23256
England

London: The Story of a City

Venture on a complete historical journey of beautiful London with a top-notch instructor, from ancient roman relics through Reformation landmarks and to today’s modern metropolis.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23256RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
3,699
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12 days
11 nights
19 meals
10 B 3 L 6 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
London, England
L,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. If you arrive before rooms are available, you may leave your luggage with the concierge and go out for a walk or relax in the hotel's public areas.

Lunch: At the hotel for those who arrive in time, we will have a light 2-course lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After you check in and get your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation walk and meeting. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. 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. Ruth Polling will be our Study Leader for this program. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we will have a plated 2-course dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Origins: London’s Two Cities
London, England
B
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 11 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking and standing during field trips. Temple of Mithras wheelchair accessible; low lighting. Westminster Abbey has ramps for entrance and exit. There are 5 steps to the Cloisters but these can be avoided by using the Cloister Entrance outside the Abbey.

Breakfast: In the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers a variety of choices such as eggs, bacon, sausages, hash brown, tomatoes, mushrooms, make-your-own muesli, cereals, pastries, toast, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Our Study Leader will give us an introductory lecture on London as world city and urban development. We will then hop aboard a motorcoach to see some of the highlights of Roman Londinium including the amphitheatre under the Guildhall and the exciting reconstruction of the Temple of Mithras. The temple of this mystery cult — dear to the Roman military in particular — was discovered in 1954 at what had been the course of the lost river of Walbrook. There is a great deal of speculation and relatively little evidence about the cult itself.

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.

Afternoon: We will board the motorcoach and ride across London to Westminster Abbey where our Study Leader will discuss London as a royal and political capital. We’ll then continue our exploration inside the Abbey. Raised from the foundations of several previous churches on this site, the Abbey as we see it today was first begun in 1245 by Henry III and was granted cathedral status by Henry VIII in 1540. It is perhaps best known to Americans as the site of numerous royal weddings and the funeral of Princess Diana. We will return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Dinner: 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.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Norman Conquest to Political Capital
London, England
B,L,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 13 miles, approximately 2 hours. Walking and standing during field trips. Tower of London is an historic building with difficult stairs, passageways, cobbles in some areas. Jewel House accessible. Elevator to basement level of White Tower.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will trace the history of a country and a city at the Tower of London, the city’s ancient defensive centre. Built at the behest of William the Conqueror in 1078, the White Tower still stands guard over the Thames. It is here that monarchs, importunate princes and lesser mortals were imprisoned, two kings murdered, and three queens beheaded. Now the Tower is best known as the repository of the world-famous Crown Jewels, including the Koh-i-Noor and Cullinan I Diamonds — two of the world’s largest cut diamonds — and the world’s most comprehensive collection of coronation vestments and regalia. The Crown Jewels were remade for Charles II after the originals were melted down in the Civil War and provide a spectacular insight into the power of the Royal Family throughout history.

Lunch: At the New Armouries Café in the Tower of London, with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our Study Leader will then take us on a Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Medieval walk to All Hallows by the Tower, the City's oldest church, founded in 675 CE. We’ll board a motorcoach for a field trip to the Palace of Westminster, more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament that comprise the House of Commons and the House of Lords. This centre of British political power has stunning architectural features and we will enter the chambers of the Commons and Lords, and Westminster — all more than 1,000 years old. We’ll then return to the hotel by motorcoach, starting with a journey at a leisurely pace through Whitehall, another area of power in the city. With expert commentary from our Study Leader, we will see the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, the Cenotaph memorial to the war dead, Downing Street (the gated street on which the homes of the Prime Minister and other high-level Members of Parliament are located), the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence, and Horse Guards Parade.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Reformation and the City
London, England
B,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 11 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking and standing during field trips, walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With our Study Leader, we will set out on a field trip to the Guildhall, the ceremonial centre of the City of London where we will learn about Medieval and Reformation history. We’ll then walk east toward St Paul’s Cathedral and Smithfield.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like near St Paul’s Cathedral.

Afternoon: We’ll regroup and resume our “Reformation” walk through Smithfield, the place of execution for Catholics and Reformation dissenters. There is a plaque marking the place where the Scot knight William Wallace was put to death in 1305. We will continue our expert-led exploration here in the Charterhouse area, a complex of buildings in Smithfield dating back to the 14th century. It began its fascinating history as a Carthusian Priory, then became a large Tudor courtyard mansion, and, in the 17th century, an almshouse that remains today. We will return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
The Great Fire and Recovery
London, England
B,L
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 12 miles, approximately 2 hours. Walking and standing during field trips; walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will hop aboard a motorcoach and ride to St. Paul's Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, where our Study Leader will describe the horrors of the "Great Fire" and the city's recovery. A church dedicated to St. Paul has stood here on the highest point in the city since 604 CE. Next, we will ride to Fleet Street, former haunt of the nation's journalists.

Lunch: At an historic pub in Fleet Street, we’ll have a plated 2-course lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll set out on an informative walk through “Legal London,” exploring Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the Temple area with our Study Leader. We’ll board a motorcoach next to the River Thames and ride to the Bank of England Museum, a little-known hidden gem in the city. We’ll explore the reconstructed Stock Office and see exhibits tracing the founding of the museum in 1694 and its first 100 years, its expansion in the 1800s, the “banknote” gallery, and the Bank today. The motorcoach will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
The Largest Port in the World
London, England
B,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach, river cruiser and light rail train; driving about 11 miles, approximately 1.5 hours; sailing about 7 miles, approximately 1.5 hours; Docklands Light Railway (DLR) journey approximately 2 miles, about 10 minutes. The Group Leader will distribute Oyster cards, pre-loaded with funds to use for the DLR journey today and for journeys on public transport later in the program.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board the motorcoach, ride to Westminster Pier, and board a river cruiser to Greenwich. Along the way, our Study Leader will outline the history of the docks and importance of the river to city’s life. Alighting, we will walk to the National Maritime Museum and view the trade and East India Company galleries. Our walking route will take us past the Cutty Sark, the historic clipper ship that was the fastest of its time. Built in 1869, she served as a tea clipper and was in active service as a cargo vessel well into the 20th century.

Lunch: On your own. There is a café in the museum.

Afternoon: We’ll move on to the Museum of London Docklands, travelling by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), where we will learn more about London as the centre of world trade. We’ll then ride on to Wapping by motorcoach.

Dinner: At an historic pub in Wapping, we’ll have a plated 2-course dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available to purchase.

Evening: Returning to the hotel by motorcoach, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
8
Wealth and Poverty in the Imperial Capital, Free Time
London, England
B
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking up to 1 mile on field trips, walking during free time dependent upon personal preference. Use Oyster cards for journeys on public transport.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel we’ll gather for a lecture by our Study Leader on Queen Victoria and poverty. We’ll then set out by motorcoach for an expert-led field trip around the Royal Borough of Kensington, passing Hyde Park, the Albert Memorial, Imperial College, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum. Our Study Leader will take us inside the extraordinary Victoria and Albert Museum, founded in 1852 and regarded as the world’s leading museum of art and design. The permanent collection of more than 2.3 million objects spans millennia of human creativity in architecture, Asian art and design, book arts, ceramics, fashion, furniture, glass, jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, theatre and performance. We will view the British Galleries and have some time to explore independently.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. This time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We’ll return independently to the hotel using public transport.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Destruction and Decline: London in World War II, Performance
London, England
B
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 8 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: The motorcoach will drop us off at Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, where the American Embassy stood until 2018. We’ll take a walk in the footsteps of Americans in the Second World War. Exemplifying the “Special Relationship” between the UK and the U.S., we will see statues of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who set up his military headquarters here, earning it the nickname Eisenhower Platz. We will also see the September 11 Memorial Garden and Pamela's apartment. Next, we will ride to the Parliament Square area.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Regrouping, we will go on a “Blitz” walk to Wellington Barracks, St. James Park, Methodist Central Hall, and Parliament Square with its larger than life statue of Winston Churchill (1874-1965) facing the Houses of Parliament. Churchill served as Prime Minister during World War II and again after the war. He is regarded as one of the most significant figures of the 20th century. We will then enter the Churchill War Rooms and Museum for a self-directed exploration with personal audio devices. We’ll then board a motorcoach and ride to London’s theatre district, the West End.

Dinner: We’ll dine out at a local restaurant before going to the theatre.

Evening: We will attend a theatre performance from current offerings. Our program was planned far in advance when details of performances were not available. When confirmed, the information will be posted on the Road Scholar website under this program number and will also be included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment.

DAY
10
Reviewing 2000 years, Free Time
London, England
B,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 6 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Use Oyster cards for journeys on public transport.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach and ride to the Museum of London, close to the Barbican Centre. We’ll explore the museum’s collections with our Study Leader, an experience that will summarize all we have learned so far about London.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time to continue our independent explorations. Take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Revival: London in the 21st Century
London, England
B,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 6 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 2 miles. The Group Leader will collect our Oyster cards this morning.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board the motorcoach and ride to the East End of London, an area that has changed dramatically from working-class to immigrants and now frequented by hipsters. At Olympic Park, we will learn how the area was transformed to host the world-famous London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and see iconic venues including the London Aquatics Centre, Copper Box Arena, and Lee Valley VeloPark, some of which we’ll go inside. We will also follow our Study Leader among the beautiful parklands, fountains, and waterways designed by internationally renowned landscape architects and hear about ongoing plans for the Park.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We will rendezvous at a designated time and place and ride to Whitechapel, once infamous as the stalking grounds of Jack the Ripper but now best known for its multicultural identity formed over centuries of immigration. We’ll join our Study Leader on a Whitechapel “Immigration” walk including Whitechapel Free Library, the Battle of Cable Street, Altab Ali Park, the German Church, Huguenot houses, and Brick Lane. The motorcoach will return to the hotel after our field trip.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Some transfers may depart before breakfast. Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet depending on departure times. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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