• 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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  • Paris Skyline, France

    Top 6 Experiences for a Family Vacation to London & Paris

    <p>Summer is just around the corner, and a family trip to London and Paris might be the perfect vacation for everyone! <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">London and Paris</a> are much more than two of the world’s most famous and beautiful capitals. With Classic Journeys by your side, you&#39;ll not only see the sights in London, you&#39;ll go even further with a private-access visit to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Stonehenge </a>at sunset and a Harry Potter-style afternoon tea. In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Paris</a>, you&#39;ll skip to the head of the line at the Louvre Museum, cruise the Seine and go for a bike ride in the vast gardens of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Palace of Versailles</a>. You&#39;ll stay in perfectly-located hotels and you&#39;ll be in the amazing company of your expert local guide... so don&#39;t worry if your French is a little rusty! Check out these top six experiences for a family trip to London and Paris.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#1 Stonehenge at Sunset</a></b><br>Head out to the vast rolling plains surrounding <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Stonehenge </a>late in the day and feel the landscape change as the sun sinks to the horizon.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="Stonehenge at Sunset" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7No" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#2 London Eye</a></b><br>The London Eye is the mammoth observation wheel that sits on the banks of the Thames and offers the best views in town. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="London Eye and Thames River in the evening" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Nt" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#3 London Landmarks</a></b><br>There’s so much to see in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">London</a>, and the best way to see it all is on a guided walk past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral with its huge dome, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and more.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="View of Big Ben and Parliament" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Ny" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#4 Evening Seine River Cruise</a></b><br>Paris looks its very best at night from the Seine where you get a wonderful look at the landmarks while enjoying dinner.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="River Cruise boat on the Seine at sunset" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7O3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#5 Paris Landmarks</a></b><br>Just like London there is plenty to see and do in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Paris </a>and the best way is on a guided tour with a local tour guide. Enjoy seeing landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse Tower, and more. <br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="Eiffel Tower" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9rR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#6 Versailles</a></b><br>In addition to seeing the famed frescoed ceilings and Hall of Mirrors when you visit Versailles enjoy an easy bike tour of the gardens that cover almost 2,000 acres.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="Gardens of Versailles" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7OD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>If you&#39;d like to do all these activities, plus a little more, without the hassle of logistics—join a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys Family Trip to London &amp; Paris</a>. You&#39;ll have the trip of a lifetime!</p>

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  • Chambord Castle in Loire France

    8 of Our Favorite European Castles

    From the fabled location of King Arthur’s birth to an ornately decorated vacation home for noble families, there’s no question that castles run the gambit of historical significance (not to mention their architectural significance). With that in mind, we put together a list of 8 of our favorite European castles.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><b>1. Château de Chenonceau, Loire &amp; Burgundy</b> </a>- Arguably the most magnificent and romantic of all châteaux, Chenonceau spans the river and has been the home of six great ladies throughout history. Among them are its builder, Catherine Briconnet, who built it as a home rather than a fortification; Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II, who added the bridge between the house and the banks of the river; and Catherine de Medici, Henry&#39;s wife. Madame Dupin, who owned the château during the French Revolution, was so kind to the lower classes who lived around the château that it was allowed to survive free from the destruction suffered by many other wealthy homes.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><img alt="Chateau de Chenonceau in Loire France" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><b>2. Château de Villandry, Loire &amp; Burgundy</b></a> - Not far down the Loire River, Villandry is home to spectacular geometric-shaped gardens with their zigzagging hedges, flowerbeds, vegetable plots and a swan-filled lake. The château itself, has a wonderful collection of paintings, lovely rooms and the magnificent gilded ceiling imported from Toledo, Spain.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><img alt="Chateau de Villandry in Loire France" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">3. Broughton Grange Castle, Cotswolds</a></b> – Surrounded by a moat, it dates back to the 1550’s. The grand interiors were featured in the BBC production of <i>Wolf Hall, </i>and the manicured gardens are some of the country’s finest. What better setting to pause for an elegant afternoon tea?<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="Broughton Castle in Cotswolds" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jX2I" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank">4. Urquhart Castle, Scottish Highlands</a> </b>- Even if the name isn’t familiar, you’ll recognize the distinctive profile of this magnificent ruin on the shores of Loch Ness. Built in the early 13<sup>th</sup> Century, it sits on a fine headland near the stretch of the loch where many of the reputed Nessie sightings occurred.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank"><img alt="Urquhart Castle - Scotland" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cornwall/" target="_blank">5. Tintagel Castle, Cornwall</a></b> -  this is where, according to legend, King Arthur was born. When the conquering Normans reached the westernmost land of England, they heard that the ancient seat of Cornwall’s kings had stood atop this soaring headland, surrounded on three sides by the ceaseless surge of the Atlantic. Earl Richard of Cornwall, younger brother of Henry III, decided to build a castle on the spot where his legendary predecessors had held court.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cornwall/" target="_blank"><img alt="Tintagel Castle in Cornwall" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jX2N" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><b>6. Chambord Castle, Loire &amp; Burgundy</b></a> – located in the heart of a forest, where the French sovereigns used to hunt, Chateau de Chambord is one of France’s most recognizable castles, with a combination of French medieval and classical Renaissance architecture. The centerpiece of the chateau is the double spiral staircase that spans three floors. It is rumored to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><img alt="Chambord Castle in Loire" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jX2S" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><b>7. Pena National Palace, Portugal</b></a> -  The Sintra region was long a favorite site for royal retreats, estates and castles. The most stellar example is Pena National Palace. You’ll be delighted by this treasure of the Romanticist style with beautiful exterior views of its soaring jumble of red, ocher and pink towers.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="Pena Palace in Portugal" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank">8. Prague Castle, Prague</a></b> – this UNESCO world heritage site is credited as being the largest coherent castle complex in the world. Its more than 753,000 square feet, is home to palaces, cathedrals, towers, gardens, grand halls, and much more. Dating back to the 9<sup>th</sup> century, Prague Castle has been the seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Roman emperors, as well as presidents of Czechoslovakia, and most recently the president of the Czech Republic.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank"><img alt="Gardens at Prague Castle" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a>

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