Ales, Ciders and Historic Pubs of England
Hopscotch Tour of Scotland

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Ales, Ciders, and Historic Pubs of England

The unique beers and ciders of England are the result of a rich history of brewing that sets them apart from continental Europe.  To some tastes, there is nothing better than savoring a proper pint of cask ale or craft cider, especially in an English pub steeped in a long and colorful history.  Thanks to the efforts of Britain’s original Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), this tradition has been kept alive, and is available for visitors to partake in!  On our unique tour of England, we’ll enjoy many fine craft ales and ciders, from the haunted taverns of London’s shining streets, to the beloved countryside where local folk carve out a serene life intimate with nature.  Our tour will take us to opulent castles and manor houses, picturesque villages, and scenic seashores, and back to London for the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival, featuring over 900 beers and ciders!

HopScotch - Beer and Whisky Tour of Scotland

CITIES & TOWNS

  • London
  • Windsor
  • West Wycombe
  • Oxford
  • The Cotswolds
  • Bath
  • Salisbury
  • Exeter
  • St. Ives
  • Glastonbury

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Windsor Castle
  • Hellfire Caves
  • West Wycombe Manor
  • Historic Oxford Pub Crawl
  • Hook Norton Brewery Tour
  • Shakespeare’s Birth House
  • Malmesbury Abbey
  • Roman Baths
  • Avesbury Stone Circle
  • Stonehenge
  • Salisbury Cathedral
  • Exeter Cathedral

HIGHLIGHTS

  • St. Ives Beach
  • Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm
  • Glastonbury Abbey
  • King Arthur’s Tomb
  • Glastonbury Tor
  • Wells Cathedral
  • CAMRA Great British Beer Festival
  • Tower of London
  • Leicester Square
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Historic London Pub Crawl
  • Big Ben
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
England Tour

Some testimonials from England Tour Director Craig Bresett’s recent travellers: “What a great experience. We would not hesitate to recommend your tours – our tour exceeded our expectations in every way!!” Greg and Ronda – Grand Tour 2014 “We had an exceptional trip. Craig was amazing.  Very knowledgeable and professional. This was our first tour and it was fun, informative and a very rich experience.” Mark, Ashley and Jonathan – Grand Tour 2012 “My husband and I have travelled three times to Europe with Craig as our tour guide.  Craig is very knowledgeable about Europe and appears to get great pleasure in sharing it with others.  We always felt we got more than our money’s worth because Craig respects that to travel often means people work hard to save for special lifetime memories.  We would not hesitate to travel again with Craig and hope to in the near future.” Bob and Mary – Grand Tour 2006; Grand Tour 2009; Best of the East 2010

July 27 – August 8, 2018

July 28 – August 9, 2019

$3595

Per Person + Air Based on Double Occupancy All prices in US dollars.  Payment in other currencies possible – contact us.

Book Your England Tour Now!

 

Day 1: West to Windsor

Day 1:  West to Windsor

We will begin our journey in Windsor, a short taxi or shuttle trip west of Heathrow Airport.  After meeting everyone in the hotel lobby in the early afternoon, we’ll walk through Alexandra Gardens to the Queen’s infamous Windsor Castle, and tour its magnificent State Apartments and St George’s Chapel (site of a Harry and Meghan’s Royal Wedding in 2018).  And speaking of royalty, that’s what we’ll eat and drink like tonight at one of Windsor’s historic pubs! Sleep in Windsor / Bus: none / Walking: Moderate Meals provided: Dinner

Day 2: Mysterious England

Day 2:  Mysterious England

We depart Windsor after our full English breakfast to visit the mysterious “Hellfire Caves“, frequented by famous characters of the late 1700’s. We then have a sumptuous lunch at an ancient pub in the village before strolling through the scenic West Wycombe Park, where we take a tour through the mansion of the eccentric Sir Francis Dashwood. Many films, including the series “Downton Abbey”, have been filmed at this beautiful location. In the afternoon, we take in the town of Oxford and a walking tour of olde Oxford’s most historic (and haunted!) pubs. Sleep in Oxford / Bus: 1.5 hours / Walking: Moderate Meals provided: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 3: Beer, the Bard, and the Beloved Countryside

Day 3: Beer, the Bard, and the Beloved Countryside

We leave Oxford in the late morning to tour the Victorian “Hook Norton Brewery” and sample its award-winning beers! Prepare for a top-notch lunch at a 15th century thatched pub, the oldest pub in Stratford Upon Avon, which William Shakespeare must have frequented; very close by is his birth home, which we will tour. Later in the evening, we enjoy a gourmet dinner of local Bibury trout in one of England’s most charming and picturesque villages. Our hotel is a beautiful 1500’s Cotswold-stone manor with a walled garden in Cirencester, one of the Cotswold’s premier market towns. Sleep in Cirencester /Bus: 3 hours / Walking: Light to moderate Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4: The Charming Cotswolds

Day 4: The Charming Cotswolds

We have another night in our beautiful Cotswolds home, and a day to explore some of England’s most historic and picturesque villages. We’ll savour a delicious lunch at England’s oldest inn (947 AD)  and visit a Cotswold’s gem, Sudeley Castle and its lovely Queens’ Garden. Sleep in Cirencester / Bus: 1.5 hours / Walking: Moderate Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: On the Old Roman Road

 

Day 5: On the Old Roman Road

Today we’ll visit the 7th century Malmesbury Abbey in the morning sunlight, on the road to Bath. When we arrive we will enjoy a tour, tasting and lunch at the Bath Brew House. The afternoon is yours to do what visitors to Bath love to do, explore the unique shops or visit attractions such as the Fashion Museum, as you like. In the evening, we will reconvene for a special torchlit tour of the ancient Roman Baths and Roman temple. Afterwards, go ahead and explore some of Bath’s lively pubs! Sleep in Bath / Bus: 1.5 hours / Walking: moderate Meals provided: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 6: Stonehenge: - Where the Banshees live, and they do live well”

 

Day 6: Stonehenge – “Where the Banshees live, and they do live well”

We continue our tour of ancient England with a visit to the mysterious stone circles of the Salisbury Plain. Our first stop will be the iconic Stonehenge for a tour of the stones and the excellent visitors’ centre. We’ll head to Avesbury for lunch at its infamous Red Lion pub, right inside the stone circle. After immersing ourselves in the history and the mystery of the massive Avesbury stone circle, we will continue on to Salisbury for evensong service at the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral, with the tallest spire in England. Sleep in Salisbury / Bus: 2 hours / Walking: Light to moderate Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: “As I was going to St Ives…”

 

Day 7: “As I was going to St Ives…”!

On our way to St. Ives, we will stop in Exeter to have a guided tour of the massive Exeter Cathedral, with special access to the roof. We will savour a superb lunch at a farm-to-table gastro brew house in Exeter. Our hotel in St. Ives is an 18th century castle overlooking the Cornish seashore and surrounded by acres of gardens and its own scenic golf course. We’ll enjoy a delicious and fresh, locally-sourced dinner including some fantastic Cornish ales in our castle tonight! Sleep in St. Ives / Bus: 5 hours / Walking: Light to moderate Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8: St. Ives

 

Day 8: St. Ives

Today, feel free to explore the rare (for England) sandy beaches and rock pools with their abundant wildlife; or alternatively, wander the shops and art galleries of this gorgeous seaside town.  The more adventurous can take a surfing lesson, swim or join a fishing or sight-seeing boat tour, or perhaps do some ocean kayaking! We spend another night in our beautiful castle hotel (which also has a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool…). Sleep in St. Ives / Bus: None / Walking: Up to you! Meals provided: Breakfast

Day 9: In Search of the Holy Grail

 

Day 9: In Search of the Holy Grail

After departing our castle, we will visit Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, hailed by Jamie Oliver as the best cider in England. After a tour and tasting, we will settle in for a proper Cornish Cream Tea Lunch at their acclaimed Old Bottlery RestaurantOur final destination today is Glastonbury, a magical town rich in legends of King Arthur, the Holy Grail, the Lady of Avalon, and Mary Magdalene. That evening we see King Arthur’s Tomb and the awe-inspiring ruins of Glastonbury Abbey with its soaring arches.

Sleep in Glastonbury / Bus: 4 hours / Walking: Light to moderate Meals provided: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 10: All Things Great and Small

 

Day 10: All Things Great and Small

In the morning, those who are interested can climb the Glastonbury Tor before breakfast for commanding views of the Isle of Avalon.  After breakfast, you’ll have the morning to explore some of the peculiar shops or visit the Chalice Well Gardens. After lunch, we will depart for the England’s “smallest city” – Wells.  We’ll take in the astounding architecture and history of the enormous Wells Cathedral.  Then we’re off to England’s largest city London, where we’ll enjoy a pub crawl to some of the city’s oldest establishments, including a fine dinner at the first pub rebuilt after the great fire of London in 1666. Sleep in London / Bus: 3.5 hours / Walking: Strenuous (if climbing the Tor) to Moderate – your choice! / Meals provided: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11: Classic London

 

Day 11: Classic London

Today we’ll see the best of London, starting with a classic Yeomen Warders (aka Beefeaters) Tour of The Tower of London.  After a pub lunch, we’ll enjoy a jolly old walking tour featuring Leicester Square (where you can buy tickets for one of London’s fabulous musicals for that evening!), Trafalgar Square and Big Ben.  The evening is yours! Sleep in London / Walking: moderate. Meals provided: Breakfast and lunch

Day 12: The Great British Beer Festival

Day 12: The Great British Beer Festival

This morning we’ll visit St. Paul’s Cathedral – the symbol of the city.  Those who wish to can climb the stairs to the top of the dome for the grandest view of London.  Then we’re off to the CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) Great British Beer Festival!  This is considered by many to be the world’s premier beer festival – a tradition in London for more than 40 years now.  With more than 900 beers, ciders, and perrys to try, you’d better come thirsty! And for your hunger, there are food vendors galore on site! Sleep in London / Walking: Light to moderate Meals provided: Breakfast

Day 13: Cheerio!

Day 13: Cheerio!

The tour is over after our final Full English breakfast.  Your tour director can assist you with transport to the airport or further travel plans.  Want to stay on further in London? – let us know early and we can assist you with accommodations. Meals provided: Breakfast

The Fine Print – What You Get:

Not so much fine print: We believe in up front pricing, not a hard-to-read long list of extra costs. Group Size: We run small group tours, less than half the size of a normal big bus tour. Our average group size is 14-18 travellers, plus a tour director and a driver. Transportation: Most transportation is in a private chartered coach. Lots of free space on the bus to stretch out and relax! Transportation to and from airport is your responsibility. Windsor and London are well served by train/taxi connections to the airports. Activity level:  This tour is suitable to people with a basic fitness level. You will need to carry your own bags, climb hotel stairs, and keep a leisurely to moderate pace on city walking tours. This trip is suitable for adults. It is not suitable for young children. Accommodations: We choose generally smaller, family-run hotels, in the 3-4 star category, that are close to the action, rather than large impersonal hotels in some industrial park outside of town. All rooms have private ensuite bathrooms with shower or bathtub. Most rooms are doubles.

  • Solo travelers: You may choose to pay extra for one of the limited number of single private rooms, or you can room with another solo traveler in the group of the same gender and skip the extra fee.  See the registration form for specific prices.
  • Couples: Couples will usually share a room with one double or queen bed (large King beds are not common in Europe).
  • Two friends traveling together: Two friends or siblings traveling together will be roomed together with two beds in a twin room. Note: some European twin beds share one headboard but they will always have separate sheets.
  • Triple room: A typical triple room will be one double bed and one single bed.

Sightseeing tours and attractions: This is the main reason you are in England, and we understand this! Led by your tour director, and local guides when appropriate. Entrance fees to all attractions are included. Most tour companies sell many of their attractions as expensive “optional excursions” which add up really quickly. Not us. Meals: Breakfasts are always included. Note that because we stay in characteristic English hotels, breakfasts will reflect local preferences . Many lunches/dinners are on us – the rest are up to you. See itinerary for breakdown. Gratuities: Unlike most tour companies who ask you to pay a “mandatory” tip to the driver and guide, with us tipping is neither requested nor required.

Book Your England Tour Now!

 

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