Day 1 DEPART USA.
You board your overseas flight. DESTINATION: LONDON. Dinner and breakfast served aloft.
Day 2 ARRIVE LONDON GATWICK/PORTSMOUTH
Arrive by 10AM for a transfer. The Regency world of Jane Austen's novels and later life reflects a tension between the ideals of the enlightenment and the newly emerging romanticism and dramatic challenges to social mores. Visit Jane's important biographical sites. Today see Chawton. At Chawton, she was at her most prolific, producing and publishing four novels, Pride & Prejudice (revised), Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion, the unfinished Sanditon and revising Northanger Abbey. The pretty 17th century building is now a museum for items connected with the author and her family. There are some very personal possessions on show, including jewelry, letters and her will. Continue to Portsmouth (which is connected with her sailor-brothers and the novel Persuasion and Mansfield Park). Dinner this evening to get acquainted with your fellow travelers. (D)
Day 3 - WINCHESTER/BATH
See Steventon Church. The 12th century Steventon Church where Jane worshipped, stands almost unchanged from those days. Here there are memorial tablets to James Austen, Jane's eldest brother, who took over the parish from her father, his two wives and some of his relations. Their graves are in the churchyard. Visit Winchester, Jane Austen's final resting place, and travel to Bath. Discover the architectural marvels of the spa city of Bath. (B)
Day 4 BATH
Spend a day in Bath with a guided walk. Take tea on the second floor of the lovely Georgian townhouse, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of Bath's busy streets. Choice of 15 varieties of loose leaf tea, Belgian hot chocolate and fresh coffee as well as a selection of luscious cakes, sandwiches, toasties, soup and rolls.When you join our September departure during the Jane Austen Festival, you'll see more people dressing in Regency costume celebrating the life and works of Jane Austen. The most spectacular day each year is the first Saturday, when the festival officially ‘opens’ with the Regency Costumed Promenade through the streets of Bath. Promenaders from all over the world dress in 18th Century attire led by our Town Crier and accompanied by soldiers and sailors adding extra color to the proceedings. (B,T)
Day 5 LAKE DISTRICT BEATRIX POTTER
Today is a travel day. Magnificent lakes, fells and mountains border the winding roads in this area loved by poets, writers and painters, including Beatrix Potter. Some of the most dramatic scenery in England is here. Perfectly kept cottages trimmed with fuschia hedges, black and white cows and bulls, and butter-golden gorse dot the hillsides. As you make your way through the delightful villages, you will discover the shops are filled with collectibles and gifts in the distinctive style of the characters made famous by Beatrix Potter. Visit the home of Beatrix Potter, author of many children's books, including Peter Rabbit. Her charming cottage and home are located at Hill Top, this little 17th century stone house, near the village of Sawrey at the North end of Lake Windermere. Beatrix Potter purchased this little farm with the earnings from her first book "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", and as one overlooks the garden adjacent to the cottage, you almost anticipate Peter Rabbit popping up from behind a shrub! There is a good example of traditional cottage garden, containing mainly old-fashioned flowers such as honeysuckle, foxgloves, sweet cicely, lupins, peonies, lavender and philadelphus. Roses grow ground the front door. Fruit still plays an important role in the garden - strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and rhubarb. Beatrix Potter furnished Hill Top with her favorite things. The illustrations she painted from the classic tales all contain views of Hill Top and scenes from Sawrey and the immediate area. On her marriage in 1913, Beatrix Potter moved to a nearby home and kept her beloved Hill Top as a studio. She was famed as a childrens' author, but recognized locally as a sheep farmer and devoted much of her time to that occupation. Because of her foresight in preserving this cottage and its contents, it enables visitors to almost literally step back in time and and experience the warmth and charm present in every room. (B)
Day 6 YORKSHIRE
The Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead is one of the National Trust's more unusual properties in that it has an interesting link with Beatrix Potter herself. The 17th Century building, which was once the office of her husband, local solicitor William Heelis, has remained largely unaltered since his day. The Gallery houses an annually changing exhibition of a selection of Beatrix Potter's original drawings and illustrations. Beatrix Potter was however much more than a gifted artist and author. She was, without question, a determined preserver of her beloved Lake District and a great believer in the aims of the fledgling National Trust, bequeathing her numerous farms and land to the Trust in 1943. The Gallery also contains a display covering the story of her life through its various stages, which offers an unique insight into her life and times. There is a reconstruction of part of William Heelis' office. The dramatic moorland inspired the Bronte Sisters to pen novels which are classics of English literature. (B)
Day 7 THE BRONTES
We offer an introduction to the family through visits to sites connected with them including Thornton, the Parsonage and Brontë Museum at Haworth, the Red House used as a model in Shirley, Wycoller, Norton Conyers Hall, Cowan Bridge School and Tunstall Church. Haworth Parsonage was once the home of the Brontë family and is where Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë wrote the books which have made them world famous, including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The Parsonage Museum now provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the three sisters and of Victorian Haworth. Imagine the everyday lives of the Bronte Sisters as you walk round Haworth Church The cobbled Main Street in Haworth has a host of specialist shops. Discover antique books, paintings & tearooms, hotels (including the "Black Bull" - where Branwell Bronte's demise into alcoholism and opium addiction allegedly began). Many public footpaths lead out of the village, and there is much scope for rambling, though perhaps the most famous walk leads past Lower Laithe Reservoir to the picturesque (but unspectacular) Bronte Falls, the Bronte Bridge, and the Bronte Stone Chair in which (it is said) the sisters took turns to sit and write their first stories. Farewell dinner. (B,D)
(Note: I recently traveled to Haworth. We traveled through the bleak landscape of the Moors to Haworth. We enjoyed a walking tour of the village - The world of Wuthering Heights is brought to life in the famous village of Haworth, including a visit to Brontë Parsonage Museum which was once home to the literary great the Brontës. The town, too, seems known for its large sized cats, which appear in backyards, streets, and even the Apothecary Shop. The town would be charming, even without the Bronte Association. We had lunch at the Weavers, a pub, decorated with old spindles from long ago. The food was just fabulous, including sticky toffee pudding.
Day 8 HOMEWARD FROM MANCHESTER
Travel 1 1/2 hours to Manchester where you depart for home, with memories of many new-found friends. Please book a return flight no earlier than 10AM.(B)
YOUR COACH TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
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Plan to leave the US one day before the tour begins in Gatwick.
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