Sometimes, Stonehenge steams at dawn. We know because on our tours we’ve stood there among the great pillars—no crowds, no ropes to hold us back—and felt the sun stream across Salisbury Plain to touch our faces at the same moment it starts to warm the night-cooled sandstone. It is a simple, awesome, hold-your-breath moment. And you’ll experience it yourself on this amazing journey through Southwestern England. Beforehand, we spend several days in the parts of the Cotswolds we love best. We’ll show you our favorite paths that crook through Technicolor cottage gardens, across sweeping meadows and into the loveliest honeyed-stone villages in the land. We’ll dine with friends in their manor house, and time a visit to the tea shop lady when her scones are warm and fresh. This isn’t just the superficially pretty England, 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.
- For a local's perspective on London, wander the greenswards of Hyde and St. James's Parks as your guide shares historical anecdotes of the royal family and others.
- At the grandest end of the scale, visit the sprawling estate of Blenheim, birthplace of Winston Churchill.
- Every day, enjoy handcrafted walks along country footpaths, including along the River Windrush to the honey-colored stone village of Burford.
- We've secured special access to Stonehenge so you can walk right up to the stone circle when the site is closed to the general public.
- Stroll the narrow lanes of Bampton, where the village scenes of "Downton Abbey" were filmed and tour Kelmscott Manor, the home of William Morris.
- In the heart of Jane Austen country, visit a fantastic organic farm to wander in the gardens, eat a gourmet lunch and do a cheese tasting in the creamery.
- Enjoy a display of falconry at the end of a walk on a scenic portion of the Cotswold Way.
- Marvel at the remarkably intact mosaics at the active archeological site at Chedworth Roman Villa.
- Meet a renowned silversmith at work in his family's century-old workshop.
- End the week with a guided visit to Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
Starting Point:London – 1:00 pm – Lobby of the Ampersand Hotel
Ending Point:Stratford-upon-Avon – 1:00 pm – Warwick Parkway Rail Station
Why Choose Classic Journeys
Travel + Leisure magazine has named Classic Journeys as the #1 World's Best Tour Operator multiple times. As the editors of T+L say, "Classic Journeys provides unbeatable access to experiences around the globe."
Here's what that access means for you in the Cotswolds with Classic Journeys.
- Exceptional full-time local guides who become your well-connected friend. Our amazing guides are with you throughout each day of the tour, share their lifelong connections as well as engaging anecdotes about the history and culture of the region.
- Experience the Cotswolds on foot and at eye level. Each day, join your guide on the most cinematic footpaths in the region, including their favorite parts of the famed Cotswold Way, scenic country paths past grazing sheep, and along the River Windrush to the honey-colored stone village of Burford.
- Small groups that provide you unrivaled access. With an average of fewer than 10 guests per departure, we enjoy special access to Stonehenge so you can experience the stone circle when the site is closed to the general public, a private falconry display, and a farewell dinner in a private manor where we're hosted by the grandson of Lord Ismay, one of the planners of D-Day.
- Award-winning hotels are waiting for you at the end of every day. Luxuriate in the finest and most distinctive accommodations in the Cotswolds, including a 5-star boutique hotel in London's upscale South Kensington neighborhood, a manor house with spa, and a hotel dating to 1565.
- Eat like (and with) the locals. Food is a foolproof way into the hearts, homes and history of the places you visit with us in the Cotswolds. From gourmet picnics to coveted local restaurants, meals offer you opportunities to explore native food traditions and fine dining.
- Handcrafted itineraries with all activities included. With our long-term friendships, we know the Cotswolds more personally than anyone else. So you get thoughtfully curated itineraries that combine explorations of the village where scenes of "Downton Abbey" were filmed, Winston Churchill's birthplace, an organic farm and creamery, an active archeological site with its remarkably intact mosaics, and Stratford upon Avon.
- Sustainable travel that supports the Cotswolds. We put our local currency into the pockets of the people who live where we travel. From tour leaders to village elders to artisans, restaurateurs to hoteliers, we work with the local people to support their livelihoods. It's your guarantee that you'll have authentic, up-close experiences on your trip. Best of all, our person-to-person approach helps sustain their ways of life.
Dates & Prices
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Select our “Family Departure” to travel with other families.
- Award-winning hotels that provide you unlimited access to the people and places, culture and history you came to experience
- All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 dinners
- Full-time experienced guide(s) who are with you throughout the trip and handle behind-the-scenes logistics
- Admissions to scheduled events as noted in the detailed daily itinerary
- Gratuities for hotels, meals, and baggage
- All land transportation during the trip
Above & Beyond Benefits
- When your group arrives, we whisk you and your bags to your room immediately. No waiting – no tipping.
Privileged Access Events
- One-of-a-kind access to remarkable people, places and activities arranged just for you.