Trip Type : Small Group Tour
The Best of the Bard: The World and Words of Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon and London tour

The Best of the Bard: The World and Words of Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon and London

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
90%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
10 days
From: $ 3,599 $ 360 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Join acclaimed Road Scholar theater expert Giles Ramsay and guest speakers on a complete immersion into the life and works of William Shakespeare.
  • Enjoy a private reception at Shakespeare’s birthplace — a shrine to millions — and get a tantalizing glimpse into his world and take dinner in the RSC Rooftop Restaurant.
  • Enjoy three performances at the Royal Shakespeare Company and two at the Globe, an amazing reproduction of the original Elizabethan playhouse.

Short Description

In the canon of Western literature, there is but one artist who stands above all others: William Shakespeare. Led by acclaimed theater critic, director and instructor, Giles Ramsay, join other lovers of the Bard on an immersive look into Shakespeare’s life and works in Stratford-upon-Avon and London. Walk the streets of his birthplace, learn about life in Elizabethan England, become inspired by Shakespeare scholars, and of course — watch a selection of outstanding performances. This is a truly special opportunity to experience why Shakespeare still speaks to us generation after generation. As the Bard said, “O this learning, what a thing it is.”

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Stratford-upon-Avon
End City London
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Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner: Stratford-upon-Avon.

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Alveston Manor

Lunch: Take a light lunch in the hotel.

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 Giles Ramsay, the Study Leader 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. Note: Performances will be announced in the 2nd set of preparatory materials.

Dinner: Three course plated and served dinner in the hotel's Waterside Brasserie. Tea, coffee and water included. Other drinks may be purchased.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to relax in the comfort of the Club or Champagne Bar or the Lounge.

Day 3: Shakespeare's Family Homes, Performance: Stratford-upon-Avon.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Alveston Manor

Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel. Choose from a variety of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, baked beans, hash browns, cold cuts and cheeses, toast, jams, marmalade, yoghurts, fruit, juices, teas and coffees.

Morning: Your Shakespeare experience begins with Giles Ramsay's exploration of the Medieval Background to Shakespeare's Work and an introductory briefing on this evening's play.

Lunch: Excluded so that you can sample the many restaurants, tea rooms, cafes and pubs in the town.

Afternoon: Giles Ramsay takes you on a guided walk around central Statford-upon-Avon. Your group leader will give you the Shakespeare Five House Pass to Anne Hathaway's Cottage & Gardens, Hall's Croft, Mary Arden's Farm, New Place & Nash's House, Shakespeare's Birthplace and Shakespeare's Grave. Discover where the young William Shakespeare courted his future bride Anne Hathaway at her picturesque family home.

Dinner: A pre-theatre dinner will be taken in a local restaurant.

Evening: Enjoy a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Full details of all performances will be available in your second set of Preparatory Materials, approximately 6 weeks before the programme.

Day 4: Private Reception at Shakespeare's Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Alveston Manor

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Giles Ramsay gives an illustrated lecture on Shakespeare's verse and Shakespeare's world.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy the local fare of your chosing.

Afternoon: Free afternoon

Dinner: Food will be served at Shakespeare's Birthplace.

Evening: Enjoy a private reception with wine and canapes at, the very special, Shakespeare's Birthplace-where it all began. This is the house where William Shakespeare was born, grew up and played. He ate meals in the hall and he slept and dreamt in these rooms. Shakespeare also spent the first five years of married life in this house with his new wife, Anne Hathaway. For millions of Shakespeare enthusiasts worldwide, this house is a shrine. Here you will discover the world that shaped the man and find out what other famous writers thought when they visited here. Follow in the footsteps of not only Shakespeare, but other well-known visitors such as Charles Dickens, John Keats, Walter Scott and Thomas Hardy. Shakespeare's Birthplace is a fascinating house that offers a tantalising glimpse into Shakespeare's early world. Visit the Shakespeare's Treasures Exhibition, where a new display of items is curated every 6 months.

Day 5: Meet an RSC professional, RSC Rooftop Restaurant Dinner: Stratford-upon-Avon.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Alveston Manor

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Giles Ramsay in conversation with an actor or director from one of the plays you'll see.

Lunch: On your own, your group leader will offer suggestions.

Afternoon: On your own to explore Shakespeare's hometown.

Dinner: Taken in the Rooftop at the RSC. Enjoy the very best of British food in relaxed, contemporary and stylish surroundings with stunning panoramic views from the third floor of the Royal Shakespeare Company's theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon with a terrace looking out onto the River Avon and surrounding countryside.

Evening: Enjoy a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Day 6; Backstage at the RSC: London, England

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy an expert-led exploration of the Royal Shakespeare Company's theatre. Discover the public and private areas of the theatre, learn about the origins of the RSC and its theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon and explore a production in more depth to learn about the theatre making process. As the RSC is a busy producing theatre company not all spaces, including the auditoria, will be available as part of a tour. Access to these spaces is subject to availability around rehearsal and technical work.

Lunch: On your own, your group leader will offer suggestions.

Afternoon: The coach departs Stratford at 2:00pm for the transfer to London. Check-in at the London hotel and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Early dinner in the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy a Shakespearean performance at one of London's leading theatres.

Day 7: A Performance At The Globe: London, England

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street

Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Multi-media Lecture by Giles Ramsay "Shakespeare's Plays in Production from his Death to the Present Day".

Lunch: On your own to take advantage of London's diverse cuisine.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: Enjoy a performance at Shakespeare's famous Globe Theatre.

Day 8: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: London, England

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street

Activity note: The Shakespeare's Globe site includes an open air theatre, the Exhibition, and Swan at the Globe Bar and Brasserie. The entrance to the Exhibition is accessed via a ramp on Bankside. It is fully accessible with lifts leading to each section of the Exhibition and up to the Globe Theatre piazza level. There is no lift serving the tours of the theatre, so if stairs are a problem please let the admission desk know and we can adjust the tour to take in your needs.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Giles Ramsay lectures on A Tale of Two Genres: Revenge Tragedy and Masque.

Lunch: Excluded..

Afternoon: Take a field trip south of the River to Sam Wanamaker's Shakespeare's Globe and Exhibition. Shakespeare's Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work and the playhouse for which he wrote, through the connected means of performance and education. The Globe stands a few hundred yards from its original site where pioneer American actor Sam Wanamaker rebuilt the iconic building. Other than concessions to comply with modern day fire regulations such as additional exits, illuminated signage, fire retardant materials and some modern backstage machinery, the Globe is as accurate a reconstruction of the 1599 Globe as was possible with the available evidence. The reconstruction is as faithful to the original as modern scholarship and traditional craftsmanship can make it, but for the time being this Globe is – and is likely to remain – neither more nor less than the "best guess" at Shakespeare’s theatre. Based under the Globe Theatre, our engaging and informative Exhibition explores the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived, and the theatre for which he wrote. Imagine the Globe as it would have been: the centre of what was once London's most notorious entertainment district, surrounded by raucous taverns and bawdy-houses. Expert guides will take you on a fascinating tour of the iconic Globe Theatre, bringing the space to life with colourful stories of the 1599 Globe, of the reconstruction process in the 1990s, and of how the "Wooden O" works today as an imaginative and experimental theatrical space.

Dinner: Dinner is taken out in a traditional pub.

Evening: Enjoy a performance at Shakespeare's famous Globe Theatre.

Day 9: Meet a Leading Theatre Critic: London, England

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Free morning.

Lunch: A light lunch of soup and sandwiches in the hotel.

Afternoon: A leading London theatre critic considers current trends in Shakespearian productions. Farewell meeting before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 10: Program Concludes: London, England

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: In the hotel. Some transfers may depart before breakfast.

Morning: Transfers by private car to London Heathrow Airport terminals.

Availability

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Price From $ 3,599
Price Per Day: $ 360 per day
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Stride Featured in

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41 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

90%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 34
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.5

The Best of the Bard: The World and Words of Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon and London

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Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
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!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

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Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.

Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 24

Accomodations

Alveston Manor: 4 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.

Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street: 4 nights, London

Recently completely refurbished and upgraded. Located in Bloomsbury , close to the West End and the British Museum. Nearest underground Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern lines)

Guides

Giles Ramsay

Giles Ramsay is an independent theatre director and producer who specializes in creating new work with artists in developing countries. He is the Founding Director of the charity Developing Artists, a Fellow of St. Chad’s College, Durham University and Course Leader in Theatre at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He has devised and instructed on Road's Scholar programs since the early 1990's and has run theatre projects in countries ranging from Kosovo to Zimbabwe.

Trip ID#:

BesOftRoa

Meals Included:

8 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches and 6 Dinners

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