Best of British Tour

16 days from $8,467 pp twin share

  • Leisurely 2 and 3 night stays
  • Small groups from just 10 to 28
  • Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
  • Character hotels in superb locations
  • Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
  • 'My Time' guaranteed

Tour Overview

A magical tour with two, three & four night stays in Tortworth, Yorkshire, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Lakes District and Scotland. Enjoy numerous visits to castles, country mansions and beautifully landscaped gardens plus unique excursions such as a ‘Braveheart’ tour, exploring the honey coloured villages of the Cotswolds and as an extraordinary finale dine and stay overnight in the glorious Leeds Castle - 'the loveliest castle in the world'.

Highlights

  • Stay 3 nights in historic Bath and visit the remarkable stone megaliths of  Stonehenge
  • Explore the ruins of Glastonbury and  Bath’s Roman Baths and Pump room
  • Take in the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge above the River Avon
  • Spend a day touring the stunning Lake District and cruise on Lake Windermere 
  • Sample a ‘wee tipple’ at The Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Cross the drawbridge to visit Edinburgh Castle
  • Indulge in a decadent afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms in Harrogate
  • Board a heritage train and ride to Whitby
  • Stay 3 nights in Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • Discover Oxford on a guided walking tour
  • Spend an afternoon exploring the villages of the Cotswolds 
  • Enjoy your final night with an exclusive stay in Leeds Castle
  • Experience a grand farewell Dinner in Lady Baillie’s Dining Room


Get yourself ready for the Best of British Tour by reading more information on Britain and Scotland from our helpful destination section!


 

Message from the Mo

Think of Twiggy in her mini

40 to 50 years ago, when super-model Twiggy was driving her sparkling mini along Britain’s newly laid motorway systems, it was quite possible to zip around the country in no time at all. In that long ago era British coach touring itinerary styles evolved and even then, they were at a mad pace, littered with one night stops. Half a century later this same senseless touring style is still promoted everywhere yet these motorways are now so clogged they are more like car parks! Despite incredible congestion combined with massively increased tourist numbers those itineraries have not changed. Due to these new time constraints they have no time to explore the gardens of a stately home or grab a leisurely drink in a delightful country pub! Astonishingly, incredible sites and landmarks are actually disappearing from itineraries or becoming snappy photo stops. One example is Warwick Castle.

A fantastic, amazing visit for which you need to set aside about 3 hours to really enjoy. Yet virtually all ‘those’ itineraries find this inconvenient so they have dropped it! Ridiculous!Albatross will not do that. I am so proud of our Best of British tour. With 2 and 3 night stays throughout and our unique style of touring we have time to do Britain justice. Just look at the pace of our tour and the incredible list of unique excursions and events we are able to include. Isn’t this why you are visiting Great Britain?
 

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Stonehenge and Bath

Your tour departs from London at 9am. Travelling west we reach Salisbury Plain where we visit the remarkable megaliths of Stonehenge. After time at leisure in nearby Salisbury, we continue to Bath where we stay for the next three nights.

Meals:
D
Hotel:
Francis Hotel

Day 2: Glastonbury and 'My Time' in Bath

A leisurely start this morning before we drive into Somerset to visit Britain’s earliest Christian sanctuary – the famous ruins of Glastonbury. Legendary burial place of King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere, Glastonbury was once the grandest and richest abbey in England. Later we visit Bath’s famous Roman Baths and Pump room. The remainder of your afternoon and evening is at leisure to explore Bath’s picturesque Abbey, the Georgian crescents, sights and shops.

Meals:
B

Day 3: Tintern Abbey & the Clifton Suspension Bridge

This morning we take a scenic drive beside the winding, picturesque River Wye through the delightful Welsh borderlands. The highlight of your day will be a visit to the ancient ruins of Tintern’s Cistercian Abbey, romantically set in a peaceful forest and providing inspiration to poets through the centuries. We will also visit Monmouth and enjoy a photo stop at Chepstow Castle. Set high above the River Wye, this Norman Castle dates back nearly 1,000 years.

On the outskirts of Bristol we will also stop to take in the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by the great Victorian
engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which gracefully spans the River Avon. Later we return to Bath. Dinner tonight is included in a local restaurant.
 

Meals:
B
D

Day 4: Medieval Chester & Lake District

Heading north, we arrive into Chester late morning. Rich in Roman ruins, Chester also has a wonderfully preserved
medieval centre, full of half-timbered houses and the famous ‘Rows’ – double level, balconied shopping arcades that date
back to the Middle Ages, 700 years ago. Whilst exploring this incredibly historic town make sure you take a walk along the perfectly preserved, red stone, Roman city walls. Mid afternoon we continue to the picturesque Lake District 

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
MacDonald Old England Hotel and Spa

Day 5: Lake District sightseeing

We will spend a delightful day touring the famous Lake District. This morning we visit Ambleside and Grasmere where we visit Dove Cottage, once home to the poet William Wordsworth. Later this afternoon we have included a private cruise on Lake Windermere.

Meals:
B

Day 6: New Lanark and Edinburgh

Crossing into Scotland we enjoy a morning tea stop in Gretna Green before we reach the New Lanark World Heritage Site, a sensitively restored 18th century cotton mill village in South Lanarkshire. The giant mill wheels still sit over the torrential river and the 200 year old terraced houses have been restored offering an intriguing look at the workers family life two centuries ago. Later we continue to Edinburgh, where we stay for the next three nights. Before arriving at your hotel we have included a tour and tasting to sample a ‘wee tipple’ at the Scotch Whisky Experience. 

*Subject to availability of tickets, the 29 July & 12 August departures may include attending a performance of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo one evening during our Edinburgh stay.

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Apex Hotel Grassmarket

Day 7: Edinburgh sightseeing and ‘My Time’

After a hearty Scottish breakfast, we are joined by a local guide to discover this city’s rich history. The highlights of your morning will be crossing the drawbridge to visit Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city’s skyline, and visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia. Your afternoon and evening are at leisure in this grand city.

Meals:
B

Day 8: Callander and ancient Stirling

Today you have a choice – enjoy a free day in Edinburgh or join us as we visit Stirling and the Trossachs. This morning we travel to the Trossachs and the town of Callander, in the heart of Rob Roy country. Set dramatically beneath high, wooded crags, this delightful town with its tearooms, craft and woollen shops makes the ideal morning tea stop. Continuing on we visit Stirling, the ancient capital of Scotland, that lies at the heart of the nation’s history. The streets of the old town wind upwards towards the castle, 250 feet up on a craggy rock. Our local guide takes us through this grand fortification, with its splendid views across the countryside to the Wallace Monument – built in commemoration of this legendary Scottish hero, William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace. Tonight we have arranged an unmissable evening. Enjoy dinner, including a taste of haggis, neeps and tatties & traditional Scottish entertainment including bagpipes, fiddles and dance.
 

Meals:
B
D
William Wallace

Hand Selected Experience

Och aye, the noo!

Think of historical Scottish characters and vivid images of Rob Roy and William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace immediately spring to mind. What could be better than dedicating a full day in the stomping grounds of these larger than life heroes? That is why Albatross plan a fascinating day in the landscape of the Trossachs and our expert, local guide spins wee yarns as we follow their immortal footsteps through Stirling Castle. A day of legends!

Day 9: Alnwick Castle & Durham

Crossing the border into England and Northumbria, we reach striking Alnwick Castle where we have included a privately guided visit. Dating back 1000 years the grand staterooms and lavish furnishings will not disappoint. Home to the current Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle is also famous for having featured in numerous TV series and movies such as special editions of Downton Abbey, and of course as mysterious ‘Hogwarts’ in the Harry Potter series. In the afternoon we will also enjoy a stop in the beautiful city of Durham with its majestic cathedral. Later we continue to the spa town of Harrogate where we stay the next three nights.

*10 June & 8 July departures stay at Dean Court Hotel in York.

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Crowne Plaza, Harrogate

Day 10: York sightseeing and Betty’s Café Tea Rooms

This morning will be spent in the nearby city of York.After a city orientation tour the rest of the morning will be at leisure. Make sure you visit the Minster, the largest gothic church in England, go shopping in narrow streets around the historic ‘Shambles’ (the preserved medieval street) or maybe walk along the Roman built city walls. This afternoon we return to Harrogate to indulge in a decadent afternoon tea of dainty sandwiches, handmade cakes, scones and specialty teas experience, in the Imperial Room at ‘Betty’s Café Tea Rooms’. This private room with its beautiful 1920s plasterwork and oak fittings offers unrivalled views of the Montpellier Gardens. 

Meals:
B

Day 11: Train to Whitby, Whitby Abbey & Captain Cook Museum

Driving east, we stop at Pickering where we board a heritage train of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the ride to the coastal town of Whitby, once home to the famous explorer Captain Cook. Sit back and relax as we pass by charming villages, such as Goathland - known to many as Aidensfield in the television series Heartbeat, and the bewitching Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film. Arriving in Whitby, we visit both Whitby’s Benedictine abbey and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum before enjoying a fish & chip lunch.

Meals:
B
L
D
Whitby

Hand Selected Experience

I’m not sure that Captain Cook ate fish and chips here but we certainly do! One of the world’s greatest maritime explorers and surveyors, and indelibly linked to Australia and New Zealand’s ‘discovery’, James Cook learned his seaman’s craft here. Standing in the ruins of Whitby Abbey, perched high on the East Cliff headland, it is stimulating to gaze down on historic Whitby town, where the great Captain Cook lived and called home. His ship ‘The Endeavour’ was built here, and exploring the streets and quayside is so interesting. Our visit also includes a fascinating visit to his house in Whitby’s Grape Lane which is
now the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. Now add a fun, heritage train ride across the famous Yorkshire Moors and we
enjoy such a rewarding day. Oh yes, and don’t forget the tasty fish and chip lunch!

Day 12: Chatsworth House & Stratford-upon-Avon

A leisurely start as we drive south into Derbyshire to reach Chatsworth mid morning. Here we enjoy a guided visit of stately Chatsworth House with its glorious interior, treasure rooms and gardens complete with an ornate maze and the 300 year old water ‘Cascade’, falling 200 metres down the hill in a series of 24 steps. Arriving in Stratford-upon-Avon we visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage before settling into our central hotel, where we stay for the next three nights.

Meals:
B
Hotel:
Mercure Shakespeare

Day 13: Warwick Castle and ‘My Time’ in Stratford-upon-Avon

This morning we visit nearby Warwick and its medieval castle. An expert local guide will join us to breathe life into a thousand years of secrets which hide in the shadows of the castle – tales of murder, mystery, intrigue and scandal. After also visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace the rest of the day and evening will be free to relax and wander the streets of Elizabethan Stratford-upon-Avon.


 

Meals:
B

Day 14: Oxford and the Cotswolds

Today we visit Oxford, home to one of Europe’s oldest and most famous universities. A local guide takes us on a walking tour around the city and its colleges. Later this afternoon we will wander leisurely through one of the most beautiful and unique regions in England – the Cotswolds. Our country drive will take us through famous villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water and we enjoy an afternoon stop in Broadway. Tonight enjoy a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings in a local restaurant.

Meals:
B
D

Day 15: Magnificent Leeds Castle

Travelling south we skirt London and enjoy a morning stop in Windsor. Later we continue into the heart of Kent and arrive at Leeds Castle where we stay our last, and most memorable night! Set romantically on an island surrounded by a broad moat, the Castle, Gatehouse and Maiden’s tower comprise one of the world’s greatest sights. Tonight the entire castle becomes ours to enjoy! We have included a private tour through the grand staterooms, halls, library, chapel and the 13th century section of the castle. Later, in the Library, we will enjoy a pre-dinner drink before our farewell dinner in Lady Baillie’s Dining Room.

Meals:
B
D
Hotel:
Leeds Castle

Day 16: To London

Mid morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we will transfer to St Pancras and Paddington stations, in central London, where your tour ends. 
 

Meals:
B

Incredible Value Inclusions

Over $1,600 extras already included

  • ALL excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
  • ——Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
  • ——Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
  • ——15 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
  • ——Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
  • ——25 Meals – including English/Scottish breakfast daily (B), 1 fish & chip lunch and 9 dinners including a traditional Scottish evening, roast dinner in Stratford-Upon Avon and farewell dinner in Leeds Castle (D)
  • ——Tea, coffee and a complimentary beverage with all included dinners
  • ——Afternoon tea at Betty’s tearooms in Harrogate
  • ——Hand Selected Albatross Experiences - Private cruise Lake Windermere, Captain Cook's Whitby
  • ——Local guides as described in the itinerary
  • ——ALL tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and Local Guides
  • ——Personal audio system whilst on tour
  • ——Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotels
  • ——Albatross Travel App and ‘On Tour’ Travel Map
  • ——Albatross Memories Photobook

No additional 'on tour' costs!

Your Hotels

Francis Hotel, Bath

Francis Hotel, Bath – 3 Nights

Located in the heart of the historic city of Bath, the Francis Hotel is a Regency style townhouse close to galleries, markets and the Georgian buildings on The Circus. The hotel features individually designed guest rooms as well as a bar and lounge to relax in the afternoon.
 

MacDonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Lake District

MacDonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Lake District – 2 Nights

Standing directly on the shore of Lake Windermere, the historic Macdonald Old England Hotel and Spa is set in the heart of the Lake District National Park. One of the finest 4-star Lake District hotels,
the hotel offers modern rooms with all the essential amenities.

Apex Hotel Grassmarket, Edinburgh

Apex Hotel Grassmarket or Apex City of Edinburgh – 3 Nights

This contemporary 4-star hotel is located in the heart of Edinburgh’s old town area. The comfortable bedrooms offer all the essential modern amenities.

Crowne Plaza, Harrogate – 3 Nights

This modern 4 star hotel is conveniently located in the city centre within walking distance of the main attractions.  The hotel’s guest rooms offer comfortable, modern décor and facilities.  

Mercure Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Mercure Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon – 3 Nights

This delightful half-timbered Elizabethan style hotel exudes all the character and style you would expect of a hotel set in the very heart of Stratford-upon-Avon. The 4-star hotel boasts an excellent location, within easy walking distance of all the main sights, making the ‘Shakespeare’ a wonderful base for you to come and go at leisure.

Autumn Gold Thorpe Hall, Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, Kent – 1 Night

You are in for a treat! Albatross Tours have chartered the entire castle for your pleasure to ensure you experience this breathtaking castle to the fullest. With a butler, wait staff and a footman available for your service you will enjoy an unforgettable experience at Leeds Castle.

View the Leeds Castle room options

Tour Reviews

Kim and I commenced our tour on August 9th 2014. What an amazing tour we had! It was everything and more than we expected. There were three main reasons we chose this tour with your company (previous tours have been with APT on boat cruises which we loved). 

The first was the small number in each group - a maximum of 30. As it was, there were 17 in our group which was a fantastic size. All being Australian (this was another reason we chose your company), all about our age group and all lovely people. Everyone had a sense of humour and we mixed together quite well without any unpleasantness and looked out for each other, all of which added to our enjoyment of the tour. The third reason for choosing your company was the relaxed touring. We loved having 2 and 3 night stays and some free time at each stop to do our own thing.

Our Tour Manager was extremely well organised and always friendly, helpful, patient and informative and probably highly amused by these Aussies and their humour. We thoroughly enjoyed the little surprises (Churchill's grave sight as one example) and the thoughtfulness (chocolates to celebrate a birthday for example) along the way. 

Our drivers were excellent, careful, safe drivers and looked after our luggage and belongings capably. With a full sized coach for only 17 people we had plenty of room to be very comfortable and a toilet on board for emergencies was great.

The places we visited were wonderful. We enjoyed the different hotel accommodation. The most special place was of course Leeds Castle where we were made to feel very important. What an amazing stay that was!

Thank you very much for a truly fantastic experience. We would recommend your company for others considering travelling.

Ellaine and Kim

Having had 50 years of group touring around many countries this last tour has been the best outside Australia I have experienced. The bus was clean, comfortable and driven by an expert in traffic jams. The hotels were comfortable and well-located. The food was superb and plentiful.

The most important parts of the tour: Being able to "stay put" for 2 or 3 nights is a real bonus (none of that bags out by 6:30 am), having time to visit the castles and cathedrals, not being marshalled around like school children on an excursion but being able to follow one's interest whilst visiting an area. Enjoying the informative commentary and  tips on activities available during a stopover. Our group leader Stephen was the quintessential English gentleman. Thank you for providing a wonderful happy tour.

Claire

Bath
I liked the longer stays in cities visited.Our Tour Manager ensured all of the group's needs were addressed and satisfied in the most pleasant manner. Accommodation was of a good standard generally. Dinners provided were excellent, preferable to continual buffets. I also liked the fact overall costs includes tipping.
 

Denise

Firstly, to the most important component of the Tour, our Tour Manager. He performed his duties excellently as far as overall performance, knowledge and organisational skills were concerned. He really made the tour the outstanding experience it was. It was obvious that our Tour Manager was very passionate about his role  as a mentor, guide and educator. I could not get over the depth and breadth of his knowledge, not just about what was on the “curriculum”, but about all sorts of information, sometimes peripheral to the “main course”, but very interesting to know, and which provided an extra dimension to an already very satisfying experience. Yes, I was told by one who sat up the front that he did have some form of briefing notes at times, but much of the time he spoke extemporaneously and informally, and was invariably able to answer most questions posed to him. All this in a friendly and good natured manner. His organisational skills came to the fore when he was always able to arrange priority entry to attractions, and give us advice about how to make the best of our time within them. He also showed flexibility when required as far as the program was concerned, and was happy when possible to meet individual requirements. All in all, a top effort.
 
Our main driver also did a great job and proved an affable and invaluable member of the management team. His skill in getting us into places that other tour coach drivers might be reluctant to go to was appreciated.
 
The tour itself, I really could not fault it, Sure, there may have been a few minor glitches, but this has to be expected on such a tour, and in no way detracted from my wife and my enjoyment. We particularly appreciated the 3-4 day stays in most centres, the unique hotels and the free time provided.
 
Although Albatross is generally more expensive than other “mainstream” operators, we consider it well worthwhile to spend a little more and get a more friendly, personal and unique experience. We certainly will be recommending your product to our friends.
 

Bob

Just a note to say that we really enjoyed the trip - it was everything we hoped it was and more. The three night stays and the heritage hotels were the main reasons we booked with you. We could not find any similar tours. The hotels were great as were the Abatross crew. They were very informative and a pleasure to be with. We will not hesitate to encourage our friends and family to look into your tours. Thanks again for a wonderful trip.

 

Albert & Linda

A well thought out and professional tour. 

Ian, travelled in May

Castle Howard Yorkshire - courtesy of John Funnell

Tour manager, Steve, was very well organised and very knowledgeable, imparting a lot of interesting information, but not too much! Coach driver, Jim, was very good and utterly unflappable - we felt very safe.

The last night in Leeds Castle was a very special experience - a real highlight of the tour.

 

Rhonda, travelled May 2016

Leeds Castle, England  - courtesy of Megan Thackray

I really liked the small numbers of persons in the group, ability to go "off" the itinerary to look at other interesting things. The 3 day stop overs were very relaxing and our guide and bus driver were very informative.

Gordon

Harrogate, Yorkshire

16 days is perfect. The 3 nights stays are perfect. You have got it right!! And I feel I have seen UK/Britain well - completely satisfied.

Vegetarian food options were very good.

Judy

Beatles Story, Liverpool

A wonderful holiday that I will always remember. Langdale Hotel was superb, Scottish show was wonderful, Betty's Tea Room (wow) and Leeds Castle dinner and bedroom was amazing.

Our host Tour Manager and Drivers were incredible.

 

Geoff

Betty's Tea Room, Harrogate

I really enjoyed this tour and I have a feeling that I have done and completed Great Britain. Excellent tour!

Benedikt

Glastonbury Abbey, Britain

The tour was excellent and exceeded our expectations. We could not have wished for more! Our tour manager, Victor, was both knowledgeable and passionate about the UK. We were engaged for the whole trip.

If anything we would have loved to spend more time the Yorkshire area, in particular Durham, Stratford and Whitby.

Thank you for a wonderful trip! Our highlight was Leeds Castle - what a way to finish our trip!

Karen, who gave us the Oxford tour was absolutely fantastic. She took us through the college and her knowledge made all the difference. I have loved this tour. Thank you Albatross!

Dates and Prices

Start Date End Date Price Per Person Guaranteed to Depart Availability
20 May 2019 4 Jun 2019 NZD $8,795
NZD $8,595
Space Available
10 Jun 2019 25 Jun 2019 NZD $8,905
NZD $8,705
Space Available
8 Jul 2019 23 Jul 2019 NZD $8,905
NZD $8,705
Space Available
29 Jul 2019 13 Aug 2019 NZD $9,065
NZD $8,865
Space Available
12 Aug 2019 27 Aug 2019 NZD $9,065
NZD $8,865
Space Limited - Call Now
2 Sep 2019 17 Sep 2019 NZD $8,467
NZD $8,267
Space Available

Book Early and SAVE!

SAVE $200 per person when you book and deposit by 21 December 2018. That's a saving of $400 per couple! Further discounts may also apply.

Club Albatross

Have you travelled with Albatross Tours previously? Save $200 on our European Summer and Oberammergau tours (over 8 days) or $100 on our Festive tours.

No Additional 'On Tour' Costs

Over $100 value of extras per day are already included. There are no additional 'on tour' costs - even your end of tour tips are included!