stands the 17th Century Market Hall, the grand early wool church St. James and a vast and extravagant monument to local wealthy silk merchant Sir Baptist Hicks.

Lunch: Served in a traditional inn.

Afternoon: We continue our exploration of the Cotswolds before returning to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: Free time.

Day 7: Transfer to Deganwy: Chester & Its Grand Cathedral, Deganwy, Conwy

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Quay Hotel and Spa

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We transfer by motor coach to our next base, Deganwy. Perched at the mouth of the River Conwy, it sits across the bay from Conwy itself - an historic walled market town on the north coast of Wales. On the way we will visit the ancient city of Chester, where we will meet a local expert to take a walk through 2,000 years of history. Originally a Roman fortress and settlement known as Deva Victrix, we’ll see how Chester has grown and evolved from these foundations into a fully walled city before finishing at the spectacular Chester Cathedral.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Our transfer to Conwy continues.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 8: Conwy Castle & Town: Deganwy, Conwy

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Quay Hotel and Spa

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning your Study Leader will give you a potted history of Wales, telling you everything you’ll need to know about this fascinating and ancient country. We will then board the motor coach to explore Conwy Castle – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the city walls. Conwy Castle sits above the town, and still dominates the skyline with its rugged stone and imposing fortifications. It was originally built by Edward I as part of his “iron ring” of castles in an attempt to contain the rebellious Welsh, and furthermore to provoke a humbling reaction – something it still manages to do to this day. We’ll follow this this with a walk of Conwy’s ancient circuit of walls, guarded by no fewer than 22 miles and stretching over three quarters of a mile in length.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Your Study Leader will lead you through some more highlights of this city and orientate you to its many and varied attractions, followed by free time.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Wales is famous for its mellifluous music, and this evening you will be able to experience this with a traditional Welsh musical performance.

Day 9: Snowdonia National Park: Deganwy, Conwy

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Quay Hotel and Spa

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We board the motor coach for a full day expert-led excursion into Snowdonia National Park. Spanning over 800 square miles, it was the first of three National Parks in Wales, officially inaugurated in 1951. Snowdonia boasts, amongst other things, the largest mountain in Wales, the largest natural lake in Wales and a wealth of charming villages. The area is rich in culture and history and more than half of its participants speak Welsh.

Lunch: Taken out in a village in the Snowdonia National Park.

Afternoon: The field trip continues through landscapes of stunning natural beauty.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: Free time.

Day 10: Transfer to The Lake District: The City of Liverpool, Keswick

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Skiddaw Hotel

Breakfast: Full Welsh and continental breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: This morning we transfer by motor coach to the Lake District, via the city of Liverpool. Home to the Beatles, the world famous Liverpool Football Club and the bustling Albert Docks, Liverpool was once one of the busiest port cities in the world. Known for its rich architectural heritage, it is home to many buildings regarded as amongst the greatest examples of their respective styles in the world and several areas of the city centre were granted World Heritage Status in 2004. We will stop at Albert Dock, constructed in 1846 and today comprising the single largest collection of Grade I listed building anywhere in Britain. The dock houses restaurants, bars and shops as well as the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum and a museum dedicated to The Beatles. Art lovers may wish to visit Tate Liverpool, which houses a large collection of modern and contemporary greats.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: The transfer to the Lake District continues, followed by an illustrated talk and Q&A session with your Study Leader for this section of the programme.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time, or join your Study Leader for an optional walk of the local area.

Day 11: Castle Cottage & Beatrix Potter’s Lake District, Keswick

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Skiddaw Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: A unique opportunity to hear and learn about the real Beatrix Potter as we board the motor coach and travel to the village of Sawrey. Here the new tenant of Castle Cottage, Beatrix Potter’s former home and now a National Trust property, will show us around the cottage, the garden and the historic barns before treating us to tea and coffee, served with traditional Lake District treats. Following this we will take a gentle walk through Sawrey and on to Hill Top Garden, a beguiling space full of flowers, fruits and vegetables before exploring the village of Hawkshead – home to a young William Wordsworth during his schooldays.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Enjoy a different perspective on the Lakes as you take a steamer ride from Lakeside to Ambleside, with an opportunity to visit ancient Castle Rigg stone circle along the way.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: Free time.

Day 12: Bowness-on-Windermere, Coniston & Brantwood, Keswick

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Skiddaw Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Once aboard the motor coach, we’ll take a scenic lakeside drive to Bowness-on-Windermere and the Arts & Crafts style Blackwell House. Here we will receive an introductory talk from a local docent before exploring the many fine pieces on display.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: This afternoon we travel by launch across the picturesque and serene Coniston Water, to pay a visit to Brantwood House & Gardens. Home to the great Victorian and man of letters John Ruskin, it is one of the most beautifully situated houses in the Lake District. The house itself is both a treasure trove of historical importance and a lively centre of contemporary arts and the environment. Displays and activities in the house, gardens and estate reflect the wealth of cultural associations with Ruskin’s legacy – from the Pre-Raphaelites and Arts & Crafts movement to the founding of the National Trust and the Welfare State. We’ll return to the hotel via the Langdales, a pair of valleys dramatically cut through the very heart of the Lake District.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 13: Transfer to Manchester: Kirkstone Pass & Holker Hall, Manchester

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today we transfer by motor coach to our final destination, Manchester, via the dramatic Kirkstone Pass – the highest pass open to motor traffic in the Lake Distrct home to some truly spectacular views. As we travel onwards we’ll stop at 16th Century Holker Hall and Gardens, contemporaneously described as “the grandest building of its date in Lancashire, by the best architects living in the country”. We’ll have time to explore the house, as well as the gardens which seem to merge into the very hills themselves.

Lunch: Taken at Holker Hall.

Afternoon: The transfer to Manchester continues.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time to pack and say farewell to your new found friends.

Day 14: Program Concludes, Manchester

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: In the hotel. Some participants may depart prior to breakfast.

Morning: Transfer by Shuttle Bus to Manchester Airport (MAN) for onward flights. Your Group Leader will assist you in making arrangements. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 3,999

Price Per Day:

$ 286 per person
 
  • Select Custom Arrangements to get to and from Road Scholar-provided airfare for your program
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • 12 nights of accommodations
  • 5 expert-led lectures
  • 18 expert-led field trips
  • 2 performances
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes
Meals Included:

12 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches and 8 Dinners

Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group
Accomodations

Ye Harte & Garter Hotel: 2 nights  Berks

Two minutes from Windsor Castle in a striking contemporary townhouse with spectacular views of the Changing of the Guard.

 

Alveston Manor: 3 nights  Warks

Situated in the heart of Shakespere country, the historic Alveston Manor Hotel is set in its own grounds just 5 minutes walk from all the cultural attractions of Stratford-upon-Avon and retains some 16th century original features. Most bedrooms are in the modern wing.

 

Quay Hotel and Spa: 3 nights  Conwy

Set on the idyllic Conwy Estuary, the Quay Hotel commands awe-inspiring views of the most magical scenery in North Wales and is located within easy reach of Snowdonia National Park, the neighbouring medieval town of Conwy and Victorian Llandudno.

 

Skiddaw Hotel: 3 nights  Cumbria

The three-star Skiddaw Hotel is set in the picturesque market town of Keswick, this Keswick hotel is the ideal base to enjoy the area and all it has to offer with stunning lakes and fells on the doorstep.


Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport: 1 night  Manchester

The Crowne Plaza Manchester hotel boasts a gym, stylish restaurant, high speed WiFi and new meeting rooms. The hotel also has airport parking with a free shuttle bus to Manchester airport and the airport train station. Superbly located on the Manchester Airport complex, the four-star Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport Hotel offers you fantastic accommodation with easy access to the M56, M60 and M62, as well as Manchester City Centre.

Start City
Windsor
End City
Manchester
Guides

Conway Davies

Conway Davies earned a degree in history at Bangor University, a master's from Cardiff University, and is completing his Ph.D. at Swansea University. Conway has extensive knowledge of the Welsh language and the history and culture of both North and South Wales. He is the author of two books, "The History of Poor Law Provision in South Wales" and "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: the History of Mental Health provision in South Wales."

Trip ID#: BesEngRoa

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