Road Scholar : Home
London's Cultural Heritage

Program Number: 19320RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/27/2015 - 8/5/2015; 5/2/2016 - 5/11/2016; 6/20/2016 - 6/29/2016; 7/18/2016 - 7/27/2016; 8/8/2016 - 8/17/2016; 8/22/2016 - 8/31/2016; 10/3/2016 - 10/12/2016;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: England, UK:England
Price starting at: $2,882.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 17; 8 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Journey through the ages from medieval to modern on the streets of London, tracing the lives of great figures from London's history in the famous buildings they've inhabited. Talk of Henry VIII at his sumptuous Hampton Court Palace, discuss Queen Victoria's Royal Albert Hall and Victoria and Albert Museum, study the architecture of Sir Christopher Wren at his churches that dot the city and relive Churchill's "finest hour" at the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum.


• Expertly led scholarly field trips to the sites of London's major historical events and eras, from the medieval city to the Victorian "Albertopolis" to Princess Diana's Kensington Palace.
• Delve into the history of legal London at Lincoln's Inn Fields and survey some of England's greatest treasures at the British Museum.
• Take an evening tour of Sherlock Holmes' London including a visit to a local pub.

Activity Particulars

Varies by date. May 2, 2016 / Oct. 3, 2017: Easy: Walking distance subject to ability but slower paced; stairs. Extensive use of coach. All other dates Active: Walking up to one mile over varied terrain; stairs.

Date Specific Information

7-27-2015, 5-2-2016, 6-20-2016, 7-18-2016, 8-8-2016, 8-22-2016, 10-3-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival London, 8 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival London
8 nights

Learn about London and the people who live there before surveying the nation's treasures in the British Museum. Take an expert-led walk through the City of London beginning at the Guildhall, in whose Great Hall royalty and state visitors have been entertained since 1411, before paying a visit to Wren's masterpiece in the City, St. Paul's Cathedral and learning about the legacy of Shakespeare at The Globe. Take dinner at a London restaurant before enjoying an evening theatre performance in the West End. See the Crown Jewels in the 900-year-old Tower of London and learn about medieval architecture amid monuments and tombs at the stunning Westminster Abbey. Explore Hampton Court Palace from its Tudor turrets to the classical State Apartments added by Sir Christopher Wren and its 60 acres of beautiful gardens. Visit Queen Victoria's bedroom, George I's staircase and the spectacular King's gallery in Kensington Palace, former home to Princess Diana. From there step back into the Victorian Age in Albertopolis, including the extensive Victoria & Albert Museum. Discover Dickens' London with your Course Director before visiting the British Library, home to many priceless artifacts. Explore legal London at Temple Church and study World War II at the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum.


It was the seat of an empire on which the sun never set. It has been Merry, Dickensian and Victorian. It has given us common law, Shakespeare, tennis, the Rolls-Royce and the Beatles. England and its people have played an outsize role in shaping world history. It is a country whose past, politics, culture and characters never cease to captivate.

Four-star hotel that was once the London residence of the Vanderbilt family, restored to its former glory.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Kevin Flude

Kevin Flude lectures on the archaeology, history and museums at Central St Martins College (University of the Arts, London) the University of Westminster and is an Honorary Lecturer at University College London. He is also the Director of the Old Operating Theatre Museum, a fascinating Museum in Central London. Kevin serves as a study leader for Road Scholar programs, putting to use his deep and broad experience in the museum world gained during his time at the Museum of London, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Oxford’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art
Meals and Lodgings
   Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
  London, England, UK:England 8 nights
 Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located close to West End. Was formerly Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel. Name change.
  Contact info: 130 Tottenham Court Road
London.,  W1T 5AY UK:England
phone: +44 20 7388 4131
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning. Direct dial telephone with personal phone numbers. Satellite TV, hairdryer, mini bar, in room safe, iron and trouser press, and tea and coffee making facilities. Complimentary wireless Internet access. US 110v sockets.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business centre, fitness room and complimentary wireless Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBC. For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: TBC. For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
A light lunch will be provided on arrival day in the hotel. A welcome meeting at 5:00pm will precede dinner. You will be staying at Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel. that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast in the hotel unless flight departures are earlier. You will be staying at Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel. the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Underground and buses available. See above.
To Start of Program
  Location:  London, England
  Nearest city or town:  London.
  Nearest airport:  London Heathrow and Gatwick.
  Transportation to site: Heathrow Express takes 15 minutes to Paddington Station. Gatwick Express takes 30 minutes to Victoria Station. From there take a taxi to the hotel. The nearest underground station is Gloucester Road on the District and Circle and Piccadilly lines.
  From End of Program
  Location: London, England
  Transportation from site: Reverse directions from arrival.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Monday, July 27)
 In Transit: Overnight flight from North America.

Day 2: Arrival in London
(Tuesday, July 28)
 Arrive To: London. Transfers to the hotel. Programme Only Participants may take part in transfers by completing the Participant Information Form online or within the preparatory materials.
 Lunch: A light lunch is served in the hotel for those arriving in time.
 Afternoon: At leisure. A welcome meeting at 5:00pm with your Course Director Kevin Flude and your Group Leader precedes dinner.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: The British Museum
(Wednesday, July 29)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Lectures: “Introducing London” and “London & Royalty”.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Field trip to view the nation's treasures in the British Museum, home to artefacts from around the world and the oldest museum in the world. Your Course Director will guide you through the museum as well as giving you plenty of time to explore the exhibits at your own pace. You will see examples from Prehistory, Roman and Medieval Britain and the Classical World.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: The City of London and The Globe Theatre
(Thursday, July 30)
 Breakfast: Full and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Join your Course Director in the City of London, beginning at The Globe. Originally associated with William Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the rebuilt Globe Theatre is an international resource dedicated to Shakespeare’s work and the playhouse in which it was performed, through the connected means of education and performance. Here you will have a guided tour and be able to view The Globe exhibition, exploring the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived and the theatre for which he wrote. Find out about the extravagant Elizabethan costumes, Renaissance instruments and how they were used and the dramatic stories behind the first Globe crossing the Thames and the new Globe being reconstructed on Bankside. You will also be able to use some free time to explore London’s vibrant Bankside, or perhaps visit the Tate Modern – the gallery of international modern art displaying modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the modern day. Inside you will find the amazing space of the Turbine Hall, which has housed a succession of installations that frequently capture the imagination of the public.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Just over the river from the Globe lies St. Paul’s Cathedral, often considered to be Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. The post-fire rebuilding of the Cathedral was officially completed on Christmas Day 1711 at a cost of £1m. The tranquil interior is majestic in its Baroque splendour. From here we will walk to Guildhall. The Guildhall has been the City’s powerhouse since the 12th century and remains the heart of the world’s leading financial centre. Built to reflect the wealth of the rulers, the Guildhall remains a spectacular site. The imposing Great Hall is where royalty and state visitors have been entertained since it was originally built in 1411. It is also home to the colossal figures of the legendary giants Gog and Magog, associated with the foundation of London. Please note that the Guildhall is often closed for special events and council meetings, so we cannot always go inside. However, we will also visit the Guildhall Art Gallery to see the archaeological remains of the Roman Amphitheatre, and see the Lord Mayor’s Church – St. Lawrence Jewry.
 Dinner: Pre-theatre dinner at the opulent Criterion Restaurant, established 1874. Enjoy the neo-Byzantine architecture, with its gold and marble shimmering alongside the mosaics, mirrors and plaques this restaurant has an almost celestial air – if the walls could talk, they would surely whisper to you their secrets. They could tell tales of when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first imagined the friendship between Dr Watson and the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes, or of the gatherings of proud suffragettes and how their resolute discussions changed the face of democracy. They may elaborate on the charged negotiations between Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George as the two political titans thrashed out their views, or they may even talk of the enchanting times when Edgar Wallace, Sir Hugh Walpole, GK Chesterton and Bertrand Russell regaled the members with enthralling anecdotes. The restaurant has also been used for filming scenes in Downtown Abbey.
 Evening: Performance – The 39 Steps: Experience 100 minutes of ingenious fun and thrilling action as 4 actors play 139 roles in the gripping whodunit. Memorably filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935, The 39 Steps has been brilliantly and hilariously recreated for the stage. Winner of the Laurence Olivier award for Best Comedy in 2007, The 39 Steps is now a global hit. This blissfully funny show follows the incredible adventures of our handsome hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women. “Uproariously jolly and splendidly inventive.” The Guardian. “Dizzyingly entertaining… highly recommended.” Daily Telegraph. Performance finishes: 10:10pm.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: The Tower of London and Westminster Abbey
(Friday, July 31)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the 900 year old Tower of London where you can see the Crown Jewels, the White Tower, the Bloody Tower and the Medieval Palace.
 Lunch: At the Royal Armouries cafe, Tower of London.
 Afternoon: The day continues with a scenic boat trip along the Thames from the Tower to Westminster, and on to Westminster Abbey, resting place of Britain's monarchs. The Abbey is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in London and houses a world famous collection of monuments and tombs. Styles range from the French Gothic nave to Henry VII's Tudor chapel and 18th century monuments.
 Dinner: Excluded so that you can sample London's array of fine restaurants, cafes and pubs or take in a theatre performance.
 Evening: At leisure. Perhaps visit the late night opening at The National Gallery, or take a short walk from the hotel to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Hampton Court Palace
(Saturday, August 1)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Take a field trip to Hampton Court. Hampton Court Palace was originally built for Cardinal Wolsey, but was handed over to Henry VIII in 1528 as Wolsey fell from favour. Henry began rebuilding and expansion work upon taking up residence and, the following century, major works were carried out by King William III and Mary of Orange – a project intended to rival the Palace of Versailles and calling on the skills of Sir Christopher Wren. Tudor turrets and the Great Hall sit alongside Wren’s Classical State Apartments, surrounded by Wren’s formal baroque landscape.
 Lunch: In Hampton Court’s Tiltyard Café.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the 60 acres of Hampton Court’s famous gardens, including The Privy Garden – a recreation of William of Orange’s Privy Garden, based on a design of 1702. Or perhaps the 20th century garden – contemporary style plantings with trees and shrubs in an informal setting that creates a place of peace and tranquillity away from the busier areas of the gardens. You can also see the Tiltyard Walls, the Deer Park, the Maze and “Capability” Brown’s Great Vine.
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Kensington Palace and the Victoria & Albert Museum
(Sunday, August 2)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Visit Kensington Palace, the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall as well as Prince Harry. Explore Queen Victoria’s bedroom, George I’s staircase and the spectacular King’s Gallery. Diana, the Princess of Wales, lived at Apartment 8 Kensington Palace from the time of her wedding on 29 July 1981 until her death on 31 August 1997. Although her private apartments are not open to the public, the palace displays a selection of her dresses in the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Travel to the V&A through Albertopolis – so named for its large number of cultural and educational sites spearheaded by and named after Prince Albert, spouse of Queen Victoria. You will be able to view the Albert Memorial and the Royal Albert Hall. You will then visit the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects from all over the world.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Dickens’ London, The British Library and The Museum of London
(Monday, August 3)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Explore the fascinating streets of Dickens’ London and visit Dickens House Museum, holder of the world’s most important collection of material relating to the great novelist and social campaigner. From here travel to the British Library, the national library of Britain, holding over 170 million items from many countries, in many languages. Explore the exhibitions and learn of the priceless artefacts held within the library itself.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Travel to the Museum of London, where you can discover the history of this magnificent city from prehistoric to modern times.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Join your Course Director for a pub tour of Sherlock Holmes’ London – enjoying a drink or two along the way!
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Legal London and The Cabinet War Rooms
(Tuesday, August 4)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Explore the legal side of London. Travel to Lincolns Inn Fields, taking in the Old Bailey along the way before your Course Director introduces you to Temple Church. Originally built for the Knight’s Templar as their English Headquarters, the church has since been used as a home for two Inns of the Court. Eagle eyed participants may recognise it from its appearance in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: See 20th century London at the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum. The underground warren of rooms served as Churchill's war rooms during the Second World War. See Churchill's desk and bed, strategy maps and old communications equipment. The Churchill Museum uses cutting-edge technology and multimedia displays to bring the exciting story of Winston Churchill to life. From Churchill’s childhood to his ‘finest hour’ and later years, learn more about his political exploits and also his private life, successes and failures.
 Dinner: Farewell meeting and dinner.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10:
(Wednesday, August 5)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer departures for airports (Program Only Participants may take part in transfers by completing the Participant Information Form online or within the preparatory materials).
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Author: Peter Ackroyd

Divorced, Beheaded, Died...: The History of Britain's Kings and Queens in Bite-Sized Chunks

Author: Kevin Flude

Description: Written by the course director Kevin Flude. The tales of the various monarchs of Britain are some of the most interesting in our history. From Henry VIII and his six wives and Edward VIII's abdication to some of our lesser known and mythical monarchs such as King Arthur, "Divorced, Beheaded, Died..." takes you on a gallop through the history of Britain's monarchs from the legendary King Brutus, through the houses of Tudor and Stuart, and up to the Windsors, including the major monarchs of Scotland and Wales. Discover the sticky end that befell Edward II, the story of the teenage queen of England who reigned for less than a fortnight, and find out whether Macbeth really was a king of Scotland. Presented in an accessible, chronological format, "Divorced, Beheaded, Died..." will fill all those gaps in your history knowledge, together with some fascinating and amusing facts that are guaranteed to entertain any history enthusiast.


Author: Edward Rutherfurd

Description: Available in audio-cassette form: ISBN 0679443819 - fiction but gives a real feel for the period. London has perhaps the most remarkable history of any city in the world. Now, its story has a unique voice. In this epic novel, Edward Rutherfurd takes the reader on a magnificent journey across sixteen centuries from the days of the Romans to the Victorian engineers of Tower Bridge and the era of Dockland development today. Through the lives and adventures of his colourful cast of characters, he brings all the richness of London's past unforgettably to life.

London - The Biography

Author: Peter Ackroyd

Description: Probably there is no one better placed than Ackroyd--the author of mammoth lives of Dickens and Blake, and novels such as Hawksmoor and Dan Leno and the Lime House Golem which set singular characters against the backdrop of a city constantly shifting in time--to write such a rich, sinewy account of "Infinite London". Ackroyd's London is no mere chronology. Its chapters take on such varied themes as drinking, sex, childhood, poverty, crime and punishment, sewage, food, pestilence and fire, immigration, maps, theatre and war. We learn that gin was "the demon of London for half a century", and that "it has been estimated that in the 1740s and 1750s there were 17,000 'gin-houses'." Fleet Street was an area known for its "violent delights" where "a 14-year-old boy, only 18 inches high, was to be seen in 1702 at a grocer's shop called the Eagle and Child by Shoe Lane." By the mid 19th century "London had become known as the greatest city on earth." By 1939 "one in five of the British population had become a Londoner."

London A Social History

Author: Roy Porter

Description: 'Roy Porter, a historian of formidable range, turns to urban history in this marvellously lucid, informative and passionate book... Porter's facts are always at the service of the narrative, which has a finely maintained momentum, balancing statistics with the words of historians, diarists and novelists, poets and churchmen: Pepys, Boswell, Fielding, Walpole, Blake, Mayhew, Wells, Woolf, Spark, ... a timely and brilliant book.' CLAIRE TOMALIN, EVENING STANDARD 'A vivid celebration of the city, but also an elegy for its decline, bubbling with statistics and anecdote, from Boadicea to Betjeman.' RICHARD HOLMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR

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