Berlin - Germany’s capital old and new

Prices from £2,295


1 Dec 2020 - 6 Dec 2020
Duration: 5 nights
Ref: 20BERL
With: Thomas Abbott


Prices from £2,295
Single Supplement: £295
Deposit: £200

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Berlin is forever evolving, a city full of excitement. Germany’s capital is in a constant state of flux, always becoming something without having ever achieved a state of simply being. Since the fall of the Wall in 1989, major town planning efforts have seen the rise of a metropolis that has succeeded in connecting a complex history with the twenty-first century: recent projects such as the Government Precinct along the Spree River or the Jewish Museum go hand in hand with monuments to Prussian glory. It is the Hohenzollern dynasty that has made Berlin a city of cultural diversity in the first place. Since the laying of the foundation stone of the Stadtschloss, the now re-emerging indisputable centre of town, Berlin has been the permanent residence of the Electors and Margraves of Brandenburg-Prussia. Charlottenburg Palace or the Brandenburg Gate and, of course, Frederick the Great’s parks and palaces of Potsdam all bear testimony to the royal aspirations of the Hohenzollern. This new status sparked grand building schemes along Berlin’s representative boulevard Unter den Linden as well as ambitious artistic projects and acquisitiveness. Here we find the roots of Berlin’s world-class collections of arts and antiquities now on show in the city’s unparalleled ensemble of museums.


“Basel is a city for art lovers, being rich in both culture and design. Nowhere else seamlessly blends history and tradition with the cutting-edge quite like this magnetic city.”

Tom Abbott is an independent art and architectural historian. He graduated in Psychology and Art History at Carleton College, Minnesota, and studied at the Louvre School of Art History in Paris. He is a specialist in architectural history from the Baroque to the 20th. In 1987 he moved to Berlin leading tours mainly in Germany, specialising in the German capital.


Morning flight from London Heathrow to Berlin. Introductory coach tour of the city centre to finish at Charlottenburg for a tour of the handsome Baroque palace and its collections.


Potsdam was the summer residence of the Prussian Royal Family. Here they created a park and garden empire which in terms of size and beauty is unequalled. Explore baroque Potsdam with a visit to Sanssouci, from the Schloss to the gardens. After lunch in the Dutch Quarter of Potsdam visit Cecilienhof, venue of the Potsdam Conference of 1945, before returning to Berlin by coach in the late afternoon.


Morning walk along Unter den Linden, Berlin's landmark nineteenth-century promenade, enhanced by Prussia's leading neoclassical architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel. On Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site of five outstanding museums, explore just two today: the Egyptian collections in the Neues Museum star the Bust of Nefertiti, while the Pergamon Museum will await us with the stunning Babylonian Ishtar Gate, covered with shiny glazed bricks and the Greco-Roman market gate of Miletus.


Morning coach excursion to explore evidence of Cold War Berlin from remains of Die Mauer to Checkpoint Charlie, finishing at Potsdamer Platz. In the superb Staatliche Gemäldegalerie, we will have two sessions, one covering Northern Renaissance painting, above all the outstanding collection of portraits by Dürer, Cranach and Holbein, as well as another session to cover highlights of the Italian masterpieces. There will be some free time for you to explore the other cultural institutions in this arts complex independently.


Today we return to Museum Island. Start in the Bode Museum, rising from the water like the prow of a ship, to study fabulous works of sculpture from Donatello to Riemenschneider. From there walk the short distance to the Alte Nationalgalerie, an exquisite neoclassical temple, with its stunning collection of Caspar David Friedrich's haunting Romantic landscapes. This afternoon we visit the Humboldt Forum, a new arts space dedicated to non-European art due to open in 2020.


A morning dedicated to modern architecture. Practically every contemporary architect of repute has contributed to Berlin's dynamic cityscape. Explore 'neighbourhoods' of new architecture, examining individual buildings to measure the city designers’ success in creating a cohesive and intelligible urban form. Visit the area of the Brandenburg Gate continue to the Holocaust Memorial and Michael Wilford's British Embassy. After lunch in the Reichstag, we transfer by coach to the airport for our return flight to London.


Specific fitness requirements for this Study Tour:

Please note that this tour involves a fair amount of walking across uneven ground. You must be fit and surefooted to make the most of this tour. If you would like to find out more about the physical ‘difficulty level’ of the tour, please ring or email us.


Twin/double share: £2295 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £295
'No flights' price: £2095
Deposit: £200


  • Return flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Berlin
  • Private coach transfers and excursions
  • Five nights’ bed and breakfast in the 4* Westin Grand, Berlin
  • Two dinners and one lunch
  • Guided visits to all sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the Lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes & gratuities for coach drivers & waiters

The Westin Grand Berlin

The four star Westin Grand Berlin is located on the historic Friedrichstrasse, in the Mitte district, close to the Unter den Linden. This large hotel has a grand entrance with sweeping staircase, garden, terrace and a spa with indoor pool. As well as a restaurant and bar, there is an open-plan atrium lounge. Rooms feature tea and coffee making facilities, safe, bathrobe, slippers, TV, iron, hairdryer, minibar, air-conditioning and Wi-Fi.