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A Wonderful Wiltshire Christmas

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7 days From £1,395 per person
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Savour the highlights of Wiltshire at Christmas, with a trip on the Avon Valley festive steam train, Longleat’s Festival of Light, and a visit to awe-inspiring Stonehenge.

2024 Tour code: WIX25

About the tour

Celebrate an unforgettable Christmas in the charming county of Wiltshire, staying in the delightful cathedral city of Salisbury. This holiday features an exclusive Christmas Eve festive steam train journey into picture perfect scenery, an illuminating evening at the Longleat Festival of Light, a visit to the incredible World Heritage site of Stonehenge, and an itinerary sprinkled with magical excursions, feasting, and merrymaking.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in the medieval city of Salisbury

Our special holiday of festivities begins as we meet at our Georgian hotel in the lovely cathedral city of Salisbury, a medieval market town, our base for this Christmas period. The Mercure White Hart Salisbury is located in the heart of the city, just five minutes' walk from the fabulous 13th century Salisbury Cathedral, a Gothic-style building with elaborate arches and flying buttresses.

After checking into our elegant, 4-star Georgian hotel, there's time at leisure to get to know this enchanting city, and wander the medieval streets that are steeped in history. You could browse the Christmas markets or soak up the atmosphere in one of the many cosy bars, enjoying a drink around a crackling log fire. This evening we join our Tour Manager and the rest of our group for our first dinner together at our hotel.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - A festive day of Christmas wreath-making, Salisbury cathedral and the dazzling Longleat Festival of Lights

We get straight into the Christmas spirit after breakfast, with a festive wreath-making workshop. After a demonstration, we are free to be as creative as we please with a selection of eucalyptus, berries, dried flowers, pine cones and ribbons to build our own unique wreaths. To add to the fun atmosphere, there's mulled wine, Christmas music, hot chocolate and homemade sweets. You can take your wreath home to enjoy for months to come.

There's free time after our workshop to explore Salisbury and possibly to grab a spot of lunch. We then tour the exquisite Salisbury Cathedral. A local guide takes us on a private journey of this 900 year old architectural gem, including a visit to the Chapter House, which houses a 13th century copy of the Magna Carta. With time to explore independently, you may choose to visit the cathedral tower.

We then take a short drive to the stately home of Longleat where we experience the fantastic Festival of Lights event. With a different theme each year, the festival features hundreds of lanterns, which illuminate the 30 acres of 'Capability' Brown landscaped grounds. As the winter sun sets, Longleat is transformed into a dazzling wonderland. We return to our hotel and enjoy a slightly later dinner this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - To the wondrous prehistoric site of Stonehenge

After breakfast, we take the short 8 mile drive to one of England's most famous landmarks, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Stonehenge. Having stood on Salisbury Plain for over 5000 years, Stonehenge is a wonder to behold, and - as our visit coincides with the Winter Solstice - this is sure to be a magical experience. On arrival there's time to explore the museum before we board a shuttle bus to this famous neolithic monument. Gaze in wonder at the huge sarson stones, weighing over 25 tons each, and allow yourself to ponder on this awe-inspiring, mysterious place.

After our journey into prehistoric Britain, we transfer to the small town of Calne for an indulgent afternoon at the Bowood Hotel & Spa. We are greeted with a glass of prosecco before enjoying a festive afternoon tea experience, with seasonal sandwiches, delicious home-baked scones with mulled fruit jam & clotted cream and delicate pâtisserie made by the skilled pastry chef, alongside freshly brewed tea, coffee or hot chocolate. We arrive back at our hotel in the late afternoon and you are free to relax before our group dinner this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Exclusive Christmas Eve journey on the Avon Valley festive steam train

It's Christmas Eve and the festivities are now in full swing. After a delicious breakfast, our coach takes us to the station of Bitton for an unforgettable experience. Here we board a private heritage carriage, exclusive to our group, for a wonderful journey through the countryside on the Avon Valley festive steam train. Our experience starts with a glass of mulled wine before we take our seats. Once the whistle blows and we leave the station with a cheerful chug, look out for a light dusting of snow as we set off into the picture perfect scenery. Regardless of the weather, we will be warm and cosy in our carriage as we enjoy an afternoon tea served at our seats.

We arrive back at our hotel in the late afternoon and, with free time before dinner at 7.30pm, you may like to wander around the Christmas Markets in town or cosy up in an inviting pub for a Christmas Eve pint or glass of wine. After dinner, you may choose to attend the Salisbury Cathedral midnight mass, watch the candlelit King's College Carol Service on television, or simply relax and unwind with your favourite tipple as the twinkling Christmas tree lights add a magical glow to this special evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - A relaxing Christmas Day with lunch and an evening buffet

Happy Christmas one and all! With no planned activities today you can enjoy the day entirely at your own pace, and be as active or relaxed as you wish. Naturally, we have all the Christmas Day meals covered. Once you have enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and opened presents, you might like to take a walk around the town to build up an appetite. Or you may prefer to simply relax in the hotel lounge, enjoying the warmth and festive cheer. This might be a chance to share stories about Christmases past, or as a child, with your travel companions.

After a traditional Christmas day lunch, you might choose to watch the King's Speech or enjoy a post-lunch nap in your new favourite chair before we start to indulge once again with an evening buffet meal. To end the day on a high, our special Christmas day finger buffet includes mini desserts.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Boxing Day in historic Devizes, the Wiltshire museum and lunch

Today, in true Boxing Day tradition, we have a slightly later start. After breakfast, we head off to another characterful little town to explore. Devizes is a historic market town with a colourful Medieval past, a wealth of history and architectural heritage, with more than 500 listed buildings and a large Market Place in the heart of the town. Our first stop is the Wiltshire Museum where we have an exclusive private guided tour followed by time to look around at our own pace. The museum's fascinating displays describe Wiltshire's history, ranging from Stonehenge and Roman times to a Saxon Gallery and the story of the formation of the Kingdom of Wessex. Lunch is provided by a local café, and then there's time to explore the town under our own steam.

Once back at the hotel, we have time to relax before the finale of our holiday, a delicious Boxing Day dinner. We dine together for the last time this evening, enjoying a 3-course meal, topped off with chocolate treats.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Homeward bound

After breakfast, our holiday reaches its end. You are free to checkout and set off home, or you could continue to explore the amazing county of Wilshire on your own. Regardless of which option you choose, you are certain to take home memories to cherish for many more Christmases to come.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Mercure White Hart Hotel, Salisbury

Mercure White Hart Hotel, Salisbury

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Train

Avon Valley Festive Steam Train

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