Here is my upcoming trip to England. I would love for you to join me!

Day 1 – Monday 21st May

Arrive London transfer to your hotel.

Welcome dinner this evening.

Overnight: London             (-/-/D)

Day 2 – Tuesday 22nd May

Start off this morning visit the famous Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Explore inside the vast Victorian glasshouses and see the indoor galleries. Kew is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site offering unique landscapes, vistas and iconic architecture from every stage of the Gardens’ history. Walk to Queen Charlotte’s Cottage and see the beautiful Bluebell wood.

Lunch at The Orangery, Kew Gardens

This afternoon, discover the wonders of majestic Hampton Court Palace, home to the Kings and Queens of Britain since the time of Henry VIII. Discover the magnificent State Apartments, explore the riverside gardens. The gardens are home to the world’s oldest puzzle maze, a record-breaking grape vine3 National Plant Collections, over 1 million flowering bulbs in the Wilderness, and a huge variety of wildlife, including the descendants of Henry VIII’s deer herd.

Overnight: London            (B/L/-)

Day 3 – Wednesday 23rd May

Tour the newly remodelled Garden Museum, which explores and celebrates British gardens and gardening through its collection, temporary exhibitions, events and garden. Visitors will also see a permanent display of paintings, tools, ephemera and historic artifacts: a glimpse into the uniquely British love affair with gardens.

Next up is the historic Chelsea Physic Garden in London and end up at Petershams Nursery in Covent Gardens which brings nature and elegance to the heart of Covent Garden. Enjoy lunch (not included) and the afternoon to browse.

Depart for London for free time in the late afternoon and evening.

Overnight: London            (B/-/-)

Day 4 – Thursday 24th May

A transfer in the morning takes you to the famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show! Enjoy the extensive displays of show gardens and magnificent floral displays of the world’s most prestigious flower show that inspires millions through showcasing the best in garden design before a transfer in the late afternoon back to your hotel.

In the early evening to cap off the busy day, enjoy a bird’s eye view of London from the London Eye. A Private Capsule for our own exclusive use with a 30 minute rotation is the ultimate way to experience the 360° views of London.

Overnight: London            (B/-/-)




Day 5-Friday 25th May

Depart London and stop at St Tiggywinkles, animal rescue for hedgehogs and other native animals. Meet a hedgehog up close and tour the hedgehog museum and see how wildlife is rehabilitated and introduced back to the wild.

Stop at Waterperry Gardens formerly a renowned Horticultural college and you will find a Formal Garden, the Mary Rose Garden, a Waterlily Canal and the Long Color Border, and a recently planted arboretum.

Travel to Oxford for a tour of the Oxford Botanical Gardens with beautiful herbaceous borders, glasshouses that take you around the world or simply relax in the oldest Botanic Garden in Britain. Explore the town with lunch on your own. Continue through the English countryside to the town of Cheltenham for a 4 night stay.

Dinner in Cheltenham. Dinner in Cheltenham with a presentation on Victoria Summerley’s book, The Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds, and book signing.


Overnight in Cheltenham (B/-/D)

Day 6 – Saturday 26th May

Travel to Abbey House Gardens, ”With 1300 years of history, the first King of England buried somewhere in the garden, two saints thrown down the well, and now one of the great gardens of the world. The spirit of the place shines through and could be the best garden visit you ever make”. Known for its clothing optional days, unfortunately we will not be visiting on that day!

Move on to Tetbury, a historic wool town which is the southern gateway to the Cotswolds. The town is known as an architectural gem with many of the wool merchants’ houses remaining the same as they were in the 16th & 17th centuries during the height of the wool trade. Shop at the Highgrove Shop which sells products  inspired by the private gardens of His Royal Highness and visit Highgrove in the afternoon (subject to availability). Alternatives are Miserden Park Gardens and/or Rodmartin Manor.

Overnight: Cheltenham    (B/L/-)

Day 7-Sunday 27th May

Travel to Awkward Hill near Bibury to have a private tour of Victoria Summerley’s Garden, author of Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds. Continue to Ablington Manor and then to Bibury, named one of “the most beautiful villages in England” for lunch at The Trout Farm.

Visit Eastleach House and The Coach House in Ampney Crucis, near Victoria’s garden, also private gardens.

Overnight: Cheltenham    (B/L/-)

Day 8- Monday 28thth May

Travel back in time to 16th-century Tudor Stratford-upon-Avon, where William Shakespeare lived and worked. Guided by a professional guide on a 2-hour walking tour, you will explore Stratford and its history. Visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage with its beautiful surrounding cottage gardens and Shakespeare’s New Place, set on the site of the home where Shakespeare spent 19 years of his life. Tour the specially commissioned outdoor sculptures in a contemporary landscape setting and a beautifully restored Tudor Knot Garden. Browse the interesting shops of Stratford.

Leave Stratford and stop in Shipston On Stour and have a tasting at the Cotswolds Distillery of whiskey and gin.

Overnight: Cheltenham    (B/-/-)



Day 9 – Tuesday 29th May

Depart today to travel to Wales, first stopping off at David Austin Roses, the home of the English rose to tour the gardens and plant center.

Then continue to visit Powis Castle & Gardens for its spectacular terraces and stunning vistas. Powis also has an amazing collection of furniture, tapestries, paintings and sculptures, including the Indian and Far East Clive Museum. Have lunch on your own at one of the two restaurants.

Continue to the seaside resort town of Llandudno.

Overnight: Llandudno/Conway       (B/-/D)

Day 10 – Wednesday 30th May

The day starts with a visit to Bodnant Estate which includes the Gardens, one of the most beautiful gardens in the UK. Included in the visit is the Bodnant Welsh Food Center(lunch on your own), the National Beekeeping Center Wales, The Bodnant Craft Center, the Furnace Tea Room and Farmhouse.

Stop off at Llanberis to take in the stunning mountain scenery of the Snowdon area.

Continue this afternoon for a visit to the seaside village of Portmeirion. Shops, restaurants, gardens and beaches and 70 acres of woodland walks surrounding this picturesque colorful village.

Overnight: Llandudno/Conway      (B/-/-)

Day 11 Thursday 31th May

Head into the rolling Derbyshire countryside of the Peak District, for a visit to Chatsworth, freshly remodelled after a 10 year master plan. Famous for its rich history, historic and modern waterworks and sculptures, its Victorian rock garden and maze, there is something for everyone in the 105-acre Chatsworth Garden. Used in filming Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice, enjoy a house and garden tour and end with an optional special tea at the onsite restaurant on your own. Later continue to the historic city of Nottingham to explore on your own.

Overnight: Nottingham     (B/-/-)

Day 12 Friday 1st June

Continue to Hatfield House, stately Jacobean mansion with a magnificent water sculpture by Angela Conner. Wander an Elizabethan park with a famous Jacobean house and garden and incredible Jacobean craftsmanship. The layout has changed many times since then but now has a ‘seventeenth century character’ with terraces and garden enclosures, including a knot garden, herb garden and privy garden. See the famous ‘Rainbow Portrait’ of Elizabeth I. Enjoy lunch at The Coach House restaurant or shop and dine in The Stableyard on your own.

Continue this afternoon for a visit to Capel Manor College Gardens, a 30 acre estate, first established in the late 13th century. Providing an oasis surrounding a Georgian Manor House and Victorian Stables with dozens of specialist gardens, some that medaled at the Chelsea Flower Show. It offers a unique opportunity to see behind the scenes at Greater London’s only Specialist College for those interested in plants, animals and the environment.

Then on to London for a farewell dinner

Overnight: London                           (B/-/D)

Day 13 Saturday 2nd June

Depart for home




To reserve a spot, send a deposit of $200 to Claire Jones, 4 Bellclare Cir, Sparks, MD 21152


GBP 2995 as of Sept 2018 ex rate=$3872  

Single Supplement GBP 750 ex rate=$970


Based on the following 4 star hotels:

  • Copthorne Tara Hotel, London
  • Malmaison Hotel, Cheltenham
  • Imperial Hotel, Llandudno
  • Park Plaza Hotel, Nottingham

Arrangements include:

  • 12 hotel nights based on sharing twin room (4 star*)
  • Breakfasts daily, 4 dinners & 3 lunches (As indicated by BLD on the itinerary)
  • Coach services for duration of tour as specified on itinerary
  • Entrances to: Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace, Garden Museum, Chelsea Physic Garden, St Tiggywinkles Animal Shelter, Waterperry Gardens, Oxford Botanical Gardens, Abbey House Gardens, Highgrove (or alternative), Awkward Hill, Ablington Manor, Eastleach House, The Coach House, Anne Hathaways Cottage, New Place, David Austen Roses, Powis Castle & Gardens, Bodnant Estate, Portmerion, Chatsworrth, Hatfield House, Capel Manor Gardens
  • Guided tour of Stratford-upon-Avon
  • 1 x London Eye Private Capsule Hire (max 25)
  • Day ticket to Chelsea Flower Show (non-members day)
  • Cotswold Distillery tour & tasting
  • Services of a UK tour manager throughout
  • Porterage 1 suitcase per person

Not included:

Air fares, personal expenses, gratuities to accompanying staff.

Subject to:

Increases in local taxation and fuel costs and English law.


Deposit 10% 90 days prior to operation

Final payment 45 days prior to operation

Payment can be paid by direct debit/wire to Lloyds bank and there is a transaction fee. Call Pathfinders (London based) 877-753-6386 for details. Or you can pay with credit card-Visa/ American Express/ Master Card with a 3% fee.

Pathfinders, our tour operator will have some transportation to and from the London airport arranged if most people are arriving/departing together.

Italy Trip

Here is my Italy Trip for September 2018:




Day 1 – Saturday 8th September

Arrive Rome Airport and transfer to your hotel in Rome.


This afternoon step back centuries in time for a panoramic guided tour of Rome including entrance to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. A sprawling expanse of ruins, the Roman Forum was ancient Rome’s showpiece, a monumental district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces. The site, which was originally an Etruscan burial ground, was first developed in the 7th century BC, growing over time to become the social, political and commercial hub of the Roman empire.


Gather this evening for a get-together dinner.


Overnight: ROME             (-/-/D)


Day 2 – Sunday 9th September

This morning enjoy a guided tour in the peace of the beautiful Vatican Gardens (subject to availability),then join the throng to view the beautiful frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. Afternoon free for shopping or exploring on your own.


Overnight ROME           (B/-/-)


Day 3 – Monday 10th September

Spend the day in visiting a couple of historic gardens close to Rome. First we drive to Tivoli for a visit to the Villa D’Este, the most famous Renaissance residence in Europe and a UNESCO site, with a superb water garden of international renown. A unique example of an Italian 16th-century garden, the Villa d’Este, was an early model for the development of European gardens.


After lunch, we continue to our second visit. Ninfa is a romantic water garden, laid out amongst the ruins of a medieval town in the twentieth century. Its informal layout and lush plantings make it an “English” garden, which reflects the nationality of some of its creators.


Continue afterwards to the gardens of La Landriana. Landriana is a romantic site full of fascinating surprises along the Latium coast forty kilometres south of Rome. It covers over ten hectares within a vast estate, bought at the end of the 1950s by the family who still own it. The gardens, designed by Russell Page, were extended and modified with new collections of plants, including heathers, hydrangeas, old roses and camellias, to satisfy the passionate botanical curiosity and aesthetic sense of its creator, Lavinia Taverna.


Overnight: ROME            (B/-/-)


Day 4 – Tuesday 11th September

Depart Rome early today and travel north to Tuscany. Stop for a visit to Villa Vignamaggio, a 14th century renaissance villa set in the heart of the Chianti countryside. A working farm since 1404, Vignamaggio overlooks a countryside landscape, of forests, vineyards and ancient hamlets scattered about on the surrounding hills.

At the core of the farm is the Renaissance villa, surrounded by Italian style gardens, which fill the spaces between rows of cypresses, vines and olive trees.

Lunch will be followed by a tour of the vineyard and wine tasting.


This afternoon visit Villa Gamberaia’s gardens set in the hills close to Florence. The Villa with its celebrated Renaissance garden enjoys an exceptional position overlooking Florence and the Arno valley. Probably the most perfect example of the art of producing a great effect on a small scale… because it combines in an astonishingly small space, yet without the least sense of overcrowding, almost every typical excellence of the old Italian garden.


Overnight: FLORENCE     (B/L/-)



Day 5 – Wednesday 12th September

This morning take a guided walking tour of Florence, birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. The tour will include a visit to the Academia Museum with an opportunity to see the original David sculpture by Michelangelo.

This afternoon visit the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, originally the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The palace houses a collection of museums, including the Palatine Gallery, a modern art gallery and the royal apartments. In the lush Boboli Gardens, one of the greatest Renaissance parks, you’ll see the impressive Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum, the Silver Museum, and the lush Bardini Garden. The Boboli Gardens were the inspiration for the gardens of Versailles.


Relax at a local restaurant Braciere Malatesta for an authentic Italian dinner.

Overnight: FLORENCE    (B/-/D)


Day 6 – Thursday 13th September

Depart for Venice, making a stop en route in Padua. Visit the UNESCO site of the Botanical Garden of Padua.The world’s first botanical garden was created in Padua in 1545. It still preserves its original layout – a circular central plot, symbolizing the world, surrounded by a ring of water. Tour the famous Scrovegni Chapel in Padua which has beautiful frescoes by Giotti.


Travel to Venice and take a private water taxi to St Mark’s Square and check in to your hotel.


Independent/Optional gondola ride or Vivaldi concert this evening.


Overnight: VENICE        (B/-/-)



Day 7 – Friday 14th September

Meet your guide for a sightseeing tour of Venice including St Mark’s Square, the Duomo and Doges Palace, and the famous San Marco Basilica. It is one of the most valuable treasures of history, art and faith in the world, located in St Mark’s Square, the so-called ‘drawing room of Europe’.


Rest of day free for independent sightseeing, options include gondola ride, concerts, or a trip to the islands of Murano for glass blowing demonstrations.


Overnight: VENICE        (B/-/-)




Day 8 – Saturday 15th September

Depart hotel this morning and travel to Bellagio on Lake Como, romantically called “pearl of the lake” with free time for lunch and strolling or shopping.


This afternoon take a short ferry ride for a visit to the magnificent Villa Carlotta and world famous terraced gardens. In the gardens see: old varieties of camellias, century old cedars and sequoias, huge planes and tropical plants, the Rock garden and the Ferns valley, the Rhododendrons wood and the Bamboos garden, the agricultural tools museum and wonderful views on the lake that some describe as “a place of heaven”. The extensive Italian gardens surrounding the villa are ornately scattered with sculptures, stairs and fountains. Stay overnight near Lake Como.


Overnight: LAKE COMO (B/-/D)


Day 9 – Sunday 16th September

This morning depart for Lake Maggiore, the “Eden of Italy” and the largest of the Italian Lakes. First there will be a visit to the Villa Taranto. The gardens at Villa Taranto were created by Scotsman, Captain Neil McEarcharn who bought the estate in 1931. He wished to transform the estate into an English style garden to remind him of home. He spent nine years making his dream a reality, which included the difficult job of acclimatizing many of the more exotic species collected from round the world.


Afterwards continue by boat to the Borromean Islands and the gardens of the Isola Bella and the Isola Madre, Have lunch on the Isola dei Pescatori or Fishermen’s Island.


Overnight: LAKE COMO (B/L/-)



Day 10 – Monday 17th September

Depart south today travelling along the Ligurian Coast en route to Portofino and make a stop for lunch. This afternoon proceed to Santa Margherita for a visit to Cervara Abbey, dating from the 14th century. A garden perched on the bay with two levels, decorated with boxwood hedges and pergolas, many rare plants thrive her.


Continue afterwards to Pisa for a visit to see the Piazza dei Miracoli including the famous leaning tower, baptistery and cathedral.


Continue to the spa town of Montecatini Terme for your overnight stay.


Overnight: MONTECATINI TERME  (B/-/-)


Day 11 – Tuesday 18th September

Depart hotel this morning and continue south with stop en route in Siena for a guided tour and some free time for lunch. Siena, a city in central Italy’s Tuscany region, is distinguished by its medieval brick buildings. Famous for the biannual Palio, a centuries-old horse race with colorful costumed processions you will see the opulent marble Siena Cathedral housing sculptures by Donatello and Michelangelo. The town’s steep and winding cobblestone streets are lined with gourmet shops, bakeries, fashion boutiques and cozy trattorias.

This afternoon continue south to Oriveto for a visit to La Foce, a formal Italian garden, which is divided into geometrical ‘rooms’ by box hedges with lemon trees in terracotta pots. Travertine stairs lead to the rose garden and a winding wisteria-covered pergola bordered by lavender hedge. Gentle informal terraces climb up the hill, where cherry trees, pines and cypresses grow among wild broom, thyme and rosemary, and a long cypress avenue leads to a 17th-century stone statue.


This afternoon drive to Viterbo in Lazio province.


Overnight: VITERBO        (B/-/-)


Day 12 – Wednesday 19th September

Today visit two very different gardens. First we’ll see the splendid gardens of the Villa Lante, which were made about four hundred years ago with terraces descending to a formal parterre and the Fountain of the Four Moors. Gurgling fountains, novel irrigations, and impressive pieces of water-based design populate the gardens, with the crown jewel being the massive stone table in the center of the garden, steeped in history.


After a break for lunch, continue to Bomarzo, The Park of Monsters, where the stone monsters of the Sacro Bosco form an extraordinary collection, strewn amongst quite rough terrain.  They certainly make this the most bizarre of Italian gardens.


Farewell dinner in hotel,


Overnight: VITERBO        (B/-/D)


Day 13 – Thursday 20th September

Depart for Rome airport




To reserve a spot, send a deposit of $200 to Claire Jones, 4 Bellclare Cir, Sparks, MD 21152


Euro 3532 as of Sept 2018 ex rate=$4150 for double

Single Supplement Euro 650 ex rate=$763



Based on the following hotels (3/4 star):


  • Hotel Villa San Pio, Rome
  • Hotel Kraft, Florence
  • Hotel Carlton on Grand Canal, Venice
  • Hotel Britannia Excelsior, Como
  • Hotel Ercoloni e Savini, Montecatini Terme
  • Relais Falisco Hotel, Civita Castelana


Cost Includes

  • 12 x nights’ hotel accommodation (3/4 star hotels)
  • Breakfast daily at hotel, 2 Lunches & 4 Dinners
  • Coach services for the itinerary as specified
  • Private return water taxi transfer from Tronchetto to central Venice
  • Return ferry to Borromean Islands
  • Entrances to Vatican Gardens/Vatican Museum (Sistine Chapel), Villa D’Este, Ninfa Gardens, La Landriana, Villa Gamberaia, Accademia Museum, Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens, Scrovegni Chapel, Botanical Garden of Padua, Doges Palace, Villa Carlotta, Villa Taranto, Baroque Palace (Isola Bella), Cervara Abbey, La Foce, Villa Lante, Bomarzo
  • Guided tours of Rome, Florence, Venice, Siena
  • Wine tasting in Tuscany (Villa Vignamaggio)
  • Services of English speaking tour manager throughout (Francesca Savonelli)
  • Local city taxes and service charges for included services
  • Porterage 1 piece of luggage per person


Quote is subject to:         Changes in local taxation or increases in fuel charges


Deposit 10% 90 days prior to operation

Final payment 45 days prior to operation

Payment can be paid by direct debit/wire to Lloyds bank and there is a transaction fee. Call Pathfinders (London based) 877-753-6386 for details. Or you can pay with credit card-Visa/ American Express/ Master Card with a 3% fee.


Pathfinders, our tour operator will have some transportation to and from the Rome airport arranged if most people are arriving/departing together. If you want to stay for nights prior and after, this can be arranged with Pathfinders.







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