South of England Stately Homes & the Isle of Wight

South of England Stately Homes & the Isle of Wight



Renowned for its idyllic countryside and stunning coastline, the picturesque South of England is peppered with spectacular estates and unique homes. Here we uncover captivating stories and antique gems contained within properties such as the impressive Polesden Lacey and opulent Petworth House, which is home to the National Trust’s finest collection of art and sculptures. We combine these fascinating discoveries with a trip to the delightful Isle of Wight, where we delve into the history of the “Garden Isle” with visits to some of the island’s finest treasures including Osborne House, the Italianate seaside retreat of Queen Victoria.

Pricing from

No single supplement – very limited availability!

Trip Type
Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
Departure Dates
May 6, 2025 - May 16, 2025


Nights One & Two – Audleys Wood, Basingstoke A grand Victorian manor house originally built as a private home, the Audleys Wood Hotel is surrounded by lush woodlands and seven acres of private grounds on the edge of Basingstoke in the beautiful Hampshire countryside. The hotel has many period features and bedrooms have been refurbished and offer modern and traditional features.
Nights Three to Six – Royal Hotel, Ventnor (Isle of Wight) Founded in 1832, the Royal Hotel is one of the oldest hotels on the Isle of Wight. Set in subtropical gardens overlooking Ventnor Bay, the hotel offers a bar, restaurant and outdoor swimming pool. The elegant rooms are a lovely place to rejuvenate after a day of sightseeing, sumptuously decorated in fine fabrics and with a flat-screen TV.
Nights Seven & Eight – Harbour Hotel, Chichester Located in the cathedral city of Chichester, the Harbour Hotel is set in a Grade II listed historical townhouse and provides a comfortable, contemporary interior with period features. Elegant ensuite bedrooms offer luxurious bathrooms and furnishings with a flat-screen TV.
Night Nine – Castle Hotel, Windsor The Castle Hotel is the most historic in the town of Windsor and has been delighting guests for centuries, particularly thanks to its wonderful views of the daily Changing of the Guard procession. The en-suite bedrooms blend historic features with modern amenities, while there is also a classic restaurant to enjoy.


VACATION CANCELLATION BY YOU: If you want to cancel your booking after we have confirmed it with you either verbally, over the telephone or by email, you can do so over the phone or in writing. The following cancellation charges will apply:

More than 91 days prior to departure     $1000
90 days or less before departure            100% of the program cost is non-refundable

If any member of your party is prevented from travelling, that person may transfer their place to someone else (introduced by you) providing we are notified no less than two weeks before departure.




  • day 1&2

    Depart your home city and arrive the next day in London/Depart U.S.

    Upon arrival at Heathrow Airport, a private transfer will take you to our hotel, the Audleys Wood Hotel, where we stay for the next two nights. In the evening, we join the group for a welcome drink and canapés, followed by dinner.

  • day 3

    The Vyne, Chawton House & Jane Austen’s House Museum

    This morning, we visit The Vyne, a splendid Tudor red-brick mansion set in 13 acres of attractive gardens. It was built for King Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain before becoming the Chute family home for over 300 years. The Tudor chapel is still largely in its original condition while the richly decorated Oak Gallery is another wonderful survival from this era. We then travel to Chawton House, an Elizabethan manor house that once belonged to Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight. It now accommodates a unique library of titles focusing on women’s writing in English from 1600 to 1830. We enjoy a guided tour here, followed by lunch. Continuing our Jane Austen theme, we take a private visit to the nearby Jane Austen’s House Museum, the charming house in Chawton, where she spent the last eight years of her life. This is where she completed most of her mature writing and now tells the story of the author and her family.

  • day 4

    The Grange & the Isle of Wight

    Today we head to the Grange, a grade II listed building, originally a farmhouse in 1820 expanded into a Gothicized villa, with stone oriel windows and bargeboard gabled wood porch. This National Trust property was home to the Watney-Combe family in the 19th century, who established the Watney Combe & Reid Brewery. We tour the vineyard before lunch and some delicious fine wine.
    Later, we catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight and check into the Royal Hotel, where we stay for the next four nights.

  • day 5

    Mottistone Gardens & Farringford House

    Mottistone Manor, cared for by the National Trust, is an Elizabethan manor house surrounded by beautiful gardens overflowing with Mediterranean plant life, colorful flower borders and shrub-filled banks. We explore special features of the gardens, including an olive grove and organic kitchen garden as well as ‘The Shack’, a cabin retreat used as an architects’ summer drawing office. We then visit Farringford House, the home of the famous poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tennyson lived here from 1853 until his death, in 1892, and the house remained in the family until 1945. More than half a century later, this dramatic Gothic house has been meticulously restored to its 19th-century splendor to reflect Tennyson’s tastes and lifestyle. We enjoy a guided tour of the house and explore its exciting treasures, from Tennyson’s desk to his toy soldiers! Outside, the walled kitchen garden has been lovingly recreated.

  • day 6

    Godshill, Carisbroke Castle, Garlic Farm & Isle of Wight Steam

    The beautiful village of Godshill awaits, with its charming combination of thatched-roofed cottages and quaint tea rooms dotted along the winding streets. Discover the medieval church standing high on the ‘the Hill of the Gods’ and plenty of lovely gift shops – perfect for souvenir shopping. Following this, we head to Carisbrooke Castle, an Elizabethan artillery fortress, a prison for a king and a royal summer residence over the years. Take the chance to explore the museum, walk around the award-winning Edwardian-style garden and admire the panoramic views from the castle walls. The museum was founded by Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, as a memorial to her husband, Prince Henry of Battenburg, and cares for over 30,000 items connected to the Isle of Wight’s history. Our next stop is the island’s award-winning Garlic Farm, in the picturesque Arreton Valley. Explore the rustic farm shop, filled with speciality condiments and all things garlic, before we are treated to a show. We then enjoy a delicious lunch at the restaurant here. Then we climb aboard the award-winning Isle of Wight Steam Railway, wonderfully preserved with a history dating back to the 19th century, with restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages. Enjoy the charm of the quiet rural stations and the island’s scenic beauty during our wonderful day out. The heritage railway was recognized as one of the UK’s leading museum experiences by Arts Council England in 2019 and has been awarded Full Accreditation Status. We then visit the Engine House to learn more, with a guided tour.

  • day 7

    Quarr Abbey & Osbourne House

    Our first visit today is to Quarr Abbey, nestled in the beautiful countryside and home to a small group of Benedictine monks. Founded in 1132, the abbey was demolished under the reign of King Henry VIII and some of its stone was used to build Yarmouth Castle. Today, we can see the ancient ruins and explore the newer buildings, lovely gardens and visitor center, which tells the turbulent story of the abbey. We are then treated to a lovely leisurely visit to Osborne House, purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1845 as a seaside retreat away from London and Windsor. The Italianate palace reflects Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s tastes and passions and boasts spectacular views across the Solent. It is no wonder that Victoria herself once said, ‘it’s impossible to imagine a prettier spot.’ We take an intimate glimpse of royal family life as we wander through the magnificent Royal Apartments as well as the walled gardens and grounds where we find the charming Swiss Cottage, used by the royal children to learn household management.

  • day 8

    Bembridge Windmill

    After checking out of the hotel, we enjoy some free time to explore the picturesque Victorian resort of Ventnor before we visit Bembridge Windmill – managed by the National Trust and the only surviving windmill on the Isle of Wight. Built in 1700, it continued operating until 1913 and still has most of its original machinery intact. Later, we take the ferry back to the mainland and check into the Harbour Hotel, where we stay for the next two nights. After dinner, we enjoy a fascinating talk from a guest speaker.

  • day 9

    Arundel Castle & Goodwood House

    This morning we make our way to Arundel Castle for a private guided tour. This imposing architectural gem is one of the longest inhabited country houses in England, having been the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors since 1067. Although restored and remodelled in the 19th century, many original features remain such as the Norman keep and gatehouse, while the finely preserved interiors are home to priceless works of art. Later, we make our way to Goodwood House, built in 1616-17 by the 9th Earl of Northumberland, whose main home was Petworth. The family of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon have lived here for over 300 years, dating back to the 1st Duke of Richmond – the illegitimate son of Charles II. We enjoy a guided tour of the Old House and the State Apartments, restored to their original Regency splendor to reflect the opulence of this period, followed by a delicious afternoon tea. The current Duke is the founder of the renowned Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival Meeting and although the house is famous throughout the world for its sporting heritage, it also provides a spectacular setting for one of the most significant private art collections in the country.

  • day 10

    Petworth & Polesdon Lacey

    Immortalized in the work of English Romantic Painter Turner, our next stop of Petworth House is an impressive estate that combines a deer park landscaped by Capability Brown with a vast 17th-century mansion, which houses the National Trust’s finest collection of art and sculptures. We discover masterpieces by Van Dyck, Reynolds, Blake and Turner himself, displayed in the opulent state rooms and North Gallery. We then visit one of the National Trust’s most popular properties, Polesden Lacey, described as a ‘delicious house’ by the Queen Mother on her honeymoon there. This peaceful countryside retreat is most closely connected to Dame Margaret Greville, who entertained royalty and the celebrities of her time with lavish parties at the manor, still home to her extensive collection of art and ceramics. We also have time to wander the beautiful gardens that are a delight to explore and boast wonderful views out across the rolling Surrey Hills. Later, we check into the Castle Hotel in Windsor, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.

  • day 11


    A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.

Everything you need to know about the tour

Save this information for later by downloading the full tour brochure.

Be prepared with the National Trust Travel Plan

Since 1973, USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services has served travelers just like you, to help protect their travel plans