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Shakespearean Stratford, Bletchley Park and the Charming Cotswolds

Come with us as we journey from Tudor times to World War Two on this unique tour. We will take you to Stratford-upon-Avon, where you will learn about Shakespeare’s past and legacy. We then travel to Britain’s one-time secret, Bletchley Park, where men and women made an important contribution to shortening the war by decrypting German codes. You’ll also visit splendid Sudeley Castle, burial place of Queen Katherine Parr and now home to Lady Ashcombe and the Dent-Brocklehurst family and take a trip on the charming Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway. With so much to explore each day, you’ll be ready to relax each evening as we dine together in the Charlecote Pheasant Hotel, a former farmhouse that is full of character.

Your Tour Includes

  • 4 nights’ half board accommodation at the 3-star Charlecote Pheasant Hotel
  • Coach transfers for our excursions
  • Sight-seeing tour of Stratford with a local Blue Badge Guide
  • Services of our experienced Tour Manager
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Itinerary

Overview

Make your own way to our hotel where you will meet our Tour Manager. Enjoy a relaxing evening with dinner served in the hotel’s restaurant.

Includes Dinner

Overview

Today we are joined by a local Blue Badge Guide as we head to Stratford-upon-Avon. Steeped in culture and over 800 years of history and set on the banks of the River Avon, this medieval market town is the famous birthplace of William Shakespeare, born here in 1564 in a half-timbered house on Henley Street. Our first stop of the day is Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the home of Shakespeare’s wife-to-be. Next, we explore Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall, where you can participate in a Tudor lesson, write with quills, and hear about the medieval paintings, priests’ chapel, and the court of record. We now enjoy some free time, during which you may want to visit one of the many eateries in the town before an included visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore at leisure before the coach returns us to the hotel. Dinner in the hotel this evening.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

The Guildhall in Stratford upon Avon

Overview

Today we enjoy a fascinating day out as we head to Bletchley Park. Once Britain’s best kept secret, it was the home of the World War Two codebreakers and is now a heritage attraction. Breaking codes was a vital part of the war effort: it was the job of people like Alan Turing to decrypt the coded messages generated by Enigma, the German’s cipher machine. Bletchley Park tells the story of how codes were broken. The workforce here increased during the second half of World War Two to around 9,000 and approximately 75% were women. On arrival, you are free to explore at your own pace. With so much to see and do, make sure not to miss the exhibitions, the newest one being ‘The Intelligence Factory’. Later this afternoon we return by coach to our hotel for dinner together.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Bletchley Park

Overview

Today our first stop is Bourton-on-the-Water, a pretty Cotswold village known for its traditional stone houses and low bridges that straddle the River Windrush in the centre of the village. Full of charm with independent shops and cafés, enjoy a meander through the village before we head to Sudeley Castle. Sudeley Castle remains the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds - Queen Katherine Parr, the last and surviving wife of King Henry VIII, who lived and died in the castle. Henry himself, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth I and Richard III have all played a part in Sudeley’s story. King Charles I found refuge here during the Civil War, when his nephew Prince Rupert established headquarters at the Castle. Following its ‘slighting’ on Cromwell’s orders at the end of the Civil War, Sudeley lay neglected and derelict for nearly 200 years. In 1837, Sudeley was rescued by the wealthy Worcester glove-makers, brothers John and William Dent, who began an ambitious restoration programme, which was continued by their nephew, John Coucher Dent, when he inherited the castle in 1855. His wife, Emma Brocklehurst, threw herself enthusiastically into Sudeley’s restoration, at the same time forging strong links with the nearby town of Winchcombe. It is the results of Emma’s dedication that are so evident in the gardens and exhibitions at Sudeley today. Sudeley Castle and Gardens is now the home of Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, and her son, daughter, and their families. The family is committed to the continued preservation of the castle, its treasures and the ongoing restoration and regeneration of the gardens. On arrival there is plenty of time to explore the castle and gardens; we also include a light lunch at the Terrace Café during our visit. Later this afternoon we join the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway for a relaxing journey from Cheltenham to Broadway, where we continue by coach back to the hotel for dinner this evening.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Sudeley Castle & Gardens

Overview

After breakfast, you are free to check out of our hotel and make your own way home.

Includes Breakfast

Accommodation

You will stay for four nights at the 3-star Charlecote Pheasant Hotel.