• Sheep in field in Cotswolds

    Visit Stonehenge like Obama + six other travel tips in the British Isles

    The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/united-kingdom/" target="_blank">British Isles</a> are a diverse land mixing centuries of history and culture with spirited metropolitan cities and quaint countryside towns. Whatever your interests may be, there’s much to explore across the pond. But with so many options available, it’s easy to find yourself stuck in an enormous crowd staring at the back of a tourist’s head rather than seeing the changing of the guards. Fortunately for you, there is a way to pick just the right footpath, to get the same private access to Stonehenge as former President Obama and to be at the right place at the right time. Just follow this easy cheat sheet. With it, you can take to the streets in London or meander through charming countryside and villages where time seems to stand still. Cue the wanderlust!<br><br><b>London</b><br><br>Surprise, surprise—<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">London</a> makes the list! Of course, visiting the British Isles without exploring this magnificent city steeped in history would be missing a great deal of the British Isles. With a local expert Blue Badge Guide, keep your focus on <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Buckingham Palace</a>, Westminster Abbey, and the many impressive war monuments and museums. Your guide will help you weave the past into the fabric of the city while blending with the modern architecture in this metropolitan gem. The city’s tremendous diversity (did you know there are over one million British Indians in London?) lends it an inimitable character where delicious food abounds the streets and creativity exists on every street corner. So how to find the well-connected friend a.k.a. Blue Badge Guide? <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> has relationships with the best ones so that you can focus all your attention on enjoying your visit.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV34" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Stonehenge</b><br> <br>Stonehenge&#39;s ring of prehistoric standing stones is iconic, a quintessential symbol of Britain and its rich history. This <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">UNESCO World Heritage site</a>, located in the Salisbury Plain, dates as far back as 5,000 years and carries a powerful ceremonial and ritual significance for people across the globe. Each massive stone weighs about 25 tons and reaches heights of 13 feet, making it a masterpiece of engineering. This wonder of the world, and the mystery and rich history that surrounds it, is a must-see as you explore the United Kingdom. The problem you’ll encounter is that about 1.5 million people visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Stonehenge</a> every year, meaning that you will have a lot more than the standing stones standing around you. The cure is to visit when the site is closed to the public. No, we don’t mean to jump the fence and skirt the ample security. Instead, <a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> has special permission from English Heritage to bring its guests into Stonehenge when no one else is present. Meaning you’ll be just like the president, if only for a day.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV39" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Blenheim Palace</b><br><br>Britain boasts yet another impressive <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">UNESCO World Heritage</a> site in one of England’s great country houses: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Blenheim Palace</a>. The impressive palace has been a filming location for many movies but has a storied history of its own. Located just outside of Oxford, the massive property is open to the public but is considered the private property of the 12th Duke of Marlborough. The palace is known for being the ancestral home of Winston Churchill, was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the First World War and has housed various dukes and duchesses throughout history. You can arrive by car and simply wander Blenheim on your own, listening for the old halls to share their stories of the palace. Or, join Classic Journeys to walk through the scenic countryside from the nearby village of Bladon—where Winston Churchill was buried—to Blenheim Palace. With this route, you also have the fun of strolling the sweeping lawns and formal gardens.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3E" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>The Cotswolds</b><br><br>The stunning <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Cotswolds</a> region is not only known as the birthplace of Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, and George Elliot, but also wows for its sweeping sheep-filled meadows, grand family homes, and honey-colored villages that represent the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">England of fantasies</a>. Think cozy, flower-strewn cottages and vast swathes of picturesque rolling green countryside. So many of them, in fact, that your head will spin with color, fragrance and options. So how to make sense of it? Opt for a guided walk through Bath that includes afternoon tea served with shortbread and scones, and revel in the location that inspired some of the world&#39;s best literature. The magic of these places is how little they have changed over the centuries, and so how easy it is to imagine yourself in the literary works you treasure and the land that inspired them.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3J" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Cornwall</b><br> <br>The southwest corner of England is known for its inviting turquoise water, sandy beaches, chalky limestone cliffs and fine coastal trails with terrific views punctuated by lighthouses and villages tucked into tiny coves. Visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cornwall/" target="_blank">Tintagel Castle</a>, which is frequently cited as the birthplace of King Arthur himself. History and legends of the pirates and smugglers of Land&#39;s End exist around every corner. Cozy seaside villages, friendly and quirky locals and the occasional cream tea with scones, jam, and clotted cream will leave you feeling at home in this captivating part of the British Isles. Follow a Blue Badge Guide on walks along cliffs lined with coastal paths, explore seaside hamlets with picturesque harbors, and cross causeways to an island castle in this exquisite county of England. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cornwall/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3O" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Killarney, Ireland </b><br><br>The Irish town of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">Killarney</a> is nestled on the beautiful Lough Leane lakeshore in a valley ringed by mountains in southwest Ireland. The scenic valleys, fabled Killarney Lakes and Old Kenmare Road are not to be missed. But what is fact and what is fable? For that, you’ll want to pair up with an expert local as you stroll through the wild, heath-covered hillsides of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">Killarney National Park</a> and look out for its magnificent herds of native red deer and unique plant life. Enjoy beautiful castles and too many shades of green to count as you learn of Killarney&#39;s famous herds of mountain sheep that have been carefully bred for over 150 years. (Because you’re in the know, you’ll also be welcomed to a sheep farm to watch its prized dogs maneuver the sheep all around the countryside.) <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3d" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Ring of Kerry, Ireland</b><br><br>The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">Ring of Kerry</a> is a famed scenic loop in southwest Ireland&#39;s County Kerry. Rugged islands, dramatic beaches, and cinematic mountain passes will amaze you as you roam through the Irish countryside. But how to make Ireland more than just one big green postcard in your mind? The secret is in getting to know the local people. So find a guide who can introduce you to the chocolatier who will become your own personal Willy Wonka, the local who shares his secrets for how to cut turf (totally useless, but very fun) and the master distiller who is taking on the global brands one drop at a time. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3i" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>There you go. Seven travel hacks that will have you exploring the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/united-kingdom/" target="_blank">British Isles</a> like a former president, staying far from the maddening crowds, and getting the trip of a lifetime. For more details on how, take a look at tours offered by <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/united-kingdom/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a>.   

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  • Empty Nesters on Bike

    Escape Your Empty Nest

    Dear Empty Nesters (and Empty Nesters-to-Be),<br><br>Your kids are off having a great time, spreading their wings, feeling free and looking ahead instead of back. I say let them be your role models for a change and go tackle the world on your own. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/world/" target="_blank">A big, juicy vacation</a> is the best way to turn an empty nest slump into a celebration of your new independence.<br><br>And that’s my Dear Abby advice to you, straight from a home where the younger of our two sons recently flew off to college. The house is quieter now. A gallon of milk lasts a lot longer in the fridge. The dogs stare at us with that how-are-you-going-to-entertain-us look. I worried about how I would handle the return to being a one-generation household. The tactic we’re taking is to seize the moment and have fun with this fresh phase. Why should your kids be the only ones off meeting new people, living new experiences and “studying” abroad? You deserve all of that, too!<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATPW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUXI" style="height: 247px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>A healthy dose of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">Tuscany</a> was the cure for what ailed my husband and me. It’s hard to feel down in a world where you can watch the sunset from a country villa with a glass of Chianti in your hand. Did I miss the boys? Sure. But did I find myself enjoying the moment in a different way than if they’d been splashing in the pool on the other side of the cypress? You better believe it.<br><br>If you Google “empty nest syndrome”, one of the top tips for how to overcome it is to “reconnect with your partner and friends.” Is there a better way to do that than on a vacation that suits your interests – without worrying how it appeals to your progeny?  Now may be your moment to spend a culinary week cooking and visiting markets in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence-tours/" target="_blank">Provence</a>. Or be like our neighbors who decided to do <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-zealand-tours/" target="_blank">New Zealand</a>. It’s a fantastic family destination, but they could never clear everybody’s calendars when they had to plan around soccer and athletics. The great thing is how a vacation jump-starts the process of creating memories that belong only to you. (Just be sure to have your guide take a picture when you’re geared up for<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"> tectonic snorkeling in Iceland</a> or camel-riding in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Moroccan Sahara</a>. I can tell you from personal experience that it is very satisfying to text an image like that to a 19-year-old who’s confined to a classroom.)<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Group riding camels in Morocco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATPW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f894" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Trust me: I am an utterly, irretrievably sentimental mom. I love my sons to pieces, and we had so much stupendous fun as they grew from babies to young men. Of course, we butted heads, too. After each of them received their college acceptance letters, the separation phase kicked in and long before they flew off, my husband will tell you that we had a few moments of thinking, “Okay. Maybe it really is time for the next phase.” We wouldn’t change any of it, but with a couple of empty-nester vacations under our belts we also wouldn’t turn that clock back even if we could.<br><br>Our sons and their someday-families will always be welcome to travel with us. But for us these days, travel is a sweet antidote to a house that’s 50% less frenetic than it used to be. If this coming fall is when your turn is coming, take another piece of advice from the experts and plan ahead for it now. If you can look forward to a nice long stroll in a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Cotswolds sheep meadow</a> or some <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/nepal-walking-tours/" target="_blank">Himalayan me-time in Nepal</a>, your empty nest will feel like it’s full of opportunity.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/world/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATPW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f89E" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a>

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  • Urquhart Castle Ruins, Scotland

    5 Best Overseas Adventures: Northern Europe

    With 195 countries on 7 continents spanning our globe, choosing your next overseas travel adventure can be overwhelming. To make things easier for you, we&#39;ve rounded up our top five overseas travel adventures... starting with Northern Europe. Whether you choose the diverse nature of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland </a>or the fjords of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank">Norway</a>, you&#39;re guaranteed to have a trip of a lifetime with Classic Journeys. The only question is... where to next?<br><br><b>TOP 5 TRIPS IN NORTHERN EUROPE:</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Iceland" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehnn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r17" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">ICELAND</a></b><br>It absolutely feels like the planet is trying to spill its secrets on this island. Geysers spout hot spasms into the sky. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Gem-blue glaciers</a> groan and bully their way down rocky valleys. Rivers of cooled lava ripple through the landscape. A waterfall shoots horizontally from a high-up cleft before falling in a rainbow cloud of mist to an empty plain. A mountain is as likely to be pink or purple as gray.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank"><img alt="Norway" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehnn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r1C" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank">NORWAY</a></b><br>You might be surprised by the variety of activities and amazing sights you&#39;ll experience in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank">Norway</a>. Imagine gliding through the serene blue waters of fjords on a private boat, walking on a glacier and exploring a Viking Ship Museum.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="Cotswolds" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehnn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r1H" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">COTSWOLDS, STONEHENGE &amp; LONDON</a></b><br>This isn’t just the superficially pretty <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">England</a>, it’s the real thing—a rich cultural experience with personal introductions and remarkable access to non-public places. You’ll simply never forget it.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehnn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r1M" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank">IRELAND</a></b><br>Whether you’re wishing for a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">walking tour</a> or returning to roots on a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/irelandfamily/" target="_blank">family vacation</a>, Classic Journeys has what you’re looking for on our tours of Ireland. Ireland travel with us means you’ll enjoy a perfect mix of the beauty, walkability and cordial blarney that make it a perennial favorite destination... plus visits to the best local pubs! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehnn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r1R" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank">SCOTLAND</a></b><br>We love the wide-screen scale of the<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank"> Scottish Highlands</a>. Great heather-covered moors roll into a broad, blue horizon. Ruined castles stand watch over silvery lochs. There’s a wonderful wildness to it all. But for all of that sweep and solitude, it’s the close-ups of local life that we remember best.<br> 

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