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The best of southern England, from quaint leafy villages, to country manors and castles

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  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers
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  • Expert local guides in each destination
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

After flying into London, you’ll head straight to the heart of the idyllic English countryside, with your first three nights spent in Sussex. From here you will have a range of visits to notable, historic country estates, such as Chartwell – the home of previous prime minister Winston Churchill. You’ll also visit Squerryes Country Estate where you will enjoy an exclusive wine tasting in regal reception rooms usually closed to the public.

Next you will find yourself in the glorious surrounds of the South Downs, where you will enjoy the next three nights in a refurbished castle, dating back to the 14th century. Next, you will feel like the star of a period drama with a visit to the 18th-century Petworth House. No trip to southern England is complete without a game of croquet, and after your private class, you’ll soon be near experts in this most traditional of English sports.

After enjoying the charm of The New Forrest, once William the Conqueror’s old hunting estate, literary fans will rejoice in a tour of Jane Austen’s home town, followed by a visit to Chawton House Library.

You will finish your tour with three nights in The National Trust’s Cliveden House, with over 350-years of history behind its walls. From here you’ll tour several areas of historic interest such as Oxford, Windsor Castle and the home of the Magna Carta, to end your trip with a deep understanding of this country’s intricate past.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-4

Sussex

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Airside meet and greet at London Heathrow airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Sussex

Accommodation in Sussex

Chartwell Chartwell

Visit Chartwell, the country home of Britain’s most famous Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Chartwell was very much a family home and contains many personal objects which recount the history and lives of the Churchill family. The house was also a sanctuary for Sir Winston and today his studio contains the largest single collection of his paintings.

Knole Knole

Sitting proudly within Kent’s last medieval deer park, Knole offers something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the vast estate and follow in the footsteps of those who have visited Knole’s showrooms for 400 years. Originally built as an archbishop’s palace, Knole passed through royalty to the Sackville family, who still live here today. Take in the scale and magnificence of this 600-year-old estate by exploring the grand courtyards and tranquil Orangery or wander the winding paths in the parkland, still populated by wild deer.

squerryes-sparkling-wine
Squerryes Country Estate Squerryes Country Estate

The county of Kent is known as the Garden of England and is situated just to the south east of London. At Squerryes country estate, you’ll be welcomed by the owner and his family and enjoy the opportunity to learn about how an English country estate is managed in the 21st century. The house and grounds are usually closed to the public, but you’ll visit the elegant reception rooms with their wonderful collection of paintings, including many family portraits, and drive across the estate to view the vineyards where some of the best English sparkling wine is produced. You’ll have a chance to sample some of this wine at a private tasting hosted by the estate’s wine expert.

Standen House Standen House

This family home set in a beautiful hillside garden offers stunning views across the idyllic Sussex countryside. Designed by Philip Webb, the house is one of the finest examples of Arts and Crafts workmanship, with Morris & Co. interiors creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The house is dressed for a weekend stay in 1925, so you can imagine you are a guest of the family. A major restoration of the 5-hectare hillside garden showcases year-round seasonal highlights and an award-winning plant collection. On the wider estate, footpaths lead out into the woodlands, Ashdown Forest and wider High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Nymans Nymans

A garden lovers' home for all seasons, with an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house and ruins. One of the National Trust's premier gardens, Nymans was a country retreat for the creative Messel family, and has views stretching out across the Sussex Weald.

Here you can recharge your batteries , while you explore this beautiful place, discovering hidden corners through stone archways, walking along tree-lined avenues while surrounded by lush green countryside. From vibrantly colourful summer borders, to the tranquillity of ancient woodland, Nymans is a place of experimentation with constantly evolving planting designs and a rare and unusual plant collection. The comfortable yet elegant house, a partial ruin, reflects the personalities and stories of the talented Messel family, from the Countess of Rosse to Oliver Messel and photographer Lord Snowdon.

There is a large shop and plant centre with our special collection of plants grown on site, a cafe offering a choice of seasonal food made by us, and a Grab & Go kiosk in the tea garden. Every day there are guided walks and talks in the garden and woods, a small gallery in the house with changing exhibitions for every season, a secondhand bookshop, shop tastings and mobility tours of the garden and woods.

For children there are plenty of opportunities for natural play, geocaching in the woods, pick up and go activities and seasonal trail.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in West Sussex

Days 4 - 7

West Sussex

Accommodation in West Sussex

petworth-house-interior
Petworth House tour Petworth House tour

Petworth House is a sprawling 18th century mansion now in the care of the National Trust. It contains one of the best collections of artwork in a country house setting in England, with priceless works by Titian, Bosch, Claude, Ruisdael, Teniers, Van Dyck, Lely, Kneller, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Blake and, most famously of all, landscape paintings by J. M. W. Turner, who was friends with the owner at the time and came to stay at Petworth and paint on numerous occasions.

Weald and Downland Museum Weald and Downland Museum

The Weald and Downland Museum is a unique open-air museum nestled in a Sussex valley. Its carefully-reconstructed houses give a fascinating insight into domestic life across the centuries.

croquet-balls
Learn to play croquet Learn to play croquet

At your hotel, enjoy a round of one of the most English of sports, croquet. An expert tutor will guide you through the game and teach you the subtle rules that govern the sport.

Portsmouth tour Portsmouth tour

Portsmouth packs a historical punch with a story that goes back to the kings of France via the Mayflower and the D-Day Landings. Its literary connections encompass Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Jane Austen and the last legally valid dual ever held in England took place in the city. Accompanied by your guide, visit the Spinnaker Tower for panoramic views over Portsmouth and the Solent and discover naval history at the world-class Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel near the New Forest

Days 7 - 9

The New Forest

Accommodation near The New Forest

The New Forest The New Forest

The New Forest is William the Conqueror’s old hunting estate and today is preserved as a national park. The unique landscape of open heaths and woodland, home to wild ponies that roam freely across villages and country roads. Accompany your local guide on a highlights tour of the New Forest including Buckler’s Hard, a perfectly preserved shipbuilding village and the region’s premier country house, Beaulieu, also home to the the National Motor Museum.

Beaulieu behind-the-scenes-tour Beaulieu behind-the-scenes-tour

A typical New Forest village with an exceptional heritage, at the heart of Beaulieu lie the ruins of the Cistercian Abbey and the 13th-century Palace House. Combined with the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu has become one of the most exceptional sites in the region. Join your Beaulieu host on a bespoke tour which will take you beyond the regular visitor route to meet the team behind-the-scenes in some of the hidden quarters of this site and see the in-house team at work in the private workshops.

Winchester Winchester

Formerly the capital of England, Winchester retains many important buildings and is one of the country’s finest cathedral cities. Jane Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral and her place of rest is an important but sombre stopping point for fans of the author.

Jane Austen's Hidden Hampshire Jane Austen's Hidden Hampshire

Today your guide will take you to some of the hidden sites connected to the life of Jane Austen. In the village of Steventon you’ll visit the church where her father was rector. The nearby village of Ashe is a typically picturesque Hampshire village and it was here that Austen’s friends the Lefroys lived.

Chawton House Library Chawton House Library

The local manor house in the village of Chawton was once owned by Jane Austen’s brother, Edward. Today, it contains a unique collection of books written by some of Britain’s most important female writers including Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Berkshire

Days 9 - 12

Berkshire

Accommodation in Berkshire

Aerial view of Oxford and the Bodleian Library, England, UK
Oxford walking tour Oxford walking tour

The presence of Oxford University can be felt throughout the centre of this august city. Nicknamed the City of Dreaming Spires, the patchwork of college buildings, churches and quaint streets make Oxford a beautiful place to discover the stories surrounding some of the most important characters in British history. Your local guide will tailor a tour around your interests, whether it be college gardens, religion, stained glass or Inspector Morse or Harry Potter.

Blenheim Palace Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is grand, aristocratic and bold, quite suitable for the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The Palace was originally a gift to the 1st Duke of Marlborough from a grateful nation and was later saved from ruin by the dowry of an American heiress. Today, the Palace thrives as one of Britain's most impressive pieces of architecture.

Windsor Castle Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is still very much a working castle, and is the favourite home of Her Majesty the Queen. The magnificent state rooms provide an overview of architectural and interior design over the centuries and there is no shortage of stories about the characters who once filled these rooms. Windsor town is also a perfect place for some souvenir shopping. Please note that the castle is a working institution and subject to last minute closures.

Runnymede Runnymede

This water-meadow alongside the River Thames in Surrey is known for its association with the sealing of Magna Carta, and as a consequence is, with its adjoining hillside, the site of several memorials. In a grassed enclosure, on the lower slopes of Cooper's Hill, stands the Magna Carta Memorial. Nearby you'll also find the twin Urban H. Broughton Memorials, and the Air Forces Memorial.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Heathrow Airport

Transfer

Airside departure assistance

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