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Royal London & The Golden Age of Travel

(Tour code: GAT6)Experience Luxury Aboard the British Pullman

From our base opposite Buckingham Palace, take in the history, splendour and tradition of the Royal Family's London retreats. We journey through the Kent countryside on our glamorous steam train, explore the capital's classic landmarks by boat and on the London Eye, and gain an inside view of the pageantry of the Tower of London during its opening ceremony.

Tour Highlights
  • Rubens Hotel with afternoon tea
  • Journey on the Belmond British Pullman
  • Tour of the Tower of London
  • Thames cruise
  • London Eye private capsule
  • Tour of Kensington or Buckingham Palace
What’s Included (Full details)
  • First Class Rail
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Lunches
  • All Transfers Included
    Optional Bag Concierge
  • All Excursions

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

On many of our UK & Ireland tours, you may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.

Rubens Hotel
Day 1

Afternoon tea at the Rubens Hotel

Our tour begins in the heart of London, as you meet your Tour Manager at the spectacular 4-Star Rubens Hotel. The family-owned hotel is nicknamed "The Rubens at the Palace", due to its proximity to Buckingham Palace. As the cornerstone of state occasions, the palace hosts many eminent guests from around the world; our hotel overlooks the Royal Mews at the palace, the Queen's stables, so the comings and goings of regal daily life can often be seen. After time to settle in, we enjoy a splendid traditional afternoon tea in the hotel's panoramic palace lounge, which has been carefully restored with many lovingly preserved and collected antiques. Following our delicious tea - of pastries, cakes and sandwiches - you are free to discover more of London at your leisure. London is among the world's most vibrant yet enchanting cities - that offers attractions to satisfy anyone's appetite. Our hotel's central location means that many of the city's highlights are within easy reach either on foot or by public transport. Perhaps stroll through St James' Park to Trafalgar Square, home to the superb National Gallery. Alternatively, you could take in the magnificent Westminster Abbey - a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament - or head to the West End for some of the world's most acclaimed theatre productions.

Includes:
  • Afternoon tea
  • Free time in London
British Pullman
Day 2

The Belmond British Pullman

After a relaxed start to the morning, today we walk the sort distance to Victoria station. With its impressive Edwardian Baroque facade hewn from red brick and Portland stone, the station is a fitting start to our fabulous journey on the dazzling Belmond British Pullman - a sister train of the famous Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. The train has been used by several members of the royal family, and also played a central role in the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. On arrival, we check in at the train's designated reception lounge, where we are presented with some personal effects to enhance our experience of this incredible adventure. Everything about the train evokes the glamour that was regularly seen on the railways in the 1920s and 30s, from the hand-painted and polished exterior to the wonderfully detailed designs within, and our pre-boarding experience is no exception. A brass band plays on the platform as the train's liveried staff escort us to our carriage, and we enjoy Champagne and canapés before being shown to our plush seats. Each carriage has been painstakingly restored, and they are now the last word in luxury. The veneered panels are decorated with beautiful Art Deco flourishes, and the polished brass fixtures look over crisp white linen - and lavish mosaic tiles on the bathroom floors. Before long, our steam-hauled train sets off, and you are free to relax as we travel into the glorious Kent countryside. During the journey, we are served a sumptuous five-course fine dining experience, consisting of the finest seasonal delicacies from across the British Isles. As the undulating greenery of the North Downs appears through the windows, the head Steward may be available to detail the fascinating history of the train and its route - and gives an insight into its daily workings. We arrive back at Victoria after a truly unforgettable experience.

Smart day wear is appropriate for your journey on the British Pullman. To ensure that the experience is enjoyed by all, please do not wear jeans, T-shirts or trainers. You may wish to enter into the spirit of the occasion by dressing in period clothing for the 1920s or 1930s.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
  • 5-course lunch
The Tower of London
Day 3

Iconic London landmarks

We transfer to the world-famous Tower of London. Built in 1066 after William the Conqueror's victory at Hastings, the UNESCO-listed fortress has played a prominent role in the country's history ever since, with many vital power struggles amongst the ruling classes taking place here. On arrival we are met by a Yeoman Warder - more commonly known as a "Beefeater" - in traditional vestments. We then head into the complex and watch the special daily opening ceremony from the inside*, before the Tower is opened to the public - an exciting and unique experience. Following this we make our way to see the sparkling Crown Jewels as the public is admitted, before enjoying free time in the castle and its grounds. Having served as both a palace and a prison, there are many interesting things to be discovered, from the 13th century royal chambers to the story of its final prisoners the Kray twins, who were detained here in 1952. Later we walk down to the pier at the nearby Tower Bridge, for a sightseeing cruise on the Thames.

We enjoy a commentary on the landmarks and events that have shaped this famous waterway as we sail to London Eye Pier. On reaching the pier, we disembark for a fast-track admission to the mighty London Eye. We are shown into our private capsule by our butler, who serves us soft drinks or champagne and a light lunch. The butler remains on hand throughout the experience to point out the best positions for photographing the sights, as well as other hidden gems. After returning to ground level, the rest of your day is at leisure. In the immediate vicinity is the Royal Festival Hall and Somerset House by the arty South Bank, where street artists abound the aroma of pop-up restaurants fills the air.

*22 July 2016 departure does not include Tower of London opening ceremony. Instead we visit the Tower of London during normal opening hours.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
  • Tower of London Tour
  • London Eye Private Capsule
  • Thames Cruise
Kensington Palace
Day 4

The Ultimate Royal Day

Shortly after breakfast we transfer to the striking Kensington Palace. This alluring building is currently the official home of Prince William and his young family, and has been a royal residence ever since its completion in the early 17th century. We enjoy a special guided tour of the palace, again before the palace is open to the general public, allowing us to take in the many special sights in an exclusive setting. You then have the chance to explore the gardens, or perhaps wander to the Orangery and admire its intricate interior. Later we take a stroll through Kensington Gardens along the Flower Walk. This attractive promenade is lined with colourful flowers and tropical plants, and ends at the marvellous Albert Memorial, built in memory of Queen Victoria's consort. The statue is on the edge of a district known as 'Albertopolis' - named for Prince Albert's philanthropic endeavours in the area. We then cross the road for a guided tour of the grand Royal Albert Hall. Our tour takes in the history of this fine building, along with its many regal associations including the Royal Box and Royal Retiring Rooms, where the monarchy still entertain guests. The tour concludes with a light lunch, after which you are free to explore. Perhaps visit another of Albert's enterprises, the Victoria & Albert Museum, or visit Harrods for some fantastic shopping.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Excursion
Rubens Hotel
Day 5

Homeward bound

After breakfast in the hotel, you are free to depart, or to spend more time exploring this lively metropolis before making your homeward journey.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
Mark Ormrod
Guest Speaker

Mark Ormrod

Our September 17th departure features a talk from a specialist guest speaker. Professor Mark Ormrod is a graduate of both King's College London and the University of Oxford, he is the Dean of the Faculties of Arts and Humanities at the University of York where he has been a Professor since 1995. Mark is a specialist in the political and cultural history of High Medieval England and has published extensively in the field, he currently has four books and has edited a significant number of works. Mark will deliver an informative talk at the hotel, to get everyone in the mood for the next day. He will talk extensively about the Magna Carta - as 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of its creation - and its sweeping societal and political impact on English culture. On Day 3 Mark will provide a commentary as we visit Runnymede, where Magna Carta was first sealed, and Windsor Castle. This holds a special significance as it marked the focal point of the opposition in the months that followed; it was sieged by rebel forces for two months, but was successfully defended and has been the royal family's favoured residence ever since.

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