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Charming Houses of the Cotswolds

Self drive

5days from
£1,029*per person

Overview

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds is a pastoral landscape of gently rolling hills, idyllic views and quintessentially English market towns and villages of honey-coloured stone where time seems to have stood still. These postcard-perfect scenes are complemented by some fine historic treasures, ranging from ancient Sudeley Castle, Elizabethan Chavenage House and Jacobean Stanway House to exotic Sezincote and the epitome of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Rodmarton Manor. We admire these varying architectural styles during our tranquil retreat and also journey back to the golden age of steam travel aboard the heritage Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.

Itinerary

  • Check in to the Leonardo hotel Cheltenham in the afternoon. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager.
  • Our day begins with refreshments and a captivating talk at the exquisite Cotswolds gem of Sudeley Castle, focusing on its extensive history and its important role in England’s turbulent past. Once a royal residence closely associated with famous monarchs such as Henry VIII and Charles I, it remains the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds – Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of King Henry VIII. The castle rooms contain many fascinating treasures from ancient Roman times to the present day while outside are award-winning gardens (look out for Percy the peacock)! After exploring the wonderful estate we enjoy lunch here. Next is a guided tour at Stanway, a fine example of a Jacobean manor house built from mellow Cotswold stone. Home to the Earls of Wemyss, the house is noted for its beautiful architecture including Jacobean mullions and gables, and its furniture, much of which has been in the house since it was made. The house is surrounded by ancient parkland and an 18th-century water garden, one of the finest in England, with a cascade and pyramid folly, a single-jet, 300ft fountain, the highest fountain in Britain and the tallest gravity fountain in the world.
  • We head first to Rodmarton Manor, one of the last country houses to be built and furnished according to the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The house is filled with fine examples of handmade furniture and we enjoy a fascinating guided tour plus free time to explore the beautiful gardens. Afterwards, we make our way to Chavenage House, an Elizabethan-era manor house, where we are treated to a traditional Cotswolds afternoon tea followed by a guided tour. Constructed of grey Cotswold stone and largely unchanged for 400 years, the house has a rich history and many Civil War associations as well as an interior packed with stunning period furniture, historic tapestries and intriguing relics from the Cromwellian era. It is no surprise that the house and grounds have been used as a TV and film location on many occasions, including epics such as Poldark and Wolf Hall. After dinner this evening we enjoy an interesting, themed talk from a guest speaker.
  • Today we board our train on the heritage Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway* and embark on a nostalgic journey from Cheltenham to Broadway, travelling through the spectacular scenery of the Cotswolds with lovely views of sleepy hamlets and villages along the way. The line was only extended to Broadway in 2019 with the help of fundraising spearheaded by Pete Waterman OBE. We then have some free time for lunch (not included) in the quintessential Cotswold village of Broadway, often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’, with its picturesque High Street lined with golden-hued stone buildings and tea rooms. In the afternoon we make our way to Sezincote, believed to be the only surviving Mogul building in Western Europe, where we enjoy a guided tour of this unique and exotic palace and gardens. As we head down the drive, it’s almost as if we’ve stumbled upon a majestic palace in India rather than the Cotswolds! In the early 1800s, Charles Cockerell, who had worked for the East India Company, commissioned his architect brother, Samuel, to design and build an Indian house in the Mogul style of Rajasthan. Assisted by the artist Thomas Daniell, the result is a unique combination of Hindu and Muslim architecture with a weathered-copper onion dome, elegant minarets and an exquisite, curving orangery while outside is a romantic landscape of temples, grottoes, elephant statues and waterfalls designed by Humphry Repton.
  • After breakfast, we check out of the hotel for our journey home.

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Visits to Sudeley Castle, Stanway House, Chavenage House, Rodmarton Manor, Sezincote & Broadway
  • Introductory talk, refreshments & lunch at Sudeley Castle
  • Guided tour of Stanway House
  • Guided tour of Rodmarton Manor
  • Guided tour and afternoon tea at Chavenage House
  • Guided tour of Sezincote House
  • Heritage train journey on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

Our Price Includes

  • Four nights' four-star half-board accommodation at the Leonardo Hotel, Cheltenham
  • Porterage where available
  • Welcome drink
  • After-dinner tea and coffee at the hotel
  • Coach transfers to and from your excursions
  • Visits to Sudeley Castle, Stanway House, Rodmarton Manor, Chavenage House, Broadway & Sezincote
  • Heritage train journey on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
  • Themed evening talk from a guest speaker
  • Accompanied by a tour manager throughout
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Dates and Prices

 
September 2024
 
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Accommodation

Leonardo Hotel, Chetenham -

★★★★

The four-star Leonardo Hotel is set in attractive grounds on the edge of the Regency town of Cheltenham. The comfortable en-suite rooms feature a TV and tea and coffee-making facilities. The hotel offers a bar and restaurant, plus a health and leisure club with a hot tub, sauna and fully-equipped gym.

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Other Information

Please note: tour itineraries, hotel entertainment and use of leisure facilities will be subject to government guidelines.

Please note: the itinerary order is subject to change and guided tours are subject to availability.

Holiday code

JG185

Holiday provided by Just Go Holidays

This holiday is sold and operated by Just Go Holidays. They are protected by Bonded Coach Holidays (BCH) and the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). They are also ATOL protected (ATOL 10889). These bonds mean that, when you book a Just Go holiday, you can be 100% sure that your money is safe.

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