20128
England
English Literature on Location
Learn about England’s most renowned authors as you set out an expert-led exploration of the inns, pubs, monuments and natural splendors that inspired their greatest works.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20128RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
4,299
Flights start at
800
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14 days
13 nights
31 meals
12 B 8 L 11 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival Day
Bath.
L,D
The Bailbrook House Hotel

Lunch: In the hotel dining room for those arriving by lunchtime. A light lunch with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

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 a 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.

Dinner: A seated dinner will be taken in the hotel dining room with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Free time to unpack, relax and prepare for the program ahead.

DAY
3
Roman Baths & Afternoon Tea
Bath.
B,D
The Bailbrook House Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. A breakfast buffet with a range of hot and cold items, as well as coffee, tea, water and fruit juices.

Morning: We begin our educational adventure in the hotel with a pair of lectures from your Study Leader. Relax with a cup of tea and enjoy as we discuss “Literary Landscapes & Sense of Place” and “Jane Austen: Bath, Balls & Bonnets”.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: This afternoon we venture into Bath, crossing the iconic Pulteney Bridge – one of only four bridges in the world with shops fully lining both sides – before continuing on to the Roman Baths. The Baths, for which the city is named, are a magnificent temple and building complex, constructed around one of Britain’s only natural hot springs and still flow with hot water today. We’ll walk in the footsteps of the ancient Romans as we explore the facility, before calling into The Pump Room. For many years the Pump Room was regarded as the social heart of Bath, and we’ll be fortunate enough to experience a musical trio as we enjoy a thoroughly British afternoon tea.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions should you wish to further explore Bath.

DAY
4
Georgian & Jane Austen’s Bath
Bath.
B,L
The Bailbrook House Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning we’ll enjoy an expert led walk of Georgian and Jane Austen’s Bath. In the early 18th Century, Bath was seen as a premier destination for fashionable members of society to gather, take the waters and enjoy the city’s varied cultural offerings. Jane Austen was able to draw on her experiences of Bath at this time in her writings, and we’ll explore her time here at the Jane Austen Centre. We’ll continue on to explore The Royal Crescent, often described as one of the finest surviving examples of Georgian architecture in Europe. Commanding spectacular views down over the city, one of the houses has been lavishly and accurately restored to the style enjoyed by its former residents, who once included the Duke of York, and now serves as a museum. To finish off this morning we’ll visit the Assembly Rooms, the sumptuous meeting place of the gentry, and the Bath Fashion Museum where we’ll get an insight into popular styles of the time.

Lunch: Taken out at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time for you to pursue your own interests in this bustling spa town.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
5
Medieval Lacock and Lacock Abbey
Bath.
B,L,D
The Bailbrook House Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today we board the motor coach for a field trip to the National Trust’s medieval Lacock, a charming rural village untouched by modern development. The village, dating back to the 13th Century, is home to a variety of picturesque limewashed, half-timbered and stone houses. It thrived from the Middle Ages to the 18th Century as a centre of the wool trade, but is better known these days for its appearances in film and television – the village is prominently featured in productions including Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Moll Flanders and, most recently, Harry Potter. We’ll explore the village, before we take a closer look at Lacock Abbey. Located at the heart of the village within expansive grounds, Lacock Abbey is actually a country house presenting an interesting clash of architectural styles, built upon the foundations of a former nunnery.

Lunch: Taken out at a traditional Lacock inn.

Afternoon: The field trip continues, before we return to Bath.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
6
Stonehenge & Salisbury
Bath.
B,D
The Bailbrook House Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: The day begins as we follow in the footsteps of Tess d’Urberville with a field trip across Salisbury Plains to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stonehenge. Stonehenge has a world class visitor centre, housing quality permanent exhibitions as well as the opportunity to walk close to the stones themselves and take in the immense sense of ancient history.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We continue by motor coach to the cathedral city of Salisbury, featuring the tallest spire in England. We’ll explore the tranquil close surrounding the Cathedral, and the handsomely furnished Mompesson House, where you can get a sense of the life of its inhabitants in the 18th Century. We’ll round off the day with an expert led visit to historic Salisbury Cathedral, home to the oldest working clock in the world, as well as the fictional workplace of Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
7
Transfer to Torquay: Dartmoor & Agatha Christie
Torquay
B,L,D
Grand Hotel Torquay

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today we board the motor coach and transfer to Torquay, via the dark and sinister romanticism of Dartmoor – inspiration to Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. We’ll take a short walk over the moor to experience the brooding landscapes painted by Doyle in The Hound of the Baskervilles, as well as the landscape surrounding the “large, dreary” Moorland Hotel where Agatha Christie finished her first novel.

Lunch: A packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit and a drink or similar will be provided to make the most of this busy transfer day.

Afternoon: We arrive in Torquay, on the English Riviera in Devon, for a field trip to 12th Century Torre Abbey and Poison Gardens. An impressive horticultural curiosity, the Poison Gardens are made up entirely of plants that appear in Agatha Christie’s novels, and a fantastic place to learn about the deadly secrets of some of the most common garden flowers. We then continue on the motor coach as we explore the Agatha Christie Mile – stopping for tea and biscuits along the way – before finishing up at All Saints Church, where Christie was baptised.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Relax and enjoy an Agatha Christie reading or film.

DAY
8
Dartmouth & Greenway
Torquay
B,L,D
Grand Hotel Torquay

Activity note: Steep slope to Greenway house.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today’s full day field trip sees us board the motor coach and head to Dartmouth, where we will take the ferry to the National Trust’s Greenway – the private holiday home of Agatha Christie and her family. She described Greenway as “the loveliest place in the world” and the house still sits as it would have during the 1950’s, containing many of the family’s varied collections. We’ll investigate the intriguing interiors, before taking some time to amble through its large and romantic woodland garden.

Lunch: Taken at Greenway.

Afternoon: The field trip continues before a ferry journey back to Dartmouth, and onwards to Torquay on the motor coach.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
9
Transfer to Dorchester: Lyme Regis & The Jurassic Coast
Dorchester
B,D
Best Western Wessex Royale Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast we board the motor coach for our transfer to Dorchester, via the ancient sea port of Lyme Regis. Surrounded by dramatic coastlines and rolling hills, Lyme Regis has been awarded World Heritage Site status for the quality of its geology and fossil finds. The area also has significant literary connections; Jane Austen was a frequent visitor and its harbour, known as “The Cobb”, was heavily featured in the film adaptation of The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Following our time in Lyme Regis, we’ll take a journey along another World Heritage Site: The Jurassic Coast. Documenting 180 million years of the Earth’s history, the Jurassic Coast is an unbroken area of truly stunning coastline stretching 96 miles. As we work our way along the coast we’ll pay a visit to Abbotsbury Swannery, first established by Benedictine Monks in the 1040’s, before continuing on to Dorchester – the heart of Thomas Hardy’s life and work.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
10
Hardy’s Casterbridge
Dorchester
B,D
Best Western Wessex Royale Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Begin by enjoying a lecture on “Far From The Madding Crowd: Hardy’s Wessex” with your Study Leader. Following the lecture we’ll take an expert led walk around Dorchester – better known as Casterbridge in Hardy’s works – following the Hardy Trail.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free to explore Dorchester at your leisure.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: This evening we’ll be treated to a Guest Speaker.

DAY
11
Hardy’s Wessex
Dorchester
B,L,D
Best Western Wessex Royale Hotel

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Dorset was Thomas Hardy’s land and proved to be the inspiration for his writing, where it became known as Wessex. Today we’ll board the motor coach and take a field trip around the county he created – from Puddletown to Cerne Abbas (home to the famous Cerne Abbas Giant), to Sherborne and on to Sturminster Newton. It was here that Hardy wrote Return of the Native.

Lunch: Taken out in a traditional Dorset pub.

Afternoon: Our field trip continues with a visit to Hardy’s birthplace in Higher Brockhampton. Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in this small thatch cottage, built by his great-grandfather and now largely unaltered since this time; it was here where Hardy wrote Under The Greenwood Tree and Far From The Madding Crowd. We’ll then continue our journey through Hardy’s life with a visit to Stinsford Church, where Hardy requested he be buried. Upon his death his ashes were actually interred at Westminster Cathedral, however his heart was removed and here it remains – buried in the grave of his wife. Our last stop for the day will be at Max Gate, the house Hardy both designed and lived in from 1885 to 1928. It was here that he wrote some of his most important works: The Mayor of Casterbridge, The Woodlanders, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and numerous poems and short stories.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
12
Transfer to London: Winchester Cathedral & Jane Austen
London, England
B,L,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today we transfer by motor coach to London, with time to explore the historic city of Winchester along the way. Here your Study Leader will lead you on a walk around Winchester Cathedral, as well as helping you explore the city streets as Jane Austen would have known them during her last days here.

Lunch: A packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit and a drink or similar will be provided to make the most of this busy transfer day.

Afternoon: On departing Winchester we’ll visit Steventon Church, where Austen’s father, brother and later her nephews served as Rectors. The church, first built in the 12th Century, stands almost unchanged from those days and is home to memorial tablets and graves dedicated to Austen’s relatives. We’ll also visit Chawton, where Jane Austen spent her last eight years and finished her greatest work. Here we’ll find the Jane Austen House Museum, which tells the story of the family’s life and Jane’s works.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
13
Dickens’ London
London, England
B,L,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We begin our look at literary London with a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, before exploring the London of Charles Dickens by motor coach.

Lunch: Lunch will be taken out at the Sherlock Holmes pub.

Afternoon: The field trip continues after lunch as we travel to New Square and Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Dickens’ friend and biographer John Forster lived here and Dickens used it as the home of Mr. Tulkinghorn in Bleak House. It was also here that Dickens gave private readings to Forster, Thomas Carlyle and Daniel Maclise. Our day will then culminate in a visit to the Dickens House Museum, the only one of Dickens’ London houses to still survive today. He lived in the Georgian house between 1837 and 1839, writing his first three novels on the way to becoming the most famous author of the 19th Century. Four floors are filled with the most important collection of Dickens’ material anywhere in the world.

Dinner: A farewell dinner in the hotel – time to say goodbye to your new found friends.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
14
Program Concludes
London, England
B

Breakfast: In the hotel. Some participants may depart prior to breakfast.






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