2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s pioneering voyage from England to America. In 1620, an intrepid group of dissenters set sail across the Atlantic on what was then an incredibly dangerous journey to start a new life in the New World. To commemorate this anniversary, we follow in the footsteps of the Mayflower Pilgrims and trace the Mayflower’s journey en-route for America, learning more about the ship that links four nations and the legacy of a voyage that changed history.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Sep 10, 2020 - Sep 20, 2020
Nights One, Two and Ten –Macdonald Windsor Hotel
The Macdonald Windsor Hotel is situated in the heart of the historic town of Windsor, opposite the famous Windsor Castle. The classic interiors, with a contemporary edge, fit perfectly with the Georgian elegance of this townhouse hotel. The luxury bedrooms are individually-designed and the hotel also offers a stylish bar and restaurant.
Night Three – Lainston House Hotel, Winchester
Nights Four to Eight – Bovey Castle Hotel
Located in the heart of Dartmoor National Park in Devon, Bovey Castle is a luxury hotel set in 275 acres of beautiful countryside and rolling valleys. First opened as a hotel and golf resort in 1930 by Great Western Railways, the hotel has been extensively refurbished and boasts fabulous bedrooms, a restaurant, brasserie, spa and an award-winning 18 hole championship golf course.
Night Nine – Queens Hotel, Cheltenham
Private Airport transfers from/to London Heathrow
- day 1
September 10: Arrival
On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel where we stay for the next two nights. In the evening you are invited to join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.
- day 2
September 11: Rotherhithe, Mayflower Pub and London
Our first stop today is Rotherhithe – the London homeport where in July 1620, the Mayflower took on board 65 passengers before journeying onwards to Southampton, and eventually Plymouth where it set sail for the ‘Land of the Free’. Rotherhithe has a long seafaring and ship building history and was the home of Christopher Jones, captain of the Mayflower, as well as many other crew members. It is also where the Mayflower returned in 1621. We head to the Mayflower pub in Rotherhithe village, the oldest pub on the River Thames where we enjoy lunch together. This traditional, typically English pub is surrounded by cobbled streets and boasts stunning river views. You can also spot the original 1620 mooring point of the Mayflower. This afternoon we have some free time to explore England’s vibrant capital city of London. You may like to spend your time discovering one of London’s many museums and art galleries, or perhaps enjoy some sightseeing. There will also be time for you to find somewhere for dinner before we return to our hotel.
- day 3
September 12: Southampton, Merchant’s House, Winchester and Winchester Cathedral
Southampton is steeped in maritime heritage. It was a thriving sea port and many of the buildings and streets familiar to the Pilgrims then still exist today. The Mayflower arrived in Southampton in late July 1620, before being joined by the Speedwell, setting sail on 15 August with the intention to sail in company direct to America. We visit Merchant’s House where we take in the history of Southampton’s ‘old town’. Built in about 1290 by a wealthy wine merchant, the house has now been restored to its mid-14th century appearance. We then head to the medieval city of Winchester, ancient capital of England. Winchester’s history is rich and long, with ancient walls, a medieval Round Table, a magnificent military past and an awe-inspiring Norman cathedral. Later, we check in to the Lainston House Hotel where we stay overnight with dinner included.
- day 4
September 13: Lyme Regis and Exeter Cathedral
Lyme Regis is a historic seaside town and fishing port, nestling in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Jurassic Coast. The town has a fascinating maritime heritage and rich history stretching back to the 8th century and we discover more on our guided walk. We continue on to Exeter where we enjoy a guided tour of Exeter Cathedral. Dating back 900 years, it is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere. Notable features include an early set of misericords, a 15th century astronomical clock, a minstrels’ gallery and the longest uninterrupted Gothic vaulted ceiling in the world. From here, we travel to the Bovey Castle Hotel, our base for the next five nights. We enjoy dinner tonight at our hotel.
- day 5
September 14: Coleton Fishacre and Buckfast Abbey
We start our exploration of the region with a visit to Coleton Fishacre, a 1920s Arts and Crafts-style house built for the D’Oyly Carte family. The sophistication of the house’s surviving Art Deco interior contrasts with the magical 30 acre garden, complete with views out to sea. Our next stop is Buckfast Abbey, nestled on the banks of the River Dart. Dating back to 1018, the abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks. Here, we have the chance to explore the Abbey church, wander the tranquil gardens or browse the gift and produce shops. On our way back to the hotel this evening, we stop to enjoy dinner in a traditional country pub.
- day 6
September 15: Greenway, Dartmouth Royal Naval College, Pilgrims Walking Tour and Bayards Cove Inn
We board the ferry to Greenway, the much loved holiday home of the famous author Agatha Christie and her family. Nestled on the side of the River Dart, this atmospheric house is set in the 1950s and contains many of the family’s collections. Next is the picturesque port of Dartmouth. The town has a significant naval history and we start with a private guided tour of the Royal Naval College, home of initial Naval Officer training in the UK since 1863. Here we discover the rich history and role of this building and the naval training conducted here today. Later we enjoy a Pilgrims walking tour where we learn of the town’s links to the Pilgrim Fathers. In August 1620, having made a detour to
Dartmouth, the Pilgrim Fathers departed from Bayards Cove for the New World aboard the Mayflower and the Speedwell. Unfortunately the Speedwell started to sink 300 miles off Land’s End and they all returned to Plymouth from where the Mayflower continued her journey alone to America. Before leaving Dartmouth, we visit Bayards Cove Inn for a relaxing drink. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
- day 7
September 16: Plymouth, Elizabethan House, The Box and The Hoe
Our day is spent in Plymouth, Britain’s ocean city. For more than a thousand years the spectacular waterfront has been a port of call or point of departure for adventurers, emigrants, merchant traders, soldiers and sailors. It was from Plymouth, on 16 September 1620, that the Mayflower and her passengers made their final voyage to the New World. We enjoy a guided walking tour along New Street in the Barbican, one of Plymouth’s oldest streets. The listed buildings, dating back centuries, have retained their historic facades, transporting us into the past. One such property is Elizabethan House. Built in the 1580s, the house is a rare surviving example of its time and still retains many of its original features. Next we visit The Box, which opens in 2020 as the flagship building for the Mayflower 400 commemorations. One of its first exhibitions will be ‘Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy’ – a major show that explores the Mayflower’s epic journey. Afterwards we head to The Hoe to enjoy the stunning views over Plymouth Sound, one of the most perfect natural harbours in the world. Before leaving Plymouth, there is also free time for you to explore further and find a restaurant for dinner before we return to the hotel.
- day 8
September 17: Saltram
This morning we head to Saltram, an elegant Georgian mansion set in a rolling landscape park. Home to the Parker family for several generations, the house is a rare survival of the period; particularly because it comes complete with its original, impressively lavish contents, including stunning paintings, ceramics and textiles. We return to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure before dining together this evening.
- day 9
September 18: Exeter, Bristol and SS Great Britain
Leaving Cornwall we stop en-route back in Exeter, a handsome and compact city that offers a great range of shops and a cobbled quayside area. We continue on to the city of Bristol where we travel back in time with a visit to SS Great Britain, the great-great grandmother for all modern ships. Created in 1843 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the ship has been painstakingly restored and we get under the skin of life at sea as we head beneath the glass sea, walk the SS Great Britain’s history in the Dockyard Museum and step onto the ship itself on our audio-guided tour. From here we make our way to the Queens Hotel in Cheltenham where we stay overnight with dinner included.
- day 10
September 19: Oxford
We spend our final day in Oxford, the city of dreaming spires. On our guided walking tour, we discover the history and many of the magnificent buildings of the city including Christ Church, one of the most famous colleges of Oxford University. Following our guided tour, we have some free time to enjoy the city at leisure. Afterwards, we return to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.
- day 11
September 20: Departure
A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.
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