London’s skyline today is characterized by modern high-rise towers, but look hard and you can still see traces of its early history. The Tudor and Stuart monarchs collectively ruled Britain for over 200 years and this time was highly influential on the city’s architecture. We discover Sir Christopher Wren’s rebuilding of the city’s
churches after the Great Fire of London along with visiting magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral. We also travel to the capital’s outskirts to find impressive Tudor houses waiting to be rediscovered.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Individual Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
- May 4, 2020 - May 11, 2020
7 nights at The Royal Horseguards Hotel
Airport private transfers to/from London Heathrow
- day 1
May 4: Arrival (depart U.S. on 5/3)
On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to The Royal Horseguards Hotel, our hotel for the duration of our stay. Tonight, join the group for a welcome drink followed by dinner.
- day 2
May 5: Tower of London, the Monument to the Great Fire of London, St Dunstan in the East Garden and St Paul’s Cathedral
We begin our day at the Tower of London. Founded in 1066, in its time it has housed a famous selection of prisoners including multiple wives and associates of Henry VIII. We will find out more about the history here on our audio guided tour. Our next stop is the Monument to the Great Fire of London, designed by Britain’s famed architect Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1677. Afterwards, we venture to St Dunstan in the East Garden. This unique city garden was built amongst the ruins of a medieval church. The church was severely bombed during World War II, but it wasn’t until 1967 that the City of London decided to turn the remains into a public garden. We head next to St Paul’s Cathedral, with its world-famous dome that remains an iconic feature of the London skyline. The present cathedral was the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren, built between 1675 and 1710 in the Baroque style. We have time to discover the spectacular interiors and the crypt on our guided tour. Back at the hotel this evening, we enjoy dinner together before a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.
- day 3
May 6: Ham House & Gardens and Syon Park
We take a scenic drive to Ham House & Gardens, one of Europe’s greatest 17th-century houses nestling on the banks of the River Thames. This atmospheric mansion with fine interiors and historic gardens has remained virtually unchanged for 400 years and we find out more on our guided house tour. Next we visit Syon Park, the spectacular London home of the Duke of Northumberland. Built in the 16th century, it has been in the family of the present owners for more than 400 years. The Tudor mansion was remodelled by Robert Adam for the first Duke in the 1760s and we learn more about the property on our guided tour.
- day 4
May 7: Sir Christopher Wren’s Churches, Eastbury Manor House and Sutton House
After the Great Fire of London, Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt 51 churches and this morning we take a guided walking tour to see several of the finest places of worship including Temple Church and St Stephen Walbrook. We then travel to the Tudor gentry house, Eastbury Manor House, for a guided tour. Completed in around 1573, little has changed since. Admire the evocative exposed timbers in the attic, an original spiral oak staircase as well as the cobbled courtyard. Our final stop today is Sutton House. Nearly 500 years old, this property was once a Tudor country house for a courtier of King Henry VIII. We have time to explore the house at leisure.
- day 5
May 8: Chelsea Physic Garden, Southwark Cathedral, Globe Theatre and the George Inn
We start the day with a guided tour of the Chelsea Physic Garden. Founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden, with the purpose of training apprentices in the identification and use of medicinal plants, the garden was only opened to the public in the 1980s. Afterwards, we visit Southwark Cathedral, once known as the parish of St Saviour’s and the oldest Gothic church in London. William Shakespeare is perhaps the most famous resident of the parish and his brother Edmund was buried at St Saviour’s. His ledger stone is situated in the Cathedral Choir. We continue to Shakespeare’s Globe where we visit the fascinating exhibition and enjoy a backstage tour to learn more about this iconic theater and its most famous playwright. From
colorful stories of the original 1599 Globe to the faithful reconstruction process of the 1990s, there is plenty to discover. To round off our day we visit the George Inn, the last remaining galleried pub in the capital, before travelling on to enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.
- day 6
May 9: Westminster Abbey, Covent Garden and Banqueting House
Our day begins with a guided tour of the magnificent Westminster Abbey. Founded by Benedictine monks in 960AD, the Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066. A remarkable addition to the Abbey was the glorious Lady Chapel built by King Henry VII, first of the Tudor monarchs. After, we venture to Covent Garden for free time. The West Piazza of Covent Garden Market is known for its street performers that entertain every afternoon. All performers have passed an audition to entertain here and good acts can draw huge crowds. There are also restaurants, cafés and shopping opportunities here. We end the day with a visit to Banqueting House, a survivor of the lost royal Palace of Whitehall. The crowning glory here is the magnificent nine ceiling paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, installed in 1636.
- day 7
May 10: Fenton House and the Charterhouse
The day starts to the north of the city in the leafy suburb of Hampstead, at Fenton House, a handsome 17th-century merchant’s house set in a beautiful walled garden. The house is filled with highly decorative collections of porcelain, early musical instruments and 17th-century needlework. The balcony of the house offers panoramic views of the city on fine days. We continue on to the Charterhouse, a former Carthusian monastery which, in 2017, opened its doors to the public for the first time since its foundation in 1348. Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, the site has served as a private mansion, a boys’ school and an almshouse, which it remains to this day. We enjoy a guided tour of this historic site with one of the ‘Brothers’ (a resident of the almshouse). Afterwards we have free time to enjoy London at our leisure before a farewell dinner together back at the hotel this evening.
- day 8
May 11: Departure
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