England UNESCO World Heritage Tour

A 13 day trip to England 
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England's World Heritage Sites evocatively represent the eras of world history: Jurassic fossils, neolithic mystery, Roman frontiers and spas, medieval pioneers, industrial innovators, and an inspiring list of architectural styles. This unique England UNESCO World Heritage tour reveals ­­16 UNESCO sites in 13 days, capturing the eclectic blend of heritage. Every day brings another inspiring monument from centuries past, revealing both historical England and the country's influence on the world. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Places Visited: London, Greenwich, Canterbury, The Cotswolds, Bath, Devon, Dorset, Durham, Northumberland, York, North Yorkshire Moors, Liverpool

World Heritage Sites:  Tower of London, Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, Saint Margaret's Church, Kew Gardens, Maritime Greenwich, Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine's Abbey, St Martin's Church, Blenheim Palace, Stonehenge, City of Bath, West Devon Mining Landscape, Dorset and East Devon Coast, Durham Castle, Durham Cathedral, Hadrian's Wall, Studley Royal Park, Maritime Mercantile Liverpool, Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departure. 

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: London – Evocative Introductions at the Tower of London

The Tower of London stands peerless and unbowed, dominating Central London with its ancient stone turrets and sense of being unconquerable. One glance from the River Thames, and you immediately grasp the symbol of power. On a private tour, you journey through its scale, piecing together how it was built from the 11th to 13th centuries. This Norman-style would spread across Europe, and you'll see the castles it inspired later on this itinerary. An indomitable building of this size was always likely to hide riches, and you enjoy exclusive access to arguably the world's greatest collection of treasures. After the Tower has been officially closed, you're invited to enter the room that houses the British Crown Jewels.

Tens of thousands of precious gems glisten; rubies cover staffs, the world's largest cut diamond glistens from across the room, and your eyes are pulled in so many directions. This closed-door access enables you to appreciate both the intimate detail and the exquisite scale of these treasures fully, with your Jewel House Warden revealing when the Queen uses each of her crowns.

Upon your arrival, you'll be picked up from the airport by your guide and transferred to a five-star hotel in Central London. Throughout the tour, all transfers are by private saloon with your accredited driver guide, with most of the day's timing decided by you. Take time to freshen up and eat lunch before the afternoon tour of the Tower of London and your early-evening closed-door access to the Jewels. Consider reading some of our travelers' reviews about their experiences in England, and see how you can further customize your dream England vacation. 

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, lunch

Day 2: London – Palace of Westminster and Kew Gardens

So much of iconic England seems to line up along the River Thames, famous architecture reflected in the water whenever the sun is shining. Spend the morning wandering along the riverside, starting with the grandeur of Westminster Abbey, coronation site of British monarchs since 1066. Etched into the stone are the famous names of those buried in the crypt while the imposing dome reflects the wealth of England's medieval era. The Palace of Westminster is equally majestic, stretching far along the river and continuing its role as the seat of Parliament. Most of the palace isn't open to the public, but your guide knows how to gain access. You'll have lunch in the palace, in the same restaurant used by members of parliament. This invitational meal allows you to walk through the Palace of Westminster to the restaurant, providing a rare immersion in its opulence. There are few finer buildings anywhere in Europe.

From the imposing and grand, you travel to the sensual tones of the Kew Gardens, the world's first large-scale botanical gardens. Still evolving after 250 years, these gardens are a masterpiece of floral geometry and unusual flora. It's a place to be explored at leisure, every pathway winding to new exotic colors and rare collections of plants. The maze of walkways is interrupted by benches, and there's always a sense of calm at Kew, making it an easy afternoon escape from the noise of the city. As always, your driver guide provides the transfers, and you can decide how long to stay.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 3: London – Space and Time at Maritime Greenwich

Stand on the Greenwich meridian and you're surrounded by the splendor of the 17th and 18th centuries. Zero degrees east is a place of sublime Palladian architecture, every building an ode to Greenwich's world-defining role. It's from here that world clocks and world time zones were defined, with the Royal Observatory revealing the astronomy and navigation that generated world influence. Explore the Royal Naval College, wander through vast stone corridors, and gaze back towards London along the Thames. While Greenwich doesn't have the fame of neighboring World Heritage sites like Westminster and Kew, one glance at the architectural assortment and there's no denying its place. You'll be transferred out here by car, but you return to the city on a Thames river cruise, a chance to sit back and admire the iconic architecture rolling by. The evening is at your leisure.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 4: London – Day Trip to Ancient Canterbury

Landscapes of green fill the windows as you travel southeast, every angle a postcard-worthy view of quintessential rural England. It doesn't take long before you're lost in the lush colors and country lanes, your destination the ancient city of Canterbury. Spires dominate the horizon, and three are entered onto the World Heritage list. St. Martin's is small and surreal, England's oldest church remaining remarkably untouched from Anglo-Saxon times. Nearby Augustine's Abbey is equally old-world, reflecting an era that predates religious wealth and excess. Dominating the old city is Canterbury Cathedral, a monumental creation that blurs the boundaries between Romanesque and Gothic styles. Journey into the far reaches of the Cathedral and the tombs are engraved with iconic names from England's history. It's well worth staying in Canterbury to experience the early-evening choir song when vibrant choral voices help bring modern life and atmosphere into the 11th-century building. The charming cobblestone streets of the old city can keep you entertained through the afternoon, with every corner bringing a new boutique and a traditional tea room.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Blenheim to The Cotswolds – England's Finest Stately Residence

Blenheim Palace dances with romantic excess, every hallway elaborately designed and every window gazing out onto rich cultivated lawns. This is England's finest stately home, inspiring in both scale and intimate detail. Enter along a lengthy driveway and admire the decorative tones that dominate the exterior. Then wander inside and immerse yourself in rooms of 18th-century pomp and razzmatazz. Built as a celebration of England's victory over the French, Blenheim became a blueprint for stately homes across the country. In addition to being a World Heritage Site, this is also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and an excellent exhibition reveals the private life of the man voted as the greatest ever Briton. From Blenheim, it's a short drive into the Cotswolds, a rural landscape that's also defined by romantic tones. Picture thatched roof cottages, oak-lined rivers, and colors that swirl as if from an oil painter's brush. You'll spend the night in a small village that seems unchanged since Shakespeare's time, complete with stocks on the cobbled village square.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Stonehenge to Bath – Neolithic Wonder to Roman Spas

Stonehenge defies description. You could have seen a thousand photos of the Neolithic monument, but only when you're stood before it can you grasp the scale of the achievement. Even today this site remains a mystery, both in its creation and use. You'll journey here early in the morning, before the crowds arrive, to enjoy the eerie atmosphere that accompanies megalithic brilliance. Then onwards to Bath, a city that's on the World Heritage list in its entirety. Architecture spans the centuries, taking you from Roman spas to crumbling medieval stone, then onwards to the fabulous Georgian townhouses that would influence the world. Each era complements the next, the styles blending seamlessly while always evoking the grandeur of yesteryear. After a short tour of the most iconic sights, the afternoon is free for you to soak up the atmosphere and discover what hides behind every street corner. You'll spend the night in Bath, in an 18th-century townhouse synonymous with the city's style.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Devon – From Jurassic Remains to Redolent Copper Mines

Expect two very different World Heritage sites today, complemented by a beautiful scenic drive through remote southern England. Rugged cliffs tumble into the water along the Dorset and East Devon coastline, each unveiling a cross section of life on Earth. This Jurassic coast is crowded with fossils and a walk along the beach will excavate another reminder of life on land and sea from 185 million years ago. This coastline provides an easy introduction to world geology, the cliffs liberally lined with Jurassic remains. It's also a delightful place to stroll, the beaches hidden behind the carved stone cliffs.

Nearby are a handful of tin and copper mines, created in the 18th century and responsible for two-thirds of the world's copper production. The deep mining techniques and technology pioneered here continues to influence the rest of the world; a unique closed-door tour takes you into a maze of tunnels to brilliantly evoke the ambiance of a bygone era. You'll spend the night along the coast, sleeping in a traditional Cornish cottage with views of the cliffs.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Durham – Immersed in the Gothic Beauty of Yesteryear

Gothic architecture can be found all across Europe, hundreds of religious buildings and city halls inspired by towering Durham Cathedral. Enigmatic and endearing, the cathedral is also the largest example of Norman Architecture in England. You'll fly from Cornwall to Newcastle, where you're greeted by the second of your expert guides. Drive to nearby Durham and the cathedral impresses from afar, still towering above the wild landscapes after some nine centuries. Both the Cathedral and Durham Castle are World Heritage sites, remarkable odes to the turn of the last millennia. The city itself continues an ambiance of old-world charm, providing a relaxed afternoon and an introduction to the style of northern England.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Durham – Hadrian's Wall and Frontiers of the Roman Empire

Northumberland is wild and untamed, an expanse of wilderness that rises and falls beyond the horizon. Grass grows high, sheep meander in loose flocks, and it's rare that the panorama is interrupted by man's creation. Drive along the country lanes and the buildings you find aren't those from today, but those from Roman times, memoirs to the northernmost frontier of the Empire. Among them is Hadrian's Wall, surprisingly short yet wonderfully resonant with its slabs of faded stone. Other Roman sites litter the landscape, remains that testify to a land that has never really been tamed. Today takes you on a journey to remote World Heritage sites but also into a very untouched and unchanged part of England, one that's the antithesis of the cultivated green of the Cotswolds. Return to Durham, where you spend another evening in the quaint old city.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 10: North Yorkshire Moors – Cistercian Abbeys and Memoirs to Vikings

Even when you drive south, there's still an overbearing sense of a virgin land; a sweep of hills curve at precipitous angles, the roads climb above the low-lying cloud, and when the landscape is broken, it's because of 12th-century remains. Abbey and monasteries once filled these remote stretches of England, but most were destroyed during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Fountains Abbey has been left in its eery state of ruin, its roof missing and its walls slowly crumbling. It has been preserved rather than restored, something that helps embed an appreciation for its age. Nearby is the City of York, another site that blurs distinctions between the eras, offering a trace of Roman history, memoirs to the Vikings, and central streets of medieval allure. After an afternoon in the city, you continue further into the North Yorkshire Moors countryside for a night in a rural village cottage.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Saltaire to Liverpool – Tracing the Power of the Industrial Revolution

The spine of England's industrial revolution runs along Leeds to the Liverpool canal, connecting a dozen mill towns and once-powerful cities. Saltaire is perhaps the most prominent site, a model village centered on the gargantuan Salts Mill. Imposing and inspiring, the mill towers far above the city, each brown stone a subtly different hue. Exploring the village continues the interpretation of scale; until the last two decades, the mills along the canal were the world's largest industrial buildings. You follow the canal west (by road), winding across the Pennines towards the port that exported England's produce. Liverpool was once the world's largest port and many American residents are descended from those that embarked ships here. Spend the late afternoon and evening around Albert Dock, admiring the architecture funded by the port's wealth and exploring the rich history of an unmissable city.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

Day 12: Liverpool – The Remarkable 13th-Century Military Architecture of Edward I

On your final day, you explore a World Heritage Site that is hardly known outside North Wales. It's less than an hour's drive from Liverpool to Gwynedd, where a series of castles are guarded by circular towers and moats. Even today they appear unconquerable and dramatic, symbols of the crown's power in a foreign land. For many military historians, these castles are the pinnacle of military architecture, impenetrable, unbowed, and three meters thick. Imagine how they must have appeared when they were built in the late 13th century! You'll visit Caernarfon and Conwy castles; if you're feeling energetic, then it's easy to also explore Beaumaris and Harlech castles. Return to Liverpool for a final night in England, surrounded by the World Heritage buildings of the maritime city.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Liverpool to Manchester – Departure

It's a short transfer to Manchester Airport, where you say farewell to your guide and depart World Heritage England. You'll be spotting the influence of the sites you've visited for years to come.

What's Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$4,545
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.